How to Shoot a Wedding with Horses, Puppies, and Humans (oh my!)
We had SO MUCH fun on this shoot. Between the amazing vendors and friends we worked with, pranks by mischievous horses, and a special cameo by a very sweet puppy who was touring the venue with his paw-rents, we spent the entire day laughing in one moment and saying “CAREFUL WITH THE DRESS” in the next. Be sure to scroll through the gallery below for some behind-the-scenes and outtakes photos to see what it’s really like at one of our photo shoots!
Speaking of what it’s really like…
This particular shoot is at The Sablewood at Highview Springs in Schoharie, NY. The Sablewood is a stunning venue that perfectly captures the rustic elegance of a true Equestrienne spirit. And as any true Equestrienne knows, you’re going to get a little drool on your dress and field on the hem in pursuit of that perfect photo.
We think it’s that mix of picture-perfect setting and realness that make The Sablewood so appealing as a venue – for a photo shoot, but moreso for a wedding! Whether you are looking for a place where you can bring your furry friends with you (large OR small, as the pictures show), or more interested in the history and beautiful vistas at Sablewood, this completely renovated barn is an incomparable spot for your ceremony and reception! (Best news of the day: not only is there a stunning reclaimed chandelier, a beautiful cocktail area with live-edge wood bars, and a full catering kitchen in the barn – Sablewood includes the farm tables and chairs you see in this shoot! One more thing off your list, ladies!)
The Dresses: Lea-Ann Belter and Olvi’s Lace
If you’ve been following our photoshoots, you know we love love LOVE Lea-Ann Belter Bridal and Olvi’s Lace.
You will see our redheaded model, Kendra, wearing Lea-Ann Belter’s Cressida ballgown and Treasure by Lea-Ann’s more budget-friendly line, Astrid & Mercedes.
At first, Cressida (the lace-topped ballgown) might seem like an interesting choice for a barn wedding shoot, but that’s what we love so very much about Lea-Ann and about the Sablewood. The luscious silk of the organza skirt works in ballrooms, but it’s so light and airy that it transitions to the field effortlessly. Treasure shows Lea-Ann’s playful side with the fun slit and easy-going a-line skirt. We love how out-of-time Kendra looks in these Lea-Ann Belter wedding gowns amidst the historic setting and modern touches of the Sablewood.
Ally is wearing one of our favorite off-the-shoulder Olvi’s Lace dresses in the field with her horses, and Astrid by Lea-Ann Belter in the barn for the ceremony and prestige shots at the front door.
We chose Olvi’s for the outside shots for entirely practical reasons: any of our brides who have worn an Olvi’s wedding dress will tell you that they never dreamed a wedding gown could be comfortable. You may notice as you’re looking through the photos that the dress didn’t fit Ally quite as well as it could have, and you’d be right! The dirty details of a photo shoot are that we don’t always buy the dress specifically for the shoot, and Ally is a tiny nugget of a human. So, when she was walking with the horses and pulling up the hem, the dress wiggled up a bit and Kathryn didn’t catch it (we’re all human, K – it’s ok).
Astrid by Lea-Ann Belter was the true inspiration behind this shoot. Made from printed silk organza, this dream of a dress really pulled the vision together for all of us. The bateau neckline with cap sleeves, belted waist, and floating, full skirt are incredibly whimsical and the perfect foil to the barn’s rustic charm and Ally’s dark beauty.
Ok, so the suits. Normally bridal salons wouldn’t spend too much time talking about suits on a website about wedding dresses, but we remember what a headache it was choosing suits for our own weddings and we feel like The National really hit the nail on the head with these combinations.
Recently we had a groom ask us if he should go tux or morning suit based on his fiance’s dress. For him, our answer was morning suit – it fit their vibe. For some brides and grooms the answer will be a resounding: Tux, please and thank you! But when we look at Brandon in these suits from The National we can’t help but think: YUM.
From far away, for example, the blue suit looks uniform, but up close you can see the subtle dotting on the jacket that elevates the look.
We also absolutely adore how Brandon wore the same cufflinks with both looks, showing that the “casual” look of chinos with a sport coat isn’t truly casual at all – it’s chic, effortless, and all about how you style it.
Sometimes with weddings we can all get carried away with what we call The Matchy-Matchies. The National’s choice of a subtle plaid sport coat with a flowered tie and checked handkerchief in coordinating but not matching colors just goes to show that a little personality goes a long way in pulling a look together.
Hats off to the ladies and gentlemen at The National!
You guys. We don’t even know where to begin with these flowers. Have you ever looked at more delicious bouquets?!
But Rena’s artistry goes far deeper than stunning bouquets and tablescapes. We truly cannot convey to you how huge the event space at the Sablewood can seem when you first walk in. On the one hand, this is awesome – plenty of space for a ceremony, reception, and dance floor. On the other… how do you make separate but cohesive spaces work together in one large space?
Don’t worry about it, because Rena’s got you. We love the gorgeous, almost architectural displays that marked the ceremony areas and the overhead greens that tied together the table area. Don’t be afraid to ask your florist for thoughts on flow through a space and always, always book a venue walk-through with them! Rena knows just how to bring spaces together using florals in a way that furniture placement alone cannot do.
The team at Make Me Fabulous is always incredible to work with, and what a deal when Kendra does her own hair!
But in all seriousness, we adore Alayne and her team. Working within someone else’s vision while expressing your own talent and creativity is a skill set all its own, and the team at Make Me Fabulous has it in spades.
The thing you should look for in a hair and makeup artist: she/he knows when to listen, when to make suggestions, and how to take feedback and execute on it.
We almost always give Alayne and her team free-reign over the hair and makeup for our shoots. The vision is discussed beforehand, we all exchange ideas, and then they make the magic happen. But every single time there’s something where one of us says, no… a little less of this here or a little more of that there. Usually how we would have done it is totally wrong, but the magic of the Make Me Fabulous crew is that they know just how to interpret our layman’s terms into bombshell beauty, every time.
All those beautiful, beautiful photos of food?! Well, we can personally attest to their deliciousness.
Kim and her staff at Lily and the Rose always put on a spectacular spread, and we can honestly say this is the best we’ve ever eaten on a photo shoot. All locally and responsibly sourced, Kim’s ingredients are as incredible as her cooking. Kim isn’t afraid to try anything (including bone marrow, pictured below), and she’s always game to rise to your challenge. Her gluten-free, vegan, etc. food is as imaginative as her menus for less-restrictive diets, if not more so. Truly, a queen in the kitchen (and beyond).
We adore working with Alyssa at Paper Dolls, who can make anything come to life between her outstanding printing capabilities and design skills.
Your stationery sets the tone for the wedding, and we wanted our shoot at the Sablewood to be as elegantly rustic as the venue itself, so Tracey and Rena went to Alyssa for help bringing this vision to life.
Personally, we cannot decide if our favorite touch is the black wax seal (daring, but oh-so-sophisticated) or the blue-toned reproduced painting of a horse that came with the invitations (a modern take on an old-world touch).
Black and white marbled frosting with gold leaf. Admit it, you didn’t know a wedding cake could be more sophisticated than your one friend’s Aunt Daphne who lives in SoHo.
We absolutely adore how understated this cake is, especially the way it pops with Rena’s gorgeous peonies and ranunculus. Edible or not, flowers are always a great addition to your wedding cake and the cake table, tying everything together and accentuating the beauty of the cake itself.
(By the way, in case you were wondering, the chocolate raspberry layer of this cake, which we had the chance to try was p h e n o m e n a l.)
Keep scrolling. Tracey is one of the most incredibly talented and incomparable photographers we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Her photos speak for themselves, and if you plan to have animals involved in your wedding or engagement photos there is no better or more patient photographer around.
The number one thing you want from a videographer is great video.
The number one-and-a-half thing you want from a videographer is to forget he’s there.
While we never forgot Kenneth was there (this was a shoot, not a real wedding, after all), what impressed us day-of was how seamlessly he and Tracey danced around each other. Being cognizant of whether their in the photo, where the best angles are to capture the first kiss for video versus photograph, finding the shot without needing to ask the couple to do everything again now that it’s “their turn”. THESE are the things that are important when you plan to have a photographer and a videographer at your wedding, and Kenneth was a master.
Pro tip from one gal to another: if you plan to have a photographer and a videographer, it’s always a plus if they’ve worked well together in the past!