Things This Photographer Wants You to Know - Part 1

There are thousands of posts out there about things you should ask your photographer, and a few that even highlight things that photographers want you to know.

While I can't speak for other photographers, I can speak for myself. Here are some things THIS photographer wants you to know.

  1. I love weddings. I believe that everyone deserves to have beautiful photographs of their wedding day that capture the emotions and excitement of such a special time.
  2. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and that it should be preserved for their own enjoyment, and for future generations. This applies to weddings, but also to families. Your family should have beautifully documented moments together during all phases of life. (You can read more about why I became a photographer here.)
  3. I am not perfect. I certainly strive for perfection in all aspects of my life, but unfortunately, I am still just a human and sometimes I make mistakes. I will do my absolute best to make sure that every single moment of your wedding is documented, but just like any other photographer will tell you, sometimes we might miss something. This is why I spend as much time as possible working with you to get to know you as a couple and what your wants and wishes are so that we can build a comprehensive list of photos you want on your wedding day. A list helps to ensure we capture all of the most important things.
  4. I, as much as anyone, am aware of the trust you are putting in me as your wedding photographer. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event and you are putting your complete faith and trust in me to do what I have said I would do. Show up and serve you to the absolute best of my ability. To deliver beautiful photos to accompany your memories for the rest of your lifetime and beyond. This is not something I take lightly. (Feel free to ask my husband how much I obsess over meeting my clients expectations. He might tell you that I sometimes make him crazy over it...)
  5. My goal for all of my clients is 100% satisfaction. If something has not lived up to your expectations, I want you to let me know. I want to work with you to make sure you are happy with the experience and products you receive from me.

Tory & Mike - MARRIED!

Tory & Mike were married at the Lakeview Pavilion in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Did I mention that this was on the same day as the Patriots were playing the Chiefs... at Gillette Stadium...  And, it turned out to be one of the best weddings!!

I can't say enough about these guys. From day one I looked forward to their wedding and working with them. I'm not sure that you'll find any better couple... Ever. They literally had me crying at the wedding. Not just once, but twice. I can count on one hand the number of times that's happened in my decade plus in the wedding industry.

We started the morning with Tory (amid a rain storm) at her parents house where she and her bridesmaids were dressing.

(Her dress, though!! So beautiful! And perfectly suited for Tory. Couldn't have picked a more perfect one for her if I had chosen one myself.)

Okay, before you go any further, scroll back up to the previous photo group. Mike took a little jar from the wedding and put it outside before the ceremony. Okay, you can continue... (More on this jar later.)

The ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. They had themed their wedding around a winter wonderland (because it is completely fitting for a January wedding in New England). Little did we know that after the blizzard that was the winter before, this winter would be the complete opposite. Despite the warmer temps and the rain, as Tory was walking down the aisle, the rain turned to snow. It was unbelievable and just completed the perfection of the day.

Their vows had me in tears... I have permission to share their vows, and wanted to include some of my favorite parts.

Both Tory's vows to Mike, and Mike's vows to Tory, started and ended with a line from an absolutely beautiful poem by E.E. Cummings:

I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.

A few other lines that really got me were:

I promise to love you unconditionally and without hesitation, for it is your affection that moves me, your soul that sustains me, your humor that delights me, and your hand that I want to hold for all of our days.

I promise to remember that neither of us are perfect. But will strive to remind myself of the ways we are perfect for each other. 

I can’t solve your problems, but I promise you never will face them alone. On dark days, I will remind you that there is a great big beautiful tomorrow that is waiting for you. I will wait patiently with you and choose love, even when it doesn’t feel like an option

I vow not just to grow old together, but also to grow -- together.

I promise to always remember that adventure is out there and that adventure is always best enjoyed when we are side by side.

And, lastly, the end of each of their vows:

I will love, respect, and trust you, and give you the best of myself, for I know that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.

Tory & Mike also included blessing stones as part of their ceremony. Each guest took a stone as they were being seated and at the appointed time during the ceremony, brought it forward and placed it into a glass jar. Each person was to make a wish or blessing for the couple as they put it into the jar. 

This was a really cool way for Tory & Mike to get to see each of the guests that came to their wedding, and a way that their friends and family could be involved in the ceremony.

I had been dying to see their first dance. These guys took dance lessons and learned an amazing routine for their first dance. It included a lift and multiple perfect swirls of Tory's dress. They TOTALLY nailed it! 

Watching these two together at their reception while everyone else was eating was awesome. There was zero doubt that these guys will go the distance. I hope I'm around to shoot their 50th Anniversary Party.

Another awesome part of the wedding day was the artist they had "live paint" the reception. I have never seen this before and it made me totally jealous that I didn't have someone live paint my wedding. Sheila Foley is the artist and she had an absolutely beautiful  beginning to the piece by the time the reception was over. She's so talented and the detail was incredible. You could absolutely identify people from the reception in the painting. I am dying to see the final product!! (You can see a little glimpse of it below.)

After the earlier part of the day was filled with rain and a little snow, the sun came out in full force. We were able to step outside for a few minutes and get a few photos in on the grounds of the Lakeview Pavilion.

Their wedding will go down in AliCaliPhoto history as one of my absolute favorites.

Now, I take you back to the jar Mike had put outside before the ceremony. It had filled with rain from their wedding day. (Seriously, is Mike not the most romantic guy ever?!) When he showed it to Tory I don't think she cried, but I sure did! Haha! Such a thoughtful thing to do. 

They added snow to it together to fill it the rest of the way.

The final photo I have to share is of their favor. They had Jones Soda Bottles made up with photos from their life together. They even made a special one for me that had a photo of the three of us from the engagement session. I love these guys. They are the most thoughtful people I've met in a long time and it was an absolute honor to be there for these moments of their life together.

And I close out this post the only way that seems fitting. I'll let E.E. Cummings take it from here.

i carry your heart with me. i carry it in my heart.
i am never without it. anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling.

i fear no fate. for you are my fate, my sweet. i want
no world, for beuatiful, you are my world, my true.
and it's you who are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows.
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.

i carry your heart. i carry it in my heart.

 

Tory & Mike's Wedding Day Team:

November Inspirations

I finally got October's inspirations posted half-way through November, so I thought I'd try to get back on track this month and post November's inspirations actually at the end of November. Clearly I didn't make it because today is December 11. Maybe next month...

Loving

  • My family.
    • My birthday is in November and my husband and daughter threw me the best party. It's become a tradition that every year my daughter picks out a plant from the grocery store for me. Usually a succulent. Last year's succulent quickly outgrew it's pot, and well, we never got around to getting it a bigger pot, so it just sort of quit on us. Also, we're not that great at remembering to water plants... Anyway, this year she picked out a cool one that had been painted red, and "didn't look like it would get very big" according to my husband.
    • I also got a bluetooth speaker so we could play music all over the house right from our phones. It's fantastic. Of course, we had to try it out right away, so we spent an hour having our very own family dance party. I have no photos of it, but it's one of those memories that will always be with me even without a photo.

Listening

  • I had already heard a song by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors that I loved, but after listening to a Drew Holcomb station on Pandora, I'm hooked. I love their sound!
  • Ben Rector. I heard one of his songs in a slideshow put together by a fellow photographer and immediately loved the song. Turns out I like several more of his songs, too. I love finding new artists to listen to! It's just exciting!
  • Together On Two. Specifically their EP Arsenaultilus.

Watching

  • Dancing With the Stars. I don't watch it intensely, but it's nice background while editing photos. Still rooting for Bindi!
  • The VOICE. So, I'm not sure how I feel about the Blake/Gwen relationship, but we'll see. I'm thinking rebound for both parties since they both went through divorces this year. Who knows. Anyway, I don't want that to go and mess up the bromance between Adam and Blake, or just the general awesomeness of the show. Meanwhile, totally digging Amy Vachal's voice.

Eating

  • Turkey, like everyone else in America. Turkey for Thanksgiving, turkey for 2nd Thanksgiving (all the left-overs you eat on Friday), turkey for days...
  • And sweet potato casserole. Cause who doesn't love a dish with 2 cups of sugar and a whole stick of butter?

Here's a few photos from my Thanksgiving trip which required a layover at LaGuardia, so I got to watch Manhattan below. My birthday succulent is also included, along with a couple of shots of an empty wine glass someone left next to the firepit while we waited for our horse-drawn carriage ride to see Christmas Lights in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

What's been inspiring you lately?