Caitlyn and Rob’s wedding provided incredibly memorable moments for my team to capture. So many of their images will forever remain indelibly printed in my mind.
Since I was 7-months pregnant at the time of Caitlyn and Rob’s wedding, I had the wonderful 2-man team of Shawn Black and Dan Busler working alongside me as my second shooters. From my time with Rob and Caitlyn back in February during their engagement shoot, I knew that their wedding day would be filed with laughter and amazing crafts. The two of them love to go down to their favorite beach and collect drift wood and shells. They used these collectibles in many ways throughout their wedding. Rob crafted a sign out of drift wood that had their wedding date and pointed the directions for the guests to the ceremony with the words “I DO” and to the reception with words “I DID”. Knowing the importance of these elements to them, I incorporated into their ring shot a piece of driftwood and a shell I found that was the same hue of pink as their wedding color from the shore at the Bournedale Function Facility where their wedding was taking place. One of the reasons they picked this venue was because of the beautiful lake, so I made sure to take as many of the detail shots as possible on the shore. After I finished the ring shots, I brought the rings up to Rob and he totally pulled one over on me. He told me totally straight faced that the jeweler must have given them the wrong rings, those weren’t the rings they bought. My heart sank. About 2 minutes into this bit he confessed, he was just messing with me. I couldn’t believe I fell for his shenanigans. Way to be gullible, Vail! I think it was just his way of dealing with his nervousness to see Caitlyn.
After this prank, it was time for the big reveal. Caitlyn was a vision of beauty that day in her lace dress that was topped off with a stunning feather bodice. When we did the big reveal, Rob could not believe his eyes. Seeing his stunning bride before him brought the typically sarcastic Rob to tears. It was just such a genuine moment between the two of them there. It was really our honor to bear witness to it. After we did the bridal portrait session, we made our way down to the ceremony site where Caitlyn’s dad saw her in her dress for the first time. He too was brought to tears. I was so glad we were there to capture that, because in that moment you could see just what an amazing relationship Caitlyn and her dad have. After seeing that, I understood why Caitlyn felt so passionately about getting her dream front-facing shot of being given away by her parents. The ceremony was also extra special for Caitlyn’s parents. The officiant, incredibly, was the same priest that married them over 30 years ago.
Once the ceremony was done we went down to the shore to take a few more bridal portraits. During the shoot Caitlyn told me all about the different DIY elements of the wedding they had worked to make. Rob glued together all the wedding programs that doubled as fans for the guests. Caitlyn put together all the shell place card holders. Rob wrapped bark and twine around all the candle holders on each of the tables. Caitlyn created their adorable “Bride” and “Groom” mason jar mugs and assembled all the s’mores kit favors for the guests to use at the bonfire held on the shore after the reception. To fit with this natural theme, they even had birch bark straws and a birch bark cake topper engraved with their monogram. The amount of work these two put into their wedding was incredible. I am so very glad that in addition to the photos my team and I took, Caitlyn and Rob will have all those hand made mementos to decorate their home with as a daily reminder of that wonderful day.
The reception was both touching and hilarious. Caitlyn and Rob’s first dance was so incredibly beautiful. There wasn’t a single choreographed bit. It was just raw and real emotion between the two for all the guests to see. To see two people so obviously and completely in love and perfect for one another is so moving, and frankly one of the greatest perks of my job. The parent dances were incredibly touching as well. When the music ended, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. After the dances, Caitlyn gave her grandmother a beautiful canvas print made from an image taken on her grandmother’s wedding day. Her grandma’s reaction was priceless.
Rob, the jokester as always, brought in the laughs by using the cake cutter to pose Sweeney Todd style during the cake cutting. While many a bride might have given Rob a disapproving look, Caitlyn jumped right in there for a great photo op and flashed a huge smile that was contagious. After that, everyone took their cues from the lighthearted couple and spent the rest of the night on the dance floor and made s’mores by the shore.
Notes from the day that helped make it go so great:
- Caitlyn wisely had heel protectors on her fabulous Jimmy Choo stilettos. This ensured that she didn’t sink into the grass during the outdoor ceremony.
- When Caitlyn’s bouquet had some droopy dusty miller leaves that she didn’t love, she mentioned it to me. With a few quick snips of my scissors, her bouquet looked much more like what she had hoped for. Always bring scissors to a wedding, you almost inevitably will find some important use for them.
- With all the dancing Caitlyn did, some of the feathers adorning the bodice of her dress started to come undone. As always, I had some hollywood fashion tape with me. We used several strips to secure the rogue feathers and she was good to go.
- I went to the location a few days in advance at the same time of day the big reveal was going to take place. During this time I looked around for patches of open shade, that way we could get shots of Caitlyn and Rob that wouldn’t require them to squint in the direct sunlight.
- The Bournedale Function Facility had a golf cart that shuttled Caitlyn back and forth between the cabin where she was getting ready and the ceremony location so that she wouldn’t have to walk across the property. This kept her dress clean and kept her from having to walk very far.
- For the reception, Caitlyn had a pair of cute and comfy flip flops to wear under her dress so that she could dance the night away.
- Last, but certainly not least, Caitlyn and Rob didn’t take themselves too seriously. Their main goal that day was just to have a fabulous time with their guests and they most certainly accomplished that.