Even though she hadn't lived there in years, for the weekend of the wedding Alison was back in the place she used to call home, her parents house in Naugatuck. The rehearsal dinner turned into a party similar to ones she would have in high school, with everyone gathered around in her parent's backyard laughing, joking and telling stories. That night Alison slept in her old bedroom with the knick knacks of her childhood side by side with her wedding dress. In the morning she would put it on with family and friends, both old and new, helping her in and holding back a few tears as they get ready to watch her marry the man of her dreams. The day would be a collision of old memories leading way to new ones. She would stand in her wedding dress beside the shed in her parents backyard, the one she had painted in college not too long before she had met Tony. She'd walk with her bridesmaids past the garden she had planted while in high school. They would all drive downtown to the green, a place she had been hundreds of times as a kid. These were all places that when she would look at before would make her think of the memories from years ago, but from this day forward the memories of this day will be the ones that flood by first.
Now when she and Tony return to Naugatuck to visit they'll drive past the green and remember standing there together just minutes after their wedding. When they go to that church they'll think about standing by at the altar and reciting vows to one another. Visits to her parents house will make her remember what it felt like to walk out the front door in her wedding dress knowing that in just a few minutes she was about to get married. Years from now, whenever Tony and Allison have a family of their own, anytime they see their own children standing by the shed or walking by the garden she planted they'll remember the day when it all began. And probably, remember exactly how they felt that day.
* * *
Alison and Tony's wedding was a little bit of a homecoming for Rob as well, who also grew up in Naugatuck. It was nice for him to see a familiar face or two that morning as we were with Alison and her girls getting ready. When we arrived Victoria Baron was just finishing up Alison's hair before Candice from Naomi Martinez Salon took over with the make-up. We took a few minutes to explore Alison's parent's beautiful backyard and decided it would be the perfect place to get some shots of her Casablanca Bridal gown. Once Alison's bridesmaids put on their cobalt blue gowns, it was time for Alison to get dressed. She had a help from all her girls who made sure she was zippered and buttoned and even helped her with her shoes. After we spent a few minutes outside with Alison and her girls, they headed back inside to get in the air conditioning (it was pretty hot) before heading over to St. Michael's in Naugatuck for the ceremony.
It was a traditional and emotional ceremony with Tony and Alison grinning widely at one another which made everyone else smile too - these two have dimples that could make even the crankiest person in the world smile. Plus, seeing two people clearly so in love just warms your heart. They walked out of the church with cheers and a cloud of bubbles. We spent a few minutes just steps away the church in the Naugatuck green with Alison, Tony and their bridal party. From there Alison and Tony hopped into their very own limo for the drive over to Cascade in Hamden for the reception. Alison and Tony tied the blue color scheme into the reception decor as well, with blue uplighting and beautiful centerpieces done by David Lawrence of Village Floristin Vermont. The reception kicked off right away with Heart Beat Dance Band keeping the dance floor crowded the whole night. Safe to say, there were a lot of amazing memories being made that night.
Alison and her bridesmaids all had their hair and make-up done right in her parent's house. It's such a great way to have a relaxing morning, without having to worry about traveling to and from the salon. Plus, it gives us the chance to get shots like this.
Both Alison's bouquet and shoes had glittery touches that picked up the details in her Casablanca Bridal gown.
We immediately fell in love with the weathered red shed in Alison's backyard. It was a great coincidence that Alison happened to have painted it years before.
The living room in Alison's parents house had french doors which Rob used to his advantage to capture this gorgeous shot of Alison putting her dress on.
Here's my shot of the girls helping Alison in from just a few minutes later.
Of course we had to get a few shots of Alison in front of that shed. Red weathered barns feel very New Englandy to me. (That's totally a word.)
Nearly every row of the church was filled with guests, friends and family that had traveled from several different states to be there to celebrate with Alison and Tony.
We always love catching these kinds of little smiles between couples while they're exchanging their vows or putting on their rings. Alison and Tony were filled with them.
The colors of the bridesmaids dressed and the bright red doors really pop against the bubbles and the brick of the church, all making their exit from the church that much better.
We usually recommend doing family photos right after the ceremony, when everyone is looking their best and still all in one place (it tends to get harder to gather everyone together once the reception begins). One of the biggest benefits? It leaves the bride and groom super relaxed once we start taking pictures of just the two of them because they know all that's left is pictures of them, their bridal party and then heading to the reception to party!
They were very happy to be able to spend some taking in what had just taken place. They were married now!
The Naugatuck green is the place where pretty much every large town event takes place, which made it a fun backdrop for photos of Alison, Tony and their bridal party.
See what I mean? Don't Alison and Tony just make you smile?
You might recognize this one from our preview post. Rob grabbed this shot right as Alison and Tony arrived at Cascade in Hamden.
The grounds at Cascade are really beautiful, tons of meticulously cared for hedges and flowers.
We gathered the wedding party together for one last shot before heading in for cocktail hour.
Alison and Tony selected a bright and sunny color scheme for their flowers, shades of blues, pinks and yellows all incorporated in their centerpieces.
The blue uplighting really emphasized the rest of the decor in the room and showed off their cake made by Creative Cakes by Donna.
Alison and Tony kicked off the dancing in style with their first dance - check out their impressive dance form.
Tony's best man offered up a speech all about growing up together as kids, then Alison's Maid and Matron of honor took their turn, gushing about how sweet she is.
A surprise treat for the bride and groom, one of Alison's family members sang a song he had written just for them. It was very sweet and super catchy. In fact, we've had in stuck in our heads the whole time we were working on this post!
Parent dances are almost always one of the most emotional parts of the day for me, something about seeing the joy in the parent's eyes gets to me. These two dances were no exception, very sweet moments.
Alison & Tony, thank you so much for inviting us to capture your day! We had a wonderful time with both of you and your families! Hope you had an amazing time on your honeymoon. We'd love to catch up with you sometime soon!
As many of you know we were in New York City on Wednesday to photograph Molly & Tim's engagement session. They are both from the city and we couldn't think of a better place to meet up with them than at Central Park. They came prepared with a couple outfits, Champagne and amazing energy. We can't wait to share their entire engagement story post with all of you but first we thought we would give you a couple of previews while you wait.
We hope you had a really great week and are looking forward to the weekend. What is everyone doing? We love hearing about great plans so be sure to share below in the comment section. If you have a great restaurant recommendation, a good movie you just saw or a weekend getaway location to love to go to, we want to hear about it! Happy Friday!
When I got to the computer this morning, I realized two things that pretty much blew my mind. The first was that this Sunday is August... ALREADY. I don't know about all of you but this year is flying by faster than any year in our recent memory.
The second thing I realized was it has been a week since we shared anything with all of you on our blog. Seriously, not cool on our part. We do have some really good excuses though! :) We have been all over the place capturing our couples truly amazing weddings and engagement sessions. We thought we would share a little of what to look forward to very soon on our blog. These preview images start off with Alison & Tony's Wedding who had their wedding in my hometown of Naugatuck followed by their reception at Cascade in Hamden. Next we collaborated with the one and only Candice (and her team) from Jubilee Events for Saryn & Dave's Wedding overlooking the shore at Guilford Yacht Club. We also got to enjoy an intimate ceremony at Edgerton Park in New Haven for Jennifer & Joe's Wedding, followed by a Meghan & Marc's Long Island Sound Wedding at the Wainright House in Rye, NY. Just this Saturday our good friend Meghan joined us to brave the heat of probably one of the hottest days we have photographed on for Sarah & Ben's relaxed and fun wedding at Tunxis Plantation.
If all of these really wonderful weddings were not enough, Kathleen and I got to travel to Block Island for our first time yesterday to photograph Meghan & Chris' Engagement Session. We wish we could share more images from all of these events today but we are charging up and getting ready to head into NYC to photograph another engagement session! Check back often, we definetely be sharing these stories and photos before you know it. In the meantime if you aren't already doing so, we would love for you to follow us on twitter. Follow me at @RobertKathleen and Kathleen at @Kaffiene. Happy Wednesday Everyone!
Kimber's mother knocked on the door of Valerie's hotel room that morning with a special present in her hand to deliver. It was a framed letter from Kimber to Valerie, a message he wanted her to read the morning of their wedding day. "Read it now," his mother advised, knowing the inevitable tears that would follow. The letter told Valerie just how much she meant to him, not just on that day but all the other days that had proceeded it. From the moment he first saw her on a soccer field many years before to the day he proposed, he has always known in his heart that they were meant to be together. In just a few hours they would exchange the vows that would make them officially husband and wife, but in the meantime he wanted to remind her of that once again before she slipped on that dress and walked down to meet him. Of course, sending a special letter the morning of their wedding day is no surprise to anyone that knows Kimber, and, more specifically, knows how he feels about Valerie. From his elaborate multi-state proposal journey to the way he pulls her in close every time he's next to her, one thing is abundantly clear: he's completely in love with her.
Good thing, too, since Valerie very much feels the same way. She has a bit of a different way of showing it, a bit more shy than her other half, she shows Kimber how she feels about him in the way that she looks at him, the way she stands by him as he follows every dream and the way her eyes fill up with tears when she hears him say outloud all the very same feelings that she holds in her heart. He won her over all those years ago and she couldn't be happier that their paths had crossed all those years ago back at college. Because since that day, her life has been that much better because he has been by her side. And from the moment their wedding ceremony began, there was little Valerie could do to keep the tears at bay because she knew they were about to begin something even deeper than the relationship they had been building for the last several years. Knowing how great it has been up until that point, she could only imagine the wonderful things that were in store for them as husband and wife.
* * *
We started with Valerie at the Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury where she was getting ready with her girls. Shortly before we arrived she had gotten the very sweet letter from Kimber, so she was just getting over the emotion of it all. Thankfully, she had already had her hair and make-up done by the crew over at Dawn's Pizzazz in Danbury. We took some time to photograph her beautiful accessories from her Paloma Blanca Gown and her Badgley Mischka shoes. Of course she did have a lot more incredible details, from her antique watch (which belonged to her mother) to her handkerchief which came from Europe. It was all filled with sentimental value, which made it all that much more romantic. Once Valerie's bridesmaids started pouring into the room we started to realize just how much attention to detail Valerie had. Her bridesmaids were all decked out in her version - from her J Crew dresses to their Anthropologie belts and their Bloomingdales necklaces it was all a part of Valerie's idea for the overall look of the day. After the flowers arrived from Floral Designs by Nancy, we spent some time with Valerie and her girls before we headed over to The Candlewood Inn in Brookfield where the ceremony and reception would take place.
The ceremony was a beautiful mix with Christian and Jewish elements and many sweet sentiments directly from Valerie & Kimber themselves and spoken by their justice of the peace. Both Valerie and Kimber took their turns fighting back tear during the emotion filled ceremony and there were many times when guests were reaching for the tissues themselves. Once the glass was broken and the reception began, CT Party Pro's took over and invited everyone to relax, hit the dance floor and celebrate with Valerie & Kimber. The floor was packed the rest of the night with everyone wanting their chance to crowd around the bride and groom and let them know just how happy they were for them as well.
Valerie had a mix of old and new details - new Ralph Lauren Romance perfume, new earrings from J Crew and a watch, a gift her father had given to her mother for her 25th birthday.
Valerie had also gotten a Paloma's nest ring bowl for their rings.
The lace on Valerie's mantilla veil was the perfect compliment to her gown, picking up the lace detail on that as well.
A few more family heirlooms - all from either Valerie or Kimber's relatives. It's always nice when brides wear jewelry that has been passed down from one generation to another, it makes it all that much more sentimental.
All of the bridesmaids poured into the room right before Valerie put on her gown and stayed to help her with every little detail.
The light streaming into the window at the Ethan Allen Hotel gave us the perfect location to take some portraits of Valerie before heading outside.
It's always important to us to get a full-legnth shot, especially to include the cathedral length veil.
To get the shot on the right, Valerie was a total trouper, climbing onto the mulch in her five-inch heels. Thankfully it was worth it!
Valerie and her parents made the ride over to The Candlewood Inn in style - in an antique Rolls Royce.
When she arrived just minutes before the ceremony, Valerie couldn't keep the smile off her face, or get to the aisle soon enough.
Kimber was trying hard to fight back the tears when he saw Valerie appear at the end of the aisle. His brother, and best man, couldn't help but smile.
Not the first time Valerie had tears in her eyes that day, and definitely not the last. It was an emotion-filled day.
Kimber grinned at Valerie all throughout the ceremony.
Valerie & Kimber chose to have their ceremony slightly off-center on the grounds of the Candlewood, a bit different than usual. We loved it because it gave us the chance to incorporate both the water and the trees on the grounds.
The ceremony included both Christian and Jewish traditions, not to mention some tears and even a few laughs.
Valerie's father watches on as his daughter gets ready to say her vows.
The exchanging of rings is always very emotional for the bride and groom and their parents looking on as well.
Valerie let out a few more laughs while Kimber stopped the glass at the end of the ceremony.
Right after he stomped on the glass, this was the look on Valerie's face. I think it says it all.
One more big thing before the walk down the aisle hand-in-hand - their first kiss as husband and wife!
The bridal party was tons of fun - a mix of family and friends Valerie & Kimber had met when they were students together at Elmira College in NY.
We love photographing on the dock at the Candlewood, but it's not for the faint of heart. It's a little rocky, especially when their are boats whizzing by in the distance. Valerie and Kimber held onto one another and braved it for us.
Valerie and Kimber were really excited to have a few minutes to themselves to take in what had just taken place.
Kimber was very attentive, helping Valerie with her dress and veil. He got caught in it all once or twice, making Valerie laugh.
Back on solid ground, Valerie and Kimber got to snuggle into one another a bit before heading inside for the reception.
Some more beautiful flowers by Floral Designs by Nancy, the shades of ivory and pink created a very romantic setting.
Valerie & Kimber gave their guests a double gift - these boxes filled with treats and a donation in their names to the American Cancer Society.
They were completed connected throughout the first dance, as close as they could get to one another.
When the time came for the hora, you could tell there both very excited and just a bit nervous about being hoisted up on the chairs.
All the guys lifted Kimber straight up in the air...and knocked his head on beam in the middle of the ceiling. Thankfully, he was OK. Safe to say, Valerie was a little stunned too.
Both of their parents made heart-felt speeches for the bride and groom.
Then the Matron of Honor and Best Man - Valerie's sister and Kimber's brother - had their turn giving toasts. Each of them talked about just how proud they are of their siblings.
Right after dinner, the dancing was kicked off when Valerie and Kimber danced with their parents.
At the end of the night, all of the guests gathered outside for a sparkler send off for Valerie and Kimber.
Valerie & Kimber - we had such a great time with you both! Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your day! We hope you had an amazing time in Hawaii. Hope to catch up with you both sometime soon.
Lee and Patrick knew they wanted to get married. They had even talked about getting engaged but ultimately decided it would be best to wait until Patrick finished Air Force boot camp down in Texas. Or at least that's what Lee thought they had decided. Patrick had something else in mind. He wanted to surprise Lee, and if you know Patrick, you know he doesn't do anything halfway. He wanted to ask Lee to marry him when she didn't see it coming in a memorable proposal totally worthy of the woman he loved.
So in the midst of all the training and excessive exercise in the first few weeks of boot camp, Patrick somehow found the time to develop a plan. With the help of a friend back home he picked out the perfect ring for Lee and even had it shipped down to him. He knew exactly when he was going to ask her too - the minute he got home for his first break during training. Not quite when it was complete when Lee thought it would be, but, really, what would have been the fun in that? Lee would be picking him up from the airport with his friends (including his helpful accomplice) and family, and never see it coming.
So when that break came around, Patrick boarded the plane with a ring in his pocket, two dozen roses in his arms and a plan to put into action. He promptly informed the flight attendant of his intentions and she was more than happy to help. Good thing too, because Patrick was going to enlist some of his fellow travelers to help him out with his proposal. He passed out a single rose to twenty-four people on board and asked them to each give them to Lee as they entered the baggage claim area, where she would be waiting for him. To ensure that all of the passengers would know exactly who to give the rose to, Patrick had his friend send him a picture on his phone of Lee earlier that day so they would know what she was wearing. Always prepared, Patrick even had his friend stand right next to Lee at the airport, wearing the brightest color shirt he owned so he could act as a landmark to ensure they would not be missed by any one bearing a rose for Lee.
When the first person off the plane came down to baggage claim and handed Lee a rose, she was a bit confused but thought it was just the kind gesture of a stranger. By rose number 5 she was suspicious. After the first dozen, she knew exactly what Patrick was up to. By the time all twenty-four roses were stacked up in her hands, she couldn't help but laugh. And when she saw Patrick walking toward her she was feeling too many emotions to describe. He was smiling back at her - so proud of himself that it all worked out, but even more excited to be asking her to be his wife. He got down on one knee right there in the middle of the baggage claim and said the words that had been rolling around in his head the entire flight. Of course Lee said yes, much to the joy of not only Patrick but all of the fellow travelers around them, cheering them on all the while.
* * *
We were finally able to meet Lee & Patrick for their engagement session last month after many attempts to do so earlier - somehow on every day we had picked it had rained. Sometimes huge downpours. Now we're all up for doing a session in the rain, finding a cool indoor location and even shooting outside in the rain if possible, but Lee and Patrick wanted a session on the beach and in all reality - rain and the beach really don't mix. And that's a bonus of an engagement session, you have more control of what the weather conditions will be because if schedules allow, you can select another (non-downpouring) day for the session - not exactly something you can do on your wedding day.
We met at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, a beach location that offers quite a bit of variety - the lighthouse, rocky shoreline and, this time of year, lots of greenery and even some flowers. It was a laid back afternoon and we really enjoyed getting to know Patrick and Lee even better. They told us all about their wedding plans and their awesome proposal story which still makes Lee laugh. Not so unusual for her though, Patrick seems to make her laugh quite a bit especially during their session.
When we drove in we spotted this green field area on one side of the parking lot. We thought it would be the perfect place to start the session.
If you've been reading our blog for a long time, you know that we definitely have a thing for long grass. Patrick and Lee were more than happy to sit down and be surrounded by it.
Lee has awesome dimples - they come out pretty much every time Patrick gives her a kiss.
Just a few steps from that first field was this one with some wildflowers in bloom. Gotta love shooting in the spring!
We took a walk all the way to the other side of the park where our favorite beach area is - tons of dramatic rocks and even some more green grass.
Patrick and Lee were really having a good time together, talking and laughing almost the whole session.
It was definitely an odd weather day - super windy with dark storm clouds part of the time and then bright sunshine. All that changes in light was keeping us on our toes, but we love a challenge!
It was pretty obvious by even the beginning of the session that Patrick loves to make Lee laugh. Not just a little chuckle either, he loves to make her burst out laughing.
This is one of Rob's favorite shots from the day - the wind blowing her hair, the clouds behind them - just really beautiful.
This shot kinda feels like a movie poster to me. Not sure why.
After a quick outfit change, we decided we had to incorporate the new color of the sky. In just minutes it had gone from dark and cloudy to bright and sunny. In this shot, they're actually just standing in the parking lot, believe or not.
It's like sweetness overload when they're this close to one another! You can't help but smile.
At this point, I'm pretty sure Patrick said something that Lee thought was fresh. But she loved it!
Whenever we have a couple go over to sit on a bench, it's moments like these that we love to capture. Usually they hold hands until the very last minute and then break away like this. It seems really emotional on it's own somehow.
Rob was hiding in some beach grass at this point - paparazzi style.
This is my favorite shot of the day. I love the way Lee is holding onto Patrick's arms and he's all tangled around her. We were using the intense wind to our advantage (people pay big money for wind machines, you know?), and the windswept hair seems romantic to me.
One of our favorite things about Connecticut beaches is all the rocks, especially when the water comes up and breaks onto them.
Since it was starting to get increasingly super bright out, we snuck into the carousel house to get some shade. Once inside, we realized just how hot it had been outside, not something we noticed before then since it had been so windy.
All the windows in the carousel building create a very cool backdrop.
Seriously, how cute are these two?
There's those dimples again! See, every time Patrick is close they come out!
Special request for a piggy back ride, we were more than happy to oblige!
Lee & Patrick, thanks for a fabulous day at the beach! We had a great time and can't wait to see you both again in September.