Sara and Chris celebrated their wedding at the beautiful Rock Island Lake Club on a perfect, misty fall day in Sparta, NJ. These two high school sweethearts were joined by their closest family and friends to kick off the next amazing chapter in their lives together. Everything from Sara’s tearful first look with her dad to their stunning bride and groom portraits by the lake made for an absolutely perfect day!
I had the pleasure of learning the sweet love story of these two earlier this year during their engagement session at Ridgewood High School, the very place where these two met and fell in love. The photos from inside one of their old classrooms are seriously adorable! You can read more about their decade-long love story and see photos from their engagement session on the blog: https://imlauraleeblog.com/ridgewood-high-school-engagement-session-sara-chris-nj-wedding-photographer/
The day started with the entire bridal party getting ready in two suites at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rockaway, NJ. While I shot the bridal details, the girls had their hair and makeup done by the amazing Julie from Style on Location. It was so great to work with Julie again this fall, she does such an incredible job!
One of the best parts of the morning was getting to work with one of Sara’s bridesmaid who is starting to get into photography. She was so sweet and interested in learning all about the process. AND best of all, we were ahead of schedule! Such a dream. It makes for such a relaxing and stress-free morning!
After the girls finished hair and makeup, we headed over to the Rock Island Lake Club where everyone would eventually get dressed. Before the bridesmaids and Sara got dressed we took the CUTEST shots with champagne and everyone in their floral jumpsuits! I loved those jumpsuits!
Then, it was time for everyone to get dressed. Sara looked absolutely stunning in her dress. She wore a strapless A-line lace dress with her sister’s veil. So beautiful! And, the bridal party colors matched perfectly with the venue, florals, and time of year. The bridesmaid wore a deep burgundy color while the groomsmen wore navy blue suits.
Once Sara finished getting dressed with the help of her two sisters and mom, she shared a tearful first look with her dad. After embracing, Sara gave her dad a monogrammed handkerchief (which of course he used right away!)
We moved to the misty docks outside on the lake for Sara and Chris’ first look. When Chris turned around to see Sara for the first time he had the sweetest face and immediately gave her a huge hug. He then twirled her around on the dock to see her beautiful dress. The mist and the newly changing leaves made for such a cool effect on all of the photos. This series of photos along with their bride and groom portraits are just stunning!
After their bride and groom portraits, we did the wedding party photos. They had such an awesome group of friend and family standing up with them that day. Everyone was SO nice and helpful. And the colors! Oh my gosh – everything just popped with the lake and mist in the background!
Because we were ahead of schedule, everyone had time to freshen up before the ceremony. This gave me time to get photos of the all the reception details. While I was doing that, the Rock Island team was wiping down every chair outside for the ceremony and leaving napkins for everyone’s seat. They were so attentive and incredible all day! It was really impressive!
Sara and Chris shared a beautiful ceremony officiated by one of Chris’s college friends and roommates. The birch tree arbor used for the ceremony was decorated with all of the flowers and made for a perfect backdrop to their ceremony.
After the ceremony, we moved into all of the family shots with immediate and extended family. We also snuck in a few more portraits after the ceremony with the veil and the rings before everyone joined cocktail hour. Rock Island put on such an amazing extended cocktail hour with the most delicious food!
The extended cocktail hour gave me time to head into the reception venue to set up my lights and get a few more pictures of their details before anyone moved inside. The reception was SO fun! All of the toasts from Sara’s older sister, Chris’s best friend, and Sara’s dad were so personal, describing their love story and relationship so perfectly.
After toasts and dinner, it was time for dancing! Sara and Chris shared a beautiful first dance with each other and their parents before everyone hit the dance floor for the rest of the night. The DJ kicked things off with some oldies which got everyone moving! The dance floor was packed with their friends as they celebrated into the night!
It has been such an honor getting to know Sara and Chris over the past year and a half! I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to meet couples like these two and really get to know them and their closest family and friends. I had SO much fun celebrating with you two and I cannot wait to hear what the next chapter of life has in store for you!
Palermo’s Bakery – Wedding Cake
Demetrios – Bride’s Dress Boutique & Designer
Demetrios – Bridesmaids Dresses Boutique
Bill Levkoff – Bridesmaids Dresses Designer
Men’s Wearhouse – Groom Attire
Men’s Wearhouse – Groomsmens Attire
Robyn Rohsler’s Floral Designs – Florist
Posh Entertainment – Band/DJ
Styles on Location (Julie Finnerty) – Hair Artist
Laura Parker – Makeup Artist
Zazzle Elegant Calligraphy (Faded Floral) – Stationery Design
Rock Island Lake Club – Catering
Rock Island Lake Club – Ceremony & Reception Venue
Jim MacDonald – Officiant
Broadway Elite (Brian Wecksler) – Transportation