Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kelsey and Steve {Hawthorne Hotel Wedding}

Even among this year's crop of amazing couples, Kelsey and Steve stand out to me. I fell head over heels for these two, and I couldn't wait to capture their Ocotber wedding at the historic Hawthorne Hotel in downtown Salem. When I arrived on the doorstep of their home on the morning of the wedding, Kelsey opened the door and was instantly in tears. She and I bonded leading up to the wedding, and she said that my arrival made it feel real--a flood of emotion just hit her. It was the best greeting I have ever had! It warmed my heart and made me all the more eager to tell the most beautiful story of her day. And my goodness, that was an easy job! Kelsey and Steve are an amazing couple: deeply connected, kind-hearted, thoughtful (oh and not to mention my camera loves them)! Kelsey's sweetness is palpable. She is considerate, gentle, caring, humble, and fun-loving. She has a genuine warmth that is so darling and endearing. I loved seeing her laughing with the closest women in her life, who filled their sweet little house with music and laughter and so much love. Her best friend, future sister-in-law, and her niece were her three bridesmaids, and her mother and dear friend Sue helped her get ready, and were soon joined by more aunts and her grandmother--such a circle of support! I loved stealing photographs of Kelsey from the doorway of her room as she applied her own makeup--she said it was how she always did it, cross legged on the floor in front of the little gold mirror. Oh and by the way--this girl doesn't know her own fierce Top Model beauty! With her dainty figure, snowy skin, long, weaving dark locks and sparkly sapphire eyes, she looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Waterhouse painting or some Medieval verse in which fair maidens are swept off their feet by gallant knights on horseback (named Steve). And the dress she chose just furthered this fairy-tale, empire-waisted, romantic, billowy and exquisite...a secret wedding in a moonlit wooded glen would have been apt! Kelsey and Steve's love story goes back to their early college days in Colorado. They stayed there and completed Masters' degrees, and then Kelsey brought her Colorado boy back to her home-state of Massachusetts. When I first met with them a year ago, they had just settled into their lives here, in the charming sea-town of Marblehead. They chose the historic charm of downtown Salem and the Hawthorne Hotel for their ceremony and reception. There was a bagpiper heralding guests as they arrived for the ceremony, amidst the bustle of people visiting Salem at its most famed time of the year. After tearful vows in the ballroom, we dashed outside to the Salem Common for some photos in the blustery, but beautiful October evening. The park was teeming with people, many of whom were in costume, but somehow we managed to make it appear like Kelsey and Steve were the only two people in the world there under the white-lights twinkling in the trees. After family portraits and some fun bridal party shots, it was back to the hotel for the real party to start! There were sweet tributes (Steve's dad's heartfelt toast), lots of warm-fuzzy moments (seeing Steve's grandparents dance the night away in each other's arms), and fun, impressive moves on the dance floor (even a dirty dancing lift attempt!). Over all, it was another evening that reminded me how lucky I am to do this work. Kelsey (my "little sis"), you are a darling, and have a special place among the lovely ladies who light up my lens ;) I wish you and your handsome husband so much adventure, laughter and happiness--you deserve it!
  I love the shot of Kelsey and her mom. Like she stepped out of the pages of a fairytale... Exquisite. One of my favorites. So sweet. And of course, the slideshow, set to their last dance song...