Time to pop open the wine, Jess and Joe are ENGAGED!
I was so excited when Jess messaged me on Instagram last year! She asked if I would travel to New Jersey to photograph her engagement and wedding in 2019! I always jump at the opportunity to photograph in a new place. We first began planning their engagement session. Jess mentioned that they, but especially her fiancé Joe, loved spending time outdoors. They also really enjoy wine and had spent time at Laurita Winery. Laurita is a stunning property and local to their home in central NJ. We decided that it would be an ideal location for their engagement session and set a date for April!
In the month leading up to their session, I did a little research and saw that the vineyard had a BBQ festival planned on the day that J&J wanted photos. She said they had been to previous festivals and they were a great time, but never overwhelmingly crowded. We decided to continue on with our plan. We arrive at the vineyard it is SLAMMED! I’m talking people parking in a huge field down the road and being bussed in – SLAMMED! I go into a bit of a quiet panic mode as the gears start turning to figure out how to work this situation.
I guess people had caught on to how wonderful festivals are at Laurita and it had kind of blown up since the last time J&J had visited! As I approached the vineyard, Jess called a bit nervous of the crowds but also said that she’d scored us some parking spots up by the building. No shuttle bus for us! My guess is that Jess’s big eyelashes and absolutely sweet demeanor had something to do with that! She’s truly the sweetest person. We met in the parking lot and Jess wrapped me in a big hug! Joe pulled a traffic cone from under my car because I literally ran it over! I was trying to parallel park on the steep hill without hitting their car. I didn’t hit them, but RIP cone. That minor embarrassment behind me, we set off to scope things out!
Making it work:
When we get up to the back deck of the building we’re met with a huge sea of people, less than adorable food trucks billowing smoke, and plenty of mismatched lawn chairs that guests had brought from home. It didn’t exactly say “classy vineyard wedding” plus having your photos taken while you’re watched by a few thousand people isn’t ideal for a shy person like Jess now my goal for my fun, relaxed, and slightly romantic engagement sessions. Thinking that we might need to cancel, we compared our calendars to find a back up date, but then I said “we came all this way and you guys spent all that time getting ready today, lets at least take a few photos as we walk out and see what we can get”
We walked back down the driveway and I spot a cute little pathway. Glowy sunlight speckles the path and I know that this is our spot! This is going to be it!
Before we knew it we’d spent a solid 30 minutes getting tons of awesome shots. Jess and Joe were snuggling, dancing, laughing, and looking absolutely STUNNING in this sweet little corner of the property! And by looking at the images you wouldn’t know there were a few thousand people there chowing down on BBQ from food trucks and dancing to music from the live band!
Time for a quick outfit change.
After a quick wardrobe change, Jess is back in an adorable dusty plum mini dress. I know it will compliment to the colors of the building, stone walls lining the vineyard, and the fields. We venture into the vineyard to photograph these fiancés walking the lines of grapes. Next they snuggle up on some comfy sofas until we lose every bit of sunlight. A FULL and SUCCESSFUL session from what started out as kind of a worst case scenario!
All this to say: Trust your photographers! When they think they can make some magic, but you just don’t see it – trust them! Most people would have seen this random little gravel walkway over to the service areas and thought “what the heck?”, but a great photographer can find the gorgeous sunny light and make it look like a million bucks. A great photographer will take a field full of people and make it look like a private estate that’s opened just for you! Because during your engagement session you are the only two people who matter in this world!
I’m SO excited to be photographing Jess & Joe’s wedding this fall at the Grand Marquis in Old Bridge, NJ. These two will ty the knot in front of Jess’s family from NYC and Joe’s family from the garden state. I cannot wait to see Jess as a BRIDE!