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Fall Engagement Session on the North Fork

For those of you totally excited for the arrival of fall (read: me), this darling e-sesh is exactly what the doctor ordered.  Think two adorable sweeties frolicking amongst towering trees (in rich autumn colors) and you are sooo on the right track.  It’s true love meets chilly days meets the breathtaking images ofW Studios New York.  Head to The Vault for all of the pretty.

From the Bride… We chose to have our engagement pictures taken out on the North Fork of Long Island, because it is so pretty in the fall months. In November, the leaves are changing colors and the sunsets are amazing. We wanted to pick locations that held special meaning to us and the North Fork is our favorite place to go all year round to relax and enjoy each other.

We were relaxed and confident working with W Studios New York and had such a great time throughout the day. We hit multiple spots from a shady walk through the leaves to our favorite rocky beach and got all that we hoped for and more in our pictures. Stephen and Yuliya gave us great direction and were so helpful with moving around the east end and making the most of our time. We can’t wait to see how beautiful our wedding photos come out!

Photography: W Studios New York | Venue: North Fork New York | Bride's Accessories (Necklace): J.Crew | Bride's Attire (Jeans): 7 For All Mankind | Bride's Attire (Sweater): Zara | Bride's Attire (White Top): Zara | Bride's Shoes (Ankle Boots): Lucky Brand | Bride's Shoes (Flats): J.Crew | Groom's Attire (Boat Shoes): Sperry | Groom's Attire (Jeans): Levi's | Groom's Attire (Long Sleeve Gray Henley T-shirt): J.Crew | Groom's Attire (Quilted Blue Jacket): J.Crew

DIY Vineyard Wedding at the The Old Field Vineyards

Monday mornings call for weddings just like this one. A wedding that will inspire you as much as it will make you smile – kicking the week off in the prettiest of fashions. Captured beautifully by Raquel Reis Photography, this entire gallery is worth some serious attention, so grab you cup of jo and join me here

From the Bride…I was drawn to the idea of a “DIY wedding,” but quickly came to learn that I had to be thoughtful about which projects to take on order to maintain my sanity. The key to everything coming together was staying organized and my wonderful coordinator/lifesaver, who set up dozens of boxes worth of decorations the morning of our wedding, along with our dad’s who carried wine barrels to the beach and bravely hung lanterns and signs from the trees on the property.

I used re-purposed frames, windows, and scrap wood to make all of the signs for the wedding, a task that turned out to be surprisingly relaxing during the chaotic days before the wedding. I have to give credit to my mother-in-law, who turned out to be the DIY queen of our wedding. She spray-painted wine bottles gold to serve as table numbers/vases, and also made the menus and place cards for the tables.

We turned to places like Etsy, BHLDN, Pottery Barn, and even IKEA for the rest of the décor. My parents’ basement was stuffed to the brim with bottles, jars, lanterns, luminaries, votives, napkins, straws etc.
One of my biggest projects turned out to be the cigar and scotch lounge on the beach, which was my wedding gift to Joe. Now Joe is the guy that has everything, so traditional gifts were out of the question. A celebratory cigar on the beach with his favorite people is more valuable to him than any physical gift. Also, he is an amazing gift giver and I almost never can pull off an equally perfect surprise gift for him, so I had to take advantage of this opportunity.

As I know nothing about cigars or scotch, I had to do a fair amount of research as to what I should get as well as all necessary accessories. I borrowed wine barrels from the vineyard to serve as a “bar” and added lounge furniture to the rentals. I also got adorable matches that read “Joe’s Cigar Lounge” for him and his friends to keep as favors. I still can’t believe that it all came together and stayed a secret until the wedding!

We chose August 24th for our wedding mostly because I have three weeks off at the end of every August (perfect amount of time to relax, get hitched, and honeymoon). Luckily, I also happen to think this is the best time of the year on the North Fork, when the weather is almost always perfect.

Well, if we were going to get married over the summer, it had to be on the North Fork. Not only does it come alive in the summer, but it’s also where Joe and I met and fell in love. Though we live in Brooklyn, we spend most summer weekends with our families out there – it’s worth sitting through 3 hours of traffic. We chose to have our wedding and reception and The Old Field Vineyards for two reasons. It was on the water and they make incredible wine – two features very representative of the North Fork. I also love the idea of having the whole event at this one location, where guests could enjoy the entire stunning property and flow from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception without a pause in the festivities!

Our ceremony came together last minute, but turned out wonderfully. Our guests were greeted with beverages and simple yet lovely musical accompaniment of a single acoustic guitar. We chose contemporary music for the ceremony, I was able to peek through a trellis to watch our friends and family walk to The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” and I walked down the very long aisle with my Dad to the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun.” We chose short but touching vows and managed to get through them without tears or stage fright. By far the most special thing about our ceremony was having friends and family participate. Each of our godmothers did readings (Joe’s sister and my aunt), and we were married by Joe’s high school English teacher. Joe’s younger sister gave the most thoughtful and touching of speeches – she truly had everyone reaching for tissues. At the end, everyone danced down the aisle and onto the bar to Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore!”

Aside from getting married (woohoo!), the most special thing about our wedding was being able to spend some truly amazing times with our favorite people! The week before the wedding was a nonstop celebration with all of our family and closest friends, a wonderful time that we will never forget!

I never would have shopped for a dress if it wasn’t for my mom, who lit the fire under my behind to start the process. We first went to a few boutique salons in New York, where I got a taste of what I liked and didn’t like. I realized that I was not the kind of bride who would have an “Ah-ha” moment when I found my dress. So when my mom begged me to go to Kleinfeld’s, I went in with the mindset “now you have seen everything, so you pick your favorite.” I chose my dress because, as my consultant pointed out, it was the one that I smiled the most in and always went back to. I am so grateful for her advice, because I felt unique, pretty, and most importantly like myself on my wedding day!

I borrowed my Kate Spade earrings and feather clutch from Rent the Runway – a truly no-fail service.I chose 3 styles of long chiffon dresses for my 7 gorgeous maids. I loved how elegant and flattering they were while still being beachy. The girls each accessorized with their own belts, shoes and jewelry to make the dress their own.

We chose black suits for the guys to contrast the pale dresses the girls wore and also because I think that Joe looks oh so dapper in black! Joe’s nieces and nephews served as our adorable flower girls and ring bearers, and wore similar outfits to the bride and groom with blush accessories.

I think that I somehow arrived at my “style” throughout the planning process. I knew that while I wanted guests to feel relaxed and comfortable at the wedding, I still wanted elegance. It was important to me that the wedding to have stylish and beautiful elements without being stuffy or cliche. I went by the principal that, as long as I was choosing everything, it would somehow become cohesive by representing my tastes. It was so fun getting to see it all put together on the day of the wedding! Everything from the bridal party to the tables looked even more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined. In the end, I think we were able to pull off a style that was worthy of a stunning summer night and vibrant party!

It was important for Joe and I to use as many local resources as we could, as the North Fork has so much to offer. We served wine from The Old Field, our amazing florist used seasonal and local flowers, we served locally grown produce and locally caught fish, and we brought in cookies and ice cream from nearby shops.

Photography: Raquel Reis | Wedding Coordinator: Valerie Hallock | Floral Design: Moments in Time Floral Design | Dress: Reem Acra | Wedding Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal | Ceremony Venue: The Old Field Vineyards | Reception Venue: The Old Field Vineyards | Bride's Shoes: J.Crew | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Peter Ambrose Catering | Hair And Make Up: Special Effects Salon & Spa | Suits: Ralph Lauren | Hotel: Greenport Hotel | Tent: The New York Tent Company | Band And Musicians: Current Affair | Brides Accessories: Kate Spade | Ice Cream: Magic Fountain, Mattituck | Macaroons: D’Latte, Greenport | Rentals: Party Rentals Ltd, Bridgehampton | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Stationer: Smock | Stationer: Lion in the Sun | Wedding Rings: Pesselnik & Cohen Inc., New York

North Fork Wedding at Bedell Cellars from Shannen Natasha Weddings

I often catch myself feeling beyond lucky for getting to spend my days poring over love stories. And if that wasn’t good enough, I get to swoon over the stories captured by talented people like Shannen Natasha Weddings. Whose images of this Bedell Cellars wedding make me feel like I am right there dancing the night away with this stunning couple after a perfect day. That’s nothing short of lucky, and I couldn’t be more thankful that my day will be spent right here.

From the Bride… I grew up in a small beach town on the North Fork of Long Island—90 miles and a world away from New York City. After Billy and I started dating, I introduced him to the area, and he loved it as much as I do. We’ve spent some of our happiest, most relaxing weekends there, and it was an obvious spot for our wedding. The North Fork has great beaches, farms and vineyards, and we wanted our wedding to reflect everything that we love about the area. We hosted a rehearsal dinner BBQ beach bonfire at my parents’ house, and planned the wedding at a nearby vineyard.

We wanted the wedding to feel rustic, but elegant—and most of all, to celebrate our love for each other and our guests. We worked with a wonderful florist, who sourced local, seasonal flowers. Instead of a wedding cake, we served pie from a local farm stand. To reflect our love of travel, we asked guests to sign a giant, Lonely Planet travel book—picking a destination that was special to them. We brought in a phenomenal band from Manhattan, and danced like maniacs all night.

Our lovely photographer, Shannen Natasha Weddings, took photos before the wedding—at my parents’ house and on their boat. She made us feel comfortable and relaxed, and captured our emotions perfectly. I bought inexpensive shoes, knowing that if that if we threw the kind of party we wanted, I’d be barefoot and dancing by dessert. Thankfully, we were right.

Wedding Photography: Shannen Natasha Weddings / Wedding Venue: Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, New York / Floral Design: Rebecca Jens from Moments in Time Floral Design / Dessert: Briermere Farms / Band: Rhythm Collective via Elan Artists / Wedding Invitations: Crane & Co. / Wedding Stationery: The Ink Spot / Wedding Dress: Alvina Valenta via Kleinfeld Bridal / Rings: T. Gluck / Bridesmaids’ Attire: J.Crew / Groom’ s + Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew / Men’s Ties: Vineyard Vines / Hair + Makeup: Carolyn’s Salon

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
North Fork Wedding at Bedell Cellars Winery from Bia Sampaio Photographs

If there ever was a wedding that is both laid back and so beautifully elegant, this is it. Pay close attention and you’re guaranteed to be inspired by all the gorgeous details. From the bride’s amazing Vera Wang gown and shoes to the spectacular al fresco reception, this vineyard wedding is fast becoming one of our favorites. We’ve got Bia Sampaio Photographs to thank for all the beautiful images of which there are so many more right here.


Don’t miss this gorgeous film by Jess Levey for Josh Strauss Weddings

From Bia Sampaio Photographs… Jill and Mike are one of the most fun couples I have ever photographed. I immediately fell in love with them and their story: they met in a bathroom and it was just a year later that Mike asked Jill out. Their email to me asking to photograph their wedding had me laughing for days (it included details of a coin toss and dizzy nephew). It was an unusual meeting that has led to an unpredictable, amazing journey so far! The wedding was a great mix of elegance and fun. Highlights included a grand exit with sparkles and the groom’s Mustache Mobile Food truck at the end of the party (The groom owns Tony Boloney’s in Atlantic City.).

From the Bride… Mike and I had a long engagement, over three years. We were first thinking of a destination wedding in Costa Rica, and when that didn’t happen, we put things on hold. After being engaged for two years, we decided it was time to set a date. My parents drove us from vineyard to vineyard on the north fork, and it was love at first sight when we drove into Bedell. There was no question — this was where we would be married. The laid-back but elegant venue would be the perfect setting for us to celebrate with our family and friends. The gorgeous landscape was picture perfect. Our day was flawless, and we wish we could do it all again because we would not change a thing!

Wedding Photography: Bia Sampaio Photographs / Wedding Venue: Bedell Cellars Winery in Cutchogue, New York / Event Planning: Daria Culver Events / Floral Design: Karen Lenahan Designs / Wedding Cinematography: Jess Levey for Josh Strauss Weddings / Wedding Invitations: Oblation Papers & Press / Music: Vali Entertainment / Wedding Dress: Vera Wang / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Long Island Wedding at Martha Clara Vineyards by Patricia Kantzos Photography

Any family that has the tradition of creating a unique photo booth for each family member’s wedding day is pretty darn cute in my book! That alone can tell you that this next wedding by Patricia Kantzos has got soul. I absolutely love the feeling of a dinner party hidden away in a secret barn retreat and how darling are the pretty petals by Amy Febinger!?  Keep the party going by checking out the full gallery here.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From Patricia Kantzos PhotographyAlison and Matt were great to work with, and it was an honor to photograph their wedding. It was evident from when we first met they wanted their wedding to reflect their style while making sure their family and friends had fun. You can see from the images that this is a group that lives, loves and laughs. Both Alison and Matt are in creative fields, so I knew their wedding would have many special details. I LOVED all the flowers. Amy Febinger is so talented. Another of my favorite details was the photo booth. I was thrilled when they asked me to help them set this up. Alison, Matt and their friends have a tradition: for each wedding, they together design and construct a backdrop. I provided all the photography. The Adam and Eve backdrop was perfect.

Wedding Photography: Patricia Kantzos Photography / Wedding Venues: A Private Estate + Martha Clara Vineyards in North Fork, New York / Floral Design: Amy Febinger of Bourgeon / Catering: Russ Moran Catering (631-728-3474) / Wedding Cake + Pies: Briermere Farms (631-722-3931) / Wedding Invitations: Erin Napier of Lucky Luxe Couture Correspondence / Music: Dan Nelson of Tommy Tunes (631-732-5886) / Wedding Dress: Priscilla of Boston (Now Closed) / Bride’s Shoes: Caparros / Bride’s Hair Piece + Jewelry: BHLDN / Hair: Patrick Keogh ( / Makeup: Lauren Cosenza ( / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Suit: Calvin Klein / Lighting: Stortz Lighting

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
North Fork Wedding by Adam Piorkowski

This gorgeous North Fork wedding by Adam Piorkowski might have fallen on one unusually chilly June day, but a little rain and cold wasn’t about to stop this adorable bride and groom from having the time of their lives.  Nope, they made sure to make the most of it by grabbing some cute as can be umbrellas and heading out into the drizzle for some very fabulous photos ops.  Yep, how awesome are they?!?  And with a wedding filled to the brim with gorgeous DIY details, an all-white color palette and the sweetest of nautical touches, you won’t be able to help but love them even more.  Click here for all of the pretty!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride… I knew in planning our wedding that we really wanted to capture the essence of the North Fork since that is where we grew up and spend most of our weekends now.  We chose a venue located on the Peconic Bay so people could enjoy the water view and the natural beauty of Southold. Founders Landing, the venue, is a very simple gray building that only fits about 125 people but we loved everything about it!  The building is basically a blank canvas so with the help of my mom, Gerard’s mom and especially his aunt Kathleen, we created a masterpiece!

I wanted everything to be really simple and all white.  For the tables we decided to cover them with different size mason jars filled with votives and hydrgangeas.  I also took a page out of the SMP book and had a man in Mystic, Conneticut create the nautical rope table card holders I had seen at a previous wedding.  I had discussed all of the flower details with our awesome florist Becky Jens but didn’t see the finished product until after the ceremony when I walked into the reception.  I was IN LOVE!  Becky chose the most beautiful full ivory hydrangeas, they looked absolutely gorgeous.  Between the hydrangeas and the candles, the room had a very romantic cozy feel.

Gerard’s Aunt Kathleen handled many of the details around the room.  She covered the walls with one of our favorite poems, “I carry your heart with me” by e.e. cummings.  Each frame had a different verse of the poem.  I also wanted to make sure our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos were included in our day so Kath made this beautiful frame out of beachwood, painted it gold and placed black and white photos of all the weddings before us.  The best part was it sat atop a mantle on a fireplace that said, “Gift of the Southold Players,  XMAS 1923” which I thought was really neat.  Instead of a guest book we found these penguin postcards with vintage book covers of all the books they published and had everyone write us a special note.  Kath situated them in a glass bowl filled with sand.

For the food we wanted to make sure it had a very local, seaside feel.  We chose a raw bar as part of the appetizers and a lobster-bake for our main entree.  Matt Kar, our chef, was amazing!  He knew the exact menu we were going for and everything was delicious.  Our cake was done by Miche Bacher of Sacred Sweets.  Gerard and I had met with her to choose a cake and went through all of her beautiful examples.  We thought we had chosen one and then I spotted a magazine cut out from a Martha Stewart Living article she had just been in and I said – THAT ONE!  It was so beautiful and romantic.  It was three tiers with the top tier sitting upon a delicate little cake stand and this glorious fluffy buttercream icing.  Finally she added a beautiful peony on top, which was the very same flower as my and my bridesmaids bouquet.

Of course, we wouldn’t have been able to capture any of this without our amazing photographer and friend, Adam. We really wanted a photographer that knew us and could translate our essence into photographs.  Adam did exactly that!  The day was a very cold, cloudy, blustery, rainy day in June – hence the umbrellas.  But it made for awesome photographs!  My dreams of everyone roaming the grass down near the beach were squashed but the energy inside that little gray building was palpable.  Adam was with us from start to finish and he put his heart and soul into this project.  Our pictures aren’t traditional, but they represent perfectly what an amazing day we had!

Wedding Photography: Adam Piorkowski / Floral Design: Becky Jens of Moments in Time Floral Design / Wedding Cake: Miche Bacher of Sacred Sweets / Catering: Christopher Michael Catering / Wedding Ceremony Location: Sacred Heart Church / Wedding Reception Location: Founders Landing / Cellist: Jody Redhage / Wedding Wand Streamers: Craftupyourlife / Save the Dates: Architette Studios / Table Card Holders: Matt Beaudoin of Mystic Knotwork / Wedding Invitations: Simply Put, by Ashley Woodman / DJ: PopShop! DJs, DJ Colleen Crumbcake / Hair: Michael Lopez / Wedding Dress + Veil: J.Crew / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Groomsman Ties: J.Crew

Bedell Cellars Winery by Samantha Shay Photography

There is just something so lovely about a winery wedding, and this pretty little fête by Samantha Shay Photography is o-ver-flowing with with all the loveliness I adore so much about them. Sweet little details with a hint of rustic and a pinch of vintage filled the affair with a whole lotta pretty – not to mention it looks like this adorable duo tied the knot on the most beautiful, light-filled evening making for a gallery full of lovely image after lovely image!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the bride…Growing up on Long Island I was blessed with being surrounded by beautiful coastlines, farms and wineries.  This is where my true inspiration came from when planning my dream wedding. As a little girl, I always dreamed of my “big day”, what I would wear, what flowers I would use, what the tables would look like, etc.  The one thing I didn’t wonder about was where I would have my wedding.  That I knew.  It would be out on the North Fork of Long Island.  The North Fork is a hidden gem, a special place to me and a place where I come to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City.   As soon as I introduced my fiancé to the North Fork he fell in love too with the charm and quaintness of the area.  We agreed that one day this area would be perfect for our wedding.

Throughout the three years that Matt and I dated, each time we came to visit my parents in Greenport, Long Island we go wine tasting.  With over 50 wineries on the Eastern End of Long Island we had many to try.  Every tasting we went on there was always one winery that stood out in our minds, Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, NY.  You could call it love at first site for myself and love at first taste for Matt.  We loved Bedell for not only its amazing wines but for the ambiance and calmness that came over us every time we would go there.

My vision for our wedding (This is where the fun began for me!) was for it to be homey, vintage, rustic, yet slightly romantic.  All these elements fit perfectly in with the surrounding land. I took the beauty of the winery and the natural colors already there to create my color palette.  Antique white, sage green, rose petal pink and cream. It was very important for me to keep everything local and to be as organic as possible.  Our food was bought at local fish stores, farm stands, local gourmet stores and even the oysters at our raw bar came from my Dad’s own oyster farm!  Our wine jelly favors were made from Bedell grapes and even some of our flowers were sourced from backyards.  Each reception table was named after local towns on the North Fork, to create an intimate feel.  I wrote a fact about each town and framed them in frames made from old barn wood.  Texture played a big and important role in my wedding décor too.  From the antique skeleton keys that I had collected over the years to the rattan table linens, to the type of flowers that were used, to the torn paper chosen for our invitations, escort cards, favor tags, each detail played an important role in the overall décor.

Photography: Samantha Shay Photography / Location: Bedell Cellars Winery / Caterer: A Small Affair / Rentals: Party Rental Ltd. / Florist: Karen Lenahan / Wedding Planner: the bride / Hair: Patti at Alter Ego Hair Salon (516-921-1100) / Makeup: Beth Rachel / Brides dress: Christos / Brides shoes: Christian Louboutin / Brides Earrings + Bracelet: Jennifer Miller / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Groom + Groomsmen Suits: Lauren by Ralph Lauren / Groom + Groomsmen Ties: JoS. A. Bank / Ceremony Music: Miriam Shilling / Cocktail and Reception Music: Hank Lane of The Downtown Band / Reception Lighting: Matt Murphy Event Lighting / Officiant: Reverend Alison Caiola / Escort Card Holder: TreehouseWoodDesigns / Guest book: EmersonBindery / Reception table frames: braggingbags / Wedding Chair Signs: AnistaDesigns / Ring Bearer Pillow: NanaMontana / Large D&M Initials: thebackporchshoppe / Robe Worn by Bride While Getting Ready: Pretty Plum Sugar

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Fourth Of July Weekend Wedding on Long Island

Amanda at Orchard Cove Photography sent us several fun weddings from this past summer, and it was SO hard to choose just one to show you on today’s Little Black Book Blog. (I even resorted to asking her to help us choose!) But, as any great photographer would  say … she couldn’t! There is just no way to choose a favorite when you’re blessed to be in this industry that is filled with so many unique couples with such great personalities. So, we’ll just have to keep the other weddings for a later date … and urge you to visit Amanda’s website and blog to feast your eyes upon so many more creative weddings and detail shots.

Today’s LBB Real Wedding: Ben and Hedda, Greenport, NY in July 2008: from the bride … Ben and I were married on the North Fork of Long Island.  We wanted a Fourth of July weekend-wedding where our friends and family would feel relaxed and happy. Our wedding was small, about 80 people, no bridesmaids or groomsmen.

Orchard Cove Photography North Fork Long Island

We picked sunflowers … this was the first and easiest starting point. The sunflower is simple, but brilliant. Our friend, Sarah, did an amazing job with the flowers!

North Fork Long Island New York Orchard Cove Sunflowers

Our invitation invited our guests to join us “on the lawn”.
Outdoor Wedding Sunflowers Orchard Cove New York North Fork

Coliseum Catering specializes in Fourth of July BBQs, and we served huge ice cream sandwiches for dessert. They’re Biggy Iggy and Chewie Louies! Ben and I discovered them in New Hampshire and have deemed them the most amazing ice cream cookies EVER. We also had a fabulous local “Newgrass” band, Astrograss.

Casual Long Island North Fork Fourth of July Wedding

Our wedding goal was to simplify….. I think we pulled it off!

Well, Hedda and Ben may have simplified, but I can’t imagine a more beautiful wedding.

Amanda, a Connecticut and Vermont based photographer, traveled to Long Island to photograph Ben & Hedda’s wedding.  Thanks Amanda for sharing their special memories with us.

{to see the full gallery, click here!}