The very first time I met Lauren and Erikk I asked them about the unusual spelling of Erikk’s name. Turns out that Erikk is one of the traditional Swedish ways of spelling the name, and both Lauren and Erikk are of Swedish descent. Back in high school and college I mostly focused on science and art classes, so it’s fair to say my memory of history is pretty weak, but I had a vague memory of there being some Vikings from Sweden. This may seem like a bizarre tangent I’m going off on, but stick with me!
During their wedding reception, Lauren’s father got up to give what we all thought would just be the toast, but in actuality was so much more. He told the story of a phone conversation he had with a member of a Viking Historical Society who was inquiring to see if his daughter had certain qualifications of a traditional Viking wife, because Erikk was a member of the Viking Historical Society and Lauren was applying for membership. While Lauren’s father told this story, the couple kept looking at each other with quizzical and confused looks. Knowing their backgrounds though, I thought it somewhat probable that Erikk the Blonde, not to be mistaken for Erikk the Red, was actually a member of a Viking Historical Society. Her dad remarked that Lauren had many admirable Viking-like qualities that should afford her membership to the prestigious society: she is beautiful, strong, brave, and would make an excellent mother. Mr. Harrison told us that curiously, the phone call ended abruptly with a blaring alarm…and Lauren’s mom tapping him on the shoulder saying “Honey, it’s time to wake up!” It had all just been a dream. Lauren looked over at Erikk with relief knowing she hadn’t inadvertently gotten herself into a lifetime of Viking war reenactments. Sharing that story was a crafty and comical way for Lauren’s dad to toast her and Erikk. My gullibility and poor knowledge of Viking history had me believing every word Mr. Harrison said right up until the very end. So forever I will remember Lauren and Erikk’s wedding by the bay as the Viking Wedding, and every picture from it seems to hold a little bit of magic and mythology for me.
That day I had Jenn Alton with me at Lauren’s house as she was getting ready, and Tracy Jenkins was with the guys at the Duxbury Bay Maritime School. Jenn and I were met with a spectacularly lush backyard at the Harrison’s. It looked like an enchanted forest. One particular tree even was decorated with a face and a little gnome door at the bottom. As soon as I saw it I knew we had to do a dress shot there. The tree looked like it was “OOOO-ing and Aaahhh-ing!” over the dress. Between the background, perfect cloud cover and shade we were afforded, Jenn and I were in heaven. Most people think a wedding photographer’s best friend is a sky without a cloud in sight. This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Clouds make for dramatic skies as well as natural diffusers of light, which ensure you don’t get harsh shadows. Getting to photograph all the details in this location was a total dream. Lauren even had a special silver clam shell for the rings to be placed in for the wedding. They will always have that memento to remind them of their wedding by the sea. Once her bridesmaids helped her into her dress we took a few last shots on the backyard stairs. The girls then got into the limo and we were off to the Duxbury Bay Maritime School. There Erikk was waiting for Lauren. But this time we weren’t going to do a traditional big reveal. The two didn’t want to “see” each other before the wedding, but still wanted some shots. So we blindfolded Erikk and found a spot where the two could hold hands without seeing the other in all their finery before the ceremony. Their reactions were adorable. I reminded them that they could still get away with stealing a kiss before the ceremony as well, and they took full advantage of the opportunity.
The ceremony was held outdoors with the Duxbury Bay as yet another stunning backdrop. Luckily a few clouds stuck around to keep the light perfect. After the ceremony, while I was taking the family formals, Jenn and Tracy photographed the reception details. Lauren and Erikk had their tables labeled by different meaningful places they had been together as well as colorful designs. The designs found on the name cards matched tiles on the tables that doubled as decor and wedding favors for the guests. As the guests entered the reception hall, they were greeted with a unique guest book and a set of wedding mad-libs. The guest book was a large piece of mounted gray felt, and three-dimensional paper hearts glued to the felt. Pens were provided for the guests to write little notes on the paper hearts. Afterward Lauren and Erikk will then hang this piece in a shadow box to make a great art installation. The mad-libs were a big hit with the guests, and some even read them aloud during dinner. During the formals, the guys let loose, and showed that formals don’t have to be so…formal.
With what little time we had left before the reception started we decided to stick to the area around the Maritime School for the bridal portraits. I had scoped out some romantic spots in advance that were close by in case we ran short on time. I particularly loved the rocking chairs at the Duxbury Yacht Club. To give the happy couple a rousing entrance, their DJ had all the guests waive their napkins in the air. It was great seeing everyone really get into it. Before the cake cutting, Jenn got a great shot of the cake inside, but then it hit me, the reason Lauren and Erikk picked this location was because they loved the view of the ocean. So I asked the staff at the Maritime School if they could move the cake outside for a few shots. They happily obliged and I was so thrilled to get a shot with the bay in the background that I know Lauren and Erikk will love. The special day ended with a formal exit with all the guests lining up behind a line of luminaries to see the couple off. It all went so well, I’m sure at the end of the night Lauren and Erikk were asking themselves, was it all just a dream???
- To get the shot of the dress in the backyard, Jenn and I pinned a piece of white fabric I bring with me on shoots so that we can ensure the bride’s dress doesn’t get dirty when we are doing the dress shots and when the bride is posing outside. Do not attempt a shot like that outside unless you have a piece of fabric like this, and two people to put the dress up so one can watch to make sure the dress doesn’t touch anything while the other hangs the dress. The fabric is brought just past the edge of the dress and then afterwards I photoshop out the excess fabric.
- To do the shot where the couple is holding hands and not seeing each other, they need to be in a location where both of them are getting equal amounts of light. Open shade is ideal. Otherwise, one will be a much brighter exposure than the other. Look for these locations in advance and at the time of day you will likely be taking the shots.
- Let your photographer know why you picked the venue. It will help them ensure that they get photos of the things you care about most.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the staff at the venue if it is possible to get the cake moved into a better spot to photograph the cake. Often the cake is put into a corner, and this is usually the worst possible location both for photographing the cake and the cake cutting.
- If you are doing a formal exit, be sure to let your photographer know in advance. When using luminaries, for them to show up in photographs, candles provide more light than the battery operated tea lights, so candles tend to make for better photos. Additionally, as you exit, be sure to go slowly, do not run. When it is very dark out, cameras take longer to focus. To ensure your photographer gets a great exit shot, take your time and enjoy your walk out of your reception. Savor each moment!
- Most all the images in this blog post were expertly color corrected and edited by Susanna Lamey.