I can definitively say I’m more than a little jealous of everyone who had the privilege of attending Liana and Matthew’s crazy colorful, eclectic storybook wedding in upstate New York! With Liana’s experience and background as a chef and event planner, and Matthew’s as an artist and designer, these two made quite the wedding planning duo; not to mention all the outside creativity help they had from friends and colleagues like the Mixed Greens Event Design team. Needless to say, Liana and Matthew’s wedding was nothing short of magical experience for everyone involved and Denver based wedding photographers Heidi and Daniel Chowen of Chowen Photography couldn’t have captured it more beautifully!
The Couple: Liana and Matthew
Junebug: What were your most important goals in planning your wedding?
Liana and Matthew: To have a really amazing, fun, unique party with great people, amazing food and incredible music. Letting loose and going crazy. We wanted a dancing spectacle.
Junebug: What three adjectives describe your wedding best?
Liana and Matthew: Colorful, Storybook, Referential
Junebug: How would you describe your personal wedding style?
Liana and Matthew: Eclectic. We drew inspiration from our different upbringings and our shared adventures. We are not the most verbal people, we think our actions always speak louder for us. Our style is classic, punk, craft, sartorial, street, country and cowboy.
Matthew is an artist and designer and has been working in NYC for the past twelve years. Liana is a chef and event planner also working in NYC. At our wedding, a lot of themes, motifs, story arcs and color stories were in play. We certainly were not interested in having a traditional wedding, at all. Our focus was on our guests and creating experiences for them to enjoy and find pleasure in interaction. We were interested in finding ways to make our guests feel comfortable enough to let loose and go crazywe wanted our guests to be surprised and find wonder throughout the night. We drew inspiration from story books, children’s art, arts and crafts, Native American ceremonies, rodeos, farming, awards ceremonies, competition, racing, Mexican arts and culture, mythology, painting, theater and sculpturebasically we wanted to mix as many elements as possible into a cohesive and understandable event. And WE WANTED PEOPLE TO DANCE AND DANCE AND DANCE!
Our guests were encouraged to wear whatever made them most comfortable. People showed up in sheets, kimonos, cowboy hats and even Thai wedding dresses. It made for an even more eclectic and interesting evening. It was raining and muddy, but the barn was warm and cozy, and by the end of the night people were covered in mud and falling asleep at the dinner tables, because they were exhausted from dancing so much!
Junebug: Where did you hold your wedding and reception, and why?
Liana and Matthew: We had both at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine. We wanted to have a big red barn wedding with amazing food and Suzanne’s fit the bill. Liana also use to work there back in high school and the owners, Bob and Suzanne Stack, were a huge influence when she decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Liana’s parents also own a winery, Shalestone Vineyards, just down the road from Suzanne’s. All of the elements for a great party were there…the space, the colors, the season, the country feel, the wine, beer and the food. It was the perfect choice.
Junebug: What were you looking for in a photographer?
Liana and Matthew: Someone who understood our style and how we worked. We wanted them to be able to engage in the party, not just for us, but for themselves as well. Above all, we wanted them to have fun and be as creative as they could be. Much of the decor was designed to facilitate their interaction and let them make creative choices.
Junebug: What specifically drew you to Chowen Photography and their imagery?
Liana and Matthew: We knew about the Chowen’s for a long time prior to hiring them. Our mutual friend Alana Guglielmo-Hearn of Mixed Greens Event Design, recommended them to us…so it really was an easy choice.
Junebug: What did you enjoy most about working with the Chowen’s?
Liana and Matthew: They’re smart, creative, and independent. We liked how they came up with their own game-plans for shooting. Their ability to be wildly creative and take chances is great. We certainly did not want boring or traditional photos. They were in total agreement and captured the ENTIRE wedding story and feeling just as we hoped. We will be working with them in the future for all of our creative endeavors…not just weddings and events. They are GOOD. Having worked with hundreds of photographers, we think of them as among the best in the country.
The Photographers: Chowen Photography
Junebug: How did you approach this particular wedding and what did you most want to capture during shooting?
Heidi and Daniel: We first met the Matthew and Liana for their engagement session in NYC one month before, so we knew their wedding was going to be amazing. They both work in the wedding and event industry and most of their guests who attended their wedding weekend were also successful artists and wedding professionals from NYC. We knew we were going to be documenting a lot of love, art and people having a ton of fun. It was our first time to be in upstate NY, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. It was absolutely beautiful. The bride’s family owns a vineyard overlooking Lake Seneca and that is where the rehearsal dinner took place. The stars were out the night before the wedding and everyone enjoyed a beautiful dinner with, of course, amazing wine and food. The wedding itself was about a mile from the vineyard in a huge rustic barn where Mixed Greens Event Design and Congruent Creative Workshop worked their magic. The plans on the day of the wedding had to quickly change as there were so many elements of the day that were meant to be outside the barn overlooking the lake and in the field of grass (the ceremony was originally suppose to be under a large red tree overlooking a small pond along with potato sack races and a cocktail party outside), but rain poured all day and night long…something that was not expected at all, but it all came together perfectly in spite of the rain. The white umbrellas were something that made the wedding images and wedding so fun too. They not only served a purpose, but left a memorable impression in the images. Their wedding had so many design elements it was just incredible to see. Truly a photographer’s delight. There were a lot of different locations that had been set up just for us to take photos of the bride and groom in, so we were able to capture a lot of variety that felt artistic and unique, yet tied in with their elegant dinner and romantic, starry dance floor. What we most wanted to capture was the love and connection between this dynamic couple and the bond they had with all of their friends and family. That is always the most important, and at the same time being creative for this already artistic couple.
Junebug: Were there any special photographic requests from the couple that made this wedding especially exciting creatively or personally?
Heidi and Daniel: One of the wonderful things about Liana and Matthew is that they completely let us do what we do from our artistic point of view. They trusted us as artists to make our vision compliment theirs. They wanted it to be fun, elegant, unique and artistic. We do our best work when we are given the freedom to just go with what happens each moment. They had already created so many aspects for us, and we got to make our own art come alive capturing theirs. It truly was wonderful to work with other artists.