Vacation reply turned off? Check!
Super sweet (I actually let out an audible "awwwww!") voicemail received from bride letting me know that after just 36 hours apart (having previously seen us for 10 days straight), she missed us? Check!
Luggage and laundry unpacked and put away? Ummm...yeah, sure. Check! (Just please, if you're going to stop by, give me a 20 minute warning so I can take my bathing suit and socks off the dining room table.)
I guess it's official: I'm baaack, and for the most part, settling in following a wonderful beyond words whirlwind 10-day trip to the Caribbean to photograph Tracy and Luke's Grand Cayman destination wedding. It's a journey that I can best sum up in one word: unforgettable. Good thing I brought back thousands of images to ensure that it would remain so. Suffice to say, both Kyle and I returned home having to admit that we'd actually had more fun on Tracy and Luke's honeymoon than we did on our own, and that's saying something!
It's hard to believe this time last week, I was floating down a lazy river through a multiple miles long cave in the jungle of Belize with the bride and groom (and their families and close friends) by my side, and today, I am returning phone calls, checking in with my couples and rapidly responding to inquiries that came in while I was away (seriously, 2012 already!) I'm nearly caught up, so if you'd been in touch and haven't heard back from me, I encourage you to follow-up again as your message may have settled into my spam folder and been missed in the days between email check-ins the trip allowed.
I'm also editing the images from the wedding in preparation for an upload to Pictage (the online proofing system I use). I already shared some of my favorites with Tracy and Luke when I invited them to our room for a highlights slideshow on the final night of our trip (they loved, loved, loved 'em) and I can't wait to show and tell the story of our week with you here on the Samantha Warren Weddings blog. In the meantime, I'll post just one picture (though my Facebook friends have seen about a 175 of my other favorites) which I love because it sets the scene of our well so well - the cruise ship where a handful of families from Conway to Colorado became one, the beautiful blue sky that blessed us on the wedding day and the dedication of 40 adventurous family and friends who made a commitment to be on a boat for seven straight days because of their love for Tracy and Luke.
And Tracy, I totally miss you too! And Luke. And Ben. And Ryan. And Brooke. And Matt (squared). And Sarah (squared). And Scott. And Todd. And Becky. And, and, and.
SWW WEBSITE | SWW ON FACEBOOK | SWW ON TWITTER | CONNECT WITH SWW
Recycle. Isn't that one of the main maxims of the whole eco-friendly movement?
In a nod to recycling as well as those two other revered R's of the environment(reduce and reuse), I am going to poach one of my previous posts on what Samantha Warren Weddings does to go green as my e-cknowledgement (like my new made-up word? also recycled!) of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. This post is adapted - make that, recycled- from this one, entitled "Green is gold" and published last Earth Day here on the Samantha Warren Weddings blog.
I think it's misleading to assume that going green means you have to give more green. As I discovered when considering my own business practices, what's best for the planet is often pretty darn good for my clients as well! What's more is that many of the actions I've taken to make Samantha Warren Weddings more efficient as a small business have serendipitously lessened my impact on my bottom line and on the environment! Those two tracks are not mutually exclusive and continuing to insist that they are will only prevent us from truly embracing sustainability.
While our branding colors may be lavender and white, here is a sampling of how Samantha Warren Weddings (in addition to working from a home office, recycling, using rechargeable batteries, etc.) has gone green (and why it's good for you):
•I offer completely paperless booking thanks to ShootQ, an online studio management program that allows clients to book their package, fill out their contract, pay their retainer and share their wedding day details with me all electronically. In addition to allowing me to be more organized and confident that payments are where they are supposed to be, this was a move I made to streamline and simplify the booking process for my clients, about 80 percent of whom live out of state. And never again does a potential client loose out on having me photograph their wedding because their contract got lost in the mail!
•The album company I use to print my signature albums offers vegan cover options featuring faux leather and suede materials that look and feel as good as the real thing. And albums are always shipped in green packaging, wrapped in paper made from recycled pineapple leaves and ribbon made from beautiful recycled mulberry leaves (sounds weird, but anyone who has received an album from me knows how fantastic it looks). Amy and Mark, whose green White Mountains wedding I photographed this past July in Thornton, New Hampshire, selected one such signature album to showcase the story of their wedding day. Here are a few images below, or you can read all about it (as well as their reaction to receiving it) and see more images here.
•I've shot several green weddings, including the aforementioned Amy and Mark's at a private residence in New Hampshire, and Sara and Dean's two falls ago at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. Both before and after the weddings, I worked with my couples to educate other couples and vendors about the value of eco-friendly weddings. This has been done in several ways, including:
-a trendspotting entry on the blog about the growing green wedding movement;
-a Bride's Side post by Sara on realistic ways to go green;
-a spotlight on green weddings in the trends section of the 2009 Real Maine Weddings magazine (see item 3 on page 33);
-a Real Green Weddings feature in the Green Bride Guide for both Sara and Dean which you can see here, and one about Amy and Mark, which you can see here;
-and, the publication of a planet-friendly planning primer on the Samantha Warren Weddings blog using images, inspiration and insight from Amy and Mark's wedding.
•Every photograph I take is digital and instead of paper proofing, I post all edited images online for client (and friends and family review) via Pictage. This saves me (and thus my client) money for printed proofs as well as the time for me to order them and my clients to sort through and then store them. Clients can then decide from there what prints, albums and other products they'd like to order, ensuring nothing that is printed will not be admired and adored.
•I'm a member of the The Green Wedding Directory, hosted by the Green Bride Guide. Inclusion is based on my company's proven commitment to the environment, and I'm one of only two Maine wedding photographers currently listed.
•And finally (though these are just small things), in addition to composting, recycling, supporting local farmers and growers and commuting by foot to the office (hey, those are 17 big steps), we use Energy Star appliances, CFL lights and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Home biodegradable lavender line to clean our home and homeoffice. In fact, their colors were in part what inspired Samantha Warren Weddings new look last summer! And, I especially recommend the dryer sheets (hint- once they've done their duty in the dryer, use them to dust with)!
As always, I am always eager to learn more ways to lessen my impact on the environment and promote sustainability. If you have any suggestions or stories to share about how you've gone green, please leave them in the comments section. And if you are planning on having a green wedding, please contact me! Anyone who books a green New England wedding with me through the end of May will receive a complimentary engagement session in support of your sustainability commitment. Go green. Save green.
(Images at the top of post taken from Meghann and Brad's lakeside Laconia, New Hampshire wedding last July. While it wasn't a green wedding per say, the couple -who met while serving in the Peace Corps- were especially sensitive to the impact of their wedding and they incorporated many natural elements into their day as a result, including selecting the father-of-the-bride's well-kept wildflower garden as the setting for their ceremony. And, because the work Brad does helping to bring safe drinking water to the developing world through his position at the Aquaya Institute deserves a shout-out, today on Earth Day, and everyday!) And just because I adore Meghann and Brad so much, here's another one of them:
SWW WEBSITE | SWW ON FACEBOOK | SWW ON TWITTER | CONNECT WITH SWW
Of the tens of thousands of images I make each year, it's always fun to follow where they find homes after they leave mine. In addition to the nightstands, coffeetables, as well walls they grace, they often make their way onto vendor websites, wedding blogs and into print publications.
I was honored when this hawt (really, there's no other word for it) image from Leah and Darrel's Rhode Island wedding at the Squantum Association in East Providence made it onto the beloved Brenda's Wedding Blog, as part of her weekly Eye Candy series. Better have a dentist on speed dial with all that sweetness! No surprise from the image seen above, the theme was showcasing brides and grooms in natural settings including fields of flowers, green pastures and other open spaces. Though it's nearly two years old, it remains one of my favorites and is featured on my website as well. With daily updates of inspiration and images, tips and trends, Brenda's blog at www.brendasweddingblog.com is a must follow for those in the wedding world. Many thanks!
I often share images with fellow vendors I work with at weddings, either as a result of their asking, or me sending some shots along because I think they best showcase their work.
The image below I took of a stunning Sperry Tent set up seaside at one of my favorite New England wedding venues, the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. It is featured on the Sperry Tents Seacoast website. As you can see, there is no better backdrop than a Sperry, which are made of canvas sailcloth and defined by their signature peaks and pennants.
Another of my favorite venues, The Loon Lodge in Rangeley, uses one of my images from Leslie and David's lakeside wedding as the signature image on the wedding page of their website (and they've used it in print advertisements as well).
Wedding planner extraordinaire Amber Small, of the Bangor-based Sweetest Thing Weddings, orchestrated that western Maine wedding weekend and uploaded some of my images to the new My Kate Parker Wedding planning portal where they both showcase Amber's awesome abilities as a planner, and provide inspiration to couples who are searching for images of real rustic ceremonies and celebrations. Here are two of the ten or so images included:
There are many images from the wedding I adore, so much so that I've made it a featured gallery entitled "Love the Lake in Regal Rangeley" on my website. And when I recently took out an ad in Maine's Little Wedding Book, I made my favorite image from the wedding day the focal point of my very simple ad, which you can see below.
As an aside, I typically don't take out advertisements, relying instead on word of mouth from happy couples, their families and vendors, and my website, blog and other social media outsets like Twitter and Facebook. But when I was approached about advertising in the inaugural edition of Maine's Little Wedding Book, I had to say yes. Not only do I personally use Maine's Little Black Book (a directory of home-related businesses including builders, designers, and decorating) and Maine's Little Green Book (a directory of fine eco and energy conscious businesses in the state), but I also appreciate the quality and creativity of the vendors featured, which are among Maine's finest. Look for this new resource on the shelves of fine venues and vendors around the state, as well as at wedding shows, or scroll through online here. You can see the cover below on the left and the editor's note, which features a favorite of my images from Emily and Liam's wedding at Greystone Manor in Cape Neddick two summers ago, on the right.
Last but not least, several of my images were included in the 2010 publications of Real Maine Weddings Magazine, which I was also featured in for 2008 and for 2009. Perhaps the best Maine-centric resource for images and inspiration, the magazine never disappoints with content that is at once obtainable (not like some real weddings) and stylishly stunning. Apparently, my clients are not just fabulous, but also forward-thinking as well. Both of the images were featured in the "Maine Wedding Trends" section.
An image from Sarah and JT's Sugarloaf wedding was used to illustrate the trend of "grey is the new black." These chic grey dresses complimented by colorFULL orange bouquets certainly makes the case (top left).
And long before Pam and Jim's wedding party so sweetly busted a move, my couples were already onto chorography, though luckily Nikki and Victor waited until after they got back up the aisle to get down with their wedding party (bottom left).
Thank you to all those who admire my work and share it, whether in the picture frame or on the page. On behalf of my couples and myself, it is always an honor.
SWW WEBSITE | SWW ON FACEBOOK | SWW ON TWITTER | CONNECT WITH SWW