My family and I just got back from a short but delightful family vacation around the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. We really like to do summery things as a family so I try to block out time every summer in the middle of wedding season to get away for a bit (to catch the sun, hike, swim, and such).
Ironically, it was actually during our family vacation last summer that Kristen and I first got in touch about photography for her wedding. We exchanged a couple short emails and amidst the activities wrangling the family and spotty cell coverage, I was finally able to grab a call and touch base after feeling so bad that I could not always respond promptly. I remember I was standing on the mini-golf course in North Conway when we got to have a quick chat. (If memory serves, I was rescuing another ball from the water, which is par for the course when playing with a 3, 5, and 8 year old).
When I got back, I had the chance to meet with Kristen and Matt and plan engagement photos. We shot two sessions between Good Harbor in Gloucester and Smolak Farms in North Andover, Massachusetts. We met at Latitude 43 in Gloucester for a drink shortly before heading to the shore and getting engulfed in thick flash fog. Thankfully no fog appeared during our autumn session at Smolak Farms where warm air, golden light and a beautiful textured sky greeted us. We even got to take home free apples! Here are a few engagement session highlights from both occasions:
When the wedding day arrived on July 12, the conditions were equally gorgeous around Bradford, Massachusetts where deep blue skies rose above Sacred Heart Parish. As we looked forward to the reception at Atkinson Resort and Country Club a short distance over the border in Atkinson, New Hampshire, I had no doubt the favorable forecast would follow us and shower some soft evening light onto the grounds.
I was more than happy to be joined by Javi who 2nd-shot with me, capturing some great photos of the guys and lots of details and other great shots throughout the day and Moriah, who kept the laughs going in the group party photo booth.
The front walk was edged with my favorite indigo hydrangea variety. Love it…
Matt works as a police officer, Kristen as a trauma nurse. With friends invited from the circles of each of their respective professions, we all joked how prepared we were for just about anything that could happen, should the need arise 🙂
When I arrived at Atkinson Resort, I met with Kristen, her mother, and bridesmaids in the bridal salon where preparations were underway.
Honey server place cards at the entry table led to honey jar favors at each place setting.
A custom crafted wooden ring box bears each person’s initial and wedding date. A white velvet cord stands ready for use in the ceremony later as part of the Celtic hand binding tradition, literally “tying the knot” as a symbol of matrimonial bond.
Freshwater Farms created stunning coral-themed bouquets and accents.
We were joined in the bridal salon at Atkinson Resort by talented makeup artist Deana Flanagan of Deana Elyse.
Kristen was not the only lady excited to get pretty and dressed up on the wedding day.
Matt and the groomsmen arrived at Atkinson for a bit before catching a limo ride to the church for the ceremony.
Kristen is joined by bridesmaids Nicole, Beth (sister of the groom), Erica, maid of honor Lauren, and Shannon.
Kristen’s dress shown full length down near the wine cellar. We will be returning here later in the evening for a shot inside…one of my favorite features of Atkinson Resort.
Kristen and her father, Mark ride to the ceremony in style in the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
As we arrived at Sacred Heart, guests had gathered to the enchanting sound of a string quartet.
Mark takes the hand of his daughter to escort her into the church.
Kristen and Mark enter the church foyer as Mark prepares to put her hand in Matt’s at the altar.
The ornate interior of Sacred Heart is accented by soft warm light and rich wood surfaces.
Whenever you visit or pass by a wedding and hear the church bell ringing out its joyous proclamation, remember that it is probably not machine operated. Somewhere in the back there may be a ten-year old kid holding onto the rope for dear life.
I love the rich texture of the entry way. The granite, hardwood, and brick created a perfect portraiture frame.
Parents of the bride Mark and Cheryl join Michael and Linda (parents of the groom) for a portrait with their children.
When we arrived back at Atkinson, the lush grounds and landscaping surrounded the wedding party and guests as cocktails poured.
As I write this post, this photo has almost 200 likes and 14 shares on my facebook page. I think this is a testament to the impact of the wonderful legacy represented here.
You know it had to happen…these ladies rocked it.
As afternoon receded and gently yielded to evening, warm sunlight veiled in a wispy cloud layer spilled over the gardens under a picturesque summery sky.
Inside, the excitement was only beginning. DJ Albin from Main Event Entertainment was warming up the mixer as the staff at Atkinson spared no effort in the delights presented to guests. An ice-pour sculpture cranked out chilled martinis as delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres spread around the room.
You know there is a police officer getting married when you read the text of the sign below:
“You are the
Ammo in my gun
Lights in my siren
Keys to my cuffs
Pepper in my spray
Glaze on my donut
Kevlar to my vest
Shield over my heart
Love of my life”
Later in the evening, a chocolate fountain surrounded by just about every flavor combination the palette could conjure (sweet, salty, fruity, crunchy…) finished the evening meal.
After dinner the photo booth lit up with hysterical antics and memorable poses.
Of course I wouldn’t miss my own chance to get in the frame with the bride and groom.
Inside the wine cellar at Atkinson Resort. One of my favorite shots here.
Kristen and Matt: This blog page can’t fit enough photos to show all of the wonderful parts of the wedding day that you planned for each other. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the day with you and tell the story of your wedding in the imagery you see here. I hope you enjoy soaking in the memory of your wedding day experience many, many times over as you start your lives together. More to come. This is only the beginning.