A bride on the drums with her live band, an incredible surprise fireworks display & the sweetest couple being lifted for the hora… you don’t want to miss Nicole & Mitchell’s Palace at Somerset wedding captured by yours truly, a creative NJ Wedding Photographer.
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Mitchell shares, “We chose Rhinehart Photography because we loved Lisa’s creativity. When looking for a creative NJ wedding photographer, we wanted someone who could match our fun energy. A quick review of her website had us sold. Booking Lisa was honestly the easiest decision we made throughout the entire wedding planning process.”
Nicole adds, “I told Lisa from the beginning that I have lots of ideas but often lack the creativity to figure out how to make them work. Throughout our planning process leading up to the wedding, we threw tons of ideas at Lisa and it was amazing watching her put them together perfectly. She kept us comfortable and engaged and gave us lots of direction, which we definitely needed, haha!”
She says, “Our wedding day was perfect, but there was so much going on that we didn’t see, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Lisa captured the moments we may have missed. I think Lisa’s biggest strength is seeing & capturing moments. I’m excited to see the posed portraits of us looking our best, but I’m more excited to see the little things Lisa noticed, maybe our guests’ reactions and how we took in our first day together as a married couple!”
Mitchell continues, “On our wedding day, Lisa made everything so easy for us. This was also due to the fact that we previously worked together for our engagement shoot. That gave us a nice window into what working with Lisa would be like.”
Ladies & Gentlemen– Meet the Wedding Party!
Nicole smiles, “I’ve known my bridesmaids for 15 years and they are a huge part of my support system in life. We all went to Syracuse together and have been with each other through so much. They’ve seen me at my worst and they’ve seen me at my best. It meant the world to me to have them with me on one of the most important days of my life. We had such a great time getting ready for the wedding in the bridal suite listening and singing along to our favorite songs and drinking mimosas while getting our hair and makeup done. They kept me calm, cool, and collected amid the craziness of the day.”
As a creative NJ wedding photographer, I’m looking for all the emotion, vibrant color, and interesting angles, while also delivering some traditional shots, too. I took photos of the ladies, while my assistant, Sean took photos of the gentlemen. I try to give my couples an eclectic mix of photos so that they can relive their day for years to come and share those memories with all their loved ones, even those that haven’t been born yet ;).
Nicole & Mitchell at The Palace at Somerset Park
Nicole shares, “I’ve heard people say that opposites attract and I think that’s definitely true with us. We talked a lot in our vows about how different we are and how well that works in our relationship. We complement each other really well!”
Mitchell adds, “I agree! Nicole is able to help me navigate the craziness of day-to-day life while I keep things grounded long-term. Honestly, on our wedding day my biggest “fear” was just being in the spotlight. I hate being the center of attention, so that was a lot to manage, haha! There was nothing in me that was nervous about marrying Nicole– I was ready, excited, and just plain happy.”
Their first look…
Vogue-ing with Nicole’s Jeep
Many of my couples request editorial-style shots with their bridal party and as a creative NJ wedding photographer, I love to incorporate personal touches when possible. Nicole’s Jeep was the perfect addition for them here.
Nicole shares, “I love my Jeep and wanted it to be part of the big day. In the movies, you always see the bride and groom with a cool car and ‘Just Married’ posted on the back. I thought it would be great to do that with my Jeep tire cover. I loved having the bridal party posed with it like we were in a shoot for a magazine.”
She continues, “Lisa did an incredible job posing us – we all felt like models. Mitchell got his groomsmen Super Mario-themed socks based on the characters they each use when they play Mario Cart, and one of my favorite parts about the bridal party photo with the jeep was catching some of the boy’s socks when they posed.”
Haha, fun love the Mario Cart Socks!
Family Photo Security 😉
Nicole laughs, “After we finished with the Jeep, we took some family portraits and the guests started arriving early! We didn’t want them to see us yet so the bridesmaids and groomsmen formed a human chain to block our guests from seeing us before the ceremony.”
She smiles, “It was so cute and I loved looking at them while we were taking our pictures. The groomsmen and bridesmaids are our closest friends and some of the most important people in our lives. Seeing them in a line all together like that was really special to me.”
Jewish Wedding at The Palace at Somerset Park
Nicole smiles, “The venue is called the Palace and that is spot on because I truly felt like a princess. One of my favorite places was the entrance in the grand foyer where we had our ceremony. It was such a special moment for me to stop at the top and see all the people who love us and came together to celebrate us. I felt so regal! The high ceilings and lighting in the grand foyer were stunning!”
Nicoles shares, “I’ve known our officiant – Rabbi Musnitsky since I was 18 years old. She is such a special person and we knew she was the perfect person to lead us through our wedding. She began the ceremony by explaining that the chuppah we were standing under-represents our ‘first home’ together. Hearing her say that and seeing both sets of parents under there with us made me more emotional than I expected to be.”
Why the Palace at Somerset Park?
Mitchell shares, “I think for me, I wanted somewhere that I felt comfortable. We looked at a handful of wedding venues and each location made us feel like they were just trying to tell us how much better they are than every other location. At the same time, we felt like a number to them. A nameless client. But the Palace was different, they made us feel like long-time friends. We truly felt like we were given the 5-star treatment, which is exactly how we wanted to feel on our wedding day.”
Nicole adds, “I also loved the contrast of the white exterior of the building with its enormous columns next to the intimate gardens with beautiful flowers. Each setting had its own unique vibe. We were hoping the weather would be good for our outside pictures and it did not disappoint!“
Palace at Somerset Park Wedding Reception
Such a fun entrance– the ladies utilized their bachelorette party sunglasses and then the bouquets to make a tunnel for the happy couple to run through!
The Choreographed First Dance
Nicole smiles, “We had the best time at the reception. I’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons for 5 years and Mitchell started taking them with me about a year ago. We’ve been prepping for our first dance for months so we were both nervous and excited to share it with everyone. It felt so good to finally dance in the dress for our friends and family. I had a smile on my face for the whole dance!“
I move around a ton throughout the day to get many perspectives throughout the wedding day. Here my second photographer is capturing close-up shots of the couple as I’m down on the ground then climb a few flights of stairs to get these unique shots, just thinking outside the box as a creative NJ wedding photographer. 😉
Sweet Parent Dances
Nicole says, “Our parents are both together, which I think is pretty rare these days. They have very different relationships, and we’ve noticed what’s kept them together and embraced that with our relationship. My favorite thing about his parents is how playful they are. My favorite thing about mine is their never-ending support of one another. We’ve brought both of those aspects into our relationship and definitely look up to them as role models.”
Mitchell adds, “As far as my parents go, they’ve been married for 43 years! I’ve seen them at their best and their worst. I’d love to have a relationship like theirs because they’re still clearly in love.”
Nicole continues, “This was the first wedding for both of our immediate families, so it was a big deal (I am an only child).”
A Live Band Means Partytime!!
The stage was set for an excellent party including a live band, colorful lights, and a packed dancefloor…
Jewish Wedding Traditions
Nicoles shares, “My friends were all very excited about the opportunity of lifting us up in the chairs for the Hora! It was so special sharing that dance with our closest friends and family.”
Bride Drummer– The Guests Loved It!
Nicoles smiles, “Playing the drums with the band was so much fun! I felt like a rockstar, but even better because I knew everyone in the audience! I loved seeing everyone have so much fun and singing along to the songs.”
Mitchell laughs, “I’m most excited to see photos of Nicole drumming. I had SO much fun watching her perform. I can’t wait to see the action shots Lisa caught of this. They’re going to be incredible!”
Balcony Bouquet Toss
Nicole laughs, “Throwing the bouquet off the balcony was definitely a highlight! My bridesmaid, Hannah, caught the bouquet in the air. She did the cutest dance back to the group after she caught it! Her boyfriend couldn’t be at the wedding, so of course we had to send him a video of Hannah catching it the next day!”
Everybody in a Photo!
When we met to create the wedding day timeline, Nicole’s dad was hoping for table shots of all of the guests. I said I’d try my very best, but wasn’t sure with all of the food, dancing, and festivities if people would spend much time at their seats, haha! On the day of, I talked to him and we came up with the idea of going up to the balcony and getting a photo of everyone out on the dance floor and loved the result! I’ve done something similar for different couples in the past and it seems to be a very popular canvas because it can be blown up so you can see all the tiny faces :).
Nicole says, “Lisa had a brilliant idea of just how to get as many people as possible into a group photo. The people in the room are the most important people in our lives and I’m so glad we got a photo of everyone to remember the day. I loved looking through my parent’s wedding albums growing up and seeing younger versions of my family members and pictures of people I never got to meet because they passed away before I was born. I’m excited to look at this picture with our future children and share memories of the day with them.”
At the End of the Night
Nicoles smiles, “I was really excited about the fireworks! Especially because it was a surprise and no one knew they were coming. They ushered everyone outside for our cake cutting and then after we cut our cake, they asked us to kiss and the fireworks went off behind us. It was epic and I loved watching everyone’s reactions as they realized what was happening. The picture of us dancing and accidentally mimicking our cake topper with the fireworks in the background is one of my favorites from the night.”
She continues, “About halfway through the fireworks, I realize the band was playing “Fireworks” by Katy Perry. It was such a cool touch and added a lot to the experience! I loved taking pictures outside after the fireworks. It was nearing the end of the night and it provided a nice break for Mitchell and I to be alone and away from the crowd. It was eerily quiet out there. Which was wild since there were 250 people and a band 100 feet away from us. These pictures felt different than the ones we took during our first look. The pre-ceremony nerves were gone and I was completely at ease with my husband! It’s still so weird to use the word husband!”
When it comes to capturing fireworks, fire, and even the color of the night sky, you really need to know your stuff. As a creative NJ wedding photographer and a preferred photographer at The Palace at Somerset Park, I am comfortable with these elements.
Shout out to the Vendors:
Mitchell explains, “Lisa made everything so easy for us! As I said, she was the easiest decision of our wedding– she fit our energy perfectly. We were so comfortable with her from previous meetings and from working together during our engagement shoot. She really held our hands through the process, and even helped us plan the timing of the day.”
Nicole adds, “I had a hard time imagining how we could fit all the things we had planned into only 10 hours! Mitchell kept reminding me that although this is our first time planning a wedding, all our vendors are such pros and not to worry because everything would work out, and it did!”
Nicole shares, “The Palace at Somerset Park is a stunning venue. More than the aesthetics though were the amazing people we got to work with at the Palace. Everyone we met was so kind and amazing to us. They walked us through everything, answered all of our questions, and treated us like friends. They made the planning process so much easier, and the day would not have run as smoothly as it did without them!
She adds, “Rabbi Musnitsky made sure the Ketubah signing and ceremony was special for us and I am so grateful for that!”
Um, can I pause and say how much I appreciate all the Palace staff, a huge shout out to Jose who has told so many couples about me, and to David who is 100% professional– check out that earpiece! I also included two shots of the same moment, one caught by me and one by Sean that show a bit of the behind-the-scenes photo magic. Finally, the Rabbi— check out that friendly smile, knowing eyes, and gorgeous outfit– loved working with her, too!
- Venue: The Palace at Somerset
- Music/Band: Hank Lane Music
- Videography: NJ Videography
- Florist: A Touch of Elegance
Twice as many photos put to music.
Hungry for More:
Are you or someone you know looking for a photographer for their weddings, portraits, business branding, etc? I’m your girl! Contact me here, I’d love to hear all about it!