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Sam & Elisa’s Wedding at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont

Posted on March 18, 2015


This was another fabulous destination wedding for us! It was actually a destination wedding for many of the guests, as they were from all over the world – including Chile, Australia, California, New Zealand, and Minnesota – too many places to mention! It was the most interesting and diverse group of wedding guests we’ve ever encountered. As both the bride and groom grew up on the ski slopes, many of their friends and guests were avid skiers as well. That was something many people there had in common.

This was the wedding of Sam von Trapp and Elisa Sepulveda. Sam’s family owns and operates the Trapp Family Lodge www.trappfamily.com in Stowe, Vermont. Elisa was raised in Chile and her stepfather is the owner of a magnificent ski resort in Portillo www.skiportillo.com. This is actually where she met Sam, who was a ski instructor at the resort at the time. Sam and Elisa have known each other for 13 years believe it or not, which is one reason why their wedding day was so highly anticipated by family members and friends alike! Sam’s “singing” family and their history of leaving Austria back in the 1930’s was the inspiration for the Broadway show and later the 1965 film, The Sound of Music. Sam’s late grandmother, Maria, was the actual Maria that Julie Andrews portrayed in the film. His father, Johannes, was Maria and Captain von Trapp’s last child. Several other relatives, including Sam’s Aunt Maria and Aunt Rosmarie also attended the wedding. The von Trapp’s history is so unbelievably interesting. The Trapp Family lodge has a magnificent collection of photos and memorabilia of the family’s long history, plus in each room there is a book with more photos and information about the family. We didn’t have time to read the whole thing so I bought it at the gift shop to read later at home.

We really can’t say enough about both Elisa and Sam’s families. Everyone we met was gracious, friendly and most hospitable. They are all really great people in every sense.

We were also really impressed with the Trapp Family Lodge itself. We’ve been to Stowe many times, but had never stayed at the lodge. Everything there was impeccable – the staff was friendly and helpful, our room was comfy and large and the overall surroundings magnificent. Also, the cuisine at the lodge was to die for! Check out the "TASTY STUFF" section of this blog to see cuisine photos from the Trapp Lodge. We were given the opportunity to photograph (and taste) many of the meals that were served over the course of the weekend. As you’ll see from the photos in this post, the scenery around the lodge is just breathtaking. Also, we are usually in Vermont in the winter, so seeing the green rolling hills in the spring was really neat.

Sam and Elisa’s wedding weekend started off with a rehearsal dinner in the Mozart Room of the lodge on Thursday evening. It was a delicious meal, including soup, salad, a game course and an entrée. There were many entertaining and emotional speeches made during the dinner and the bride and groom were filled with emotion as their many guests and relatives shared story after amusing story for all to hear. A delectable dessert table was set up later in the downstairs lounge, where the guests were invited to a welcome reception and live music.

The next night, we were invited to the groom’s parents’ home for a cocktail party. Johannes and Lynne, Sam’s parents, were terrific hosts as they opened up their magnificent home to all wedding guests. It was a great time and we took the opportunity to photograph Sam and Elisa in a more casual atmosphere before their wedding day. We photographed the food served here as well and as many people as possible as they enjoyed the party in this beautiful, rustic home.

As Saturday approached, so did the rain clouds. By 2pm, however, the clouds began to lift and the sun finally came out. After several days of on and off rain – this was truly perfect timing! There was definitely a concern about rain, as this was pretty much planned as an outdoor wedding. The ceremony was at a chapel that was built by one of Sam’s late uncles (Werner von Trapp) over 50 years ago. To reach this chapel, one has to basically hike uphill through the woods to get there. It is certainly a pretty trek, though, and well worth it! The chapel is made of stone and so quaint – only about 4 people actually can fit inside, so the ceremony was conducted right in front with wedding guests and musicians standing all around in the woods.

From there, we hiked down the mountain with Sam and Elisa and took pictures along the way. There were just too many picturesque spots to stop at all of them! The cocktail hour was held outside amidst a forest of birch trees followed by a reception in a huge white tent. The meal at the reception consisted of a huge variety of passed hors d’oeuvres as well as sumptuous food stations that included a magnificent cheese table, sushi, raw bar, crudités, carving station, fruit and of course, dessert. A high-energy band rocked the tent until 1AM – the dance floor was constantly filled with energetic guests boogieing the night away!

Now this is something we have never seen at a wedding before – a lamb roast on a huge open fire pit! Elisa wanted the lamb to be ready to eat at 2AM, so it was set to roast for HOURS before! Also available to roast were marshmallows and all the makings for smores – so yummy! Guests wandered out of the tent periodically to check out what was happening at the fire pit – it was also the warmest spot around, as the Vermont evening air was quite chilly.

Sam and Elisa and all of their guests had an incredible time during this festive wedding weekend - and so did we!




The grounds of the Trapp lodge is home to a herd of unique Scottish Highland cattle. They are very friendly.



Rehearsal dinner set-up in the Mozart Room at the lodge.






Same and Elisa share a moment in the doorway of Sam's parents' (Johannes and Lynne) gorgeous wooden home.





The path on the way to the chapel was a steep climb through the woods...


Elisa with her bridesmaids and flower girls, nieces Annie and Stella (left to right).


Elisa is emotional as she speaks to her maternal grandmother via cell phone.


The girls have fun making the trek to the chapel.


Sam and his groomsmen pause for a photo on their way to the chapel.


Sam looks on as Elisa's father walks her up the (somewhat muddy) aisle to her.


Have you ever seen wedding guests situated like this? Unusual and beautiful!





Sam's two aunts - Rosmarie at left and Maria von Trapp at right. Maria is 94 years old and one of the original "children" portrayed in The Sound of Music.




Wedding reception set up in a beautiful huge tent. Look at those rustic flower arrangements - perfect for this wedding!



Same and Elisa enjoy a speech by Elisa's mother, Mary.



Ok - now this is something you don't see every day! There was a huge open fire that was used to roast a lamb as well as marshmallows and all the makings for smores. This fire burned way into the night - the lamb wasn't even eaten until 3AM! Guests gathered around the warmth of the fire for hours.



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Karina and Joseph’s South Florida Fair Engagement Shoot

Posted on March 8, 2015


I had a blast photographing Karina and Joseph’s recent engagement shoot at the fabulous South Florida Fair. This annual event boasts tons of terrific rides, all kinds of fabulous food, and and incredible array of colorful backdrops. Karina and Joseph dressed perfectly for a shoot here, in retro attire that blended in perfectly with the surroundings.


As a South Florida wedding photographer, I always look forward to the opportunity to photograph engagement shoots in different places. The South Florida Fair was definitely a unique location for such a shoot. It’s held annually in the month of January and is a very popular attraction for both locals as well as tourists to the area. You can get a good glimpse from these photos at the many attractions and areas the fair has to offer. One really interesting spot is “Yesteryear” – this is a permanent display of old Florida homes and items of the past. It is very authentic and a great place for vintage looking photos.


South Florida engagement shoots are very popular both with couples getting married here as well as visiting couples who are getting married elsewhere in the country. There is something divine about coming to this tropical place for romantic photos to be taken. Many couples opt to have their engagement photos taken at the beach, while others prefer to go to a park or other unique location. Downtown Cityplace and Delray Beach are two popular spots for photos as well as the Morikami Japanese Gardens


I was glad to finally have the opportunity to do an engagement shoot at the South Florida Fair as I knew that it had more to offer in terms of backgrounds than most other places. Karina and Joseph just blended in perfectly in their cool retro outfits and really got into the spirit of things. Their enthusiasm and fun loving nature really comes through in these pictures.


If you are looking for a South Florida photographer to capture your engagement shoots and aren’t sure where might be a good place, definitely speak with him or her and express your preferences in terms of the type of setting – whether urban, beach, park or other. I always do my best to make proper location suggestions to my couples so that their engagement photos achieve exactly the look and feel they are looking for. A really great photographer should be able to make any location work well, but for sure some places are better than others.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse of Karina and Joseph’s fun and retro engagement shoot at the fabulous South Florida Fair!


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Justine & Jeremy – Tropical Elegance at The Breakers, Palm Beach.

Posted on November 10, 2014

This post has been partially modified from a post now appearing in BeachBride.com


Who would’ve known that tropical and elegance can be put together? Whenever brides and grooms decide on a beach wedding, there’s some sort of casualness and laid-back vibe present during the event, it’s almost always uncanny. I guess it’s because we associate beaches with relaxation and vacation. But for Justine & Jeremy, they were able to recreate the beach vibe but also, add some elegance to it. All thanks to their amazing reception set-up that looked so amazing with all the metallic details. The refined aura of silver plus the casual vibe of the sand equals to something unique and gorgeous. As a South Florida wedding photographer, I always love photographing elegant weddings at The Breakers. Creating Breakers wedding pictures is nothing short of a pleasure since the location has so many fabulous places to shoot.


I thought - what a great place to photograph the bride's shoes? Why not in the seafood bar? The Breakers has many, many locations that many photographers don't even think to utilize when taking wedding pictures. Justine and Jeremy's South Florida destination wedding at The Breakers was intimate, but afforded me many opportunities to create some incredible Breakers wedding photos.


Justine and Jeremy were an absolute pleasure to work with. As a South Florida wedding photographer, I often do not have the opportunity to meet my clients until their wedding day - and this was no different. We immediately connected and both Justine and Jeremy were enthusiastic participants as we roamed around The Breakers to create some amazing photos.


How did you meet?

The story for Jeremy and I began five years ago, as we met through mutual friends. It was love at first sight for us and after only after three months together, we knew that we were meant to be husband and wife. Our relationship works because we respect one another and the characteristics that one person lacks, the other makes up for. We are the epitome of a team.


One of our favorite moments from the wedding was the First Look. The love and emotions that we have and hold for one another could definitely be felt and seen by all. At this moment, we definitely felt like the most special couple in the world a couple that were having their dream wedding surrounded by friends and family and excited to spend the rest of our lives together. Another favorite moment of ours, was when the Priest, Father Leo began to cry because he could sense and feel the love that we have for one another.


How did he propose?

In the spring of 2013, Jeremy and I went for a walk on a trail that we often walked on near our house and one that we walked on during one of our first dates getting to know on another. We stopped on a bridge that overlooks a river and were talking and laughing when all of a sudden Jeremy got down on one knee and asked me to marry him… well you can tell now how that went!


Simply breathtaking. Leave it to the Design Studio at The Breakers to create decor of unimaginable beauty.


Tell us something about the wedding.

When deciding on a wedding destination, the ocean was our first choice. The beach has always been a special place for us, as it is always our “go to” vacation place. We visited many places, the Breakers being one of the venues that we looked at in Florida. After seeing the Breakers in Palm Beach, nothing else could compare and we found ourselves comparing everything to the Breakers. It was definitely our idea of a beautiful destination wedding. We knew that this would be the perfect place to host our friends and family from Michigan, as the service, the beauty and the amenities of the Breakers is unparalleled from the moment you pull into the drive.


Justine & Jeremy live in Michigan and decided to have a destination wedding. The ocean was their first choice. It has always been a special “go to” place for them. After visiting many venues, nothing else compared to The Breakers in Palm Beach! What a perfect place to host their friends and family from Michigan for a fabulous destination beach wedding!


So delicious. Just feast your eyes on the magnificent cuisine of The Breakers. The sundae at the bottom left is a most popular choice at Breakers weddings. Sascha LaGreca of The Breakers assisted the couple in making sure their special day was truly one to remember.


Congratulations to this gorgeous couple and many thanks for a memorable South Florida destination wedding at The Breakers!


Wedding Venue & Catering: The Breakers, Sascha LaGreca / Décor & Design: The Design Studio at The Breakers / Ceremony: Ocean Lawn / Receptions: Gulfstream Rooms / Dinner: Magnolia Room / Photography: Jeff Kolodny Photography / Entertainment: The Powerhouse Group / Dress: Alvina Valenta, Arena Bridal – MI / Rings: Bride’s Engagement and Wedding Band, Hearts On Fire, Tappers – MI / Grooms Ring Lucido Jewelry – MI / Shoes: Bagley Mischka / Hair & Makeup: Frank Cassini Salon – Palm Beach / Bridesmaid Dresses: Eliza J., Nordstrom / Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang

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TARA & SCOTT'S DESTINATION MIAMI BEACH WEDDING AT THE FONTAINEBLEAU

Posted on August 28, 2014

What a fabulous summer wedding! Tara and Scott live in the Midwest, so planning their South Florida destination wedding at the incomparable Fontainebleau Miami Beach was definitely something very special for them as well as their lucky guests. To help plan their elegant summer wedding, the couple called upon Carrie Zack Events to manage all details and create the wedding of their dreams.







The hotel itself is considered historic, having first opened its doors in 1954, attracting celebrities and filmmakers alike. The Fontainebleau is prominently featured in the classic James Bond film Goldfinger (1964). In 2008, the hotel underwent a massive renovation and was transformed into the modern marvel we see today. Just check out the incredible architecture in the photos below - there is simply nothing like it anywhere else.


For a Miami Beach wedding, there is hotel that provides more unique locales to shoot than the Fontainebleau. There is literally an endless array of magnificent spots in and around this hotel to photograph willing brides and grooms. Tara and Scott were enthusiastic about their pictures from the very beginning - before we even met - and on their wedding day they were fun and fabulous to work with. Just look at these shots that we had so much fun shooting.



For Miami Beach, the Fontainebleau is a perfect venue to host a wedding – either large or small. There are so many amazing spaces and rooms there for ceremonies and receptions that there is literally a perfect spot for everyone. Whether your ceremony is planned inside or out, the Fontainebleau can provide an incredible backdrop for your vows. Tara and Scott's ceremony was beachside - the ultimate tropical and romantic setting.


As a South Florida wedding photographer, I often photograph couples at the beach. With a Fontainebleau Miami Beach wedding, how could we NOT hit the beach?




Just some of the whimsical and festive details created by Carrie Zack Events and her team of associated vendors.


Tara and Scott's Miami Beach destination wedding was fun for all!



What a great party!


Some nice bling here too. Congratulations to Tara and Scott! We were thrilled to be a part of your special day.


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Taylor & JP’s South Florida wedding at BallenIsles Country Club

Posted on July 21, 2014


Taylor and JP came to us a long time ago! They were so enthusiastic about their upcoming wedding and no detail was overlooked. After looking around at several hotels in the Palm Beach Gardens area, they eventually found BallenIsles Country Club and instantly knew it was what they were looking for. They loved the views of the golf course and the venue itself seemed to have character that they didn’t find in any regular hotel ballroom.



From the beginning, Taylor knew she wanted a “fairytale wedding.” To achieve her desired ambiance for the wedding, she hired Benny of Daniel Events. Taylor’s dream came true as Benny draped the entire room from floor to ceiling and totally transformed the space. Another special touch was the use of a white vinyl dance floor with monogram gobo lighting. Taylor’s dream wedding included lots of crystals, candle lighting plush centerpieces which exuded a traditional elegance. The couple also had a gorgeous monogrammed ice sculpture for the shrimp cocktail display during their cocktail hour.


Although they had a formal South Florida wedding, Taylor and JP are pretty laid back, so they wanted to add personal touches that reflected their personalities. These touches included a basket of various sized flip flops for the ladies to change into for dancing – “a special treat for their dancing feet.” Also, there were monogrammed koozies at all the bars for guests who were drinking beer to use and keep as a souvenir. Lastly, they had wayfarer sunglasses that ended up being a huge hit on the dance floor! Taylor is a big believer in that all the little details come together to make one great party! To this point, she had her heart set on certain Swarovski table numbers that were very hard to find. She drove all the way to Miami during the week of the wedding to pick them up because she knew this was exactly what she wanted and nothing would look better! As a South Florida wedding photographer, I can appreciate all these little details as well – they make for great photos!


Taylor’s gown was by Allure, specifically for their couture line. Her shoes were J. Crew and her jewelry and head piece were all Swarovski crystal by Twinkle Twinkle Bridal.










Deciding whether to hire a band or a DJ was a bit of a struggle at first. Taylor wanted a DJ and JP wanted a band. They found the best compromise in hiring Mike Sipe’s DJ Live experience. This included a DJ to play the songs the way they were recorded and also a sax player and percussionist that could play along with any and every song they chose. Taylor and JP were thrilled with the result – they had the energy of a band but the versatility of a DJ. It was a perfect mix for them.



The couple met back in 2007 in Daytona. JP was 25 and just starting out in Chiropractic school. Taylor was just 18 and had just graduated from high school. They met by chance in her apartment complex parking lot and he asked Taylor out on a date to meet him later that week at a Daytona Cubs baseball game. That was their first date and the rest was history! They dated for 5 years before JP proposed to Taylor on a trip to Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day.


Everything has worked out wonderfully for this couple. They now work together at their own wellness clinic in Port St. Lucie. JP is the chiropractor and clinic director and Taylor is his office manager. They never thought they’d be working together, but as Taylor explained, it just makes them stronger and no one will work harder for their company than they will.




As if their South Florida wedding wasn’t enough excitement, JP surprised Taylor with the location of their honeymoon. All along he had not secretive about all the hard work he was putting into planning the honeymoon but wouldn’t tell her where it was. The morning of the wedding, Taylor and her bridesmaids were getting ready when they were visited by one of the groomsmen who brought in a laptop with a small, wrapped gift box. He told Taylor to watch the video and open the gift when she was told to. Taylor pressed play and up popped JP with a pre-recorded message. He told her how much he loved her and couldn’t wait to see her later. He said he was going to give her a few hints as to where they were going on their honeymoon before he FINALLY gave the location away. The camera cut to various clips of him rock climbing, surfing, hiking, and biking. Taylor explained that this was done all with very low budget visual effects to make it look like he was somewhere tropical! It was a such a funny video and the final hint was in the box that she could now open. Inside, was a Tahitian black pearl and the rarest in the world. Then he said they were going to Bora Bora! Taylor was beyond excited. She was shaking, laughing and crying all at once.


These two had such a sweet story leading up to their magnificent South Florida wedding that I thought I would share it here. Taylor was kind enough to provide me with all this wonderful information about herself and JP. As a South Florida wedding photographer, I always love hearing special details about the couples whose weddings I photograph.


Among the vendors that contributed to their wedding day success were of course the already mentioned, Daniel Events and Mike Sipe Entertainment. Also part of the day were Molly’s Trolley’s, Vivid Hair Design & Spa, Katie B. with MAC Palm Beach Gardens and of course their gorgeous Palm Beach Gardens wedding venue, BallenIsles Country Club.


Congratulations Taylor and JP – we were honored to be a part of your very special South Florida wedding.

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