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Marriage Matters: A 66 Year Love Story

At the end of the day – when the vows have been said and the cake has been eaten – it’s the one by your side that matters the most. The person who loves you at your best and your worst, no matter the circumstance. And while we’re all about the details and design, and have been known to squeal over a peony bouquet, stories are the heartbeat of each wedding feature, which is where these two darlings come in. Seven kids and 66 years later these two are still hanging out together and having fun along the way. That’s marriage, you guys. Read on for the story and more anniversary inspiration in THE VAULT.

From Kate Ignatowski My grandparents have a really inspiring love story, if only for the fact that they have been married for SIXTY SIX years. That is commitment! 

It all started when they met at a student United Nations conference while they were in college. Grandpa tells me that Grandma was the best looking girl there. “And that is no lie.” Afterwards, they kept in touch with handwritten letters. In one exchange, Grandpa wrote that he would come to visit her college. She told him he could come, but her curfew was 11. Grandpa then told his buddies that she meant to write just one 1.. i.e. he was sticking to a 1AM curfew. When my grandmother was telling me this, she began to giggle. “Grandpa really is a cute person.”

When my grandfather finished undergrad, he gave up a full scholarship to Drexel Law School (the only one the college gave out each year) in order to go to Cornell so he could be closer to Grandma in her home town of Athens, PA. Grandpa adds that he was on the wait list at Yale, and he would have turned them down as well had they accepted him.

After law school, Grandpa was drafted into the army and stationed at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. So during one of his visits with Grandma, he proposed marriage. He tells me that she was quite willing, which he thought was unusual since he didn’t consider himself a good prospect at the time. Apparently they were “poor as church mice!” They married in a simple ceremony at the fort in June of 1949.

Once Grandpa was discharged from the army, they moved to a small town in upstate New York where they knew no one. Grandpa began practicing law and soon was elected a State Supreme Court Justice. Grandma spent her days raising seven children, and Grandpa was a judge for 22 years before he went back to practicing law (which he still does full-time at 91!).

They tell me that they’ve had a pleasant marriage with some ups and downs, which they have managed. They still live on their own and my grandfather takes great care of my grandmother, for which she is very grateful. He told me that she would do the same for him if he was the one that needed caring for.

They built a life together and fulfilled a promise to take care of each other. It is that simple and that extraordinary.

We want to hear your story! Share using #SMPShareYourStory

Photography: Kate Ignatowski

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Romantic + Elegant Manhattan Wedding at the W Hotel

There is nothing I love more than a good ol’ glam fest. Perfect example – this W Hotel fete that defines New York style (just look at that funfetti cake). It’s timeless meets romance, like when the couple snuck up to the rooftops with W Studios New York to shoot some seriously gorgeous portraits. It’s the type of wedding that defines modern chic and you can see it all in The Vault!


From W Studios New YorkWhen I first met Allison & Dan I knew they would throw a phenomenal New York City wedding. The glamorous W Hotel was the perfect stage for the celebration. This couple picked one of the most unique locations in NYC for their first look, seeing each other on the roof of the hotel with the iconic “W” and the skyline as their background created some truly unforgettable moments. After we went to my favorite spot in the city, Irving Place. With its classic brownstones, but set away from the hustle and bustle of city life it is truly a well kept secret. Allison & Dan truly created an event to remember with their love of food and sense of style shinning through in all of the little details.

From The Bride…The overall vision for our wedding was to create a timeless and chic celebration that was classically New York City. It came as no surprise to anyone that we chose W New York Union Square Hotel as our wedding venue. It was always my dream to get married at The Plaza Hotel (thank you, Home Alone!) however, it didn’t exactly fit within our budget. Having worked for Starwood Hotels for the past 9 years, W Union Square was the perfect choice for us. When planning a wedding, the first thing everyone wants to know is what the theme will be. Dan and I agreed early on that choosing a ‘standard’ theme wasn’t for us. We are both extremely passionate about cooking, eating, imbibing and trying new restaurants and bars, so that became our theme. As the Corporate Director of Food and Beverage for Starwood Hotels, everyone was expecting me to plan a top notch event. Between the signature cocktails representing our favorite spirits (Gold Rush for him and Spicy Paloma for her), the raw bar overflowing with oysters, stone crab claws, lobster and jumbo shrimp, the celebratory Don Julio tequila shots during our toasts, the non-traditional Momofuku Milk Bar vanilla funfetti wedding cake and everything in between, no one left our wedding hungry or thirsty.

All of our vendors were carefully selected and such a pleasure to work with. Going along with our New York location, it was important for Dan and I to have quintessential NYC photos. Stephen and Yuliya understood our vision and were instrumental in stopping traffic and pedestrians as we took over Irving Place for what bystanders thought was a wedding magazine photo shoot. As an added element of fun, we brought in a photo booth which was a win-win for everyone. Not only were our guests able to take home their film strips, but Dan and I were able to re-live the wedding by looking through all the photos captured throughout the night. The real highlight for me was the wedding cake. As a dessert fiend, I was adamant about having a Momofuku Milk Bar cake and spent several months convincing Dan that it would be better than the traditional buttercream filled, fondant-covered, flower topped cake. It absolutely paid off because people are still raving about how delicious it was!

As expected, we ended the night by closing down the bar in the hotel lobby with all of our closest family and friends. Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better day and would not have changed a thing.

Photography: W Studios New York | Cinematography: Prime Focus Media | Floral Design: Beethoven's Veranda | Wedding Dress: Madison James | Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar | Stationery: Crane's Via Reed Office Supply | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew | Hair And Makeup: Lauren + Vanessa | Band: Bud Maltin Metropolitan Music | Favors: Don Julio Silver Mini's And Custom Shot Glasses | Venue: W New York - Union Square | Groom And Groomsmen Attire: Men's Warehouse | Photo Booth: Mystical Entertainment

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Romantic Sunrise Engagement on the Brooklyn Bridge

Inspired by infinitely fun late nights out that turn into pizza-at-sunrise kind of mornings, this romantic esesh from Loft Photography epitomizes young love in the City That Never Sleeps in the most magical way imaginable. From the Bride-to-be’s festive crop top to the Groom-to-be’s tux game on point, check out every last bit from this stylish duo’s shoot in The Vault right here!

From Loft PhotographyA 4:00am wake-up call minus coffee is well worth it when you get to experience sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge documenting a charming couple’s love for each other! Ashley and Tim have a chemistry that’s contagious, and we think you’ll agree that their style is incredibly dapper! We had the best time strolling and dancing on the bridge as if we were the only ones on it (the cyclists may not have appreciated that). Tim’s tux game was spot on, and we adore Ashley’s pale blush skirt paired with her crop top. We’ll set the alarm for 4:00am any day for sessions like this one.

From The Bride…I wanted our engagement session to be classic, old New York. New York is the city that never sleeps, the mantra is almost as iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge itself and so for our session I wanted to incorporate the spirit of the city. Thinking back on nights where you dress to the nines for a formal event and have so much fun you end up at a late night diner or pizza place right before sunrise and decide to stay up just the extra hour to catch a glimpse. This shoot took us through a night out, first very buttoned up and formal and then eventually we get into party mode. Every black tie dance party inevitably ends up with Tim loosening his tie, losing his jacket and I take my shoes off as soon as possible! Looking at the pictures, they are perfect…it reminds me of New York and being young and carefree and in love. It reminds me of how lucky we are to have each other and live in this bustling beautiful city.

Photography: Loft Photography | Venue: Brooklyn Bridge | Black Heels: Steve Madden | Crop Top & Skirt: Revolve Clothing | Film Processing: PhotoVision | Necklace & Bracelet: J. Crew

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Romantic Summer Wedding at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This wedding just jumped to the top of my favorites list and while the florals are beautiful and the bridesmaid dresses beyond gorgeous, what really grabbed my attention and has yet to let go, are the abundance of amazing moments. Emotions are pouring out of every one of Nicki Sebastian and Quyn Duong’s pics and I feel like I not only know this cute couple, but that I’m one of these best friends. There is so much genuine joy and if I could, I’d join in every single one of these hugs. See it all right this way!


From Nicki Sebastian… To put it simply, Andrea and Dan’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden wedding transcended words. The two were married at the very same place where Dan proposed, and every last detail—venue included—was infused with meaning. The gardens were the ideal backdrop for this elegant, floral-inspired affair, and the soft neutral color scheme was the perfect complement to the surrounding blooms and lush expanses of the grounds.

After an emotional outdoor ceremony, guests enjoyed summery cocktails, unseasonably mild temperatures, and a stunning golden hour around the Garden’s Lily Pool Terrace, followed by a delicious dinner under the stars and a dance party for the ages in the glass-walled Palm House. The wedding itself was indeed a joining of two incredible families, but it certainly felt as though everyone had known each other for decades—never have I experienced so much unabashed love, joy, and true connection in one event.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what adventure lies ahead for these two, and I’m endlessly grateful that I was able to document the indescribable day that kicked off Andrea and Dan’s next chapter!

Photography: Nicki Sebastian | Cinematography: Robert Allen Of BKWV | Coordination: Whimsy Weddings | Floral Design: Lindsay Podesta and team, Whole Foods Market Brooklyn | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Jewelry: Alexis Bittar | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: The Patina Group | Hair and Makeup: Dvir Salon | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Officiant: Jeddah Vailakis, Interfaith Wedding Ceremonies | Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden | Brides' Dress Alterations and Restoration: Susan Ruddie and team, The Wedding Dresser | Invitation Printing: Boxcar Press | Matches And Napkins: For Your Party | Music: 747 Orchestra | Photography - Assistance: Quyn Duong | Programs: Minted

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NST Pictures + A Giveaway!

There are exciting giveaways, and then there is the kind of exciting giveaway we are about to announce right here, right now on the pages of SMP.  Think the fabulously talented NST Pictures + YOU, our dear and very awesome readers + an all-inclusive wedding cinematography package giveaway valued at $4810. It’s a prize package to end all prize packages and you can find out all you need to know below!

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, but with all of the hustle and bustle of every moment, you’ll barely have a chance to soak it all in.  Enter NST Pictures, an artistic cinematographer that knows all there is to know about capturing those moments you’ll cherish for always; from their stunning films using multiple camera angles to their breathtaking HD footage to their fabulous music choices that will leave your heart swelling ’til the very end.  And with packages starting at just $980, there’s most definitely a customizable option perfect for you and your sweetie in the Tri-State, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Southern California areas.

Call NST Pictures today to begin your cinematic journey.  Then read below to enter one of the coolest ever giveaways.


What: NST Pictures is giving away an all-inclusive wedding cinematography package to one lucky couple, including a full day of coverage with two cinematographers, a trailer film, a feature film, a documentary edit, USB copies and HD digital film links! (Value $4810)

How: To enter, and for all terms and conditions, click here. Good luck, lovelies! xo


A New York City Engagement

The very first time I stumbled on Greg Finck‘s work, I proceeded to spend the entire day getting lost in all of his gorgeous images. It wasn’t the most productive day ever, but to me, it was a day well spent. And today we all get to soak up all his talent by way of this sweet session. With the City providing the perfect backdrop and this couple stealing the show, this gallery is one to get lost in for sure.

From Greg FinckAs I mostly specialize into destination weddings, I like to travel to the cities where my clients live to shoot their engagement session. For example, I travel twice or three times a year to New York City, to meet my clients in person and realize their pre wedding shoot. This is what I did with Eva and PJ, who will get married next Spring in Puerto-Rico.

Eva and PK both live in New York, and we decided to realize their session, on a hot and early Sunday morning, between the West Village and Chelsea Market. This sweet couple came with an impeccable style, sign that the bride-to-be works in fashion, and a stunning pair of Valentinos. We started our walk around Gay Street, and the typical brownstone mansions, before to have a regenerating coffee at Why Not. We then took a cab to Chelsea, where we wandered around the High Line, and the warehouses. We ended up with a great Sunday brunch at Catch!

What a beautiful Sunday morning spent with this lovely couple ! I just can’t wait for their wedding in Puerto-Rico now!

Photography: Greg Finck | Venue: New York City

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