First Look: Is It Right For You?

You’ve been hearing the words “First Look”…but is it right for YOU?

We all know how the classic First Look happens. Couples stare adoringly into each other’s eyes, arms wrapped around one another before a beautiful landscape. Yes, there’s nothing quite like being in front of a camera at your absolute best, especially with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. So, what’s not to love? That depends who you ask. But don’t worry, we rallied up some arguments for both sides of the First Look debate, to help you decide for yourself if a First Look is right for you and your partner.


Pro: Timeless family artifacts.

On the one hand, First Look moments are incredibletimeless artifacts of not just your wedding day, but of the love you and your partner share right here, right now. Devoting camera time to just the two of you lets you preserve your love for each other in a beautiful, intimate setting. This will provide some compelling pieces for your videographer to work with in telling your story that will stay in the family for years to come.


Con: Posing for the camera.

Some people have no problem showing off in front of the camera, while others feel uncomfortable being the center of attention and being expected to “strike a pose.” If shots like these seem contrived to you, that’s ok! No reason to push yourself to pose after the First Look, especially on the morning of your wedding. If you’re looking to face your fears, however, find a company that makes you feel listened to and encourages you to have fun. At Kenneth Cooper Films, we like to let our couples sit in the moment, soak it in, and let your emotions determine what we capture (with maybe a touch of guidance.)


Pro: Relax – you’ve got those PERFECT shots.

The last thing you want to be thinking about on your wedding day is whether or not you’re capturing enough good imagery. That’s your videographer’s job! Doing a First Look can allow you to relax throughout the day knowing you had a fantastic portrait session before the ceremony that will stay with you forever. For us, we use your portrait sessions to get adorable cinematic sequences that will hold your wedding film together. With a First Look and portrait session done, you can really feel free to engage with your guests and your wedding party for beautifully natural candids throughout the day and on the dance floor!


Con: You want that moment at the altar. 

There is something undeniably magical about seeing your fiancé for the first time on the day of your wedding, waiting for you at the opposite end of the aisle. If you’ve always dreamed of meeting eyes with your soon-to-be at the altar, then by all means! For a lot of couples, no photos are worth missing the once-in-a-lifetime feeling of that sacred moment. That being said, we have found that no matter what the reaction at the altar is JUST as breathtaking in couples that have chosen a First Look as those who do not.


Pro: Start the day together.

Many couples say they’re glad they did a First Look – if only to get their tears out of the way! Your wedding day can be an emotional whirlwind of excitement and gratitude, fun and reflection. Even if you think you’re prepared for the chaos, a First Look can serve as a special time for you and your partner to spend together the morning of the wedding. Whether that means crying til you laugh or laughing til you cry, there’s something about coming together in the morning knowing you’ll be hitched before the sun sets that can go a long way in keeping you balanced and present all day long.


Con: Another thing to do?

On the other hand, there’s a lot going on the morning of your wedding, and there’s a fair chance the last thing you want to do is worry about getting ready in time for a shoot. Maybe you have a morning ritual, like meditation or a jog, that you know you need to do to start the day off right. Maybe it’s important to you that you spend the morning with your family and closest friends. Whatever you need to get energized, balanced, and excited for the day is what you should prioritize – no matter what.


So…is it right for YOU?

Only you and your partner can decide. If you’re on the fence try making a pros and cons list of your own, ask married friends what their take was, and watch Jessica + Matthew’s film below to see if it inspires you. Most importantly, listen to your gut and don’t judge yourself for deciding yea or nay. The best thing you can do on your wedding day is to enjoy every passing moment. Memories will last, but you’re only in the moment once. Dive in and enjoy it!


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Creative Partners

Cinematography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Venue | Saratoga Hall of Springs
Event Planning | Katie O’ Weddings and Events
Photography | Matt Ramos Photography
Hair + Makeup | True Beauty Company
Ceremony Music | Spa City Duo
Stationary | Jenny C Design
Evening Entertainment | New York Players
Event Rentals | Total Events, LLC
Floral Design | Fleurtacious Designs

Villa Ivana, Romantic Tuscan Wedding

Villa Ivana, Cortona

Looking for the perfect Tuscan wedding destination location? Tucked in the Tuscan hills in the town of Cortona, Villa Ivana is only a short distance from where the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” was filmed. It is a historic and luxurious residence from the 17th century that was recently restored and updated. The beautiful grounds and prestigious Italian architecture are the perfect backdrop for a beautiful wedding of any size.

Location Options


The Italian countryside is a beautiful and peaceful place. At the Villa Ivana, this is no exception. The grounds are large, covering a vast area full of lush grass and centuries-old trees. The drive up to the villa is lined with oleander bushes. You’ll also see potted lemon trees along the building, bringing a bright and airy feel to the space.

Outside, the villa boasts a large gazebo with stone columns, not far from a big swimming pool. There are also tables and chairs on marble patios next to various entrances to the villa, to allow comfortable dining al fresco among the serene gardens.

If this is your wedding destination and you prefer to marry indoors, the private chapel on the grounds may just be the place for you! How enchanting to say “I Do” surrounded by your family and friends in the Tuscan countryside.


Since it is an older residence, you will enjoy seeing the original materials and aspects of the building mixed with updated modern resident properties. The main spaces on the ground floor are furnished with antique furniture, beautiful tapestries, and original chandeliers. There are also painted ceilings and terra cotta floors throughout the 10,000+ square foot villa. The grand rooms with vaulted ceilings and exposed beams are balanced with muted earth tones. These spaces have served as important meeting and celebratory rooms for princes and presidents alike.

Upstairs, there are plentiful bedrooms with romantic four-poster beds and sparkling bathrooms full of marble and modern, luxurious fixtures. It is simply the perfect place for you and your parter to enjoy the beginning of your happily ever after, and a comfortable place for your guests to reside as they celebrate with you.

Vendor and Booking Options

If you simply MUST have more information about this gorgeous Italian venue, we are right there with you! The professionals at Villa Ivana cannot wait to discuss your wedding day options with you. They have established relationships with many wedding professionals in the area and are happy to provide you with recommendations of creative partners that will serve you well on your big day! Be sure to check out their website for more information and to contact them (link below).

In the meantime, take a moment to watch our film spotlighting this lovely venue.

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Select stills from the Venue Spotlight film:


Creative Partners

Cinematography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Planning + Design  |  Along Came Stephanie
Venue  |  Villa Ivana




Stunning Private Mountain Wedding: Amanda + Riley

Have you ever dreamed of a picturesque Vermont wedding in the mountains? With a view of the mountains past the trees, and reflected in a gorgeous lake?

Amanda and Riley said “I Do” on the grounds of a gorgeous private estate in southern Vermont. Surrounded by greenery, their family, and their friends, Amanda and Riley vowed forever with a backdrop of hazy mountains. Following a sweet ceremony and a celebratory golf cart drive, they enjoyed a fantastic party with plenty of good food and drink, music, and dancing!

We absolutely loved being part of their day! If a photo is worth a thousand words, their Sneak Preview Film of their gorgeous Vermont wedding will speak for itself. Check it out below!


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Select stills from Amanda + Riley’s Sneak Preview Film:


Creative Partners

Cinematography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Planning | Ehmann Events
Photography | La Boutique
Floral Design | New Leaf Organics
DJ |  Young Love and the Thrills
Hair | Nomad’s Creative Corner
Makeup | La Boutique
Bridal Gown | BHLDN
Tuxes | Indochino

5 BIG Mistakes to Avoid When Planning YOUR Wedding

You’ve said “yes!”, you’ve set the date, and suddenly your mind is spinning with ideas, anticipation, and excitement. Planning a wedding demands a lot of time and energy, and sometimes beginning the whole process can be the hardest part. Where to begin? What to avoid? What will you wish you knew? Everyone’s wedding is different and everyone goes about planning a little differently, but we’re here to give you a few pointers to keep you efficient, calm, and focused on the fun.

1. Not setting a budget first.

This may seem obvious, but it’s easier than you think to fall into the trap of “figure it out as we go.” It’s important that you and your partner are on the exact same page budget-wise, with a little wiggle room built in, in case you fall head over heels in love with that caterer who’s just a little
too pricey.You want the money you put in to be spent with care and consideration for both you and your guests. Limitation can be a great tool for fostering creative ideas and solutions.

2. Micromanaging.

This day matters to you, and you want to safeguard against disaster – but don’t get carried away. Your guests are there to celebrate you and your partner above all else. As long as everyone’s relaxed, happy and fed, you’re doing great. Don’t sweat the small stuff – so what if your lilies are one shade off or the napkin rings aren’t perfect? Fixating on little details and missteps will only take you out of the moment.

3. Ignoring “Golden Hour”.

For those of you unfamiliar, golden hour – also known as “magic hour” – is a term used by photographers and cinematographers for the short lapses of time right after sunrise and right before sunset, when sunlight takes on a beautiful, soft golden hue. Photos and video illuminated in this light make for stunning portraits and group shots. Make sure to talk to your photographer and cinematographer about golden hour, and set some time aside for photos. You’ll be grateful you took a moment to capture the joy of the day in this special gust of magic light.

4. Cutting out video to save on cost.

Video may seem like a disposable perk, and it’s something many couples decide to cut out to save money. Is video really important if you have a great photographer? Here’s the thing – while photos last a lifetime and are beautiful artifacts of your special day, months or years later nothing compares to video. Video can transport you right back to the experience, moment to moment, frame by frame, and with one additional magical element: audio. The little details, sounds, gestures, and looks captured on video are things you and your partner will cherish for years to come.

5. Trying to please everyone.

Most likely friends and family members will have more than one opinion on exactly how you should get married and celebrate. The people that know you best are only trying to help, but sometimes comments from the peanut gallery do more harm than good. As long as your guests are fed and have a place to sit, they have everything they need. Stressing over how to please everyone will only set an uptight vibe and stop you from letting go and enjoying yourself.

However you decide to organize your wedding planning, remember that there are no rules and no one “right way” to do it. Whatever tools you need to help keep you organized and calm under pressure – use them! Don’t try to fit into a certain mold or follow a certain formula. Keep an open mind, ask questions, stay open and communicative with your partner, and, most importantly – do whatever you want!


Zota Beach Resort, Florida – Joie Retreat with Erica Powell

The Joie Retreat

The first Erica Powell & Co. Joie Retreat of 2019 was amazing. Erica Powell is a business coach and branding specialist who settles for nothing less than the absolute best. Her eye for perfection led her to work with us and an amazing team of creative professionals from New York to South Florida. We had the privilege of working alongside industry leaders to put on one of the most fun and educational business building retreats of the year.

This roster of event professionals combined with the Zota Beach Resort’s accommodations and service made this one of the most enjoyable retreats you could attend. Attendees were able to go from freshly made breakfast and coffee straight into business building. Then they could walk right out to the beach for a warm relaxing break. These points of comfort and space allowed participants to have a chance to process what they had learned and be ready and refreshed for the next class.

About the Retreat Film

For Erica Powell & Co.’s retreat film we incorporated testimonials from their former and current business coaching and branding clients. We also showed the hands-on interaction and joyful atmosphere Erica creates. Capturing the perfect mix of business, elegance, and entertainment is always one of the most important signature elements woven throughout the Joie Retreats. Being able to include the décor highlights and luxurious event production details in their retreat film helps attendees see the amount of care put into every single minute. Through working with us to create their retreat film, Erica Powell & Co. is able to demonstrate their care, confidence, and ability they bring to the table for every dream client with whom they work.

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Select still frames from Zota Beach Resort Film:


Creative Partners

Cinematography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Venue |  Zota Beach Resort
Event Planning | Erica Powell & Co
Decor | Bambini Soiree & Gilded Group Decor
Electric Violin | Divina Strings
Photography  |  Stella Paschall Photography
DJ  |  Pryme Tyme Entertainment


Seaside Rhode Island Wedding: Catherine + Lucas

“Luke and Catherine are just one of my favorite babysitters…they’re just like, my favorite”

What a testament to the powerful impact Catherine and Lucas have on the people in their lives. It was just the sweetest to see their young ring bearer give a toast to his very favorite babysitters!

We absolutely loved capturing high school sweethearts Catherine and Lucas’ beautiful bohemian beachside wedding in Southern Rhode Island. Located at an old shingled barn that was converted into a theater decades ago, they pledged their love in front of their family and friends just a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean.

It was a day full of love, laughter, and celebration. Enjoy our Sneak Peek of their gorgeous seaside wedding below!

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Select still frames from Catherine and Lucas’ Sneak Preview Wedding Film:



Creative Partners

Cinematography  |  Kenneth Cooper Films
Venue  |  Bistro By The Sea

The Mount – Stunning Berkshires Mansion | Venue Spotlight

The Mount

Spanning nearly 50 acres in the Berkshires, The Mount is a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding day. Author Edith Wharton’s vast estate spreads over the grounds. The historic mansion, gorgeous flower gardens, and a turn-of-the-century stable sit tucked amongst the trees and mountains. This beautiful Berkshires wedding property is just waiting as the perfect location for you to say ‘I Do’.

Location Options


The Mount has two beautiful wedding ceremony locations within its gardens. First is the French Flower garden, modeled after those at Versailles. Second is the intimate Italian Renaissance garden. Both options provide a stunning view for your guests, photographs, and films. In addition to the gardens, the expansive terrace overlooking the mountains is the perfect location for cocktails and mingling after the ceremony. Up to 250 guests can be accommodated in this outdoor tent site, for dinner and dancing!


The Main House and primary spaces are ADA compliant so you may rest easy to know all of your guests can be involved. In addition, you and your guests are welcome to explore the mansion and third-floor exhibits throughout the duration of your event. The grounds also include a 1902 stable available for your rehearsal dinner, after party, and other events.

Vendor and Booking Options

The entirety of the estate, both indoor and the grounds, are closed to the general public on your reserved date. This allows you and your guests to explore and enjoy a private affair. The booking team at The Mount can provide a list of regional creative partners to complete the services for your day, (catering, florals, etc), if needed. They are also available to make suggestions and provide ideas, but encourage you to make creative choices to fit you and your vision for your special day.

Be sure to check out their website for more information and additional photographs. You may also contact Kelsi, their Wedding and Engagements Coordinator, via email ( or telephone (413 551 5116). She can’t wait to help make your dreams come true!


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Select still frames from film:

Creative Partners

Cinematography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Photography | Kati Rosado Photography
Floral Design | Daisy Stone Studio
Catering | Mezze Catering + Events
Calligraphy | Rachel at Tallulah Ketubahs
String Trio | The Rosamund Trio
Band | Honey Train Band
Hair | Mulberry Hair Company
Makeup | Sabrina Marie Makeup Artistry
Bridal Gown and Veil | Carolina Herrera
Engagement Ring | Custom Dana Walden Bridal
Ties and Cuff Links | Brooks Brothers
Tuxes | J. Crew
Ring Box | Mrs. Box
Wedding Bands | Cartier
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Halston Heritage Bride’s
Shoes | Freya Rose


Oheka Castle’s Great Gatsby Garden Party: 100th Anniversary Celebration

Oheka Castle

The legendary Oheka Castle, located on Long Island, New York, celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2019. It was an honor to be able to provide videography and photography for such an amazing venue. The grand Oheka Castle served as the inspiration for the Great Gatsby estate. It has also been used as the landscape and backdrop for many film works. Some of these include movies, television shows, and commercials. Also, it has been featured in magazines and celebrity weddings and events throughout its 100 years. Do you love history? This is the place to visit. A member of the many Historic Hotel Lists, it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

A few notable recent celebrity weddings + events at Oheka Castle:

Brian McKnight + Maria Mendoza’s New Years Eve Wedding
Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” Music Video
Kevin Jonas (Jonas Brothers) + Danielle Deleasa’s Wedding
Maksim Chmerkovskiy + Peta Murgatroyd’s (Dancing with the Stars) Wedding

Gatsby Garden Party

It was a day full of celebrating the arts through music. Those in attendance enjoyed dancing in the warm sunshine. There were also cocktails, good food, and hand-rolled cigars for the guests to savor.

The party was not only a celebration for the 100th anniversary of Oheka Castle. They also used the Gatsby Garden Party to award college scholarships. The Friends of Oheka Organization partner with Gary Melius to present Otto Kahn Award scholarships. They feel it is important to foster young peoples’ passion in the arts in many ways. For instance, they do this by providing money for further study.  The Otto Kahn Awards are presented to local public school seniors who plan to continue their education in the arts. The students can use the scholarship to study fine arts, performing arts, or musical arts.


Are you hosting your event at Oheka Castle? Let us know, we would love to work together to create something amazing with you!



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Creative Partners:

Cinematography + Photography  |  Kenneth Cooper Films

Tuscany Wedding at La Corte Dei Papi | Courtney + Joseph

When we got the call from event planner Stephanie Meiser from Along Came Stephanie asking if we were available to:

A) Travel to Italy to film an epic elopement


B) Tour the Tuscany countryside for several days before and after

…the answer was an obvious “YES PLEASE!”

*insert jaw drop*

The Backstory

This Italy elopement was 50% wedding, 50% editorial shoot. How does that work? Courtney and Joseph dreamed of eloping in Italy, but coordinating for all of their loved ones to be there was logistically impossible, (their official wedding is in Hawaii soon, for real.) When this amazing editorial shoot opportunity came up, (we specifically requested a REAL and in-love couple), they jumped at the chance to travel and model for us! Bonus: Courtney and Joseph were engaged but were not yet married!

During the first several days we toured Cortona with Justin and Ashley DeMutiis from Justin Demutiis Photography to scope out locations and plan for the best time of day to get the best light. Our accommodations and main wedding venue was La Corte Dei Papi, a sprawling 5-acre property with a breathtaking ballroom, landscape, and vineyards. They actually press their own wine and olive oil on the grounds. We decided use several on-location vignettes for the engagement session (about a million little spots to choose from), then do a sunset and sunrise shoot in the city with a few changes of clothes. The next day was the Wedding Day. We kept them on site at La Corte Dei Papi for the ceremony location: a grassy field overlooking the vineyards with the Cortona mountainside as the backdrop.

The Wedding Day

There is always a certain romantic energy & silky smoothness that happens when truly in love couples can just be themselves. We had seen it happen for their engagement shoot and even though their “big wedding” was still months away, I decided to ask them “I know you haven’t planned for this, but how do you both feel about actually writing your own wedding vows today?” They LOVED it. This is real. It’s a wedding. So they began their wedding day apart, hand writing their own vows and reflecting on their journey together.

Scroll down and watch their Tuscany Elopement film to hear what they wrote, then watch our Behind The Scenes / Vlog film to see what went into making this absolutely stunning once-in-a-lifetime Italy Wedding happen!

Courtney + Joseph’s Elopement Film:


Behind The Scenes Film:


Photos by Justin of Justin Demutiis Photography:


Creative Team:
Cinematography  |  Kenneth Cooper Films
Venue  |  Relais La Corte dei Papi
Planning + Design  |  Along Came Stephanie
Photography  |  Justin Demutiis Photography
Bride + Groom  |  Courtney + Joseph
Invitation  |  Script Me Pretty
Dress Boutique  |  Malindy Elene Bridal
Dress Designer  |  Ti Adora Bridal
Floral Design  |  Cristina Flowers
Tableware  |  Preludio Divisione Noleggio

Wedding Planning Plus | Vendor Spotlight

Vendor Spotlight:
Wedding Planning Plus

Boasting many accolades, including being awarded the prestigious “Best of Weddings Hall of Fame” honor from The Knot, Wedding Planning Plus is Upstate New York’s go-to resource for wedding planning and coordination. Shannon and her team of wedding planners make sure you enjoy every step of the wedding planning process and don’t get caught up stressing your way through it. As Upstate New York’s most celebrated wedding planning team, you know you’re in the best hands with Shannon and Wedding Planning Plus.

Who are they?

Shannon Whitney Anson founded Wedding Planning Plus over a decade ago. She has a passion for helping couples experience the most authentic wedding of their dreams. Over the last 12+ years, Shannon has added several associate planners to the team, bringing the total to ten. These ladies’ roles often blend into becoming their couples’ therapists, travel agents, and new best friends. They are the stress-reducing wedding sherpas you simply cannot live without!

What do they do?

Shannon and her team focus on getting to know YOU and understand your unique vision for your celebration. They are experts at both details and the big picture. You can be confident they’ll make sure every tiny facet of your wedding is thought through and planned for. As for their services, they provide a range of event planning and coordination. You can seek their skill for a full planning experience or just the last minute tasks for the month leading up to your big day. Having planned and coordinated hundreds of weddings, the Wedding Planning Plus team is proud to have over 100 glowing reviews from past clients. They also have more 5-star reviews than any other wedding planner in the region.

Wedding Planning Plus is the first and only planning team in the area to offer a concierge style event management service for out-of-town couples looking to host a destination wedding in Upstate New York. This segment of their business, aptly named Destination Upstate, expands past their standard services to include Shannon’s guidance in crafting multiple days’ worth of exciting experiences and activities. She handles travel and accommodation needs for all of the guests, as well as the expert planning and coordination of the wedding celebration itself. From “Kick Off” to “Send Off”, these Destination Upstate weddings offer couples and their guests a truly unforgettable Upstate wedding experience.

Where are they?

Wedding Planning Plus is based in New York’ Capitol Region. They primarily plan weddings and events from the Catskills to the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes, as well as the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. Visit their website HERE for information about their services, to view samples of their beautiful work, and to contact Shannon to begin planning your own wedding adventure!

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Select still frames from Wedding Planning Plus’ film:

Creative Partners

Videography | Kenneth Cooper Films
Planning  |  Wedding Planning Plus
Floral  |  Renaissance Floral Design
Photography  |  Divine Light
Venue  |  The Barn at Lord Howe Valley