When Caitlyn and Mike told us that they would be having their wedding ceremony and reception at the Chestnut Ridge Casino, we were definitely excited. Chestnut Ridge is one of our favorite places. We go hiking there all the time, and have done countless family and engagement shoots around the Casino. The thought of it being transformed into a gorgeous wedding venue made us super happy! Both Ben and I had our own ideas of what the inside of the Casino might possibly look like as a reception space, but neither one of us were prepared for the magical transformation that took place. It looked SO fabulous in there! We were totally amazed!
We started out the day shooting together (which is always a nice treat for us), and we enjoyed every minute of working with this adorable, fun, easy going couple! Caitlyn and Mike were kind enough to send over their Top Five Wedding Day Memories, so we’re happy to be sharing those throughout the post! We’ll start them off with these two from Caitlyn, which happen to be two of my all time favorite quotes from a bride EVER.
Caitlyn: “Waking up the morning of the wedding and realizing ‘Today is the day!’ It was like Christmas morning, times a billion.”
Caitlyn: “Walking into the reception area for the first time on the day of the wedding. It was right before the ceremony so everyone was already seated outside so it was just me and the wedding party (minus Mike of course). Mike and the groomsman had to go to the space way earlier in the day to set up some stuff and take care of a bunch of last minute decorating details, so I didn’t know what to expect. But when I walked in, it was JUST as I had been picturing it all along. They did such an awesome job (especially since there was a lot of heavy lifting in 85 degree weather).”
Caitlyn: “Seeing Mike for the first time, waiting for me at the end of the aisle before I walked down. The view behind him seemed to stretch on forever and he was standing there looking at me. Our eyes locked and I saw nothing else but him as I walked.”
Mike: “Seeing Caitlyn in her wedding dress for the first time while she walked down the aisle – she looked so beautiful.”Mike: “Saying our vows with Caitlyn’s brother as the Officiant after he had only 2 days to prepare and hearing how excited Caitlyn was when she repeated her vows and teared up. I never felt as loved in my entire life as I did at that moment.” After the ceremony, we hopped on the limo to cruise around Chestnut Ridge to grab some shots of our bride and groom, and their awesome wedding party. Caitlyn and Mike are so cute together, and so genuinely in love – they were a joy to shoot! :) Caitlyn: “Seeing all the bridesmaids together, each one of them looking so beautiful. Half of them had to travel from out of state/out of town to be part of our wedding so it really meant a lot to me to have all of them there to support us.”
And then, it was time to get the party started with the introduction of the newly married couple! :)
A couple more of Mike’s Top Five!
Mike: “Being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Bruce at the reception and having a room full of our loved ones cheering and screaming for us.”
Mike: “Eating our first dinner together as a married couple and watching the best man and maid of honor give their toasts to us.”Mike: “Our first dance. Every time I heard our song before we even chose it as our wedding song, all I could think about was Caitlyn and how lucky I was to have her. And then to dance to it with her when she was looking more beautiful than I could ever imagine was an amazing experience. I pretty much shut out the rest of the room and was focused completely on her.” Caitlyn: “Dancing with my Daddy for the father/daughter dance. It was the FIRST time he had ever danced in public (he didn’t even dance with my mom at their wedding!). It meant so much to me that he would do something so far out of his comfort zone.”
What a gorgeous night it was!! I’m so glad we were able to steal C and M away for a few minutes to grab a some shots with the amazing sunset. The one and only downside to getting married at the Chestnut Ridge Casino is that you have to wrap up the party by 9pm. But, Caitlyn and Mike were totally prepared with a rockin’ after-party at their place, complete with sparklers and a bonfire! We never get invited to shoot the after parties, so it was pretty cool to be a part of this. We had a great time, and took a sweet night shot of Caitlyn and Mike in front of Caitlyn’s family barn. :) Caitlyn and Mike have two pieces of advice to share. (Thanks so much for sharing, guys!!)
“First, things are going to go wrong but don’t sweat it. “Everything happens for a reason” is probably a pretty accurate statement. For instance, there was some miscommunication between us and our original photographers and 4 months before the wedding, we found out we weren’t actually booked with them and they had already booked another couple for that day. I panicked a little, but we ended up finding Ayres Photography and by some AMAZING stroke of luck, they were open for the day of our wedding. I couldn’t be happier that we had that miscommunication with the other photographers because Ayres was phenomenal! I don’t think we could have been happier with anyone else. And then, 3 DAYS before the wedding, we got a call that our Officiant had a medical emergency and wouldn’t be able to perform the wedding ceremony and the back up Officiant was out of town. Again, I panicked a little, but my brother stepped up and bravely said he would do it. He immediately got ordained online and put together a better ceremony than we could have ever asked for! It was perfect! Take any challenge or change in plans as an opportunity to follow a different path, you never know, it might end up to be better than the original plan.
Secondly, the day of the wedding is going to FLY by. However, remember what the day is all about: you and your new spouse. So make sure you take a moment at some point in the day/night and spend a little time together alone, even if it’s just for a minute, and enjoy the amazing thing that just happened to the two of you! Having a sweetheart table at the reception helped us a lot because we were able to sit and talk to each other during dinner without worrying about anyone else around us.”
Caitlyn and Mike – thank you both SO MUCH for everything! We’re so incredibly glad you found us!! It was truly an honor to be a part of your wedding day, and to capture all of these wonderful memories for you. We felt so welcome and comfortable, just like we were old friends, and we can’t tell you how much that means to us. We absolutely adored working with you, and we wish you both all of the happiness in the world!! Much love, J + B :)