Dawn + Steve | A Wedding at The Chocksett Inn | Sterling, Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

It was a perfect summer day in July, and it couldn't be more fitting for this perfect couple! Dawn and Steve's wedding at The Chocksett Inn in Sterling, MA, was everything you'd want in a wedding. Lots of romance, love, family, friends and fun filled the day. Their venue was absolutely beautiful, and it provided the perfect backdrop for all of the photography I had planned for their day. I just love all of the special touches throughout the day, too, from the special gifts Dawn and Steve exchanged before seeing each other for the first time to the special heart sewn into Dawn's wedding dress to honor her cousin. Dawn and Steve wanted to celebrate their love as a couple as well as all of their family and friends, and I think they did just that with the romantic feel they were trying to achieve...perfectly!

The perfect cake accessory for Steve's proposal! In case you don't remember, I posted about it in their engagement session post :)

Fabulous Vendors:

Ceremony + Reception: Chocksett Inn

Flowers: Windmill Florists

Cake: Aunty Ellen's Creative Confections

 

Wedding Photography Timeline Tips! Part One | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

Wedding Season in Massachusetts has officially begun! The greenery and flower blossoms are full of their vibrant colors, and the sun sets nice and late providing the perfect lighting for some gorgeous and romantic wedding photos. I'm in the midst of creating lots of Wedding Photography Timelines for all of my upcoming weddings, and I thought this would be the perfect time to offer all of my couples a few helpful tips to make their wedding day (and photography!) run as smoothly as possible. I really want to help you maximize your time with me, while still allowing you to enjoy every ounce of happiness of your day.
My style of shooting is a mixture of capturing timeless portraits while documenting the events of the day. I want you to be able to look through your wedding album and remember all the details that you carefully took the time to choose, and I want anyone to be able to look through your wedding album and feel like they were there, enjoying all of the details and events that they might not see as a guest (like the first time the groom sees his bride in her wedding gown during their first look!). Because of my style, I photograph as much as possible earlier in the day. Once all of the details of getting-ready and the family portraits are complete, I can move on to documenting your day as it happens...and YOU can move on to enjoying every moment of your wedding ceremony and celebration as it happens!

1. It's All In The Details! 3-4 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes

Some of my favorite wedding photos are the detail shots! This is the time when all of those decisions about flowers, the right shoes, the sparkly jewelry...this is when those decisions count! I will normally arrive about 3-4 hours before the ceremony starts to begin photographing your wedding details. I can do these at the church, in a hotel room, or wherever the bride is getting ready. Some things to have handy for when I arrive: wedding dress and veil (on a nice hanger is always so much better!), shoes, jewelry, all of your wedding rings (engagement ring and both wedding bands), flowers, invitation, perfume, and any other items that are special to your day. And, it's always helpful to me to have all of the junk in the room cleared. I know everyone is usually crazy and running around, but just picking up the water bottles from the nightstands or plastic covers from the bridesmaids' dresses is extremely helpful. A good tip is to assign one of your bridesmaids to just do a quick clean-up before I'm scheduled to arrive!

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Massachusetts Best Wedding Photographer Millbury Central MA Worcester Sutton Grafton Auburn

2. Getting Ready! 2.5 - 3 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes

Now, it's time to show me that gorgeous hair and makeup and stunning wedding gown! Ideally, while I'm doing the detail shots, your hair should be done, and you should be in the makeup chair! That way, I can grab a few photos of you getting the finishing touches of your makeup completed. We'll then find the perfect location for you to slip into your dress. It's very important that you plan enough time for putting on your wedding gown. Some are very simple, but other dresses that have a lace-up corset or lots of pearl buttons can take 15 minutes or more to put on! Also, keep in mind, if you want your mom/sister/maid-of-honor to help you put on your dress, make sure that they've already had their hair/makeup done and they are dressed and looking their best, too! At this point, I'll usually sneak away with the bride for a few minutes to take some lovely bridal portraits.

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Massachusetts Best Wedding Photographer Millbury Central MA Worcester Sutton Grafton Auburn

 

3. Groom and Groomsmen! 2 hours before ceremony; 15 minutes

Once the bride is ready, if I don't have a second shooter and the groom is getting ready at the same location as the bride, I'll usually go check in on him and his groomsmen. All the guys should be pretty much dressed and ready to go at this point. I'll take a few photos of the groom putting on his suit, hanging out with the guys, opening a gift from his bride-to-be, and just document the fun he's having hanging out with the guys.

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4. First Look! 2 hours before ceremony; 45 minutes

First looks are amazing! Besides seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, you get a few private moments to be alone and enjoy everything that's about to happen. And then you get to have some amazing portraits taken of just the two of you! Oh, and the other bonus? Because you've already seen each other for the first time, you can also take all of your bridal party photos now, too! And wait, there's even one more bonus - you get to enjoy your cocktail hour because most of your portraits are already done!

One of the biggest misconceptions about the first look is that it won't be as special or emotional because the groom's first glimpse of his bride won't be on her way down the aisle! Honestly, I have seen plenty of emotions fly during the ceremony after first looks. It's the BIG moment! The moment that you've been waiting and planning for all of these months! That moment when you are officially getting married! You will still definitely feel it!

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Massachusetts Best Wedding Photographer Millbury Central MA Worcester Sutton Grafton Auburn Massachusetts Best Wedding Photographer Millbury Central MA Worcester Sutton Grafton Auburn

 

5. Bridal Party Portraits! About 1 hour, 15 minutes before ceremony; 30 minutes

After your first look, we will go right into your bridal party portraits. I highly suggest that you assign a bridesmaid or close friend to help gather everyone for your bridal party portraits. Since time is often limited at this point in the day, we really want everything to go smoothly and having everyone all over the place will just cut down on your portrait time. Not good, right? Once you have your final timeline, give your friend/bridesmaid a list of the people she needs to gather, and have her get them there 10 minutes before the specified time. Trust me - nobody will be mad that they have to wait, but you might be upset that you didn't get that special group shot you wanted!

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6. Head on over to the ceremony location and Relax for a Few Minutes! About 45 minutes before ceremony

This is always dependent on how far away your Getting-Ready/Portrait location is from the ceremony location. If you are getting ready at the same location as your ceremony, we'll have a few more minutes for portraits, and you'll have a few more minutes to relax. If you have to travel, it's always safe to add about 20% extra travel time to your timeline. We will discuss this and adjust as necessary because there will mostly likely be traffic! Either way, I always like to give the wedding party a few minutes to relax before the ceremony, whether it's back in the hotel room, in the limo on the way to the church, or even in a private room inside the church. It gives people a chance to use the restroom, fix hair and makeup, have a quick snack and just unwind before the real fun begins! Also, if for some reason things run behind schedule, we can always use this time to catch up a bit.
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So, I think that's enough for Wedding Timeline Tips Part One. Hope you found it helpful, and be on the lookout for Wedding Timeline Tips Part II.

 

GIVEAWAY! | Massachusetts Photographer

I was thrilled to learn that one of my images was going to be featured in Chic Critique's latest magazine, The POSH Issue! I have been a long-time follower of their blog and forums, and I just love everything about their magazine. It's great for photographers, as well as those who just love to look at pretty images :)

In honor of this awesome accomplishment, I would like to give away ONE FREE DIGITAL COPY of their latest magazine, The POSH Issue, Issue 5.

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It's awesome, really. I've read it at least 3x in the past week. It's loaded with fabulous images, great tips for photographers from other professionals, and well, my image is in there, too. Plus, it's perfect to read on your iPad or other tablet.

To enter to win this giveaway, complete the form below.  You may choose any or all entries. The winning entry will be validated to ensure that all entry requirements were completed.

Contest closes at midnight on March 29. Good luck!

CONTEST HAS ENDED! Thanks for participating :)

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Photos | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer, Boston Wedding Photographer

It's that time of year! I'm sure there are many of you who experienced the magical feeling of getting engaged over the holidays. CONGRATULATIONS to both of you! Of course, this Wedding Wednesday is going to focus on your Engagement Photos. Do you really need engagement photos? In my opinion, that would be a BIG YES! Don't worry, all of my wedding couples receive a complimentary engagement session when they choose me to be their wedding photographer...BONUS! I absolutely LOVE photographing engagement sessions. I get to connect with the two of you without all of the hustle and bustle of your wedding day (not that I don't love photographing your wedding day, too, but you know what I mean because, let's face it, there's a LOT going on). We get to chat more and just have fun hanging out.

Why do I think engagement sessions are so important? Well...

1. The Number One Reason: We get to know each other better. I like to think that we actually become friends, and that helps me understand YOU better. I get to know what makes you happy, what makes you laugh, what your likes and dislikes are, what makes you love that guy or girl who asked you to marry them. It helps me know how to photograph you in a way that will bring out your true feelings for one another. You also get to see how I work and photograph. Not only for your engagement photos, but more importantly for your wedding. Sometimes we will email for months and months, but the first time we actually meet in person will be the engagement session. By the time we get to your wedding, you're practically professional models. Not even joking!

2. All of my engagement sessions are fun and relaxed...relaxed, being the key word. When you relax in front of the camera, it really shows, and you truly shine through. Who wants boring photos where you're standing around with a nervous smile staring at a camera? Not me, and surely not you! We chat and choose a location that will best represent you as a couple. And honestly, it is a lot of fun! (Even if it is totally freezing outside like it was for my featured engagement session below). Plus, it will hopefully be one less thing you will have to be nervous or worried about on your wedding day.

3. You get some awesome photos of you as a couple outside of your wedding attire. And because they are taken by me, the creative style of your engagement photos will match the style of your wedding photos. Just think of how amazing your wedding album will be!

So, with all of that said, here is my last engagement session of 2012. Patrick + Emily. They are so much fun, and they love to laugh and goof around, which I think you can tell by the big grins in almost all of their photos. Enjoy!

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Best Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in MassachusettsBest Boston Wedding Photographer Worcester Wedding Photojournalist Photojournalism Premier Wedding and Engagement Photographer in Massachusetts

 

Wedding Wednesday! | Pre-Ceremony Details! | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

MASSACHUSETTS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERI don't know about you, but some of my favorite wedding photos are those that happen before everything happens! The Bride getting her makeup done; photos of her shoes, her dress, her rings, her flowers; the Groom hanging out with his best man, groomsmen and father, maybe having a cocktail or watching a football or baseball game (YES! This happens a lot!).  I love being a part of these pre-ceremony details. It's like a secret behind-the-scenes glimpse of such an important day of their lives, and I get to capture what the other doesn't get to see. So exciting! If you want to have pre-ceremony detail photos taken, here are a few things to consider:

TIMING

In order to set up and get gorgeous shots of all the tiny details of your wedding like your shoes, flowers, dress, etc., I like to start shooting them about an hour before you plan to put your dress on. This gives me plenty of time to plan, set up everything just right and shoot. It also gives me a few extra minutes to chat and get to know your bridesmaids as well as scope out the best lighting for you to put on your dress. Then, I like to shoot you in your dress for about 15 minutes prior to your First Look or leaving for the Ceremony.

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LIGHTING

Natural lighting is the best for the detail shots and for your "Getting Ready" shots. Try and choose a location with LARGE windows and LOTS of them! If I find that your room isn't providing this, I may ask you to move to a different location to put on your dress and for a few solo shots. You want awesome photos, right? (And don't worry, we'll make sure the Groom is far away so he can't see you!)

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GATHER THE GOODS!

It's a good idea to have your Maid of Honor or another bridesmaid help you gather the goods for the detail shots. Some things you might want to include:

The Dress (on a nice hanger), The Shoes, The Jewelry

All of Your Rings

The Flowers (your bouquet and your bridesmaids)

The Invitation

Heirlooms (something old, something borrowed, etc.)

Anything else that is important to YOU! (Garter, special note from The Groom, etc.)

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SHAWNA SHENETTE BEST MASSACHUSETTS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WORCESTER OUTDOOR WEDDING PORTRAITS GETTING READY SHOTS