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?

September Inspirations

Well, another month has come to a close, and it's time for another edition of inspirations.

Loving

  • Football Season!
  • Fall Temperatures!

Listening

  • Still enjoying  the Vanessa Michael Munroe series of audio books. After having to wait for a few other people to finish the fourth book in the series, I was finally able to check it back out from the library again and finish it. I had only gotten half way through the first time I borrowed it, so waiting was a little bit of a struggle! Now, I'm just waiting for 11 more people to finish listening to the fifth book so I can dive into it!

Watching

  • Two Words. COLLEGE. FOOTBALL.
    • There aren't words to describe how much I enjoy watching college football. Particularly Auburn and LSU. Pretty much my entire family went to Auburn, starting with my grandfather, who went there when it was called Alabama Polytechnic School. So we have generations of Auburn running in our veins. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in Tiger Country... LSU Tiger Country. He's an LSU Alum, and we have enjoyed several years of attending Auburn versus LSU games. Unfortunately the years we attend seem to always go in LSU's favor... but nonetheless, there isn't much that can compare to the energy and atmosphere of a Saturday in the South tailgating and cheering for your team.
  • Longmire. So this got cancelled from cable, and Netflix picked it up. We had watched it up until it was cancelled and can't wait to see what Netflix has in store for it!
    • Side note. The channel that cancelled it did so because it's viewership was "too old". Basically it wasn't hitting the highly coveted 18-34 year old demographic. This is a highly sought after group because people in that age range are thought to have less brand loyalty and more disposable income than other groups. Interestingly enough, I heard a podcast talking about how the demographic that was watching the show- those in the 50+ age group, are actually the ones who are more likely to have free time and disposable income. (All the 20-somethings living with their parents say woooo!) Might not have been a great move by that channel...
  • The Late Show with Steven Colbert. I always loved watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and fun fact, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity (and or Fear), in Washington D.C., and the most important thing I have to say about it is, "Jon Stewart for President". It was also a lot of fun and there were a lot of really cool people in attendance.
  • Dancing With the Stars. I don't watch it intensely, but it's nice background while editing photos. Anyone else watching? I'm cheering for Bindi Irwin (Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter's daughter) and Alek Skarlatos (one of the guys who stopped the terrorist on the train in France recently). Their dances were awesome! (See Bindi's here, and Alek's here. Annnnd okay, I'll definitely admit Nick Carter has moves...)
  • I finally finished Dexter. As far as the ending goes, I suppose it was as happy an ending as you can expect for a serial killer, but I always hope for the fairy tale ending anyway. I'd say it was "just meh".
  • The VOICE is back and I am LOVING the twins. They were awesome! Can't wait for more episodes!

Eating

  • A giant tub of cheese balls. I can't even tell you how many years it's been since I ate a cheese ball. EVERY time we go to Sam's my daughter asks if we can buy them. She has never had one, but apparently bright, unnatural orange looks appetizing. (And, let's be real... they are kinda delicious.) We tailgated with some friends two Saturday's ago and I figured that was as good a time as any to buy them. Between 4 adults and 3 kids we barely put a dent in them... I imagine a large portion of them will make it to the trash.

What's been inspiring you lately?

Erica & Adam - MARRIED!

Erica & Adam were married at Camp Lincoln in Kingston, New Hampshire. They had an absolutely beautiful day for their wedding and were able to rent the camp for the weekend so they could spend as much time as possible celebrating with everyone.

How amazing were their details?! Life-size Connect Four, Jenga & other fun games, their table numbers, and their awesome name cards attached to a wine glass for each of their guests! (Props to Laurie from  Everyday Details  on the name cards and the giant games!)

How amazing were their details?! Life-size Connect Four, Jenga & other fun games, their table numbers, and their awesome name cards attached to a wine glass for each of their guests! (Props to Laurie from Everyday Details on the name cards and the giant games!)

Their story is a unique one. So unique that I have to share it. They have known each other for more than a quarter of a century...

I adored their first look! How cute are they!?

I adored their first look! How cute are they!?

Erica & Adam met each other on their first day of pre-school and became fast friends. They ended up in the same class during Kindergarten, first, second, third and fifth grade. (If their mom's hadn't already guessed, this one was made to be... Apparently, the mom's were way ahead of them and had been planning their marriage for years before it finally happened!)

After elementary school Adam and his family moved away, but returned to the area for high school. It wasn't all love-at-first-sight during those years, but they hung out occasionally.

After high school, they became good friends again, as they had been during their elementary years. And then, Adam joined the Marines... They kept in touch here and there, and after he returned from his deployment, Erica & Adam spent an evening catching up over dinner and beers. The third time they hung out after his return, something unexpected happened... Adam kissed Erica! It was a complete surprise, but they agreed it just felt right. Apparently, Adam had his eye on Erica even during his time on active duty, so I guess Erica was the only one who was actually surprised. ;o)

I didn't do engagement photos with Erica and Adam, so this was the first time I had gotten to spend a large amount of time with them in person. The things you learn about people on their wedding day are always so interesting. You get a good sense of who people are by listening to their friends and family talk and give toasts, but also by observing them on what can be one of the most emotional days of their lives.

I am so thankful I was given the absolute privilege of peering into their lives for this one day. Erica was the perfect bride. The one as photographers we all hope we get a dozen of! Not only was she absolutely gorgeous, she was so laid back and was actually more worried about making sure everyone else was okay and had what they needed than herself. I believe self-less is an understatement when it comes to Erica and how she cares for her friends and family. She loves people well.

I didn't get to spend as much time with Adam as I did Erica, but from where I stand, they are a wonderful match. Not only could I see their love, I could feel it. It was a wonderful day and when I say it was FULL of love, I might be understating it.

Congratulations guys! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your story with me!

Erica & Adam's Wedding Day Team:

August Inspirations

Loving

  • Lunch with my husband. We have gotten to have several lunches lately that didn't involve feeding anyone but ourselves and that has been awesome. Also, talking about the books we're reading has been a lot of fun, too. So many parallels in completely different genres.
  • A Sunday break from the busyness of life visiting with friends and getting to see Lake Winnipesaukee from the middle of it on a boat. Thanks to our friends who so generously shared their time and boating skills with us!
  • Contour Shuttle Pro V2. This thing has changed my life... Okay, maybe a slight over statement, but it certainly has changed my editing life. A lot of people use it for video editing, but I am LOVING it for photo editing. Being able to control sliders with a spinning wheel is SO much easier than using a mouse.

Listening

  • Still enjoying  the Vanessa Michael Munroe series audio books.
  • Also still enjoying and so incredibly impressed by Hillary Huber. It's no mystery why she has won awards for her reading. She does so many different voices for the characters that I can't even imagine how she keeps them straight!

Watching

  • Still watching Dexter. Not bored of it, just plugging along while editing all the wonderful weddings of late.
  • Disney Movies. The annoying thing is that all my favorites are "in the vault". Boo. So, to beat the system I broke out the old VHS player and picked up Aladdin, Lion King & Lady & the Tramp for $1 at the thrift store. Take that Disney! Haha! #beatingthesystem (Of course, it blows my mind how different the quality between a VHS and a DVD is... not to mention a Blu-ray. But, for $1 each... it looks perfect! ;o) )
  • Netflix Specials from comedians. Namely, Eugene Mirman. For those who don't recognize the name, he is the voice of Gene on Bob's Burgers. After seeing his comedy special and also seeing H. Jon Benjamin on another Netflix show, I am convinced that creators of shows like Bob's Burgers just asked, "Hey, what happens if we get a bunch of comedians together to voice cartoon characters and just have them be themselves rather than conform to a pre-conceived character?" And, thus was born Bob's Burgers, and specifically Bob's and Gene's characters... Seriously, the resemblance is mind-blowing
    • The other hilarious part of Eugene Mirman's comedy special was an entire bit he did on parking in Portsmouth, NH. He basically recounted the stories you can find here and here. It's hilarious, and being someone who has parked in that exact space, it does make sense to park the way he did. You have no room to turn around in that section and there is only one way in and out, so you have to either back out of the entire section of parking, or back in the space as he did. Which do you think might be the safer option?

Eating

  • Mandarin Oranges, because they taste like candy.
  • Skinny Pop. Cause the more you eat, the skinnier you get, right?
  • Butternut Squash Risotto. Y'all. This. It is time consuming to make, and I don't make it often, but when I do... oh so yum! 

What's been inspiring you lately?