Intimate Wedding at Arnold Arboretum, Jamacia Plain Boston MA: Addy and Moe

What led you to have a wedding the way you did? Family, friends, location, etc?

We had an intimate ceremony with our family and a small group of friends – 17ppl total – at the Arnold Arboretum, followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant. One of our first dates was at the Arboretum. We always found it peaceful and relaxing with its tall, magnificent trees, the colorful lilacs, the Japanese garden, its greenery at every season. In fact, throughout the years, we’d take strolls there early Saturday mornings after an exhausting week of work and feel energized and reconnected. We are both close to our families. Mo’s family lives just outside of Boston and mine flew in from Europe. What a heart-warming gift if was to have everyone there in the same place, meeting for the first time, smiling happily, and somehow communicating ok despite the language barrier. We wanted our wedding to be as much about us as it would be about our families. I think they enjoyed and were touched by the intimacy of it all. I know also that both Mo and I, both of us shying away from attention, preferred having relatively few eyes on us. The next day, we hosted a dinner party with our friends. We bought out a restaurant, had a wonderful, young D.J. play some fun music and had great food and drinks while catching up with everyone. We both felt so relaxed and overjoyed to have so many lovely faces in one place, chatting with us and getting to know each other! 

What were you most excited about before the wedding?

We were ecstatic to know that Addy’s family could all be there. 

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, a few things. We knew Angie was talented because of her previous body of work, but we didn’t know just how good she was! Her presence was completely unnoticed and yet, the images she took captured the right feelings at the right time. The weather was also a wonderful surprise! It had been raining for about 2 weeks (early May weather) but the day we got married, there was this beautiful sunshine and warmth. We were also surprised by how quickly time passed! 

Which images did you love the most?

It’s very hard to pick a particular one. But maybe the one where Angie says “now squeeze together” and our families just laugh and Mo’s hand it stretched out, trying to reach them all. Such a candidly happy shot! 

Any advice for couples going through this process or about to go through the process?

Remember how lucky you are to have found each other – the rest of the wedding details will sort themselves out. Except photography – for that you absolutely need Angie! 

Destination Wedding, Estes National Park: Joe and Lauren

I rang in the New Year with Joe and Lauren in Colorado outside Estes National Park. It was an incredible experience working with these two. After a few minutes with everyone, you feel like you’re part of the family. The couple was married by Lauren’s brother Patrick, on a frozen lake, surrounded by their immediate family, in 8 degree weather, while it was snowing. Lauren even surprised Joe’s mom with a heart sewn into her dress made of Joe’s grandmother’s necklace. They followed up with a small reception at a local restaurant and a day later we went out for a few sunny and warm portraits! Here are some comments from Lauren about how it all came together.

– What lead you to have a wedding the way you did? Family, friends location etc?

Honestly, whenever I pictured my wedding, I could not see myself in front of a hundred people. Joey doesn’t really love big crowds either, especially when he needs to be affectionate. Joey’s best friend at work, another sergeant, mentioned his brother lives in Colorado and there is a beautiful area up in the mountains – exactly what we were looking for. We looked up the area the next week and pretty much decided that’s where we are going!

A big struggle we had was only inviting immediate family. Ultimately, we decided the smaller the better and next summer we will have a big summer party with both of our families. Also, it would keep our wedding day stress levels at a minimum. Luckily, we both have amazing and supportive friends and family who made this difficult decision easier.

– What were you most excited about before the wedding?

I think what I was most excited for was spending quality time with the family. We did a small, intimate wedding of 15 people, and it was just nice to spend time with everyone. I felt like the biggest complaint I heard from my friends who had already been married is you spend so much time going around greeting guests, you don’t get to enjoy the night as much. Luckily for us, our family was willing to fly out to Colorado, and spend a couple days there, and it meant the world to us.

Did anything surprise you, was anything unexpected?

The government shut down certainly surprised us! As we were planning to get married in a national park, that obviously put a halt in our plans -12 days before we were getting married. While we were in Estes Park, CO we looked at a couple of potential places to get married and the kind staff at Rocky Mountain National Park actually recommended Lily Lake. The day before our wedding, we went up with Joe’s parents and the wind would barely let us out of the car. The snow on the ground was pelting our faces and all I could think is man, we flew all the way out here to get married outside, and this weather is not going to work. The morning of the wedding, the hotel we were staying in told us we could have our private ceremony inside their hotel conference room. An hour before the wedding, Angie asked us where we were having there ceremony, outside or inside, and we still hadn’t decided. At this point I couldn’t make another decision – I just ask Angie “what should I do?” and Angie just said “you came out here to get married outside – get married outside. It’s snowing and your family made it out here, let’s just do it.”  It was exactly what I needed to hear. Joe drove up with his dad to Lily Lake and saw that while the snow was falling there was absolutely no wind. We made the call, we jumped in the limo, drove ten minutes to Lily Lake, and got married on a frozen lake in eight degree weather while snowing. It was breathtaking!

Which images did you love the most?

I absolutely loved all of my wedding pictures. I think the ones that stand out the most are the pictures of the whole family at our private dinner – I actually forgot that my brother and my 5 year old niece had a New Year’s ever horn blowing competition at dinner that was so hilarious, I was crying laughing. The other pictures that stand out to me are the ones where I actually forgot pictures were being taken and I felt in the moment with Joe. There is one of us holding hands walking off the frozen lake back to the limo that I didn’t realize that Angie was up higher and taking pictures of us – and I think that candid moment between the two of us of pure happiness and just in the moment with each other is incredible.

Any advice for couples going through this process or about to go through the process?

My biggest advice has to be don’t expect perfection for the big day. There will be some hiccups and the best thing you can do is be aware that things might not go as planned and just roll with the punches.

Mass Audubon’s Habitat and Wildlife Sanctuary Wedding: Belmont MA, Vedika and Prem

What lead you to have a wedding the way you did? Family, friends, location etc.?

We wanted this day, and every day, to be about living things, about being alive and present to the world around us and to those we love. We chose to keep our wedding intimate and spend the day in a natural outdoor space as a celebration of family and all that we are grateful for. This is such a special time in our life and we wanted to share it with our loved ones without any distractions or extraneous obligations that could take away from the experience we wanted to have together.

We wrote the ceremony together, incorporating different traditions that brought us joy. We made it so that every part of the day would be a celebration! Prem’s father led us in a meditation, setting a tone of loving gratitude and peacefulness. We asked each family member to share a passage, song, poem, or other form of expression that rang true to them as part of a ring warming ritual. We read memories of our journey together as part of our “I do’s,” and recited vows that we wrote together from letters we had exchanged over the years. We asked our moms to recite the “saat phere,” or “seven steps to marriage” ritual in Hindi and English as we took rounds around two beautiful trees in the garden where we meditated together and shared good wishes. Vedika’s brother officiated the ceremony, and we knew endless hugs and dancing would inevitably follow the pronouncement. We ordered lunch from one of our favorite restaurants and our table was pieced together with family heirlooms under a lilac trellis. The day was like a dream, and it has been a dream ever since!

What were you most excited about before the wedding?

We were of course most excited to get married to each other! We love to dance, spend time in the outdoors, eat good food, and enjoy with family, so we’re not sure there was anything about our wedding that we weren’t excited about! We put our hearts into the ceremony and fell in love with the environment at Habitat, but we were probably most excited to have our families together on this joyous day. We had been anticipating Prem’s parents meeting Vedika’s grandmother for quite some time, and when the moment finally came it was absolutely beautiful.

Did anything happened that you weren’t expecting?

After we left Habitat and got home, we were both surprised at how fast the day seemed to have flown by. We are so grateful that we have these beautiful images to look back on. Watching Vedika’s parents dance to Hindi music and Prem’s parents dance to classic rock were moments filled with laughter and let-go that we hadn’t anticipated. We also couldn’t have expected to get married on such a beautiful day, and are so grateful for that wonderful addition!

Which images did you love the most?

We always come back to images of laughter, hugs, and dancing. Angie captured the emotions of these candid moments in a really genuine way that resonates with us and with those we share our photographs with.

Any advice for couples going through this process or about to go through the process?

Don’t forget that this day is yours and is a celebration of the love that you share! One of life’s greatest mysteries is how, in such a vast world, two people come to meet one another and join together in love. If you’re reading this, then this has happened for you, and your wedding day should be built on whatever represents the beauty of your union. Whether it’s inviting 500 people or eight, doing meditation or breaking glass, wearing white or purple, make decisions that bring you joy, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Let your wedding be a continuous exploration and a constant adventure, just as your love is. This day should be as precious to you as the day you first fell in love!