Thursday, January 7, 2016

When life happens to perfectly planned weddings

It’s engagement season again, and all the wedding planning blogs are rolling out their checklists and guides to planning the “perfect wedding.” Pinterest boards, wedding binders, and inspiration are plentiful on the internet, waiting to be plucked out of the digital soup by excited brides and grooms. 

I’m here to remind you of a very important universal truth:
There is no such thing as perfect.

Shit happens, as the saying goes, and while many couples prepare for the standard troubles (rain, a troublesome relative, smearing mascara) many forget to plan to accept their big day in whatever form it manifests itself.

Lisa and Donna showed up on the day of their Provincetown elopement beaming from a sleek, blue convertible Porsche. Lisa stepped out in a sleek suit with pride all over her face as she opened the passenger door for her betrothed. Donna grinned from behind her netted veil, her gown swelling with the breeze as she came to greet us. It was a perfect day in Provincetown. 

Lisa held two distinctly-colored boxes: Tiffany blue with a white ribbon. The couple told us they hadn’t opened either box since they got them- vowing only to do so when they were about to exchange them. The ceremony was to take place on a rock jetty.

James and I set to our task, stepping carefully to avoid wedging a foot between the rocks and launching our gear into the ocean. We all joked about catching the cameras first, as we always do when we are around water.

We never expected it to be one of those Tiffany rings that would fall into the water.

I still remember the sound of Donna’s diamond-encrusted band pinging off the rocks, once, twice, and then nothing. No one moved for a solid thirty seconds.

“Was that the ring?” someone asked. The officiant went pale, the empty box in her hand.

What followed those two awful pings was nearly forty minutes of searching. Donna was laid out on her stomach in her white gown, pulling out stones from the crevice the ring fell into. James and I used our cameras, lowering them into the surrounding holes to snap flash photos in hopes of seeing a glint of precious metal. Soon, strangers began to approach and offer their assistance, the most heroic of which who was lowered into the crevice by his ankles.

Instagram post of the year right here.

Donna and Lisa held each other, their faces spoke volumes. They were upset, they were touched by the assistance, but most importantly they were focused on each other. I believe it was Donna that said “let’s just get married.”

Using her engagement ring in place of the lost wedding band, Donna and Lisa spoke their vows to a disheveled, smiling audience- their “just us” elopement having turned into a small gathering. The volunteers whooped and clapped when the kiss was exchanged and I felt tears in my eyes. Not uncommon for me, I’m a big baby at weddings, but this time it wasn’t a psychosomatic reaction to emotion. What I had just witnessed was beautiful. 

Donna and Lisa could have easily, and justifiably, lost it on the officiant (who scarcely even apologized, blaming the packaging for her ring fumble), they could have cried, they could have called it all off to pursue a more perfect day.
But they didn’t. They allowed their wedding day to be what it was- a test of their strength together, a display of the kindness of strangers, and a perfectly imperfect story. It’s been nearly three years since that day and I still think of it now and then, because it was the greatest display of acceptance I’ve ever seen in nearly seven years of photographing weddings.

Fortunately, the couple were smart enough to insure their investment and I’m sure they replaced Donna’s band soon after. The moral of the story here is that no matter how much you plan and hope for a “perfect” day, life will happen. 

We truly are the authors of our story, and so long as your definition of a perfect wedding is “the wedding that marries us,” you will have it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

GLAM Session Before & Afters!

Today we sing the praises of Regina, our beloved and gifted Goddess of GLAM. 

For those who don't know, Regina is my sister-in-law and a busy, working mother. She travels all the way from her West Roxbury, MA salon (Faking It! Salon) to Altared Visions Studio to work with our clients to make their hair and make up dreams come true. Half the fun of a GLAM Session is the pure bliss of sipping a drink while you get your hair big'nd and your lashes thickened. I couldn't do it without a capable stylist, and Regina goes above and beyond. So here's to you Gina! Before and afters ahoy! Thanks for all you do!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

[GLAM] New Year, New You!

Here come the resolutions!!

Facebook is awash with inspirational quotes and resolutions right now. It can't be a little pretentious, I know. Nonetheless, I am a big advocate of the New Year's Resolution, so long as it is done for YOU. Too many people,  women especially, sprint off to a gym the first week of January and by March they're elbow deep in Cherry Garcia and guilt. For goals to work, you have to believe in yourself and even more importantly, you have to accept who you are NOW before you can become the person you'll be tomorrow.

Hippy-dippy bullshit? Maybe. But I can tell you that I've see what happens to women when they say "you know what? I feel like crap and I want to feel like a goddamn superhero!" My friend Kate did that when she joined the MIX Wellness Superwoman Slim Down (a whole foods detox program) last Spring. She asked me to join her and somehow we came out of that 3-week test of willpower on top. We both felt great and changed our eating habits for the better. We both "re-toxing" this month to kick the year off and perhaps to make up for the seven or eight plates of cookies I may or may not have consumed. Ahem.

Kate never does anything half-assed, so she wanted to take her detox revelations through the rest of the year. Experts on goal setting always emphasize the importance of deadlines and accountability in goal setting. Kate used our GLAM Sessions as her accountability. Kate dropped 20lbs, shopped all year for her session, brought along three girlfriends and we had an absolute blast!

I loved Kristen's Superwoman Slim Down so much I'm giving her January 2014 Superwomen discounted GLAM Sessions to celebrate their success. Now Kate is an advertorial model. Boom!

I love the idea of goal setting and what happens when you decide to get HEALTHY and LOVE YOURSELF instead of "thin". This year, set goals for you...what will truly make you happier? What will give you the guts to step in front of my camera and do a photo session for YOU. Not your husband or boyfriend...for YOU.

Kate says the GLAM Session experience is "empowering" and I love that. You are beautiful as you are, right here, right now. Say it with me ladies: I am awesome!

If you're stumped on resolutions, borrow these:
Embrace yourself. 
Love yourself.
Push yourself.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone! We had a great 2013 and can't wait for what's next!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

[Rockstar Couple] Carissa & Pat's Nerdy DIY Wedding (Ipswich, MA)

If you're a follower of our blog, you might remember Carissa and Pat's rainy Salem, MA engagement session. We first met them on a choppy Skype call, where Carissa told us how they became engaged. Pat is a writer and decided to pen a fiction piece of sorts, and weave his proposal into the end of the story. He smiled while Carissa told us with no uncertainty that she handed it back to him and told him she didn't like his story, especially the end part. Best engagement story ever. After all, love ain't got no time for bullshit.

Needless to say, Pat explained and Carissa accepted, though she maintained that she didn't like Pat's story. We think she liked the wedding vows he wrote though...more on that later.

The morning of Carissa and Pat's wedding looked nearly identical to the morning of Carissa and Pat's engagement session, but the rain held off for us and the overcast sky had the lush greenery at Carissa's parents home all the more beautiful. Carissa's handmade touches were everywhere from big paper pinwheels to ribbon streamers.

Onto the photos!

Carissa got ready traditional style in Grandma's room with mom helping.

The guys got ready in traditional style by drinking beer.

Carissa and Pat see each other for the first time.

Carissa borrowed her vows while Pat wrote his own, he got a much better critique this time around.

 The rings! The kiss!  Carissa's dad officiated and gave a great ceremony.

Formal time, racing the rain! What's that behind you guys...LOOK OUT!! (Homage to Pinterest Dinosaurgate)

A typical formal session for us.

Seriously...that dress.

The ladies in gray.

Carissa and Pat's one and only formal photo request, an American Gothic tribute.

Limo? Psssh.

The reception was held at the beautiful (and for you photogs out there...very dimly lit) 1640 Hart House in Ipswich, MA. This place was gorgeous! 
Back at the reception, things got really fashionable. WORK!

Those shoes! This couch!

The world's cutest cupcake table.

Carissa collected vintage books, apothecary bottles and notions to decorate the tables.

Funny toasts were made!

Cupcakes were eaten.

Once the dancing started, the floor was packed all night!

We had so much fun shooting this wedding! These two were so happy and relaxed and their friends and family were so cool.Thanks for having us you two! Perhaps we'll see you at your rainy 10 year anniversary? ;)

Officiant: Carissa's dad, Joseph
Venue: Ceremony @ family home, Reception @ The 1640 Hart House, Ipswich MA/ 
 Florist: Celia's Floral Studio
Hair & Make-Up: Sapphire Hair Salon
Cupcakes: Corinna's Creations
DJ: Peter Simonelli
Invites/Paper: DIY by bride
Dress: By Allure, From Madeleine's Daughter in Portsmouth, NH
Shoes: From Off Broadway Shoes.

Father/Daughter Dance: "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison