The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

Wedding

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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! 😉

xoxoxo,
Mabyn

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Sand Dollar Estate Magen's Bay, St. Thomas St. John Virgin Island Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

How did your fiancĂ© 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 fiancĂ© 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!

Amanda & Art’s Love Story – Part 3

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It’s not very often that I get to blog about personal stuff. This season has been so jam packed with amazingness that I just can’t seem to keep up! So we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled program of wedding goodness (for a brief moment).

Currently, I am sitting at a table at my hotel with some of the best coffee I have ever had, covered in bug spray, but enjoying every moment of this beautiful place called Nicaragua!

My best friend, Lillian, (scroll down to see engagement photos) is getting married to her fiance Felipe in just 2 more days! As I mentioned before, I will not be shooting this wedding. I in fact get to be IN the wedding as her Maid of Honor! I don’t have any sisters and only a handful of very close girlfriends, so this truly is an honor for me!

My friend Amber (another bridesmaid) and I arrived in Nicaragua at about 7am Eastern time. The whole trip down took about 12 hours. It was a fun all nighter as I don’t sleep well in airports or planes.

Once we arrived I was immediately over stimulated with the culture and so badly wanted to take my camera out and start snapping away! I controlled myself until we had a nap and then it was all over from there!

Since our arrival, we’ve been treated with amazing hospitality, had amazing Nicaraguan food, visited the resort where Lillian is to be married, and hung out at a volcanic ash beach! Today we have real wedding business to attend to.

It’s all so wonderful! I can’t wait to share part 2 of this journey with you!

Night time and sun rise on the way to Nicaragua

Our hotel

The best coffee ever!!! mmmm!

Amber and I

The view from Felipe’s residence

One of the volcanoes of Nicaragua

Some of the details from the beach house

The beautiful beach & beach house

The whole beach was volcanic ash

Myself, Amber, and Lillian (the beautiful bride!)

Lillian & Felipe

And now a few from the trip back to the city

Nicaragua part 1 : Real Life : Syracuse, NY Destination Photographer