Archive: January 2009     PAGE 1 OF 2   MORE >

Why I Love Destination Weddings

Posted on January 28, 2009

Below: I shot this while photographing a destination wedding in Avignon, France.


Originally from the New York/New Jersey area, I then moved to Los Angeles where I stayed for about 20 years, followed by a move back east to South Florida, I must say I enjoy photographing weddings wherever they might take me – even if they are in my own state! I am lucky enough to have had the experience to have photographed many, many weddings all around the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes, the San Fernando Valley, and Orange County just to name a few. By the time I made the move to South Florida, it was time for a change and this was a welcomed one! I instantly felt as if was photographing destination weddings because, for me, it was still new territory and everything was fresh. I soon realized that South Florida is a HUGE destination wedding spot. I noticed that a large number of my clients did not live here; rather they were from all over the place, with most hailing from New York, Chicago and Georgia. I continue to be amazed at just how many of my clients here are from out of town – Michigan, Tennessee, California, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Virginia and Canada. We’ve even had clients from as far away as London, Australia and Japan.

It’s really unbelievable. I seem to have stumbled upon something I never thought about. I knew that the South Florida area was growing when I moved here, meaning the area primarily between West Palm Beach and Miami, but what I hadn’t thought about was the enormous destination wedding factor. Everyone seems to want to have his or her wedding in South Florida. The weather is the main reason and the beaches are another. When much of the country is dealing with sub zero temperatures and difficult weather, South Florida is enjoying sunshine and a very comfortable climate. Another important factor here is the fact that there are an endless number of hotels and venues to choose from – at all price levels. One can plan a simple beach wedding under a tent, to an enormously elaborate destination wedding at a place such as The Breakers in Palm Beach or any one of a number of Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the state. We have photographed small destinations in Key West and Pelican Grand Beach Resort to large destination weddings at the Breakers, the Diplomat Hotel, Diplomat Country Club, and the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne just to name a few. Another reason why many brides/grooms from the north decide to have their weddings here is that a) they are originally from here and all of their friends and family still live here OR b) they are from the north, but the parents and/or grandparents have relocated to South Florida and it is just easier for them to have the wedding here so that those key people are there to help them plan the wedding and not have to deal with traveling.

So many of my South Florida weddings are actually destination weddings. It is a pretty large percentage, I think close to fifty percent. Robin, my wife, and I find ourselves taking on the role of wedding planner, as many of our out-of-state clients need extra help in planning their far away South Florida weddings. We help direct them to other vendors who will do an excellent job for them. It is hard, as many of these clients do all of their planning from their homes and actually do not even have the time to come to South Florida to meet with many vendors in person. We pride ourselves on making these clients feel as assured and comfortable as possible as they make their decision to hire us. We will speak to them extensively on the phone, direct them to our blog and even mail them a presentation to review. All of these elements are extremely important to the client, as hiring a photographer for their wedding is one of the most vital decisions they will make in the planning process. If you regularly check out our blog at www.destinationweddingphotographerflorida.com you’ll be sure to see a variety of weddings both photographed here in South Florida and in other locations as well.

In addition to photographing destination weddings here in South Florida, I also welcome the opportunity to travel other locations to shoot weddings. I have been fortunate enough to have photographed weddings in Mexico, France, New York and currently have weddings scheduled in Washington DC, Virginia and Vermont. As a destination-wedding photographer, I absolutely love shooting weddings in new and exciting locations. I thrive on exploring different cultures, exotic locations and enjoy observing how this all plays into weddings in different cities and countries. Every place is so unique, with landmarks and traditions that are often factored into just how a wedding is planned. For instance, to capture the essence of the wedding I photographed in France, I made it a point to shoot items written in French or of cultural interest, such as the distinct architecture in Avignon. For the upcoming wedding in Washington DC I am photographing, I will be taking the bride and groom around the city against the many incredible and recognizable monuments there are in town.

I love photographing all weddings – but destination weddings, near or far, are among my favorite


Below: This one was shot while working in Jamaica.


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An Appetizing Wedding at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

Posted on January 27, 2009


Anisha and Neil got married on December 18 at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Elda Brouwer, the Director of Catering at the Ritz-Carlton, helped put together a sumptuous menu of Grilled Filet Mignon, Chilean Sea Bass and Seared Cocoa Dusted Scallops. The wedding cake was a sleek buttercream cake with alternating chocolate and strawberry layers adorned with yellow tulips. Accompanying it for the sweet tooth inclined was a dessert of Passion Banana Chocolate Mousse Dome accented with drops of Cinnamon Cream Anglais. It was a delicious as it looks and sounds. The table décor was done by Robert Torres of Grande Affairs in Miami.




Awesome table décor was done by Robert Torres of Grande Affairs in Miami.






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A job well done!!

Posted on January 27, 2009

A small Playboy portfolio is available for viewing by request only.


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I will highly recommend you!

Posted on January 26, 2009

We often receive thank you notes from our clients, however, I thought this one was so great I decided to post it here on the home page before moving it over to our KUDOS section.


Dear Jeff,

There is so much I would like to express at this moment....
Words will not do it justice.

The photos of Yari and Jeff's wedding are sooooooooooo beautiful!
In the midst of all the commotion, you captured the essence of what our families and the bride and groom were feeling.... Joy and Love!!!!

I bless you and thank God for your gift!
You heard the desires of our heart and produced more than we could hope for! The happiness and love of this special day was truly captured!
I will highly recommend you!

Sincerely,
Jeanne and David
Lydia (Yari's grandmother)

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Jewish Weddings in South Florida

Posted on January 18, 2009

Michelle and Brian’s wedding at Boca Resort and Temple B’Nai Torah started with wedding photos at Boca Resort where Michelle and Brian each prepared for their walk down the aisle. The weather was pristine as we photographed both indoors and outdoors at this truly magnificent venue. It’s easy to find great spots to do wedding pictures at Boca Resort – its grounds are lush and the inside of the hotel is sleek and elegant.

Michelle and Brian planned a traditional Jewish wedding in Boca Raton that was held at Temple B’Nai Torah. Anybody who has been following my blog has probably noticed that YES – I do photograph many Jewish weddings here in South Florida. Florida, specifically South Florida has the 3rd largest Jewish population in the country behind New York and California. I have much experience photographing Jewish weddings, as I was a wedding photographer in Los Angeles for many years before moving to South Florida – not to mention, I had one myself!

Since this wedding was so beautiful and full of tradition, I thought it would be fitting to explain some of the cultural aspects of a Jewish wedding, as displayed in these photographs from Michelle and Brian’s wedding.



First, there is the veiling of the bride, or the “badecken.” In a nutshell, this is done as a reference to a Biblical story about Jacob who was apparently “tricked” into marrying the wrong girl. To insure that this crazy mishap does not happen, the groom “checks” to be sure that it is the right girl before her veil is lowered over her forehead.


Once it is assured that the correct girl is there, the bride and groom prepare to sign the Jewish marriage license, or the “ketubah.” This used to be a binding legal document back in the day, however, today it is considered merely a spiritual decree expressing a couple’s commitment to the marriage. Ketubah’s are also considered works of art and each one is unique, as they can be custom designed with the bride and groom’s specific information written into the document. They can be as colorful or plain as the bride or groom desire.


If you browse through this website, you will see many, many examples of one of the most obvious symbols of a Jewish wedding, the “chuppah.” The chuppah symbolizes the couple’s new home. Traditional chuppahs are created by suspending a “talit”, or prayer shawl” from four poles. The open sides are meant to welcome friends and family, with the talit as a reminder of the presence of God. In most South Florida Jewish weddings I have photographed, the chuppah also represents the tastes and preferences of the couple that shall stand beneath it. Many chuppahs are designed to be elaborate, almost showpieces, with many different kinds of flowers or textures such as Plexiglas or tree-like poles. Every time I photograph a Jewish wedding, I am eager to see what kind of chuppah the bride and groom have chosen – each one is so different and interesting! Benny of Daniels Events in Boca Raton designed Michelle and Brian’s chuppah to their specifications. Though inside, it was a stunning centerpiece that added a very “outdoorsy” feel to the ceremony site.


During the marriage ceremony, the rabbi initiates the “kiddush, ” or the blessing over the wine. Two cups represent the sanctification of the bethrothal and the marriage. The third cup is referred to as the cup of life. The sweetness of the wine represents the sweetness wished upon the couple (and boy is Manishewitz sweet!). Sharing the cup of wine symbolizes sharing whatever the future holds, whether bitter or sweet.

One of the most familiar customs of a Jewish wedding is the breaking of the glass at the conclusion of the marriage ceremony. This distinctive custom represents the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. Today, interpretations include the fragility of human relationships and the beginning of new life and the dismissal of prejudice and ignorance. It’s a really neat way of ending the ceremony. Right after the breaking of the glass, the bride and groom kiss and then head back up the aisle as husband and wife.



At the start of the meal, there is a blessing over the “challah” bread which is usually recited by the oldest man in the family.

These are just some of the fascinating customs that occur during a Jewish wedding. There are many others, but each wedding is different and often the number and type of customs included depend on the religious level of the bride and groom.

I love photographing all types of weddings in South Florida and have also learned much about each ethnic groups religious customs and traditions. They are all so interesting!

Please go to: www.bocaratonfloridaphotographer.com to see many examples of Jewish weddings that we have photographed in South Florida.



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