They say that sometimes your friends know you even better than you know yourself. Many times it's your friends that are the first ones to see the spark in a new relationship, to notice what makes that one different. That's probably because they know you so well they can recognize the qualities you are looking for in someone even better than you can yourself. They are usually the ones to realize that you have found the person that you are meant to be with. Because to them, seeing you with that perfect person just makes sense. They knew what you needed all along.
That's how it was for Sarah and William. To hear Will's best men tell it, winning Will's favor is no easy feat, but once you have it you know that you have earned something really special. That's why his two closest friends both knew that there was something different about Sarah even before they had met her. They could see that change in him. She made him smile.
Once they met her in person they saw that she was everything they had imagined Will would find in a wife - a woman that was truly his equal. Because not only was she smart, funny and beautiful, but she was also a woman that kept him on his toes. For once, they saw someone that made Will work just as hard to win her favor as she had worked to win his. And once he had it, he knew he had found something really special. When they saw Will with Sarah together, it just made sense. She was exactly what he needed all along.
* * *
We arrived at the Gramercy Park Hotel a bit earlier than scheduled, probably because we were both so excited to scope out the top floor in person. It was where both the ceremony and reception would take place and we had heard that it was amazing. We were not disappointed. The unique and beautiful space was originally the personal home of the architect of the hotel who made sure the interior views were just as good as the exterior ones (sweeping panoramic views of lower Manhattan). There was no shortage of interesting things for us to photograph - from the room with a ceiling that consisted entirely of lightbulbs, to the quirky artwork, checkered floor and oversized and elegant furniture throughout.
After scoping out the top floor we headed down to Sarah's room where she was getting ready with her bridesmaids. They were all having their make-up done by fashion and celebrity make-up artist Lauren Whitworth while sharing stories and making each other laugh. While they were doing their finishing touches, we took a few minutes to get some shots of Sarah's stunning Elie Saab gown, bringing it up to the top floor to take advantage of the unique elements of their location. It wasn't long after we returned that Sarah put on her dress and everyone gushed about how incredible she looked. It was the general consensus that she looked like a movie star (we think Grace Kelly), and that Will was not going to be able to stop smiling as soon as he saw her. Which was pretty accurate. From the moment they saw each other for the first time that day, both Will and Sarah had permanent smiles on their faces.
Their ceremony took place in the corner of the Gramercy Park rooftop, with friends and family surrounding them on both sides. It was a intimate and romantic ceremony mixing elements of both of their heritages, Jewish and Irish blessings were read. (We always love to see the unique way that couples format their ceremonies to truly reflect who they are as a couple and what is most important to them. It was very clear that Sarah and Will had done just that.) The reception was held on the entire rooftop area, with lights strung across the ceiling and pops of green and yellow tying in the garden-like atmosphere of the indoor/outdoor space. Once the sun was fully set, the lights in the skyline started to blend together with the twinkle lights on the ceiling of the rooftop, creating the perfect vibe for dancing and an unmistakably New York setting.
As the evening came to a close, Sarah and Will were in the center of the dance floor with their arms around each other doing what they do best - making each other smile.
When we arrived to the room where Sarah was getting ready at the incredible high end and chic Gramercy Park Hotel, we immediately noticed the beautiful view of lower Manhattan outside of her bedside window. NYC is a very special place to us so you can imagine how exciting it was for us to let the energy of the city inspire us.
The hotel had many eccentric photos, paintings and design elements which we loved capturing.
I'm not exactly sure what it is but there is something very emotional about a bride getting ready for her wedding ceremony.
Sarah looked absolutely radiant as she was having the last touches to her makeup done.
She was also filled with such an incredibly contagious energy; and filled with such happiness and excitement.
We captured Sarah's most important details. :)
Sarah & the girls had a couple of trays of the most delicious sushi delivered to the room before they all got into their dresses. For all of you who know Kathleen and I, you know we LOVE sushi so we were more than happy when they invited us to eat with them.
Sarah's Maid of Honor practiced her speech which she later performed flawlessly.
I really love the reflection in this photo as Sarah has a couple of finishing touches added to her hair.
Before Sarah got dressed we headed up to the top floor of the hotel where their ceremony and reception was to be held. One of the rooms had this totally unique and completely awesome ceiling decked out with hundreds of light bulbs.
We really enjoyed capturing the details throughout.
We thought that the room with all of the light bulbs would be such a great spot for a couple of photos with Sarah's dress. How great is this?! These are my shots...
...and this is Kathleen's shot at the same moment. When I saw this image, I couldn't believe how great it was, Kathleen is amazing!!
We grabbed a couple more shots of details before heading back down to Sarah's room.
As soon as we returned to the room, Sarah with the help of her bride's maids got into her dress.
There was such a warm, fun and relaxed atmosphere as Sarah and her girls got ready for the ceremony.
Once Sarah was dressed we just had to take advantage of hotel room for a few relaxed bridal photos. There was a beautiful red velvet couch with a swinging lamp above that gave us the opportunity to show off Sarah and her dress. This is one of my personal favorite images from Sarah & William's Wedding.
Without moving Sarah, I jumped up onto a chair and grabbed this shot. Doesn't she look absolutely stunning?!
That light was really perfectly placed for these shots! :) Many people might simply push it away but we thought it added greatly to these photos.
When at a wedding, we are always very conscience of our surrounding and always on the lookout for locations to shoot, as well as lighting and all kinds of things. It was like we were in sensory overload while at this hotel... it was great. The hallways outside of the room were lined with deep red walls and dimly lit lights providing the perfect atmosphere for some moody portraits. We were so glad that Sarah was completely up for anything we suggested as these are a couple of our favorites.
We headed upstairs to where their ceremony was to take place. We grabbed one more relaxed portrait of Sarah before...
...meeting up with William.
Since there was very little time between their ceremony and reception, Sarah & William decided to see each other before hand and take all of the photos at that time. Of course we think this is a great option because it allows for extra time for photos which really relaxes the entire day.
There were so many rooms and little nooks to photograph in all around the hotel. We used this couch for a shot of William & Sarah...
...and then realized it would also be a great place for a wedding party shot. Totally "Vogue" right!
After we spent time with Sarah & William as well as their wedding party we went over to get some details of their ceremony which was held on a covered roof deck high above Manhattan.
As their ceremony started they had string musicians provide the music.
Kathleen captured this shot of Sarah being walked into the ceremony location by her Dad...
...as I captured these images from the front as they entered.
Leaning out to get the shot! :)
Sarah & William lit their unity candle.
The ceremony was very intimate, filled with lights stung above, sting musicians to the side and the lights of the city all around. What made it even sweeter was the gentle rain hitting the ceiling above.
During their ceremony Sarah's Dad read an Irish Blessing...
...and William's Mom read a Hebrew blessing.
In Jewish tradition, both William and Sarah drank from the cup.
To me one of the most emotional parts of a wedding ceremony is the exchange of rings. This is William placing Sarah's ring on her finger...
...and this is Sarah getting William's ring from her Maid of Honor.
Sarah had a huge smile on her face as she placed it on William's finger.
Also in Jewish tradition, William broke the glass perfectly and they had their first kiss as husband and wife.
We caught this photo as William and Sarah stepped into the elevator after the ceremony.
We headed to their hotel room where Sarah's bride's maid were bustling Sarah's dress.
Sarah & William signed their marriage licenses before heading up to their cocktail hour.
We grabbed them for a couple of minutes to get a coupe more photos, this time in the room with all of the light bulbs. Seriously how cool is this place?!
We went on to capture some of the reception details.
The staff at the Gramercy Hotel completely transformed the rooms where their ceremony took place and setup an insanely beautiful setting for an elegant dinner.
Their table cards were perfectly placed...
...and we loved all of the thought that was put into each and every detail.
Just like every aspect of their day, Sarah & William's cake was both simple and elegant...
...as was their table settings.
Both of Sarah's best friends as well as William's best friends made emotional and fun loving speeches about them.
They cut their cake...
...and followed it by a dance.
The covered rooftop with the rain coming down and the city lights all around was like something from a movie, it was such a completely romantic atmosphere.
Sarah & William, your wedding was nothing less than extrodinary and we feel so blessed to have shared your day with the both of you as well as with your family and friends. We hope you had an amazing time on you honeymoon and look forward to talking with you both again soon! ~Rob & Kathleen