Woodlands Woodbury Long Island wedding photographer

Woodlands Woodbury wedding photographer Long Island

Leah & Freddy – wedding at Woodlands at Woodbury, Long Island

Leah and Freddy’s wedding took place at Woodlands at Woodbury in Long Island. The entire day’s events took place at the venue, which made it all a more relaxed day. No crazy traffic to deal with! The historic mansion at Woodlands, Woodbury is a beautiful venue with expansive gardens. With only one event at a time, you have the run of the place.

I really enjoyed meeting and working with Leah and Freddy on their wedding day. Their obvious affection for each other was clear from the start. It always makes the photography so much easier when a couple is affectionate and in love with each other. Leah and Freddy are cool. So cool that even when I got locked into an NYC parking garage by a series of misadventures, and was late for our consultation by an hour, they patiently waited for me … and still used me as their wedding photographer.

Freddy and Leah, congrats and best wishes for your future together.

I sent a Q&A set to Leah & Freddy, and here they are with a few words about their wedding day:

How did you meet?
Despite our disbelief at the likely success of the endeavor, we actually met on eHarmony.com, the dating website. Both of us admit that we did not expect to really meet anyone when we first signed up and we both admit that we used to make fun of the eHarmony commercials we saw on TV. Yet, eHarmony offered a special promotion in 2009 – get three months for the price of one – and we both decided to give it a try. I guess you can say, we got each other on sale 🙂

We were matched by eHarmony on July 19, 2009 and after exchanging several communications and phone calls, we had our first date on September 24, 2009 (in all fairness, Freddy had been asking for a date for weeks earlier but Leah always seemed too busy!). The night of our first date, Leah got stuck in the office, working late, and Freddy waited an hour for her as she finished up. We had a wonderful dinner, talked like we’d known each other forever, and the rest, as they say, is history.

How did you choose The Woodlands at Woodbury as your venue?
Both the ceremony and reception were held at The Woodlands at Woodbury, in Woodbury in Long Island, New York, an estate completed in 1918 and once owned by Andrew Mellon, who gifted the estate to his daughter upon her marriage. We fell in love at first sight with this beautiful historic estate and the intimacy it offered for our special day. We are both avid lovers of history and wanted a venue that felt like home, nothing grandiose or ostentatious, something simple yet beautiful and romantic. This was the second venue we looked at and once we visited, we did not need to look any further.

Tell us about your dress, shoes and other accessories!
Leah’s white wedding gown was designed by Oleg Cassini and made by David’s Bridal. It featured a strapless satin bodice with beaded embroidery, an organza ball gown skirt, and chapel train. Leah was absolutely in love with this dress from the moment she put it on and when Freddy first saw her in it, he told her she had never looked so beautiful. Leah wore a white, fingertip length, two-tier veil, made by David’s Bridal, with a beaded scallop edge. The beaded flowers and sequins along the edge of the veil matched the beaded flowers and sequins along the sweetheart neckline and waistline of Leah’s wedding gown. Leah also had her hair pinned with a beautiful, beaded ivory headpiece in the back of her hair underneath the veil – which Leah intended to display when she removed the veil after the first dance but enjoyed the day so much she forgot to remove the veil and wore it the entire evening! During the ceremony, Leah wore a simple, white blusher, also from David’s bridal, and in accordance with Jewish tradition, kept the blusher over her face until the last of the seven blessings when the maid of honor ceremoniously lifted it off her face. For the first reveal and the ceremony, Leah wore three-inch white satin heels with a crystal T-strap, and for the reception, Leah changed into white satin ballet flats, with a simple white bow tie. For jewelry, Leah wore a heart shaped diamond pendent that her parents gave her for her 21st birthday as well as aquamarine drop earrings, Leah’s birthstone.

What detail did you like best about your wedding day?
The venue itself was the best and most romantic detail we could have asked for – the landscaping of the grounds outside was gorgeous – well-groomed and maintained – with acres of land upon which to dance and stroll hand in hand. The inside of the mansion was magnificent – with fireplaces and building accessories imported from all over the world and a simply splendid grand staircase. Leah’s favorite was the pecan paneling in the drawing room, purchased from a castle in Ireland by Alisa Mellon Bruce (Andrew Mellon’s daughter) in 1945.

Describe your decor and how you chose it!
The Woodlands hosts only one event at a time, so on our wedding day the entire estate and its ground were ours. We were encouraged to bring in our own photos – which we did (photographs of each other together and with our families during different stages of our lives as well as old family photos, including parents and grandparents’ wedding photos!) – and the Woodlands’ staff carefully placed them around the estate to make the home ours. Freddy designed the centerpieces himself – beautiful glass bowls filled with water, the bottoms lined with little decorative stones, within which there were floating candles and lavender roses. Simple yet intimate.

Our colors were mostly purple – the bridesmaids and groomsmen wore plum – and the flowers for the bridesmaids (which we then placed around the wedding cake) were varying shades of purple. Our cake toppers were little groom and bride teddy bears – ordered from Ireland – which were chosen because Leah’s nickname for Freddy has always been Freddy Bear and from which Freddy, some time ago, adopted his nickname for Leah (Leah Bear). Our menus were gate-folded, so that they opened in front and on each inside flap on either side of the menu, guests could read about the history of the majestic Woodlands estate and the Mellon family. The back of the menu included a tribute to the Star-Spangled Banner as our wedding day (September 14, 2014) was the bicentennial of our national anthem (written by Francis Scott Key on September 14, 1814) (a happy coincidence for history lovers!).

What was your favorite moment during your wedding day?
There were so many to choose from – but I think my absolutely favorite moment was when Freddy and I saw each other for the first time. That was a moment which truly belonged to the two of us and I will never forget the excitement and adrenaline during that precious reveal, captured so wonderfully by you!

Tell us about your food and cake!
Our guests are still raving about the food! Referred to as “not typical wedding food,” the Woodlands cuisine was some of the best we’ve ever had. In addition to a cocktail hour fit for royalty (from what I’ve been told, since I did not even get to see it!), our guests were treated to a Mediterranean Chopped Salad. For an entree, guests had a choice of Pan Seared Chicken Breast, with Leeks, San Mar Tomatoes, Wild Mushrooms, made in Marsala wine with gnocchi, or Filet Mignon, with Truffled Potato Mash and Spinach Sauté in a Red Wine Butter Sauce, or Chilean Sea Bass in a lemon and white wine sauce, with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Leah had the filet mignon – which melted in her mouth – and Freddy took the venue up on their offer to serve him both the Filet Mignon and the Chilean Sea Bass! For dessert, guests were each given a tasting plate which held one small chocolate tart, one small apple crisp, and one small NY Cheesecake, all of which were amazing! Guests were also treated to an ice-cream sundae bar with brownies – an extra courtesy of the Woodlands! Our wedding cake, beautifully designed, was a red-velvet wedding cake, with chocolate ganache and pastry cream filling and buttercream frosting.

Why did you choose Neil van Niekerk for your photography?
While vacationing in Spain in 2012, Freddy developed a strong interest in photography and upon our return, Freddy pursued his new hobby with a vengeance, studying the craft through books and lectures. Freddy’s favorite lectures were those given by Neil through B&H in New York City, from which Freddy not only learned quite a bit about photography but also was quite impressed with Neil’s work. When Freddy proposed, he immediately thought of Neil and we reached out to him, finding him immensely personable and easy going in addition to talented. Neil was the only vendor we chose that was not affiliated with our wedding venue and we would recommend him to anyone – including our venue – in a heartbeat!

What’s next on your calendar as a couple?
Leah and Freddy had planned a 10 day honeymoon to Italy for October. However, two weeks before the wedding, Freddy was contacted by a firm and recruited for a wonderful professional opportunity, which he was officially offered two days after the wedding. Because the new job is located in Virginia, Leah and Freddy had to postpone their honeymoon as they unexpectedly packed up their New York apartment and moved south during the 10 days that they were supposed to be in Italy. Once settled in Virginia, they plan to reschedule their honeymoon to Italy for May 2015.

Leah + Freddy


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