Tag archive for : offbeat

I’ve pretty much been looking forward to Sam and Kevin’s wedding since their awesome ComicCon engagement session almost exactly a year ago. As a bride, Sam was very committed to making sure that the theme of their wedding reflected both of them. Since they are a couple who loves all things sci-fi, fantasy and bookish, this meant that they incorporated lots of geeky references into their wedding decor and attire. From the Lego figurines of various comic book heroes on every boutonnière and the bride’s bouquet (Aquaman for him; Wonder Woman for her), to a similarly themed Wonder Woman garter to centerpieces showcasing books and themes the couple loves (from Little House on the Prairie to Sailor Moon and everything in between), all of the details were personal, meaningful and just a little bit whimsical.

The bride and groom didn’t know it, but when they were 13 and 14, they stood just a few feet away from each other on the concert risers as they performed in a select County Chorus. A few years later when they started dating, a conversation about music led to them checking the old concert program, and there they were, their names side by side since their last names fall so close to each other alphabetically. Everyone thought that Sam going upstate to college would mean that they would go their separate ways, but it only took one fight for Kevin to realize, in his words, “I couldn’t live without this girl.” They made up, and he started saving up for her engagement ring right then and there.

Sam and Kevin truly make each other happy. He calms and soothes her. She inspires him. Together, they’re so in sync that they dance like they’ve been taking lessons. (They haven’t.) I loved all the ways they showed their love for each other on their wedding day, from the way she was so eager to see him that she practically ran to their meeting spot for their first look in her red high heels to the way Kevin wept with joy when he saw her moments later. Hours later, at the end of the day, she curled up on Kevin’s lap as the wedding party gathered in the hotel for an after party. After all the wedding planning stress had fallen away, there she was- wrapped up in his arms, perfectly content. That’s the way love is supposed to be.

They are honeymooning now, taking a similar trip to one my husband and I took last year right before I shot the engagement session. They are flying into London and driving around Wales, among other places, in part because they want to do the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff. We went last year when it was still Matt Smith and loved it. I know how great the Welsh countryside is, how you come around a winding corner of a road and- boom- there’s a castle. London is a city for people who love theater and art. They are probably having the best time, and I can only hope checking this sneak peek from where they next find WiFi makes their honeymoon just a little more magical. Enjoy!

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Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

For a couple of years now, I’ve been saying, “October is the new June.” This is one of the most popular times of the year to get married, and it was a pleasure documenting Tiffany and Dariel’s courthouse wedding last Wednesday. I’ve also been jokingly calling the city clerk’s office “the happiest DMV on earth” because it is truly a special place.

It is decidedly DMV-like; I’m not gonna lie. You walk in. You tell a most definitely underpaid attendant who clearly answers the same questions over and over again all day long what you’re there to do, and you get a number. When that number comes up, you go to a booth and fill out paperwork. It’s a little bit like lining up to buy cold cuts, so I did my imitation of this commercial, and only one person in attendance even remotely knew what I was referring to, which was ever so slightly embarrassing for me. Ah, well. It was a happy dance for a happy day.

After you fill out the paperwork, you get a different number and wait again, this time for a chapel. After another wait, which can last five minutes or the better part of an hour, you go into a small chapel and get married in a short ceremony that lasts a maximum of ten minutes from putting down your purse to hugging the last of your witnesses. Yet, all around you, everyone is happy. People are smiling, kissing, taking pictures, mugging at the courthouse photo backdrop set up by the city for that exact purpose, even buying “I got married in NYC” souvenirs.

Last Wednesday, Tiffany and Dariel were among the happiest people there. From the moment Dariel took off his blindfold to see his bride, all through the bureaucratic necessities, during the ceremony itself and then humoring me for photos all around Lower Manhattan (including at the African Memorial Burial Ground- a location no one has ever asked me to shoot before but where we got some very meaningful and artistic pictures), they were smiling ear to ear. A love story that began in the late ’90s when they met right at the beginning of college began a new chapter with married life last week. This couple is so fun, so happy (and so game for whatever might make for awesome photos, which, honestly, is a dream come true for me!) that I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to be with them at their big bash sometime next year.

For now, congratulations on “getting legal-ed,” Tiffany and Dariel! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed creating them for you. P.S. The cupcakes were delicious OMG NOM NOM

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Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

All week long leading up to Jessica and Bryan’s wedding, the weather report spelled DOOM. We were fully expecting the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin to drive the festivities indoors, so I couldn’t have been more pleased when their wedding day turned out to be clearest, crispest autumn day we’d had in Upstate New York this month. The sky was so blue; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It could not turned out better for a nicer couple.

This couple is incredibly funny. They both cracked me all day long. Bryan- for all of his sarcastic wit and dark humor- was the one who wept with joy during the ceremony. Jessica poured so much energy and creativity into making this day uniquely personal- from the custom-made cake toppers to the couples’ grand entrance to the Imperial March from Star Wars- there was so doubt exactly whom everyone had gathered to celebrate.

Their humor- often gently and lovingly teasing each other, but never mean- spread amongst their family and friends as the party got going. There were more funny dance-offs, sing-a-longs, and ironic poses with mustaches than I can begin to recount in words. You have to just see for yourself. I am so glad that I got to be with Bryan and Jessica for their wedding! Thank you so much!

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Filled Under : Celebration , Wedding

This past weekend I got to travel down to Northern Virginia to document Elle and Jamie’s wedding, a sweet, homespun, rustic and deeply personal affair on the bride’s parents’ farm.

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Elle not only treated Jamie to a special “first look” moment, but she also had a special moment with her parents before the festivities got underway.

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The father of the bride asked if they could take a moment to pray, and he held his wife and daughter’s hands for a few moments of blessings and peace.

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Oh man. Every time the dads cry, I get misty-eyed behind the camera. Every. single. time.

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We took some lovely family portraits at that point, and trust me, I will be giving you dozens of lovely poses and classically composed moments to choose from in the highlights slideshow and the full edited set… but oh, how I love this one of everyone making silly faces! I just couldn’t wait to show you this!

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Then it was the groom’s turn to take in the gorgeousness that is his bride in their own first look. He murmured sweet words that only she could hear as he took her into his arms.

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The weather report had been changing all week long, from partly sunny to mostly cloudy to thunderstorms every two hours…. Frankly, Weather.com was KILLING me… so I wanted to be sure to get lots of great photos of the soon-to-be newlyweds on Elle’s family’s farm before it rained and before guests started to arrive.

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When I asked Jamie how he knew that Elle was the one, he told me all about how much he loves her quirky sense of humor. He said that their initial attraction to each other only grew stronger as they fell in love, but it was her intelligence and sense of humor that really won him over. I feel like this shot sort of captures that dynamic.

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We took a few more photos and then it was time for the main event!

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Elle requested a shot I’ve never been asked to take before- which is rare- but I loved her idea! Here are four generations of ladies’ rings on the bride’s side of the family. Her great-grandmother’s ring is on the left, then her grandmother’s, then her mom’s, and finally, Elle’s engagement ring and wedding band are on the right.

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Then it was time for the ceremony to being in a small, white gazebo on the farm. So much loving care and hard work went into making the property beautiful for the big day, and then finally, the moment was upon us.

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Elle’s friend did a reading about salt, about the way that sodium and chloride come together from two elements that on their own are poisonous but together form a substance that is essential to life. Salt can preserve food for a long journey, amplify flavors or purify an infection. It is found in blood, in sweat, and in tears. This led to a unity ritual where the bride and groom had intended to combine grains of salt, which they would never again be able to fully separate…. but they realized they forgot to get a bowl. I actually love these little moments where things supposedly “go wrong.” It truly was a little thing, no big deal, but the way the couple laughed together- the way they just rolled with it, sprinkled their salt wherever it would fall and then planned to do this unity ritual together later- was actually very touching, endearing and meaningful.

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So many tears of joy!

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Both mothers offered readings…

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And then the newlyweds were showered with dried rose petals and potpourri as they kissed!

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Then it was time to get hugs all around, sign the marriage license and take a few more photos.

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The kids got to pet a few of the animals on the farm while the bridesmaids worked their bustle magic, and then everyone gathered for an intimate meal on the cutest collection of mismatched thrifted china plates you ever did see. Elle pulled all the place settings together herself, and it turned out beautifully.

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After dinner, there were toasts and cupcakes, and best of all the clouds began to part in time for some truly dramatic sunset light. (Thank you, guys, for coming back out for the final silhouette shots; I know it wasn’t ideal as the sun broke through in the middle of the party, but I’m so pleased with how they turned out. And thank you, dramatic weather clouds, for cooperating. :)

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Then it was back to the gazebo for a few special dances. Jamie had worked really hard putting up the twinkle lights- his mom says he learned it from watching her decorate for Christmas all through his childhood- and the effect was magical.

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Everyone gathered around the fire pit for s’mores as the evening drew to a close. It was homey and warm and everything the bride and groom wanted.

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Congratulations, Jamie and Elle! I know you’re relaxing on a tropical island as I write this. I hope your honeymoon is as magical and loving as your wedding day!

Filled Under : Wedding

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It pretty much goes without saying that one of the best things about weddings is the way that family and friends from various walks of life come together for the celebration. Yes, it’s great to see everyone and have everyone you love most in one place; that’s always true. Sometimes, however- and I see it at one or two events every wedding season, the group of people who get together have an amazing chemistry, and something special happens.

Sometimes the only thing that the wedding party and guests have in common is their love for the bride and groom. Oh sure, there’s the group of relatives from her side or his side. There are always friends who all know each other from college or a hobby (in this case, that was the Ren Faire crew), but then, every so often, something magical happens at the wedding- it’s like alchemy- where people who would never have the occasion to meet come together for a wedding and form what one of my alumni brides called “a rainbow wedding family” when talking about her event in 2013.

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That’s EXACTLY what happened for Leslie and Rich last Saturday. They, too, had a “rainbow wedding family.” Leslie is particularly fond of rainbows (see: her socks) and is known for her signature color purple (see: her boots.)

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All of that came together with their love of all things elvish and Renaissance Faire and of course, Rich, to create a beautiful wedding that was just so THEM.

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One of the unique things about Leslie is that she is incredibly comfortable in her own skin, and she lives her life with enthusiasm and joy.

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Rich is quieter, but no less unique. He is the sound engineer behind the scenes, though his love of theater and fantasy worlds in novels dovetails beautifully with Leslie’s fae-like blend of humor and joie de vivre.

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As Rich’s best woman said in her toast, Rich would never be a part of something that wasn’t incredibly worthwhile, which is why, when he forms a relationship with anyone, especially a friendship, you feel lucky to be a part of it.

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I know Leslie feels this way. You can see it in the way she sort of tucks herself into his embrace up under Rich’s chin. She did this during their “first look,” which was incredibly sweet considering that less than 30 minutes before they were working as a team to arrange chairs for their ceremony, set up a sound system and bounce a trespassing rogue couple who wanted to elope under the grape arbor they specifically reserved. (The teamwork was inspiring! Go, them! Seriously.)

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Anyway, even though they saw each other earlier in the day, they were still awed to see each other all dressed for the wedding, and Leslie, the ultimate DIY bride, wept tears of joy into a handkerchief she’d personally hand-embroidered with a wedding logo she’d customized. I’m telling you- Ultimate. DIY. Bride. For the win!

 

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Their friends and family came together to help them pull off an amazing event. Their families, wedding party members and guests are truly wonderful, lovely people. You can see the Rainbow Wedding Family in full effect during the portrait session.

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After we got all of the posed photos out of the way, it was time to get married! The bride and groom discussed this book on their first date, so it played an important role in the ceremony.BLOGPHOTO29

The ceremony was so moving. Their officiant was the amazing Rev D, who I’ve worked with on half a dozen other occasions. Her custom-written ceremonies are always personal and deeply touching.

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The happy tears spilled right over into the next part of the day. Rich and Leslie and their awesome wedding party even made the receiving line fun! After they hugged their nearest and dearest, someone shouted, “Hip hip…” which cued all the Ren Faire folks in attendance (and there were A LOT!) to shout, “Huzzah!”

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The bride’s Ren Faire family doesn’t call her Leslie, by the way. For most weekends in the summer, she is known as Bubbles. Last name? “The Rose Fairy.” In fact, during the receiving line, I heard someone say, “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. The Rose Fairy!” Ha!

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The rain held off long enough for us to get a few more photos taken, although I love the ones with the rainbow umbrella. I grabbed it from the prop stash as soon as I saw the weather forecast because I knew the bride would love it.

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Then it was off to cocktail hour and the reception, which was a crazy delicious brunch. There were cinnamon buns with bacon baked right in; that’s all I’m sayin.’

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The bride and groom’s first dance song was the acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters. I thought it was incredibly sweet when Rich began to sing the lyrics softly: “And I wonder / When I sing along with you / If everything could ever feel this real forever / If anything could ever be this good again.” But here’s the thing. As the song went on, the people in the room began to sing along softly, too. Think about that. That almost never happens during the first dance. THAT is what I mean about the magic of the Wedding Rainbow Family.

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The toasts were great, too. To quote the great Dolly Parton, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!” But, oh! The laughter! Best Woman Sunna and Man of Honor Steven killed it. I thought someone might have to run to the bathroom; the toasts were THAT funny.BLOGPHOTO54

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After that, there was nothing to do but eat, drink and be merry! but of course, for Leslie and Rich, even that was unique and creative. The cake was made by the couple’s dear friend Aidan. The drinks included an emotional shot of whiskey in honor of the bride’s departed grandfather, and the dancing not only included a special dance for the bride’s parents to their own wedding song but also an amazing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody with the bride on air guitar and plenty of purple haired head-banging. What’s not to love?

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So, non-sequitur for a second…. I’m totally going to date myself, but when I was a kid there was a series of commercials featuring people who’ve done great things, like winning the Superbowl. The commercials were always like, “Now that you’ve won the Superbowl, what are you going to do? I’m going to Disney World!”

In that spirit, Leslie and Rich, now that you’re married, you actually ARE in Disney World! I can’t wait for them to see this on their honeymoon. Enjoy, you guys! After pulling off the ultimate DIY wedding, you have earned it. Have an amazing trip! Huzzah!

Filled Under : Wedding

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