Palace at Somerset Park Wedding Photographers: Michelle & Dan

Fireworks, a packed dance floor and marrying her elementary school crush in the school chapel… you won’t want to  miss this unique, heartfelt wedding… oh and I lost my voice for this one guys, there is a first time for everything, but it all turned out picture perfect ;)…
Michelle shared, “Lisa photographed Dan’s friends Kristin and Brian’s wedding two years ago, (they actually got to celebrate their 2 year anniversary at our wedding!)  I looked at her website and loved the way she captured strong emotions creatively in photos.  They looked natural and were a great mix of traditional and candid photos that really seemed to capture the personalities of the couples she worked with. We reached out to  Kristin and she said that choosing Lisa was one of the best decisions they made for their wedding!”
She continued, “After meeting Lisa, we instantly knew she was the photographer for us. Not only is she talented but after chatting with her for only a short time we immediately felt comfortable with her.  We truly enjoyed working with Lisa for our engagement photos and loved how the photos came out. We went into the wedding day  with full trust in her,  knowing that she was the best person to capture the special moments of the wedding through photography.  She and her assistant, Denis, really fit in with our bridal party and were so easy to be around.  They gave us a few suggestions here and there, but for most of the day, they seemed to be invisible!”
While I love capturing candid, creative shots, I also make sure to photograph traditional portraits, too.  I love the classic feel of this one:
While I’ve photographed many weddings at The Palace, each couple is unique and I try to find new places and new perspectives, and use different lighting and camera techniques and push myself creatively…
Michelle shared, “For the flowers, I chose a blush color scheme with roses and lots of greens.”
I liked the idea of subtly incorporating a few of the family antiques in the foreground and background of the shot, elevating it with some gold.
Note the name of the bottle 😉
Cheers!  Michelle’s bridesmaids bought her the balloon for her shower, and it was still in good shape for the wedding, so she mounted it over the bed.  It adds some depth and context to the photo along with the wedding dress in the foreground…nj-best-wedding-photographers-palace-somerset-new-jersey-creative-6
Michelle explained, “My “something blue” was my wedding shoes that I dyed steel blue to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.”
A modern take on a family heirloom… Michelle mentioned to me that she had an antique photo of her grandmother using the same heirloom mirror she’d be using on her wedding day.  She asked if I might be able to use it for anything, I was like YES!!!
The photo is of her grandmother’s reflection, so I wanted to capture Michelle’s reflection *on* the photograph.  I wanted to show the heirloom mirror, but in a sleek, modern way, so I photographed Michelle’s silhouette and I pulled in the blues of the window light and also played up the gold sepia tones of the photo and frame using the ambient light in the room….
It was really a challenge to pull off, to get everything looking just the way I wanted, but I’m so happy with the results…
I have *so many* beautiful bridal shots of Michelle, but there is something about the veil and the sparkle in her eyes here that I really like…
I played with silhouettes and reflections a little more with this shot…
While I was photographing the ladies, my second photographer, Denis was working with the men…
Michelle shared, “Not many people can say they married their 7th grade crush! Back in elementary school Dan was outgoing, funny, kind, and as an added bonus was a Yankee fan. At my friend Megan’s wedding in 2016, our mutual friend, Danielle, convinced me that “grown up” Dan still possessed a lot of these qualities and thought that we would hit it off. I am so glad I took her advice!”
When the groomsmen arrived here was a special drink waiting for each of them.
He pulled in elements of their personalities, interests and tastes and came up with quite a selection…
There are so many elements of a wedding day to be captured, from little details to epic scenes to little moments that capture emotion…
These cool guys are all dressed up and ready to go:
I love all the reds, whites, and blues in this silhouette of Dan catching a limo from the hotel to the church…
Michelle shared, “We had our ceremony at Saint Matthias Church. Dan and I both went to school together at Saint Matthias and so did many members of the bridal party! It was the perfect place for us to get married!”
Their journey is about to come full circle…
Michelle explained, “When I saw Dan on our wedding day he looked amazing in his navy blue suit. As I walked up the aisle with my father at the church, well I don’t think I’ve ever had a bigger smile on my face.”
Dan shared, “Watching Michelle walk down the aisle towards me was a moment I will never forget, especially seeing how big her smile was, I genuinely thought to myself how did I get this lucky?!”
Here her father joins their hands and gives his blessing on their marriage.
I love to play with different visual elements, here I caught a reflection of Michelle and Dan off the church floor…
Michelle explained, “Our organist was my choir director growing up, and our officiant, Deacon Steve, is my bridesmaid Sara’s father.”
I wanted to get a really unique photo of Deacon Steve, and played with colorful reflections again, this time using the stained glass…
Michelle laughed, “All I kept thinking was, “This is the best day ever and I can’t wait to marry him!”
Playing with the reflection again, Love their expressions here…
Offering up prayers and songs, I wanted to focus on the wedding guests’ hands and allow Michelle and Dan to be visible, but only softly in the background.
Michelle smiled, “It felt great to walk out of the church for our first time as husband and wife!”
Aw their faces say it all!
Something most of my clients get is a guestbook.  It features photos from their engagement session and has spaces for the guests to sign and write well wishes…
Michelle shared, “My bridesmaid Katie is my cousin, but like a sister to me.  I’ve been friends with the rest of my girls for 25+ years. Some of us went to preschool together and all of us went to Saint Matthias together. Throughout the years we have all remained close. Even  though we don’t all live near each other,  when we are together it’s like no time has past. The distance also gives us good excuses to go on trips together and have enjoyed girls’ trips in Costa Rica, Mexico, San Francisco, Nashville and the Outer Banks. ”
Taking a unique perspective on a familiar venue– I love the columns!
Dan explained, “I was really excited to have my best friends together in the party with my brother and soon to be brothers in law. They all clicked together really well- especially as we were taking  photos together and doing football and other funny poses.”nj-best-wedding-photographers-palace-somerset-new-jersey-creative-27
Michelle shared, “I chose steel blue for the bridesmaids’ gowns, because I thought it would be a nice color for a summer wedding and would look great on all the girls. I wanted everyone to be happy with their look so I let my girls pick the style of their dresses. I’m glad I decided to do this because all the girls looked amazing  wearing the dresses they selected.”
Dan shared, “Denis made taking photos together an enjoyable process. He blended in well and it felt like he became one of the guys.”
Dan smiled, “The groomsmen did a great job keeping me relaxed and allowing me to enjoy the moments and they even bought me a variety pack of my favorite Scotch which included Johnny Walker Blue!”
Michelle shared, “Lisa lost her voice on the day of our wedding! Something that never happened to her the day of a wedding, before. With the help of water and cough drops, she was able to direct the wedding party and get all of the photos we wanted as if she was feeling 100%. Lisa really fit in with the wedding party and it was fun to have her their while we were getting ready.”
This was the shot I was most nervous about as it does take quite a bit of communication to set up (unless your friends actually area supermodels).   I dunno guys, it looks like you might be…
Michelle explained, “I live in Somerset, where the Palace is located, and have heard great things about it ever since it opened .  We had over 250 people at our wedding and the East Side which proved to be the perfect location for our wedding guests.  The Palace grounds are so beautiful in the summer and we were lucky enough have a sunny day…
I love to capture the entire scene, so that you can really get the feel for a venue.  I tilt-shifted this shot to almost make Michelle and Dan and the scene look like a miniature…
Dan shared, “I always knew that Michelle was such a sweet and loving person.  I love how smart and how hardworking she is.  I knew for a long time that Michelle is the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and that she would be there for me in good times and in bad.”
He continued, “I’m really looking forward to my future with Michelle– buying our first house together, going on great vacations, exploring the world together, and hopefully one day even buying a beach house.”
Playing with a crystal to get some cool effects, Denis knocked this one out of the park!  I’m really particular about who I hire to work with me.   😉
Michelle shared, “It was so nice to have alone time with Dan during our photos.  Dan is kind, loving, funny, and hardworking.  I feel so lucky to have him in my life!”
I really had fun with this cake shot!
I found just the right spot so that I could layer candles in front and behind and play with, I also played with the crystals in the decor (great minds think alike haha) and then used a lighting technique to really accentuate the layers of textured icing on the cake!
I thought the blue and yellow were great contrasts and the dark background really made the cake pop!
A bridal party arch on the dance floor is always fun!  Here, with this wide perspective you can see the excitement of the bridal party and the wedding guests… I even see Kristin and Brian in the background, happy anniversary, guys!
Michelle shared, “The ballroom itself is gorgeous with high ceiling and chandeliers.”
I tried to pull the architecture into my photos, for example, in this photograph during toasts, I really show the chandeliers…
Michelle shared, “I am extremely close with my extended family and as my Dad mentioned in his speech (and the family confirmed through applause!) Dan fit in immediately.  It’s like he has been a part of the group forever! I am excited for what our future holds and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Dan.  We loved my dad’s speech, it was so touching.”
Happy tears!
I have several shots of their first dance but this one is my favorite.  You really get a sense of the whole scene, the grand ballroom, all the weddings guests, even the cake along with Michelle and Dan.
Michelle shared, “My dad and I danced to Lullaby by Billy Joel. The song has a lot of meaning to us because my dad and I used to dance to it when I was little. It was very appropriate as Dan actually asked my dad if he could marry me at a Billy Joel concert!”
Now THIS is a packed dance floor!
Michelle smiled, “My strapless organza ball gown was perfect for a July wedding: lightweight, comfortable, fun, and easy to dance in!  I also loved the fact the bustle did not take away from the look of the dress. While I was dress shopping last year my bridesmaid and family all said that the dress looked exactly like what they’d expect me to get married it in. I agree and couldn’t imagine wearing another dress on my wedding day.”
She continued, “I was pleasantly surprised that I actually had more time to dance then I was expecting. It’s not every day that you get to dance to songs you hand-picked with all of your favorite people!”
Michelle shared, “I don’t know what I’d do without my mom!  She was so helpful with wedding planning, she is such an amazing mom, and she is also always so much fun to be around!”
Go, mamma, go!
So funny, Michelle has such a similar expression on her face in this shot…
Dan shared, “I loved that Michelle and I were able to spend a lot of time on the dance floor and enjoying the evening. It will always be a favorite memory of my life dancing to ‘You Can Call me Al’ with my wife along with many other of our favorite hits!”
The people’s expressions in this photo are incredible!!!  Such a cool moment…
Michelle smiled, “I am so glad we had fireworks at our wedding. Many of our guests knew that the Palace can do fireworks and asked if we would be having them. I am glad we decided to keep them a surprise. Our DJ called the guests outside for the cake cutting. As soon as we kissed after cutting the cake, our maitre d ,Richard, cued for the fireworks to begin.”
She continued, “Everything  about the  experience was amazing! From cutting our 6 tier cake, the sound of the fireworks beginning during the kiss to the absolutely phenomenal show  accompanied by the fireworks themed music we selected with our DJ. It was definitely an experience we will never forget and felt like something straight out of a fairytale.”
Your kind referrals to friends and family are seriously the biggest compliment I can receive!  I so appreciate your very kind works, Kristen and Brian!
It’s so nice to see families grow, I photographed this family of 5 while they were on vacation at Long Beach Island several years ago, I can’t believe you remembered me!
Thanks so much for checking out Michelle & Dan’s wedding blog!  There are literally hundreds more photos coming soon in their full set!  Until then, please feel free to check out their Lighthouse engagement session here.
Vendor List:

  • Venue: The Palace at Somerset Park– Maitre D-Richard, Bridal Attendant: Stefani, Event Planner: Alex.  I was so grateful to have such an amazing team leading up to and on my wedding day! Their attention to detail is outstanding. Everyone at the Palace made sure our wedding was everything we had hoped for and more.
  • Hair: UFO Salon and Spa  Stephanie and her team did hair-She’s been my stylist since my senior prom and I am so glad I selected UFO for my wedding day. Steph went above and beyond to made sure everything ran smoothly and that everyone left happy and looking beautiful .
  • Make-up: Make Me Up Eva Jamie and Christine both did a great job at ensuring everyone in the bridal party-from those who never wear makeup to those who could practically be makeup artists themselves- had the look they wanted for the day.
  • Flowers: At Touch of Elegance-Laura  Laura did a great job at helping my vision come to life. I absolutely loved my bouquet!
  • Limo: Santos VIP  – Marla, our limo driver, was clearly a seasoned pro. She had an amazing personality and great sense of humor. She made sure everything ran smoothly from the hotel to the church and to the venue.
  • DJ/videographer/photobooth: This Magic Moment: DJ adam &  Videographer Julie Conroy:  DJ Adam was awesome to work with. He was there for us every step of the way during the wedding planning process and went above and beyond to ensure the entertainment for the night was top notch. Julie was also great to work with and made sure to capture all the important moments of the day without being obtrusive. We love our highlights video!


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