When I sat down to begin writing Aubrey and Ian’s wedding story here on the blog, I happened to stumble across the original contact message that Aubrey sent me in November 2012 to inquire about having me create their wedding imagery on April 6, 2014. When I reread this little sweet and thoughtful note, I realized that I couldn’t possibly write a better introduction to this wonderful story:

New England girl meets California boy and fall in love. Having been living together in CA, we are hoping for an intimate wedding in MA surrounded by our supportive family. We are hoping for some amazing photographs, delicious whoopie pies, and lots of dancing, complemented by hand crafted centerpieces…Thank you for your time and have an amazing day!
-Aubrey 

As you lead your eye through the intricate wedding story that Aubrey and Ian have woven together, I believe you will agree that this could not have been a more fitting opening into what is to follow.

We first got to know each other through some wonderful conversations we had over the phone about their wedding and the type of imagery that I create while Ian and Aubrey were still at their west coast home in the greater Los Angeles area. I was delighted that they chose me to photograph their wedding at Northeastern University’s Warren Center in Ashland, MA, and looked forward to meeting them the following year.

I first Met Ian, Aubrey, and her parents, Karen and Steven, in person when we met for their summer engagement session in Rockport and along Good Harbor in Gloucester, MA  in July, 2013. I had several great spots in the area dog-eared from previous visits and wedding work along the North Shore. As I mentioned to Aubrey and Ian, the bridge at Good Harbor happens to be the very spot where I dropped to one knee to put a ring on my own wife’s finger over 16 years ago. Life is kinda neat like that…

Before I dive into the details, I first have to set a bit of the stage. In a way, part of this story actually begins many years ago. Aubrey’s wedding dress is the very same worn by her mother and her grandmother. I requested permission to use this photo from the wedding of Aubrey’s parents, Karen and Steven. Thanks to Aubrey and Karen for sending it over.

Photo credit: Billagos Photographers

In preparation for her own wedding day, the dress underwent a transformation for Aubrey. In the skilled hands of Sharon Probst, lace work, removal of the sleeves, and adding a window in the train carried this wonderful legacy and tradition, while making the dress unique for Aubrey.

(BTW: Thank you to my fabulous curtain-holder, Lauren).

During our pre-wedding planning time, Aubrey told me that she had been working on handmade decorations to place throughout the various parts of the wedding day. What I didn’t know is just how incredibly intricate and detailed (and artistic, I would add) this handiwork would be.

The entry table was laced with finely folded and cut paper-flower place cards.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

Guest tables were decorated with equal care and style.

Shot by Mandy

The word “crafty” does not do justice to Aubrey’s artistic eye for fine detail and craftsmanship. Each piece was designed, created, or hand painted by the bride and her family. Her sister, Lauren and Ian both contributed to these pieces of art, adorning the entryway.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

One of the reasons I love photographing at the Warren Center is the many provisions (both photographically and practically) that it offers us. It has large open fields, a postcard-worthy red barn, silo, dock, lake front, an inn, cottages, and a beautiful banquet room featuring a 360 degree stone fireplace and exposed wood beams.

The wedding party and guests can stay right on the property at the inn (which is where I met Aubrey for getting-ready shots). I entered her room to bustling activity, relatives and wedding vendors coming and going, and all sorts of beautiful things appearing.

Aubrey’s aunt, Lise, styled her hair in an elegant wedding updo.

During getting ready time, friend and bridesmaid, Shannon, assisted with Aubrey’s makeup.

Spring bouquet by Wildside Florist.

Shot by Mandy

Aubrey’s feather, Steven, stopped by to see his daughter for a moment before the wedding.

Aubrey’s sister and maid of honor, Lauren, helped with finishing touches.

Aubrey’s mother, Karen, helps place Aubrey’s veil.

As many know, most New Englanders feel that we have just barely emerged from the “never ending winter”. I firmly requested that Ian and Aubrey please check a bit of California wedding weather into their luggage for their trip east. On the first weekend in April, it was sunny and in the 50s. It turned out to be quite beautiful, we really could not have asked for much more.

Aubrey is joined by bridesmaids Amy, Stacy, sister-of-the-bride and maid of honor, Lauren, bridesmaids Anne and Shannon.

On our way out of the inn, Karen and her daughter pause for a photo.

Aubrey and her sister.

Meanwhile, Mandy met up with Ian and the groomsmen.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

Ian is joined by groomsmen Wade, brother-of-the-groom and best man, Robin, Drew, Rhawn, and
Doug.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

The first look: at last the moment had come for Ian to see his bride for the first time on their wedding day. Ian’s back was turned as Aubrey approached from behind. I told Ian that he is not allowed to turn around until Aubrey taps him on the shoulder.  This part of the story really tells itself.

Ian beholds his bride.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

In accordance with Jewish tradition, presiding officiant and Cantorial Soloist, Rachel joined Aubrey and Ian for the signing of the ketubah, the marriage covenant, prior to the public ceremony. In the intimate company of their closest friends and family, Ian professed his love to Aubrey and pledged his marriage vow. Aubrey returns her own words of commitment. Ian ‘mostly’ kept it together (or should I say ‘almost’ haha 🙂

As I was working on these photos, I felt a sort of little reflective sidebar I wanted to share…

As a professional wedding photographer, I can never overlook or overestimate the privilege of being granted admittance to this most intimate circle in a couple’s lives to record the events and emotions that transpire. Moments like these cannot be repeated or erased. No matter what happens in our lives, these moments will always define us and steer the course of our own personal history. They begin our legacy. This is the legacy that we pass to those around us and those that follow us. It is such an extraordinary honor and responsibility that my clients afford me to stand with them, create art, and record the visual memory for these most sacred times.

Shot by Mandy

With guests gathered and the Warren Center’s enclosed patio awning cozily warmed with space heaters, the wedding ceremony processional begins. The handmade chuppah, the wine, and the cup are set in proper readiness for the marriage ceremony.

Mother of the bride, Karen, is escorted by Steven, father of the groom.

Shot by Mandy

Mother of the groom, Pam, escorts her son down the aisle.

Guests rise to their feet as Steven escorts his daughter into the room.

The ceremony is sung by Rachel as guests watch and listen.

Each person has written their own personal vow to the other which is read aloud as rings are exchanged.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

Now, Ian told me they were planning a nice first dance routine. But my normal tempered expectations were well exceeded when these two wowed the crowd with their presentation.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

This is a wedding first for me: Whoopie pies. Love it 🙂 Kudos to Making Whoopie in Franklin, MA for the fine confections.

Greg Capozzi from C-Zone and his wife/assistant never left the dance floor empty.

Aubrey. Ian. Thanks for choosing me and thank you for opening up this part of your lives with me. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed making them. It was such an extraordinary pleasure spending this day with you.

Shot by Mandy
Shot by Mandy

This is only the beginning. More to come!

~Ron