When I'm not photographing or with my family, I get lost in pop- impressionism oil paintings. Check out some of my work here.
Lauren and Mike’s summer wedding at Longue Vue club is everything. This family. This couple. These photos! I met Lauren when I took photos of the brides sister several years back. I hoped right away that I’d be privileged enough to work with ALL the Kelly sisters (there are 4 in all) on their special days. When Lauren got engaged, I secretly stalked her IG page, just praying she would reach out! And she did!!! YAYY! I am so honored and flattered by her and Mike’s review of their experience with me:
“I cannot say enough about Steven Dray and how lucky and grateful we were to work with him for our July 9, 2022 wedding. Dray shot my sister’s wedding 3 years ago. From the moment we met him, he made the day so comfortable and fun for all of us and the wedding photos were absolutely stunning. I knew then that I had to book him if I got married. When my fiancé proposed, we immediately reached out to Dray. We picked our wedding date in part based on his availability (yes, he is THAT good!). From the time that we booked Dray until our wedding day, he and his wife Jaime were so great about checking in with us, making sure we had everything we needed, and just being so awesome and supportive. Dray shot our engagement photos and made the session so easy and fun. The vision that Dray has for locations, poses, lighting and all of the other elements of the photo are truly his gift. We were blown away by the photos and our family and friends were raving about them (and still are!). Dray shot our wedding last month and again, we all had the BEST time with him. The way that Dray captures the most special moments and details, while making the entire process so comfortable and fun for everyone, is what makes him and his work so amazing. When Dray’s coverage was over at the end of the night, we didn’t want him to leave – not because we wanted him to take more photos, but because he is genuinely a joy to be around! Dray sent us a preview of some of the photos shortly after the wedding and we were so happy. They were all stunning. Our entire family loves Dray. He is our go-to for life! We truly cannot recommend him enough. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Dray, you will have not only amazing photos, but an amazing overall experience!”
Here’s more details about their big day! From Lauren’s point of vue:
What was your inspiration behind your summer Wedding at Longue Vue ?
Mike and I both have very simple and classic personal styles. We wanted our wedding to reflect that and to have a clean, luxe, and classic feel. This led to our choosing of crisp white linens, clear furniture, and all white florals. We also wanted our families, whom we love so much, to be at the center of the day with us. To that end, it was important to me to incorporate white phalaenopsis orchids in my bouquet and in our centerpieces. My grandmother, Amalia, had orchids in her bridal bouquet. I love the simple elegance of orchids and I wanted to incorporate that flower as a tribute to her. I also wanted to include the very important women in my life – my two grandmothers and my mother – in my something old, borrowed, and blue. My something old was my Grandma Amalia’s Miraculous Medal, which was pinned to my bouquet. My something borrowed was my Mom Marisa’s rosary beads, which were wrapped around the bouquet. My something blue was my Sito (which means grandmother in Arabic) Jora’s blue sapphire ring that I wore on the wedding day. It was so important to Mike and me to incorporate family in the details of our wedding wherever possible.
Advice to share with brides planning now?
Although this may be cliche, try to enjoy the wedding planning process as best you can! It is very stressful, but I think it is important to take a step back and focus on what it’s all for – marrying the person you love. All of the details eventually work out and everything turns out beautifully!
How did you and your spouse meet?
Mike and I originally exchanged numbers in 2017. We planned to go out for drinks, but due to busy schedules, it never came to fruition and we lost touch. Two years later, in 2019, we reconnected, went on an amazing first date, and the rest is history! The universe tends to unfold as it should 🙂
Proposal Details! How did it happen?
We got engaged in January 2021, right in the midst of just one of the many COVID winter surges. Many restaurants and bars were temporarily closed again and many people were back in a quasi quarantine! My sisters, Erica and Ariana, both have birthdays around that time. Erica said that she wanted to have us all over to her apartment to have drinks and celebrate the birthdays. She said that we should all dress up so that we could take some pictures together (this was a good move on her part, because as you’ll recall, during quarantine, most of us lived in athleisure wear!). Mike and I got takeout from Vallozzi’s restaurant downtown and ate dinner at my apartment. Right after we finished dinner, he proposed! After the proposal, we went to Erica’s apartment, where she and my other sisters, Gianna and Ariana, had an amazing engagement party planned. My parents were there too. It was such a special night and I was so surprised by it all!
What was your favorite memory from your summer wedding at Longue Vue?
It’s so hard to pick just one memory since the entire day was amazing! Something that is rather mundane, but that sticks out to me so much, is the ride from the church to the reception. We hired a shuttle bus to take us to the reception after the ceremony and our parents, siblings, and bridal party were all on the bus with us. The stress of all of the wedding planning was over, Mike and I were officially married, and we could all finally relax and get ready to enjoy the evening! Although it was a small moment in the grand scheme of things, I will never forget singing (my dad gave The Temptations a run for their money with his rendition of “My Girl”), dancing, and enjoying the pure bliss of the day on that ride with the people we love the most.
Photography: Steven Dray Photography
Ceremony: St. Paul Cathedral
Reception: Longue Vue Club
Florist: Blossoms by Jilliann
Wedding Dress Designer: Alexandra Grecco
Wedding Dress Style: Aspen
Wedding Dress Boutique: Blanc de Blanc Bridal
Hairstylist: Beauty Justified by Justine Lynn
Make-up Artist: Alexis Vince
Accessories: Veil by Jaclyn Jordan; earrings by Olive & Piper
Bride’s Shoe Designer: Nine West
Bride’s Ring Designer: Brooks Diamonds
Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Bhldn
Groom Attire Designer: Surmesur
Groom Ring Designer: Brooks Diamonds
Videographer: Jeremy Scott Films
Paper Goods: Shine Wedding Invitations
Entertainment: DJ Underdog (Joe Michalski)
Bakery: Oakmont Bakery
Furniture Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental
Nails: Antoinette Koval of Illustrated Nail Art Studio
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