Jessica and I go WAY back…back even to the days when I thought wedding photography was “boring” (HA how wrong I was!) and as we watched friends and friends of friends get engaged and married, we thought the men of our dreams would never come (we were wrong about that too)! A few things have changed since then! ;)
We’re both native Virginians who met on an internship in 2010 and lived in the same house together with a bunch of other stellar women. After our internship ended and after we finished up college, we decided to move back to this area because we loved it so much. Jessica and I moved in a TINY apartment in 2011 with two of our other best friends from that internship and lived that city life! I still look back to that time and can’t believe the stars aligned so that we could meet, become friends, and share so much life and laughter together!
Flash forward to 2015: Jess had met a tall, goofy, super smart, super animal lover named Thomas who’s a native German, and one of the most patient and warmhearted people I’ve ever met. I’m still not sure if he ever gets angry, but I’m just going on faith that he’s human like the rest of us. ;) After they started dating, I knew it was only a matter of time until he put a ring on her finger. They’re just the perfect fit for each other! They share the same goofy, silly sense of humor, and help each other stay carefree, but also grounded when life gets tough. I really don’t think the world would be the same if they weren’t together!
Flash forward to 2016: Jess sat down on my couch a couple months after getting that ring on her finger and said something to the effect of, “I really want you to be one of my bridesmaids. But I also really want you to be my wedding photographer. Is there a way to do both??” I had heard stories of ambitious photographers doing this before. I had also heard the well-meaning warnings of, “Don’t do it, you’ll regret not being able to be present for the day.” The thing is, Jess and I have this trait in common where if we really want something, we’re kind of stubborn about it and always look for the ways to make it work. I told her I knew it was possible since others had done it, but I would think about it and let her know if it was logistically possible. And then I immediately began scheming to make sure every detail was covered. Not too long after, it was official! They had their engagement session in Boston that summer, and their wedding in August!
Jess and Thomas decided to have their ceremony at Hope Fellowship Church in Cambridge, where they met and are still active members. Since their new apartment was also in Cambridge, it was easy to capture the ladies getting ready, the couple’s first look, wedding party formals, and the ceremony all in the same area of Cambridge.
In the morning, I had breakfast with all the girls and then got myself ready quickly so I could grab my camera. I had recruited a team of two other stellar photographers to help me photograph this day, and the first (Elizabeth) arrived as I was finishing makeup. The two of us photographed everyone getting ready, bridal details, and Jess getting her dress on. I don’t think I’ve seen so many women crammed into a city apartment before!
Thomas had written Jess a letter, I can only imagine how sweet it was! Giving your soon-to-be-spouse is a great way to start your wedding day and get in a happy frame of mind!
Then Jess’s parents arrived to see their daughter all ready to marry her love. It was teary for sure!
Then Jess, her parents, her sister and I all piled in in one car, and Thomas and a groomsman came to Cambridge in another car to coordinate their first look. We had to be careful to make sure they didn’t see each other!
These moments were super romantic. They were just brimming with excitement and gratitude!
Then it was just a short drive over to Hope Fellowship. Elizabeth was a trooper and photographed all the wedding party formals, since I had to be in the majority of them!
Allana, my second helper, arrived before the ceremony and she shot the entire thing with Elizabeth so I could stand with the wedding party. Thank you ladies!!
A few minutes before the music started, the wedding party and families gathered in the basement for a group prayer over the couple. It was definitely very sweet to see everyone come together full of love for these two, and full of hope for their future!
It’s go time!!
Since the guests were primarily native English speakers but many of Thomas's family members primarily (or only) speak German, Jess and Thomas decided to have a reading in both languages. When they said their vows, they said them in both languages as well!
Everyone’s laughing in this shot because the “ring bearer” was a stuffed frog that Thomas and his twin brother Sebastian have had for many many years. The ring bearer made another appearance in groomsmen photos later!
Happy day!! Then Jess, Thomas and I rode in the car with Jess’s parents to their reception venue, the Lyman Estate. But first, coffee! You may remember this couple’s love for coffee from their engagement session!
The Lyman Estate is pure classic elegance. This couple chose well!
When the ceremony ended and guests started departing for the reception venue, Elizabeth was off the hook, and Allana helped me shoot the rest of the day. She photographed some more wedding party formals, family formals, and cocktail hour candids of guests while I took portraits of Jess and Thomas. I snagged a few cocktail hour photos where I could as well!
We definitely had to plan ahead for family photos. Some of Thomas’s family members only speak German, so his brother acted as translator and people wrangler. That was a huge help!
And I have to say, this was the most fun "formals" session I've ever seen. This family doesn't stop laughing and I love it!
One of my favorite shots to get when a bride has a long veil! It’s so dreamy but also allows for some natural smiles!
How could you not fall in love with those eyes??
After portraits were done and guests had enjoyed some time to mingle and try hors d'oeuvres, The wedding party, family, and couple were introduced, and at that point I picked up my camera again to photograph speeches and candids of everyone's reactions.
Thomas's father gave a speech in German which was translated on everyone's programs. So smart!
Everyone then moved inside for dinner, and I was glad to have a break to sit! It was so nice to be able to have a spot at a table with my husband and some of our close friends. However, my camera stayed right next to me and I hopped up a few times to get photos of the couple as they visited with guests and family.
After the meal, these delicious and beautiful cakes came out to get prepped for serving! Are they not gorgeous??
At this point the sun was setting, so we hopped outside for a quick few minutes to get some dreamy late afternoon portraits of Jess and Thomas! I always note the sunset time in every wedding timeline for exactly this reason!
After portraits, everyone enjoyed dessert and Jess and Thomas cut their cake! They were like kids on Christmas morning!
Then the good part…hilarious speeches, and fun dancing! The DJ even got up and danced with a few guests since he specializes in teaching Swing.
And they’re off!
It definitely felt weird to be shooting a wedding all day in a blush colored dress (with no pockets!) instead of my usual understated black (with several pockets). But I have to say I’m so proud that this day went off without a hitch, and it was largely thanks to my two helpers, Allana and Elizabeth! You two are the best!
Jessica and Thomas, it means the world that you’d have me as not only your friend, but also your trusted photographer! Wearing the bridesmaid dress AND the camera was definitely worth it, and I don’t regret it one bit!
Ceremony Venue: Hope Fellowship Church
Reception Venue: Lyman Estate
Suits: Men's Wearhouse
Florist: TrueVine Studios
Placecards and Invitations: Inkwell Trading, Co.
Table numbers + menus: Kate Staaf
Cakes: Keyla Crevier
Catering: Tastings Caterers