Welcome to my blog! I'm thrilled to be able to share with you my favorite images from weddings, engagements, maternity, and more! Grab a cup of coffee and get snuggly cuz this blog will give you all the feels!
2016 started out a little crazy, but it ended beautifully! We had some incredible clients this year and to witness the love ya’ll have for your people just melted my heart! Over the past week we’ve had so many wonderful comments left on the blog, Instagram, & Facebook! We loved reading every one of them. When it came down to it tho, there was one couple who had a few more comments than others. CONGRATS TO KRISTIN & NATE! Hooray! They’ve won a free 16×24 gallery canvas print of their choice a $250 value! I wonder which one they’ll choose? Here a few of my personal favorites:
Here’s to true bonds of love & friendship in 2017! It’s already off to an amazing start!
When someone trusts you enough to fly you to another place to capture their wedding day…well there are very few honors greater. At first it was friends who asked me to go, which I understood, but others quickly followed. Clients whom had connections from this friend or that bride were willing to take me along with them to their dream wedding day and it just boggled my mind! However, it did allow me access to a new level of intimacy with my clients & their loved ones. Not only did I blend in with the wedding (like a ninja!), but I got to become this adopted family member for a short while. Then I got married and Daniel joined the team, now there were 2 of us to travel. One was a big enough expense but 2? I didn’t think it likely that we’d get to travel for weddings together. I’ve been delightfully proven wrong! Daniel is now my destination travel companion and it’s brought a new level of joy to my heart and business!
Our last destination wedding of the year brought us to St. Thomas for Kristin & Nate’s wedding at the Sand Dollar Estate. This is the first time that someone has booked us for a destination wedding where we’ve had no connection to the client. Kristin was researching her venue and found the photographs that I had taken of Amanda & Art’s gorgeous wedding in the Virgin Islands. We connected instantly over a hot cup of coffee in Starbucks and talked and talked about her vision for the day. I knew this was going to be something special. Over the next year I received beautiful little messages from Kristin & Nate wishing us congrats on our own marriage, checking in to see how my dad was doing, and just a general care for our well being. Just a couple weeks before their wedding Kristin made the drive all the way up to Statesville from South Carolina just so we could chat face to face. Before we knew it, hours had passed and we parted with a hug and immense excitement for their wedding day!
Daniel and I arrived in St. Thomas with out a hitch and proceeded to take it all in (having an extra person to travel with really makes everything WAY easier!). The next day arrived with a beautiful tropical breeze and the smell of salt on the air. We made the journey up winding St. Thomas roads to the Sand Dollar Villa where Kristin, Nate, and 15 of their closest family & friends were preparing for the big event. The moment arrived and everyone broke into smiles as Kristin walked down the stairs to marry Nate. It was finally here, all the plans, all the travel, all of it lead to this moment and it was totally worth every bit to see the look on their faces when they were introduced as husband and wife!
I just adore these two and they celebrated their love in the best possible way, with good food, a bottle of champagne, and a kayaking adventure in their wedding attire! Talk about AMAZING! We spent the rest of our time documenting true joy! The joy of two becoming one, the joy of friends and family all spending quality time together, the joy of a setting that words can’t justly describe. Thank you Kristin & Nate for not only hiring us, but trusting us with so much, for loving on us through planning your own wedding, and for want to stay connected with us from here out. We love you guys and cannot wait to see you in just a little over a week!
We didn’t cut out everything, though, as we decided to have an awesome catered beef tenderloin wedding dinner, and we flew in the best wedding photographer team in the USA — Mabyn Ludke Henderson and Daniel Henderson!
Last but certainly not least on the special/unique aspect is that Kristin prayed about finding a dress at a thrift store and the very next day she found one in her size and correct height with the original tags still attached for $75 and no tax.
Memorable (Surprising): Our iguana guest
Memorable (Enchanting): the entire reception with the lights, sky, mountain across the bay, music, toasts, sunset and the awesome reception attire we chose.
As Kristin did, look for photos taken at your venue (and others) that you like and would want to have your own twist on.
Finally don’t skimp on the photographer, hair or makeup — it is through amazing photos that you will view your special day together lovingly in the years to come…
Nate was concerned about ending up with a photographer who holds so tightly to all the rights that it is years before you can even make your own pictures to download, hang or send photos as gifts without the costs skyrocketing.
We hope they incorporate this aspect for future couples’ shoots so they too can look back and remember the process as well as the images!
And it must be said that Mabyn was there for Kristin with calming words, advice and action to keep things on track beyond just the photography!
Kristin: the “you may now kiss the bride” photo
Keep in mind that the pictures in sequence and together all tell a story and depict an amazing day so it is difficult to pick — they are all awesome…
Planning a wedding is tough, planning a wedding that shows your personality is even more difficult. Kristin and Morgen knew they didn’t want a cookie cutter wedding day. They wanted something comfy that fit them as a couple but was completely unique to them. So Kristin & Morgen endeavored to create their perfect day. The location, East Hampton, was just far enough away from upstate NY to feel like a destination, it was an important spot because Morgen grew up there, and of course, who doesn’t love the beach? Kristin incorporated sweet details to make the event extra special, and then they treated the most important people in their lives to a fantastic bonfire reception! Every little bit of their wedding day was the perfect fit for this sweet laid back couple. I personally was very excited to get to document Kristin & Morgen’s day! Kristin and I went to high school together, so it was an extra treat being there when she tied the knot. I’ve also secretly always wanted to visit Montauk. Has anyone else watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. “Meet me in Montauk!” You also may have noticed that this is just part one of Kristin & Morgen’s wedding extravaganza! In just a month or so I’ll be heading back up to CNY to shoot their Green Lakes reception! Woohoo! I can’t wait to see everyone again! XOXOXO, Mabyn – Tell me a bit about the planning process for your wedding: We wanted a small, intimate beach wedding, so we decided to get married in East Hampton, since that’s where the Morgen grew up. We also wanted a reception close-by where we live now, so we chose Green Lakes to stick with the beach theme. – What was the most memorable moment(s) of your day? The first moment I saw him in his dress blues for the first time – Funniest memory from your wedding day? During the sand ceremony, we were scooping up sand off the beach for our “foundation sand” and there was a goldfish cracker in the sand. I whispered to him “don’t get the goldfish!” but it kept almost getting in our vase. We were laughing but nobody else knew why. – If you had to do it all over again would you change anything? Just minor things, like doing a quick run through with everyone before, since we couldn’t do a rehearsal. – Any advice for future bride & grooms? The day goes SO FAST…. enjoy every moment. – What, specifically, was your favorite part of working with Mabyn Ludke Photography and why? That I knew you prior to that and you weren’t some stranger in my face with a camera. Hair: Lindsay Waltz // Makeup Artist: Riki Lebied // Dress Designer & Store Location: David’s Bridal Dewitt, NY // Jewelry: Michaelangelo pearl earrings & Morgen’s grandpa’s bracelet // Veil or Hair accessories: rhinestone starfish hair barrettes & white lily // Shoes: beaded foot jewelry // Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal chiffon dresses in Spa & Coral // Grooms Attire: Army Service Uniform (Army dress blues) // Ceremony Venue: Main Beach East Hampton, NY // Reception Venue: Green Lakes State Park (at a later date) // Additional photo venue: Montauk Manor Montauk, NY // Florist: Maggie @ The Wild Orchid // Transportation: Steve Franks, Mary Jane Seely, Matt Kulick // DJ: Carmen’s Karaoke (at the reception) // Caterer: Stephen Franks from the Brewster Inn // Cake: Colleen Guynup & Sean Murphy @ Murphy’s Specialized Pastry //Invitations & Stationary: hand made message-in-a-bottle for the ceremony/ Invitations by David’s Bridal for the reception // Other: officiant: Carmen Chavarria
The day after Amanda & Art’s wedding, being the crazy people that we are, we got up early in the morning so we could adventure out to St. John for a day after Rock the Dress shoot! Though Amanda and Art love St. Thomas, they really have a special place in their hearts for St. John, so we jumped a ferry and spent a few hours just exploring the island! I wish I had 1 more day in St. John & St. Thomas because we had to drive directly to the airport after the shoot. Luckily though, Amanda and Art still had 1 shoot left for me…but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for that one. If you remember, Amanda and Art also had a reception back here in NY! In between their gorgeous destination wedding and their stunning Auburn reception (1 week a part) I shot two weddings and a maternity session…soooooo there are some other pictures that I have to show you first. Plus I must build up the suspense as much as I can! Mwahahahaha! 😉
How did your fiancé propose: Art had decided to surprise me with a trip to the Adirondacks. He’d planned for us to climb to the top of Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State. Of course, Art’s idea of a fun trip to the Adirondacks included rustic sleeping quarters; a cabin that boasts such features as shared restrooms and showers, along with a make-shift cot. After preparing enough food and water for our adventure the next day, we hit the sack early. Upon waking, we packed the car and headed to the base of the mountain. But on the way there, I started to have an allergic reaction, mainly affecting my right eye. Being that it was the 4th of July and we were in the Adirondacks, there were a limited number of drug stores open. After attempting to stop at a few, we finally found one that was open. Upon showing the pharmacist the condition of my eye, the pharmacist instructed Art to take me to the hospital immediately. Luckily, there was one close by. By this time, I had dosed off as Art had not checked the label to make sure the Benadryl was the non-drowsy kind. As I laid knocked-out on the hospital bed, Art discussed with the doctor my condition. Art specifically asked, “Is she okay to climb?” as he realized he did not have a plan B in store for the proposal. After examining my eye the doctor indicated I should be good to go as long as I kept my eye covered with sunglasses. At this point, it was around 11 AM and Art still had yet to mention it would take approximately 5 hours to get to the top of the mountain.And so, we took off! And we climbed, and we climbed, and we climbed. Did I mention we climbed…? Anyway, as we were nearing the top, we watched as more and more people began to make their way down the mountain, seeing that it was getting later in the day and the other hikers were cautious not to get stuck climbing down in the dark. Not us, and not Art, he was determined to make it to the top! Towards the end of the climb, we began to climb up above the tree line. The wind was extremely strong, and being that we were on flat rock, there were no tree branches to help pull ourselves up the mountain. I began to climb on my hands and knees, as heights are not my favorite thing. Finally, after hiking 7.5 miles, we made it to the top!! We sat down to enjoy what was to be our romantic lunch, but had now become dinner — grapes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As we looked out across the top of the mountain, we could see clear to Montreal, Canada and the Green Mountains of Vermont. After enjoying our ‘lunch’, we packed up and Art waited for me to stand to begin hiking back down the mountain. However, it was my intention to crawl backwards down the flat rocks on the mountaintop, and therefore, I was not quick to stand up. Finally, I stood and Art decided it was time to get down on one knee. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a gorgeous engagement ring to ask for my hand in marriage. Shaking in the knees, due in part to my fear of heights, I began to tear up (in my one good eye), and said YES!!
Tell me a bit about the planning process for your wedding (how did you pick the venue, colors, funny stories, etc..): Art and I, along with my parents, looked at every possible venue in the Upstate region. However, when it came down to making our decision it was important that we had an intimate ceremony with our close family and friends. I had taken several trips to the Virgin Islands, once with my dad and once with one of my best friends. I had fallen in love with the islands and the beauty of the Caribbean. We found the Sand Dollar Estate in St. Thomas online and fell in love. It seemed like the perfect place for our wedding because were able to have all of our family stay in the house and get married on a private beach. However, we also wanted to make sure that we had a chance to celebrate with our extended family and friends back home. The Emerson Park Pavilion in Auburn, NY was the perfect venue as it carried many meaningful memories for my family as it use to be the dance hall that my mom and her siblings spent their summer nights. The Pavilion was also undergoing several renovations and updates that would be completed prior to our reception.
What was the most memorable moment(s) of your day? There are too many to pick just one, so I am going to share them all. 1. At the wedding rehearsal, when I took my dad’s arm to walk down the aisle and I told him to hold on tight (as it was quiet the number of stairs we had to climb down to the beach). He replied “What if I don’t ever want to let go.” I just about burst into tears; 2. Looking out across the bay on our wedding day from the top of the deck and seeing dolphins jumping in the bay; 3. Walking down the aisle, with my mom and dad on each side, and then looking up to see my fiancé at the end of the aisle; 4. Looking out at the ocean during the ceremony and seeing Mabyn thigh high in the ocean working to get the perfect shot of our ceremony; 5. The days after and before our ceremony when we got to spend time with our family and loved ones; 6. Entering our reception and seeing all of our loved ones who came to celebrate with us. I was so overwhelmed with joy that my knees almost gave in. Had I not held on to Art’s arm I could have collapsed as the emotions of joy and love washed over me.
Funniest memory from your wedding day? It’s hard to pick but I would say 1. the after-party pool party where everyone was hanging out swimming and singing their hearts out to the music and 2. while not the funniest memory for me, but for most everyone else – when Art smashed both the cupcake (in the VIs) and our wedding cake (at the reception) in my face. At the reception a piece of our amazing wedding cake fell down my dress and I shook it all the way through till it came out onto the floor. A roar of laughter was heard!
If you had to do it all over again would you change anything? Not a single thing. If I could, I would re-live our wedding day over and over again for the rest of my life.
Any advice for future bride & grooms? Choose the things that mean the most to you. Make sure you are fully behind those decisions. Let go of the things that are less important to you and know that not everything is going to go as planned. But remember that in the end none of that will matter.
What was your favorite part about working with Mabyn Ludke Photography? What is not to love! Mabyn is so dedicated and invested in helping each of her brides and grooms make their wedding day tremendously special. Mabyn radiates such a jubilant energy that is contagious to all of those around her. She somehow always knows where to be, and when. During those precious moments, she is able to camouflage herself in such a way that you would not know she was there. Yet she gracefully makes herself present in the most important moments. On our wedding day, Mabyn not only took amazing pictures, but also assisted with the set up, last minute decision making, and even tied Art’s tie for him! Its because of her dedication and attention to details that our day went so smoothly! She listened to our wants carefully and went above and beyond to make sure those desires were brought to life. Mabyn’s easy going personality balanced with her desire to capture epic photos for each of her brides and grooms, made her an essential part of our wedding day! I’d say, and I think any bride who has worked with Mabyn would agree that no wedding is complete without her, and no wedding is the same with her! We were so blessed to have Mabyn join us for several days while we were in the Virgin Islands and stayed in the same residences as our family and friends. Needless to say, she has become a part of our family!