Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kathleen and Greg {Block Island Wedding}

Let me take you back to a crisp morning in October, to a little slice of heaven off the coast of Rhode Island called Block Island for the wedding of Kathleen and Greg. As her name suggests, Kathleen Doyle hails from a large Irish family, a close-knit clan of six siblings, and a big, bonny batch of nieces and nephews. An emerald green sign over the door to the family's charming gabled cottage reads "Fáilte," Gaeilge for "welcome," inviting you into their home, and onto their beloved island. Her parents live on the island year round, and her mother bakes and sells scones to businesses on the island. From her sunny kitchen, you might see grazing alpacas at the Manisses Animal Farm that borders their property, and just beyond, the deep green of the ocean. Yes. It is as dreamy as it sounds! The natural beauty of the island against a backdrop of a calm, cloudy sky was the setting for Kathleen and Greg's day. Because she is a dear friend of a dear friend of mine, I already knew of Kathleen's beautiful heart, but documenting her with Greg, surrounded by friends and family only gave me an even clearer picture of the extraordinary person that she is. She is a woman of a multitude of qualities, which are exemplified both in her personal life and in her work. She has all the best stuff: a huge heart, a deep devotion to her wonderful family, and a great compassion in caring for her patients. The work she does as a palliative care physician is immeasurable. And she found the perfect match in Greg, another brilliant mind with an equally big heart. The day was so packed with joy and laughter, there is too much to recount. Moments I loved were the colorful bustle of the girls getting ready, the hair curling and nail painting, the abundant food and laughter, visits from adoring friends--and later, the few quiet minutes back at the Doyle cottage with just Kathleen's parents and her maid of honor, Sarah. Following the ceremony at St. Andrew's Catholic Church and a festive bagpipe-lead exit from the church, the newlyweds and their wedding party processed behind the bagpiper through the streets of the island. Upon return to the Spring House, I was especially tickled to photograph the Doyle grandchildren, who used the hill as a body-sledding course, running and tumbling and skidding down on their knees. The girls held their pashminas up and ran into the wind, dresses whirling, in peals of laughter. And this was what it was all about for Kathleen. It was not about the glitz and glam, or being the one in the white gown in the limelight. It was about making a quiet vow to the partner she chose for life, in the little island chapel that means so much to her, with her loved ones encircled around her. And though she and Greg posed for me, and snuggled close under my direction on the hill beside the Spring House, it was beautifully obvious to me which moments they most cherished. It was there on her face as her father escorted her down the aisle, in the sideways glances she and Greg exchanged during the mass, in the way she threw her head back in laughter while posing for the many group portraits, and in the tenderness with which she snuggled her nephew close, and brought her niece into her arms to dance with her and Greg. It was in their laughter as they danced, the way the cheered for the live performance featuring Kathleen's brother on guitar and brother-in-law on the conga drum. It was on their faces as they thanked their guests at the end of the night. I am so happy to have helped to preserve those moments. Thank you Kathleen and Greg for your patience, but more importantly, thank you for welcoming me into your beautiful celebration. It was a truly an honor, and I wish you every happiness together.  
To see this beautiful day unfold, take a look at their slideshow: