Jessica & Shameen: A Wedding at the Equinox Pond Pavillion
I photographed a co-worker and good friend's wedding that was in the making for well over a year in July. Her and her fiance, Shameen, make a great power couple! Jessica is a program director at UMass Medical in the department of Health Informatics & Implementation Science, and Shameen just finished up his doctoral residency program and has accepted a hospitalist position at a local hospital. I remember Jess telling me how hard the program had been on them, and all the nights she would spend cooking for his late shifts and how hard she was trying to keep up with her own day job and responsibilities. Through my time at work with Jess, I got a firsthand look at how much she loved her fiance and I got a real sense that they supported one another. Knowing them, I was pretty excited to photograph their wedding!
I appreciated all the little details that they put in, from the look of their invitations, to the centerpieces. It's easy to look at these things and think "that's so pretty!" and to snap a photo for social media, but I think about the many hours that brides often put in in the months leading up to the wedding to make a picture-perfect day.
There's almost always a story or something of sentimental value that isn't immediately noticeable. Jess was very close to her father, who passed away last year. He crafted this wooden box that she used to hold the weddings rings in. I love when couples incorporate little things of value like this into their big day.
My favorite part of the day to photograph is the 'getting ready' photos. It's just the creative in me. Even though this part of the day is the most stressful and important to keep to schedule, I try to capture the quiet moment, or the looks on the bridal party's faces when they see their friend for the first time after helping them into their dress.
In particular, I'm a big fan of bouquets. There are so many options for types of flowers, colors, how to choose? These roses were the perfect, and classy choice. The flowers for this wedding were procured and artfully made by Melody Brooke of FloralessenceFlorist.
I'm loving these bridal portraits. She is gleaming!
The groomsmen got ready in another state altogether! I had one of my two second shooters capture the most memorable moments early on in the day. Shameen and his family are Sri Lankan, so they participated in some traditional Sri Lankan customs before heading to the venue and while getting ready.
Some dapper groomsmen!
I love these moments - Shameen's mother pulling him in for a warm hug.
Staying true to their culture, Shameen's family participated in a 'farewell' tradition before the big day. The lamp lighting signifies wisdom and enlightenment, and most Sri Lankan Buddhists do this each morning. Before a marriage, the families do this together to signify unity.
Flowers in a glass of water is a good omen in Sri Lankan custom. Before leaving for the big day, Shameen's mother makes sure it is the first thing he sees after leaving the house to bring him good luck.
The venue was nestled in the trees on the pond, with a mountain view. Perfect for an intimate wedding.
All of the decor was chosen or made by hand by the bride herself! I wish I were this crafty. Flowers for the welcome sign and curtains were arranged by Sharie Buenting of TheBloomingWreath.
Part of the morning was plagued by worry that the outdoor ceremony would have to be moved inside due to rain. Luckily, the rain held off until just after the formal group photos were done, and it was some of the hardest rain I've ever seen.
Jessica's mother walking her down the grassy aisle.
The ceremony was beautiful. I don't think it could have been more perfect.
I love the rustic flair and closeness of this shot. The bridge and falls in the woods at The Equinox makes for great formals or a first look.
I always try to pull off a silly group shot of the wedding party, or two. Look at that air!
Jessica's niece and nephew were adorable the whole day through. These shots are just precious.
And how could you forget about the food? Catering provided by The Equinox Resort.
The mother of the bride and the best man gave the initial toasts, and later on one of the bridesmaids and groomsmen gave a joint toast.
Chelsea's toast included a poem, and had some seriously hilarious material in there. It was one of the best toasts I have heard so far, and I know I was laughing too.
The cake cutting. The cake was simple, cute and delicious. I even got to take some home with me in a little takeaway box. This cake was made by Sweet Surrender Bakery based in Ludlow, Vermont.
My second shooter captured the first dance using a centerpiece for framing - love it!
After all of the main festivities, sunset came with some beautiful foggy conditions - perfect for environmental portraits. The lights from the venue just created that rustic atmosphere. We even saw some wildlife in the distance.
And then it was party time. DJ John Strader really knows how to rock it - he had everyone dancing! As the MC as well, I'd definitely recommend him if you're considering a professional to be in charge of your party.
A big thank you to Rachel Leclair, the wedding coordinator and event manager for The Equinox. Things only go smoothly when you have someone like her to handle the many schedules and people who make a wedding day special and a success.
Congratulations Jess & Shameen - wishes for long lives of happiness together!