In the bustling city of NYC, grandeur often overshadows simplicity, and Maddie and Pablo’s intimate wedding photography really carved out a space filled with heartfelt moments.

As a NYC photographer, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many incredible couples with more intimate weddings, and I understand the unique charm and challenges that come along with photographing them. Throughout this post, I’ll help you explore the art of intimate wedding photos, along with some of my insights!

Whether you’re a photographer looking to offer more cozy wedding photos or a couple seeking some inspiration for your own celebration, keep reading to learn all about intimate wedding photography featuring the photos captured during Maddie and Pablo’s day in Ellenville, New York. 

What is intimate wedding photography?

Before we dive in more, let’s start with the obvious question: what is intimate wedding photography? Intimate weddings in and of themselves really have a focus on personal stories, closeness, and heartfelt moments, much like a large-scale wedding.

By nature, intimate weddings tend to be a bit smaller, making them feel a bit more “personal.” They aren’t necessarily defined by the venue or even the aesthetic but by the connections and closeness of those who attend the wedding.

So, intimate wedding photos really focus on those small moments throughout the day. Think shared laughter during a quiet moment, tearful smiles while vows are exchanged, or even a heartfelt conversation during cocktail hour. Photos like these really focus on authenticity so that you as a couple can look back on your photos and relive your wedding in a true-to-life way. 

Meet the Couple: Maddie & Pablo

As mentioned earlier, you’ll see a bunch of photos from Maddie and Pablo’s intimate wedding throughout this post! Their wedding was in Ellenville, New York, at both The Mod House of Ellenville and Love, Velma, which is an exclusive speakeasy. 

What made Maddie and Pablo’s wedding so intimate was that they invited only their closest friends and family, keeping the invite list to only about 50ish guests. 

The two met at a bar in Europe. Pablo is from Berlin and Maddie is from America so their wedding was a blend of all of their favorite people from around the world making it truly special! 

The Venue: The Mod House of Ellenville & Love, Velma

While the venue itself doesn’t necessarily dictate whether a wedding is classified as intimate or not, it sure can help! Maddie and Pablo had their venues at The Mod House and Love, Velma. They’re actually at the same location! Let’s dive into what makes these venues so unique.

The Mod House of Ellenville is a breathtaking mountain lodge with midcentury styling. Because of its lodge (yet upscale) aesthetic, it has an inherent cozy vibe throughout. There are 4 bedrooms, 2 floors, 2 fireplaces (again, adding to the intimate feeling), and tons of windows, adding great lighting for capturing small moments. 

The Mod House itself is solar-powered and really focused on sustainability. In addition to the indoor spaces, there are outdoor ones, too, which means enjoying New York’s weather when it’s nice.

Meanwhile, on the ground floor of The Mod House is Love, Velma! This is a fun, exclusive speakeasy and dance club with great lighting, a wet bar, and more. It still has a cozy vibe to it, with a capacity of only 100 people. With just some of the lights lit here, the laid-back, cozy atmosphere. There’s even a stage for live music – there’s often underground jazz here in the Catskills.

This venue truly does serve as such a comfortable yet upscale addition to an intimate wedding. Finding a venue like this can make it a lot easier to take those intimate wedding photos!

Intimate Wedding Photography Ideas

Looking to add some more of those cozy moments to your own wedding photos? Here are some ideas for getting those moments in wedding photos. 

Candid Moments with Guests

Let’s start with one of the easiest ideas for these types of photos: candid moments with guests. You’ll probably have these naturally throughout your wedding! Moments like these are extremely unposed and spontaneous, which lets the real, authentic version of you and/or your guests come out in the photos. 

Similar to Maddie and Pablo’s wedding, intimate weddings tend to have a limited guest list of just closest friends and family, which makes every interaction meaningful and filled with emotion. This presents such a great opportunity for me as a photographer to really capture moments that may otherwise go unnoticed in bigger-scale weddings.

Candid moments can really be anything, too. They could range from a shared laugh at the ceremony to a tearful embrace or even a look of joy on your childhood best friend’s face. Each of these instances helps to tell a part of your wedding story that’s truly just as important as those “traditional” posed shots because of how unscripted they are. 

Vow Exchange

Private vow exchanges can also be a great way to capture an intimate moment on camera, but this is definitely one that is up to you whether you want to have it or not. Some couples prefer to wait until the ceremony!

However you choose to exchange your vows, these are always one of the most heartfelt moments of the entire day. These exchanges usually reveal the most genuine expressions of commitment and love. As a photographer, it’s so fun to capture this raw and unfiltered moment as you’re overcome with emotion from how powerful it is.

Love Letters

Another fun idea is to write love letters to each other that you can read as you’re getting ready for your wedding day. This can be a really treasured moment, too, because you can keep the letters you wrote to one another. 

These letters often will contain reflections on your journey together, hopes for the future, and more – photographing these is another way of documenting raw emotion on your wedding day, creating more intimate photos. It’s all about authenticity and just letting yourself feel what you need to feel in the moment!

First Looks

It’s totally up to you whether you decide to have a first look or not, but they’ve definitely grown in popularity over the past few years. This is a moment where you see one another for the first time on your wedding day before walking down the aisle, allowing for some of the most genuine and touching photographs!

The other option is to go the more “traditional” route of waiting to see each other until the ceremony. Having a planned first look breaks this convention for another heartwarming, intimate moment. 

First looks, in general, are really all about surprise. They’re a great private moment between the two of you before the entire day begins, because, let’s be honest, even with a more intimate wedding, it can be hard to actually feel like you’re spending a whole lot of time with each other throughout the day.

You can also get super creative with first looks, too. Some people will even alter this idea to just be a first touch instead, which also offers a beautiful opportunity for an intimate photograph to be taken. Even though you won’t see each other, you’ll have photos of the moment which will show you right next to one another from a moment like this!

Alternatively, you can have first looks with other guests at your wedding. Maddie opted to have a first look with her parents and it was so special. You can really transform these first looks into whatever private moment you or your partner wants! 

Individual Photos with Guests

In addition to getting candid photos throughout the night, another great benefit of an intimate wedding is that you can actually get individual photos with each of your guests. 

Maddie and Pablo opted to include this in their wedding for a few reasons. First, they had pictures to use for their thank you card that could be very personalized and more meaningful for everyone. 

Second, it also allows you to remember everyone who was at your wedding. With bigger weddings, it can sometimes be hard to interact with or remember who all was at your wedding. But, with more intimate weddings, you can easily capture moments with each and every guest to remember this amazing night! 

Final Thoughts: New York Intimate Wedding Photography

Personal celebrations like these truly offer a unique opportunity to capture love in its most authentic form! Just like all forms of photography, capturing intimate weddings really lies in the ability to tell a story – it’s all about those little moments throughout the day. If you are looking for a photographer to capture and co-create images for your own intimate wedding, I’d absolutely love to learn more, and I’d be honored to be your photographer. Click here to get in touch.

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Intimate Wedding Photography in Ellenville, New York with Maddie & Pablo

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I’m an NYC photographer who is more than a little obsessed with documenting your looking-good-feeling-even-better moments.

I’m Francesca!