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I started this post awhile ago. When things were fresh and painful and raw. My mind was a jumble of thoughts and questions; contemplating mortality while trying to figure out the most graceful way to be present for my husband and his family while keeping my own emotions in check. I furiously typed out some of my thoughts, then took a breath and realized I needed to wait for a little bit of space and time before I could revisit those thoughts and put them together in a coherent story. A story for Alex, for his family and for the hundreds of people who have been a part of his life and his legacy of action and kindness.
When I started this post last May I was sitting at my sister in law's table, looking out at Lake Erie, trying to do a little bit of work but feeling jittery and distracted. A few days prior, my husband and I had packed up a week's worth of necessities and taken off to Ohio. We had received a piece of news that was abrupt, upsetting and jarring. Mike's 30 year old cousin had passed away.
I met Alex somewhere around ten years ago. I was at a family Thanksgiving in Ohio, meeting most of my (now) husband's family for the first time. I was nervous and a little anxious. Thanksgiving was a big deal. Things came out of storage, multiple tables were set, food was prepped, bar was stocked and by evening time the house was entirely full of people I didn't know. Mike's family is enormous by my standards.
I grew up with a handful of cousins who I saw once or twice a year at family holidays. We lived far enough apart that we didn't see each other much more often and our age differences meant that we didn't have much in common other than the fact that our parents were siblings.
Mike grew up with a gaggle of boy cousins (and one brilliant girl cousin who probably wanted nothing to do with their shenanigans). I can picture them as a roving pack of mischief, with stinky shoes and that gangly, awkward lope that adolescent boys always seem to have. They are spread out around the country now but they are all still close, still call, still say "love you cuz" before they hang up. It makes me smile every time I hear it.
Five years ago Mike and I had a week long wedding celebration at our favorite spot in Baja, Mexico. Up until a few years ago when we landed in VT, we led a fairly transient lifestyle, moving every few years to a different place and a new adventure. It had been our dream to unite the amazing friends we had made in each of those places so that they could hang out and get to know one another. Our wedding was the perfect venue for that situation and for an entire week 50 of our friends and family members got to swim, snorkel, kayak, dive and drink tequila together. It was the best week ever. When we sent out our wedding invites I'm pretty sure (Aunt) Abby, (Uncle) Ray, Adam and Alex had tickets to Mexico the very next day. That's just how they roll. They are sweet, fun, supportive and are always there for family no matter what.
I will forever picture >6 foot + tall Adam and Alex flanking Mike's <5 foot tall, 80 year old Aunt Phyllis, acting as her personal safety officers, escorting her from event to event, helping her up and down stairs and generally keeping an eye on her. I will also never forget the dancing. We wanted to make sure there was no shortage of good music at the wedding so we hired a band for the welcome party, a band for the wedding day and then a late night DJ. Our wedding day band was a local reggae band and it makes me smile when I think of Alex dancing like a maniac to the band while everyone else chatted and drank margaritas on the sidelines. When I shared the news of Alex's passing with my friends and family every single one of them brought up the memory of him dancing at our wedding. That guy loved music.
Aside from being my husband's cousin, the one thing Alex and I found to bond over was photography. He was starting his program just as I was finishing up mine and having something like that in common to chat about was a comfort and a joy.
Alex lived the way every photographer wishes they could live. He took leaps, he explored, he got off the beaten path and he immersed himself in every aspect of local lifestyle and culture. He took the the back alley off of the road less traveled. He was always looking for a better, more interesting angle. He was rarely content with the obvious shot; the easy shot; the one most photographers would have taken. Instead he would seek out the most "Alex shot", usually striking up a conversation with someone in the process. Alex was extremely talented but his genuine interest in people and ability to draw someone out gave him access to a higher echelon of photographic opportunity. He stood out like a sore thumb but at the same time was able to fit in just about anywhere. He was special and truly gifted.
The news was shocking and devastating. Alex was outgoing and mellowly gregarious. He was easy to talk to and could carry on a conversation in a way that made his conversational partner feel interesting, validated and seen; which might be why it was so hard to accept the fact that there was a part of him hiding below the smiles and laughter. A part of him that was lost and hurting in a way most of us will hopefully never experience. Depression is real, devastating and insidious. It isn't the equivalent of someone having a really bad day or being moody or selfish. It is biological, physiological and emotional. It's hard for most of us to understand because we haven't experienced it and it seems easy to assign blame to the affected party, tell them they aren't trying hard enough or berate them for hurting the people they love. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer to stop complaining and suck it up and when someone says they are "gluten intolerant" we rush to accommodate them. We need to get involved in a bigger conversation about depression so that we can make those affected feel loved and supported instead of guilty or at fault. The harder it is for depression to hide, the better.
A few days after we arrived in Ohio and I started writing this post we headed to Alex's memorial service at the music hall at Lake Erie College. This is the best I can do to describe it: it was like walking in from the cold and being unexpectedly wrapped up in a warm, cozy blanket. Anyone who was feeling hurt and sad and lost in their pain was instantly enveloped in a loving community of people who were feeling the same way. The family gathered first and then I watched the hall fill with people until there was no room left and people continued to gather on the steps and the lawn outside. When I looked around the room my heart felt like it was going to explode. I saw so many tears but heard laughter, stories, and saw handshakes and hugs as people said hello to old friends or introduced themselves for the first time. Alex was an incredible human in life and he continues to be an incredible presence even now. It quickly became clear that Alex wasn't a brick in the wall. He was the mortar holding it all together.
Now, just shy of a year later, the time seemed right to finish this post. It began mostly as a therapeutic writing exercise; a way to consolidate my thoughts and clear my head. A way to deal with something terrible without stepping on the grief of those suffering on the front lines.
The healing process has begun, however slow and infinite it may be. A scholarship was set up in Alex's name at Lake Erie College and family and friends have been sinking their hearts and time and energy into fundraising for the cause. Alex's parents and brothers are some of the strongest, most determined people I have ever met. They are surrounded by partners, friends and community who are wildly supportive, caring and invested in each others' lives. Alex's logo for "Stayin Hungry Productions" has been absorbed by his community and seeded out into the world on hats, shirts, bracelets and stickers. It has become a walking advertisement for love and camaraderie, a nod to art and music and a way of keeping the vibe alive. If you see a Stayin Hungry hat or t-shirt walking down the street don't hesitate to smile, wave or even say hi. I have no doubt Alex would be thrilled to have facilitated a conversation or maybe even a new friendship.
A few months after the memorial Mike and I returned to Ohio for a scholarship fundraiser at the Driftwood Point Beach Bar on Lake Erie. It was a warm summer day with a perfect breeze sweeping over the water. A fabulous line up of local bands drew people in, some coming in specifically for the fundraiser and others pleasantly surprised when they wandered in for a lake-side cocktail. People were dancing, drinking beer and laughing in the sunshine. The mood was lighter and there were more smiles than tears. It was a day of celebration, gratitude, reconnection and fond remembrance in a way I think Alex would have wholeheartedly approved of. It was a perfect day to sit in the grass and picture Alex, camera in hand, dancing to the music.
To donate to the Alex Delamotte Scholarship Fund go to: https://www.lec.edu/giving
At the "designation" tab pull the dropdown to "OTHER" and enter Alex Delamotte's name.
To donate your time or $$ to those in need check out #RAKE at http://www.rakenow.org/
Memorial Day weekend can be many things in New England. It is a weekend of cautiously optimistic planning for those of us hoping to host parties and BBQs. It can be sweltering hot and humid. It can be rainy, and chilly. Occasionally we find ourselves being buffeted by the tendrils of an early season Atlantic hurricane. In short, Memorial Day weekend is a total toss up which is why Hillary and Gabe's wedding was so spectacular.
Hillary and Gabe booked their wedding at Alyson's Orchard three years ago. In this part of the country a year is pretty typical, a year and a half is playing it safe and three years is virtually unheard of. Three years is far enough out for my brain to think things like "will the venue even still be there?". When Mike and I arrived I immediately understood. It is a beautiful location with spectacular views. It is the definition of picturesque. Rows of apple trees stretch in every direction. Ponds dot the landscape and a 360 degree elevated view of the entire region makes this venue unique.
The weather was perfect. I mentioned in a previous post that while everyone else is hoping for a sunny day, your photographers are praying for clouds. Saturday was overcast enough to block the harsh sun, but still bright enough to let the most perfect, soft, etherial light I have ever seen shine through on the pondside wedding. I didn't have to hunt for shade or set up my lights to try to overpower the sun, which meant that the entire venue was fair game for post ceremony photos and the wedding party was ready and willing to walk from one beautiful spot to the next.
In addition to the perfect venue and perfect natural light, Hillary and Gabe's wedding was full of incredibly gorgeous details, thanks to Hillary's mom Sam. The entire venue was covered with beautiful flowers; from the stunning arbor at the ceremony to the gorgeous bouquets inside and outside of the reception room to the tiny succulents Sam grew as favors for the guests to take home. The flower girls had enough flower petals to blanket the wedding aisle and then continue the flowery fanfare post ceremony as we took photos on the hill overlooking the pond. The entire day resonated with a sort of graceful but wild beauty that seemed to echo Hillary and Gabe's personalities perfectly.
The evening closed out with a perfect sparkler exit. It was the perfect way to celebrate this lovely couple. Cheers to Hillary and Gabe and to a long, happy life together!
What can I say about Lindsey and Jon? More like what isn't there to say about these two. They love camping, skiing, traveling, tracking down good beer, brewing great beer, and they love each other so, so much. They are a roving duo of awesomeness. They have a puggle named Lena and they are insanely smart. Like "rocket science" smart. For real. Basically they check off all of the boxes on my "perfect client" list. Ok so there isn't an actual list but if I had to sit down and make one I would probably draw inspiration from these two. Oh and I found out during a casual conversation that Lindsey's family gets together every year to stomp grapes and make wine. Whaaat? Best family bonding activity ever.
On top of all of the aforementioned awesomeness, Lindsey and Jon are, first and foremost, two of the sweetest, friendliest, kindest people I have ever met. They are quick to laugh and easy to talk to. By the end of our first cup of iced coffee together I felt like I had known these two for ages.
A few months after our first meeting we met again on a perfect fall day. We drove around the picturesque town of Putney looking for photo worthy locations and, after finding several, ended our trek at Green Mountain Orchard; one of the most beautiful places in Southern VT. As we hiked around, chatted and took photos I found myself wishing the wedding wasn't a year away.
The wedding took place at one of my favorite southern VT venues, Mt Snow. There are lots of mountains in VT but Snow has THE BEST view from the top. It overlooks the 8 mile long Harriman Resevoir and a sea of other mountains. There are shady spots, perfect for a first look on a bright, sunny day and wide open spaces to experience the views from every angle. The ceremony location is conveniently located at the base of the mountain but set apart from the rest of the resort, out of the way of the hubbub and other events that might be happening. There is a beautiful courtyard for cocktail hour and then a bright, airy ballroom, fabulous for dinner and late night dancing.
Lindsey and Jon had a perfect day. I could write a small novel about all of the thought and detail that went into this wedding but I will let the images speak for themselves. I do want to give a shoutout to Lindsey and Jon's friend Joe, who officiated their incredibly beautiful and heartfelt ceremony. The fact that they have a friend like Joe to speak on their behalf in such an eloquent way speaks volumes about their character.
The rest of the night flew by. Lindsey's sister Abbey and Jon's best man Nate gave beautiful toasts that had the entire room wiping their eyes while exploding in laughter. There was dinner and dancing just as Mikey and I were packing up our gear, the groom and his junior groomsman Bennet busted out an amazing dance they had choreographed. Mikey unpacked a camera just in time to get a few shots before it was over. It was a perfect way for us to wrap up the night.
Lindsey and Jon, we wish you were close enough to meet up for a few runs at the mountain but we hope you are loving your new home in Arizona and we think of you every time we ski at Mt Snow! You two are amazing and we wish you all the best in your life together! Also, your homebrews were delicious!!!
Cake: Top Tier Baking
Dj: El Folio Entertainment, Arlington, VT
Fowers: Audrey's Flower Shop, Melodey Matthews (aka Bride's amazing sister), Gloucester, MA
Hair: Mountain Styles Salon, West Dover, VT
Katie & Tyler know how to throw a party. They also have the sweetest, most photogenic dog I have ever met. Double win.
I met these two last year at Katie's mountain home in Ludlow, VT. I met her parents, sister and brother in law and amazing pup Scarlet. We had a full afternoon of photos at the house and then took a little hike out to a beautiful waterfall. We toured the venue and peeked in at the reception area. Katie is a planner and I love it.
A year later the wedding weekend finally rolled around. I got to be present for the welcome party on the eve of the wedding and then Mike and I were there for full wedding coverage the next day. Spending the weekend immersed in this huge, vivacious, gregarious group of people was amazing. I love getting to know the couples I work with but it is an extra fun bonus to get to spend time with their families and friends as well. I love being present for the toasts and speeches but also the little asides, handshakes, hugs and sneaky tears of joy. Seeing Katie and Tyler amidst their crowd of guests the night before the wedding made me realize how family oriented and beloved these two really are. There were over 100 people there to celebrate and somehow this amazing couple managed to spend time with each and every one of them. Every time I turned around the bride and groom were engaged in conversation with a different person, laughing like they had been chatting for hours and happy to let me snap a quick photo.
The wedding day was perfect. It was sunny, bright and beautiful. Luckily there was abundant shade for family photos and the sweet, unexpectedly emotional first look. The ceremony took place in a beautiful high clearing at the mountain, after which guests were shuttled back for cocktail hour in the Jackson Gore courtyard and the reception in the Round House. Katie and Tyler's friend DJ Mike Pitera and his 'Partners in Sound' team came all the way up from NY to throw one of the best reception dance parties I have ever seen. The uplighting was gorgeous, the playlist was amazing and every single guest was on the dance floor until Billy Joel closed out the night. I would hire these guys in a heartbeat. Seriously. They are awesome. Even after the music stopped and the lights came up an adamant group of protesters refused to leave the dancefloor and continued to persuade Mike to keep the party going. Unfortunately curfews exists at most venues and the party moved along to the hotel bar.
Cheers to Kathryn and Tyler and Miss Scarlet. We wish you a long, happy marriage filled with adventure and dancing and endless games of fetch.
Venue: Jackson Gore
Flowers: Woodbury Florist, Springfield, VT
DJ: Partners In Sound LI - Mike Pitera [email protected]
Cake and Confections: Irene's Cake by Design, Ludlow, VT
Kaitlin and Scott are a charismatic, adventurous, outdoorsy, dream team. They are sweet, thoughtful, laid back and love to have fun. I first met this dynamic duo last winter at Kaitlin's parents' home at the southern end of the White Mountains while they were in town visiting from Colorado. We met in the warm, cozy house to discuss wedding plans and photo goals and then ventured out into the knee deep snow to take engagement photos. In preparation for the day, Kaitlin's dad had crafted a save the date sign and thoughtfully packed down a path through the fresh snow around the yard. He then proceeded to help me schlep my gear through the snow (thanks Tom!) while Reno the dog bounded around, chewing on sticks and wagging his tail as we laughed and trudged and got stuck when we stepped off the trail.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE the summer (paddle season!), have lukewarm feelings about the spring and fall and LOVE the snow (ski season!). Kaitlin and Scott seemed like a perfect fit from our very first emails but watching them laugh and wade through thigh deep snow drifts without hesitation made me realize just how much fun they were going to be to work with.
We met again in September at Stratton Mountain for the wedding. This time Kaitlin and Scott were surrounded by family and friends who had traveled across the country to join in the celebration. They got ready in bright, airy, immaculately clean (thanks to Joan and Cindi) suites conveniently located next to each other so that I could bop back and forth and capture both sides getting ready.
The ceremony took place in the beautiful, intimate Chapel of the Snows and the reception in the bright, open Stratton Mountain club. The entire day was filled with smiles, giggles, laughter, hugs, dancing and energy. Every moment, from the ceremony, to hilarious photos with the wedding party, to Jerry Springer t-shirts, speeches and dancing was a contagious celebration of life and love. Kaitlin and Scott's hilarious, fun, rowdy crew reminded me so much of my own fiercely vivacious, surf and snow loving friends that I just couldn't stop smiling. It was an incredible day.
Cheers to this fabulous duo! I wish you a life full of endless adventures. You two are amazing. I am so happy you found me and I sincerely hope our paths cross again!
Venue: Chapel of the Snows and Stratton Mountain Club. Special thanks to Sarah and Mary for your kindness, organizational skills and ability to keep the day on track while allowing me a few extra minutes for photos. You are beyond awesome and are always a pleasure to work with!
Kaitlin's Gorgeous Flowers: Green Mountain Floral Arts, Marlboro, VT
Sweet Treats: Squam Lake Inn, Holderness, NH
Kaitlin & Scott's Beautiful Wedding Bands: Scott's Grandpa Warren (the talent in this family knows no bounds)
Music: DJ Super Sounds
Hair & Makeup: Green Mountain Day Spa
Olivia and Joe are the coolest. They are one of those couples that I wish I had grown up knowing. Their families are incredibly sweet, their friends are kind, loyal and funny, and everything about their wedding day was absolutely lovely. I must have said it a million times throughout the day but it really was the most perfect, beautiful day.
I first met Olivia and Joe last November when multiple rainy days had thwarted our engagement session attempts until with we were left with no choice but to meet at 8:00 the morning before Olivia and Joe headed back to NJ. It was cold, brutally cold and intensely windy. There was snow on the mountain but the sun was shining so we decided to make the most of the morning. We trekked around the village, moseyed up to the covered bridge and took advantage of the empty golf course. The result was an adorable, windblown set of photos and my realization that these two were going to be so much fun to work with.
Of all of the indoor ceremony venues I have photographed, the Chapel of the Snows might be my favorite. It is quaint, a little cramped and there is little to no room for me to move around once everyone is inside and seated. The thing that sets it apart is the beautiful circular window on the wall above the altar, shedding beautiful, natural light on the bride and groom. It was the perfect setting for Olivia and Joe's sweet, heartfelt vows. At one point I turned around from my vantage point against the side wall to move to the back of the church and was totally shocked to see that every single person behind me had tears in their eyes. There literally was not a dry eye in the house.
The rest of the day was perfection. High, puffy clouds only added to the beauty of the expansive view from the summit and we made it back down in time for family photos before the sun sank completely behind the mountain. Photo time segued into toasts, dinner and celebration.
Thank you to Mark and Betsy and Mary and Joe for having been wonderfully helpful and easy to work with and thank you to everyone in the wedding party for having been so considerate and altruistic. Ladies, your bridal pit crew skills were unparalleled. Thanks to everyone in the wedding party for having kept the day on track and allowing us the time for so many amazing photo opportunities.
And finally, thank you Olivia and Joe for your warmth, kindness and enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to have been able to document your day. We wish you a long, happy, healthy life together. You two deserve the world.
Florist: Bondville Bloomist (Stunning seasonal flowers as always.)
DJ: Premier Entertainment (Jim, you are amazing. Thanks for always keeping us in the loop!)
Venue: Stratton Mountain Resort (Mary and Sarah are the epitome of organization and we LOVE working with them.)
Hair: Stylz By Jenn
Makeup: Tiffany Martin
I love working with super organized people. Not in the neurotic, bridezilla (or groomzilla) sense of the word, but with couples who are so excited about their wedding photos that they can't wait to plan, scout out locations and make lists of the special things, moments and people they would like photographed. Hannah and Kofi were a total awesomeness sneak attack. At first Kofi and Hannah seemed like a perfectly sweet, mellow couple (which they are - but better). Then I found out that Hannah is a botanist. (I love a good biology nerd-out.) Then Hannah emailed me with a few engagement session ideas that included teacups, The Princess Bride and Star Wars outfits. What??? (You had me at Princess Bride.)
The engagement session was fun, original, sweet and totally hilarious. After a cup of tea at my favorite bakery, some reading time in the park and a slow motion, Star Wars themed run through a field, I came away completely smitten with this amazing couple. Side note: I could listen to Kofi read out loud all day and sincerely suggest that he attempt to break into the audio book readers profession.
My photo list for the wedding day was just as much fun. A photo with Hannah's favorite tea set, a quiet moment alone having tea with her mom, photos in the river below the covered bridge, photos on a couch in the woods, and a request for a photo in front of a Hemlock - Hannah's favorite tree.
Thanks to Hannah's planning, her super organized MOH Tegan and the rest of the 'ready and willing' wedding party, the wedding day was a series of picture perfect moments. Hannah's grasp of a realistic wedding timeline allowed us to fit in every single one of the images and locations Hannah and Kofi were hoping for. It was nothing short of epic.
The wedding was bright and beautiful; tradition perfectly balanced with Hannah and Kofi's own style. Every little bit, from the intimate, pre-wedding Ketubah signing, to the Tolken reading, drinking of wine and stomping of the glasses, was perfect. In fact, I cannot imagine any single thing could have made this day any better.
The evening wrapped up with dinner, dancing, drinks and toasts. Bt the end of the night friends and family meeting for the first time were laughing and dancing together like old friends. Cheers to Hannah & Kofi, one of the most refreshingly original, good natured, effortlessly fun couples I have ever worked with. I hope you two know just how awesome you are! (And if you didn't, now you do.)
Thanks to Stephen Laurie (www.stephenlaurie.com) for a beautiful ceremony, Allison Ellis (www.floralartvt.com) for some of the most gorgeous and unique floral arrangements I have ever seen, Premier Entertainment DJs for keeping me in the loop and being totally awesome to work with, and of course, to the Mad River Barn (http://madriverbarn.com) for the stunning venue and beautifully organized day.
Yesterday I was invited to photograph graduation day for the Putney School. Last year the event was rained in and took place in the auditorium. This year, the sun was shining through a soft layer of clouds (a photographer's dream) and the festivities took place of one of the school's rolling, green lawns.
The Putney school is not your average high school. It really isn't even your average New England prep school. The school focuses heavily on experiential learning, allowing students a multifaceted education, not only through academics, but through art, sports, theater, farming, and even building. The students learn how to work together, support each other, accomplish some pretty impressive large scale projects and in the process find their own voice, discover what they are passionate about and graduate with a much broader world view than most teenagers.
Graduation at the Putney School is a unique event. There are no caps and gowns, no sombre precession to Pomp and Circumstance. Graduation begins with a celebratory parade in which the seniors make an entrance in cars, trucks, atv's, tractors and even on horseback. The ceremony closes with the presentation of diplomas, each of which is a work of art, unique to its recipient.
Graduations always make me feel a little bit nostalgic. Although I graduated a very, very, very long time ago, I still remember what it felt like at that point when my life was equal parts excitement and anxiety. I remember applying to colleges and visualizing the endless possibilities in front of me with the romantic notion that I could literally do anything and be anything I wanted. I also realize how very privileged I was to be able to feel that way.
Watching the students yesterday also made me feel hope. No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, I think we can all admit that we are currently living in a politically charged world. It's not the first time or the worst time but sometimes it makes me want to bang my head against the wall in frustration. Every day we are totally overwhelmed by shocking and sad news reports and people tellings us what to think, what to be afraid of and where to assign blame. At the end of the day it is easy to feel overwhelmed and angry. Yesterday I listened as the senior class speakers talked about hope and change. They talked about using their voices and their educations to take action and make the world a better place. Right now we are sorely in need of new voices and better ideas.
Cheers to the class of 2017 and to the endless possibilities in front of you!
It occurred to me the other day that I have known Maura for almost 20 years, though admittedly I knew her as "Molly" and didn't actually know her real name was Maura until several years into my friendship with her older sister Tara. I met Tara my freshman year of college. We were in several of the same marine science classes and had both decided to join the rowing team that fall. We bonded over biology classes, 2am nights and 4am regatta mornings. I first met Molly (Maura) when she came to visit Tara one weekend during our freshman year. Having grown up with one younger brother, I was amazed at the sisterly bond the two shared. Tara and Maura spent time together whenever possible and "Molls" became a familiar face over the next four years. In the subsequent years Maura grew up and became a total badass; working in the Middle East and then back in DC in a job that my marine science/ photographer brain can barely comprehend. During that time she also met a sweet, crazy smart, beer loving gentleman named Eric. I was delighted when I received a message from Maura and Eric, asking if we would be interested in photographing their wedding. The obvious answer was YES!
Midnight before our departure found me furiously packing. It seems no matter how early I start the process I always end up in a state of methodical, last minute packing, unpacking and repacking. For days I had been charging batteries, eliminating unnecessary pieces of equipment and trying my best to consolidate what typically takes up the entire trunk of my car into one checked bag and two carryons. I like to be prepared. For anything. I like to have backups for my backups, enough gear for 4 photographers and anything else I might need to McGiver anything that might break, tear or fail during a wedding. When I show up to a wedding, my clients see my shoulder bag and gear bag but most of them have no idea what else is lurking in my trunk...just in case. The notion of having to fit my preparedness in a much smaller amount of space than usual was simultaneously daunting and liberating.
On Friday morning Mikey and I left cold, rainy, gray Vermont and stepped out into warm, green, sunny DC. We met the bride and groom and then left to check out the venue. The grounds at Riverside on the Potomac are incredible. The venue boasts a lakeside patio, an adorably tiny, restored log chapel and a gorgeous, massive, barn. We got a tour from wedding coordinator Jessica and then headed back to the hotel to grab our gear and make our way to the welcome party to mix and mingle and take photos of the guests as they arrived to greet the bride and groom.
The next morning we awoke to rain. We split up to spend time with the bride and groom while they got ready and then made our way to the venue where the guys sipped whisky in the rustic stables while the ladies put on their finishing touches in the owner's stunning farmhouse. Despite the rain, we found enough cover for family photos (thanks to my amazing husband for holding and umbrella over me and my camera so that I could step back into the rain for the best vantage point). There ceremony took place on the stable porch, out of the rain but with a view of the lawn and flowering trees in the background. After the ceremony the rain let up enough to scoot out for photos with the wedding party and we were even graced with enough light to sneak in some sunset photos.
The rest of the night involved toasts, dancing and beer brewed by the bride and groom for the event. How cool is that???
Mikey and I headed home early the next morning, exhausted but ecstatic. Thanks to Maura & Eric and their families for a fantastically fun weekend! We wish you a lifetime of happiness. You two are the coolest!
Venue: Riverside on the Potomac
Coordinator: Jessica of JEM Events
DJ Mark: www.djmaskell.com
Makeup: Lena Turner
Catering: Smokin' Willy BBQ
Florist: J Morris Flowers
Special thanks to Jessica and Mark of JEM Events and DJMaskell for being such a dream team and for working with us around the wacky weather!
I love fall weddings! In the past few years I have seen a dramatic booking migration from the traditional June wedding season to the September/October wedding season. Beautiful, crisp, sunny days with glowing, golden afternoons and chilly, clear, starry evenings make fall pretty loveable around here. Hearty fall mums bring a splash of warmth and color to reception venues and even humble pumpkins and gourds occasionally find themselves surrounded by a group of well dressed guests; ambassadors to the coziness of the coming season.
Kristin and Jordan's wedding took place on a stunning fall day at the Colonel Williams Inn in Marlboro, VT. It was a perfectly lovely day for a truly wonderful couple. The sun was shining, foliage was at its peak, and then Inn was completely surrounded by vivid reds and golds. I spent a little time with the ladies while they put the final touches on the already beautiful bride and then Kristin and I went to meet the groom before the ceremony. A series of little walking trails around the inn proved the perfect location for a sneaky first look, away from the inquisitive and eager eyes of arriving guests.
The ceremony was set up on a green lawn with a glassy pond and rolling hills in the background. The late afternoon timing was perfect and the ceremony gave way to the best light of the day, just in time for golden hour photos. The heartier guests remained on the lawn as the sun sank, embracing the brisk fall air and enjoying the serene beauty of the rural location. When the sun had set and the cold started to creep in the guests moved into the charming barn for toasts, dinner and dancing.
Cheers to Kristin and Jordan, two of the kindest, sweetest couples I have met. You two are such a lovely compliment to one another. I wish you bundles of happiness in your future!
And thanks to the fabulous vendors: