Wedding Photography: Don’t Be Cheap

In the list of expenses that come with a wedding, it’s easy to lose yourself with venues, menus, and more, but one of the items that needs to be at the top of that list is photography.

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The images that are captured that day should emulate the love that everyone attending has for you, and someone that doesn’t know their camera can blow it. Don’t lie to yourself either, you’ve seen it on Facebook, a white wedding dress in a white room that’s been blown out by the built-in flash of a DSLR that someone got for their high school graduation.

That’s not ok!

Paige and I are coming up on a month since the wedding, and we’d been on edge waiting to see the photos since we got a few teasers while we were in Japan. Last night she finally got the email that said the photos were available, and it was the perfect way to welcome us back to our New York apartment.

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Our photographers were Ron and Briana Randle of Love Shutter Photography.

We knew that we wanted the day to be documented, not a ton of posed pictures, but to capture the candid moments that mattered and made the day what it was meant to be. What we got was more than I could have ever imagined. The essence of family and friends that all love each other pours from nearly every photo, and they’re moments that won’t be forgotten.

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Of course, the photos with Paige are tremendous, and they mean a lot, but having two photographers provided so much flexibility that Love Shutter nailed it when documenting my personal moments with my big brothers.

One fraternal, and one biological, to have these guys around me that day meant everything, and that emotion is evident throughout all of the photos we’ve got.

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In the end, it’s your wedding, you can do whatever you want. I would encourage you to look for an excellent option when it comes to photographers though, because you don’t want to look back on your special day and see overexposed wedding dress or blur monster reception pics.

Besides, photos like these can’t be replaced!

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Believe me when I say they can’t be replaced!

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Photos courtesy of the stunning Love Shutter

Riding Silent: I’m Still Here

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I know the site has been really quiet since my last post, and there’s been plenty to write about, since the government shut down and everything, but unfortunately I’ve been a little busy with that whole wedding thing.

So, in lieu of the darkness from the Freelance Rider, here’s a look at everything that our wedding planning has consisted of as we approach our final hours before the big show.

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And on that note, the weekend will be busy, but our closest friends will all be with us and we couldn’t ask for more. For those that couldn’t make it, we understand, and wish that you could join us on Sunday as we step into a new way of life.

Thank you all for reading, and I’m excited to add the newlywed perspective to the Freelance Rider.

I Read A Manga… And I Liked It?

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As many of you know, the honeymoon is coming a couple of days after the wedding, and Japan is going to be new for both of us. The resounding question though has been:

Why Japan?!

For me, it’s simple. Tons of history, a rich culture full of varying levels of quietly understood respect, and awesome food. A honeymoon should be a trip of a lifetime, something you may never get to do again so you make it as memorable as possible.

Paige on the other hand, though food also sits high her list of reasons to go, has what some may call “closeted” emotional attachment to the trip. No, it’s not where her parents met, or the fact that the Japanese seem to consistently sit near the top of healthiest populations despite their misfortune with mercury issues. No, instead her reasons come from a cultural background that I would have made fun of in high school… Manga.

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Yes, it can be strange, and when we first got together her collection was a bit overwhelming, but after considering my closet full of war documentaries and fact books about WWII, I realized we all have our quirks.

So in an attempt to better understand why Japan was our destination, and to grasp at what my soon-to-be wife had loved for so long, I agreed to read a book.

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She dug through her closet, and pulled out the first four books of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. From what I’ve grasped, and may catch flak for, the primary character is an angsty teenager that is estranged from his dad, is necessary to the whole process of protecting earth with robots called “Angels” and allows his self-pity to block out the awesome things in his life like the beautiful women that continuously stream into the picture.

The series was picked because it’s one of Paige’s favorites, and it was supposed to be a fast read.

I’d like to point out here that I’ve tried to read a comic once before, the closest thing I had come to a graphic novel, and because I couldn’t wrap my head around why someone would put the pictures and tiny inklings of conversations together, I gave up and threw the comic away.

This time, however, Paige won. The first book was, in fact, a quick read that left me at least wondering how stupid the angsty teen could be, and before I new it I was into the fourth book of the series.

Ultimately, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I tried a Manga, and I think I liked it. I should probably also explain for everyone that Manga, as I understand it, is basically like anime but as a book. If it’s written down/static it’s manga, if it moves (like it’s animated) then it’s anime.

The lesson from all of this, try something new. Even if you made an attempt once before, give everything a second chance, because you never know when the things you find stupid one day will begin to fascinate you.

Wedding Stress: A Broken Calm

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11 days out, and we’re looking for a break in the storm.

Before I go much further, Paige and I have offered our thoughts and appropriate condolences to the people of Japan, primarily Kyoto, that were affected by Typhoon Man-Yi which forced hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate their houses before the storm’s 3 inches an hour filled the streets with the swollen Katsura.

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Considering the aftermath of the typhoon, I would ask you to understand that Paige and I offered to help in any way we could once we arrived in Japan, and the stress that I refer to from here on is no reflection on how we feel about the community in Kyoto, but rather simple frustration with ourselves for not developing a back up plan.

So.

Our frustration began with the invitations that we sent out. All of the addresses had been handwritten to express how much each person meant to us, thinking that penmanship and hard work would be appreciated by our closest friends. The problem though, came from the wonderful US Postal Service. Apparently, cursive is a one-way ticket to postal purgatory, and we now have about 70 invitations floating around the US with a final headcount due to our venue today.

As you can probably assume, this debacle has been no cup of tea. Our strongest source of comfort, until last week, was Japan. Our flights were taken care of, reservations made at a beautiful resort along the river in Kyoto, and time to relax away from everything.

Friday night however, our contact with Hoshinoya Kyoto emailed us to let us know that the damage caused by the typhoon has closed the resort for the duration of the year. Again, we responded with concern for the well-being of the staff and the community, but in the humble nature of our host, the resort encouraged us to look at other options and to focus on our honeymoon.

To put that in perspective, our honeymoon which has been planned for two months, was literally washed away in a night, with two weeks until we would be heading to a country with a language we are struggling to learn, in addition to the invitation debacle we are trying to work through. Given the challenges, I was told this adage:

The rockier the wedding, the stronger the marriage.

I feel, at this point, that we’re building a house on stone, where the shifting sands of time will be hard-pressed in disturbing the foundation we’ve been building the last four years.

In the end, we can’t wait for the wedding. Our closest friends have all reminded us how much we are loved and how strong their faith is in our future, and we couldn’t be more grateful for it. Japan will be an adventure, despite the ironic shift of our honeymoon from calm to the storm that it was preluding.

As a final piece of advice, keep your wedding small, invite the people that really matter, and have fun. When the unexpected happens, roll with it, and make the best of every situation.

Brides: A Wedding Party

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Say yes as a guest.

That’s what I did when Paige asked me if I wanted to go to a party at the legendary Kleinfeld Bridal.

Kleinfeld, the famous Say Yes to the Dress bridal dream store, hosted a Brides Style Summit for future brides and fangirls alike. Realizing that I was living someone else’s dream, Paige and I made the best of it. We looked at the gowns on display, mingled with some of the staff, and munched on the delectable baked goods that were being offered.

Oh yeah, and the baked goods were from Carlo’s Bakery, the one from Cake Boss.

Being one of the few guys there, I’ll admit that it was a bit awkward as brides-to-be gave me the side eye just for smiling.

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Despite the apparent distrust, I brushed it off as jealousy. Not jealous of an actual couple enjoying a wedding event, but of the Georgetown Cupcakes I was carrying around because we knew there wouldn’t be any left when we called it a night. It may sound silly, but TLC took care of us, and Georgetown cupcakes are worth holding on to, especially when they’re free.

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Either way, the chance to go inside Kleinfeld, eat Cake Boss pastries, and just get out of the apartment was excellent. Naturally, I took plenty of pictures so you guys could get a taste of what’s available out there for free.

No, I didn’t say yes to a dress, but I did say yes. For you ladies out there, saying yes could lead to a new dress, bridal or not.

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Wedding Stress: 3 Weeks of Honesty

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Getting married is an exciting thing, a celebration of two people’s love and two families coming together.

Paige and I knew going into it that the description above is fantastic, maybe a little less than realistic, but if ever there was a time for optimism, then our wedding was perfect.

Right?

What we didn’t realize was that our happiness literally seems to be bringing out the worst in people. Selfish complaints of involvement in the activities leading up to the event, questions and grilling sessions about why some people weren’t invited or if our minds have been changed about those decisions. We had no idea that our attempt at not being pessimistic about our own wedding would become so problematic.

So what’s happening?

Unfortunately, not all of the details can be discussed here, in part to protect those that are involved, but also because we’re still trying to figure out what is actually going through everyone else’s heads that makes them think their behavior is ok.

The one thing that I can proudly tell you though, is that through all of the stress, and through all of stupid opinions and attitudes that we’ve had to deal with, my sister has been there for me. Yes, Paige and I are here for each other, but my sister has been right behind us reminding us that it isn’t selfish to want the best from everybody. She says that we should be spoiled right now, and though it’s not what we’re looking for, it is nice to know that somebody believes we should be feeling excited and relieved about the wedding being right around the corner.

Understanding that, we have three weeks until the wedding. Thanks to attitudes and us being fed up with so many people thinking they should be the focus of the attention, my typical filter that strains out harsh truth has been diminished. Unfortunately, the next three weeks are queueing up to be full of reality checks and blunt honesty.

We are still excited to be married, to officially begin our lives together, but the wedding just seems like a hassle at this point. So if you are one of those people that can help make the days leading up to that day a little less intense, we’d really appreciate it if you helped keep everyone calm and in check.

That’s a little depressing for a Monday, but the week can only go up from here!