My Journal

Kayla & Joe’s Photo Shoot in Florence, Italy

On May 23rd, 2015 I had a pleasure of photographing this beautiful and loving couple — high-school sweethearts Kayla and Joe.  American natives, they are currently living in Florence as Joe was offered a 1 year fellowship to continue his specialized research with a lab at the University of Florence.

I was so fascinated with their story that I asked Kayla to share it with me and I would like to share it with the world! Read more…

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To read the full story of Kayla & Joe and view more photos from this photoshoot click here >>>


Andres and Jessica’s Wedding at The Water’s Edge, NYC

“When I first brought Andres home – keep in mind we were only 17 years old – he showed up to pick me up in a cowboy hat, leather cuffs and a cut-off shirt. My mom was terrified and kept asking me if he was dangerous and saying “please tell me you don’t like this guy!” I assured her that he was harmless and from then on, he slowly crept into her heart”- Jessica

Jessica and Anders were married April 12th 2015 and met October 4th 2005. Both moving from Florida to New York together their story is anything but your typical high school sweetheart story. Jessica coming from a Jewish American family and Anders Catholic Columbian their wedding was a magnificent fusion of cultures… Read more>>>

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To read the full story of Jessica and Andres and view more photos from their wedding click here >>>


Jessica and Andres’ Wedding at The Water’s Edge, NYC


“When I first brought Andres home – keep in mind we were only 17 years old – he showed up to pick me up in a cowboy hat, leather cuffs and a cut-off shirt. My mom was terrified and kept asking me if he was dangerous and saying “please tell me you don’t like this guy!” I assured her that he was harmless and from then on, he slowly crept into her heart” – Jessica

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Jessica and Anders were married April 12th 2015 and met October 4th 2005. Both moving from Florida to New York together their story is anything but your typical high school sweetheart story. Jessica coming from a Jewish American family and Anders Catholic Columbian their wedding was a magnificent fusion of cultures.

Being raised by a protective single mom, when Jessica brought Anders home for the first time she thought he was dangerous. But as time passed her mom came to know how wonderful Anders really was. They laugh about it to this day. Jessica and Anders attended prom together. Anders younger sister was 2 when they started dating and now, as a young lady was Jessica’s Maid of Honor. Organizing for two very different cultures was an adventure for both of them. Jessica who is now fluent in Spanish encouraged certain American traditions to Anders family (like not wearing a wedding dress to someone else’s wedding!) while Anders encouraged a bilingual Rabbi so the ceremony could be celebrated by everyone.

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An intimate, elegant, affair, with 100 of their closest family and friends they married under a Chuppa at the Waters Edge overlooking the city. The men wore yamulkas then they danced the night away to Columbian Merengue, Salsa and the Hora.

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Appetizers were empanadas among other columbian foods. Instead of a guest book they placed make a wish stones in an elegant basket where guests could write a wish for the couple on the stones for them to keep. Royal Photo Booth provided some hilarious photos with multicultural props. While guests could post their own photos with their personal Instagram hashtag.

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Jessica’s style was classic but contemporary. To enhance her gorgeous blush dress Amy from Amy Klewitz Beauty and Jessica decided on a  textured side chignon that perfectly accompanied her vintage headband and earrings.

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Knowing Jessica’s love for makeup Amy airbrushed a flawless coverage and accentuated her eyes with some false lashes that Jessica, never wanted to take off. Tatiana Valerie from Atrvesta Studios captured the moment and lighting from the city perfectly, to make it one memorable night for everyone.

Cinematic Video Teaser for Jessica & Andres — Water’s Edge, NYC

Wedding Slideshow – Andres and Jessica’s Wedding at The Water’s Edge

The couple’s wedding books came out gorgeous!

Jessica Andres Collage

Event Professionals:

Photography: Tatiana Valerie, Artvesta Studio

Hair & Makeup: Amy Klewitz Beauty

Photo Booth: Royal Photo Booth, Laura Adaza

Chuppah: Your Chuppah NY

Wedding Dress: Casablanca

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Venue: The Water’s Edge

Planning a destination wedding or a honeymoon? Let a professional travel specialist help you!


Yesterday, we sat down with travel agent, Laura Hanaford. Laura specializes in custom vacations, honeymoons, group travel for destination weddings and travel for out of town guests to local weddings. Her company, The Trip Trotter, is part of the Tzell Travel Group. Laura helps us understand why in the world of internet bookings where information is at your fingertips, it’s still best to work with a travel agent.

What is your process for working with couples choosing a destination wedding?

Resort matching is the longest and most difficult part of planning destination weddings, yet it’s the most important. Most of the time, couples don’t have a resort in mind, but they have an idea for a location. It’s also important to know where they don’t want to have their wedding and why. Ironically, couples actually book on islands that they originally did not want to because they had previous false misconceptions. I begin by either meeting the couple in person or having a phone interview. It’s important to learn about who they are, their families and any expectations and must-haves that they need for their wedding. Obviously, budget is a largest factor when planning but unlike planning non-destination weddings, the costs for the guests is often more important than the wedding itself. It’s also important to note if you’re allowed to bring in outside vendors and if there’s a cost. After getting to know the couple, I pull a few different properties and have the couple let me know what they like and don’t like about each. We will then look at different properties until we find the perfect fit.


What’s the advantage of working with a travel agent over booking the property directly with the resort yourself?

As an agent, not only do we have access to the best group rates possible, but we can also help negotiate extras in addition to the group amenities. They vary depending on the resort, but can include free transfers, upgrades, better room locations, wedding packages, and extra parties. Sometimes, we can even negotiate services of a judge or minister- that’s huge! There’s also more flexibility with the cancellation policy within our contracts. Many couples complain that the upgrades that were promised do not get delivered, but as we have relationships with these properties, promises are delivered. The contract can also be confusing and most couples have never booked group travel before. We help explain the ins and outs and make sure that you’re taking advantage of everything that is available.


Ok, but what about booking the honeymoon?

I usually book my own trips. Why should I hire a travel agent? Couples come to me at the last because the pressure and time needed to plan the wedding became overwhelming. The honeymoon is a once in a lifetime trip for most couples, so why not have a professional plan it. Travel agents also are able to get better rates at many top hotels and resorts. One of the hotel programs that my agency is part of is The Signature Group, which gives upgrades, amenities and value-adds at over 800 properties worldwide. Add-ons include daily breakfast for two, early check- in/late check-out upon availability and resort credit.

We’re the ones that can send bottles of champagne to your room. We also make sure that you’re taking the right tours, have all of the right transfers and are not trying to fit in too much or make unreasonable connections. We’re not just your booking agent, but your consultant and can provide you with destination opportunities that you’ve never dreamed of. Couples often have an idea of where they want to go, but in reality it may not match their personality, honeymoon time, or budget and we help you realize that and come up with alternatives. For brides that like to plan, I help target their searches so it’s not so overwhelming yet they still feel in control.

For instance, I’ll give them several hotel options and let them choose. Most importantly, when something goes wrong, you know that you have someone with influence to call when you need help. Because my agency has such strong relationships with vendors, we’re able to step in when there’s a problem and get you help faster than those who book themselves. For example, my agency even has a direct line with Delta, so we can get to the airline agent that much faster.

Great, I’m sold. So what’s the best way to contact you?

I’m reachable by phone at 212-537-7154, or email at Can’t wait to help make your next dream vacation a reality.

Photography by Tatiana Valerie 2015

A City Hall Wedding on December 31st, 2014 in New York City

This couple is very near and dear to my heart, Yelena and Alex. I was honored to photograph the City Hall wedding of these beautiful people — beautiful inside and out. Yelena and Alex decided to tie the knot on December 31st while visiting their families on a school break. Yelena is studying in Atlanta, GA to become a doctor.

Manhattan City Hall Wedding NYC 002It is pretty awesome that the City Hall in New Your City is open on December 31st! There were people lined up outside of City Hall at 7:30 AM — an hour before the doors opened. Finally, at about 8:45 the couple was checked in and given a number for the clerk window. At the window they and their two witnesses were asked to sign the marriage
certificate. At 
that point the couple was formally married.  There was a ring exchange ceremony ahead and we all looked forward to it!

The ring exchange ceremony lasted about five minutes but it was a very nice touch to the overall very formal process of officially registering a new family (to learn about the whole process of marriage license application in New York City, please take a look at this article.)

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After we were done with formalities, we headed uptown for some really cool photos at Grand Central Terminal, followed by photos at Washington Square Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. We had a lot of fun and took some great photos.

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During our photography session we also filmed Yelena and Alex’s NYC Love Story.


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