John Boyd Thatcher State Park Wedding in Albany NY | Don & Rishaya

Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Bride Getting Ready

The long awaited John Boyd Thatcher State Park wedding in Albany, NY of Don and Rishaya is finally here!  This sweet couple had SUCH a run around trying to make all their wedding plans happen one way or another.  They had originally planned to get married this past July in the Fingerlakes but COVID prevented that from happening.  They moved their wedding date to July of 2021 but then realized how much they just wanted to be married.  Plans to find a venue for their small family wedding kept falling through and every time Rishaya would send me an update I would just pray that something would work out for them.  Well let me tell you… Don and Rishaya had the most beautiful, scenic, and intimate wedding day!  I can’t wait for you to experience their wedding day through this blog!

Here is the gorgeous bride!  She and her bridesmaids got ready at the DoubleTree Hotel in Schenectady and I just loved her details!  The bridesmaids wore coral dresses (one of my favorite colors!) and I really wanted that color to come out in her detail pictures!

Rishaya is all kinds of sweet but one thing she said when I walked in that morning that floored me was , “Yes, this is a small family wedding and today Hannah, you’re family.”  I was SO honored!

Groom Getting Ready

Andrew headed over to where Don and his groomsmen were getting ready at their house!  I’m in LOVE with these detail pictures Andrew got of Don’s details!  He knocked it out of the park!

Collage of groom's suit jacket, tie, shoes, pocket square and cologne

Before we go any further, I would be neglect if I didn’t tell you all about Don’s suit!  Don had his suit custom made just the way he wanted it.  It was tailored exactly to his size and he chose the floral pattern on the inside of his jacket and the back of his vest!  While we were doing these portraits he told me that he wants to keep everything from his wedding to remember the day by.  From the very beginning of their engagement session, I could tell that Don was a very thoughtful, kind and romantic man and that only played out even more on their wedding day!  I told Andrew, “You’re going to love Don.  You both are two peas in a pod!”  And I was right!… Andrew had such a good time with Don throughout the day!

Groom and his custom made suit jacket in a field with sunshine behind him

The First Look

I learned from their engagement session that both Don and Rishaya are really an expressive couple and so I knew that their First Look was going to be EPIC!  And it was SO sweet.  Just look at the way Don takes a slow walk around Rishaya to check out her dress!  Look at the way they show off their shoes to each other! A-freakin-dorable.

Collage of a bride and groom's first look together on the wedding day at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Bride and Groom Portraits

After all these two have been through with planning this wedding, I was thrilled that they had a nice sunny day with lots of glowy light to exemplify their love and the magic that was felt on that day!

Bride smiles at camera while groom nuzzles into her temple in a field at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Can we stop and talk about Rishaya’s gorgeous dress and cathedral length veil for a second?!  Oh my gosh!  It was SO gorgeous!  I loved being able to use it for pictures!

Bride's cathedral length veil and wedding dress with the sunshine coming through while she gets a kiss from her groom at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Loved this bouquet made by Rishaya herself!

Bridal bouquet with the backdrop of bride's white wedding dress

Collage of bride and groom with her bouquet in her hands at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

I feel like none of these pictures need captions!  They just speak for themselves.

Groom in blue suit looks at bride in wedding dress as they hold hands in a sunlit field at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Collage of bride and groom together on their wedding day at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Groom's hand in the pocket of his navy blue suit and watch on his wrist

Groom kisses bride on the cheek as he comes up behind her

Groom makes bride laugh as he gives her a hug around the waist in sunlit field at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Such a sharp looking couple!!!

Photo of bride and groom in a sunny field with her bouquet in her hands and his hands in his pockets

 

I think this flower girl loved the way her dress fanned out when she twirled!

Bridal party with bride and groom in coral dresses and blue suits

The views at John Boyd Thatcher State Park in Albany, NY are amazing and I knew I needed to get some of that in their wedding photos!  Want to know how I got this photo?…

Bride and groom stand in front of gorgeous overlook at the John Boyd Thatcher State Park in Albany NY

Yup! I stood on top of my car!

Syracuse wedding photographer stands on top of car to get an epic picture

I asked Andrew to toss the veil…

Syracuse wedding photographer tosses veil to get a really great shot at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

And I snapped away!

Syracuse wedding photographer stands on top of her car to get the best picture

Even if we did have to put the veil back in a few times!  Go Team Hawkins!  Couldn’t do it without my Andrew man!

Syracuse wedding photographer puts the veil back into bride's hair after it falls out

Then it was off to the Glen Doone area for their John Boyd Thatcher State Park wedding ceremony in Albany, NY!

Bride and groom walk hand in hand with the sunshine behind them at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The Wedding Ceremony

Ok I just HAD to include this in the blog.  The bride’s mom literally danced down the aisle.  It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in a wedding ceremony!

Mother of the bride dances down the aisle at her daughters wedding at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

So many sweet emotions…

Collage of bride and groom's wedding ceremony at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Bride and groom stand together at the altar during their wedding ceremony at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Don gave Rishaya such a sweet and tender kiss!

Bride and groom share their first married kiss at their wedding ceremony at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

…and then they jumped the broom!  The joy just beaming from both of them… I just can’t handle it!

Bride and groom jump the broom at their wedding ceremony at Glen Doone pavilion at Thatcher State Park

Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The Bridal Party

We had a few minutes after the ceremony to grab some quick pictures of the wedding party!

The Groomsmen

First of all, check out the inside of Don’s suit jacket that has his name on it, then these sharp looking groomsmen!

Collage of groom's custom suit and groomsmen

Custom wedding suit with groom's name on the inside

The Bridesmaids

I just love this coral color!  So gorgeous!

Collage of bride and bridesmaids in coral dresses and the bouquets of flowers

I had to make sure I got a picture with Don’s jacket off so he could showcase the floral pattern on the back of his vest!

Bride hugging the arm of groom with his custom made wedding vest with a floral pattern on the back

The Wedding Reception

I just have to talk about how hard Don, Rishaya and each of their family members worked to pull this wedding off.  They had set up a tent at the Glen Doone pavilion area at the Thatcher State Park and it looked absolutely gorgeous!

Tent wedding reception in Albany NY at John Boyd Thatcher State Park of cake, head table, bridal party table, centerpieces, bride and groom signs

The First Dance

When I first met Rishaya, she told me that not only did she used to be very involved in pageants but also was a dancer.  I really loved Don and Rishaya’s first dance.  I’m sure they choreographed it but it looked so natural that I would have thought that they were just moving to the music.

First Dance of the Bride and groom at their wedding at the Glen Doone Pavilion at Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The groom dancing with the flower girl!

Groom dances with flower girl on his wedding day at Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The Parent Dances

During the Mother Son dance I heard Don’s mom say, “I am SO proud of you”.  That’s all it took for me to start blinking back tears of my own.

Mother son dance at their wedding reception at Glen Doone pavilion at Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

And then Rishaya and her dad danced!  So sweet!

Father daughter dance at tent wedding reception at Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

Father daughter dance at tent wedding reception at Bride and groom come down the aisle after they're married at the Glen Doone Pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The Cake Cutting

Oh my gosh, the expressions in this sequence!  Rishaya told me that she really wanted to smash cake in Don’s face but it was him that didn’t want her to do it!  Ahahaha… I find it’s usually the other way around!  But the look on Rishaya’s face in the second photo down on the left… “Dude, I’ve got both the forks”.  Hahaha!

Collage of bride and groom cutting their wedding cake at their tent wedding reception at Glen Doone pavilion at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

As the sun began to set, I pulled these two out for just a few more photos!  But the picture below is all Andrew’s!

Bride and groom dip kiss with the sunshine peeking around their heads at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

And then we got a sunset!

Bride and groom at sunset at their wedding reception at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

The sunset plus this white birch tree was just perfect!  It was an epic way to close out an epic wedding day at John Boyd Thatcher State Park in Albany, NY for Don and Rishaya!

As we were leaving the wedding Rishaya and I started talking about ways that we could get together and hang out in the future!  Driving away, Andrew turned to me and said, “Wow, you were right, Don is a gem, a rare find.”  And with that, I hope that this blog shows not only nice wedding pictures but that you’ve gotten an idea of what an amazing couple Don and Rishaya are!  If you’d like to see more of our wedding work, you can check out here on the blog and if you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you!

Bride and groom at sunset at their wedding reception at John Boyd Thatcher State Park

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  1. Luvunia johnson says:

    This was a beautiful job! The pictures came out gorgeous.

  2. Robin R Van Ness says:

    Hannah (and Andrew) , first, I want to tell you, that you two are amazing people! so warm and kind. so professional. these pictures will allow my sweet goddaughter and her wonderful husband to relive the day over their lifetimes,
    I absolutely love the pure joy that radiates from them and was captured so brilliantly in these photographs!

    • Hannah Hawkins says:

      Oh my goodness Robin, it was such a pleasure meeting you and your son and chatting with you throughout the wedding! I thoroughly enjoyed it and wished we’d been able to talk more over a cup of coffee! Thank you for your sweet words!

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