Every year, the wedding industry titan, the Knot, announces the recipients of their annual Best of Weddings award. Similar companies do the same, but the Knot award is the most meaningful, due to how difficult it is to receive. They require ten reviews to be posted to their site by brides/grooms each year to be considered for the award. Of the several thousand wedding photographers in the Boston market, only a few dozen are recipients, each year. I, recently, learned that I’m a 2017 recipient. This marks the ninth time I’ve been so honored since 2007…the first year of the award. I’m the only photographer in Massachusetts who can make that claim. All the credit goes to my brides and grooms who have come through for me over the years. My thanks to you all!
I’ve photographed weddings at the Boston Public Library in the past, but never had an opportunity to work in my favorite room, the Abbey Room, until a few weeks ago. Located in Copley Square, the library opened in 1895 and its architect, Charles Follen McKim, proclaimed it the “palace for the people”. The highlights of the Abbey Room are the 15 murals with life-size figures along the top of all four walls that were painted by Edwin Austin Abbey. For my clients, Tracy and Peter, I’m sure they were quite the welcomed and honored guests to their wedding reception.
This story is part two of my adventures on Saturday after finishing an engagement shoot in Boston’s Public Garden. I was on the Public Garden bridge walking back to my car. As is typical for a beautiful weekend afternoon, the bridge was inundated with people. Somehow, amidst the crowd, I spotted a guy showing a woman a small box which held a ring. I stopped in my tracks and took a second to try to determine exactly what was happening. Was this part of another engagement shoot? I quickly glanced over each shoulder and, seeing no photographer nearby, I grabbed my camera from around my neck and, without saying a word, I just started shooting. I was about five feet away. After about 30 seconds, a few other people joined them. It turned out it was a real proposal and, unbeknownst to the new bride-to-be, their parents were observing from a short distance away. I was happy to be able to provide them with pictures a couple days later. Congratulations Rachel and Travis!
After Coco and John’s wedding ceremony, they and their guests took part in an interesting and unique event that, I assumed, was part of Coco’s Philippine culture. She had collected a variety of seashells and each guest took one, placed it against his/her heart and took a private moment. They then threw the shell out over the cliff, upon which the Hammond Castle is built, to the ocean below. Here are Coco’s words about the ceremony. “I thought long and hard about doing something that paid tribute to the beauty of the North Shore and, at the same time, honoring our dearly departed as we begin our new lives as family. It was also an opportunity for our family and friends to give us their blessings…. like an affirmative prayer. The act of casting them into the ocean sends those loving thoughts and energy out into the universe as a signal that will attract unto us those same loving positive energies. I called it The Imbuement Of Shells Ceremony.”
At Coco and John’s wedding (see the related post below), I had five minutes to shoot the Hammond Castle’s reception room before the guests were allowed to enter. When I saw the setting around one of the tables, an idea came to mind. Many thanks to my ‘apostles’ for their cooperation. Here’s to you, Leonardo!
I had a great time shooting Coco and John’s wedding at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, last month. Many of my favorite venues are ones with old architecture, but this one provided quite a unique ambiance. Located on Boston’s North Shore, the castle is perched on the rocky cliff overlooking Gloucester harbor. It was built between 1926 and 1929 by John Hammond, an inventor with over 400 patents. Hammond used the castle as his home and laboratory. Now a museum, his collection of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance artifacts are still on display.
A number of elements are required at any event to have a really great shoot. For MJ and Shuai’s wedding ceremony, the situation was about as good as it gets. The setting, pastoral and lovely, was on the grounds of The Connors Center in Dover, Massachusetts. (Oddly, though I’ve photographed almost 500 weddings, it was my first time working there.) The afternoon ceremony occurred under a full canopy of cloud cover that created a nice soft, even light (preventing harsh shadows, especially on faces), plus providing rich, bold colors (no glare on surfaces, due to the sunlight. Think polarized sun glasses). Two other very basic elements helped the situation, as well….time and mobility. The ceremony was about an hour long (outdoor weddings, typically, only run about 20 minutes), so I had time to really capture the event from many different angles and, most importantly, to search out small details and storylines. Unlike, for example, a church wedding, the more casual outdoor setting gave me the freedom to shoot from wherever I wished, thus obtaining different perspectives in the images. Several out-of-the-ordinary events, like the guests throwing paper planes at the ceremony’s conclusion, added unique features. Finally, a wonderful collection of adorable and playful children topped everything off beautifully. It was like a photographer’s perfect storm.
One aspect of wedding ceremonies you often see is the symbolic unity of the bride and groom through their marriage. One way of doing this that I love is the unity sand ceremony, where the bride and groom alternately pour sand of different colors into a beautiful piece of glassware. The patterns of the different colored sand can be quite striking, as well as symbolic. This ritual started as an alternative to the unity candle when it was too windy at outdoor ceremonies. MJ and Shuai had a gorgeous vase inscribed that they’ll be able to proudly display for many years to come.