The Imbuement Of Shells Ceremony

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.”


A Nod To da Vinci

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!





A Regal Wedding

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.

Like A Perfect Storm


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.






A Symbol Of Unity

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.


Hats Off To You, Ladies!

Today might have been the 142nd running of the country’s greatest horse race, but the Kentucky Derby women and their stylish hats had nothing on this group of women I came across, last weekend. I arrived at Boston’s Taj hotel to shoot an event when I spotted them finishing up their ‘nice tea’ and asked if I could photograph them. This group of self-described ‘divas’ has met monthly since 1997 partaking in a variety of activities. Some, like this event, have particular themes. I don’t think I have to tell you what that theme was!


A Proposal In Boston

I’ve shot nearly 500 weddings, but last week I photographed my first wedding proposal. Dave and Alexandra are from Toronto and were going to be in Boston for Marathon weekend…..a trip she presented him to celebrate his 30th birthday. However, Alexandra didn’t know that Dave had plans to make the weekend much more meaningful. The day before heading to Boston, Dave contacted me to inquire about me photographing the proposal. Never having met and without the ability to rendezvous beforehand, we exchanged pictures of each other, indicated clothing we’d be wearing and even had a James Bond-like signal to, upon first sight, confirm who we were. The plan was to make the proposal in front of the Boston Public Library after they attended a Red Sox-Blue Jays game at Fenway. I waited patiently in the general area trying to blend in with people who were walking by.  When I saw a familiar face about 50 feet away, I flashed the designated signal. When he replied in kind, I knew I had my man. Having two cameras with flashes around my neck, I lingered a safe distance away so as not to raise any suspicions on Alexandra’s part. When I saw Dave drop to his knee, I rushed up the library steps to capture what would unfold. It was a complete success (Alexandra did say ‘Yes!’) The love gods must have been looking down on us because two minutes after the proposal a library security guard opened the door to let an employee leave. We informed the guard what had just occurred then asked him if we could come inside to take a few pictures, though the building had been closed hours earlier. To our surprise, he said yes and we had the library’s gorgeous interior to ourselves for about ten minutes. I walk past the library frequently and will always remember those moments when I do so in the future. Dave and Alexandra plan a 2018 wedding. Congratulations!!