Where to start with this amazing adventure? In the weeks and months leading up to Andrea & Jason’s Bronx Zoo wedding, many excited messages and Skype calls pinged back and forth over the Atlantic, somehow working around 3 busy people’s schedules and an 8 hour time difference. There was much to discuss, and it quickly became clear this was no ordinary wedding, this was an epic long weekend of partying and celebrating the love these two remarkable people have for each other. I was so excited to be a part of it.
The First Look
One aspect we planned thoroughly was a pre-wedding shoot and ‘first look’. We knew that time constraints on the wedding day, and the location of the ceremony meant that any photographs of Andrea & Jason in the most recognisable parts of the city would be unachievable.
The whole concept of a first look is entirely alien to most couples in the UK where I photograph most of my weddings. Whether people consider it not traditional, or even bad luck I don’t know, I think it’s a fantastic idea. Seeing each other for the first time in private and enabling photographers to capture amazing images without the pressure and constraints of the wedding day. The only question I had in the back of my mind was would it affect the emotion between them as Andrea walked down the aisle, having already seen each other? Those moments at the very start of the ceremony are some of my favourites to capture. Thankfully I had nothing to fear in that respect!
We decided to meet up on Thursday, two days before the wedding. Jason would see Andrea for the first time in her stunning Rosa Clara dress walking down 1st Avenue. They met outside their apartment before we made our way to some of their favourite spots in the city. A 5am start (after only arriving in NYC at midnight!) meant we arrived in Brooklyn not long after sunrise and as a result, the light was just perfect!
Dozens of passers-by would congratulate them both as we walked the full length of Brooklyn Bridge, stopping briefly to admire the view. Having no time constraints in which to capture these images was just a delight. Consequently, we were able to relax and enjoy the moments without having to rush to the next location too quickly.
The MET & Grand Central Station
One specific location we chose to visit was the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue. All was going perfectly as we nipped through security, avoiding the queues. But as we exited the lift to walk outside, we were informed the rooftop was closed for renovation! However, we just happened to have shared our lift with the MET’s Cheif Communications Officer, who was admiring Andrea’s dress and offered to escort us out onto the roof for some photographs! If you want priority service or to gain access to somewhere you shouldn’t be, just pop on a wedding dress.
Next on our list was Grand Central Station and I had one single image in mind. An elevated view of Andrea & Jason stood amongst all the commuters and tourists dashing through Grand Central Terminal, blurred through a long exposure. This is, without doubt, one of my favourite images of 2017.
After 6 or more hours of roaming the city, we decided that food and probably some alcohol was in order. Soon after I decided that 12 hours sleep was in order, ready for Saturday!
The Bronx Zoo Wedding
A ceremony time of 6pm meant the day got off to a relaxed start. I alternated between both the guys and the girls, who were conveniently getting ready on different floors of the same hotel. Final preparations then took place mid-afternoon at the venue. Being such a huge venue you can have your Bronx Zoo wedding ceremony in a number of locations, but Andrea & Jason chose an outdoor ceremony in the zoo centre, with a stunning backdrop of the original Elephant House constructed in 1908.
The ceremony was performed by Andrea & Jason’s good friend Steve Wechsler, and he did a fantastic job, especially considering this was his first ever wedding! How great is it that you can have virtually anyone perform your marriage ceremony in the US!?
For the evening reception, we moved to the Schiff Family Hall. Here, interspersed with heartfelt and emotional speeches from family & friends, was without a doubt one of the most rocking wedding parties I’ve ever witnessed. Everyone was on the dancefloor, including me, but thankfully there’s no photographic evidence of this.
Well done if you made it this far! This was one of those weddings that just couldn’t be cut down to a summary of 50 images.
Huge thanks to Andrea & Jason for flying me over to capture their amazing Bronx Zoo wedding. Also to Tatiana & Eric from Whimsey Weddings for being hyper organised and incredibly easy to work with. Finally a special mention for Nancy Chilton at the MET for sneaking us onto the rooftop! A list of all the other suppliers can be found below.
Venue: The Bronx Zoo
Floral: Whimsy Weddings
Wedding Coordinator: Whimsy Weddings
DJ: DLE Entertainment
Cake: Edigio Pastry Shop
Wedding Dress: Rosa Clara & Designer Loft
Bridesmaid Dresses: Morilee Madeline Gardener
Makeup: Erica Does Makeup