New Jersey Wedding Photographer
The Ashford Estate Allentown, New Jersey
Crystal Plaza Livingston, New Jersey
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Located in Hunterdon County, New Jersey RYAN SANDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Monthly Archives: June 2018

Perona Farms Wedding Venue in Andover, New Jersey

Perona Farms Wedding Venue in Andover, NJ

The Perona Farms wedding venue was first started in 1917 in Andover Township, New Jersey and still remains there to this day. Family owned and operated for over 100 years, this beautiful North Jersey wedding venue has been extensively updated over time to remain current, while still offering their guests old world charm in a surprisingly upscale country setting. This sprawling estate is home to several different venues, perfectly landscaped gardens, multiple outdoor patios, an on-site orchard and beautiful Perona Lake. Multiple outdoor areas include three different ceremony locations, two cocktail hour patios and upon request, a field that offers brides, grooms and their guests an evening fireworks display.

Perona Farms offers it’s guests countless options for creative wedding photographs. From Perona Lake and it’s own island, to the historic barn and it’s gardens, not to mention the wooded pathway that is lined with gorgeous trees. I’ve shot at the Perona Farms wedding venue around a dozen times and I can say from personal experience, that this North Jersey venue has everything you could possibly desire for your wedding photos.

Not only does Perona Farms offer its clients endless options for wedding photographs but they now also offer the option of bride and groom suites. Looking to relax before your wedding day begins? These suites are jam packed with amenities ranging from big screen TVs, foosball tables, fully stocked liquor cabinets and beer fridges, comfy couches and your own personal kitchen. Did I mention that Perona Farms gives you your very own personal attendant to make sure your every need is taken care of? If you end up visiting Perona Farms, make sure to ask for Samantha. She is a wonderful bridal attendant and does everything she can to make sure your stay is as magical as possible.

No matter what your style, the Perona Farms wedding venue in Andover, NJ has your covered with three different ceremony spaces. The Barn, The Reserve and The Venetian all offers patrons a completely different vibe and appeal. I’ve shot weddings at all three locations and each one is a highly enjoyable space. Their reception rooms can host parties for as little as 30 guests all the way up to a massive 300 guests.

Originally built in the 1930s and extensively upgraded over time, The Barn at Perona Farms can comfortable hold up to 150 guests without being too crowded. If you’re looking for a rustic barn themed north jersey wedding, Perona Farms has you fully covered. Like all other couples, brides and grooms who choose The Barn at Perona Farms for their wedding day have the option of either an indoor ceremony or outdoor ceremony space.

The Reserve at Perona Farms recently opened in March of 2018 and features an on-site apple orchard, both an indoor and outdoor ceremony space option and a completely new redesigned rustic themed ballroom. I recently took a tour of Perona Farms new areas and I must say they did a fantastic job with the renovations. The ballroom is completely transformed and now offers it’s guests a very upscale, rustic theme complete with beautiful new chandeliers, new wood time and stone accents all through the room. It really is a gorgeous ballroom.

The Venetian room at Perona Farms has a conveniently located indoor bar, an indoor and outdoor option for your ceremony and a dedicated DJ area so that your guests are never “on top” of your music. The Venetian room is also directly connected to your outdoor cocktail hour space, so your guests never have to walk far to get where they need to be.

Hungry? No problem! Perona Farms has their very own on-site greenhouse for growing numerous different types of fruits and vegetables which they use throughout their extensive menu. They not only have a greenhouse, but also a smokehouse. This gives them the option of providing delicious smoked meets and fishes upon request. The best detail is your food is only picked moments before it is plated so you have the freshest ingredients possible. No matter what time of year, the Perona Farms culinary staff develops new and extensive menus all year round, so you will have something new to try each time you visit this fantastic North Jersey wedding and event venue.

Since I have photographed so many weddings at Perona Farms in Andover, NJ, I can tell you from my vast experience that this is a great North Jersey wedding venue. Their property is gigantic, their food is fantastic and their staff is extremely helpful. They are also very friendly to all wedding vendors which is a real plus. Some venues can be downright rude to your vendors, making it harder for them to do their jobs. Not Perona Farms! They do whatever they can to make sure each vendor has what they need in order for everyone to work together in harmony to make sure your day is a big success. That is the kind of service you want at a wedding venue, especially when you’re spending this kind of money for a once in a lifetime day like your wedding.

    Perona Farms in Andover, NJ is the perfect Note Jersey venue for the following types of events:

  • Weddings
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
  • Bridal Showers and Engagement Parties
  • Birthday Parties and Special Events
  • Anniversaries and Family Gatherings
  • Corporate Dinners and Holiday Parties
  • Baby Showers

    Interesting in booking Perona Farms for your wedding day? Here is detailed list of what makes Perona a perfect North Jersey venue and event space.

  • Three different event spaces all on one property, giving you endless options for your wedding day
  • Multiple ballrooms and both indoor/outdoor cocktail hour spaces
  • Gorgeous landscaped lawns, beautiful trees, their very own lake and even an adorable little bridge
  • Plenty of wedding photo opportunities throughout their grounds – they even provide a large golf cart to chauffeur you and your guests around the large property
  • On-site greenhouse providing you and your guests with incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables
  • On-site smokehouse that offers guests the options of delicious, fresh smoked meats and fish
  • From the moment you arrive, your very own bridal attendant will see to your every need
  • Friendly, knowledgeable and highly experienced waitstaff
  • Perfect for events of all sizes ranging from as little as 30 guests, all the way up to 300 guests
  • Recently updated bride and groom suites provide you and your bridal party with a place to relax before the start of your wedding day
  • Beautifully crafted wedding menus, signature cocktails and a large beer selection
  • The option of outdoor fireworks or a sparkler exit to send your guests off in style

About Jennifer and Travis’ beautiful Perona Farms Wedding Day

On the morning of their wedding day, I arrived at Perona Farms early in order to setup the bride and groom’s photo booth. Jennifer and Travis added on my photo booth package to their wedding day and needless to say, their guests had an absolute blast. I bring more unique wedding props than any other photo booth in the trig-state area. It’s not even close to being a competition.

    Interested in a wedding photo booth for your New Jersey wedding? Here is just a shortened version of my prop list:

  • Stars Wars masks including talking Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Master Yoda, Storm Trooper Helmet plus full sized light sabers and other misc Star Wars movie props
  • HUGE oversized plush masks including but not limited to: Bunny, Bear, Sloth, Raphael from TMNT, Spongebob Squarepants, Deadpool, Chewbacca, Scooby Doo, Shark, Panda and Llama
  • Super Mario hats and masks
  • Movie and video game weapon replicas including King Leonidas’ blade from 300, Axes and Hammers from World of Warcraft, Link’s Master Sword from Legend of Zelda and Captain America’s full size 24 inch shield and my personal favorite, Kratos’ new axe from God of War 4
  • Tons and tons of emojis masks, including Poop Emoji!
  • Day of the dead eye masks for the ladies
  • Mardi Gras style masks and headpieces
  • More ears than you can imagine – bunny ears, cat ears, pikachu ears, playboy bunny ears and much more!
  • Endless amount of funky glasses and steampunk styled goggles
  • Wacky horse head masks, zebra masks, unicorn masks, panda masks, pigeon masks and more!
  • Video game props such as Mega Man’s real light up LED helmet and Master Chief’s real spartan helmet
  • More hats than you can handle – bride’s hats, asian hats, cowboys hats and many, many more
  • Necklaces, oversized jewelry, hawaiian leis and Mardi Gras beads
  • Super hero masks including but not limited to Spider Man, Wolverine, Batman, Captain America, Iron Man and The Hulk
  • Minecraft mask, Itchy and Scratch masks and Jason Voorhees’ mask from Friday the 13th

See what I mean? There is simply no competition. Your guests will be blown away when they see my booth at your wedding day.

The girls started their day at a salon called The Arrangement in Ledgewood, New Jersey. The bride and her bridesmaids had their hair styled and their makeup professionally applied. Everyone looked gorgeous! I made sure to capture plenty of smiling faces, group photos and all the action that happened at the salon. As you can tell from the photographs in their wedding gallery, all the girls had a great time having at the salon. Once the women had finished up at The Arrangement salon, we all left to head over to Perona Farms to finish the getting ready portion of their day utilizing both the bridal suite and the groom suite.

Upon arrive at Perona Farms, the girls headed to their suite and the boy’s headed to theirs. The men enjoy numerous cold beers while the ladies enjoyed an ice cold champagne toast. Like I do with all weddings, I always photograph the bride and groom’s details before everyone starts getting dressed. The bride’s unique shoes, beautiful wedding dress, heirloom jewelry, invitations, perfume and wedding/engagement rings. Nothing goes un-photographed. Not to mention the groom’s tux, his shoes, watch, cologne and any other misc details he may have like the groomsmen’s gifts. After all the details have been photographed, I finish up the “getting ready” portion of their day by photographing all the girls in their beautiful dresses before we head out to the couple’s first look.

On the day of their wedding, the bride and groom chose to have a first look at Perona Farms. A first look between a bride and groom is great for numerous reasons. Instead of seeing each other for the first time at the start of their ceremony, the bride and groom can now spend an extended period of time together and make this moment last. Most couples don’t realize that once you see the bride coming down the aisle, that moment is over in just a few short seconds and you’re now going straight into your ceremony. Like I said before, with a first look, this time is extended so the bride and groom can take it all in. Not only does this make for a more enjoyable experience for the bride and groom, but it also helps with the schedule of the day. If the couple opts for a first look, we are able to immediately head into all the other photographs of their day and get them accomplished well before ceremony time. This means that the happy couple can head straight to cocktail hour and enjoy this time with their friends and family, instead of spending it taking photographs away from the party.

After Jennifer & Travis had their first look, we headed immediately into the rest of their photographs. I quickly and easily took them around the Perona Farms property to shoot a ton of really great creative photos of the two of them together. Getting the bride and groom to interact naturally together is in my opinion the best way get your couple to relax. Of course a little bit of direction is always helpful but you never want to overwhelm your clients by shouting or barking orders at them. Let these moments happen naturally by suggesting poses the couple is comfortable with and capture the emotion that comes out naturally from these scenarios.

Once we were finished with the bride and groom’s photographs, we invited the bridal party to join us. Good thing we finished when we did because we were fighting the rain all day. I quickly grouped the bridal party together, photographed a combination of fun, off the cuff poses and we were on our way into the venue to complete the formal group photographs. We made it just in time before the rain really started to come down.

We headed up into the barn where Jennifer and Travis chose to have their wedding ceremony. It was decorated from wall to wall. I have to admit, it looked amazing! Perona Farm’s rustic barn really is a gorgeous place to shoot in. I feel very lucky each and every time I get to work there. I quickly setup for their formal group photos and we started right away with our list. When my couples sign with me, I provide them with extensive amounts of paperwork to help guide them through your day. Once of those papers is the formal group photo list. This list contains all the typical formal configurations one would expect to see on a wedding day such as bride and groom, bride and groom and parents, bride and groom plus maid of honor and best man, etc… I provide this to my clients in order to help them craft a list of their most important group photos that they would like captured on their wedding day. I consider this part of my job as a wedding photographer.

The wedding group photographs were complete and the guests were starting to arrive for the bride and groom’s official wedding ceremony. Everyone took their seats and we were off. Their ceremony was absolutely beautiful and filled with many emotional moments. I always use a Canon 70-200 f2.8 ii to photograph ceremony which allows me to start nice and far away from my couple and their bridal party. This allows them to not feel my presence and to relax and be themselves. I also don’t want to block any view from the audience.

Their ceremony was complete and they were off to cocktail hour. During this time I always photograph the details of the ballroom and setup my photography equipment for the start of the reception. It’s also basically the first time I will have had a short break since the day began and it’s a good time to feed myself before the evening begins. Once the ballroom details were officially photographed, I checked my photo booth equipment to make sure everything was setup properly. Once the guests start to pile into the ballroom, it is always a mad rush to the booth and it can become quite overwhelming. The last thing you want to be doing is fiddling around with your equipment during this exciting time.

Overall, the couple’s reception went off without even a single issue. Perona Farms and their staff did an amazing job. Everyone enjoyed the food, the desserts, the dancing and the couple’s own signature cocktail. Did I mention that everyone at their wedding absolutely raved about my photo booth? Because they sure did! Everyone had a blast. They couldn’t stop talking about the sheer amount of awesome props. The booth was crowded from the start of the evening all the way up until the very end. The DJ even had to make an announcement for guests to please sit down for dinner! Haha

All the other vendors helped make Jennifer and Travis’ wedding day a huge success. Like I said before, Perona Farms did a great job and their staff was a pleasure to work with. I want to personally thank Jennifer and Travis’ for allowing the pleasure of photographing their wedding day. They were an absolute delight to work for. I wish them nothing but health, happiness and many years of love.

If you wish to inquire about my services for your wedding day feel free to contact me at [email protected]. I’ll be happy to answer any and all of your questions. PLEASE NOTE: I typically book 1-2 years in advance and only book one wedding/event per day. All available dates are on a first come, first serve basis and dates cannot be held without a signed contract and retainer.



The Palace at Somerset Park Wedding Venue

The Palace New Jersey Wedding Venue at Somerset Park

Located in Somerset County, NJ, The Palace at Somerset Park is an exceptionally designed event facility situated perfectly on over 30 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Coming in at over 72,000 square foot, this purpose built New Jersey wedding venue can accommodate parties anywhere from 125 all the way up to a whopping 600 guests. Their property is so large and the venue so vast, that they can easily and comfortably hold two events at once without any of your guests feeling even a hint of another party. With separate restrooms for each side of the venue, individual parking lots for each party, balconies on both sides of their building and VIP valet parking for all guests, The Palace is one of the top New Jersey wedding venues.

Opening in 2005 after over a decade of careful planning, the builders of The Palace at Somerset Park made sure that no detail has been overlooked. No expense was too great when creating this one of a kind wedding and event venue. From gorgeous, lush gardens to two different grand ballrooms to their luxurious bridal suites, indoor bars and Neo-Palladian-style decor, other wedding venues in the New Jersey area simply cannot compete. I can tell you from personal experience that The Palace at Somerset Park is in a league of it’s own.

Looking for a perfect wedding venue in the Somerset County area? The Palace at Somerset Park is the space for you. Extremely large bridal suites, groom’s rooms, multiple indoor bars, several outdoor patios and balconies, two grand ballrooms, multiple ceremony spaces and an endless amount of wedding photo opportunities. Your guests will also be offered free valet parking. The Palace really does have it all.

The Palace at Somerset Park offers food, drink and catering services that are second to none. A menu so vast, food so delicious, drinks so endless you will have thought you died and gone to heaven. Cocktail food that never ends, steak, shrimp and fish cooked to perfection and desserts so delicious you will not want to stop eating. Every time I document a wedding at The Palace, I’m always thankful that I get to indulge in their amazing cuisine. The Palace at Somerset is also happy to customize their menus to your exact taste and specifications. Whether it is dietary or religious needs The Palace is happy to oblige. Their executive chefs are also well versed in many different cultural cuisines making this the perfect venue for couples from all over the world. Your gourmet wedding cake is included in your price and is specially prepared by their in-house pastry chef which comes accompanied by an extravagant Viennese display. Many other venues charge a high premium for these services. The Palace includes all this and more.

More pampering and more amenities than you can possibly imagine – all possible at The Palace at Somerset Park.

    Here is just a list of what makes The Palace at Somerset Park one of the best New Jersey venues.

  • Two grand ballrooms each containing their own cocktail hour rooms
  • Capable of holding two completely separate events or weddings at a time
  • Beautifully landscaped property
  • Endless amount of photo opportunities
  • Both indoor and outdoor ceremony spaces
  • Bridal Suite and Groom’s Room on site
  • Multiple indoor bars plus multiple lounge areas
  • Excellent cocktail hour food and five star dinners
  • Highly experienced staff with years upon years of experience
  • Perfect for all types of events such as: weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate events, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties and special occasions
  • The option of fireworks at the end of your wedding day
  • Free valet parking for all guests
  • Extremely accommodating to all vendors
  • Included Viennese hour is spectacular
  • Wedding cake also included in your price
  • In-house wedding/event planner
  • Plenty of dance floor space for you and your guests
  • Beautiful lighting both indoor and outdoor
  • Many outdoor patios all equipped with heat lamps

About Chris & Chelsea’s wedding at The Palace at Somerset Park

The happy bride and groom started off their wedding day by arriving early at The Palace at Somerset Park. Shortly after arriving at their wedding venue, the bride and her bridesmaids started right away with hair and makeup. The groom and his groomsmen joined them shortly after and headed to their very own groom’s suite. The ladies enjoyed some delicious mimosas while the men helped themselves to some ice cold beer. The Palace pays very close attention to detail by always having both suites fully stocked with ice, beverages and numerous types of liquor, beer and wine. 

I arrived at The Palace early that morning to setup Chris and Chelsea’s wedding photo booth. The couple had opted to add on my booth to their wedding day which really gave their guests a super fun option during their reception. As you can see in the photographs below, their guests could not get enough of all the crazy, wacky and unique props. I bring more props than any other photo booth in the tri-state area. If you’re interested in adding the best photo booth ever to your wedding day, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

I gathered up all of Chelsea’s wedding accessories such as her wedding dress, shoes, jewelry, wedding rings, perfume and bouquet and quickly began photographing each and every one. For details and getting ready prep, I always use my Canon 35 1.4L ii lens. This is a must have lens for all professional wedding photographers. After finishing with the important details I get straight to covering the activity of the day. It’s important to remain as inconspicuous as possible, especially during the “getting ready” portion of the day. This allows the girls to feel at ease with my presence and to let their natural personalities to shine through. I was able to easily capture a ton of really great moments while the girls enjoyed having their hair and makeup professionally done. Once I had a significant amount of coverage of the bridal party I headed over to the groom’s suite to finish up.

Since Chris and Chelsea decided to utilize everything The Palace had to offer I could easily bounce back and forth between the ladies and the men. I checked in on the guys and was able to score some really great photographs of them all hanging out together drinking beers and playing a game of Magic The Gathering. Chris’ friends were really fun to hang out with and I had no trouble getting a ton of really great photographs of them laughing and smiling together. I even had time to bring the guys outside The Palace for some quick photographs. The staff at The Palace are always so accommodating. Our bridal attendant made sure that all our needs were taken care of.

To save time on their wedding day, the bride and groom decided on a first look. For these photographs, I positioned the happy couple on an outdoor balcony away from the bridal party. This gave them the privacy they needed and also provided me with a stunning backdrop on which to photograph the two seeing each other for the very first time. In order to photograph a successful first look between the bride and groom always remember to not interfere. Position the groom so that his back is facing the bride, allow her to come up behind him, tap him on his shoulder and then let them be together during this moment. Do not give any direction whatsoever. Let the bride and groom enjoy this time together. I always put my camera on silent shutter mode as to not disturb them in any way. I also silently move around them to photograph multiple angles all while using my Canon 70-200 f2.8 ii. This lens allows me to stay far away from the couple but still lets me zoom in order to capture their reactions.

After the couple’s first look at The Palace was complete, we got right into the creative bride and groom photos. The Palace has an endless amount of spots for really beautiful wedding photographs. I was able to quickly and easily run through several scenarios and get some gorgeous images of Chelsea and Chris together. Once these shots were complete, we brought out their bridal party and finished up with the rest of their images.

Chris and Chelsea had their wedding ceremony inside the main hall of The Palace and needless to say, the venue did not disappoint. Their ceremony went off without a hitch and everything was absolutely beautiful. The couple tied the knot and immediately were off to their amazing cocktail hour. During this time I photographed their gorgeous ballroom, making sure not to miss any important details. I always made some last minute adjustments to their photo booth in order to make sure everything was working properly. Once cocktail hour ended, the guests rushed in and we were well on our way.

Their reception was a blast. Great food, tons of dancing and awesome music made the night fly by. Their guests couldn’t get enough of the couple’s photo booth. Many of the guests even wore the props onto the dance floor in order to get even more crazy! Overall, The Palace did an amazing job.

I’d like to personally thank Chris, Chelsea and their families for allowing me the pleasure of documenting their wedding day. Without the support of my clients I could not do what I love for a living. I’m truly grateful for each and every one my couples. I wish the happy couple nothing but happiness, prosperity and love for many, many years to come.

If you wish to about my services and pricing for your wedding, feel free to email me at [email protected] PLEASE NOTE: I typically book up 1-2 years in advance and I only book one event per day. If interested in hiring me, please do not hesitate to contact me.