I’ve been looking forward to sharing this absolutely magical wedding in the Manhattan/Brooklyn area in October 2021. It’s been a privilege to be a part of many Pakistani nupitals in the NYC tri-state area and I love when there’s something new and unique to explore. So much left to be discovered and as we’ll see with Hamira and Haseeb’s wedding, there are hidden gems and ordinary places alike that can be captured in wondrous ways.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you walk through the doors of a building and suddenly everything melts away as you’re transported to a different era? It’s hard to imagine that sort of reverie occurring anywhere in busy and bustling Manhattan but capturing the couples’ wedding photos at the Beekman Hotel in the Financial District did just that. It was originally constructed in 1883 but as the decades wore on and the world around it went through tremendous changes, its upkeep was abandoned for various reasons and it fell into disrepair. In 2016 it was reopened after an intensive restoration; for architectural and design nerds everywhere, it’s truly a feast for the senses.
The ornate and intricate metal detailing on the handrails that is the prominent feature of every floor as it climbs high into an awe-inspiring pyramid skylight makes it feel like a turn of the century movie set. In fact, the ambience and historical intricacy is almost trans-cultural because it felt very much like being in a haveli – traditionally a historic manor reminiscent of the Mughal empire with a built-in central courtyard inside the building.
The mosaic tiles and metal wrought opaque windows created some visual illusions that worked so well with the different desi elements. The perfect symmetry of the Beekman’s Hotel interior work is very much a clear display of Renaissance Revival and Romanesque Revival architecture styles. Paired with Hamira’s Sarah Rohail Asghar nikkah outfit and Haseeb’s Nomi Ansari look, it was an effortless display of beautiful antiquity from both sides of the world.
My favourite element about shooting here was being able to use the wide spectrum of lighting that was available. Depending on where we were standing, there were beautiful, deep shadows that made for some stunning visuals that are quite different from the usual super colourful and effervescent portraits that I normally do. I love it when couples trust the vision and are happy to try something outside the norm because wow, the results can be stunning.
There were so many nooks and details to play with, such as the beautiful backlit bookcases and the atrium with rich and contrasting aesthetics. If there was ever a place that oozes old-world luxury and finesse, the Beekman had that in spades.
And of course, we would be remiss to shoot portraits in New York without curating some outdoor visuals! The streets of Manhattan and its iconic bridge made for some beautiful and candid moments. Hamira is a true New Yorker and planned to relocate to the D.C area after the wedding so capturing the gorgeous bride with her home state’s seminal features was a must.
Moving on to the reception and like many themes with this wedding, it was a welcomed departure from the norm. Originally the couple had planned to host the nikkah in a masjid but certain circumstances made it difficult to follow through. They ended up choosing this historic loft in Brooklyn with so much rustic charm and the highlight feature was that it overlooked the popular DUMBO bridge.
I loved the colour palette for the nikkah set up, and it kept up with the old school and vintage charm we have already explored. Gold, bronze and neutral florals are all elements that worked in cohesion with the homely agro-industrial backdrop of the loft.
A garland canopy partition is so popular these days and with good reason. The design decision to use all white elements in contrast to Hamira’s red veil was stunning and I love that the whole setup was a call back to older, more classical traditions which worked really well in this space.
Other picturesque details include the desserts table which was curated by Chaiiwalacart NY and they had a lovely selection of treats for everyone to enjoy. The vibrant grass wall backdrop for guests to enjoy with the contrasting hot pink sign was a crowd favourite and really tied everything together and was emblematic of the couple and the wedding as a whole – classy, sophisticated and so much fun.
It was a true joy to work with Haseeb and Hamira, particularly because she’s best friends with another previous bride I’ve had the pleasure of photographing, and it makes me so excited when there’s a familiar connection with clients. I may be a California gal right now, but New York has a huge part of my heart and I can’t wait to be taken back there for more adventures.
Venue: DUMBO Loft
Makeup and hair: Made by Waida
Her outfit: Sara Rohale Asghar
His outfit: Nomi Ansari
Event design and decor: Exclusive events NY
Chai Cart and desserts: Chaiwalacart NY
Nikkah Nama: Nikahnama