I have photographed several weddings near the Ashokan Reservoir over the years, and attended at least one. It’s a beautiful part of Ulster County.

Boiceville, Olivebridge, Shokan, West Shokan and Ashokan are among the hamlets that surround it and I think I’ve enjoyed this focal point from almost every angle. 

Though man-made and at the expense of several towns – either relocated or eliminated, this pool of water embodies much of what makes the Catskills popular as a wedding destination. There’s the inviting water, the wooded shore and the mountains beyond – depending on your vantage point.

Recently, my viewing platform was from the edge of Ashokan Dreams Bed and Breakfast. It’s just down the road apiece from Woodstock and Kingston, or from the west, Phoenicia, Margaretville and their environs.

With some 20+ years under their belts, the hosts have hosted many small weddings. Like all B&Bs, the have put their stamp on the property while still creating a sort of blank canvas that guests can fill in.

Lauren and Ronald had no close ties to this spot when they planned their wedding in Upstate, New York, but they knew they liked the region. 

For an intimate wedding day, the location offered everything they needed.

 … a gazebo for the ceremony, with a striking view beyond.

… an open-air dining room with ample space for the entire guest list.

… a sitting nook as natural backdrop for appetizer and beverage spread.

… and of course accomodations

With my background in the music business, I always get extra enjoyment photographing events when live performance factors in the ceremony. So many folks have talented musicians or singers among their family and friends I’m surprised it’s the exception not the rule.

For this occasion, the bride’s operatically trained brother sang for key parts of the service. His other half accompanied on the keyboard.

A multilingual guest list meant some translation was appropriate. And the involvement of additional family members made for a more participatory wedding than usual. Embracing their differences built on the notion of two families becoming one. I learned that after many years as a couple there had already been numerous holiday gatherings together.

Meanwhile, the group was small enough I felt I made a small connection with close to every guest.

I’ve always said ‘I’m not a factory photographer.’ I don’t crank out pictures for three events every weekend for 156 weeks a year. When photographing your big day is a treat, as it is for me, the photos remain fresh. Being a part of these intimate weddings is an honor– and that translates to the finished images. I get a chance to know my subjects, the couple and guests a little and they have the chance to meet me – so for those hours we’re together we are not complete strangers.

Planning a wedding with a view? A wedding near Woodstock? An intimate Ashokan affair? Looking for a photographer that wants to make sure your personality comes through in the photos of your special day? Let’s talk.

Thanks for reading,

Jonathan Ment

You can also find, follow and like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook and at www.catskillsphotographer.com

And check out the broad-topic’d Ment Media Group “Business Blog.”

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