BELOW: What a beautiful couple! This is just one of Lauren and Aaron’s bridal portraits. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is an amazing place for wedding pictures. This beautiful portrait was taken by Jeff Kolodny Photography staff wedding photographer Albert.
Lauren and Aaron’s wedding was originally planned to take place at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Unfortunately, this amazing and uniquely private resort in the Upper Keys sustained some hurricane damage a few weeks prior to their wedding date, so at the last minute they had to change venues. Thanks to their highly efficient planner, Andi Dyal or Anje Soirees, the couple secured another magnificent South Florida venue for their wedding – the incomparable Vizcaya. With it’s fantastic European architecture and feel, Vizcaya is a favorite for couples looking to have a very different Miami wedding than just at a hotel resort. Situated on the water, it’s views are gorgeous and it’s lush manicured gardens equally breathtaking. What could have been a postponement became a beautifully executed wedding at one of the most favored locations in all of South Florida. Albert and Amy had a great time photographing Lauren and Aaron’s wedding along with our stellar video team that day.
BELOW: Taken at the SLS Hotel Brickell. Lauren opens a pre wedding card and gift from the groom. This image was photographed in camera Raw and later converted to a black and white wedding photo. By converting this image to black and white we were able to eliminate any color distractions which allows the viewer to easily focus on the brides expression. Also the photographer felt that black and white would give the wedding photo more of a photo-journalistic look.
Where and how they met?
Lauren grew up in Medina, Ohio and Aaron grew up in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Lauren graduated from Ohio University where she played soccer and Aaron graduated from the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, staying close to his hometown of Hilton Head to improve his golf game!
After graduation, both Aaron and Lauren made the spontaneous decision to move to Orlando, FL, where they would meet! Lauren moved to Florida to follow her family (parents in the Keys and sister at the University of Florida) and Aaron moved for a job – which led them to the company they both worked for in Orlando.
Aaron was already working at the company when Lauren arrived at the same company in the spring of 2013. They immediately discovered they had a lot in common – They both love their families, dogs (especially their own – shout out to Dexter & Briggs), being on the water, sports and really enjoy good food!
Turns out, the company they were working for has a policy where internal employees are discouraged from dating each other…. Because why would anything be easy?!? They both tried to fight off the obvious connection (those charming blue eyes and perfectly groomed beard of Aaron’s didn’t help ? Once they realized this was not a fight either of them would win, they were ready to take the next step. After a lot of stress and a year of keeping their dating a secret, they finally mustered up the courage to tell their boss. Luckily (!!!), everything worked out and they were able to finally tell their friends… And go out together in public ?. (Chinese at home was getting pretty old).
BELOW: Another black and white photo-journalistic wedding photograph. In this case Albert didn’t pose. Instead he placed the bride and her parents in the perfect location so that the instant they saw each other he would have the shot. Often it’s up to the photographer to choose the location based on lighting and background. Once the photographer has done this, it’s up to the bride and her parents to give the photographer the gift of a great expressive moment.
Below: While it’s important to get pre-wedding photos of the bride getting ready, it’s also important to get photos of the groom and his guys getting ready. A color photo in this case worked well showing off the pink tie that needed ironing.
Initial thoughts/impressions when they meet each other for the first time
Lauren and Aaron both tried to fight the initial “click” they both felt as they knew there would be obstacles to overcome if they chose to be in a relationship due to the “no dating policy” at work. They both went back and forth about how they should proceed, but ultimately, Aaron made the first move and there was no turning back! Both Aaron and Lauren had an instant connection and had a feeling this would be worth the adventure and were up to the challenges that could lie ahead. They obviously both love a challenge and this one was the best adventure yet for both of them.
BELOW: There is no place at Vizcaya Museum that screams “This is Vizcaya!” Between the beautiful brick work, the colorful mooring posts and the ocean in the background every South Florida wedding planner and photographer knows this was taken at Vizcaya Museum.
BELOW: We can’t post a photo of the bride alone without also posting one of the groom alone. This photo of Aaron was taken on the balcony of the SLS Hotel Brickell. Located in the heart of Miami it’s a great place for a balcony shot. The Miami skyscrapers in the background also make this photo more masculine.
Aaron and Lauren’s favorite place in the world is Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. Lauren has been visiting Ocean Reef for years with her family. Living in Orlando, they try to make the four hour trip as often as possible, but ALWAYS make sure they’re in the keys for New Years Eve. New Years 2016 was their 4th year celebrating together.
BELOW: Once Lauren was in her wedding gown it was time for Aaron to see her for the first time. This “First Look” moment was arranged by Albert. Usually we place the groom in a location where the bride can walk up behind the groom and tap him on the shoulder. As soon as he turns around he gets to see his bride for the first time on their wedding day.
Five days into Lauren and Aaron’s vacation visiting family at Ocean Reef, Lauren’s sister, Taylor, and her boyfriend, Robert, arrived. Now the fun was really about to begin! One of their favorite activities while visiting Ocean Reef (ok fine, it’s one of LAUREN’S favorite activities) is to take a sunset cruise on the boat where they have a few drinks, appetizers and most importantly, take really cute sunset pictures.
On this particular day, it was Lauren, Aaron, Taylor, Robert and Lauren’s parents on the boat. After a few “dance sessions”, Aaron and Lauren went to the front of the boat to take their “picture.” To put things into perspective, the sunset was absolutely breathtaking – and so were the waves and the wind. 🙂
After they took their first picture, Aaron told Lauren they needed to take one more photo. This time he was VERY particular about the sunset being EXACTLY in the background. The next thing Lauren knew; Aaron was down on one knee. All Lauren heard was “Lauren McKenzie Burke….”. Her knees were shaking, both Aaron and Lauren were teary, and both smiling from ear to ear. Lauren was very glad Aaron has good balance because mid speech Lauren jumped on Aaron’s lap to get closer to him and THAT RING!
To be in their favorite place, on the water and with their absolute favorite people – the proposal could not have been more perfect.
They are very lucky that they didn’t drop the ring in the water and that they had multiple people to document such a special moment!
ABOVE AND BELOW: The SLS Hotel has this very colorful wall which is great for taking fun bride and groom photos!
BELOW: Lauren and Aaron decided to bring their entire family to the pre- ceremony photo-shoot.
BELOW: “Infrared Wedding Photography” One of the special types of photography we offer at Jeff Kolodny Photography is Infrared. This is done with a special camera that has been modified to shoot infrared. Images taken with infrared are usually printed as either black and white or sepia. We love shooting a few infrared wedding shots simply because it’s something different and unique. Both Jeff Kolodny and Albert own these special infrared cameras.
The wedding planning process
Two days after Aaron and Lauren got engaged in Ocean Reef, they walked into the catering office and asked to meet with the club’s event planner. They both knew that Ocean Reef was 100% the venue that where they wanted to get married. There were only a few dates available in 2017 – One of the weekends happened to be Lauren’s Grandma’s 87th birthday weekend. Lauren’s Grandma, Joan, is loved by many so this was a very easy decision to pick that weekend. What could be better, celebrating Grandma’s birthday and Lauren & Aaron’s marriage! Overall, the wedding planning process went smoothly – up until 27 days before the wedding. On September 9th, 2017 Hurricane Irma hit and devastated the Keys. Lauren’s parents received the call from Ocean Reef a few weeks later saying the devastation from the hurricane had a severe impact on the venue and it would not re-open in time for the wedding. Her parents will not forget the difficult phone call to Lauren and Aaron. With Lauren and Aaron’s determination and optimism they decided nothing was going to stop them from getting married October 21, 2017. With the help of their wedding planner in securing the new wedding venue and hotel accommodations for 200+ guests, Lauren and Aaron would not be disappointed. The wedding was on! No hurricane could stop this group! New vendors were secured and some previously booked vendors were notified of the change in plan and venue.
BELOW: While this photo was not shot in infrared it still has the sepia tone enhancement. One of the reasons why sepia tone wedding pictures are so popular is because they have a timeless appearance. Also, the brown sepia tone matches a persons normal skin tone more closely.
ABOVE AND BELOW: Family portraits are a large part of wedding photography. Some bridal clients have a preference of more black and white photo-journalism, while other client really like carefully posed portraits. We believe your wedding photographer should have the ability to shoot several different styles of wedding photography. While it’s true that the wedding day is considered “The Bride’s and Groom’s special day” often it’s a very special day for the parents as well. There are usually many years between the parents age and the bride and grooms age. Because of this age gap style preferences between parents and the bride and groom may differ. Usually the parents will appreciate the more creative images. Often the brides mother is looking for a nice color posed pictures of her and her family as well as some nice couple wedding photos. Because of these different visions it’s in everyone best interest if your photographer can shoot several different styles.
The wedding day
This South Florida wedding day truly couldn’t have been more perfect. The girls got wedding ready at the bridal suite at SLS Brickell. Lauren’s “glam squad” is from Orlando where Lauren has been getting her hair done the last five years she has been in Orlando. They were so much fun! Every person silently and secretly watched the weather app hoping that the 80% chance of rain they were predicting would prove to be WRONG!. How it didn’t rain at all, they will never know! Lauren and Aaron chose to do a “first look” before the wedding ceremony and they are both so glad they did! Both were feeling rather anxious the morning of the wedding and after seeing each other, they both were put to ease. Thanks to our South Florida wedding photographers, the photo taking process ran smoothly before the ceremony and enabled the bride and groom, bridal party and families to dive right into the cocktail party and reception immediately following the beautiful ceremony. Two special guests arrived adorned in greenery and white spray rose collars!! The couple’s two dogs met outside Vizcaya for a few photos with the couple.
As the guests arrived via motorcoach from the hotel to Vizcaya, they were greeted with champagne upon their arrival. The ceremony took place on the “Garden Mound” at The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This is a breathtaking venue and gardens and the perfect romantic spot the couple had hoped for on their wedding day. A violinist and flutist were available for music during the ceremony. The aisle was adorned blush rose petals with tall arrangements in stone urns with pedestals filled with white hydrangeas, blush garden roses, white and ivory roses and white cymbidium orchids. The bride carried a hand tied cascade of blush and hot pick garden roses, orchids and greenery with ivory, blush and touches of hanging amaranthus in burgundy which was soft and flowery in style. Guests were seated in mahogany chiavari chairs and equipped with cones of blush petals to toss on the exit of the newly married couple. Following the ceremony the new Mr. and Mrs. deVere and guests were led back to the Vizcaya mansion by a single bagpiper playing Trumpet Voluntaire.
Following the cocktail party on the South Terrace of Vizcaya, the guests moved into the sparkling reception on the East Terrace overlooking the Biscayne Bay. The reception decor was in full “bloom” with exquisite florals and candle light and gold sparkle. The band never stopped playing and was very interactive with the dancing guests that never left the dance floor unless it was to enjoy the fantastic display of food on hand.
BELOW: A very fun casual photo of Lauren and her girls. When we shoot our posed bridal portraits we normally start out with a more formal posed picture. However, once the formal posed photo has been taken we change this posed photo into a more casual photo. One of our special tricks to create a casual fun look is to have one of the bridesmaids stand back to back with another girl. Doing this breaks up the pattern of all the girls and throws the pose into a more disorganized looking wedding shot.
BELOW: Wedding ceremony decor is another important element of wedding photography. Here in South Florida most brides and grooms prefer to have an outdoor wedding ceremony. The decor at the ceremony site is usually given special attention. Often the bride has spent hours deciding what flowers should adorn the ceremony. In order to add the element of fun at the conclusion of her wedding ceremony Lauren provided ivory rose petals for the wedding guest to throw after Aaron and Lauren say “I do”. (photo on the below right)
BELOW: Lauren’s father walking Lauren down the aisle. This is a moment not to be missed. This special moment is usually captured with 2 different cameras. As the bride and her father walk down the aisle their expressions can change from second to second. Having 2 cameras shooting will help insure that all the emotions are captured.
BELOW: The kiss and rose petal toss. These 3 photos were taken by our staff photographer Amy. Amy is our no nonsense get it done photographer. She is always ready for anything. Armed with her high-tech powerful strobe and plenty of battery power she can shoot shot after shot in rapid succession. As a South Florida Destination Wedding Photographer she knows just when the action is about to start and she keeps shooting while walking backwards to capture every second of the bride and grooms first moments as a married couple.
BELOW: With a long telephoto lens Albert shot this after the ceremony hug.
The wedding reception, décor, food, special touches and special moments
Lauren and Aaron both wanted their South Florida wedding to be filled with love, beauty and happiness. Overall, they wanted a romantic feel with the décor by choosing large gold urns with large floral arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, cymbidium orchids, peonies and seed eucalyptus. The tables were adorned in sultry beige dupioni tablecloths, clear glass chargers with gold a gold band with clear glass decorative candlesticks and pillar candles enclosed in glass. The head table seating 22 people had a garland of greenery using eucalyptus and ruscus accented throughout the table with floral clusters. Gold mercury cups and gold candlesticks at different heights were also present. At the ceiling of the tent were five suspended “chandeliers” created from a ghostwood base with trailing greens, foliage and decorative lanterns. Up-lights were located on the sides of the house with a down-wash lighting for the entire tent area and lower terrace area. 23 pin-spots for centerpieces were also used.
BELOW AND ABOVE: Wedding reception decor is what is looked for most often when wedding planners are searching for wedding pictures. It’s the wedding decor that sets the look and style of the wedding. Also, wedding reception decor photos help to give a wedding planner ideas in regards to how a certain wedding venue can look. In the past we have seen the same wedding reception venue look entirely different based on the decor.
BELOW: Signature drinks based on the bride and grooms life are a great way to add a fun element to any wedding. Also the signature drink sign can become another piece of wedding decor.
BELOW: The Grand Entrance is another time when the photographer has to be ready for anything. Usually the wedding party has some idea of how they will make their entrance. Sometimes the bridal party will come running into the the reception room with hands raised while others prefer a more entertaining method of making their entrance. Lauren and Aaron’s bridal party chose some very cool ways of making their entrance. Because of this high energy event the wedding photographer needs to be well prepared. This means, fresh batteries and a full memory card because anything can happen at this moment. In the past we have seen members of a bridal party enter on a bike, a horse, skateboard, and motorcycle.
The couple chose elegant food stations with a South Florida flare so that guests could have numerous food options at the reception. The caterer outdid himself with the Citrus Chicken, Pepper Seared Filet Mignon Medallions, Paella, Fish Taco Bar, and the Miami Churrasco.
For dessert? Macaroons and of course that INCREDIBLE red velvet cake. The naked cake plated on a gold cake tower was adorned in roses, hydrangeas and orchids
Their gold boxed gifts for their guests included monogrammed golf tees and a monogrammed golf ball – Aaron is an avid golfer, so it was very fitting!
ABOVE AND BELOW: Look at this cake!! This is by far one of my favorite wedding cakes. If course it helps when you have a great florist that adorns the wedding cake with some of the most rare and exotic flowers available.
The band seriously made the reception a night to remember. The guests truly NEVER stopped dancing and the band was so interactive and entertaining! One of my favorite parts of the reception is when guest actually created a second dance floor on the lower terrace near the water and members of the band came from the stage and sang and interacted to both dance floors at the same time!
BELOW: We end this blog post with a beautiful simple walking shot. Walking shots of the bride and groom are one of the easiest ways to get great candid wedding photographs. You can tell from this photo that Lauren and Aaron are having a great time at their wedding.