Cassi Claire » Wedding Photographer serving NYC, NJ, PA, CT, NY

I won’t lie, this is a living nightmare. Just seven short months ago, one of my darling brides, Jackie, was just 24 days from walking down the aisle to the man of her dreams in Saratoga Springs, NY. She was at her bachelorette party when she discovered the bruises that eventually led to her diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). She was immediately checked in to the hospital for 30 days of chemo. It was devastating news, but it was almost if Jackie never got the memo! She danced with her IV bag, rocked a bald head better than any celebrity, and inspired thousands on her Facebook page & her Orange is the New Jack blog. She and her supporters raised almost $40,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The girl was an unstoppable force full of laughter, energy, humor, and is basically my hero.

Her dubsmash of this Newsies number earned her a special surprise message from the entire cast of the Newsies on tour!!

 

 

Thousands were following her recovery and her incredible spirit. My whole heart aches as I type this, but on Sunday, our friend Jackie lost her battle to AML. For the past two days I’ve been fighting the age-old questions…how could this happen? why would God take someone so young? I’ll never know the answers, but I do know one thing…I TRUST God. I know Him and I trust Him. And trust doesn’t mean having all the answers. Actually, it’s the exact opposite…it’s not knowing all the details that requires trust. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” It’s not easy, but I’m trusting with all my heart because my own understanding is worthless right about now. If you knew Jackie, I encourage you to do the same! <3

This firecracker of a human being left about as big an impression as anyone ever could! The first day I met her, I said “please be my best friend!” I think everyone who ever met her must have uttered those words. Jackie, I will hold your laugh in my heart forever! You’re home sweet one, and you’ll never feel pain again. Your kingdom awaits. <3

 

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  • April 19, 2016 - 8:44 PM

    John Allen - Good bye my friendReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 9:16 PM

    HudsonHigh ClassofSeventy-Five - Such an amazing amazing young lady, so specialReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 9:44 PM

    Peggy Sheldon - Rest in peace Jackie ❤ReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 9:57 PM

    Pat Morrison - This is beautifulReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 10:34 PM

    Judy Muraca - I am so sorry for the loss of this wonderful person…I have never had the pleasure of meeting Jackie, but from all i heard and the fight that she fought she must have been one in a million….God Bless her and surely she is in a better place without anymore suffering…My prayers are with all her family and friends….ReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 10:48 PM

    Judy Tim O'Neil - Jackie was one of a kind…. Rest in peace Jackie and may you fly high with the AngelsReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 11:12 PM

    Debra Kroder - So very sad. Such a deep loss for her family and friends. My deepest sympathy over the loss of this beautiful spirt..gone way to soon.ReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 11:34 PM

    Joe Ploof - Rest in peace Ninja. Now your joy continues to spread upstairs with our loved onesReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2016 - 11:35 PM

    Diane Lipski Patwell - Such a beautiful spirit…fly high, Jackie~ You’ve earned your wings~ I never met you, but I didn’t have to to know that were a beautiful soul~ Following your story was enough to realize that…May you be at peace now…you are pain free, lovely girl~ Your Kingdom surely welcomed you with open arms~ My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Jackie’s family, and all of her amazing, steadfast friends~♡ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 12:02 AM

    Sydney E. Foley - My deepest sympathies to Jackie’s friends and family for their devastating loss.ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 12:10 AM

    Michelle Lawton - RIP Jackie.ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 4:19 AM

    Judith Graziano - Very Very SadReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 6:02 AM

    Cheryl Kappel - This family’s grief has no boundaries I have followed the Jacks Pack page and these pictures show all her vitality.. A truly beautiful life taken way, way too soon ! Love and prayers….💜🙏ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 8:21 AM

    Feuza Reis - beautiful tribute, in tears, life is so precious, prayers for her familyReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 10:50 AM

    Jed Lynn - To the Abatecola Family I am so sorry for your loss. May Jackie RIP and know I send my prayers, thoughts, and love to all.ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 12:59 PM

    Tim O'Brien - RIPReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 4:24 PM

    Brendan Martin - Beautifully said. Rip angelReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 8:19 PM

    Patrick Robitaille - Taken too young, rest in peace! I will remember you by the fun times we all had back in Leo Hall…ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 9:13 PM

    Keith Lampman-Perlman - My heart sank when I heard the news of Jackie’s passing, today.
    I trust her fiancé, sister, parents, and all of her loved ones, find comfort in knowing that many people, even long-lost friends and strangers, are keeping them I thought and prayer. Love, Uncle KeithReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2016 - 11:03 PM

    Mary Zanotelli - My heart goes out to the Abatecola family. I didn’t know Jackie personally but can certainly tell she was a beautiful, strong, courageous woman. I’m so sorry that God calledReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 12:21 AM

    Patrick Robitaille - Taken too young, rest in peace! I will remember you by the fun times we all had back in Leo Hall…ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 12:34 AM

    Charlie O'Brien - Jackie was truly an old soul. Many years older than her chronological age. That is why she has touched so many people. I never met Mike or Jackie’s immediate family. My deepest sympathies to all of you who were closest to her. One of the good people who made a connection to so many lives and left an impression that will last a lifetime, even though she left us after such a short time.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 1:02 AM

    Michele Colabatistto - Although I never got to meet her in person, she bcame a true inspiration to me. Her strength & perseverance was amazing. God has her now. She is at peace, but I know she will be sorely missed by many. When I am feeling sorry for myself, I will think of her and smile….ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 2:38 AM

    Michelle Belle - <3 <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 3:44 PM

    Chiarra Hughes - “The doors of heaven were opened wide to receive such a beautiful , vivacious , courageous soul. Such a wonderful person you were Jackie may you S.I.P !My Prayers are with your friends & family ❤ #flyhigh AngelReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 4:43 PM

    Bria Nguyen-Davey - Rest in peace Jackie…..ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2016 - 6:34 PM

    Crystal Weinheimer - Sip God gained another beautiful angelReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 12:45 PM

    Corey Herbst - Amazing girl! Lost to soon! My heart is with her friends and family! XoxoxReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 1:18 PM

    Jeremey Cho'Hak VanAllen - Fly high Jackie. Truly one of a kind.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 2:36 PM

    Darlene Krummenacker Bouton - What a beautiful Tribute.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2016 - 3:52 PM

    Carol Futyma - absolutely a beautiful tribute,may she rerst in peace in the arms of our SaviourReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2016 - 1:43 AM

    Carole Keil - Rest easy love❤️ReplyCancel

  • May 2, 2016 - 7:35 PM

    Angie - This post really hit me because I had AML and I was engaged at the time too, I’m now in remission for over 3 years. Seeing someone not surviving, really hits me and makes me upset and at the same time feel blessed that I was given a second chance. My heart hurts just to think what her family must be going through. Seeing her dancing, rocking her bald head even during those difficult times is a reminder that no matter what goes on in your life, you must be positive and always hope for the best. She is in a better place now. ;'(ReplyCancel

Remember last year when I co-hosted the Hello, Artist Workshop? I previously shared the images from my styled shoot, but soon after I found myself in the thick of wedding season and lost the chance to share images from Jess & Kay’s shoots! And they were both SO pretty!!! I’ve also been dying to share some fun behind-the-scenes photos so you can get a taste of what it was all about. In these last few weeks before the 2016 season kicks off, I’ve been editing my little heart out and am so excited to finally share more from the workshop. Let’s start with Jessica OH’s shoot! A heavy dose of edge with a side of pretty and a splash of peonies…YES PLEASE! :)

The animals from the Inn at Fernbrook Farms loved being part of the fun!Pink-Farm-Wedding_CassiClaire_06-2

I spoke their language (I yelled, “BAAAAAA!”) and they all came running!

And a little behind-the-scenes action! Amanda did all she could to get a little more height! :)

Kay’s Anthropologie-inspired wedding was so dreamy! Can you believe she took the time to hot glue each one of those fresh flowers to the bride’s veil? STUNNING!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my styled shoot yet, it was full of tulle, rose gold, and giant floral arrangements – what are you waiting for?! We’re so thankful to all the incredible photographers who took the time to attend our workshop. It was two days of learning, laughing, eating yummy food, and photographing pretties! Although, my favorite memory is from our crazy wagon ride out to the middle of the woods for a campfire. I was simultaneously terrified and ecstatic! We’re so thankful to Dan (the Inn manager) for giving us a night of adventure and storytelling and s’mores! Sadly I don’t have any photos of that night, but I hope you’ll enjoy these other behind-the-scenes moments and AMAZING reviews!!!! <3

“I cannot say enough good things about the hello artist workshop! I went in extremely nervous and cautious of how it was going to go but within the first five minutes my nerves were put to rest by the awesomeness of Cassi, Kay and Jessica. They were able to give me so much insight into the wedding photography world and kept the workshop fresh, fun and new. I wish I could attend this workshop time and time again! I feel so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to meet these amazing women and amazing photographers who I feel have become lifelong friends!” – Amanda Lynn

Kay and Ellen knocked it out of the park with the flower crown bar during headshots!Hello-Artist-Workshop_CassiClaire_06-2“If you are looking for a fun and informative workshop to attend, look no future. Three beautiful and talented mentors in one location, teaching you everything from business to technique and how to invest in your unique voice. I would highly recommend to any photographer at any skill level who is looking to take their wedding photography business to the next level.” – Jamie V. Photography

“This was my second photography workshop and I loved everything about it. I was able to learn new things which I will be applying to my photography business. The styled shoots were totally awesome. I had an awesome experience and I will definitely refer other photographers to your workshop.” – Digna Toledo

“This was the best investment in the world! I am extremely thrilled and beyond thankful for being able to attend this workshop! I loved spending time with three completely different artists getting such amazing feedback and such different tips and tricks in styles. I want this to happen again and again so I can be there each time! LOVED this!” – Ryanne Kenzie

Want a daily dose of pretty? Follow along on instagram and facebook!

// CREDITS //

Teachers: Cassi Claire, Kay English, and Jessica OH • Venue: Inn at Fernbrook Farms • Cakes: Hudson Cakery • Styling: Hanalulu Co and Winifred + Rose • Florals: Viburnum Designs and Green Lace Lion • Gowns: Sarah Seven, Alexandra Grecco, and Enaura Bridal • Hair & Makeup: Sissi Chan and Lighten Up Salon (Mary) • Invitations: Bella Carta Boutique and Sincerely, Jackie • And finally our sponsors & friends: Red Tree Albums •  Dream State TotesKelly Moore Bag • Fundy Designer17 HatsVSCO FilmMillers Lab

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Cassi Claire is a New Jersey based wedding photographer
that specializes in outdoor weddings (vineyards, farms, tents, oh my!).
For more information visit www.cassiclaire.com!

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It was so fun to photograph this elegant and timeless NYC wedding at the Waldorf Astoria with my good friend Lindsay Madden. I loooved the sweet First Look outside the Waldorf and the portraits outside the New York Public Library. Everything about this wedding day screams New York! <3

That One Way sign ain’t lying!

We were so thankful to the NYPD for helping with traffic – apparently everyone loves a bride & groom!!!

The New York Public Library is probably my favorite building in all of NYC! It’s just so perfect!

Check out Lindsay’s blog post here to see her perspective of the day and the vendor credits!

Want a daily dose of pretty? Follow along on instagram and facebook!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Cassi Claire is a New Jersey based wedding photographer
that specializes in outdoor weddings (vineyards, farms, tents, oh my!).
For more information visit www.cassiclaire.com! :)

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Congrats to Will & Shirley whose wedding was featured on Wedding Chicks today!!! In the words of WC…“Simple, fun and elegant. Shirley + Will’s adorable pink and white nuptials were all that and more, and having planned their entire day in only 6 months, we say it couldn’t have turned out more charming!” Click the photo to see more!

Wedding-Chicks-W-S

View their original blog post here!

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I’m so excited to finally share this gorgeous Hopewell Valley Vineyards wedding that I photographed with my good friend Mikkel Paige! Whenever Mikkel and I work together we have SO MUCH FUN! The sarcasm runs wild and my cheeks literally hurt from laughing all day long. Sam and Cesalie’s wedding day was a stress-free and relaxed as they come. I think the vineyard, eh hem…wine, has that affect on people! Check out this soft and romantic Hopewell Valley Vineyards Wedding in Pennington, NJ! :)

Mikkel and I playing an epic game of “Who Wants to be a Mega-Creep” while setting up for Sam and Cesalie’s First Look! Obviously photo credit to Mikkel for the photo of me on the right! ;)

Funny story…Chris and I actually visited here while we were “venue shopping” for our own wedding venue. We loved the idea of a vineyard wedding! Since it didn’t work out for us to host our wedding at Hopewell Valley, I was SO happy to have the chance to live vicariously through them! :)

Check out Mikkel’s blog post here to see her perspective of the day and the vendor credits!

Want a daily dose of pretty? Follow along on instagram and facebook!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Cassi Claire is a New Jersey based wedding photographer
that specializes in outdoor weddings (vineyards, farms, tents, oh my!).
For more information visit www.cassiclaire.com! :)

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To-Done-List-Cassi-Claire

How often do you get to the end of a work day and think “what the heck did I even accomplish today?!” I hear people say it all the time, and I’ll admit that I say it from time to time too. BUT, I probably say it way less than the average person, and I have one of my old bosses to thank for that. It must have been about 7 or 8 years ago…I was sitting in a staff meeting up at CAMP-of-the-WOODS and the CEO gave us each a Steno notebook. He encouraged us to write down our tasks as we accomplished them throughout the day so that we could look back on our day’s work and feel proud. I’ll admit, I was a housekeeper at the time and thought it was a pretty lame idea. What was I going to write? Scrubbed toilet. Scrubbed another toilet. Made bed. Scrubbed another toilet.

Just a year later I was working as the assistant to the CEO and that Steno notebook became my best friend! Being an executive assistant at a busy resort is much like juggling double-edged swords while putting out a fire and walking across coals. The To-Done List (as I affectionately call it) was a life saver! Not only did it help me feel a sense of accomplishment, but it also kept me organized and allowed me to reference my every move.

To-Done-List-Cassi-Claire-2

Today, I run a successful and demanding wedding photography business (BEST JOB EVER!), and my To-Done List has a permanent spot on my desk just as it has for the last 5 years. After filling almost a dozen notebooks, I can say that a To-Done List is easily just as important as your To-Do list. Here are some of my favorite benefits!

  1. Track your most repeated tasks so you can create systems! I encourage you to try it out for a few months for this reason alone! When we first bought our house I realized that I was manually paying the water bill one day, the electric another day, the internet another day, and the phone bill another day. YUCK! So much wasted time and stress trying to remember all the due dates. After realizing this, I signed up for automatically billing for all our utilities – YES!!!!
  2. Notice the most time-consuming tasks! If I get to the end of the day and see that I only wrote one or two things down, I can evaluate. What took up such a huge chunk of time? Did it need to take that long? If it does, how should I schedule that task in the future? Can I outsource it?
  3. A full list feels GOOD! I want to have a full list at the end of the day so it helps me be productive and get excited about adding the next done item! I looooove adding each item! Sometimes I realize I haven’t added a completed task in a while (facebook ruins lives), and just the idea of adding another one gets my butt in gear!
  4. Fight the voices of failure! As a small business owner, it’s easy to believe the lies that I’m a giant floppy pancake of nothingness. When I’m lying on the couch in my stretched out sweatpants, day old socks, and messy bun (not the cute kind) scrolling through the perfect lives of instagram…it’s easy to think little of myself. But in writing this post, I went back and read through some of my old notebooks. “Bought photoshop. Watched CreativeLIVE class on editing. Practiced shooting in manual. Researched LLC vs S-Corps. Googled for photography contracts.” Wow, I am so impressed with how far I’ve come! It reminds me of that amazing quote – “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday!”   
  5. One line at a time productivity! A to-do list is usually LOOONG and overwhelming and paralyzing. But when I’m adding to my To-Done list, I’m adding one line at a time…one task at a time. Instead of feeling like I need to do everything at once, I force myself to choose ONE thing. Accomplish that one task and write it down. Then pick the next one. Rinse & repeat. My current desktop wallpaper is a quote that says “You can do anything but not everything.” Holy moly is that the truth! Oh and a tip: Add “working” items as well. As a photographer, you likely have some tasks that span across several days. Sometimes I can’t just sit down for 5 hours to edit, but I can spare 30 minutes to edit. So I’ll write “editing A&B wedding.” It doesn’t have to actually be DONE! :)

Phew, that was a long one, but so worth it! I hope you found this helpful! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to write “blogged about to-done list” on my to-done list! Go get yourself a notebook!!! :)

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  • February 26, 2016 - 11:27 AM

    Cinnamon Wolfe - giant floppy pancake of nothingness. <—-best sentence ever! love it girl. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2016 - 5:45 PM

    Debbie DeStefano Ryan - With deadly reminder! Thank youReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2016 - 5:46 PM

    Debbie DeStefano Ryan - Wonderful reminder of how it looks!ReplyCancel