Tom + Emily : Hamilton Farms, Gladstone NJ
Mary from Mary Neumann Photography graciously asked me if I could second shoot for her and I happily agreed. The wedding was practically in my backyard and the reception was to be held at Hamilton Farms, the location where the U.S. Equestrian team practices, so my little horse loving heart was squealing about the chance to see the place for myself.
Emily + Tom had been together for 11 years before their wedding day finally arrived. In those 11 years they've shared many an adventure and experiences together but their marriage will be their greatest adventure yet.
The morning of the wedding dawned cloudy, wet, and more rainy downpours on the way. When I arrived to Emily's parents house, where all the girls were gathered to get ready, you wouldn't have known the difference because everyone was so bright and cheery. As each girl finished getting their hair and make-up done they would gather in the living room where they scoured Spotify for the perfect playlist and be entertained by the two youngest members of the Bridal Party.
Emily got dressed upstairs in her childhood room while her Mother assisted and looked on with love. Emily chose to do a first look with her Father and her Bridesmaids and the reaction from both moments would bring a tear to any eye. I think one of my favorite moments was watching the little flower girl, the Bride's niece, stare adoringly up at Emily and delicately reach out to touch her dress. Just a few moments later Emily and her niece took a little ballerina spin around the room and it was one of the darn cutest things I ever did see.
During the time everyone was gathered at Emily's parents house I slipped on over to where the boys were getting ready, which was conveniently only five minutes away. The boys were getting ready at the house Emily & Tom bought together and when I entered its front doors everyone was boisterous, loud, and belly laughing. I could hear a sports game playing in the background while the boys were being...well, boys. Tom's family is from England and their home country was well represented throughout the day with various fashion statements. For example, Tom's cuff links had the silhouette portrait of Queen Elizabeth I on them. As part of her gift, Emily had given Tom a handkerchief with a sweet message sewn into it. What made me chuckle the most about the morning with the boys was that Tom used a shoe horn! Now, don't get me wrong, I love shoe horns. Seriously, growing up I had my own but it made me laugh when I saw it because you never see them anymore!
The limo arrived to pick up the boys so they packed up and made our way to the church and I headed back over to the girls. The ceremony was held at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, NJ and it was stunning. The church was established in 1728 with a small log cabin used as worship. Originally the property was 40 acres but over the years it has been sold down to seven acres. The building currently used was erected in 1861 and its pipe organ was installed in 1875. The history of the property was fascinating to me and I'm so honored to have set foot in such a historical place. But anywhoos!
It was on our way from the houses to the ceremony that the rain finally stopped! Hooray! During the ceremony Emily was so overcome with emotion that she actually had to sit for a bit but it was so endearing how she and Tom never let go of hands. Once the ceremony concluded and the couple was introduced out on the steps of the church everyone gathered for tea and scones, a British custom after a wedding.
Once everyone pinky-up'd their tea cups the Bridal Party, Mary, and myself all piled into our cars and made our way over to Hamilton Farms. The weather only continued to improve while we were inside the church so by the time we got to the reception venue it was warm, sunny, and beautiful outside. We started our photos out front of the mansion with the Rolls Royce and then moved to the back where we had sweeping views of the golf course and the mansion.
From then on the rest of the evening was a whirlwind of introductions, first dances, toasts, and dancing. Emily and her sorority sisters even performed for all the guests a little dance number that they all had to learn while pledging and it certainly took me back to my college sorority days (XAT girl for life)! The newlywed couple shared their sweetheart table with their parents and their gesture of just how thankful they are for them really touched my heart.
As I left for the evening I truly reflected on this day because it was certainly one of my favorites. Everyone's high spirits and abounding love made the memories from the evening that much sweeter. As Emily and Tom jetted off to Italy for their honeymoon I know that they could not be more thankful for everyone involved and that's what makes my job so good.
And there were quite a few photos that I just couldn't make up my mind between color and black and white so bear with me when you see some doubles ;)