cazenovia engagement mary doughery photo Why engagement sessions?

Last Sunday, after leaving the Historic Barns of Nipmoose after documenting Brendan + Karen’s day, I stopped in Cazenovia. Ashley and Parker were back home from NYC for a wedding, and we took the chance to meet and capture engagement portraits.

It’s so different from the wedding day – not only because it is usually months in advance – but because it gives you a glimpse into normal, everyday life. The wedding day stands alone and can’t be touched or compared to – but the engagement session is the first step in building a library of images that really tell who you are. Most people are not photographed often, at least professionally, so it gives us a chance to introduce you to the process of working together and most importantly to begin building a relationship based on trust. When you trust me, communication flows more easily, worries are tossed aside and I become more than just a person with a camera on your wedding day. I am allowed to be that artist with a vision that I want to be, and you want me to be.

Dates are still open in 2015 and this fall I only have room to book engagement sessions for couples whose wedding day I am also photographing. Send me a message to get in touch and I’d love to hear from you!

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elegant syracuse wedding mary dougherty photo01 Elegant Syracuse Wedding

There was a simplicity to the day that is hard to replicate. Shay and Jeff’s elegant Syracuse wedding was close to perfection in my book. It flowed beautifully, from the time Shay sat in the makeup chair to when she and Jeff walked down the aisle as newly-wed as newlyweds can be. The day was theirs, and they were able to enjoy it together. After getting ready downtown at the Marriot, Jeff went over to Franklin Square Park and Shay followed soon after for their first look. It was bright and beautiful and a moment completely alone to start their wedding day together. When the bus returned with the bridal party and family we were off to Syracuse University to take family, bridal party and portrait photos before the day began. A first look is not for everyone, I know that, but if you don’t even consider it I think you’re making a mistake. I know it had something to do with how perfectly this day felt – it was all of the fun and none of the stress – and it let Shay and Jeff focus on experiencing everything they had planned with their family and friends.

I loved being there to document – not just because I love Shay’s style and if I could do it again would probably choose the exact same gold shoes and sparkling bracelets to wear – but because Shay and Jeff are genuine people who I had spent the last year getting to know. From their engagement session last fall to their actual wedding day, we stayed in touch and talked through plans to prepare. It always makes me a little sad once the wedding is over, since I know I won’t have as many reasons to check in and see how each of my couples are doing… but if anything goes the way I hope it does, there will be an anniversary session sometime in the future. I just love my couples, which makes me sound like a crazy person… but for those of you who have quietly confessed to following my work more closely than you think is acceptable… we’re a great fit for each other.

Enjoy all of the beauty Shay and Jeff planned for their day and the talented vendors that made it happen!

Flowers : Backyard Garden Florist  |  Hair + Makeup : Syracuse Makeup Artistry  |  Shoes + Jewelry : J Crew  |  Dress : Wtoo Mimi  bought at Juliana’s |  Bridesmaids Dresses : After Six |  Transportation : S+S Limousines  |  Event Planning : The Events Company

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  • September 11, 2014 - 7:53 pm

    julie - love love love love LOVE that dress! so simple, and so dramatic at the same time.

white black bouquets mary dougherty Anemone Wedding Bouquet

I just love seeing what flowers are chosen for a wedding day. I have been crushing on anemone wedding bouquets for some time, and loved what Backyard Garden Florist in Syracuse put together for Shay’s wedding day. Often times I’m there when a bride gets to see the bouquets for the first time, and exclaim “they are perfect! ” Perfect is usually a result of trusting your florist – and picking someone whose vision you love. I don’t know what exactly Shay told her florist to create, but I agree that they are perfect.

Soft white hydrangeas for the bridesmaids looked stunning with their black dresses, and the variation of roses, hydrangeas, anemones and greens (any florist friends want to help me out on the rest of this one?) is perfect. Also, a few layers of ribbon finished the bouquets perfectly, don’t you agree?

 

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houghton college wedding photo01 Houghton Wedding

They were radiant. There is something you can’t contain on a wedding day, and it certainly shone through for Dana and Jim. In the sleepy town of Houghton, New York – home to the college of the same name – Dana and her bridesmaids got ready at the Alumni House. Hair and makeup were done in the light filled dining room and flowers arrived and were placed on the long table. Upstairs Dana’s wedding dress waited to be worn, a beautiful Maggie Sottero gown with tulle flowers on the skirt and a gorgeous embellished waist. Across the street at the Houghton Wesleyan Church, groomsmen assembled and seated guests until the pews were full of family and friends. Soon Dana walked across the street and stood behind closed doors before walking with her father down the aisle. I wouldn’t be surprised if she took a deep breath or tried to catch it as the moments that unfolded were a beautiful whirlwind that we call a wedding day.

I loved being there to document, most importantly because Dana and Jim are two amazing people. They are purposeful, caring and genuine and I’m so glad I’ve known them outside of this day in addition to it. Enjoy looking back at a few favorites that I captured…

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  • September 5, 2014 - 11:12 am

    Tierney - Yay! The old way ;) I don’t know why but I love scrolling and seeing all the big, beautiful images. I’m too lazy to click! Loved the colors at this wedding- everything was so vibrant! Especially the lighting in their portraits :)

IMG 2535 getting here

This space has been missing something lately. It’s taken a back seat to the day to day of editing and shooting photos… and my personal life – while boring for the most part – has had enough changes in the past few months that sitting down to talk about life has not come as naturally. So, while I still brainstorm ideas throughout the day about what to write I have not been able to sit down and get any of them “on paper.” However, I refuse to let this space go untouched, so I’m writing late at night with not much to say besides hello! I have thousands of images I need to edit… and I’m craving fall and caramel apple cider (this caramel is one of my favorites, and yes you should try some and if you don’t like it send it over to me).

I didn’t think this year would be quite so busy, but it has turned out that way again. It’s strange though, because in New York, weddings are either definitely winter or definitely not. Well, it’s the other way around, but what I’m saying is that if you want a winter wedding, you plan for one specifically, but if not you generally hope for the best weather and avoid the 4-5 months there will be snow. So, as my season winds down dramatically in the fall, thankfully there is enough work in the rest of the year to carry me through. So there is a lot of time unscheduled – some that I hope to fill with work – other time that I plan to use to do my best to be inspired, create my own interesting projects and live this life with my family close by.

For now it’s been days of avoiding poison ivy, clinging to roots and trees to get to the location you see above… and sitting at my computer editing photos. I am so incredibly grateful to work with wonderful people, who have not only trusted me to document their lives but make what I do rewarding and meaningful. I’m not saying that to make any other photographers feel bad and start to evaluate their own lives and what they are missing – no don’t compare! I’m just saying that because there are times I just can’t believe how much fun it is to photograph people and am so grateful to work at something I love. (Yes there are the times I hate being at my computer because life’s not all perfect).

So, here’s to those adventurous days, when we are too busy living to instagram or lucky enough to have everyone by our side that they can see and experience what we are in person. Here’s to staying in touch and doing things that are challenging and not forgetting where we came from or what direction we want to go.

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