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Abigail & Shai | Snug Harbor, New York Wedding

Abigail and Shai were married at Snug Harbour Botanical Gardens. I can understand why Abigail chose the venue. She has worked in the art world (something I immediately connect with and appreciate), interning at several well known museums such as the Met, El Museo del Barrio, the Tenement Museum and is pursuing her Master at the Institute of Fine Arts. Abigail wrote me that she is fascinated with “the emotional side of history- what people thought, how they lived, what they thought was beautiful, popular or not…” and so a wedding venue that boasts a Mind Dynasty inspired Chinese Scholar Garden as well as a Tuscan Garden, modeled after Villa Gamberaia in Florence, was a natural fit.

The inclement weather can never be allowed to dampen festivities. Thankfully, Abigail was very insistent that we would celebrate outside and not inside as the venue preferred. I identify well with that particular strong-willed character trait ­čśë At the end of the ceremony outdoors, it started to rain. I captured a moment below with my 2 expensive cameras hung around my neck and the thought of drenched and ruined equipment in the back of my mind. When I saw the Grandfather with the chair on his head, I clicked the button as fast as I could. I snapped without much time to think about composition because I knew a moment like this can disappear in a second or that the Grandfather would notice me clicking and than I can miss this frame. That is for me the art of wedding photography as it permanently captures something that is so fleeting it would not otherwise be remembered or even observed.

I always ask my couple to tell me how they met, and Abigail and Shai replied in a delightful manner, perhaps not fully realizing how sweet their reply was and how it reflects something special about their relationship. The broke their email into parts for clarity that kept switching back and forth and said “This is Shai writing” or “This is Abigail writing” as if they were now one and I would not otherwise be able to tell who was who without them being so explicit. Their story also reflects how sensitive and deep a person Shai is. What especially struck me was when he explained how he presented Abigail with a privately kept daily handwritten notebook from their dating. What an incredibly romantic thing to save!

So, in their words:

Abigail and I initially crossed paths at a Simchat Torah meal that I hosted — she walked all the way from Greenwich Village to the Upper West Side. And I was too busy with the meal to fully appreciate Abigail’s wit, wisdom, and charm. Two months later, I was a downtown event which, by sheer coincidence (or was it…?), Abigail also attended — and we finally had the opportunity to more appropriately meet.

The evening of our proposal we explored a crafts fair at Bryant Park (where I presented Abigail with a “fake” engagement ring purchased an hour prior and presented inside the actual engagement ring box), had dinner to prolong the suspense, and then returned to where we had one of our first dates. I privately kept a daily handwritten notebook as we dated and I presented the diary to Abigail — along with a few other personal gifts. The engagement ring was hidden inside a statue of the Eiffel Tower, celebrating Abigail’s background and a trip to meet her grandparents in Paris a month later.

Update: This was Abigail’s reactions after sending her a slideshow with the photos:
Hi Shira,


You are so talented, I have no words.  I was tearing up while watching.  Thank you so much for doing such an amazing job.

Photo by Chaim Schvarcz:

Photo by Chaim Schvarcz:

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