When we first started our business, we didn't set out to become friends with everyone - in fact, that never crossed my mind. However, throughout the past three years, we've come to learn that our favorite couples have become friends with us at some point. I mean, it makes perfect sense. Wouldn't you, as a future bride or groom, want the person who will be photographing you on one of the most important days of your life to be someone you feel comfortable around?
Why did I pick this title for a wedding post? In 2019, I donated a photography session for a fundraising event for the Children's Dyslexia Center of Scotch Plains - being an extra special cause for me as a Reading Specialist. The winner of the session was a newly engaged couple who were friends with our friends. She contacted me saying she won the session and wanted to know what our wedding packages were because she liked our work and was considering using us for their wedding. After talking and booking their wedding with us (which is not the reason we became friends), we met in person to do their engagement session. We spent a few hours with them at Liberty State Park capturing their love story and laughing our butts off. Check out their engagement photos here!
When I had to break the news to all our couples who were set to get married between the months of April and June 2020 about our pregnancy, I remember Marissa jumping up and down screaming with joy for me. She quickly hugged and congratulated me as she knew we had struggled for many years and many rounds of IVF to get to this point. Marissa was so wonderful about the whole thing and completely understood that with me being a month out from our due date, I might not be able to shoot their wedding. We had a few clients react this way, which just made the whole process of explaining what would happen that much easier - and these are clients that we are still in touch with today, beyond their wedding day.
Flash forward to March 2020, a month before Marissa and Dan were set to have their big day. Marissa and I had just finished outlining their day, when we would arrive for preparations, timing of ceremony, wedding party portrait location and all the reception formalities. Then - world shut down and I remember being so worried for all of our couples (along with us - as I was seven and a half month pregnant at the time). It was unchartered territories for everyone - both for couples and vendors. Was it only going to be two weeks of staying at home? Were we ever going to be able to see people in person without masks?
With much more planning, Marissa and Dan made the decision to postpone their big day to 2021, with the hopes of having their big day as planned while keeping everyone safe. "When it comes to Danny and I, it's just how it goes - the whole getting married in the middle of a global pandemic made planning and replanning crazy," said Marissa. While many things had to change from their original plans, one important and extremely special thing stayed - the location of the ceremony.
Marissa and Dan were the third generation of Speichs to get married at The Calvin Presbyterian Church in Linden, NJ. This is where Dan said his favorite moment of the wedding happened - seeing Marissa come down the aisle, who was escorted by her two nephews. The small, intimate ceremony was only viewed by the wedding party and parents in person, however with the help of a live stream camera (which is a service we can provide to our couples) and Tech Jesus himself, groomsman Jon, friends and family could come to the church to watch the ceremony outdoors in a courtyard of the church or view it from the safety and comfort of their homes.
Marissa's favorite part of the day was on the limo bus after the ceremony on the way to Nomahegan Park for photos. "We just sorta looked at each other and was able to relax and just be present with all our bridal party," said Marissa. For those that are no familiar with Union County,
Nomahegan Park is the most beautiful location in early April for pictures, especially wedding photos. Everywhere we turned, there was someone taking pictures, but with the gorgeous cherry blossoms, it was completely understandable why. I mean, look at this photo of Marissa in her gown from The Curvy Bride in Manalapan, NJ. They specialize in plus size wedding dresses. Marissa said, "it was the first shop I went to, and it was my first dress that I tried on. I am the most indecisive person you will ever meet, so I knew it was the one when I kept going back to it and kept wanting to try it on again." The dress fit her to a tee and complimented her natural beauty.
You wouldn't not it from the pictures, but Marissa was most nervous about the weather. With the uprise of covid cases, the couple decided do a mircowedding in their backyard. She said that, "If the wedding was last year as we planned, I wouldn't care about the weather. But since everything changed and we had to do EVERYTHING outside, rain would have made that really hard."
So while their niece was the reception's DJ, the couple shared their first dance to "All of Me" by John Legend. Later in the evening, the cut their cake, an ice cream cake and made 'smores with their guests around the fire pit.
On piece of advice Marissa offers to other couples planning their day is that "We made sure when we booked our vendors not to always go with the cheapest, but to go with the person that you trust. This proved to be the best thing we did with planning. It made changing the wedding plans much less stressful."
I always tell couples during their consultations that I will do anything within my powers to be the least stressful part of your planning - so whether it be helping with creating the timeline or postponing and replanning your wedding twice, I will help out as much as possible, in addition to giving you photographs that capture your love. This is how we end up becoming more than just a vendor with our couples - we become friends.
That's enough of me talking (or typing) as it's Christmas Eve and I have yet to wrap a single present for anyone!! Enjoy your holidays and these beautiful photos. Merry Christmas
Photographer/Live Stream: Brittany Harmening Photography
Bridal Boutique: The Curvy Bride
Transportation: Action Limo
Hair and Make up: Beauty by Marina Paster
Catering and the tent: T&L Catering
Flowers: A Creative Touch
Tuxedo: Tuxedo by Sarno
Cake Maker: The Dairy at Lake Hiawatha