Who: Sandra and Kendall
What: A family-focused rustically elegant barn wedding for 130.
Where: Ceremony at the intimate Buckfield Community Church in Buckfield and celebration at a private residence, the groom's apple orchard (Cooper Brothers), also in Buckfield.
When: Saturday, October 18, 2008
How: Bridal party hair and makeup at the cozy Cloud 9 Day Spa in Lewiston; wedding gown and veil online through the Bridal Warehouse; bridesmaids dresses through David's Bridal; wedding and groom's cake from the decadent New England Couture Cakes in South Portland; and dirty dancing inspired by the Veggies, a Lewiston-based band that knows how to keep a party going.
Why: The call came early last spring. Through a thick Texas twang, Sandie told me she was a grandmother, divorced for 20 years and until recently, had no intention of ever getting married again. Ever. A traveling nurse, she was talking to me by cell phone on the way to her latest post at a hospital in Massachusetts. Through static and several tolls, we chatted and laughed (Sandie makes you do that!) and I learned how while fulfilling a contract at Central Maine Med's new heart center a few years ago, Sandie had been invited by a co-worker to a local backyard bbq. She was caked in mud from her first Maine ATV adventure and wearing high heels when she was introduced to Kendall, a tall handsome Maine farmer who unbeknownst to Sandie, had been invited to the party for the sole purpose of being introduced to her. "You just have to meet this woman," Kendall had been told by his friend Bob, who was married to Sandie's coworker.
Bob was right and after several years, and several proposals, on a beach in Malibu, Sandie finally agreed to move to a rural Maine farm and spend the rest of her life with Kendall. And the woman who swore she'd never marry again eagerly said yes with only one condition: that they could winter in Texas! "We are in the prime of our lives with the love of our lives," says Sandie.
Given that Sandie's work keeps her on the road, we hadn't had a chance to meet in person before the wedding. All I knew was that she was a grandmother whose grandchildren would be her attendants, that she was unphotogenic (her words, definitely not mine) and that she was marrying a farmer. And so, I admittedly expected something more American Gothic than blonde bombshell. And I am not just talking about her looks! Sandie is smart (she was supposed to sit for the bar in California the week of her wedding) and sassy and fun as fun gets. And Kendall is her perfect match- handsome and humble and hard working. It was an honor to sign the marriage license (they asked me to sign off as one of their witnesses) of two people who are so vibrant and clearly in love. Their wedding was one full of firsts for me (for example, first time a bridesmaid lost a tooth the night before the wedding and was thrilled about it) and was such a memorable way to end my season!
Our day started at the day spa in Lewiston where Sandie, her daughters and their daughters had a girls day out with mani's, pedi's, hair and even makeup.
Sandie's granddaughter really enjoyed the pedicure tub.
Usually, it's the mother helping their daughter into the dress, but Sandie was aided by her daughter and daughter-in-law. I think this images really reflects the day, the bride surrounded by family photos, while her daughter-in-law can be seen in the mirror lacing up the back of the gown. A nice quiet moment.
A final spritz before heading out.
Sandie got a huge kick out of the name of the perfume from Victoria's Secret her maid of honor, who just happened to be her 14-year-old granddaughter, had picked out for the bridal party to wear. I must admit, it did smell good.
The bridal party included Sandie's grandchilren two granddaughters and her new granddaughter-in-law (at center, who lost a tooth the night before the wedding). I thought that was such a smart way to make a potentially overwhelming day for the little ones incredibly meaningful and celebratory.
Sandie often takes her grandchildren to their sporting events or afterschool activities, where she's known as the "hot granny." I bet you can see why! But what impressed me most about Sandie was her strength in raising five children, all who have gone on to be public servants (teachers, EMTs, crime scene investigators), on her own.
Such beautiful buttery light.
When Sandie is in, she is all in (I think it's a Texas thing)! So when she finally decided to remarry, she wanted it to be the total fairytale dream wedding, complete with a horsedrawn carriage to take her to her Prince Charming. As a result, she wanted very romantic imagery, that truly captured her and Kendall's connection. To my delight, they agreed to do these images before the evening ceremony, after we did four-generations of family formals. Once everyone left and I stepped back, it didn't take long for Sandie and Kendall to get lost in each other.
Prior to the ceremony, the flower girl was a little fussy so we were all wondering how her walk down the aisle was going to play out. All was going well, until about halfway down the aisle, she froze sensing all the eyes upon her and then bolted down the aisle (luckily in the right direction) toward her mom. Hysterical!
Sandie is so captivating, so just draws you in the second she walks into a room. So that makes the way she looks up at Kendall all the more adorable. This is the same church where Kendall's parents and his son were married.
Gotta love the best man's face during the ring exchange.
Exiting the church (after the groom's son drove back to his house to retrieve the marriage license Sandi had left there in her purse).
Kendall and his brother run an apple orchard that has been in the family for generations; Cooper Brothers apples are sold at Shaws, Trader Joes and Hannafords around the northeast. As a result, the groom's cake, which Sandie worked with New England Couture Cakes to design, was so fitting! It looks like an apple box heaping with apples, but it's actually all edible (even the leaves), and each apple color is a different kind of cake. What a fun idea!
The evening's events were held in a 200-year-old barn that the groom had worked to renovate for the reception. The autumn air left the barn a bit chilly though, so party-goers were eager to start dancing to warm up.
The bride's son and a stylist from the spa where the girls got ready. Too bad he lives in Texas!
Then he took his mom for a spin around the dance floor.
And then things got really wild!
Sandie and Kendall, thank you so much for honoring me with the privilege of photographing such a meaningful day in the history of your two families. Your devotion to each other and your families and your obvious affection for life is infectious, and I wish you both a world of happiness together, knowing that you've already found it.
Who: Rachel and Clay
What: An elegant green-side wedding for 250
Where: Ceremony and celebration at the elegant Samoset Resort in Rockport.
When: Sunday, October 12, 2008
How: Bridal party hair at the Coppola Salon and Day Spa in Rockland; bridal makeup by Jen from the Beauty Mark in South Thomaston; wedding gown from Andrea's Bridal in Portland; and bouquets from Hoboken Gardens, also in Rockport.
Why: Everyone who knows Rachel Mae knows her as "Miller". It's the surname that connects her to the two parents she is so close to, and the lobster pound on Spruce Head where she spent happy childhoods working alongside them. The name and all it represents is so dear to her, that she even had it put on her license plate, right next to the "Eat lobster, wear Grundens" sticker. It was only for Clay, the man who loves her unconditionally and values and respects her family as much as she does, that she was willing to consider taking on a new name and last Sunday, she did.
Whether they are snowmobiling in New Hampshire, playing golf in coastal Maine, or simply hanging out at home, Rachel and Clay are all about having fun, and together, they have the most fun. Their sophisticated but definitely-not-stuffy wedding reflected their love of life, family and a great party! I am so happy for Rachel and Clay and for their families and dear friends. Their tenderness toward each other is so sweet to see. Good luck on the links in Cabo and congratulations on your new home and marriage.
Rachel is an accountant and has been busy prepping returns for the October 15 deadline, so her visit to the hair salon in the morning was one of the first times she's found in months to really sit down and (try to) relax. Magazines proved a nice distraction from those surprising last minute jitters!
As an only child, Rachel and both of her parents are exceptionally close, so it was very meaningful to her mom (center) to spend the day with the girls. I love the way she looks at Rachel as the veil goes on.
The bridesmaids all wore flowers in their hair.
Rachel and her little cousin Jenna simply adore each other and so of course Jenna wanted to wear a crown just like Rachel's.
There was some rather funky light in the suite where the girls got ready, and so I had to get creative in shooting Rachel's makeup application in a way that didn't block the window light from the makeup artist. Luckily, there was a mirror leaning on the windowsill a few feet away and I found the perfect angle in which to shoot this portion of the preparations.
A funny little scene setter.
Rachel's dress detail matched the room's baroque wallpaper almost perfectly.
Nothing beats a beaming bride.
I love this pre-getting into the dress shot as Rachel's mom and maid of honor prep the dress while Rachel buckles her shoes.
There is the moment when the bride sees her groom, and the moment when the groom finally sees his bride. But my favorite of favorite moments, is when they finally get settled in at the alter and really see each other for the first time.
It was such a beautiful fall afternoon, and I can think of few better spots to enjoy it than the lawn at the Samoset with the rolling greens down to the ocean.
The first of many kisses!
I have to thank Angie, one of my all-time best brides, for referring me to Rachel, who was a bridesmaid in Angie's fall wedding last September. Angie is a live Samantha Warren Weddings infomercial, and referred three weddings to me this summer alone. I am so grateful for her support and her friendship.
Rachel really looked amazing! She is always so happy and having so much fun that it's easy to see not only why she has such a large circle of close friends, but also why she caught Clay's eye (I am sure it didn't hurt that she was driving her father's Corvette at the time either).
The flowers really were fantastic and the purples really popped against the green grounds of the resort.
Before the wedding, Rachel had warned me, and I quote, "Clay hates cameras- good luck." But luckily, we had broken the ice with an engagement session last year at the bride's family's lobster pound so Clay seemed to feel pretty comfortable with me and my camera this time around. We even got a few smiles out of him!
As always, after I did the more traditional formals, I told Rachel and Clay to enjoy a few quiet moments together before they entered the reception and I stepped back and documented them together. Rachel quickly settled into Clay's chest, which she proclaimed "her spot".
They both look so blissful!
I told you there was more kissing.
The sunset over the Samoset. Love those cotton candy skies!
Once inside, we found the reception room lit by soft candlelight as guests awaited the wedding party. The first thing I noticed was that yummy looking cake!
Rachel is so expressive, and this is just one of her many faces during the toasts. It's so telling, you don't even need to know what was said to imagine what was said...though I will hint it had something to do with the logic of two teenage girls in deciding to throw a party while their parents were away.
Knowing how close Rachel and her dad were, everyone was prepared for full on waterworks during the father-daughter dance, including me. They held it together for much of the dance, but emotion came over in the end and everyone was left wiping their eyes (seriously- after three years of weddings, you think I'd be better at that).
"Stop right there!" Before you go any further.... you need to know that Rachel loves, love, loves to dance.