Modern Wedding Traditions

DIY Wedding Ideas | Non-traditional wedding | Farm Wedding Photographers | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | Ramsey, NJ

As wedding photojournalists we’ve had the privilege of documenting people on the best day of their lives. Surrounded by friends and family, our wedding couples celebrate their love with the traditions their families have taught them. But what happens if a couple doesn’t have any traditions? Or what if they do but they don’t have any connection to them? Please take these words as a license to create the wedding that best defines your relationship. Borrow from different traditions or create your own. There are no rules.

Heather and I chose to have our wedding at her aunt and uncle’s private farm in Ramsey, NJ, because: 1) they allowed us to, and 2) it was our closest connection to a meaningful tradition. The owners of Honeymoon Acres, Aunt Pam and Uncle Rick got married there in 1996 and we wanted to honor their union by following in their footsteps. Far from perfect, the farm is a haven for animals and family gatherings, treating four legged creatures with an equal-if-not-greater-hand than our relatives. There’s humility in recognizing the value of every animal on this earth and Pam and Rick never forget that and neither will we.

When you’re planning your wedding and getting caught up in the inevitable whirlwind of varying opinions remember this: you are the stewards of your own love. It is you and your significant other who are taking this expedition together — your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, other relatives and friends can be safe places to stop along the way — but you two are the captains. It is you two who determine the course and to cede control of your wedding day is to allow others to briefly steer the ship. If you are okay with that, fine, but know that a ship with interim captains can wind up in uncharted waters. Please forgive the dramatic analogy but I cannot overemphasize the peace and fulfillment that comes with choosing the way you wish to celebrate your love.

Heather and I decided to celebrate ours by having our friend, David Miller, officiate our mala bead ceremony (see previous post). We took this route because of something that, ironically enough, a pastor said to us at a wedding: “it’s funny, I’m probably the person in this room who knows the least about the couple getting married, yet I’m the one speaking to their loved ones about their relationship.” It was all backwards for us, so picking a friend was a no-brainer. One of the other things that David did was pass our rings around to everyone in little nests, letting our guests cradle the symbols of our love in their trusted hands. We later tried to swap out the garter/bouquet toss for a stuffed animal toss to remind ourselves of our inner children — but just like children we somehow misplaced our stuffed animals. We ended the night with a Jewish tradition, the horah, because who doesn’t want to be lifted into the air to look upon the faces of your friends and family as they have the time of their lives?

Your wedding day can be many things. Why settle for traditions that are outdated and empty? Why not borrow the ones you like? Why not create something new? Why not take the opportunity to create a community that celebrates all the best things in your life. Your wedding doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive, all it has to be is you.

Photography: Alexis Cohen & Derek Morf for Apollo Fields

Farm Venue: Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ

Why We Love Mountain Weddings: A Return to Our Roots

Mountain Weddings | A Return To Our Roots | Adventure Couples | Rocky Mountains | Colorado Elopement Photographers | Apollo Fields Weddings

Adventures in the mountains are tiring, dirty, and dangerous. One slip can devastate even the most experienced hiker. Yet us adventurers continue to voluntarily thrust our bodies and minds into the wilderness at the mercy of unpredictable winds and crumbling rock faces. Some people think we’re crazy – but fellow adventurers know that there is no peace like the solitude of the woods. We at Apollo Fields say bring on the perilous terrain because there’s nothing we love more than a photo session in the wild or a rustic mountain wedding!

That’s because mountain weddings celebrate people and nature alike, intertwining the roots of our lives with the organic networks that thrive beneath the soil. We walk between the trees on trodden paths, sometimes blazing trails of our own. The smoke from our campfires pierce the dark mountain sky, signaling to those in the area that warmth and laughter is but a few paces away. Darkness falls upon the screens of our devices. Far removed from cities forged in steel and concrete, the stars in the open sky ignite our imaginations. There is no need for anything or anyone other than what is here.

That is really what nature provides us. A home. A place for our minds to rest and dream with sights and smells rather than artificial mental stimuli. Dopamine kicks and oxytocin spikes are the results of biochemical technological deception. Immersing ourselves in nature resets our minds, syncing our systems with the gentle trickle of a mountain creek. Why else do you think listening to the sounds of nature on our iPods puts us to sleep?

Us adventurers risk our bodies for the sake of our minds. We realize that we are part of our natural world, not separate from it. Yes, we’ve broken free from the food chain but our minds still live in the woods. They still long for the unknown despite our 21st century tendency to cling to mindless chatter rather than embrace the infinitude of silence. The darkness that engulfs the night is terrifying, but the brightness of our screens blinds us into stagnation. Thus we must venture into the mountains to find that which technology cannot provide.

The mountains present the perfect landscape to celebrate a wedding. Safely tucked into a mountainside, loved ones find comfort in the company of friends and family. With nowhere to turn for entertainment than stories around a campfire, memories whirl about the floating embers like little flakes of nostalgia. All of life’s troubles melt from the end of a stick holding a smoldering marshmallow. But back in the banquet halls and beneath the vaulted church ceilings, we remain confined in the artifice of our human existence. We say break the walls down and run for the hills. That’s where love really learns to take root.

Adventures are risky but they present opportunities for growth. By staying safely in our homes and living rooms we forget that we were once at home in the mountains. When considering where to get married think not for where is most lavish, but where you feel the most connection. You might be surprised that you feel most comfortable in the darkness of the woods.

Photography: Heather Huie for Apollo Fields
Writing: Terrence Huie for Apollo Fields
Locations: Guanella Pass | Chautauqua Dining Hall | RMNP | Estes Park Resort | Lookout Mountain | Garden of The Gods | Pikes Peak | Grand Lake Western Riviera | Shrine Pass

The Perks of Being Back East – Our Day Upstate

Day Trip Upstate | Cold Spring NY | Pound Ridge NY | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers | Family Photos | 6 Month Pictures

One of the perks of being back east is reconnecting with friends that I’ve known from different walks of life. After our blogs about the ectopic pregnancy, I had so many women reach out to me to share their own stories, check in, or just say hello. Watching those connections happen was one of the many reasons that speaking so openly about our situation was the right decision for us. One of the sweet messages that I received was from an old friend, Julia, who was a few years ahead of me at The Ethel Walker School. She extended an invite to her farmhouse in Pound Ridge, NY to share a meal and good conversation. Catching up with Julia Johnson, talented food stylist, was nothing short of a great day spent.

We had a crazy cold spell last week in NY and this day was at the threshold of those freezing days. It was that east coast kind of cold that goes straight to your bones and bites you right in the face. It makes cozy homes seem like a paradise which is exactly how Julia’s farmhouse felt. A few years ago, she and her husband purchased this old home that was in need of a lot more than a simple facelift. They did tons of work on the house to bring it back up to code and stay within the historical society’s legislation. The whole design was executed by them and you could see Julia’s vision throughout the whole home. One of my favorite features were the big front-facing windows that let the sunlight flood each room. Bright and airy walls with minimalist decor are a photographer’s dream! I kept thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe how immaculate everything was despite having a baby and an adorable dog, Miles!

We arrived to the cozy, warm home that smelled so so good – Julia had cooked up a few fresh loaves of focaccia, one for lunch and one for us to take home (we ate half of it on the drive back)! She had prepared a delicious and fresh salad, and we sat in the best company just catching up over a delicious meal and hot coffee. Her daughter, Eliza, had just turned six months and we quickly realized that she was not only a beautiful baby, but so easy going and full of life. We only snapped photos for a few minutes before it was time for her nap, but it was so great to be able to capture their little lives and be able to give them these photos of their joyful home.

Photography: Apollo FIelds

Location: Pound Ridge, NY

Katy – Your Body Should Be Your Greatest Lover

Katy Copeland | Your Body Should Be Your Greatest Lover | Passion Projects | Portraits of Women | Dancers | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | Long Island, NY

Guest blog by Katy Copeland
Photography by Apollo Fields

My body and I used to have a tumultuous relationship. I would judge her and put her down and bully her for not being “correct” and pump her with drugs and alcohol to numb the insecurities and pain. Dancers develop some pretty severe psychoses. You bend and twist and starve and gorge and try to fit molds that are impossible and distorted and therefore wind up living in constant battles of not feeling worthy. At least, this was my experience. My body and I went to war. I disrespected her, treated her like shit, beat her down and was completely shocked that she wasn’t responding with my backwards and materialistic idea of beauty. 

I met Heather during this time. About 5 years ago at a very delicate time when I self-proclaimed myself a feminist and was still wildly threatened by strong, powerful women . Cool… Having recently shaved my head for a performance gig, small parts of me felt liberated, larger parts unsuccessfully were hiding an immense amount of fear and self loathing. I became jealous of her instantly. Heather is confident without boasting. She is beautiful with zero effort. She is smart but not a know-it-all. She exudes grace with no judgement and she is vulgar yet still tasteful. How is that possible? My inner dialogue: “Fuck. I hate her. I want to be her.” It was madening. 

Never did I imagine she would lift me up in times I needed most. Very quickly Heather became my family, my kindred spirit, a precious gem who wiped my tears, held me when I started to crumble, and taught me the true meaning of female friendship. She profoundly changed the way I viewed other women, but more importantly how I viewed myself for the better. Secretly, for better or worse (mostly for worse) I would always compare us. “Us” being all women. Over time, I stopped competing and started cultivating true love with all the women I am lucky enough to know. Heather is a pioneer and champion in my story and I am forever grateful.

So when I read recently that Heather was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy with severe complications my heart shattered. My body ached for her. It was rare that I ever saw her in pain and I felt it in my bones. The female body is magical with incredible vulnerability. Therefore, when our bodies take on trauma we instantly become stronger and grow three sizes compassion, depth and complexity. Our bodies are smarter and more resilient than ever and I am just starting to figure that out.

We set a fresh pasta dinner date (for she is the queen of homemade pasta) after she was post-op and comfortably back home in Long Island. A few days before, we agreed to snap some body shots of me while I was in town. Heather asked for my vision and without hesitation I told her that I was craving photos that are raw, bare, stripped down, unabashed and unapologetic. Like most, admittedly or not, I am constantly struggling to find my authentic self. Battling my bullshit ego and trying to halt myself when I start catering to what others want to see versus what I want to be. After the experience she just had I knew if anyone could help me find authenticity and mind-body connection it would be her.   We would find it in each other.

This galley is what we created. By no means am I healed, or rehabilitated. But I am growing. I am learning. I am connecting deeper every day. My body and I are beginning a new journey. And the little voices inside my head are slowly becoming less of a bully and much more of a best friend. When my inner saboteur starts poking or prodding, I kindly and respectfully ask her to shut the fuck up. I am judging less and loving more and I trust my body will always know what to do. I just have to listen.

“Your body should be your greatest lover
for she is all you have. 
It wasn’t until I started loving her unconditionally 
that she began to respond.” —I wrote that.

They are my favorite two sentences I have ever written. That is the idea I wanted to capture with these photos, and girl… Heather did it in spades.

Our Wedding Video

Our wedding video | Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | DIY Weddings | Farm Wedding Video

When we began wedding planning, the photography was a no-brainer: We knew that we would want to go through the business and use our associate shooters. But when it came to doing a video, we didn’t really have a specific vision. We knew we wanted something but somehow it kept falling lower and lower on the to-do list as our season was flying by with shooting our own weddings and prepping for the big move!

My sister is also in media and has spent most of her career camera-in-hand as well. We didn’t have a formal “wedding party” but she was part of the crew that we wanted up there with us and as so, we didn’t want to put too much pressure on her to also shoot video. But she was so awesome and stepped up and got some great coverage and put together this sweet video for us!

I just love watching it and seeing everyone’s faces and getting to re-live the awesomeness of that day. Everyone talks about how fast it goes by and I can 100% say that is true! The whole thing feels like a blur but watching the video and going through the pictures is the best way to bring back all of the celebrations and joy of the day. Also, Rumor is way too cute during the ceremony. I mean, how many dogs literally jump on their owners during the first kiss!? Unreal.

The farm looked so beautiful and we loved having all of the animals around. We couldn’t imagine getting married without the dogs there, but having the horse and donkey and pig and goats and all of the other four legged friends just made it that much more indicative of us. We love casual and personal weddings so we knew when we were planning what we wanted that we weren’t about to have a formal or traditional wedding! Instead, we broke outdated traditions but embraced the ones that actually spoke to us. We made it our own and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way!

So here’s a huge thank you to my sister, Mary, for not only helping us the whole weekend, but also sneaking in some great footage of the day!


– watch our wedding video below –

Betty & Hermann – Grandparents' Session

Betty & Hermann Wilckens | Grandparents Photo Session | Allendale, NJ | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

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66 years of marriage

We sat down with Mr. & Mrs. Wilckens to learn a little bit about life and love.

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Elizabeth “Betty”, 94 years old

“He was polite, he had good manners.”

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Hermann “Herm”, 93 years old

“She was a good looking woman”

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They met in a bar when Betty was on a date with another man.

Hermann said she was sitting with “her boyfriend” and he just went over and started talking to her. They began dating shortly after.

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Their Engagement

Hermann: I was working for an oil company and the boss asked me one time when I am getting married.  And one day I came in with the truck and all, and he said to me “Here come on in my car, we’re going to a place”.  He took me to a jewelry store and I didn’t even know where I was going.  He stood there and I was standing there, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. And they come out with a tray of rings and he looked them over and he picked the one and he says, “Oh, how does this one look?” I says, “It looks beautiful”.  

So he took it and we went back in the car and when we got back in the office he hands it to me and says, “Here you go.  You’re engaged to your girlfriend”.  And I told him, “I can’t pay for that!  I don’t have that much money”.  So he took a little bit every week out of my salary.  I mean, it’s a hell of a way to do it.  

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They got married in 1953 at Sacred Heart Church in Lyndhurst, NJ and had the reception at JoJo’s, the same place they met. They took a week long trip to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.

Elizabeth:  He had a gorgeous car. 

Hermann:  I had a 1946 Buick Roadmaster Convertible.  It was black; the picture is on top of the thing over there.  

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The Dairy Truck

Hermann: I started the trucking business in 1950.  For 17 years I had that tractor and a couple of trailers in between.  I had the business for almost twenty years and then had the Chevron gas station after.  My favorite thing about it was when it was a nice day going through the country, especially Canada, beautiful sceneries along the Saint Lawrence river and I passed this big resort, Rivière-du-Loup.  I went once a week and then I came back, but I couldn’t understand the French people right.  

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They bought their house in Allendale, NJ in 1958

And have been living there ever since.

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Hippie Hill

Hermann recalls a time when he got in trouble for hanging out on “Hippie Hill”:

“I was at the gas station and I went up the tavern to get a six-pack.  When I come out there.  There was a couple of kids and all on top of the hill, they called it Hippie Hill.  One hollered and said, “Come on up”.  I went up there and they drank all my beer I had to go back to the tavern to go buy another six-pack.  Betty passed and saw me up there and wanted to know what I was doing up there. Oh boy, she was mad. She hollered and hollered about that.” 

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They went on to have three children: Larry, Nancy, and Danny.

Their first child, Lawrence: “He was a good kid. Nice, very caring".

Elizabeth: Oh, and then when they brought me the wrong baby!  I was in the hospital and there were only a few other women who were nursing and they brought you the baby at like 6:00am in the morning.  Larry had a full head of black hair down to his shoulders and the kid they brought me was as bald as a cucumber!  The hospital thought I was going to sue them.  I said “No, it was the only laugh I’ve had all week!” And then the father came in that night and thanked me for feeding his kid.  

Their second child, Nancy: “She couldn’t pronounce Nancy, so she called herself “DiDi”.  

Elizabeth: She was very talkative. She didn’t talk until 18 months and then all of a sudden she talked and she never stopped talking.  I didn’t think she’d ever talk.  I always remember when I had her and the next day I was walking in the hall and the lady who saw me the day before, she saw me and she says, “God, didn’t you have that baby yet?”  I was just as fat I guess!

Their third child, Daniel: “He was kind, very caring too”

Hermann: Well, Danny was cripple.  He didn’t get around right.  Most of his life was in the hospital.  I felt sorry for him, boy I would have never wanted to go through what he went through.  I remember when it was Danny’s birthday once, I even rented a pony for all of the kids to ride around on.  He was a good kid.

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Accidentally growing pot:

“I parked the truck and I was walking home.  And when I got to the church I saw a little flowerpot, and I picked it up and it was a little stem cause part got broken off.  So I picked it up and figured I’d take it home and put it under the birdbath, it would get water and it would get sun.  Boy, that thing grew like a weed and I didn’t know what it was.  Finally one day, Nancy and Larry told me what it was! I didn’t know…“

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Candid Camera

“Well, I was trying on wigs and the guy saw me I guess.  And I don’t know, I said one was particularly nice so he photographed me with the wig on.  And then they broke the mirror and told me I had to replace the mirror.  I got very upset and then they said, “You’re on candid camera!”  


Photography: Apollo Fields

Click here for the full photo gallery

To contact Heather to set up a grandparents’ session, click here

A Fun Day in Brooklyn – Barrow's Intense Ginger & Strong Rope Brewery

Things To Do In Brooklyn | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur | Strong Rope Brewery

Being a small business owner means a lot of long hours doing taxes, cleaning out your email inbox, fielding calls, filing receipts, and managing invoices. AKA, not taking just taking pretty pictures all day long (one can dream, right). I still wouldn’t trade it for anything, and days like today are reminders of exactly that!

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

After a meeting with a venue in Glen Cove, we headed into Brooklyn. Our first stop was Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur to meet up with my friend and owner, Josh Morton. I’ve always been a big fan of this product since I stumbled across it while bartending in NYC a few years ago. They have been growing their operation for the last six years and recently opened an awesome tasting room that can double as a dope event space with a designated studio for food photography.

It is no secret that I love supporting brands that have quirky beginnings and have found success by good old fashioned hard work and not taking shortcuts. Josh stumbled into this business after making his ginger liqueur out of his apartment building and giving it to friends as gifts. It obviously caught on because it is fresh and delicious, but also because as a spirit it works great in a lot of different cocktails but can also hold up on its own. A lot of hard work and smart decision making later, they are now in 40 different states and absolutely killing it, all while having fun.

Strong Rope Brewery

Afterwards, we headed over to Strong Rope Brewery to sample some beer and have a little work-date. We are able to do a lot of the business remotely, which means that we can totally set up shop at breweries (they are totally the new coffee shop, right?) Also, since moving back east, one of the things that we miss the most is the dank beer that was everywhere in Colorado so we’ve been on the hunt for places out here that not only have delicious brews but also have that chill, easygoing, doggo-and-kiddo friendly vibe.

We had a mini-blizzard this afternoon in New York, with snow and garbage flying in little dancing tornadoes along the streets. Between rush hour and the freak weather, we certainly didn’t want to drive back into Long Island right away, so it was the perfect excuse to hunker down in Brooklyn a little longer. The beer here is solid and the vibe is quiet and laid back.

The winters here are much different than in Colorado. The temps get bone-chilling cold, the kind of cold where it hurts your teeth to chew gum and you don’t want to open your eyes all the way. It’s unforgiving, but on the rare occasion, it will shut the whole city down which actually becomes quite romantic. Everything gets quiet, and the flurries will become illuminated by street lights and a sense of wonderment as you can walk in the middle of the streets without a taxi in sight.

Colorado winters are the opposite. They are something to be celebrated, where long-awaited retreats to the mountains are equal parts exercise and fun. The cold doesn’t even stick to your skin, much less your bones. The flurries melt before they become blackened ice mounds. I think eventually you take it for granted, but enduring the east cost oh-no-I’m-not-going-out-there cold months again is definitely a lesson working with what you got. In the meantime, we’re happy to hide away in craft breweries and tasting rooms while we answer emails and tie up loose ends from 2018.

Sweet & Sassy – Leila

Sweet & Sassy | Leila’s Portraits at Crab Meadow Beach | Northport, NY | Long Island Photographer | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

I just never get sick of photographing this cutie! I have been doing her pics since before she was born, and ever since then. I’ve done Nikki and Leila'’s maternity, fresh 48, 6mo, 1yr, and so on every chance I get! Even though we specialize in weddings, I love taking on the occasional family and kiddo. Leila is such a bright light, a sassy and sweet little girl who I just adore.

It was cold and windy at Crab Meadow Beach, but the light cloud coverage was great for photos. Leila only had about five minutes threshold for the chilliness (I couldn’t blame her, I wouldn’t have wanted to pull my jacket off either) so it was up to us to get as much of her personality out in just a few minutes). Leave it to this little girl though, because she gave us the whole spectrum — her curiosity, playfulness, quick witted little personality just beamed.

My favorite was when I was trying to keep her attention and get her engaged, and I said, “Leila can you give us a smile” and she just goes, “RAWR! I’m a monster!” Hahahaa she gave us the biggest smile right after doing a playful monster and then threw her hand on her hip and posed her pants off. What a ham!

Leila’s mom, Nicole, is a dietician and works at Memorial Sloan Kettering as well as managing her own brand, Worksite Wellness. She just published her own cookbook, The Truly Healthy Pescatarian and we were lucky enough to snag our own copy when she came out for the session! We love chatting about all healthy eating and nutrition and of course, doing anything with Leila!

Our Wedding

our wedding | heather and terrence huie | honeymoon acres, ramsey NJ

Despite attending and photographing countless weddings, I never knew how I would feel on my wedding day. Would I get cold feet? Would I cry helplessly at the altar? Would my vows live up to what I hear in my heart? I really wasn’t sure, but now I can say that it was without question the best day of my life. Typically I avoid using superlatives and hyperbolic statements like “the best day of my life,” because I believe they don’t really tell you anything, but it was the best fucking day of my life. (I usually don’t use curses either, but I guess I’m breaking all my rules today.)

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018, a quintessentially grim and misty northeastern autumnal day, I wed Heather Erny in front of our closest friends and family at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Ramsey, NJ. Honeymoon Acres, as aunt Pam and uncle Rick like to call it, is a beautifully-manicured farm splashed with wild sunflowers and potted mums, a vintage 1950’s Ford with big round headlights and an entire family of farm animals. The amount of work that Pam, Rick, and both of our families and friends put in to wrangling all of the animals (roll call: 1 pig, 1 horse, 1 donkey, 2 goats, 1 cat, and 4 dogs), making all of the food, and assisting in the general logistics of the day will have me grateful for many years to come.

For those of you who don’t know, Heather and I decided to make and serve all of the food for our wedding day. Many called us crazy, as we only arrived in New York on October 1st from our road trip back from Colorado, leaving us five days to set the place up and prepare all the food—but with the help of our family and friends we did it. We made a fresh pasta bar consisting of truffle mushroom linguini, vegetable lasagna, pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli and a classic spaghetti and meat sauce. As we ladled and scooped generous portions to our guests donning our respective aprons, I couldn’t help but speak with an Italian-American accent to move the line along like I was running my own Long Island deli. We didn’t plan to serve everyone ourselves but we were having fun, so we did—to our relief nobody went hungry.

As dinner waned and the scotch shed opened, our wedding was now in full swing. The small potting shed that we converted into a whiskey tasting room exploded with laughter, warmth, and old stories. The dance floor in the garage-turned-banquet-room jumped beneath the Edison lights, uniting the older and the younger in a musically-induced exuberance. All around there were smiles, especially from the farm animals living their best lives as moonlight entertainers. Fairytales aren’t just for storybooks, anymore, I thought.

Then came the speeches. Justin and Grace spoke on mine and Heather’s behalf’s like they knew the most intimate thoughts inside our diaries. Great friends never fail to recognize the greatness in those closest to them, for they keep their company for those exact reasons. It’s only until we throw each other on stages with microphones that we realize how well our friends really know us. We should do it more often, for all of our sakes.

Perhaps the thing I was most excited about our wedding, with exception to swigging whiskey on the dance floor as “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood played, was to announce the surprise Heather and I had for Pam and Rick. For twenty years, Pam and Rick have been going to Negril, Jamaica, in late winter, but for the past few years financial troubles have stymied their tradition. As a way to say thank you for hosting our wedding, Heather and I asked the Dj to play their wedding song from when they got married on Honeymoon Acres in 1996. When they tried to retreat to their seats after the song’s conclusion, we kept them out there and told them we’re all going to Jamaica in three weeks and the animals are already taken care of. They cried. We cried. Everyone cried.

On a day filled with so much love, I cherished every minute. Even when Heather and I stood at the “altar,” a bunch of red begonias that Rick planted in the shape of the heart, as a light rain fell upon our shoulders, I remained grateful. During our ceremony, our officiant, David “Killer” Miller, spoke with equal parts comedy and soul, the very reasons we chose him. On a day where the bride and groom are supposed to be celebrated, I’ve never felt more part of our communities.

Here’s to everyone who helped, whether giving the animals haircuts or drinking whiskey in the scotch shed, because without you, it wouldn’t of been the best fucking day of my life.

Photography: Alexis Cohen & Derek Morf for Apollo Fields

Venue: Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ

Dress: Maggie Sottero

Flower Crown: Allendale Flowers

DIY Wedding Tip: Buy a KitchenAide and Make the Food For Your Wedding

Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers | DIY Wedding Tips | Cook Your Own Food For Your Wedding | How To Feed 100 People | Ramsey, NJ Farm Wedding

Many called us crazy, others called us stupid, some called us crazy and stupid. But for us, hosting a dinner party, albeit one with 100 guests, was just another day at the office. We knew it would be hard work to make the food for our own wedding, but when we thought about doing that which defines our relationship on our wedding day, making a fresh pasta bar and serving it to our guests was simply something we had to do.

First off, I have to thank KitchenAide for making such a reliable product. Without Fernando/Fernandina (our unisex name for our KitchenAide), Heather and I would’ve worked pasta dough by hand until we could barely hold a fork and knife. Instead, we managed to churn out four fresh dishes to accommodate veg heads and meat lovers alike. The crowd favorite was the pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli served in a sage brown butter sauce; followed by the vegetable lasagna with herbed ricotta; long slices of zucchini and fresh tomato; then it was a classic — spaghetti and meat sauce made with fresh tomatoes and roasted red peppers; and finally a dish for the more nuanced palate, the truffle mushroom linguini. Fern handled the entire workload like a champ as his/her constant purr eventually became white noise in the bustling kitchen at Honeymoon Acres.

But Heather, Fern, and I can’t take all of the credit. With any great event, it comes down to the team who can pick up the slack when they’re called upon. Whether it was Heather’s sister, Mary, and her fiancé, J, rolling out pasta dough and making raviolis with a handy tool our family friend Dr. Amy gave us, or my brothers Matt, Tom, Kevin, and sister-in-law Morgan dusting cutting boards with flour and popping those raviolis into boiling water, everyone played a crucial part. I remember the first thing I saw after I got all dressed up in the back room was coming into the kitchen to see Matt wearing Heather’s apron with flour all over it. It made me so happy.

Serving Our Food To Our Wedding Guests:

Perhaps my favorite part of the wedding, though, was when Heather and I served the food to our guests before serving ourselves. We originally planned to only serve the first few plates, but we were having so much fun that we didn’t even want to take our seats. When we finally reached the end of the line, we walked through the barn into the dining room to a resounding applause. People were so grateful for the fresh food, but they were even more excited to share that they’d never been to a wedding where the bride and groom were the last people to be served. It didn’t even occur to us that the newlyweds are usually the first to eat because every time we hosted a dinner party at our Colorado home we’d always served our guests first. We didn’t think dinner at our wedding should be any different.

When Heather and I first started hosting dinner parties in our home in Colorado, we were amazed by how much fun it was. Perhaps it was me turning 30 and leaving the Jameson shots in Irish pubs for someone else (or some other time :)), but there was something about new and old friends brushing elbows around our table that meant something more to both of us. As we now settle into our interim Long Island home the reason became very apparent when a friend of ours came over for a few fingers of whiskey. It was the simple act of bringing people together, about creating community, about filling a space with jokes and laughter that provided us with happiness. I didn’t know at the time but that’s why I felt the way I felt when I saw Matt in Heather’s flour-dusted apron on our wedding day—it was him being part of our community.

There are few days when our communities come together with such a fervent energy to contribute to a cause, but our wedding days are such opportunities. We’ve seen families and friends fall flat and we’ve seen people band together and the result always lies within the glue or gluten that holds us together (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pasta joke!). Here’s to everyone who played a part, including Dawn and Sandy who volunteered their time to bartend and make the rest of our food look pretty when it came time to serve those most important to us.

For those getting married, remember that the miscues of your wedding day will be forgotten in time, but the efforts of your communities will linger in your heart like the flavors of a delicious meal. Don’t be shy, be bold, and do that which defines you. With a little bit of luck and a lot of thought, your communities will have your back.

Your Immeasurable Friends,
Terrence & Heather


How To Make Homemade Pasta

This is one of our favorite foods to cook for guests (usually sub 100 people, but who knows!) because it is SO easy and who doesn’t love pasta? And fresh pasta is just the best! For real, once you have the homemade stuff, you’ll never go back to boxed again.

We love it so much that we have an entire recipe – perhaps our favorite one – in The Immeasurable Cookbook dedicated to the stuff. Which, *shameless plug* you should totally go out and buy now if you haven’t already.

Before we decided to take on all of the cooking for our own wedding, we used to make the dough by hand and use a super simple, cheap hand crank pasta maker. I hate having a ton of kitchen appliances because I think most of them are a waste of space and money, but this is one of the few that I can’t live without. Plus, there is something so great about getting your hands dirty in a mound of flour ;)

The Recipe:

Remember how we hate measurements?? Well, you guessed it, you won’t find any here either! But you don’t need them for pasta (trust me, you OCD kitchen people… you know who you are). If you really want to learn, unfortunately you’re going to have to come over to our house for us to teach you and then we’ll force you to stay and eat the deliciousness and drink tasty beer and whiskey. Ohhhh noooo ;)

Photo Credit: Derek Morf shooting for Apollo Fields

Giveaway – Who's Got Cute Grandparents?

Giveaway | Grandparents Session | Apollo Fields | New York, NY

I’m a sucker for stinking cute grandparents who are still in love. Or at least still like each other… Or at least are good at pretending. Even if they are grumpy, I think there’s something special about capturing well-seasoned marriages as well as ones that are just beginning. Let’s celebrate these relationships that have withstood the test of time!

Apollo Fields has been toying with the idea of adding on Golden Anniversary sessions where we treat the matriarchs and patriarchs of your family like a freshly engaged couple, except we want to really uncover their marriages and the stories that they have to tell. We will casually interview them about how they met, the adventures of their lives, the hard times, uncover what it is that kept them together… the secret sauce, if you will.

I bet that most people don’t really know as much about their own grandparents as they think they might. We will archive their stories in both photos and words and make a beautiful album that will stand the test of time. I really believe that these stories are worth uncovering and preserving, and the photos will be irreplaceable.

We’re in search of the perfect set of grandparents with a good story to tell to get this bad boy rolling! Do you have a set of super cute old people in your life? Enter them in our giveaway to win one free complimentary session! Rules below:

  1. Must be within one hour of NYC (or willing to pay for travel)

  2. Must be available for a session before April 15

  3. Must comment on this blog post with your nominees and a little write up about WHY these old lovebirds are worthy :)

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How sweet are these lovebirds?? Enter NOW!!

Best of our 2018 Weddings

Apollo Fields Wedding Photography | Best of 2018 | Colorado and New York Weddings

Happy Times Lift All Spirits, Sad Times Fortify Them

As the rain continued to fall on that foggy, cool, northeastern October day, all I could feel was Heather’s cold hands. I remember holding them as our dear friend and wedding officiant, David Miller, recounted Heather and I’s relationship with his warm, welcoming voice. I can still see him smiling when I think about it. I can still imagine being hoisted up by my friends during the horah, even though neither Heather or I are the slightest bit Jewish. When I think back on it, every height we reached on our wedding day seems untouchable—like your most nostalgic childhood memory—only we were just a couple of adults in love.

Two months later and we were back in sunny Colorado but Heather’s hands were still cold. Only this time I looked into her shivering eyes and watched as she tried to speak through her quivering lips, still blue from the anesthesia. “I’m sooo cold,” she muttered, as tears ran down my cheeks like warm little streams of gratitude. “We’re going to be all right,” I told her. The laparoscopic surgery to remove the ectopic pregnancy from Heather’s Fallopian tube was a success, but it ran longer than expected, and just fifteen minutes earlier I was pacing in an empty hospital waiting room like I needed to be admitted to a psych ward. It was 6:00 am on Christmas morning and I’d never felt so devoid of emotion—my heart as vacant as that waiting room—yet there we were, still just a couple of adults in love.

As 2019 begins I can’t help but ruminate on these highs and lows and think of the constant, unshakeable love that saw us through all of it. The end of 2018 dragged my heart through depths that I never wanted to know, but just a month prior we were literally leaping with joy from cliffs into the aquamarine waters of Negril, Jamaica on our honeymoon. Life apparently has a funny way of teaching us important lessons—and by funny I mean unforgiving and agonizing. If it’s anything I learned in 2018 is how important it is to cultivate and maintain a steady love as much as possible—because one minute you can be celebrating with ease—and the next minute you can be holding the hand of the person you love in a hospital bed. It is only with a constant love that you can weather the harshest storms and ride the highest highs and always come out on top.

The rest of 2018 was filled with a medley of moments, both big and small, that made us grateful for everyone in our lives. From launching Apollo Fields, shooting Hailey & Mark’s, Don & Aaliyah’s, and Kate & Jeff’s weddings in Colorado, to joining all of them on their dance floors afterwards. To seeing my first moose and calf on a hike to Lake Isabelle near Nederland, Colorado! Not to mention the friends who came to see us off at our going away party at Sloan’s Lake and Oasis Brewing Company, affirming the quality of people that we are attracting into our lives right now. This was further proven in the endless red carpets that were rolled out during our traumatic December in Colorado while we were working through our ectopic pregnancy. I don’t know if we will ever be able to appropriately thank you all.

What I can promise you is that I will be there for all of you like you were there for us. Where happy times lift all spirits, sad times fortify them. Heather and I have never been stronger and for that I am thankful—to her, to all of you—I will hold your hands tightly when they are cold, and I will let them go to fly into the air when they are good and warm. I love you all.

Here’s some of our awesome couples this year! Ranging from Colorado to New York to Pennsylvania to Connecticut

Some of our 2018 Venues:

Kate & Jeff's Wedding at The Barn at Raccoon Creek

Kate & Jeff’s Wedding | The Barn at Raccoon Creek | Colorado Wedding Photographers | December Weddings | Barn Wedding Photography


I first heard from Kate and Jeff when we were honeymooning in Jamaica.  We were introduced via Frances, who is an amazing and badass photographer that I love to shoot with.  Frances absolutely raved about Kate and would be a guest at the wedding, and knew that Kate and Jeff were looking for a photographer for their wedding that they were planning on a short timeline.  They actually got engaged the same day that we got married (fun fact) and when we first started emailing, I knew we would be a great fit.  Even though our wifi was spotty at best and we didn’t have an international cell plan in Jamaica, I remember walking around the house trying to find a connection with my phone hoping to get our emails through!  I looked like a crazy person, waving my phone in the air in our villa, but I was just so excited even then to work with this awesome couple. 

Then we met up for coffee in Denver in the beginning of December and immediately hit it off.  I loved their vision for their wedding: sentimental, with a big focus on family, a lot of kiddos, and some rewriting of traditions.  There were a lot of things that really resonated with me because just like us, they did a circle ceremony without a traditional wedding party.  Kate’s brother, Andy, would be officiating and they were going to self-solemnize.  The six munchins would be throwing paper airplanes instead of flowers as they walked down the aisle to celebrate Jeff’s job as a pilot.  It all sounded great to me!  I love when couples use their wedding as a platform to really showcase their relationship and values, and I knew from the beginning that this wedding would be exactly that.  

We chatted and chatted over coffee just getting to know each other, and I could tell quickly that these two were just beaming together.  They told me all about how they got engaged which basically made me melt—Jeff took Kate up for an airplane ride in a little Cessna and flew it over her house, where her closest friends and family were all cheering around a big poster that read, “Will You Marry Me?”  How awesome is that!?  I realized then that Jeff loves big, over the top grand gestures for all of the right reasons.  There would be more of that to come on their wedding day…

But fast forward to Christmas morning at 4:00AM.  I was in the hospital and my hemoglobin was dropping fast.  The doctors suspected that I was rupturing, but we weren’t sure at the time.  I had to make a decision right there and then whether to go into surgery.  I remember asking the doctor if I would be able to shoot my weddings that weekend and she said that if we did surgery and as long as I was feeling up to it, there was no reason not to.  If we decided not to do surgery, I could be in the same position a day or two later and might not be able to shoot.  We weighed all of our pros and cons and ultimately, did the surgery. It ended up being the right decision for so many reasons, especially because once they opened me up, the doctors found that not only had I ruptured, but I had a lot of internal bleeding which was life-threatening. 

So three days post-op, I pulled up to The Barn at Raccoon Creek at the same time at Kate, who looked so excited that it made me forget everything that we had just been through. She helped me get my equipment into the venue, which seems like a small thing but really isn’t.  I couldn’t lift or carry anything because of the surgery, and it would have been so easy for a lot of other women to play the bride card and not want to help a vendor on their special day, but Kate was so kind and understanding that I knew the day would be amazing.  With one arm holding her wedding dress and the other helped me get my camera bag out of the car, she gave me a warm smile that suggested I didn’t need to apologize.  There was a sense of friendship there that means everything to vendors, and it really made me grateful for my clients and my job.  

Shortly after, Katie rolled in to second shoot for me.  I was originally going to fly solo for their wedding, but once I ended up in surgery, I decided that the most important thing was to get amazing photos whether or not we were budgeted for another shooter.  Katie has worked with me before and I knew she would be a great addition to the day, so with almost no notice, she stepped up like a rockstar to help the team.  Kate had a sense of calm to her as she was getting ready, and I think there is something really peaceful about not having swarms of bridesmaids buzzing around you before your wedding.  She had music playing, was doing her own makeup, and casually sipping on some champagne. All was good, so we just started snapping away. 

Kate and Jeff were earlyfor pictures, which basically never happens. The whole family was organized, and even the kiddos had their shit together.  This was such a rarity, but couldn’t have come at a better time. Everything was so organized and we were able to have a really sentimental and private first look and then do family formals without any chaos or drama.  Again, a real luxury for photographers!  Guests began to trickle in and Kate and Jeff were able to have some quiet time before the ceremony.  

The ceremony was cozy and sentimental, exactly as they had imagined it.  Once they had exchanged their vows, everyone gathered outside for a big group photo before the guests went off for cocktail hour.  The sun was inching towards the horizon line and I knew we didn’t have too much time before golden hour.  We hopped in the golf cart and drove off to the most scenic place to do some photos of just the two of them, with the golden light pouring over the yellow grass, and I watched as Kate and Jeff just basked in the company of one another.  They danced, they laughed, they cozied up in a blanket together, and I just snapped away. 

The sun fell behind the mountains and we retreated into the cottage where Kate and Jeff were going to sign their marriage license and have some quiet time to themselves before the reception.  I took some pictures of them signing and then they looked at me and asked me to be their witness.  I was so humbled in this moment because they clearly had a ton of friends and family who adored them at this wedding, and yet here they were handing me the pen.  Of course, I was honored to sign and then they offered me a taste of the special wine that they were sharing.  I still get emotional (blame it on the hormones) thinking about their kindness on their own wedding day.  I think that says so much about a couple, really. 

The reception was fun, vibrant, energetic, and of course sentimental.  I had been let in on a little secret that Jeff had up his sleeve, but wasn’t prepared for how amazing it actually would be.  I mean, thinking back to his epic proposal, I should have known that he had a big surprise for Kate, but this was truly one of the best things I’ve been a part of at a wedding.  They had planned their first dance to be a special song by Brendan James, one of their favorite musicians and had fond memories of listening to this song when their relationship first began.  Jeff loves music but loves sharing this passion with Kate even more. So behind the scenes, he had flown Brendan James out himself all the way from Charleston and had him tucked away from all of the guests.  Jeff took the microphone and surprised Kate while Brendan came out to perform their first dance song for them live. 

After all of the applause settled down, the whole room got quiet, Brendan sat down at the piano and magic happened.  I was so wrapped up in the moment, seeing how happy Jeff was to surprise his new wife, watching the gratitude sweep over Kate, and listening to the amazing sound of Brendan’s voice.  I watched his hands floating effortlessly over the piano keys, and just kept shooting away, trying to focus on my job but unable to ignore the magnitude of the moment I was in.  I remember looking over at Kate’s father and holding eye contact with him for a moment, I watched a small tear fall from his face and then I began to cry hard.  After such a hard few weeks, I realized in that moment that life would go on and it would be beautiful.  

Then came another surprise, and this time Jeff wouldn’t be in on it .  Another awesome performer was stashed away and this time Bradley Rhodes came out to do another amazing live set.  Everyone hugged and danced, and all came together to celebrate exactly as Jeff and Kate had imagined.  Eventually, my coverage was long over but we got to spend some time with guests and get to know their families better.  They had been so sweet to invite Terrence as a guest, and when we finally made it out to the dance floor, Frances stole my camera off my harness and took over shooting for a little while.  The wedding was beautiful but it couldn’t have come at a better time.  Some people think I’m an animal for working during a time that I could have very easily justified subbing in another photographer, but I really wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.  I want to extend a huge congrats to this amazing couple and a lifetime of love to both of them.  

Wedding Photography: Apollo Fields

Venue: The Barn at Raccoon Creek | Littleton, Colorado

Music + Photo Booth: DJ Guy

Live Performances: Brendan James | Bradley Rhodes

What Happened When I Published a Piece About My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy | early pregnancy loss | ectopic awareness | apollo fields wedding photography

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What happened when I published a piece about my ectopic pregnancy: 

Over 100 women personally reached out to me to share their own stories of loss.  Some were close friends who had been holding their pain so close to their own chest that I had never actually seen their struggles, while others were complete strangers who by the power of the internet had found my blog post.  I had women who were merely acquaintances suddenly show me the most intimate and vulnerable parts about themselves.  I had more than one person tell me how I was the only person they told about their loss besides their partner and their doctor.  I am so humbled by the amount of support and compassion that we received yesterday, but especially from the women who feel empowered to speak about an otherwise very off-limits topic. 

This is a sisterhood and holy shit I’m so grateful for it.  I went back and forth for a long time about whether or not to share our story. On one hand, I felt like I should be quiet about the loss.  That felt like the protocol that you’re supposed to follow. On the other hand, I was afraid to hurt other women who have experienced pregnancy loss.  I didn’t want my words twisting the knife in their own wounds because they were too raw.  The last thing I wanted to do was resurface someone else’s pain.  But that’s not what happened.  My story became a safe zone for sharing, a platform for empathy, and a step towards breaking the silence around this type of loss. 

 

Do I think that everyone should share their losses?

Absolutely not.  This is such a personal decision and you have to do what is right for you.  We are a very open couple and transparency has always been our default, but what is right for us is not necessarily right for other couples.  There is this stigma around loss and that is what I want to shatter. Women should feel just as empowered by choosing to share their stories as they should be by choosing to be private. The last 24 hours have been absolutely eye-opening for me because of two realizations:  pregnancy loss is not uncommon and women are so fucking strong. 

I heard stories of women who tried to conceive for years and years and then lost their babies, women who have had multiple miscarriages and still don’t have any children earthside, women who have also suffered ectopics, women who bravely delivered stillborn babies, and women who finally have their arms tightly wrapped around their rainbow babes.  Every story is unique, heart wrenching, and so full of love.  Pregnancy is no joke.  This shit is hard and a positive pregnancy test does not always give you a healthy baby.  We give up our bodies and our souls to become mothers and when you put that much on the line, any loss – no matter how early – hits hard.  

 

What exactly is an ectopic pregnancy?

I’ve been talking a lot about how common pregnancy loss is, but I’m using that as an umbrella term. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; however, ectopic pregnancies only occur in 1.5% of pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is not a miscarriage and should not be used interchangeably.  Physically, they are quite different.  I am losing my baby, but I am not miscarrying.  My pregnancy took place in my fallopian tube (where 98% of ectopics implant) and therefore cannot continue.  A healthy pregnancy must take place in the uterus, and anywhere else is considered a life-threatening condition.  This is because as the baby continues to grow, it puts an enormous strain on the tube and if not diagnosed and treated in time, will eventually rupture and cause massive internal bleeding.  Ectopic rupture is the leading cause of first trimester maternal deaths and the only lifesaving option is emergency surgery.  

There are many risk factors for ectopic:  over the age of 35, previous abortions, chlamydia, pelvic conditions, getting pregnant with an IUD or other forms of birth control, smoking, previous ectopic, or scar tissue from pelvic surgeries.  Personally, I didn’t have any of these factors and yet I still ended up with an ectopic.  Sometimes the embryo just ends up in the wrong place and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

 

What about getting pregnant again?

A lot of people have asked me about this.  First, I have to get my body back to a non-pregnant state (an hCG of 0).  This can – and probably will – take a few more weeks at best.  Then I’ll have to be on folic acid supplements for 12 weeks to get myself healthy enough to actually grow a baby again.  The methotrexate works by depleting your body of all of its foliate in order to halt the progression of the pregnancy.  Foliate is imperative to a healthy pregnancy so I’ll have to restore my levels before we’re cleared to try again.  Once we do get pregnant, I will be considered high risk until they can identify a fetus in my uterus on an ultrasound.  My hormone levels will be monitored closely as soon as I get a positive pregnancy test because my chance of having another ectopic will be 1 in 10 for all future pregnancies.  I don’t love those odds, but it is a chance that I’m willing to take. 

In terms of fertility, everything comes down to scar tissue and my tubes.  Lovely, right?  Our biggest motivation for trying the methotrexate before surgery was to preserve my fertility.  Most ectopic surgeries result in the removal of the affected fallopian tube because the scarring makes it too risky for another ectopic.  Scar tissue is unavoidable and can present very real complications for future pregnancies.  If I lose a tube, my chances of never conceiving again are 30%. Some women end up losing both tubes and for them, IVF is sometimes an option.  Many women go on to have normal, healthy babies after ectopic pregnancies, but we’re also being pragmatic about our options.  

 

What should you say to someone who is dealing with pregnancy loss? What shouldn’t you say?

I’ve heard some fucked up stuff the last two weeks, and most of it was well-intentioned.  If you don’t know what to say, that’s totally fine. Sometimes the simple act of holding space with someone is the best thing that you can do.  Most likely, you’re not a doctor and you can’t solve this shit for me, so just bewith me.  Listen, hug, and look me in the eyes.  One of my favorite things anyone has said so far came from a dear friend, Lindsey, who just asked, “how can I support you?”  That’s perfect.  

What not to say? Don’t tell me that there will be other babies.  Don’t call this my “practice round”.  Don’t remind me of how sick my baby was.  How it ‘wasn’t meant to be’.  How I had no choice, or how this baby would have killed me if we did nothing.  Don’t assume that I’m as bible thumping as you are because God’s plan ain’t working for me right now.  Don’t make this about your religion.  In fact, don’t make it about religion at all unless the person experiencing the loss takes it there first.  Be conscious of your words and the impact that they have.  I’m in hormonal-mama-bear-mode right now and I’m ready to check your ignorance, unapologetically.  

 

What am I thankful for right now? 

So, so much.  The holidays have a way of bringing this to the surface.  We got engaged on Christmas morning last year.  This has been the year of my highest highs and lowest lows.  My husband is a freaking saint.  He is always my partner-in-crime but this experience has brought us even closer together.  He held my trembling body through the second round of methotrexate while I sobbed into his hands, and found the strength to tell me how strong I was in my darkest moments.  He’s not unaffected by this.  It might be happening in my body, but we are going through it together.  

I’m also thankful for my (relative) health.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been quite sick the last two weeks, vomiting in parking lots, losing a bunch of weight, being completely anemic, and pumping my body full of toxins.  The methotrexate combined with the hormones has made me feel like a steaming pile of garbage, but things could have been much worse.  I could have gotten on that plane and ruptured.  No shit, I could have died.  As of right now, I still have both of my tubes and have avoided surgery. I finally got my hCG levels to drop by 27% yesterday.  Things are slowly moving in the right direction and we’re feeling optimistic. 

Finally, I am immensely grateful for this community of friends and family we have.  I am especially grateful for all of the women who have shared their personal stories with me and continue to put their own hearts on the line.  They are the true warriors, the mothers of all types, and they are my role models.  I have neverfelt this supported, even on our wedding day.  I have the thickest-of-thieves badass group of women behind me.  People have stepped up when we needed them most: they have offered their homes, their cars, their booze, and their hearts.  We have had a squad helping to keep our dogs and horse cared for while we cannot be there.  We are immeasurably lucky to have you all.  So thank you to anyone who has held space with us, offered us solace, or shared their love.  We love you all, too.  


PC: Maddie Mae Photography

My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy | early pregnancy loss | ectopic symptoms | boulder, colorado | apollo fields wedding photography

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TRIGGER WARNING – This is a raw and personal account of what can go wrong during pregnancy.  I am going to explore sickness and loss and it’s going to be a little fucked up but I can promise you that it will be candid and honest.  Stop reading now if this topic is going to be too heavy for you.  

 

Exactly two weeks ago, I was about to get on a plane back to New York when the most horrible day of my life began.  We were seven weeks pregnant and had already been told that there was an 80% chance we were miscarrying.  Then things went from bad to worse…

Not only was the pregnancy not viable, it was ectopic and needed to be terminated immediately.  I was already in a life-threatening situation and had to make a decision to end my pregnancy that night.  It wasn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “how”. 

Backtrack to that Sunday night, I was trying to fall asleep and all I could think about was the blood test I had to get at 8AM the next morning before my flight.  All I wanted was for my hCG levels to increase because that was our only hope for not miscarrying.  I had a lot of women trying to comfort me by telling me how the bleeding could be perfectly normal, some women bleed for their whole first trimester and have healthy babies, I was told more than once.  

But I think somewhere deep down, I knew it wasn’t good.  I remember telling Terrence on the phone that I didn’t think we were ever going to meet this baby.  I only told a few other people, but when I did, it went like this:  “We’re pregnant” – and as soon as their eyes would light up, I would quickly say, “But it’s not going well”.  I couldn’t stand to watch them try to find hope where I instinctively knew there was none.  

I was ecstatic when I found out that my levels had increased on Monday.  The doctors weren’t expecting it either, and I thought that it could only mean good news.  I was at Enterprise, about to return my rental car to get on a flight back to NY, and the doctor’s affect had totally changed:  “You cannot get on that flight” she told me.  I resisted.  I needed to get home.  I needed to be with my husband and my dogs.  I needed to get to South Carolina in a couple of days. 

There were three doctors in the office all talking about my situation.  They were concerned because my levels were so high and suspected an ectopic pregnancy.  They went on to tell me that they absolutely had to find my baby that day, but my stubbornness persisted.  Her tone became even more stern, “If you get on that flight and your tube ruptures, you could bleed out before they can land the plane”.  Okay, point taken.  I wasn’t getting back to New York.  

So back to Westminster I went.  I remember sitting in a coffee shop trying to pass time before the scheduled ultrasound. The barista offered me their seasonal Juniper latte – the name we had already casually picked out if we were having a girl.  I accepted the offer, thinking that maybe superstition would turn everything around. The drink was gross, and it hit my empty stomach like a cinderblock.  

I was trying to be chipper when I went in for the ultrasound.  The tech and I were making casual small talk about photography and dogs while she was reviewing my file.  “Okay, I see we’re ruling out an ectopic today” she said optimistically. It sounded like a no-big-deal thing at the time.  She told me that our due date would probably be somewhere between July 25 (Terrence’s birthday) and August 1.  

She rubbed the gel on my belly and began scanning.  We were still chatting about dogs when she started tilting the machine away from me so I couldn’t see what was happening.  I had asked her what her dog’s name was and she didn’t respond. Her eyes were fixated on the ultrasound and I saw her lips fall away from each other.  “I’m sorry, what did you say?” she kindly responded a minute later. I knew then that it was all over. 

She was sweet, but couldn’t tell me anything.  I was in there for almost forty minutes while she just kept taking screen shots.  She stepped away to talk to a doctor and when she came back, she was grabbing my backpack and telling me that I needed to check into urgent care immediately.  My worry turned into panic, which quickly turned into rage.  She insisted that she couldn’t tell me anything, but when I began tearing up and shaking, she just placed her hand on my shoulder and whispered, “You know, I think you know, it’s the thing that they, well, try not to worry too much”.  And then she just turned around and left.  No goodbye, no good luck.    

I had to go through the same slew of tests and questions trying to get into urgent care.  What’s your date of birth?  Are you a smoker?  Let’s do a quick blood pressure test.  How much do you weigh?  When was your last period?  What’s your favorite color?  Okay, obviously not the last one, but I was so mad that I had to answer all of these stupid questions for the second time that day when nobody would tell me what the hell was wrong with me. 

I sat in urgent care for another hour while one doctor told me that my case was ‘complicated’, that this was not his specialty, and wanted to transfer me to OBGYN.  I was getting moved again with no answers.  Finally, I made it to a specialist who had apparently already run my ultrasound past two other doctors.  She was an older woman, with a silvery ponytail and caring eyes. She was also the first person to be straightforward with me, and the news hit hard. 

I think she spoke slowly, but it all felt like such a blur that maybe I just processed it slowly. She explained that at seven weeks, they normally hear a heartbeat and can see the fetus safely embedded in the uterine lining.  Instead, I had what was called an ‘empty uterus’ and they had eventually found the pregnancy – which was described as a mass – near my right ovary.  I remember her assuring me that there was a zero percent chance of viability and there was no wait-and-see option.  

She immediately began discussing the pros and cons of medication versus surgery.  Absolutely none of what she said was registering, and I just heard ‘blah blah blah scar tissueblah blah blah rupture blah blah blah copay blah blah blah save the tube’.  That was my breaking point.  I officially lost my shit and just began sobbing.  In the first act of humanity that I got from a doctor in that whole weekend, she began also welling up and just held me.  Neither of us said anything for a long time.  She rubbed my back and I just cried into this stranger’s scrubs.  

She told me that she would step out of the room and I should call my husband.  She would come back into the room in a few minutes to go over our options again.  She did and we decided that we would try the medication before surgery in an attempt to preserve my fertility.  Another woman came into the room to give me the methotrexate and the fifteen or so minutes that followed would prove to be some of the darkest moments of my whole life. 

I had to sign a bunch of consent forms that could be summed up into:  (A) I understand that by accepting this medication, I am terminating my pregnancy; (B) I understand that by denying this medication, I am putting my own life at risk.  It was harsh, but it was true.  I wasn’t given time to process, nor was I given time to grieve.  Time was not on my side because every passing hour meant that my hCG levels would climb, putting me at greater risk of a tubal rupture and imminent surgery.  I was only given five minutes to use the bathroom between making the decision to try the methotrexate and actually receiving the injection.  

I walked down the sterile hallway at the OBGYN like a zombie.  I was sobbing so hard that I didn’t even try to wipe my tears.  I forgot to shut the door in the bathroom and instead just ran ice-cold water over my hands, trying to feel anything else but the raging pain inside my chest.  A few minutes later, I walked back into the room and the doctor was patiently waiting, holding the needles.  I tried not to look at them, but I was fixated on the bright yellow fluid inside.  I stared at them the way that Americans watch a car accident – horrified – but unable to turn away.  This would ultimately end my baby’s life (or at least that was the “hope”) and no amount of rationalization could shake that fact.  

“Are you ready?” the nurse asked softly.  No– I don’t remember if I said it out loud or not.  Of course I wasn’t ready, how the fuck do you feel ‘ready’ for that moment?  But I had no choice.  It was the first time that I felt like my body no longer belonged to myself; I was a prisoner aflame in an incinerated cell, and I just had to roll over on my side while the nurse prepped the injection site.  The table was hard and the florescent lights were stinging into the back of my eyes.  The needles felt like a thousand bullets piercing my flesh and the chemicals burned through every ounce of maternal instinct that I had recently found deep inside my psyche.  

I had to lay on my side with my knees up to my chest while she prepped the injection site.  I was crying so hard that I was sure that she wouldn’t be able to get the needle in the right place, but I just laid there completely helpless while she pushed the shot into my hip.  It ruined me, and I felt the burning chemicals raging into my muscles.  It was the point of no return: this was the bright yellow fluid that would kill our baby, and I had to roll over onto my other side to endure it all over again.   

By the time the second injection was done and I sat up, my hips were already on fire.  She went over the side effects and left the room.  The other doctor came back again and we talked about success rates and what to do in case I begin to rupture (a very real possibility still).  She handed me the whole box of tissues and told me to take them home.  I think I used half of them in the elevator where I stood next to an older woman who was obviously uncomfortable by my breakdown.  She gave me that half-smile that suggested that she might exit the first floor that the doors open even if it’s not where she was trying to go. 

It was horrible.  It was the worst day of my entire life and I can’t undo any of it.  Two weeks have passed and my body continues to fight against the toxins that are raging through all of my cells, desperate to stop anything that is rapidly dividing. I am still technically pregnant and trapped in this hormonal warfare while I go through everything from nausea to dizziness to contractions and cramping and bleeding and clotting.  I get hot and I get cold.  My muscles are sore and my heart is just so heavy.  I am grieving a loss that isn’t over and I am still at risk of rupturing or ending up in surgery.  

I had believed up until that moment that pregnancy was about wellness, not sickness.  But the reality was I was sick, my baby was sick, and there was no amount of meditation, positive thinking, or God that would get me out of this one.  I had taken immaculate care of myself:  I eat like a monk, I’m active, I don’t smoke, I wasn’t on birth control, I’ve never had any pelvic conditions, and I’m under the age of 35 – which is to say that I didn’t fulfill a single risk factor.  It felt so unfair that somebody who could be so health-conscious could be suddenly fighting to save their own fertility.  

For now, we are stuck in CO and have no choice but to live through this hell until my levels return to zero.  We have already missed my sister’s wedding and will not be home for Christmas.  I feel like I could collapse from sadness at any moment.  This body was supposed to be able to create life, and almost destroyed itself trying. It is simultaneously trying to create andundo another human while I have to live in this battlefield of hormones and toxins raging through my bloodstream.  I am merely existing under the weight of fear and loss, and I think I for the first time I finally understand the true meaning of womanhood.  Femininity is not about being delicate and sexy, it is about being a warrior when your only weapon is the primal strength that resides in the very fabric of our DNA.  

I will not meet this baby and yet I knowthis baby with the resonance of a thousand spirits.  I will not know whether it would have been a boy or a girl, and I will never know if its heartbeat pulsed inside of me.  If all goes well, I will absorb our baby back into my own body, the same place where it came from.  It is the most tightly woven circle of life, so tight that I wonder if this is even a loss at all.  I have lost nothing more than blood and innocence and I think maybe motherhood is the ability to love our babies whether or not they ever make it earth-side. I have found a fortitude that I wish I never knew, but it is one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 

"Did you guys miss New York?"

New York City Wedding Photographers | Colorado Weddings | Apollo Fields Photojournalism | NYC Photography


“Did you guys miss New York?”

This is one of those questions we have been asked by everyone since moving back East.  And it’s a good question, but the answer is complicated… When we moved to Colorado in 2016, we were veryready to move.  But it wasn’t because we hated NYC, it was just time.  It was time to be in nature and time to be in an unknown place together.  Big moves like that can make or break a relationship, and for us I guess we got lucky. 

When I first moved to New York City a few years before that, I barely knew anyone and the people that I did know were in different boroughs.  Despite always having the city close by, the UWS was as much of a mystery to me as if I had moved to Los Angeles by myself.  I learned a lot about myself in that first year while I was getting my MA and living in a tiny studio apartment on 105thStreet.  It was just me and Riddle, a mini fridge, an oven that leaked Carbon Monoxide, and a sort-of-view of the Hudson River if you hung your head out of the prison-sized window.  

I was still living in that death trap of an apartment when I met Terrence.  I was riding out my lease before moving farther uptown, but I can still remember one of our first dinners together there. We were eating on the couch because I only had one dining room chair and Terrence was cautioning me about how he didn’t eat onions, fish, tomatoes, etc.  I had no idea how to feed such a picky eater, so I just went ahead cooking like I normally did anyway.  How far we’ve come since those days.  
 

For as much as I learned about myself being single in NYC, I think we learned as much about each other when we made the move to the mountains together.  We had very few connections in CO when we first moved and had to learn how to lean on one another in ways that we hadn’t before. Even though we had lived together in New York, we always had additional roommates (such is life in Manhattan). We had a very familiar neighborhood in New York filled to the brim with drinking buddies, walk-able pubs, and enough libations to stay busy until 4am any time we felt like it.  

We landed in Colorado and everything quieted down.  We only had each other and our little cottage.  We found ourselves less intrigued by urban life and much more content hanging at a local brewery in town with a couple beers and a board game.  We got bikes and went hiking, we spent afternoons at the dog park and evenings cuddled up on our couch.  Life was good and it was hard to miss NYC at that time. 
 

We were still flying back East multiple times a year for weddings and holidays.  We were always happy to come back to familiar faces and good ethnic food.  Distance helps you weed out the drinking buddies and bring family to the surface, or at least that was the case for us.  Don’t get me wrong, we can still throw back a few shots at a dive bar, but suddenly, we were more interested in making a push for spending time with our siblings instead.     
 

Our decision to move back was multidimensional.  We are looking to buy a farm to turn into a wedding venue and the numbers just weren’t adding up in Colorado.  The real estate market there was pretty volatile: we were part of a huge boom of fellow transplants making the Rocky Mountain move and we got in too late.  By the time we were ready to look at properties, everything was selling above already-high asking prices.  Zoning was a nightmare, and anything with a mountain view was just plain cost prohibitive.  With the average all-in price of a CO wedding coming in at $26k and NY suburbs at roughly $65k+, we weren’t about to take that kind of business risk just to keep our beloved mountains in our backyard.  
 

So as you all know, at the end of September we packed up our little cottage into our Highlander and drove back East.  Animals and cameras in tow, we hit the ground running—getting married, wrapping up busy season, and honeymooning in Jamaica while settling into a new house.  We are finally slowing down (but not for long). 

We’ve moved into a cute yellow house in East Northport, five minutes from Terrence’s dad and stepmom. We went from a 550sq foot cottage to a real house, which after a few Salvation Army raids is beginning to feel like a home.  We are living well by Long Island standards:  fenced-in backyard, walking distance to the LIRR, and a ten-minute drive to the North Shore.  

Despite being an hour train or car ride from the city, this is a very different lifestyle than when we were actually living in NYC.  We are very much in a commuter / family town.  The delis and pizzerias are good, but that’s about it in the way of local flavor and small town charm.  It is nice to be closer to family again.  We have been into the city a few times and it’s been great.  We hit The Whitney for the Andy Warhol exhibit and gorged ourselves on international food.  We ride the subways like nothing has changed, and traversed up and down the blocks with the sharp cold air lingering on our cheeks.  

New York will always be our city, even though if we’re being honest I don’t think I’ll ever live in it again.  It doesn’t fit our lifestyle, business trajectory, or relationship anymore. In a perfect world, we won’t be on Long Island for very long, either.  We would love to end up on a farm in Bucks County PA or upstate NY. We have big dreams of hosting weddings, homesteading, and photographing more and more amazing couples.  We envision an old barn, a big fireplace, chickens and kiddos running through the fields, and a labor-of-love property that gives us as much as we give it.  

So the short answer is, yes we missed New York but we also miss Colorado.  We like walking through museums as well as walking up mountains.  We love our family here and love our friends in CO.  We miss the big western skies and the “300 days of sunshine” that we got so used to.  But we’re glad to get a decent bagel again.  We are lucky because we get to experience such a range of landscapes, and because of our business, we don’t have to choose one or the other.  We get to go back to the Rockies for work and play, and in the meantime we are stoked to start to look to the future to find the quirky farm venue that will turn into the biggest passion project we’ve taken on so far.  

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Jenna & Justice

Horse Photography | Equine Portraits | Senior Photos | Capricorn Farm, Golden Colorado | Warmblood Horses | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers

Aralimbo’s last home, Capricorn Farm in Jefferson County, Colorado, is a peaceful oasis that is permanently painted into my mind. Seated right in front of North Table Mountain in Golden, CO, every sunset sunk behind the Rocky Mountains too quickly, splashing palates of pink, yellow, and blue into the open sky like a landscape portrait by your favorite impressionist painter. The kicker of Capricorn Farm, though, was the owner, Katie, and her daughter, Jenna, who rode and worked that idyllic farm property as naturally as North Table Mountain emerged from the soil of the front range.

Farm life isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but those who dive head first into the hay do so because they love animals more than they love themselves. Katie, like most barn owners we’ve met, evoked a stern, take-no-shit attitude when we first talked shop with her. Then, when we saw her walk through the stable, strutting in her element, shaking the dust from the field from her jacket, we noticed the heart behind the hard work. The way she reached out to touch her equine friends was as gentle as a gardener’s whisper; the way she looked into their eyes as sensitive as a mother’s gaze. It’s only in the rare few that these two seemingly opposite character traits – toughness and tenderness – materialize into the calloused hands of the seasoned farmer.

The last month we were in Colorado, Heather secretly did a photo session with Jenna and her horse, Justice, as a thank you gift for Katie’s loving care of Aralimbo. There’s a certain bond between a horse and the rider, Heather keeps telling me, and it first became evident in those photographs. Jenna was heading off to college and was heartbroken leaving Justice in Colorado, but such is the price you pay when you love something so much. Yet that day at Capricorn, Heather immortalized Jenna and Justice’s bond in photographs that will also reinforce Jenna’s relationship with Katie. It reminded me that distance between loved ones can always change with time, but remembering the moments that shaped our lives never will.

There’s something about the love of animals that makes having weddings at barns or farms more appropriate than banquet halls. Perhaps it’s the unconditional love that’s exchanged between eyes, the reward of hard work, or the many loves that the old wooden walls must’ve seen over time. All I know is that Heather and I are going to find a farm wedding venue that captures whatever it is.

Whether a trend or if farm weddings are here to stay, having the privilege to meet people like Katie and Jenna is why we are in the industry that we are in. Nothing means more to us than providing meaningful pathways for families, couples, or relatives to connect to one another. It just so happens that many of the people in our lives have an overwhelming amount of love for the other creatures we share this earth with. If it’s anything we can learn from them is that although their hands are calloused, it doesn’t prevent them from also being gentle.

Horse Photography: Apollo Fields
Venue: Capricorn Farm

Kerry & Patrick's Urban Wedding – Skylight Denver

Kerry & Patrick's Urban Wedding | Skylight Wedding Venue | Denver, Colorado Photographer | Santa Fe Art District Photography

Kerry and Patrick were one of the first couples to officially get married in one of Denver's newest downtown venues, Skylight.  This venue is tucked into the bustling part of the Santa Fe Art District, and is fun, hip, urban, and trendy.  Along the main strip are fun art galleries, always popping with new events and shows.  There are breweries, coffee shops, and a bunch of eclectic little stores all surrounding this busy venue. 

Skylight boasts white brick and an urban design, tailor made to modern couples.  They are able to bring in all of their own vendors, free of exclusive vendor lists, and have a lot of free rein in their planning process.  We started the day with Kerry getting ready at the venue and Patrick getting ready at a local bar down the street with all of his groomsmen.  The vibe was fun and upbeat, and both of their personalities made it easy to just snap away, capturing details as the room was being set, and finding fun and candid moments to shoot in between. 

We did an official first look at a fun graffiti wall up against an old southwestern looking chapel.  The bright and artistic vibe fit their personalities so well.  They enjoyed a private and intimate first look, and then we brought them down into our secret find that we were so excited for:  a quiet and skinny little alleyway that had these awesome market lights strung across the top!  A photographer's dream.  

Their ceremony was heartfelt and full of love and tradition.  Their sweet dog walked down the aisle and joined them at the altar.  They passed around the rings and had their guests and family members charge them with their well-wishes and positive energy.  It was the perfect blend of combining their own type of ceremony while honoring their family's religious roots.  Their officiant was fun, vibrant, and so full of positive vibes that it was impossible to not feel the love in the room. 

Patrick and Kerry had a fun and heartfelt reception, with sweet speeches by family members and the wedding party.  They enjoyed a sentimental first dance, and then finished the night strong with dancing, laughter, and lots of hugs!

Perfection is a Fiction: NYC and The Andy Warhol Exhibit

NYC Museums | Andy Warhol, The Whitney | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

Most of my trips to modern art museums are filled with artful dances around statuesque ponderers and remembering to check the arch of my eyebrows as my eyes learn what’s in in fashion right now. With each brightly colored cube, broken television set, or inflatable animal made of metal, my mind is thrown into a metaphysical whirlwind at the hands and mercy of Dadaism and all of its absurdist descendants. Trying to make sense of art when conventional aesthetics is thrown out the window is like walking through a busy foreign marketplace – you know something is being said, you just have no idea what it is. It’s an uncomfortable feeling until you stumble across a piece that makes you stop and tilt your head at different angles as you try to understand a language you do not yet know.

The piece in the background at the top of this post was from my most recent trip to the Andy Warhol exhibit at The Whitney in New York titled Before and After. It’s been said that it’s Warhol’s self-criticism of his own plastic surgery, while others remark that the original magazine advertisement that Warhol borrowed from was inherently anti-Semitic and that that was his intent. It makes me think that perhaps the most beautiful (or tragic) thing about modern art is that we don’t have to understand the intent of the artist and that we can create an entirely new meaning of our own. As I wandered through Warhol’s life of work, I began to learn more and more about the man behind the Campbells can – and to my surprise, something about the lens through which I view the world as well.

When I saw Warhol’s Before and After it made me think of the world of appearances of social media. It made me think, “this is the way we all want to look” (the person on the right), but in reality most of us look like the person on the left. It made me think that perfection is a fiction we want so badly to be true that we curate our lives into Snaps and Instas. That with every filter and post we draw further from reality and the sanity that comes with embracing the hooked-nose image staring back at us in the mirror. Who knows what Warhol actually meant but that’s how it made me feel.

I realized that good art gives you a license to create. It makes you think, but above all it validates all of the crazy ideas that run through your head. If before the Campbells print became famous, Warhol were try to explain that idea to someone else, it would’ve sounded asinine. And perhaps it is. But because Warhol bypassed the potentially paralyzing explain-the-craziness-inside-your-head-to-someone-else-stage of creation, we have a piece of art that makes us, or at least me, sit and think for a second. It eventually spurred me to organize my thoughts and put them onto this paper.

I guess the lesson is that perfection is a fiction and I prefer to live in reality. When I stood like any of the other entitled museum-goers at Warhol’s Before and After I immediately liked the image on the right more. You can’t help the urge to like what is aesthetically more pleasing, but learning to accept and appreciate our imperfections confronts the real rather than filtering it out.

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