scarlett + amanda

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Another gorgeous wedding at Becker Farms and Vizcarra Vineyards!!

Scarlett and Amanda were the first engaged couple that came to meet with us after New York State legalized same sex marriage, and we were so excited to have the opportunity to work with them! They are absolutely beautiful people, and their love for each other was so visible. We had a blast getting to know them at their e-shoot, so we knew that their wedding day would be pure awesomeness, and we were not disappointed. They definitely “brought the awesome” on their wedding day, and the resulting photos are some of my favorites of all time. More to come on that later. :)

These two are some of the hardest working people I have ever met!! It seems like their jobs really keep them hopping! I was absolutely thrilled, though, that they were able to share some of their favorite wedding day memories with us, so that we are able to share them with all of you. Look for those throughout the post!

Scarlett’s gorgeous black wedding gown was custom made by D’Lola Couture.  STUNNING.
Amanda:  “Hanging out in our honeymoon suite with the bridal parties getting our hair done together and reminiscing over funny memories and just enjoying each other’s company. Up until the point where Scarlett left the room to go into a separate area to get ready, we were together, taking in all of these moments that made such a beautiful start to our wedding day.”
After everyone was ready to go, we set up a “first look” at the hotel so we could head over to Becker Farms and start taking pictures before the ceremony!  These two are just too cute.
I have photographed this structure so many times now, but it never gets old.  I just LOVE this shot!!  (And, I definitely love my TS lens, even though it can be annoying at times.)  ;)
Amanda:  “The clouds parted and the sun came out within an hour of the ceremony…yay! No rain!”
I love this story that Scarlett shared!  Those last few moments before you walk down the aisle are often some of the most memorable.  :)

Scarlett:  When we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, they asked if we wanted a couple of shots to calm our nerves. I said “Yes!” more so for Amanda. I knew she could use it and she wouldn’t unless I did. I ordered a shot of Bacardi. Amanda got her shot and I got mine. We did a little toast and she drank hers down. I took a sip as I can’t even gulp water, let alone strong liquor. My father was standing next to me looking at me with a quizzical face. I held up the shot and asked him if he wanted some. He asked what it was, “rum.” He asks to make sure he understood me correctly, “rum??” “Yes, rum.” He takes the shot glass and says, “ok” and takes a swig. My aunt spots what is happening from a little away and comes over quickly, “what’s that?” Me, “rum, want some.” Her, “yes!” She takes the shot glass and takes a swig. My grandmother sees what’s going on and approaches, “que es eso?” “Rum” “Ay, rum?” “Si, rum, quieres?” She looks at me with a look asking if I’m sure I want her to have some. I push the shot glass to her, she polishes off the rest of it and hands me back the shot glass, now empty. I thought, it’s a good thing I didn’t need that for nerves.

Scarlett:  “We kept the ceremony true to ourselves. I have always adored Madonna growing up and to this day. I loved when the instrumental, “Like a Virgin” came on and I got walked down to that. I wanted to be outside to watch our niece and nephew as they walked down to the Chicken Dance. I had to wait for the video to see that. It was great to see the crowd hear the song, pause in confusion and then suddenly start doing the chicken dance in their seats. When I was up there and the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” came on and I saw Amanda I was very excited.”
This awesome shot was taken by Hector…I am SO proud of him.  He has grown so much as a photographer over the past three years that he’s been with us.  
Amanda:  “I would say the ceremony, only I was so nervous during the whole thing I barely remember it!  I do remember the feeling of holding Scarlett’s hand and being introduced as Mrs. and Mrs. Riu – what an amazing feeling!”

Scarlett:  “We wrote our own vows. When Amanda read her vows to me, it was a wonderful feeling since I knew they came from the heart.”

Amanda:  “Dodging twigs while sneaking a photo-shoot between the rows of vines!” 
Amanda:  “Sharing the most important night of my life with my closest friends and family members. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.”

Scarlett and Amanda had one specific request:  a shot that somehow incorporated a rainbow of light.  We brainstormed, and tried out different options for about a month before their wedding, but nothing was really blowing us away.  About two days before the wedding, Ben came up with the idea of using six gelled flashes to light up six apple trees the colors of the rainbow.  It was a great idea in theory, but we didn’t get to test it out ahead of time, so we didn’t know exactly how it would look.  Toward the end of the reception, we excused ourselves to head out into the orchard and set up for the “rainbow” shot.  We did a few quick tests, and we knew that this was what we had been looking for all along.  It was perfect!  All of the credit goes to Ben for this idea – he is a lighting genius.  If you can imagine it up, he can make it happen!  This will forever be one of my favorite shots.

Amanda:  “That moment when I first realized the dream of a photograph using rainbow lighting was not only going to happen, but was so ingenious and cool that all I can say is our photographers are worth every penny (and probably more, but we can say that now that we are paid in full ;)”

Here is a little bit of wedding planning advice from Scarlett!! Thanks so much for sharing – these are great tips about planning a long-distance wedding!!

“My advice, like others before, definitely plan to see each other before the wedding and then take as many pictures as you can pre-ceremony. You are all fresh and pretty and don’t have to take up a lot of time after the ceremony. The old superstitions of not seeing each other came from the old traditions of arranged marriages when you had no idea what you were going to marry. It makes it easier on everyone and you can get a lot better “first look” shots if you aren’t stuck to two angles from an aisle.

Amanda and I wanted to have the legal document when marrying. Since there are many states that do not recognize same sex marriage, this meant we had to have a long distance wedding. We choose the great Western New York region since most of Amanda’s family lived there. Planning a long distance wedding has many additional nuances that go along with it. You cannot quickly go and meet with a lot of vendors and it’s not as easy to find references. My advice to other couples out there planning a long distance wedding is to pick a place that will take care of most of it there and then ask them for references of who to use. This way you are picking people that have worked together before and can help to pull the wedding together with you. Plan for a couple of extra trips to the area to meet with the perspective vendors and then just go with your gut on who you like. If you are a same-sex couple like we were, expect to have someone hesitate when they are trying to come up with the “right way” to ask you certain questions. And when they do, keep yourself open and answer their questions and give them extra information that you know they are wondering but don’t think it is politically correct to ask. We worked with a wonderful set of people, most who hadn’t yet done a same-sex wedding. It was a great learning experience for all involved. Becker Farms was great. Since we were long distance, Amanda was very nervous about things being pulled together. The day before the wedding we went for our rehearsal. All her nerves about things being ready were calmed as she saw they were professionals who have done this many times before and had it together.

More advice, keep true to yourself. If you are traditional, go for it. If you are not, go for it. If something doesn’t exist, make it up.”


Scarlett and Amanda – thank you so much for choosing us to capture these wonderful memories for you! Thank you, also, for giving us a special lighting challenge!! We love challenges, and definitely had a great time putting our heads together to come up with the perfect shot for you. You are both amazing ladies, and we adore you! Here’s to a lifetime of happiness together!! Much love, J + B :)

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