WHAT'S IN A NAME?

 
 

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

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We both firmly believe that a name holds great power, and also great potential. Not only to communicate history or announce identity, but to cast vision for a future and help shape the formation of our dreams. In a more pragmatic sense, a name is also whatever we make of it. The title that will have the privilege of carrying whatever legacy we’re building today. 

But before we delve into the new name, perhaps we begin by shedding a little light on the old name first. Gina originally founded Gina Esposito Photography intending it to be a one-woman show. That is, until I came along and ruined all of that. What began as effortlessly as two friends running around with cameras, finding reasons to shoot, play, create, film or drone beautiful places and captivating people; soon evolved into a series of successful collaborations and events that laid the foundation of our current partnership running Gina Esposito, Inc. together.

When I first came on board, we decided it was best to continue using “Gina Esposito, Inc.” for a short time, then keep our eyes open for the day when divine intervention will inevitably deliver the title we’ve been waiting for. For the record—that's not at all how it happened. After years of business as usual, and no lightening bolts of inspiration raining down from the skies, we continued indefinitely under the original name. But a few months ago, as we rounded the final quarter of 2017 and looked into the incredible season lined up ahead, we knew the time had finally come. 

Luckily, a recent experience and a long-standing moniker proved to be the catalyst we’d been waiting for. Thus “Anée Atelier” stemmed, ironically enough, from something old and something new. The something old, Anée—derived from a joint nickname graciously bestowed on us by friends who have all too much fun with our rhyming names. And the something new—fresh inspiration from a recent trip to Paris. “Atelier” (pronounced “at-til-e-yay”) is a French word for a studio or artist workshop, and as it turns out “Anée” (pronounced “a-nay”) means “God has shown favor.” Needless to say, that sealed the deal. 

We began the process of launching into the New Year and stepping into this new season with a name that communicates every ounce of artistry, collaboration, excellence and faith that truly make up the fibers of our boutique. It’s not only representative of who we are and how we work, but the atmosphere we carry in all we do.

So here’s to going forward with a new title, fresh vision and the awesome responsibility of building “Anée” a legacy that lives up to our every dream.

 
SOIRÉE IN SAINT JEANNET

 
 

To experience firsthand, the renown beauty and magnetic charm of Provence, France, was one incredible privilege all its own. But to have the pleasure of a long weekend spent as a local in the impossibly perfect village of Saint Jeannet, that’s the kind of serendipity you can only hope for. 

Flying high on the heels of wedding season, we made our way to Nice for a few days escape from the bustle at home. Met by the illustrious expat herself, Maria Francesca, we wound our way up the mountains to a 500 year old stone cottage, tucked tight between the foothills of the French Alps above and the glittering Côte d'Azur below. Together with new friends and familiar faces, we gathered to celebrate the birthday of the beautiful Sandrine Adeline. 

What began as an intimate toast and autumn garden party, gave way to hours of colorful dishes, deep reds and a caramel macaron cake that still haunts me to this day. Admittedly, it doesn’t take a weekend abroad and a table draped in eucalyptus to make a lasting memory. But the simplicity of a night surrounded by warm company, and the feeling of being at home when you’re a world away—now that’s a moment to treasure. 

 
 

BOND GIRL BRIDE

 
 

Wedding Editorial Shoot at Hotel on Rivington

Earlier this summer, we partnered with some of the city's top creatives to style and shoot an autumn wedding editorial that let our collective creativity run free. The resultthousands of chic unconventional gems inspiring the story below. Enjoy!

If 1958 met 2018 in the crisp, minimalist palette of a Manhattan penthouse, this would be the scene. A nuanced editorial, surrounding a dynamic leading lady at the intersection of elevated glamour and playful sophistication. In short—the story of a modern, Bond Girl bride. Inspired, perhaps, by the iconic alter ego of the traditional bride, the concept aimed to strike a balance between past and present, while evoking a sense of intrigue, romance and allure. 

As an intentional departure from the whimsical garden weddings of late, we opted to tell a story that explores a variety of modernist-fem fashion looks, set against a backdrop of sweeping city views and rich, vintage details. The Penthouse at Hotel on Rivington in New York City served as the primary location—offering its sleek skyline and signature staircase as the ideal canvas for a vaguely mischievous, metropolitan affair. 

Bridal designer Nathalie Kraynina outfitted our model in four unique looks, fulfilling the requisite number of Bond Girl wardrobe changes with elegant separates including beaded long sleeve and tulle tops with flirtatious skirts featuring layered pleats, nude mesh and silk floral detailing. Hairstylist, Michael Glorioso and Makeup Artist, Stephanie Perez, collaborated to create an old Hollywood-inspired look styled to bring a classic timelessness to the otherwise structured, modernist silhouettes of Nathalie’s bridal designs. The looks culminated with a bold after-party scene, set in the hotel’s retro-chic Jia Lounge.

For decor, Please B Seated provided rentals to help transform the space. A chocolate wooden table, espresso benches, mixed chairs, gold savoy dinnerware and a lush green hedge to contrast the urbane environment with natural textures. Amanda Pierce Productions styled florals from the bouquet to the tablescape, incorporating sultry, velvety amaranths, purple ranunculus and pale roses. This interplay of decade and era was also mirrored in the age-inspired engagement ring from Marisa Perry Atelier and the of-the-moment edge of the three-tier, black dahlia and berry cake by Pip n Bits.

Altogether, each piece of the story converges into an aesthetic that conveys mood, polish, texture, drama, and assertive, intelligent style for the Bond Girl bride and beyond.

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Endless thanks and gratitude to each of the vendors and creatives who gave their time, talent and stunning artistry to help produce this beautiful story. We couldn't have done any of this without you.

Photography: Anée Atelier
Venue: Hotel On Rivington 
Dresses: Nathalie Kraynina Bridal
Shoes: Nina
Jewelry/Rings: Marisa Perry Atelier
Event Styling & Florals: Amanda Pierce Productions 
Event & Furniture Rentals: Please B Seated 
Cake: Pip n Bits
Hair: Michael Glorioso 
Makeup: Stephanie Perez 
Stationery - Invitations & Menu Cards: One Suite Day
Calligraphy: Karis Calligraphy
Place Cards: Letters From Eden
Model: Vanessa Ratnavich
Production Fairygodmother: Alex Dimitrovski <3

 
MEDITERRANEAN IN MANHATTAN

 
 

Inspiration for a Post-Destination Reception in NYC

Our approach to this editorial shoot began with a question and a challenge to us as creatives—how can we evoke the graceful, iconic allure of the Mediterranean, while based in the middle of Manhattan? More and more, we’re meeting couples who found love in NYC, though one or both originate from countries abroad. Many choose to wed in an intimate ceremony overseas, then host a New York-based reception to celebrate with family and friends at home. This got us thinking—what would it look like to host a local reception that invites guests into the colorful experience of the Mediterranean destination where the couple exchanged vows? 

With this in mind, we partnered with a team of New York City creatives to curate a post-destination brunch and reception that's the perfect balance for a couple with a Mediterranean foundation and a Manhattan future. For this, we turned to Hotel on Rivington in the Lower East Side, where Cafe Medi offered the ideal escape. It’s airy, skylit space is reminiscent of a colorful cliff town restaurant, complete with a signature tile mural as the idyllic backdrop. 

Amanda Pierce Productions styled the tablescape and florals, favoring emerald leaves, white peonies and ferns, paired with oversized succulents and pops of lemon-colored craspedia. Lemons and leaves were also reflected in the invitations from One Suite Day, showcasing details on a sheer vellum overlay and a thematic mosaic design on the envelope’s interior.

The contemporary cake from Pip N Bits revealed a deep turquoise geode lined with gold foil—complementing the custom agate slice place cards from In Loft Calligraphy.

Bridal Designer, Nathalie Kraynina, outfitted our model in three unique looks. Her elegant separates included a backless lace crop top paired with ivory wide-leg pants; a mesh, floral top embellished with silk flowers and Swarovski crystals; and after-party attire including a unique tulle top and midi skirt seen in the hotel’s chic lounge. Hairstylist, Michael Glorioso and Makeup Artist, Stephanie Perez collaborated to create a polished statement that’s both soft and sophisticated. Perhaps, the crown jewel of the entire look—the stunning three-carat vintage engagement ring and rose gold diamond drop earrings by renown Manhattan jewelry designer, Marisa Perry Atelier. 

We showcased the looks within the Mediterranean-inspired cafe and amongst the quintessential rooftops that characterize downtown Manhattan. The result—a local brunch and post-destination party that feels like anything but an afterthought. 

Of course, none of this would be possible without the stellar work of these incredibly talented collaborators. We cannot thank you enough <3

Photography: Anée Atelier
Venue: Hotel On Rivington
Dresses: Nathalie Kraynina Bridal
Shoes: Nina
Jewelry/Rings: Marisa Perry Atelier
Event Styling & Florals: Amanda Pierce Productions
Cake: Pip n Bits
Hair: Michael Glorioso
Makeup: Stephanie Perez
Invitations: One Suite Day
Agate Slice Place Cards: InLoft Calligraphy
Model: Melanie Rose Kazmercyk
Production Fairygodmother: Alex Dimitrovski <3

 
PRE-SEASON PLAYDATES

 
 

When its 65 degrees in early March, a sort of frenzy emerges as (otherwise) social beings escape from their lairs, in search of fresh, coat-less adventures and the slightest taste of anything resembling Vitamin D. Whether a product of global warming or a late-winter mercy gift from God Himself, these warm weather gems call for nothing short of excessive celebration. 

And celebrate we did. Complete with all the sequins, pomp and circumstance one can muster with a gracious 48-hour warning from weather.com. 

The location of choice: a little sliver of bohemian bliss, also know as the new Francis West flagship boutique. After a quick trip out of the city, we joined NYC hair goddess,Nikki Avanzino, assembled the glam squad at Elle B Make Up Studio, secured a selection of gowns and accessories from whimsy Wonder Woman, Carol Hannah and let the playtime begin. 

Our vision—to draw inspiration from the designs themselves. Mythical meets minimalist, at the intersection of early spring.

 
ROCK THIS WAY - A BACHELORETTE SHOOT IN THE ROCKAWAYS

 
 

What do you get when you pair a New York City beach bungalow, with a bachelorette weekend,   some tres-chic Manhattanites and the perfect summer sunset? THIS. And two very happy photogs who would do this again in. a. heartbeat.

When our November bride-to-be, Teressa, asked if we could help kickoff her bachelorette weekend with a bridesmaids shoot in The Rockaways, we couldn't agree fast enough. Of course, the concept of a bachelorette weekend has long been a staple of pre-wedding festivities. But the bachelorette photo shoot is still an up and coming trend all it's own, and one that we hope will continue in the months ahead. 

Because while the wedding is the celebration of two lovers, the bachelorette is a celebration of the friendships that existed long before the fiancé. Often with sisters and soulmates who deserve a proper moment to toast, laugh, dance, play, party or just chill with on a Brooklyn beachside. 

And Teressa did just that. With a little assist from an adorable Air BNB in Rockaway Beach, hair styling, makeup and confetti canons introduced by yours truly (#guilty).

So now that these ladies have set the bar HIGH... who's up next? :)

 
 
 
 
 
 
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FAIRYGODMOTHERS IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

 
 

To be fair, the ladies of Lucky You Events do far more than "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" to plan the perfect destination wedding, but the final result is simply magic.

That's why we're proud to announce our partnership with the extraordinaire planners of Lucky You Events—designers and curators of dream weddings in the French Riviera and Provence. See below for their latest announcement, as featured on Weddings in the French Riviera: 

LUCKY YOU EVENTS INTRODUCES OUR DESTINATION WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PARTNERS: 

"This Spring, as the weather warms and wedding season begins to bloom, Lucky You Events is welcoming the arrival of something new—our first cross-Atlantic collaboration with the esteemed photographers of Gina Esposito, Inc. After a notable rise in couples turning from the States to the South of France to host their dream wedding, we too have broadened our vision and explored new ways to better accommodate our growing base of provencal dreamers, planning from across the pond. 

Thus, the introduction of a new partnership with New York City’s premier photography boutique. Led by best friends, Gina Esposito and Sheena Meekins, the Vogue-meets-vet photography duo brings more than thirteen years experience capturing weddings for couples from Manhattan to the Middle East.

Now, by teaming up with Lucky You Events, this preferred partner is uniquely poised to serve U.S.-based couples, with unparalleled experience understanding, catering to and capturing the vision of hundreds of couples tying the knot at home or abroad. In honor of the collaboration, Gina Esposito Photography is now offering incredible incentives for couples working with Lucky You Events and planning a wedding for the 2017 or 2018 year. 

We caught up with Gina and Sheena to chat destination weddings and the top questions couples ask (or should be asking!) their photographers prior to booking for their big day. Read on and feel free to chime in with additional questions in the comments below. 

Destination Wedding Photography - FAQ’s:

Q: What matters most when selecting a wedding photographer? 
The two things that matter most are style and chemistry. First, you have to like their work, then you have to like them. Start with their aesthetic, look for mood, versatility, detail and emotion. An experienced photographer should be able to capture all of these, while telling a comprehensive story of your day. 

Pay close attention to their use of color. Do they seem to capture personality or do images feel forced? Remember that their website is likely to represent the “crème de la crème” of their work. If you don’t find this portfolio particularly appealing, continue your search, rather than settling on a vendor that doesn’t take your breath away. 

Finally, read their reviews. It’s important that your photographer is not only talented and experienced, but reliable and personable as well.  


Q: Why is it important to meet or Skype with your photographer prior?
If it’s possible to meet your photographer(s) in person, this will always be the recommended option. The photographer is the vendor who spends the most time with the couple during their wedding day—usually there from when the bride or groom are getting ready in the morning, until the end of the night. It’s important to feel comfortable with their personality and aligned with their temperament—they’ll be shadowing you all day long! 

Also, we often find that the best photos come from the most relaxed environments. When we’re shooting with a couple, but it feels like we’re simply hanging out with friends. In those times, there’s a certain chemistry in the air and it’s something you not only feel in the moment, but also see it later in those amazing images.

Of course, a face-to-face meeting isn’t always possible, so be sure to set up a Skype or FaceTime session to ensure that you’re on the same page creatively and linguistically. It’s one thing to connect over email, but you’ll also want to confirm that verbal communication flows freely between you and those responsible for documenting your day. Plus, it will be nice to see a familiar face among the vendors there you with on your wedding day.


Q: Have you shot in this venue before? 
This is one of our most frequently asked questions, whether shooting at home in New York City or abroad. Our answer is always the same—there’s comfort in shooting what’s familiar, but there’s curiosity in capturing the unknown. Couples are often urged to use a photographer whose shot in their venue multiple times. However, when it comes to creativity, novelty is far more valuable than familiarity. 

As a photographer, your vision is never as clear, your senses are never as sharp as when you’re first introduced to a new environment. This novelty yields curiosity, and curiosity is a photographer’s best friend. So when the atmosphere is fresh, the experience holds as much wonder for the photographer as it does to the couple—it’s something you can feel in the photos. That no detail was counted mundane, no beauty considered routine, no texture unappreciated for its abundance to the native eye. It’s something we have to remind ourselves of when shooting at home in New York City—to marvel at the grandeur we’ve become so accustom to here in the beauty of our own backyard. 


Q: Is it true that I only need one photographer for a destination wedding? 
While the cost of one photographer is often more appealing than the price of two, the advantages of two photogs far outweigh the savings. For starters, two photographers are able to work faster and save you precious time—such as capturing his and her family portraits simultaneously, so you can get back to your guests sooner. 

Also, keep in mind that one person can only be in one place at a time. So if a single photographer is busy capturing the main event (say, you and your partner exchanging vows) there’s no one else available to catch the father with tears in his eyes, or all the incredible reactions happening around the bride and groom. There are so many perspectives that couples tend to miss during their wedding, it’s better to have thorough coverage of these moments, than to tell a partial story of your day.


Q: Why work with a destination photographer vs. using someone local?
There are definitely major benefits to having a dedicated destination photographer. When we travel abroad for a wedding, we, like the couple, are stepping into a distant land and experiencing all the magic that comes with a fresh adventure. From the moment we arrive, our cameras are always snapping—capturing all the elements that surround the region, not just the venue. To us, a destination wedding is about more than just the day-of events, there’s an entire story to be told and the location itself is a character. We love to capture the atmosphere of the region, the people and all the textures surrounding the town. These all play a part in telling the complete story of where and why the couple is there. 

Also, included in our destination packages is the option of a complimentary second-day shoot. These days, many weddings have become a series of weekend-long events, so this second shoot is something couples can use for a welcome brunch, rehearsal dinner, day-after wine tasting event or even a couple’s shoot in a separate location within the area.

For those adventurous couples, this is an amazing opportunity to take full advantage of the destination, either shooting in a nearby city or town, on the coast, in the mountains or anywhere too far to travel on the wedding day itself. It’s the perfect opportunity to wear that stunning dress once more. In fact, many couples take advantage of the chance to amend their look for a second day shoot. Say the bride went for a romantic updo on the wedding day—now’s the time to wear it long and loose. Or perhaps guys can opt for a untied bowtie or none at all. It’s truly a great way to have your cake and eat it too.


Q: How many photos should you receive from your photographer and should you expect them all to be edited?
It’s important to speak with your photographer about their post-production policy before signing an Agreement. Some photographers promise to deliver thousands of images, and it leads couples to believe that they’re getting more for their money, when they’re simply receiving a barrage of unedited images. Our recommendation is to beware of any photographer who simply slaps the images on a USB drive and delivers them without any proper editing. 

Most photos require some degree of post-production work or color-correction to bring them to their best. This is actually part of the art itself—to enhance the emotion and pull forth all the details our human eyes perceive differently than a camera. 

At the end of the day, there’s no specific number. You may receive several hundred or even 1,000+ images, depending on the length of your wedding day. The most important thing is to make sure that each photo has been reviewed and properly edited prior to delivery. 


Q: Can you recreate a specific photo we found online?
These days, many brides approach their wedding day after having spent a year pinning their favorite images and Instagram shots into a wishlist for their wedding day. We often receive special requests to recreate specific images—and we’re always game to try! At times, the location, lighting and atmosphere will allow us to duplicate their vision perfectly. Other times, we’re shooting a winter wedding with a bride who wants to recreate a summer beach scene—not so easy. 

Although there are many factors that contribute to replicating an exact shot, we always take the inspiration into mind and aim to deliver the same aesthetic, spirit and effect they originally wanted to capture. All photos are ultimately a collaboration between the photographer and the couples themselves, so we always welcome brides and grooms who arrive with their own creative vision.


Q: And finally, what are your top destination Do’s and Dont’s:
Do: Consider a mobile-free ceremony. There’s nothing that spoils the timelessness of a cliff-side chateau faster than an audience full of glowing blue screens. We often see guests spilling into the aisles, competing for the best shot and interrupting the atmosphere. Instead, we recommend inviting your guests to be present in the moment and leave the documentation up to the professionals :)

Don’t: Be afraid to get the bottom of your dress dirty. Sometimes a quick stroll through sand or stone is the only way to get to the heart-stopping photo location of your dreams. A little kiss from mother nature will wash away easily and we promise, it’ll be worth it." 

 
LUCK OF THE IRISH

 
 

I know St. Patrick isn't the same as St. Nick, but something about today actually feels like Christmas. We had the privilege of shooting the surprise elopement of Belfast's most beautiful couple (clearly no bias here at all). Otherwise known as the new Mr. and Mrs. Adams. 

It turns out the high school sweethearts, Farrah and Conor, are as adventurous as they are in love--deciding just weeks ago to book their trip, hop the pond and create (yet another) reason to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, forever. 

As luck would have it, they invited us to City Hall to capture their surprise elopement. In walks a sleek, backless beauty with her tweed-tailored Irishman and, needless to say, the rest was history. As the NYC parade kicked-off uptown, they exchanged vows downtown, bursting with elation through a short, intimate ceremony before heading off to Brooklyn for a celebration all their own. 

Farrah and Conor, thank you for allowing us be a small part of your story. Here's a sneak peek to help you share the wonderful news ;)

 
 
 
 

INBAL AND CARISSA - PLEASE TAKE A BOW
 

 

Don’t let the big tires and tech gear fool you—we’re photographers, but we’re girly girls at heart. So when we see a gown like Carissa Bentley’s knockout number, we put the cameras down and take the requisite moment to swoon in the presence of such perfectly layered lace. 

And how could we not? Anyone with a pulse and even the faintest fashion sense would do a hard triple-take in a mere Inbal Dror drive-by. Because this isn't just a dress. It’s a work of sheer artistry from the supremely impressive designer that's quickly making “Dror” a household name. 

Our encounter began just like any other summer Saturday. We arrived at the bridal suite, calm and unassuming; greeted by the equally beautiful (soon-to-be) Mrs. Bentley. After introductions with warm family and winsome bridesmaids, we took in the subtle current of pre-ceremony buzz, grabbed a few lenses and got right to work. 

It was then that we slipped into an adjacent suite—a simple attempt to capture the jewelry and accessories, not knowing “she” would be waiting in the window. 

But there it was. Our first Dror encounter of the season. Layers of ivory culminating in a tulle train, draped in tapered lace. A trail of traditional buttons, giving way to a delicate mermaid silhouette. Crystal beading and appliqué straps leading into the deep, T-shaped cutouts of an embroidered lace back. This could only mean one thing.

We fell into a momentary state of dream-like adoration and finally snapped-to with one name on our lips—Inbal Dror.  The Israeli bridal genius has (unknowingly) sparked many-a-Instagram arguments over which of her stunning style was “ours.”

But now, here it was and one thing was clear—this one belonged to Carissa. And if the custom hanger left room for question, her glove-like fit was undeniable. This one was made for Carissa and beautiful wedding day to follow. 

So kudos to both the beauty and the brains behind this style stunning duo. You ladies have us ALL taking notes.