Destination Spotlight: Kenmare, Ireland

Last month I spent a week in Kenmare, Ireland in preparation for a wedding we’re planning in July.   It was my first trip to Kenmare and I was beyond impressed.  Not only were we greeted with warm, sunny skies (as most of you know, not the norm for Ireland) but with smiles and warm personalities from every person we met.

Kenmare is a town in Southwest Ireland that sits along the heart of Kenmare Bay right along the Ring of Kerry.  It is a great mixture of traditional Irish culture and breathtaking scenery.  It is also one of the few towns in the area that have several 5 star hotels with restaurants to pair.  We stayed at the Park Hotel Kenmare, which is an older, classic hotel with impeccable service and amazing food.  Park Hotel sits on the water and the views are beautiful.

The reception will take place at Dromquinna Manor – across the bay from Park Hotel Kenmare.  Photos below include the main manor house, a view of the bay, and the west terrace at Dromquinna Manor.

There was no shortage of homemade breads at each meal…

An idea we had was to source some local chocolates in the welcome bags for all the wedding guests.  We headed over to the famous Lorge Chocolate to pick a few favorites!

We visited Sheen Falls Lodge where some of the wedding festivities will take place in July. The Ceremony will be held outside of one of the cottages at Sheen Falls.  How amazing are the thatched roofs? Also below – a view of the falls – behind the main lodge.

Downtown Kenmare has so many fun pubs and if you are out and about at night, you will find that everyone moves from pub to pub together to enjoy the late night music at each location.  Don’t forget to grab a Guinness or two!

East Coast Vendor Spotlight: Cavaweddings Photography

I got the opportunity to meet and chat with Carlos from Cavaweddings a few months ago and we hit it off right away.  His work is wonderful and I encourage you to take a look.  Here is a Q & A with Carlos that gives you a lot more insight into the man behind the camera.

Where are you based?
New York City

What you do/specialize in?
Weddings, Events and Fashion Photography

How did you get started?
Since I was 13 I’ve been fascinated with photography and would take my Father’s EOS camera and take pictures all over the town I grew up in. I won several school and city contests over the next several years. I studied Economics and later design in college but always kept shooting as much as I could.

I wanted to buy really nice lenses and ended up buying some from a well known wedding photographer here in New York and we hit it off. She offered me an assistants job and from there my professional journey began! I then worked for many of the top photographers here in New York for the next several years until I decided to go completely on my own…

What inspires you/your work?

Mainly three things:  Music, Movies and Fashion.

I can’t live without music. I must have it on all the time. I am mostly fascinated with traditional instrumental world music and soundtrack scores. It is so moody and emotional and it makes me see and feel things that really inspires the way I want to shoot people and things. Some favorite soundtracks:  Motorcycle Diaries, A Single Man, Batman Begins, The Passion of the Christ

Movies are my visual staple.  I haven’t had a regular TV in 10 years but I watch movies almost daily. Some favorite movies:  In The Mood For Love by Wang Kar Wei, Tom Ford’s “A single Man”, 7 and Fight Club directed by David Fincher.

And Fashion photography and magazines especially foreign fashion magazines like 125, S, Another Magazine, W, Wallpaper.

And of course photographers: Fashion photographers like Paolo Roversi and Greg Williams, and classic photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson and Richard Avedon.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Lately I love to walk around the city (whichever city I find myself in) with my new Leica rangefinder and shoot as much as I can. It’s great because I do exercise for hours, make new random friends and become a better photographer everytime!

Also love going to the movies, opera and taking salsa classes with my wife.

What’s a fun fact about you that your clients may not know?
I love to travel and meet people. Especially travel by land…. I once took the train from New York to L.A. and back (taking different routes) in 7 days with only two half day stops!

What are one or two of your favorite venues to work on the East Coast and why?

Oheka Castle and Angel Orensaz Foundation.

Oheka because of the medieval gardens and the way the light enters the castle and Angel Orensanz because the lighting inside the venue is always beautiful and dramatic.

What’s trending in the photography industry for Weddings/Events now?
Here in New York, I feel people really love classic Black and White photography.

What trend are you tired of seeing?
A good wedding photographer friend of mine told me recently that typewriters were on the way out…maybe he’s right.

What’s your favorite photo to capture during a Wedding?
Any photograph that could end up in a fine art gallery.

Tell us the best way to reach you and check out your work:  //   / /

We are working on a new website so much of the newer and updated work is not on the site but if anyone sends me an e-mail I will send links to recent galleries and work.

Save the Date Video for a Destination Wedding

My sister and her fiancé, who are getting married at the end of July in Ireland, wanted a fun and unique way to send out their save-the-date.  They wanted everyone to get excited, and as the wedding is overseas, they needed a quick way to get a rough head count on who could come.  They decided to make a stop-motion video inspired by their destination – chunky Irish sweaters, tweed jackets, Hunter Wellies, and of course, Guiness.

My husband and I helped them produce it.  We shot a total of 1200+ images over 2 days.  Stop-motion really gives you some creative flexibility, and while we tried to story-board some of the scenes beforehand, many of the more creative aspects were made up on the spot.  You just don’t know what you’ll come up with until you start!

To shoot the flying scene, we laid a white sheet on the ground and shot from overhead by sitting on a ladder – my sister and her fiancé had to move inch by inch after each shot!  The highlight for my sister’s fiancé was getting to actually drink Guiness while we worked!

This was my first experience with this type of project and the learning curve was steep, however, all-in-all we had a blast doing it and we think the video came out great!

Destination Spotlight: St. Thomas

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I spent 4 days on St. John and then ventured over via ferry to St. Thomas to soak in a few more days or relaxation before heading home.

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas, which was perfect for the last few days.  We had done plenty of exploring on St. John and were ready to be pampered.  The Ritz had so many activities right on the property that there was no real reason to leave other than to try some of the great restaurants on the island for dinner.  We tried the paddle boarding, wind surfing and snorkeling.  There is a reef right off the beach at the hotel so you don’t have to go far to see the amazing sea life.

The hotel would be an amazing spot for a destination wedding because it’s easy to get to and you and your guests can enjoy the amenities of the hotel without feeling suffocated.  The views are breathtaking and the weather, incredible!  Just watch out for those Iguanas making their way across the beach!


Destination Spotlight: St. John

My husband and I wanted to get away for a few days this winter, so when we were researching an island vacation we came across the U.S. Virgin Islands.  I had never been and the 3 and a half hour flight from New York made the decision a breeze.  St. John is a small island (only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide) which is only accessible via ferry.  We flew into St. Thomas and were provided ferry transportation by the hotel we were staying at, The Westin.  It was a quick 30-40 minute ferry ride from St. Thomas to St. John and the commute was stunning. The hotel is really geared more toward a family atmosphere than couples travel, but it was comfortable enough for us.

We opted to rent a car the first morning we were there and visit the public beaches around the island.  We stopped at Trunks Bay, Hawksnest and Francis Bay Beach.  Each beach was different and unique in it’s own way. Renting the car allowed us to see the island on our own time, but there are plenty of taxis on the island that will take you to any of the beaches and come pick you up when you’re done.

Though the island of St. John is small, we were surprised that there were a few great, local restaurants in town.  We ate at Morgan’s Mango, Ocean Grill & had massive margaritas at Margarita Phil’s all in the town of Cruz Bay.

Although we wouldn’t stay again at the Westin, there is a resort on the island that we would visit next time.  The hotel is called Caneel Bay Resort.  We visited for a day to check it out and it was stunning.  Caneel Bay Resort sits on a beautiful beach and is settled into it’s natural surroundings.  They have donkeys that roam the property as well as deer that sit and watch as you pass by.  The rooms are right on the ocean allowing for sunset views every night. It would be a perfect resort to host a wedding.  Here are some photos:

We were only on St. John for 3 nights but it allowed us plenty of time to explore the island.  From St. John we took the public ferry back to St. Thomas for another few days in paradise!

Our adventures in St. Thomas to come next week!






An East Coast Introduction

For those of you that don’t know me yet, my name is Jenn Labinski and I am the Production Manager for the Alison Events East Coast office.  I am so excited to be blogging for AE East!  I will be posting every Friday to share all things happening on the East Coast in addition to any other fun ideas or destinations I come across.

I thought the best introduction to me might be a peek into my own wedding weekend at Calistoga Ranch.  It’s definitely funny that although my husband and I were both born and raised on the East Coast, we made our way west to get married! We chose Calistoga Ranch because we love the hotel itself and we knew the wine cave would be perfect for our intimate wedding weekend of 50 of our closest friends and family.  Given the limited guest list, we were able to customize our save-the-dates and invitations, which were created by the team at Chewing the Cud.  They also created the rehearsal dinner window pane for table seating and wedding programs.  The rehearsal dinner was poolside at Calistoga Ranch and the ceremony and reception took place on the lawn and in the wine cave.  Our photographer, Meredith Davenport for Christian Oth, was fabulous and easy to work with.  Below are some photos, as well as our same-day-edit, thanks to the extremely talented cinematographers at StillMotion.

Our Mexican Rehearsal Dinner:

The Wedding!

Same Day Edit:

I hope you enjoyed the little sneak peek into my wedding!

It wouldn’t have been possible without the help from the following fantastic vendors:

Venue: Calistoga Ranch

Photography: Meredith Davenport for Christian Oth

Band: Ever Music Group

Cinematography: StillMotion

Invitations: Chewing the Cud

Floral Design: Blooms by Martha Andrews

Rentals:  Classic Party Rentals

Hair & Makeup: Julie Morgan

Cake: Sweet on Cake