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DANA + CARL | Old World Charm With Whimsical Panache ~ Part II

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The Story of Dana & Carl ~ You can’t help but think of the song “Marry Me” by the band Train when you hear of Dana & Carl’s story and how they came to be.  It also became the song Dana chose to walk down the aisle to.  Dana knew Carl was the one for her the moment he walked into the restaurant that she was working at in her early 20′s.  She even “called dibs” on him amongst her colleagues.

Timing was too soon when they first dated and had to bring their young relationship to a halt.  Flash forward 10 years, Dana had moved to California while Carl remained in NY. Despite the many relationships that came to pass, Dana always knew Carl was the one and had never stopped thinking about him. One evening, Dana took a leap of faith and placed a phone call to him out of the blue. After spending their first weekend together in California, they both knew the love that started 10 years ago had never died, but only matured. Carl took a leap of faith 6 months later and packed up his NY life to move to the West coast to be with Dana. Their old past had become their charmed future…

“Forever can never be long enough for me
To feel like I’ve had long enough with you
Forget the world now, we won’t let them see
But there’s one thing left to do

Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way
Marry Me
Today and every day
Marry me
If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe…”
                                                    ~ Train “Marry Me”

The Bride & Groom portrait session were done in the back yard of the Cromwell Manor Inn.

When I book with client(s), I am pretty passionate about putting my heart & soul into each shoot. Months before the wedding, I went to scout out the venue location and its surrounding areas. Along a side country road, I drove by this old hauntingly beautiful barn that was on private farm property. I couldn’t get it out of my mind as I thought it made for a great backdrop for bride+groom pictures.

Thank goodness Dana & Carl were game for some “trespassing” with me. We literally pulled our cars up, hopped out, ran over to the barn and did a quick 10 minute shoot there to satisfied the vision dancing in my head.

Dana’s ceremony & reception was held at Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, New York (Hudson Valley) with its claim to fame as being America’s oldest winery. Dana had her heart set on an outdoor ceremony on a patch of lawn lined with white wooden benches. Right before the ceremony were to take place, a heavy downpour came rolling in and did not stop till the end of the night.

With limited options for an alternative plan, Carl came up with the idea of having the bride walk under the porch awning of the building next to the ceremony site. At the end of the covered porch stood a thick tree that could act as shelter from the rain and focus point for the ceremony. This was such a great and quirky “go with it” concept, Dana & I both instantly loved it. It still allowed her to have that outdoor ceremony she always dreamt of but also have a story to go with the rain.

I’m a big believer in embracing the moment (good, bad, silly or catastrophic), and making it a part of the photography story. Rain will forever be a part of Dana & Carl’s story. In reflecting back through the pictures, I can see how happy the guests were for them, despite the inconvenience. Carl’s love for Dana shined through the rain even more as he patiently and lovingly did what ever it took to comfort his bride. The pictures speak for themselves just from the way he looked at her.

The reception was held down in the hundred years old wine cellar of Brotherhood winery in Washingtonville, New York. After descending the stairs to the cellar, guests came upon a long room lined with antique wine equipments. Dana & Carl used this room to set up their photobooth and tables with pictures to remember past marriages in their family.

The photobooth was set up with a Polaroid camera and props for guests to have fun with. Pictures were then pasted into the guest book as a keep sake for the bride & groom to remember their loved ones by.

The most amazing place of the whole winery was their room towards the back of the cellar where it was lined with large hundred years old wood barrels. A long Tuscan style table created a linear view for the eye where guests drank and feasted to the night’s affair. A long linen runner under soft Hydrangea and garden roses sat with metal lanterns which glowed under the candle light. It was a beautiful understated tablescape that organically weaved into this old world scene.

To pay homage to Dana’s Italian roots, she had a frosting-free layered cannoli cake topped with the initial of her new last name.

Below is an image of the bride & her AMAZING father.  Mr. Mangieri was the behind the scene player in this whole event. While Dana & Carl planned their wedding from across the coast in California, Mr. Mangieri did a lot of the leg work for Dana in areas where she couldn’t physically be available for. On the wedding day, he ran around executing all of the bride & groom’s delegations and requests. He had even made a wooden sign for them which unfortunately broke in the rainstorm. Through the whole evening, Mr. Mangieri did everything needed of him with a smile and no complaints. It was so evident how much he loved his daughter and would do ANYTHING in the world for her. Mr Mangieri definitely became one of my best-buddies that night! Dana, you are truly blessed with the men in your life.

Despite the cellar completely flooding with water that night, everyone managed to ignore the setback and danced the night away. Without intention, Dana managed to follow suit with the recent wedding trend of “trash that dress” as the hem of her dress was completely soaked in dirt laden rain water.

Congratulations to Dana & Carl. Wishing you both so much more joy than what you already know. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your story.


Vendor List
Bride&Groom Portrait Session Location: Cromwell Manor Inn   | Venue: Brotherhood Winery (Washingtonville, New York)   | Flowers: Fleur-Di-Re Custom Floral & Event Design   | Invitations: Debbie of Wrapsody Invitations   | Thank You Bags: Papermoon by Kat    | Makeup:  Amanda Hudziak (   | Hair: Jennifer Dillan   | Charms & Cufflinks: Kristin Victoria Designs   | Dress: Jim Hjelm   | Shoes: Badgely Mischka | Cake: Defilippis Bakery
(Middletown, NY)
   | Caterer: Wayne Hall   | I Call Dibs Sign: Sarah Phillips of Cardboard Sheek, Etsy



Mel Saladino - Fabulous! So proud of you Twah!!!

Margaret - Simply, Breathtaking………

Dana - Thank you for including some ‘surprise’ pics! I can’t stop looking at them and reliving the day! There’s no doubt we’re going to have to make trips to NY for you to capture other monumental events in our lives when the time comes! :)

paige - Amazing captured such beauty of the whole wedding. You have a true talent

Mel Saladino - Did the couple use a Fugi instant camera for their photo booth?.

Dana - Hi Mel! Yes, we used the Fugi Instax Mini 7S. Hope that helps!

Jeanette - Absolutely love! Was this shot in film? The photos look so dreamy.

DANA + CARL | Old World Charm With Whimsical Panache ~ PART I

Click image below to see slide show (or scroll down to see images with commentaries):

Dana & Carl have that kind of “I’m-so-madly-inlove-with-you-that-I-never-want-to-let-you-go” kind of love. There is so much affection between them that it becomes a gravitational pull drawing anyone around them into it. The groom alone probably had me in tears a good 3 times that day if not more by just observing how much he loved his bride. I’ll save their full story for Part II of the post, a sweet story of Love-Lost & Found. Below will be more of my personal witness to the first half of their day.

Dana knew she wanted to book me to photograph her day even before she had her venue picked out.  She not only loved my photography work but my personal wedding style which she had seen on Style Me Pretty. She used that as a jumping off point to begin planning her own whimsically charmed affair. Dana & I became friends through the planning process with me acting as her sounding board. In doing so I had also offered to scout out a beautiful “getting ready” location like the Cromwell Manor  a vintage bed & breakfast where we ended up. Side Note: The Cromwell Manor is in the process of putting together wedding packages to use their beautiful Inn & grounds to hold a rustic wedding affair. A separate post about this Inn to follow in the coming weeks.

Dana had put her heart & soul into the planning of their wedding, doing almost everything herself and became a regular on the Etsy market. It was a beautiful D.I.Y (Do-It-Yourself) kinda wedding that had such a posh appeal with a down-home touch.

By now, if you’ve been following me short enough, you would know my personal obsession with shoes. I am madly in love with Dana’s shoes (and personally had suggested the blush color in this style for her), I had to exercise self-control and not to include these pretty little pair in every shot.

Dana found the cuff links above (by Kristin Victoria Designs) as a gift for both Carl and her dad. She also had a charm made as an accent in her bouquet. Since Carl was getting dressed 2 doors down, she decided to present the gift to him before the day took off. Since Carl didn’t have family or friends present during his prep, the gift giving was a great way to have someone he love be a part of his getting ready process.
The first time I met Carl, I just had the urge to give him a big hug.  From an exterior perspective, Carl looks like someone on the cover of a GQ magazine with all the suave & hard edge appeal to go with it, but the moment you meet him, he is more like the big-hearted gentle giant in his 6’4″ frame with a demeanor of a southern gentlemen’s politeness though he was born and raised in New York. I even loved that he didn’t know how a french cuff shirt should be worn and this day was the first time he ever had to wear one.
Dana is so considerate and thoughtful, she even had a welcome bag for me as well (pictured below made by PaperMoon by Kat, along with an extra gift in the form of a bottle of sparkling rose which is my current favorite drink of choice.
Dana & Carl decided to see each other before the ceremony, to have that “first look” privately and to make use of time for the best Bride & Groom portrait session. I had scoped out the general area where we were located along with the grounds of the Cromwell Manor to find the best place for that “moment” together. I was worried my suggestion of placing Carl out in the middle of a field behind 2 tall trees that would frame Dana as she approaches him in a long walk out would be impractical. Carl’s response to my idea was “As long as Dana doesn’t mind the long walk, I would love to see her for as long as possible and make this moment last”. Okay folks, first tear of the day welling in my eye accompanied with goosebumps after those words! Dana trusted my opinion so much that whatever I suggested, she was game. And from the images below, I don’t think there could have been a more beautiful “revealing of the bride” setting than what was found below. And the groom’s reaction was priceless as he welled up with emotions and tears himself. That was eyeball-tear-moment number two of the day for me.

Hope you’re as in love with them as I am. Up next in a few days will be their portrait session in the field behind the manor, and the ceremony & reception which was held at the Brotherhood Winery, America’s oldest winery in Washingtonville (New York’s Hudson Valley).

Vendor List
Prep Location: Cromwell Manor    | Flowers: Fleur-Di-Re Custom Floral & Event Design   | Invitations: Debbie of Wrapsody Invitations   | Welcome Bags: Papermoon by Kat    | Makeup:  Amanda Hudziak (   | Hair: Jennifer Dillan   | Charms & Cufflinks: Kristin Victoria Designs   | Dress: Jim Hjelm   | Shoes: Badgely Mischka

Margaret - Once again Twah, you have outdone yourself. Yes, you made me cry too. What beautiful pictures…..Simply amazing!

Lisa - Absolutely beautiful!

Mel Saladino - Love love love! What a story you tell, with both your photos and your words! Can’t wait to see more.

Wedding Wisdom | What I’ve learned from my own day…

Today is my 1 year wedding anniversary. A while back our wedding got featured on Style Me Pretty. Thank you to the wonderful Meredith Davenport, a National Geographic photographer & member of the all-star team from Christian Oth Studio, was present to capture so many fun moments from that day. When I look back at the images, my heart fills with so much joy from the genuine spirit of love that we felt coming from all around.

You can see the rest of the images along with my thoughts on themes, details & wedding planning on Style Me Pretty. Below I’ll give some advice for future brides & grooms who are in the midst of planning their own wedding:

THE GUEST LIST & BRIDAL PARTY: When you think about your day, you and your partner have to decide the top 3-5 things (max) that are most important to you. The top on our list (besides photography for me), was to have a small and intimate affair where we really got to enjoy the day with our absolute closest family and friends. With only a guest list of 65 people, we had to cut out a lot of loved ones we wished could have been there as well. It was a sacrifice worth making in the end as our day truly felt like a celebration and not a hosting marathon.

For bridal party selection, we decided we were not going to be bounded by obligations. We chose our best friends who were going to make the day completely fun for us.

ADDITIONAL TIP: HIRE a day-of-coordinator! It’s WORTH the investment!…and if not, assign someone the job as the day will be a mess without one… I’ve seen enough to know.

GETTING READY: The prep before the wedding is probably my all time favorite portion in any wedding day. It’s filled with so many moments and stories. I always advise brides to think about this part of the day carefully. The place you choose to get ready is so key to how the images will turn out. A place with windows will always give the photographer so much more to work with in getting those images to be beautiful. Try to keep it neat and free of clutter.

Selectively choose who will be present during this portion of the day as it will help in minimizing any angst that may arise.  The more people you have around the more distracting and stressful it can be. I chose to have the quiet time to myself while doing my hair & makeup. I wanted to center myself before the day took off.  Yes, I did my own hair and makeup. I knew myself best and kept it simple as I wanted to look like a better version of myself and not someone my husband wouldn’t recognized. My bridesmaids & mom joined me when I was ready to get into the dress and veil as I wanted to share this moment with them.

And the image Meredith captured above truly painted that moment perfectly as I truly felt their love & support bursting with cheers.

THE FIRST LOOK: If you are ok with foregoing the tradition of the first look being down the aisle, I would highly recommend having a private moment to do the “revealing” before the ceremony as this will allow you to not rush through pictures and be able to take in more of the day.

Because it was more important to us to enjoy the day and to spend as much time with our friends & family as possible, we chose to see each other before the ceremony in order to do the bride&groom portrait session. It was another decision I do not regret for 1 second. Our photographer found a spot she thought was best for us to have our first moment together. With just each other to focus on, the special moment felt magnified in emotions and meaning as we didn’t have the distraction of a crowd of eyes on us. Till this day, I can remember vividly how his eyes lit up when he saw me for the first time.

From a photographer’s perspective, the more time you have in your schedule to do pictures, the better the pictures will be.

SETTING THE MOOD & ENERGY FOR THE DAY: The bride & groom are the sole determining factors in how guests will perceive the energy and attitude for the day.

During the ceremony, we had our bridal party make their own fun entrance and exit as they pranced down the aisle to Led Zeppelin’s “Fools in the rain”.

Below: Our friend Jenn & Andrew did a classic curtsy and gentlemen’s bow before parting ways at the front. Each couple had fun coming up with their own creative entrance & exit. It created an instant spirit of camaraderie and allowed the bridal party to feel more involved and a part of the day. By kicking off our ceremony in this light-hearted way, everyone knew how the rest of the day was going to be: relaxed, fun & unpretentious.

For women, most of us have been in those situations where we were forced to wear hideous dresses or spend a lot of money on something we would never wear again. Coming from a fashion background, I wanted each lady to express themselves and feel just as fabulous as I would want to feel on my day. With just the premise of greys & neutral tone colors, the ladies were free to buy any dress they wanted and to finish it off with fun colorful shoes. One friend even made her own dress.

DECIDE TO SHUT IT OFF: One of the best advice I got while planning my wedding was to “choose a day and decide to shut if off”…meaning deciding you will no longer stress over the details and sweat the small stuff. I decided the night before the rehearsal dinner (2 days before the wedding) that I was no longer going to focus on the details. I had spent a year thoroughly doing my part, and now I will have to trust the people I have hired and the friends & family I have delegated the duties to execute…or not. And truly, no matter what happened that day (as not everything was “perfect”…and now 1 year later if you asked me, I wouldn’t remember what the imperfections were), we felt the love and joy from our guests and that is the feeling that remains after all that has been said and done.

SOAK IN THE MOMENT & REMEMBER THE PURPOSE: The day goes by so fast that you will miss the point of what a wedding is all about if you don’t stop to just take a look around and consciously acknowledge all who are there to celebrate with you…most importantly, the person you are marrying that day. My husband & I made sure we stayed connected throughout the day despite being pulled in every direction. During the planning process, when things got a bit stressful and the purpose easily forgotten, I refocused my attention on the person who I was going to marry. It made all the difference in keeping the heart of what a wedding is all about. When the day finally arrived, I continued in that attitude and looking back, I did not regret one moment of that day.


sandra - Thank you for sharing your lessons. Your wedding looks so fun and romantic. I especially love your reception dress. Do you mind letting me know who made it and where I can find it?

Twah Dougherty • FREE GIVE AWAY! | Well Wed ~ Vermont Wedding Affair - […] a Well Wed reader, during my wedding planning process I attended the same event in the Hamptons ~  Well Wed’s Hampton Affair ~ […]

Ivy Date | Summer Series At The Trump Soho

I recently had the honor of sitting down with the Co-Ceo of Ivy Date, Beri Meric to collaborate and brainstorm on ideas to further develop the concept of dating as a lifestyle. In doing so, I quickly came to realize, Beri & I share a common interest in connecting people. Beri, a Brown & Harvard business grad, along with his business partner Philipp, created a social venue that has made the dating scene more of a lifestyle and an upscale alternative from the route of and the likes.

Ivy Date has been throwing a series of stylish social mixers by invite only at some of New York city’s hottest venues. The first was at the Hudson Hotel, and this one featured here is at the new Trump Soho.

It was a complete honor to be a part of the Ivy Date collaborative team including Talia & Andrea from The New York Issue  (an executive event service) along with Ivy Date’s beautiful C.O.O. Tal and their adorable intern Julian. See team picture below. What a dynamic group to work with.

Being at the event, I actually had a lot of fun just photographing the dynamic people I came across. The turn out was amazing and I got to chat with some very stylish and interesting individuals with impressive resumes to flaunt. I may not be available to date, but I think I have been leaving these events with some pretty cool new contacts!

Stay tune for next week’s soiree being held on a 150 person sail boat set to cruise the New York City waterline. It’s going to be ultra fabulous.

Ayenia Nour - loveeeee the shoesssss

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