NYC After Dark | Manhattan Bridal Session

Everything wrapped itself perfectly into this much needed girl’s weekend in New York City.

Since the moment I saw this gown come waltzing out like a diamondin Butler Park, Texas, I knew it needed to be shown off somewhere equally glamorous and shiny.

And y’all. There is nothing quite like the shiny lights of New York City. 

We started planning and scheming, and turned what could have stayed an idea into an epic weekend of walking, Ubering, sipping, sleeping and dancing across Manhattan.

There have been plenty of people that have an idea of something grand for their photo sessions. Then then the day or hour arrives, and they don’t want to put in the effort.

That’s the hardest thing for me to understand.

If you book a session, (or a wedding!)  you’re already taking time out of your day-to-day schedule. You’re already in special outfits, and you’re most likely already in a special location. So why in the world are you not going to make the absolute most of the situation? 

Thankfully as the years go on, I’ve narrowed down my booking process to include people who already know how I like to work, and book me specifically to go a little above and beyond.

And that’s what we did in this glorious session.

We made the absolute most of it.

The day of the shoot was spent not worrying about time at all. We took a ferry to Governors Island (if you’ve been following our NY journey or read this engagement blog, you know how much we love this island!) and enjoyed drinks in the sun and balanced out the relaxation with getting plenty of steps in along the way. Win win. Governors Island NYC

We took the ferry back into the city, and thanks to this bride’s sharp eye, we found an amazing rooftop bar overlooking the craziness that is Times Square. Also, thanks to these girls sharing, I was able to try my first espresso martini at Valerie, which is about as architecturally pleasing inside as any iconic structure in the city. 

 I didn’t think I could enjoy coffee more than I already do.

Mind you, I have already realized that I shouldn’t have had my first espresso martini there. I have since tried at a couple places- and exactly zero were made to these standards… so I’m pretty sure I’m ruined.

Enough of the drink dramatics, let’s get to the good stuff.

Back at our place in Brooklyn, I brought out the old hair wand, Bobbi pins and a little hair spray and whipped up Shannon’s hair in way I felt did justice to the gown.

Bridal Hairstyle before picThen the fun really began. 

The rain decided to come down right as we got off of the subway to our stop. And yes, we road the subway with all my gear, and all of that gown in tow and we did it well.

It was not cold outside, folks.

We had already battled waiting on the trains to get to our station… in the heat, then ended up running through hallways and up stairs to make it to the next train. By the time we reached our stop and saw all the rain? You better believe these girls were not discouraged.

The plastic rain covering that comes with me everywhere for my gear went right over her hair and makeup and protected everything until we found a convenient store that had an umbrella.

Bridal gown NYC photo session

We may have stopped in an Irish pub to wait out a little rain, and had quite a bit of fun with stories of 1) why we were out so late and 2) why we were missing a groom “on the wedding day”.

Yes, we were telling strangers it was her wedding day.

Why? Because what a fun back story to keep changing at every location. Not that we needed extra entertainment, but it was great fun.


The rain stops enough to leave, we get to Central Park, and see that it closes at one in the morning. Guys. It was already after midnight. Did that stop us? Not. one. bit. We headed straight through the dimly lit pathways to Bethesda Terrace and got to work.

Courtney held up Shannon’s veil and of course I have my Magnet Mod gear already aimed at the gown to light up the place and show off everything from the bride’s face to the stunning ceiling that I found fascinating enough to read about:

“Created in the 1860s, it features 49 panels and nearly 16,000 elaborately patterned encaustic tiles, handmade by England’s renowned Minton and Company.”

“The Conservancy removed the tiles in 1983, storing them until it secured the $7 million required to restore this architectural treasure. The challenging restoration—cleaning and repairing some 14,000 tiles by hand—was completed in 2007.”**

Elizabeth Birdsong Photography Destination wedding photographer NYC Proposal Bethesda Fountain Bridal Photos -1Wow.

Now I’m even happier you can see the ceiling in the portraits.

This all brings me to why we were at this spot. It is for sure a favorite spot for Connor and I to walk to on our many days exploring in Central Park, but this is where Shannon’s husband actually proposed to her. Shannon Ben Proposal

*all photo credit/setup goes to Shannon’s husband Ben Davis for this cute reaction shot! 

We managed to get shots all around the area with no one crowding our space, because almost no one was there.

Times Square was a different story. Shannon took a quick rest in the Uber…

Elizabeth Birdsong Photography Destination wedding photographer NYC Proposal Bethesda Fountain Bridal Photos -23…and we recharged and restyled hair while waiting for said Uber to come back with my phone that I casually left in the back seat as it drove away.


As you can see if you scroll on through, Shannon woke up and blazed through Times Square like a Carrie Bradshaw poster. Courtney could win awards for her assistant work taking behind the scenes photos while holding things like the veil, the train, phones, and flashes.  BTS NYC Bridal photo session Times Square

If anyone is considering a photo session somewhere that might seem far fetched… just do it. You’ll never know until you try!

Hope everyone enjoys these photos as much as I do. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments, I always love hearing from you.





Elizabeth Birdsong Photography Destination wedding photographer NYC Proposal Bethesda Fountain Bridal Photos -42

Bridal Gown: Enaura Bridal

Locations: Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, Times Square

Gear: Canon and Magmod

**quote from









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