Winter bridal bouquet with berries

Laysa and Max's winter Tuxedo Park wedding

It took one dance.

Well, it took several dances and then just one dance.

Max and Laysa knew each other for years. They showed up at the same dance parties and sometimes danced together. But Laysa was busy and Max was such a great dancer, he had a lot of partners - so he says. Until the fall of 2018. One dance.

"I knew from the beginning," said Max. He was drawn to Laysa's kindness, not just to him but to others. Laysa, though, had to think about it. But she was attracted to Max's ability to make her feel calm and reassured even when she was afraid of the unknown. Also, he had those really cute wrinkles at the corners of his eyes when he smiled.

Their snowy winter wedding included, yup, lots of dancing. Also, an epic first look outside Skylands Manor in New Jersey, a troupe of very silly non-bridesmaids, a snowball fight, tears, laughter, and more tears. We also had a first look with Laysa's Dad Oscar and with her bridesmaids who weren't really bridesmaids. (Max and Laysa decided not to have a traditional wedding party. Instead a few of their friends dressed in matching colors.) We also had a first look with the bride herself - a spontaneous photo of Laysa when she first saw herself in the mirror as a bride. "Is that really me?" she said.

Max and Laysa wanted an outdoor wedding, but that wasn't practical in January. So they created an indoor outdoor reception with fresh greenery and white lights inside a private lounge in Tuxedo Park that is blessed with high ceilings and tall windows.

Then there were the group shots with the workmates. No brides or grooms were harmed in the making of these photos.

This was one of those weddings that feeds both sides of my soul as a photographer. Thanks to good planning, great weather and a beautiful, stylish couple, we had so many flat-out gorgeous images. But Max and Laysa and their families also 'let us in' so to speak so we could capture the emotion, the joy, the sadness, the tiny little moments that help you to know not just how this wedding looked but also how it felt. Max and Laysa said they did not know the phrase 'photojournalist wedding photography' when they found me but they knew it put into words what they had been looking for - all the moments captured, both expected and unexpected.

Second Shooter: Nicole Ellis

First Look: Skylands Manor, Ringwood, New Jersey

Ceremony: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Airmont, New York

Venue: Private Lounge, Tuxedo Park, New York

Hair and Makeup: Arlene Martinez

Dress: David's Bridal

Cake: Ronette Giambra

Flowers: Sonia Lopez

DJ: Jonathan Meza

Groomsmen getting ready in Warwick, New York
Groom getting ready for a Hudson Valley winter wedding
Groom getting ready in Tuxedo Park, New York wedding
Groom prep for a Hudson Valley wedding
Groom and groomsman share a laugh before a Hudson Valley winter wedding