Who: Erica and Danny
What: A preppy blue and yellow waterside wedding for 150 on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee
Where: Tented ceremony and ballroom reception at the Adirondack-styled Church Landing - the epitome of lakehouse luxe- in Meredith, New Hampshire
When: Saturday, August 15
How: Bridesmaid dresses and bride's gown from J. Crew's wedding collection; tent by Sperry Tents; catering and coordination provided by Church Landing, florals by D. McLeod of Concord, New Hampshire; entertainment by Tim Patoine of A Goodtime DJs of Salem, New Hampshire; and ceremony officiating by the bride's godmother, Mary Ann Lakevicius.
Why: He was from Washington D.C. She from Concord, New Hampshire. As freshman at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, they were placed on the same floor. That may be the furthest apart they've been in the eight years since.
As Erica's sister, Kristin, said in her maid of honor's toast, all it takes a split second spent with Erica and Danny to know they are perfect for each other. "What can you say," she asked? "Just look at them."
When you do, you'll likely find them looking at each other. It's what you notice most about these two together. As a young girl, I remember my dad once told me that what most attracted him to my mother was the way she "held him" in her eyes. I've tried to envision what that looked like ever since (and even attempted it in my early dating days, resulting in nearly popped pupils) but the moment Danny turned to see Erica during their first look, I knew that was it. In those four eyes and the space honored to exist between them, silliness and serenity, careful and challenging, pride and passion, lust and loyalty intimacy and inquisitiveness all converge to create a connection so sacred that you feel as if you've stumbled upon a private moment. But while their relationship is serious, they don't take themselves so. How else would you explain Erica's wedding day card to Danny that simply read: "Well, I guess now you are stuck with me."
As a result of this playfulness and passion, their wedding day was an honor to simply be present for, let alone be charged with photographing. As generous as their hearts are with each other, they are too with all they meet, and they welcomed me like an old friend, with both honor and hugs. Take a look...
Erica's elegantly simple J. Crew dress was so beautiful, it even hung on the hanger nicely on the hanger. Strapless and made of lightweight silk chiffon, it was a perfect fit for the hot summer day, and her style.
Her grandmother's antique brooch was an addition so appropriate, I thought it had come with the dress.
Erica got her makeup done in her suite overlooking the lake, with soft light streaming through the open deck doors. I always encourage my brides to have their makeup applied in natural light, as it's best for my preparation photographs and it ensures the makeup will look right when the couple is outside for their ceremony and subsequent photographs.
Because I am staring at these women for hours on end, I often begin to see similarities between my brides and well-known women. I didn't want to embarrass her, but I told Erica she was deadringer for Gisele -yes, that Gisele- and even the makeup artist agreed. Isn't she stunning!
I was overjoyed when I learned Erica and Danny wanted to do a first look so they could relax by being together before the ceremony, and take some time to explore the grounds of Church Landing and its sister properties for photographs. They'd budgeted about an hour for this, but because preparations were a bit behind, we only got about 10 minutes together. To give them their privacy during this time, I shot from afar, but love this image because it captures their closeness.
Even though they'd seen each other only minutes before, Erica was still overwhelmed at the sight of Danny when she came down the aisle arm-in-arm with her parents. I love her expression here as she tries to hold back tears. You can almost hear the "whoooooosh" of her sucking back her breath!
As I mentioned before, it's the way these two envelope each other in their eyes that I find so striking.
These series really reflects that.
After being pronounced husband and wife, Erica and Danny turned to honor their parents with a hug and whispered words of thanks.
The weathered cedar shakes on the back of the hotel made for an ideal backdrop for "formal" portraits of the bride and groom with their family and friends. I always try to find a neutral backdrop free of distractions and in the shade for these images, as it allows the focus of the photograph to be on the people within it, and their expressions. And I love when my couples feel comfortable enough to be themselves as I think shots like this one of Danny with his groomsmen capture him and them so much better than if they were just staring and smiling straight at the camera. Can't you feel how fun they are?
Erica had described her and Danny as fun and goofy, and wanted images that reflected their relationship and its passionate playfulness, within the context of the lakeside setting they so loved. This is Erica and Danny, being exactly Erica and most definitely Danny.
And a final shot of just the two of them. Though it's only their hands, it speaks to how intertwined they are, yesterday, this day, and forever more.
A first dance flanked by their wedding party, whose joy for the bride and groom is evident.
Speaking of joy, cupcakes!
The reception reflected Erica's Greek heritage in several ways, including koufetta favoris (almonds that are sugarcoated to show how the sweet should overpower the bitterness in any marriage) and rowdy Greek dancing that got all the guests on their feet and cheering "Opa!"
And, a final look at the dance floor. Even in a room riotous with the love and laughter of their most favorite people in the world, these two really only do have eyes for each other.
Erica and Danny, you are why I love what I do in my most meaningful jobs on this earth- photographer and wife. Best of luck to you, Erica, as you take on the start of the school year at your new teaching job in Boston, and to you, Danny, as you begin business school. I hope you enjoy your slideshow, and that you'll come visit Portland soon!