From the moment we met Mike and Ryen to talk about what they wanted for their wedding day photography, they already had a "vision" for their engagement shoot: Wintry, snowy, and fun! The more we talked with them, the more we also had a "vision" come to mind--a more intimate engagement shoot in a trendy bar-and-lounge setting. As we talked up a two-part shoot, we knew we would start the engagement session at Chestnut Ridge Park. Then Mike suggested the perfect indoor venue--The Lodge Bar & Grill here in Buffalo. Having worked there, he had nothing but great things to say about it...and as soon as we laid eyes on this upscale urban bar & lounge, we were hooked.
It's kind of ironic that we would start our shoot at the bar, since Mike first asked Ryen out at a bar--actually, at the bar of the restaurant where the two of them worked and initially met. "My friend & I were having lunch at the bar," Ryen told us, "and I was complaining about not having enough shifts...so Mike said, 'Good, you can come to a wedding with me.' I was like, 'You have said all of FIVE words to me!' ...I always thought it was spontaneous, but come to find out he had been planning it for a while. We went to the wedding, and it was on July 19th, so that's why the date is important to us." The two of them will wed on July 19th this year. How sweet!
On the second floor of the lodge, Mike & Ryen took their turns at playing pool...or just playing. Either way, we love their interaction here.
One of our favorite spots at The Lodge was definitely the VIP section. Here at the bar, Mike impressed us with his professional bar-tending skills.
Mike may have asked Ryen to that wedding, but their first date was actually Karaoke. "He was singing... I kind of melted away! I listened to the song over and over later that night...he's confident, so secure...I feel blessed and lucky that he came along. I never had to find him, he just came. Something about him, I just knew." It definitely shows!
After a quick lunch break, we headed to our next adventure at Chestnut Ridge Park, where there was definitely no shortage of snow. In fact, it was so snowy that, as we pulled off to the side of the road to park, we (Deanne) got stuck in the snow! Fortunately for us, Buffalo's reputation as "The City of Good Neighbors" also extends south to Orchard Park, because a kind Samaritan quickly came to the rescue and pulled us out of the ditch so we could get on with our shoot. Thank you random kind sir! :) Mike - I'll pretend I never heard your comment about female drivers :)
Anyway, as soon as we were out of the ditch, we resumed business as normal. Ryen was in her glory and over-the-top excited to have the snow she wanted for her engagement session. We must admit, the snow was beautiful - and a lot of fun to play in!
As far as Mike is concerned, there's no place he'd rather be than with Ryen. He says, "There's no one else I would chose to go explore the world, or even go have dinner--I wouldn't want anyone else to sit across from me. It's EASY!"
These two definitely gave few signs they were giving out during this cold shoot. They were even up for a game of leapfrog and hide-and-seek. (You would have to ask Mike how leapfrog turned out).
Mike and Ryen - thanks for a wonderful shoot - especially for being troopers in the cold, blowing snow! We look forward to celebrating your special day with you this summer at Salvatore's Italian Gardens!