The Conservatory at Sussex County Fairgrounds Wedding | New Jersey Wedding Photographer | Michele and Tony
OH. MY. GOSH. Michele and Tony had a beautiful wedding at the Conservatory in Augusta, NJ and they are LITERALLY one of the most fun-loving, relaxed couples I have ever worked with!! I had so much fun celebrating and photographing their wedding day this summer and despite the on and off rain, everything turned out perfectly!
Ahead of schedule and monsoon-like rain seemed to be the theme of their wedding day! I started the day by getting to the girls at the hotel almost an hour early (WHOOPS!). This turned out to be amazing (I mean, naturally it would be) because I was able to take all of Michele’s details over to the venue and shoot them there instead of doing it at the hotel!
I started photographing all the details outside, and out of NOWHERE rain just started pelting the metal roof next to me. I ran inside with all the details and finished up in the doorway until it stopped. It was so humid and hot that the ground dried up in MINUTES. Thank goodness… as some of you might know, it has been raining like crazy almost every day which needless to say has made shooting summer weddings a bit of a challenge!
While I was finishing up the bridal details, Michele texted me that they were already done with hair and makeup – ALMOST 2 HOURS ahead of schedule and that they wanted to come over to the venue to get ready early. I don’t know any photographer who would say no to somebody who is ahead of schedule, so I texted back to COMEEE!!!
And I am so thankful this happened!! Having the extra time was such a blessing. I was able to take all the dresses outside as soon as the girls got there to get a few beautiful photos of them in the courtyard and hanging on the pergola in front of one of the gardens. The Conservatory’s landscaping was absolutely stunning! They partner with other landscape design firms to decorate their gardens so they are all so well done!
Just as I was finishing up the dress shots, it started to rain again and immediately after I stepped inside with Michele’s wedding dress in hand, it started to downpour! We got inside just in time. (Story of the day!) This time, the rain only lasted for a little while. Just like Sam and Trevor’s wedding day a few weeks before, we had an original forecast of rain all day that then turned into a morning storm and pretty clear for the rest of the day except one spurt of rain towards the late afternoon.
After this rain storm ended, I had the girls, Michele, and her mom get dressed way earlier than planned so we could beat the next spurt of rain. We went outside and completed all the bridesmaid shots and then hurried back in to have the girls get dressed. Once they were all set, Michele got dressed with the help of her mom. This was so sweet! It was clear that she and her mom were best friends. This is always a really amazing moment to see between mother and daughter and these two were all laughter and smiles. They were not going to let the rain dampen their spirits at all!
Once I was done photographing the girls, Tony and the guys arrived at the venue and it was time for Tony and Michele’s first look. And we were right on schedule! Luckily, we had no rain in the near future so we were able to get the first look and all the portraits done outside. And BOY let me tell you how amazing this was…
This first look was something I will never forget! I had Tony facing the other way and when Michele was a few feet away, I gave her the thumbs up to tell Tony to turn around. When he turned around he shouted, “OH hell yeah! Holy sh*t” and then ran to Michele and gave her a huge hug and kiss! I am pretty sure they were both simultaneously crying and laughing in pure joy. It was one of the cutest first looks I have ever seen! I just loved his reaction!
After we took the bride and groom portraits as well as family formals, It started to rain again. Everyone ran into the venue right on time – it was perfect! We ended up shooting two sets of bridal party photos – one inside and one outside because of the weather which ended up being great because they now have a bunch more photos of their amazing and fun wedding party!
Since we were so ahead of schedule, the whole bridal party and the families were able to hang out for a while before the ceremony while the guests arrived. The ceremony was moved inside to a beautiful room in the Conservatory. The building was glass on all sides, making for a truly beautiful place for these two to become husband and wife! They were married by one of the groomsman, Aaron, who did a great job, and Michele and Tony were just all smiles all day long. It was so amazing to see a couple that has been through it all together after 11 years of dating, finally become husband and wife!! They’ve been through all the growing pains of high school, college and beyond and have managed to grow together, not apart despite all of that. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect duo.
After the ceremony, we did the wedding party photos outside. Once those were finished, everyone went to cocktail hour while we photographed all the reception details. Michele and Tony were basically able to enjoy the entire cocktail hour because we were so ahead of schedule which was seriously amazing!! I mean really, being AHEAD of schedule NEVER happens!! This even pushed the reception start time up a little which gave them time for even more dancing! In all of the weddings I’ve done (almost 100 now), I have never seen this happen! It was really incredible!!
AND, the reception was amazing! Magic Touch DJ’s was the crew in charge of the dance floor and they were incredible to work with! Casey and the crew, thank you guys for being so amazing. Michele and Tony shared their first dance followed by parent dances which were both extra sweet and so full of love and joy. From there, both the Maid of Honor and Best Man – who were both Tony’s siblings (so cool!) – gave heartfelt toasts to their relationship. The entire room was filled with joyful tears – including me! It was truly beautiful to see.
I cannot even explain how excited everyone was for these two on that day, as was I. The dance floor was packed all night from little kids all the way to the elders with everyone out there showing their love and happiness for these two.
Both Michele and Tony cried when I left and thanked me for such an incredible experience and being a part of their day which was so so sweet!! This and all of our time together this past year and a half have meant so much! I am honored that I was able to be a part of this celebration of Michele and Tony’s love. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for these two!
Venue and Furniture Rentals: The Conservatory
Catering: The Brown Stone
DJ/Lighting: Magic Touch DJs
Florist: Colly Flowers
Hair/Makeup Artist: Kathleen Benjamin On-Site Bridal
Bride’s Dress Boutique: I do I do
Bride’s Dress Designer: Pronovias
Bridesmaid Dresses Boutique: David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses Designer: David’s Bridal
Groom Attire: The Groomsmen Suit
Groomsmen Attire: The Groomsmen Suit
Transportation: Byram Bus Company