I broke my five year old record for the most shots taken for a wedding last month and once you navigate through Amanda and Nick’s epic wedding story, I think you will see why. (For those counting, my previous record was set during a beautiful 12 hour Cambodian wedding back in 2010 when my assistant and I returned with about 3600 frames. After offloading our boodles of memory cards from Amanda and Nick’s wedding, I had just over 4000 tallied.)
It’s really kindof a neat story how I came to meet Amanda, a veritable case study in the small-world type of experiences where one person knows someone who knows someone. I was at the top of Gunstock photographing one of my wedding couples back in June of 2014 when Amanda and her good friend Emily were visiting to check out the location for Amanda’s own wedding.
As Amanda and Emily imparted the story to me, they saw me working with my wedding client and went home to check out the shots we created at the summit and on the chair lift . Little did I know, I was about to meet Emily a few weeks later as a bridesmaid for yet another wedding client. (I am fairly certain that we are all directly connected through Kevin Bacon.)
Nick was deployed overseas, but Emily and Amanda visited my studio gallery in Manchester where we had the opportunity to talk, laugh, put all the pieces together and begin planning for Amanda’s own wedding in October 2015.
I finally had the pleasure of meeting Nick while on leave a couple months later up on Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough, New Hampshire for their engagement photo session. The beach at Moultonborough Neck faces west and to our delight, laid the summer sun right over the water. Here are a few of the engagement photos we created. We were of course joined by Brooks who would make a return appearance on the wedding day (more to follow on that).
Fast forward to last month, October 2015. Amanda and Nick booked me to photograph their beautiful rehearsal dinner the evening before their wedding and additionally, their “Wedding Day 5K” road race the morning of their wedding (this was a first for me!). When these additional story segments are added to the richness of a lakes region mountaintop ceremony, stunning decorative and detail work by Mindy Rossignol, and a night full of memories (and a few shenanigans), the scale and grandeur of this record setting wedding for Ron Kolias Studios becomes apparent.
Here are the highlights of the day:
- Wedding Date: 10/3/2015
- Ceremony Location: Gunstock Resort Gilford, NH
- Reception Location: Gunstock Resort Gilford, NH
- Wedding Planning: Mindy Rossignol @ Private Weddings and Events
- Officiant: Anna Bacall
- Photography: Ron Kolias Studios
- Band: Cover Story Entertainment
- Cake/Pie Vendor: Ooo La La Creative Cakes
- Florals: Lotus Floral Designs
- Hair: Kayla Emery, Heather Lightizer @ Blown Away Dover, NH
- Makeup: Kayla Emery, Heather Lightizer @ Blown Away Dover, NH
- Dress Provided By: Uniquely Couture Bridal Bedford, NH
- Dress Designer: Justin Alexander
Jaime joined me for the day as second shooter, spending time with Nick and the guys, shooting lost of scrumptious details around the room, and contributing to the day’s visual storytelling.
The Rehearsal Dinner
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love being present at the rehearsal/dinner. I got to thinking about why that is and I have come to realize it’s the warmth, the appreciations, the anticipation of the next day to come. There is so much wonderful excitement and pomp on the wedding day, but on the eve before, things tend to be very relaxed and laid back. Getting a chance to get to know the wedding party, the parents, and others gathered before the wedding day makes it worth each moment.
We found ourselves at the lovely Carriage House at Church Landing in Meredith, New Hampshire where I began photographing Amanda and Nick’s wedding story.
Amanda’s sister and matron-of-honor, Sarah presented a slideshow interweaving the timelines of Amanda and Nick’s lives. The evening was filled with warmth, memories, and humor surrounding a delightful “lakeside BBQ” dinner for friends and family.
It also gives me a chance to snag a nice “night before” shot of the couple.
Wedding Day 5K
Have you all heard of a wedding day race before? I had heard in passing of this tradition, but this is the first time I have been a part of it with one of my wedding couples.
I told someone about this unique pre-wedding race event in conversation a couple days ago and that person responded, “wow, how did you run with all your cameras?” It was flattering that this person thought I was capable of such an act but alas, no no haha! 🙂 I waited at the finish line (which also happened to be the starting line) for runners to return. I did however feel a minute boost in my fitness level from watching them. We will see if it lasts…
The day of the wedding (and especially the morning) was quite brisk, chilly might be a better word. With a forecast high temperature of 48F at the base and steady wind, it was an adventurous spirit which gathered runners at 8:00 am to embark on this journey. There was no chance Brooks would miss this leg of the adventure and so he made the entire 3.1 mile run tethered to Nick with a special elasticized leash and held his own roundly.
I wasn’t quite sure how long a 5K takes to run, so decided to use my time creatively. During my time waiting for the first runners to approach the finish I had ample opportunity to create lovely portraits of the bullhorn, air horn, and clock and had several close encounters with local animal life. I spotted a billy goat running the race and a great blue heron overseeing the runner’s progress from a vantage point on the pond’s edge.
The fates levied no surprises upon me when the winner’s circle filled with a fitness company CEO and his wife. Matron of honor Sarah (sister of the bride) and her husband and groomsman Mike took their place on the winner’s podium. Great job, you guys are fast!
Breakfast and hot beverages awaited runners and spectators at the finish.
Getting Ready at Lake Opechee
After finishing the race festivities at Gunstock, we made our way to Lake Opechee Inn in Laconia, New Hampshire where the wedding party began dressing and primping for the ceremony.
When I saw the copper mugs and ingredients in a special case opened in the groom’s suite, I knew Moscow Mules were in the future. Nick and the guys mixed up their beverages in personally engraved mugs to kick off their wedding day preparations.
During prep time, Amanda and Nick delivered token gifts to each other in their respective suites. From Amanda: a set of cuff links featuring photos of Brooks. From Nick: an locket engraved with the words “Always With You”, encasing photos of loved ones.
Jaime spent time with the guys before the wedding and created this wonderful portrait of Nick.
It is rare that I get a chance to photograph the guys before the wedding since I normally spend all of my available time with the bride and bridesmaids. Since we were all getting ready in the same spot and given ample time between the road race and the ceremony, I was able to sneak down to the billiard room for a shot I had been wanting to create around the pool table.
Jaime also took some fantastic shots of the gents around the inn and adjoining mill building.
If the bride and groom have served in ROTC, active duty, and the US Army Reserves, how would they communicate with each other in their respective suites? By walkie-talkies of course!
Sarah’s multitasking talents came to bear as she wrangled transportation for the wedding party while simultaneously helping Amanda with her dress.
The Ceremony at Gunstock Summit
Nice, warm fleece blankets were made available for guests ascending the chair lift to the ceremony site. (That base temp translated to about 42 degrees and and 25 mph gusts at Gunstock’s summit.)
The view across the NH Lakes Region from Gunstock summit does not disappoint.
It was a bit too chilly to spend much time at the summit for photos so the wedding party obliged me this shot in the grasp of the summit’s chill before we descended to a bit more milder conditions for additional photos.
Everyone was so much fun to work with. I told you there were a few shenanigans. This cracked me up haha! You can see how things really evolved during our photo sessions.
The Reception at the Gunstock Lodge
Mindy spared no effort in creating a splendid reception environment in Gunstock’s main lodge.
Navy runners, birch wood, and sunflowers bestowed warm, charming, yet elegant decor across the room.
Over the course of my career, I have seen so many luscious creations with cake, exotic flavor’s of gourmet cupcakes, even wedding whoopie pies, but this is another first: delectable little dessert pies! Incredible!
Medals were given during a mini awards ceremony for the 5K race placings.
You know that I try to stay on my toes. At this wedding I found it particularly important to keep the lens cap off, and a sharp eye fixed on the events around me, lest I miss some of the night’s celebratory happenings including but not limited to:
Groomsmen climbing the walls…
New band member inductions…
The Boot Scootin Boogie…
And a fishing derby…
Amanda and Nick: Thank you for letting me create the story of your wedding in photographic images. As you begin the pages of your life together, may each feeling, each moment of your wedding day resound in your hearts and memories. I hope you enjoy reliving the moments captured here as much as we enjoyed making them.