It’s always fun waking up to AWESOME emails! Like finding out you won an Editor’s Choice award for getting your work published so much in 2015! As much as I’d love to fluff my own feathers and take all the credit, it actually has very little to do with me. Sure editor’s look for clean and beautiful photography, but more importantly, they look for beautiful wedding decor that will inspire future brides-to-be! I just watched the Oscar’s so I’m in a very acceptance-speech-giving-mood soooo…I’d like to
thank the academy share this award with every florist that created a world of beauty, every planner that spent countless hours bring the entire day together, every designer who created gowns to die for, every venue that works so hard to create an experience guests will never forget, and most importantly, every couple who shared their love story with me. I, fo reals, love you guys! :)
“The Editors’ Choice Awards honor Two Bright Lights’ members whose talent was continually recognized by top print magazines, blogs and ezines. Your hard work and commitment to getting published places you among the top 5% featured, from a community made up of over 40,000 photographers and event professionals.”
EEEEE!!! Time for my favorite post of the year!! I got a little sappy while writing my Best of 2014: Engagements post a few days ago, so I’m going to try to be a little more put together today. Key word being…try. This has been a record-breaking year for both me and Christopher (if you are new to the blog, that’s my hubs!). We traveled to TWELVE destinations this year including Paris, Venice, Florence, and several states across the US. We gave up the Brooklyn life to purchase our first home and are now NJ residents again (welcome back, Taylor Ham!). I had my first BIG magazine publication in The Knot New Jersey magazine! And I was so blessed to have been able to photograph 16 AAAAAMAZING weddings!
As someone who not only owns but wears Crocs (don’t worry, they’re the cute-ish ones!), my dream has always been to photograph mostly farm, vineyard, and estate weddings. This year that dream came true! Some of my favorite venues were the Wainwright House, Red Maple Vineyard, the Inn at Westwood Farms, the Highlands Country Club, Congress Hall, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn! This has been a year for dreaming big, working hard, laughing harder, and soaking in the light (spiritually and literally)! :)
My jaw dropped when I first saw this reception tent!
One of my favorite moments! SO MUCH JOY!!
Obsessed with this ring!!
Oh hey Donkey.
Cocktail hour with lawn games is my favorite!
Ya’ll know how much I love First Looks…I’m such a sap!
Hollaaaaaa! We married!
The Madison Hotel Conservatory is so glowy beautiful on a sunny day! Gorgeous ladies!!
To my couples: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to become a part of your lives and share your love story with the world. I look forward to many game nights, BBQs, and overall shenanigans in the future! xoxo!!
PS: If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, you’ve earned this behind-the-scenes gem! ;)
I can’t believe another year has come and gone! It feels like I was in this place just yesterday…you know the place…the place of anxiously awaiting the warmth and the smell of springtime! Because springtime means it’s engagement photos season and soon after that comes wedding season! EEEEE!! But before I get too excited for 2015, I’d like to give a proper salute to 2014. What an incredible year it was! I made so many new awesome couple friends and was blown away by their love for each other. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be a small part of so many great love stories – to add these fleeting moments in time to a permanent memory bank. It’s just so surreal!
To my incredible couples: Thank you for making me fall more in love with what I do each day, for inviting me into your lives, and for keeping me smiling all year round! xoxox! <3
Gentle kisses and snuggles!
2014 was the year of puppies! I love when couples include their fur babies in their engagement photos! SO CUTE!
Photographing love in Venice, Italy is probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!
Unless you count photographing love in Florence too! ;)
And it may not be Italy, but Saratoga NY is one of my favorite places on earth – so it was a dream come true to photograph an engagement session there in 2014! :)
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens engagement session!
Drinking wine on a Manhattan rooftop? Yup, also pretty dang magical!
One of my favorite and most delicious venue choices was Taqueria in Jersey City! Tacos are the new cupcake! :)
Drinking vintage Coca-Cola on the Brooklyn Bridge pier!
An engagement session is not complete without some sort of yummy snack – like these whoopie pies from One Girl Cookie!
Oh and THAT RING THOUGH!
Dancing in the cobblestone streets of downtown Brooklyn = magic!
Raise your glass and toast to a just-as-amazing 2015 season!! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this year!!
If you’d like to book a session with your love (engagement, anniversary, couple), send me an email!! email@example.com
Best of 2014 Weddings – coming soon!
Hooray! I’m sooo excited to see Nicole and Oscar’s gorgeous summer wedding featured on the Wedding Chicks blog! Their pink and gold wedding at the Wainwright House was simply perfect! As I look out the window onto the snow and ice waiting for me on my driveway, I just can’t stop day-dreaming about the warmth and smiles awaiting me this 2015 wedding season! :)
Click here to view the feature on Wedding Chicks!
To view their original blog post, click here!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday vacation! If you’re real lucky, you’re still eating left over Christmas ham sandwiches like me! ;)
Today, I am blogging my last wedding of the season, and I just can’t stop thinking about how much fun this day was! John and Max are two of the coolest kids in town – gorgeous, funny, full of joy and love, and so genuine! Their Madison Hotel wedding included a sunset ceremony in a beautiful glass conservatory, the coolest bouquets ever, and the most unique approach to a “First Look” I’ve ever seen! :)
Max and John love all things vintage, handmade, romantic and slightly rustic. I love how they incorporated their vision into every aspect of the day, down to the tiniest detail – including this awesome display of the Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue tradition! :)
Isn’t she GORGEOUS!?!
Max was so good to share her spotlight with her completely adorable niece Brianna!
Look at those eyes!!
John also got ready at the Madison Hotel. Huge thank you to my incredible second shooter Leandra for capturing such great memories of John! How cool are these pocket watches he gifted to all his groomsmen?! #iwantone
Both John and Max opted to have “First Looks” with their parents…how stinkin’ sweet!
On a cold November day, this conservatory full of sunshine was an answer to prayer for the girls!
SO MUCH PRETTINESS!
I told you these bouquets were awesome! The curly willow, pea pod, and burlap combination is just so cool!
Max carried photos of loved ones down the aisle with her…
If you follow my blog at all, you know I’ve been looooving the “bestie profile pic” part of the day lately! It’s just so fun!
I don’t normally include family photos in my blog posts, but this is one sharp looking family and their colors are totally keeping my Christmas spirit alive! ;)
I’ve been calling this the “Anti-First-Look” but I’m open to name suggestions! Here’s the story…their ceremony was scheduled for sunset and they really wanted beautiful daylight portraits together, but they didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! We decided to have a ton of fun and get real creative with ways to get awesome photos of them with their siblings, wedding party, and alone…without catching a glimpse of each other!
It was so fun to have all the wedding party there!
No peeking John!
Everyone was in tears!
Hooray! Congratulations John and Max!! Love this moment of joy! <3
The Madison Hotel’s historic interior was so great for post-ceremony group photos since it was pitch black outside! Oh November, you and your early sunsets!
Max and John created homemade Chimichurri sauce favors (YUM!) and a vinyl record guest book. Each guest signs the record at their table and the couple will have a totally unique “guest book!”
Max’s first dance with her father had everyone in tears! He surprised Max with a recorded version of himself singing their first dance song…not only was it incredibly emotional, but he’s also insanely talented! Blew everyone away!
Friends were celebrating from all ends of the earth! :)
I love being able to show my couples a slideshow of some of their wedding photos on the wedding day, and apparently they love it too! :)
I was soooo not ready to have my dance skills tested, but you can’t turn down the groom! ;)
What an incredible day! Max and John, you are both so beautiful inside and out! I’m so happy to know you and I know that this day was just the beginning of your happily ever after! xoxoxox!
Credits // Ceremony & Reception Site: The Madison Hotel // Flowers: AW Flowers // Bride’s Dress & Veil: L’Fay Bridal // Rings: West Essex Jewelers // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: East West Bridals // Groom’s & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse // Hair & Make-up: Toni & Guy Hoboken // Invitations: DesignedWithAmore // Reception Entertainment: The Oasis // Photography: Cassi Claire // The End!
I have been so blessed to have been a part of so many completely unique and beautiful weddings this year! From my very first meeting with Tom and Danielle, I couldn’t wait to see how their wedding vision would come to life! They told me they wanted a Disney “inspired” wedding but not an over the top “themed” wedding. They wanted to infuse their love of Disney without going overboard, and I think they did just that! Here are some words from the bride about the big day:
“Tom and I always knew we would have a Disney inspired wedding. Sharing a love of Disney is part of what brought us together, and it was important to us to use its influence to begin our “happily ever after.” Our main concern during planning was that we never wanted our wedding to look overly themed or like a child’s birthday party. With that in mind, we chose to show our theme in more subtle ways. To honor my favorite princess, Belle, I wore an Alfred Angelo Belle gown with yellow shoes and walked down the aisle to a harpist playing “Beauty and the Beast.” Our color scheme of purple, yellow and orange was not only perfect for a fall wedding, but also paid homage to the colors in Disney’s “Tangled.” For centerpieces, we chose to keep it simple with a lantern standing among a wreath of flowers, a nod to the floating lantern scene in “Tangled.” I borrowed the lanterns and candles from a friend who used them in her wedding, and the wreaths were made beautifully by our florist. We turned our reception hall into Disney World by naming each table after a ride in one of the four parks and providing fast pass tickets for each guest which identified their seating placement. Tom and I made signs for each of the tables and the fast passes were all created by my very talented brother, Brian Lewis. We brought in elements from Disney’s “Up” by using a mailbox like the one from the movie to hold our gifts and I made a scrapbook like Carl and Ellie’s Adventure Book that acted as our guestbook. Because we wanted so many unique elements in our wedding, we ended up making most of the decorations and props ourselves. I think we spent more time at Michael’s during the month before our wedding than in the past five years combined! While all this work was honestly overwhelming at times, when I saw it all put together on our wedding day, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I spent my wedding day feeling like a princess and I can’t imagine a better start for my fairy tale life with Tom.”
Those yellow shoes are so perfect! And I love how the invitation subtly gives way to the theme of the day with the Beauty & the Beast roses in the corners and the mini Mickey under the address.
Danielle, you are ridiculously ridiculously good looking! ;)
Tom gave each of his groomsmen a custom Disney vinylmation! I love trying to match their cartoon faces to the real life version!
Tom looking soo handsome!
One of my favorite parts of the day is the moment right before the First Look, while the groom is anxiously awaiting his bride. I can feel the nerves!
Even got Mickey on his socks!
I can’t get over these colors! They are seriously magically – which is totally fitting!
The elaborate draping on Danielle’s dress is so reminiscent of Belle’s beautiful yellow gown!
Wedding party lookin’ goooood!
I love the “profile picture” part of the day! BESTIES! :)
Oh momma, you make me tear up! So sweet!
The sun was setting during the ceremony which gave everything such a beautiful warm glow!
Carl and Ellie’s Adventure Book!
Each table was named after a Disney ride and each guest was given a “Fast Pass” to escort them to their assigned table. Not many guests would have noticed this, but Tom and Danielle even arranged the tables to reflect the Disney park map!
Each guest received their own vinylmation as well!
This is just a sample of the ride-themed table “numbers!”
Yea, it was THAT kind of dance party! You know…the AMAZING kind!
Oh my word, this couple! They were the last one’s standing at the end of the Anniversary dance…Chris and I couldn’t stop tearing up! They are such sweethearts! <3
I’ll give you one guess what song was playing during the photo on the right! ;)
And of course, I can’t end this post without a couple of FUNbooth photos!! The happy couple chose to bring all their own super hero and Disney themed props! :)
Oh hey, look…it’s me!
Chris and I channeling our alter-egos with the couple!
Thank you so much to my amazing team – the beautiful Leandra and my handsome husband Christopher!! Love you both! :)
And thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals involved!
Credits // Ceremony & Reception Site: Flanders Valley // Officiant: Dr. Michael Gerhardt (bride’s uncle) // Flowers: Linda’s Florist of Short Hills // Bride & Bridesmaids’ Dress: Russells Bridal // Bride’s Shoes: Nina // Rings: Iannelli Diamonds // Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse // Hair & Make-Up: Pink Comb Studio // Transportation: Byram Bus // Invitations, Programs, Table Numbers, Escort Cards, Guestbook, Favors : DIY // Reception Entertainment: Chuck Russo // Cupcake Tower: Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe // Photography & FUNbooth: Cassi Claire // The End!
You guys, I am seriously SO FREAKING EXCITED! I had my first MAIN PAGE Style Me Pretty feature today! Even though I’ve been on the New York (now Tri-State) blog before, being on the home page just feels like ten thousand times more awesome! #pinchme
Christie and Matt, ya’ll need to stop what you are doing and become pro event stylists! View the feature!
View the original post here! :)
Thanksgiving is defined as “a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.” Well, I would definitely call all of these amazing gifts from my sweet couples “a blessing of the harvest!” Throughout the year, I have collected such sweet thank-you notes, gifts, favors, and all sorts of love from my incredible wedding couples. I didn’t realize how blessed I had been until I looked at the pile of loot next to my desk today! I mean, WOW! I have been showered with love and affection from some of the best people I know, and it’s honestly overwhelming (in the best way possible!).
So today, I want to thank each and every couple who invited me into their wedding adventures! I’ve loved laughing with you, being the first to see your wedding dress months before the wedding (and sometimes even helping you decide between two dresses!!), crying with you as you walked down the aisle, and dancing with you in the middle of the dance floor. I’ve loved seeing your face light up as you view your wedding album design for the first time, and the joy wash over you as you remember moments of the day you had forgotten. I’ve loved feeling like your wedding day BFF and not just a “wedding vendor.” And mostly, I love that this year was totally just the beginning of our friendship! I’m so thankful for the year we’ve had and all the years to come!! <3
I left Steph and Vance’s wedding feeling like I had attended a birthday party in my honor haha! As soon as I walked through the door, Steph greeted me with two beautifully wrapped gifts – one just for me, and one for me and Chris! Inside was a beautiful necklace (which I wear ALL THE TIME) and a $100 gift card to Sushi Samba (um, YUM!).
On our way out, Steph and Vance both made sure we got to take a favor each, and these favors were no joke! Steph scoured the internet to find each unique vintage milk ice cream bowl – amazing! We actually just used them again last night…we have a mint chocolate chip addiction! :)
This was our feast from Sushi Samba that I instagrammed! Mmmmm, sooooo goood!
Brendan and Jenna were so sweet to surprise Chris and I with this Macaron Class at Mille-feuille! They knew our addiction for the creamy, yet light and airy dessert! We can’t wait to finally use this certificate now that our season is coming to a close (and before it expires – yikes!).
I love that they even found a camera card!!
This is the oh-so-sweet Nicole (of Nicole and Oscar), who invited Chris and I to their rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. At the dinner, Nicole surprised her bridesmaids with clutches that she made BY HAND. Herself. With her own hands. And probably a sewing machine. I thought it was the sweetest gift ever…and then she pushed a box towards me labeled with my name. NO WAY. Did I get one too?! I did…I did get one too! I think I had tears in my eyes (not I think, I know…). As you can see from this instagram, the clutch happened to perfectly match the skirt I was wearing (even the bow)!
She even specifically chose polka dots on the inside just for me! Words seriously cannot do justice the amount of thanks and love in my heart!
Patrick and Katie blessed me several times throughout the year, starting with these Get Well flowers they had delivered to my house after our not-so-great-European-adventure. “Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” I am still blown away by their thoughtfulness and wisdom!
Katie surprised me on the wedding day with this sweet bracelet made by her new mother-in-law! She asked Carmela to make one for all of her bridesmaids and me! I was once again in complete awe of their generosity! Oh and when we got together after the wedding for their preview session, they brought me this adorable spoon from their Hawaiian honeymoon! The first thing I said was “HOW DID YOU KNOW I LOVE TINY THINGS?!” I’m not even kidding, I love all mini things! Especially spoons haha! When I was in college, I actually bought iced tea spoons to use as my secondary utensil (primary was chopsticks!) – seriously, I’m so weird.
Patrick also created this special “Cassi Claire Photography Edition” Wonka Golden Ticket! How stinkin’ cute?!
Okay, this one is actually not from a client…but it was so cute and I’m so thankful for it so I had to include it! This adorable card arrived on Valentine’s Day from Amy Gray! Amy is a fellow photographer and is cute as can be! Amy, you still owe me a lunch date haha! :)
I let it slip to Alan and Iliza how much Chris and I looove Ticket to Ride (the USA version) during their preview session. They then told me all about how awesome the European version is and how we must get it, to which I replied “It’s going on the Christmas list as soon as I get home!” Two days later, this beautiful gold box arrived with this sweet note:
“Dear Cassi and Chris: We cannot thank you enough for the beautiful memories that you captured of our day. Congrats on being new homeowners! We hope this is a good addition to the new game room! Love Iliza and Alan”
Is this real life?! I can’t get over how incredibly surprised I was! I seriously cannot wait to move into our new home and host a game night with the newlyweds! :)
Last but definitely not least…Scott and Kathleen brought us back a bottle of wine from their New Zealand honeymoon! We of course cracked it open right away – it’d be criminal not to! ;)
And I was trying to think of a tactful way to do this, but I’m at a loss haha…soooo, thank you to all of my wonderful couples who surprised us with cash tips at the end of the night! It was sooo unnecessary but so generous of you and greatly appreciated! Nothing says ‘I love you’ like adding money to our travel fund!! :)
I truly hope I’m not forgetting anyone or anything! This has been an incredible year of getting to know so many amazing couples, their families, and their friends! Thank you to everyone who touched our lives this year, and I can’t even begin to imagine how any other year could top this one! We love you all and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your families!
xoxoxoxoxo! -Cassi Claire
PS: Gifts are in NO WAY necessary to ensure you hold a special place in my heart! I just really wanted to share this public thank you during this week of Thanksgiving because I truly am so grateful, honored, and moved that anyone would ever think to send their wedding photographer a special gift! <3
Mike and Laura’s wedding was classic and traditional in every way! Laura’s elegant gold shoes hid under her amazing princess wedding gown, and strands of gems dangled from her ears. Mike and his men wore timeless black tuxedos, and the girls added a festive pop of red to the November wedding. The couple was wed in my hometown at St. Mary’s Church and celebrated their reception at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove, NJ. I loved spending the morning with the girls at the Hampton Inn in Fairfield – especially since we were right across the street from Unique Photo (where I used to spend wayyy too much time!).
Let’s start with the sparkly things! :)
For reals, is this not the most amazing ring you’ve ever seen?! ME WANTS!
Laura’s “first look” with her father! (me: wiping a tear from behind the lens…)
Thank you to my dear friend Leandra for capturing these great moments of Mike getting ready!
I love this bright and cheery shade of red!
Hooray!! The rain let up just in time for a beautiful bubble exit!
What a good lookin’ wedding party!
Love love love this moment! So much joy!
“My heart is, and always will be, yours…”
Haha, what’s wrong Laura? I would totally have taken that bite! ;)
I am so happy to know this wonderful couple! Thank you Mike and Laura for inviting me to photograph your wedding day! Congratulations and may the best years be yet to come! xoxoxo! :)
Credits // coming soon!
Colin and Meg are two of the sweetest people and I loved photographing their wedding at the Prospect Park Picnic House! It was a beautiful October day filled with smiles, love, tears, and…a birthday party for 6-year old girls! I’ll let Meg share her version of the story though…
Colin and I didn’t have a clear vision in mind when we began planning our wedding. We knew we wanted it to be outdoors (at least partially) and we knew we wanted to have a cozy, fun party with all of our favorite people. I loved the idea of a barn wedding; they’re always so quaint and beautiful! However, living in Brooklyn, we quickly realized that there weren’t many barns to choose from. The Prospect Park Picnic House felt like the most beautiful, natural wedding one could ever hope to have in Brooklyn. We spent so many weeks leading up to the wedding hanging out in the park, and it just felt totally right to get married in a space that is so lovely and free and available to anyone who wants to visit it.
The day of our wedding, the park was full of people sitting on blankets, tossing frisbees, and one particularly excitable group of 6 year-olds celebrating a birthday. I will never forget all the little girls following me around as we took pictures before the wedding, calling out “Hi, Bride! Hi, Bride!!” and reaching out to touch my dress and bouquet. Before walking down the aisle with my parents, I was fighting back some happy tears. All those little girls came to the rescue, calling out as they left the park, “Bye, bride!!! Have a good wedding!! Have a good marriage!!” – Meg
Meg spent the morning at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott surrounded by her favorite ladies and gorgeous NYC views!
Those sparkly Jimmy Choos were the perfect backdrop for Meg’s stunning gold engagement ring!
Meg’s mom and step-mom are two of the sweetest ladies on earth (I’m sure of it!).
I can’t get over how much Colin looks like his dad!
The couple chose to see each other before the ceremony and had their First Look on the Picnic House stairs…
THAT DRESS. I can’t even…
Remember those adorable 6-year olds we mentioned before? They were mesmerized by the bride and one was even an aspiring photographer! ;)
Love, love, LOVE!
For their wedding party, the couple chose to have only their siblings stand by them for the big day!
I’m pretty sure Meg was the hit of that birthday party!
I love that guests sat on these awesome picnic benches for a ceremony at the Picnic House! So perfect!
Only the cutest siblings ever!
Yay! Congrats to Meg and Colin!!
Their nieces and nephews were involved the whole day from ceremony to speeches to dancing! :)
And we danced the night away! Congrats again Meg and Colin! Your wedding day was amazing and thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of it! xoxoxo! :)
Credits // Ceremony & Reception Site: Prospect Park Picnic House // Catering: Naturally Delicious // Bride Prep Location: Brooklyn Bridge Marriott // Flowers: Kerry Quade // Bride’s Dress: Dimitra’s Bridal Couture // Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Engagement Ring: Lisa Lindhardt // Wedding Rings: Facets // Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply // Hair Stylist & Make-up Artist: Ivanka Lova // Paper suite: Lion in the Sun // Favors: Daffy Apples // Reception Entertainment: Marc Koslowe Band // Photography: Cassi Claire // The End!