Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Renee and Andrew: Haverhill Country Club Wedding

I am going to be pithier than usual with this write up, because it is Christmas Eve, and I want Renee to see her slideshow and be able to share it on Christmas! I am not one for brevity when journaling my weddings, so I am going to attempt to use some restraint. This one is so easy to chronicle! Within minutes of meeting Renee over tea in my dining room well over a year ago, I knew that I was going to adore this gal. Most notably, she is a photographer! So of course, she and I immediately connected on an aesthetic level. But not only that. Renee is one of those women who just has a light and warmth about her. She and Andrew both grew up in North Andover, and have been together since high school, so theirs is a love that has already proven the test of time. There were too many sweet, memorable touches to name! First of all, Renee was so artistic and refreshing in her approach (she is a visual artist, I would expect nothing less!), and she incorporated the most wonderful natural colors and textures into her wedding. She incorporated the natural beauty of New England woodlands, like barks and branches and pine cones and greenery. Her bouquet was all natural, with spraying greenery, berries, stones, wisps of grasses, and cream roses. Stunning. And it paired so beautifully with the autumn olive of her attendants' dresses. Highlights for me were the thoughtful touches...the heart cut from a tee shirt of a friend who passed away sewn inside the skirt of her dress. The emotion in the room when Renee came downstairs and her father saw her in her dress for the first time. Renee's parents wiping tears and holding hands during the vows. Andrew's father and brothers emulating the poses while I was doing some sassy shots with the bridesmaids. The light in Renee's golden hair, while she gazed at Andrew among the tall grasses in October evening sunlight (in every way, Renee was golden and glittering, her hair, her eyes, her smile)...and countless others. The ceremony took place at St. Michael's in North Andover, and it just so happened to be my third wedding there! It is a beautiful sanctuary, and the October sun came pouring through the many windows, lighting the altar where Renee and Andrew stood facing each other. After they exchanged vows before a tearful audience, they jumped into their party bus and headed to the Haverhill Country Club for their reception! The room was stunning, with flowers interspersed with fruit and vegetables, bark and birch artfully holding the place cards and arrangements, pine cones scattered at the base of the cake that was made to look like a birch tree, with their names carved into it (like no other I've seen yet). One of the most notable aspects of the reception was that friends had hired a band to play reception. I had the pleasure of dining with the fellas of Green Line Inbound, and found each of them to be wonderfully charming--so when they got up there and actually started playing and busting out these SICK harmonies, I was completely blown away. Seriously, the talent coming from that stage was tremendous (here is where I plug the heck out of them--they usually play the club scene rather than the wedding circuit, but if you want your wedding to ROCK, you have to take a look at these guys!). Another highlight of the reception was the most UNIQUE maid of honor toast ever. Renee's best friend/college roommate, a little spitfire, with a heavenly head of rich red curls, got up there and SANG her toast. She changed the lyrics from Taylor Swift's "Love Story" and made them fit Renee and Andrew'story, and she rocked it out karaoke style--amazing. And then everyone hit the dance floor, and rocked out to Green Line Inbound all night--every family member was on that dance floor, even grandparents! Now that I have defied my earlier plan to use restraint in writing this, I will sign off. I am sure I have missed some of the day's sweet, meaningful moments, but I want to get this published so Renee and Andrew can wake up to it on Christmas morning! Besides, the photos kind of speak for themselves...Congratulations Renee and Andrew, it was such an honor. I wish you two a beautiful lifetime together! How perfect that there was a birch tree in their yard... I loved the rustic wrapping and spraying greenery of her stunning bouquet. Tough guys looking like they have someplace to be. Lovely Christina is one of my 2012 brides--and she is so gorgeous, I couldn't keep my lens off of her! The very talented and charming members of Green Line Inbound... On the right, a guest appearance by a talented guitar-wielding uncle! Take a peek at their slideshow: slideshow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Shannon and Matt: Rhodes on the Pawtuxet Wedding

Every wedding I photograph has elements that stand out to me, sweet moments, memorable aspects that give it a place in my memory. Shannon and Matt's autumn Rhode Island wedding almost had too many of these aspects to recount! It was a day rich in tradition, in family, in sentiment, and from the moment that my assistant Felicia and I arrived on the scene, we were swept away by these two absolutely lovely people and their wonderful circle of love and support. First we visited Matt, where he and his fellas were dressing. There was so much to capture in that room, from the solemnity of Matt laying out his Marines uniform, to the laughter with which his buddy "styled" his hair with hair spray. One of the highlights for me was when one of the groomsmen picked up a guitar and started singing and playing. He was looking down at a crumpled piece of paper, with words scrawled all over it. I realized they were the lyrics he was singing; it turned out he had written a song for Shannon and Matt, about their story, and the promise of their marriage. Neither Matt not Shannon knew about this gesture. Shannon got ready at her parents' house, and when she handed out gifts to her bridesmaids, there was not a dry eye in the room. I remember thinking about how much this said about Shannon--it is obvious that the warmth and kindness and sense of giving in her permeates all aspects of her life. After more tearful moments shared with her parents, and some lovely portraits in the doorway, Shannon climbed into her uncle's shiny, classy antique Chevy (it was YELLOW, and I couldn't keep my lens off of it!). He chauffeured her around in it all day, and even let me drive it at one point so I could move it to a better spot for photos. Another very dear moment was when we stopped at Shannon's grandparents' home on the way to the church. Shannon's grandfather is ill, and was unable to attend the wedding, so she brought a piece of the wedding to him! His face absolutely lit up when his granddaughter appeared in his living room, it was so sweet to see. His nurses had gotten him all spiffed up to see Shannon and have his picture taken with her. Then it was off to the ceremony! Shannon and Matt have a strong faith and are very active in the Catholic church, so committing to one another before God though the sacrament of marriage was very meaningful for them. Speaking to this was the fact that Shannon and Matt had FIVE priests up on the altar, taking turns to officiate their marriage rite--very impressive! Needless to say, their marriage is exceptionally blessed! After the ceremony we went to this wonderful piece of conservation land on the Rhode Island coast called Save the Bay Exploration center, a gem Shannon and her mom had come across while looking for places to go for photos. And with it's tall sea grasses, wildflowers, and views of the bay, it couldn't have been a better find. We were the only souls there. It was overcast but dry, and with the waving grasses and barges passing in the distance, it was the perfect setting to capture the tenderness that is so natural between Shannon and Matt. As soon as we wrapped up shooting, it was off to the venue, the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. The ballroom was stunning, the cathedral ceiling dappled with lanterns, and Shannon and Matt made a grand entrance during the sword ceremony performed by Matt's fellow Marines. And what a party followed; the dance floor was packed all night, with Shannon and Matt at the center, surrounded by a circle of love and support. It was such a satisfying day to witness. This was just one of those couples. One of those love stories. One of those weddings that makes you believe in the strength of spirituality and connection and true love. It was the kind of day that confirmed to me that I have the most fulfilling job in the world. Shannon and Matt, it is obvious to me that you have a strong marriage ahead, rich in faith, loyalty, compassion and family--and I wish you a beautiful start to a lifetime together!   Lyrics to a groomsman's original song, composed for Shannon and Matt's wedding day. Shot in transit! The many officiants sharing the honor of performing the ceremony. The sword ceremony made for a grand entrance... I scored some awesome action shots... Gotta love the pairing of some flipping hair and lens flare! Take a peek at the slideshow: http://www.ewphotos.com/slideshows/shannonmatt/