He Married the Girl Next Door: Katie and Sander’s Wedding in Duxbury

Sander truly married the girl next door.  7 years ago, Katie met Sander when his family moved into the house next to theirs in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  So for their first look we thought it best to stage it right where it all began.  

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Sander’s breath was completely taken away by the elegant bridal look put together for Katie by her sister, stylist Amy Hendren.  The inspiration for Katie’s wedding and styling was romantic garden meets coastal Cape Cod wedding, with the reception taking place at her grandparents’ stunning historic home on Duxbury Bay.  These lovely grounds were also the site for Katie’s parents’ wedding over 30 years ago. Katie’s Lian Carlo dress was so beautifully detailed, Amy suggested Katie keep the rest very classic and simple. The Alencon lace was broken up with an ivory satin cummerbund which helped define Katie’s waist. Amy did not want to take away from the dress so she accessorized Katie with a simple pair of their mother’s diamond studs (her something borrowed) and a diamond and sapphire tennis style bracelet. The shoes were where they decided to add a little glitz with a pair of glittery Kate Spade D’Orsay pumps.   In addition to the first look with Sander, we also captured the first time Katie’s dad saw her in all her finery. It was such a special moment, it brought him to tears.

The men were decked out in brooks brothers blazers and vineyard vines ties. Before getting all buttoned up and ready, they did toasts with Lagavulin, an Islay region Scotch Whisky with heavy peat notes and a distinctly smokey flavor.
The hydrangea blue theme was based on Katie’s love of the color blue, the garden setting which was full of hydrangeas, and the sea.  To tie all the elements together, Dear Rose Studio created a lovely hand drawn whimsical script monogram logo for the day and integrated the same font into all the rest of the wedding’s signage.  Katie’s sisters had many surprises in store for Katie that day.  One included a corn hole set they personalized with the monogram logo for the guests to use during cocktail hour.
After the wedding ceremony at the Pilgrim Church, Katie and Sander were squired away to the Duxbury Yacht Club by Sander’s father in his classic red Sunbeam convertible. At the yacht club they were welcomed by a boat at the ready to take the bridal party off to her grandparents’ home on the bay.  This was Sander’s favorite part of the whole day.  As the bridal party made their approach, they were greeted by the sounds of the cheering guests lined up on the sea wall.  The cheers were punctuated with the skirls of a bagpiper, clad in a kilt and playing scottish wedding songs, to honor Katie and Sander’s Scottish heritage.
Katie and Sander’s wedding guests were treated to a fantastic sunset view and a night full of delicious seafood treats including a gourmet version of fish and chips in a beautiful cone of birch bark. The night came to a close with a wonderful surprise sparkler exit for Katie and Sander that was orchestrated by Katie’s sisters and my amazing second shooters there with me that day, Shawn Black and Jenn Alton.  Sander and Katie’s wedding day was a dream come true for this incredibly dreamy couple.
The following vendors were involved in making the day so wonderful for Katie and Sander.
Stylist: Amy Hendren
Paper Products: Celebrations In Duxbury
Dress: Lian Carlo
Florist: Sarah Beattle
Calligrapher: Cara Esch
If you want to have an amazing sparkler exit like Katie and Sander here are the instructions we provided Katie’s Sisters with:
  • Get the longest sparklers you can find.  The longer the sparkler, the longer they will burn for.  The short little ones will go out too fast for them to last the whole time the couple walks out. 36″ sparklers are ideal, 18″ ones should be the minimum length.  Look for ones that have a duration of at least 60 seconds of burn time.
  • Buy more sparklers than you think you need.  Often guests like to have one sparkler in each hand.
  • Before you invite the guests to come out, prepare a path path for the bride and groom with 3-5 lit candles in buckets, open jars, or vases lining the sides of the path.
  • DON’T make the walkway narrow. Give the bride and groom room to make their journey through the line.  This is safer and will allow the photographers to get better shots. Ideally it should open up in a V shape. Narrower at the beginning and wider at the end. Say about 8 feet wide at the start and 12 -20 feet wide at the end. Every 10 feet or so, have a lit candle.  Sometimes to make it easier for people to know where to stand you can rope off a path or just even put rope on the ground showing people approximately where to stand. Otherwise people tend to have the V get narrower instead of wider and that leaves very little safe room for the couple and even less for the photographers who will have to be walking backwards. They don’t want to be burnt by sparklers they can’t see behind them.
  • Before anyone lights a single sparkler, all of the guests should be lined up and ready to light their sparklers, and the Bride and Groom should be in a designated, hidden spot that gives them easy quick access to their exit.
  • Let guests know to hold the sparklers UP, NOT OUT! They should not wave them around in front of them. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! People have the tendency to push them forward and this could light the bride’s dress or hair on fire by mistake. Hair spray that is likely on the bride makes her hair and dress very flammable.
  • If you are there with the bride and groom as they are getting ready to go, tell them to take their time. Soak it up and enjoy it. Don’t run. Suggest stopping to smooch along the way, and to look at each other. This gives the photographer plenty of time to get the photograph that you are expecting. It also helps ensure they will safely make it down through the line of sparklers.
  • If you don’t have the candles in buckets or those get blown out select one or two people to get their sparklers lit first. They can then walk down the line using their sparklers to light the sparklers of every third or fourth person. That last part is important. Do not light every single person or else it’ll take too long. By the time your 2 people would get to the end of the line, the beginning of the line’s sparklers would be burnt out. Instead Have the lit people light their neighbor. Now that every third or fourth person has been lit, they can light the people around them. This is much more time efficient.
  • Don’t give sparklers to very young children.  In the excitement of the bride and groom coming out, good parental supervision can become difficult, and sparklers can be dangerous.
  • Be sure to check your state’s laws for using sparklers.  If your state doesn’t allow fireworks, confetti party poppers can be fun alternatives.   Fiber optic wands and glow sticks are fun for guests but don’t put out enough light to show up in photos very well.
  • For photographers capturing the exit, use a fairly high ISO and don’t rely on your flash.  Having an assistant trail the bride and groom with a constant video light while you shoot will assist in getting images that are in focus and are illuminated enough.  Gelling the video light with a CTO gel will help match the color of the light to the sparklers.  To assist with focusing in the dark, turn your flash head backwards and put it on the lowest power possible and use the focus assist beam that should be available in single shot mode (AF-S).

Beautiful images don’t just happen they often take planning.  Katie’s parents made sure that the room with the best natural light in the house was spic and span for me after I went to visit their place in advance.  Noticing the unique mirror in the room, I figured out ways to use it that day.  When you look up close at the mirror, you will see in the reflection all of Katie’s bridesmaids in the background.  The biggest piece of a great photo though, is often the emotion captured.  This one with Katie and her mom and her sisters is one of my all time favorites.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Caitlin Meyer

    The tips on how to pull off a sparkler exit are super helpful. I would have bought the short (cheaper) sparklers and gone for quantity, but now I will go for longer, more costly for quality. Thank you!

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