Married by the Sea: Marianne and Dan

Leading up to this wedding, I was so very excited. It was the first wedding I was going to get to use my iPad for a same day image slide show and my first wedding done in conjunction with wedding planner Holly Fawcett of In the Pink Ink. Holly is the type of amazing planner that I knew just about everything humanly possible would go according to plan, allowing me to focus entirely on the photography and the Bride and Groom. I had along with me Shawn Black as my 2nd shooter, and my summer intern Mia Buckland. Shawn did some masterful detail work with the shots of the rings, and Mia was a huge help shooting the pictures of the cocktail hour in the Harbor View Ballroom while I was taking the family formals.

During the wedding planning stages Marianne had pointed out to me that the reason they choose the Marriott Long Wharf was for its location and proximity to the sea. She wanted to make sure we got plenty of shots with a nautical feel to them. Luckily for us, the weather gods were with us that day, and for the first time in days it didn’t rain. Also lucky for us, the Marriott finished their renovations of the beautiful Harbor View Ballroom on time, so that we were able to enjoy a view of the harbor throughout the night.

Speaking of the Marriott, they graciously upgraded Marianne to the Presidential Suite which had a lovely terrace and view of the harbor as well. Dan asked me the day before the wedding if we could possibly sneak away from the reception for a little while to take some beautiful night shots on the terrace. This was brilliant on his part because it clued me in on an unusual photographic situation which would require a different set of tools (light stand and softbox) than I normally bring with me to a wedding. After our little jaunt upstairs, the party really started. The DJ, Mike Paganelli, was a real crowd pleaser playing a great assortment of current songs and classic rock. When Journey came on, everyone let loose, and it became my favorite type of party…a lively one!

The day after the wedding I received an email from Marianne’s mom that was one of the sweetest notes I had ever received.

“Hi Vail,
Just dropping you a quick line to tell you how impressed I was with your services at Marianne’s wedding last Saturday. You really were responsible for keeping the show rolling during our “off site” shoots, which requires great organizational skills and a people savvy that you clearly exude. I was very impressed. I feel like you are now our friend. You were very fun, and while I truly respect your PhD status, I am so glad you decided to follow your heart. Shout out to hubby for seeing the calling in you and encouraging it. Best wishes in all your endeavors.”

I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for this note. It made me feel very content with my difficult decision to leave the arena of public policy for my calling to photography and warmed my heart. After that wonderful fun day together, I too felt that Marianne, Dan, and the rest of their family are now my friends, and that is exactly the way I like it to be.

Lessons Learned:
1) If there are any shots you’d like taken outside the locations you and your photographer previously discussed, be sure to let them know. They may need additional pieces of equipment to take the shot properly.
2) If you have a photobooth, do like Marianne and Dan did. Put a scrap book right next to the photobooth and provide a glue stick and metallic pens. Then your guests can post in a copy of their photo strips and write fun messages next to them. This makes for a great little memento from the wedding that is all finished by the end of the night.
3) Dan didn’t want to do a big reveal prior to the ceremony, but we knew time would be tight. So we took all the separate family photos prior to the ceremony. This was a huge time saver and allowed us to get a great bridal portrait session in. We also took these shots at a different location so that Dan and Marianne would have a variety of backgrounds to choose from, rather than having every formal shot taken with the same background over and over again. If you can’t budget time for multiple locations, ask your photographer if they could just change up their angles just a little bit every couple shots.
4) Grooms, if you are giving your bride a sweet card before the ceremony, make sure you do it early in the day, preferably BEFORE she gets her makeup done. That way if she cries before hand, it is much less likely to mess up her makeup, and give her eyes time to get less puffy before pictures are taken at the ceremony.
5) If you have a young flower girl or ring bearer and you know there is some magic phrase to say that gets them to smile, be sure to tell your photographer. In this wedding’s case, surprisingly, the magic phrase was, “Now Don’t You Dare SMILE!”
6) Getting a wedding planner like Holly is a GREAT idea if you can afford one. They can actually sometimes even save you money because they know which vendors are a good deal. More importantly, it really takes the stress off the Bride, Groom, and the rest of their family that day, knowing someone else is doing the worrying for them, and has the whole thing under control.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Nancy

    Thank you Vail for letting us re-live Dan and Marianne’s wedding through your beautiful photos. You captured so many of the special moments and also told their story in a very meaningful way.

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