When we first get a new wedding inquiry from a family member of a former couple, a thrilling little shiver runs down my arms. Yes, every single time. Why for just these inquiries? It means they are more qualified than the rest of course. But it also means they already know us. They already like us. And most importantly, they already trust us. So, for example, when it comes right down to the subtle moments of capturing emotional moments, we can truly be that fly on the wall. Each half of the couple – and usually a good chunk of the people surrounding them – already know we’ll capture that moment and we’ll make everyone in the frame look their best while doing it. Such was the case when we showed up to Mark and Marcella’s hotel rooms early on in their wedding day. Joe captured these images of Mark opening a very special gift Marcella sent over to him, and I captured similar images of Marcella opening the last gift she expected from Mark, but a necklace she wanted very much:

bride and groom give each other gifts on wedding day

nj groom reads note from bride before wedding ceremony

bride and groom give each other gifts on wedding day

Trust. Since we arrived quite early, we had plenty of time to make great wedding prep photos! Joe asked Marcella if it would be okay to take her wedding gown out into the lobby for a photo of her dress. Not every bride would allow her dress out of her site, especially such a gorgeous and unique gown!

statement wedding dress still photos

bride and bridesmaids get ready for wedding at new jersey hotel

Later on we all moved over to their parish in Summit. The girls wore customizable gowns that could be tied and designed in different ways. While of course I could take a portrait that showed that, I really love the moment they all walked up the church steps. Portraits are great, but this moment trumps any fashion type image of the bridesmaids! I’ve heard the Two Birds dresses were a hit!

catholic wedding ceremony photos

Marcella’s father was nothing but proud for the entirety of the wedding day!

proud father of the bride at portland wedding

catholic wedding ceremony photos

stone house wedding photos

documentary wedding photos by portland wedding photographer

Like her twin sister before her Marcella clearly has great taste in churches. They were both utterly gorgeous. From there, on to The Stone House at Stirling Ridge for the wedding reception and some more portraits before the evening continued. Marcella, simply glowing – one of my favorite bridals this year!

bride and groom wedding portraits at stone house wedding

stone house at stirling ridge bridal portraits

Their Stone House wedding photos gave us plenty of variety to work with! The restaurant’s grounds are beautiful, lightly eclectic, and fully available to a wedding party.

stone house at stirling ridge bridal portraits

Mark acquired both a black tux jacket and white dinner jacket for their wedding and Marcella sweetly requested he change into white for the portraits. She loves her man in a white dinner coat and who can blame her? He carries it well!

bride and groom wedding portraits at stone house wedding

bride and groom wedding portraits at stone house wedding

stone house at stirling ridge wedding reception photos

In addition to gorgeous afternoon light, we were blessed with great people all around us on the wedding day. The staff at The Stone House were wonderful, helpful, and genuinely pleasant to be around while we worked with them. The other wedding vendors from video to bridesmaid attendant for the gowns were all lovely as well! I thought I’d feature a few of the flowers here since Laura Clare Design contributed greatly to the overall look of the day:

laura clare designs wedding flowers

documentary wedding photos by portland wedding photographer

emotional moments caught by portland wedding photojournalist

documentary wedding photos by portland wedding photographer

And then… the dancing. Marcella took to the dance floor and had a ball twirling that full skirt of her Watters gown around. Her friends and family joined in with gusto. Her brother might have just stolen the show. And Mark calmly enjoyed the beautiful summery evening with some friends and cigars. We always tell our couples that it’s our hope they’ll truly enjoy their wedding day. That they’ll do what is most important to them. And it’s so lovely to see them both doing just that!

documentary wedding photos by portland wedding photographer

stone house at stirling ridge wedding reception photos

emotional moments caught by portland wedding photojournalist

emotional moments caught by portland wedding photojournalist

groom with cigar at destination new jersey wedding reception

Not pictured, but huge contributors to the day: Mark McAlpine for hair and Makeup by Priscilla. Stellar job on all the women!