Just a few short weeks ago, Liz and I (and many others as well) photographed the wedding of Sara Stadtmiller to Gary Mellon. Weddings are always special days but this was an extraordinary wedding day, as you will see; one that was very untraditional and well, very… Sara. : ) We should know… we’ve known Sara for almost 20 years now!
Liz and Sara and I all met each other at about the same time, in pretty much exactly the same place, when we were all in our Brookdale Community College days. In those days, we were all trying to figure out if we wanted to become photographers (which we all did), we were working on developing our styles (and still are by the way) and were admiring and supporting each others work. This, as it turns out, was a great foundation for the love, friendship and working relationships that we all now enjoy with each other. So here Liz and I were, some 20 years later, photographing our good friend Sara’s wedding to her wonderful new husband, Brooklyn based sculptor, Gary Mellon, in which they became “The Stadtmellons”!
So, although 20 years may seem like a long time to know somebody, it turns out that Gary and Sara have known each other since the 7th GRADE! The story goes that they met way back when while living with their families in Michigan, where Sara’s father, the talented Craig Stadtmiller still resides. Then, many years after Sara left the state of a 1000 lakes for the suburbs of New York City, Gary’s sister calls Sara and asks, “My brother just moved to Brooklyn. Why don’t you go up there and take him out on a date?” The rest, as they say, is history! Sorry Sara if I don’t have that story exactly right but it’s my story now and I’m sticking to it. : )
But enough of revisionist history! Let’s fast forward back to the Summer of 2014, in particular, the Stadtmellon’s Wedding Day…
That day began in perhaps the most untraditional way possible, with the bride and groom to be, getting ready “TOGETHER” in the Asbury Park apartment of musician/artist, Robert “Bink” Ryan. The eclectic vibe of this space was certainly the perfect backdrop for this exceptionally creative couple to relax in, creating an atmosphere in which they could prepare, both mentally and physically, for the wonderful day that was to come… and what a day it was!
Thinking back on this wedding, Liz and I are enthralled by how stimulating it was to all of our senses. The entire day was a DYI dream come true, expertly pulled off by a conglomeration of talented and enthusiastic family and friends who all chipped in to make the day perfect in every way. I don’t even know where to begin to tell this story and I’m sure that I’ll miss something but lets start with the ceremony because not only did their good friend Robert Ryan provide a space for the Stadtmellons to get ready for their wedding but he was their officiant as well, presiding over a very personal East Indian inspired ceremony in which he chanted Sanskrit verse, sang tenderly and played the very exotic sounding Shruti Box; all of this, beneath an arbor designed and constructed by the Groom himself and located in a pretty little wooded area of the yard! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here because the guests, many of whom had arrived by school bus, right after being serenaded by a duet of banjo and bowed wood saw, had the added treat of watching Gary & Sara process into the ceremony with their bridal party and families behind a 5-piece Mummer band! The recessional was just as eventful and the happy onlookers tossed paper marigold petals at the parade in an expression of their joy; both in what they had just witnessed and in anticipation of the fantastic party to come!
Liz and I were really excited about the party as well because this was the time when we were supposed to “put down our cameras and pick up a beer”! We knew that we would never be able to totally put down our cameras but we did try pretty hard knowing that the party was photographically in good hands with professionals and good friends, Jen Rutherford and David Appel. Dave and Jen, you may have worked late but we got up early! It was great hanging out with you! Oh and please don’t post any photos of me dancing! : ) The same goes for you, Mike and Billy of Moon Lasso Productions who, as part of this gigantic volunteer army of friends, documented the entire day in video and black and white, Super 8 film! I can’t wait to see it (except of course the parts where I am dancing).
This reception, visually speaking, was a splendid result of months of work and planning. Day after day, friend and family plotted and schemed, building the infrastructure, painting signs, running electric. prepping for tents, planting hundreds of marigolds and manufacturing about a hundred more out of paper for decorations (these paper beauties, affectionately nicknamed “poofs”). During all this time, Sara’s mother and stepfather, Pat and Bob Abbott, oversaw it all and being that this was all taking place at their happy home, when the big day arrived they also graciously hosted. The food was truly delicious, catered both by the fabulous Joey Leone’s of Point Pleasant and of course by Pat Abbott herself. And why choose between a band or a DJ when you can have both! The Ribeye Brothers took the stage with a unique presence that is all their own, at first with Sara’s dad Craig on keyboards and vocals for some classics and later, by themselves with some of their hard-edged original tunes. Is it dance music? It sure was that night! And when the band tuckered out and wanted to eat and drink some more, the DJs took over until the wee hours, when school busses lined up to take the elated crowds, now full of Day’s Ice Cream, back to a place where they could only dream of one day having another day just like this one. Dream on people; dream on…
All of this beneath a full moon! True story… and we have pictures to prove it!
We are so grateful to everyone who pitched in to make this day so very memorable to all who attended. Mostly however, we are really happy to be one of Sara and Gary’s many friends and so glad to have been among the other talented professionals who helped to document this day. We want to give a big shout out to Sara’s sister Rachel as well. Rachel, you are not only a great sister to our dear friend Sara but perhaps the world’s best Matron of Honor! You did a stellar job! Tell us… who was responsible for that full moon?
Finally, big congratulations to Gary and Sara, The Stadtmellons! We are so happy for you both and wish you a lifetime of Health, Prosperity and Happiness…