Susanna and Paul’s Joyful Wedding at the Bradley Estate

From the instant I met Susanna and Paul, I loved them.  The way Paul looked at Susanna and how she returned his gaze told me everything I needed to know.  These were two people who were completely and totally head over heels in love.  
The two really are star crossed lovers, so to speak.  They met in BU’s astronomy department.  Paul as a professor, and Susanna as a program coordinator.  While working at BU, Susanna went on to get a degree in graphic design.  Soon after meeting with me for their consultation, Susanna decided to go after her dream to start her very own business.  She built Brookline Photo Editing from the ground up and asked if I might have any work for her.  Being pregnant with my first child, I was thrilled to find someone local to work with on editing.  What most couples don’t realize is that the biggest part of our job as wedding photographers isn’t photographing the wedding that day, it’s post production of the images.   I was beyond pleased that she was willing to do the exact type of edits I normally do for my clients, instead of having to pick from a specific selection of styles that she offers, like most all other editing companies do.  So in the end Susanna has become so much more to me than just one of my brides.  She’s a wonderful asset to Fucci’s Photos and a fantastic friend.

Susanna and Paul’s wedding was 3 weeks before my due date, so I made sure to have a great team with me that could take over in case I went into labor early.  Shawn Black and Dan Busler were wonderful.  They took care of Paul, Susanna, and ME! A week before their wedding I had a complication in my pregnancy called pubic symphysis, which made it very painful to walk.  Susanna and Paul, being some of the most kind and chill people in the world, said not to worry, just send Shawn and Dan.  I was thankful for their understanding and knew that my team would do a great job even if I wasn’t there, but I was determined to get to shoot what I knew would be such a memorable wedding.  Just to be safe, my husband Matt was also on hand to assist with lifting anything I might need (and let’s be honest, to keep me from over-doing it as I am apt to do) and in the end took some great ceremony and dance floor shots.

Witnessing the joy that ensued that day took every bit of pain I had away.  It was an outstandingly beautiful day at the Bradley Estate.  The light coming in through the window was perfect to do one of my favorite ring shots.  The light was also perfect for capturing Susanna and her bridesmaids getting ready.  Everyone was helping everyone else.  At one point there was even a bridesmaid train of help, from the maid of honor helping Susanna into her dress and then the rest of the bridesmaids helping each other into their dresses, all at the same time.  Susanna’s wonderful bridesmaids had done so much more than just help her get dressed that day.  The day before the wedding they all assembled the bouquets together, helped wrap the cookies Susanna had made as favors, and one even made the wedding cake.  Paul and his brother in the mean time set up their own little photobooth in the library by putting together a simple laptop with a webcam and some fun props.

Susanna and Paul wanted to see each other before the ceremony so that they could get their family formals out of the way in advance.  Instead of our traditional big reveal, Paul and Susanna wanted it to be very informal.  Just a little, “Hi, how are you” type of thing.  So we were happy to oblige.  In the end, this was so wonderful.  There wasn’t an ounce of nervousness in their faces.  There was only pure joy as Paul turned around to see Susanna looking so spectacular.  The joy continued during the ceremony.  Paul had a few tears run down his cheek at the sight of his stunning bride walking down the aisle. Until the rings were on, Susanna was visibly shaking in anticipation and excitement. And then when their officiant uttered the words they had longed to hear…”I now pronounced you husband and wife” the two lit up.  It was so very beautiful, and I am so glad that I was able to make it to see that amazing moment. The two kissed each other passionately and then sweetly embrace.

After the ceremony, I got some shots of Paul and Susanna outside the picturesque Manor. Shawn took advantage of the pastoral sun-soaked Bradley Estate grounds for the rest of the bridal portrait session with the couple.  Getting to shoot during that golden hour is always the absolute best. After the shoot they came in and were greeted by their guests who came from both near and very far, as Paul is from England.   Paul delivered a beautiful and touching welcome speech.  Since both Paul and his brother Neil have Ph.D.s, it was fitting we learned a great deal during Neil’s best man speech.  Back in 1999, while Paul was a graduate student at the University of Arizona, NASA launched a probe to Mars that included 2 micro probes.  NASA held a naming contest for the mini probes that garnered over 17,000 entries.  Paul, who studies the upper atmosphere of Mars, wrote the winning essay and got to name the probes Amundsen and Scott in honor of the first explorers to reach the South Pole of Earth.  In the vein of a more traditional best man speech, we also learned about a prank that involved Paul having to wear a woman’s dress.

After the speeches and yummy dinner it was time for some dancing.  Once again, the joy Susanna and Paul had for being married that day was palpable.  Their smiles were ear to ear.  At the end of the night, the adorable couple had one last cheeky request. They said, “Wait, we need to get a shot with Nigel!!!!” I said, “Ok, let’s find him.”  They said, “Alright, Paul’s dad will go get him.  We’ll take the picture at the front of the estate.”  I was a tad bit perplexed, but thought ok, whatever they want.  Up the drive rolled Paul’s dad in a little blue smart car…that Paul and Susanna have named Nigel. Their guests had decorated it with “Just Married” stickers.  Even their car was full of joy.  We took the last shots of the evening and then they  made their getaway while joyfully waving goodbye to all their guests.

Wedding day notes:

  • The photo booth provided great entertainment for the guests.   The only thing missing was a good light.  Once the sun went down, there wasn’t very much light in that room, making the photos rather dark.  So if you plan on doing the same set up yourself, be sure to add a clip-on spotlight to your supply list.
  •  Since there was only a little over an hour allotted for dancing, the couple wisely choose to just have a playlist on an iPad connected to some speakers.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Susanna Withers

    It was such a wonderful day! Thanks so much Vail, for making it even more special. 🙂

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