Love on the Farm | Millbury Massachusetts Engagement Photographer

I'm not quite sure how I got so behind on blogging! This engagement session is from last JUNE!!! And it's just the beginning of about 50% of my sessions from last year that never quite made it to my blog. It's not that I didn't love all of these photo sessions, but things get super crazy from June until December around here. I guess that's a good thing, right? Well, these two are pretty much awesome! They're already married at this point, but that doesn't make their engagement session any less amazing (their wedding was pretty good, too, which you will see once I get to the September 2014 photo archives).  Enough babbling...

Emily + Brian brought wine to their engagement session which took place on a perfect late spring afternoon in Massachusetts (I would practically kill for that weather right about now, rather than the 5 ft. of snow on my front lawn!). Good weather + bottle of wine + gorgeous scenery at Stowe Farm...that's probably all I need to say!

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Massachusetts Engagement Wedding Photographer Worcester Millbury Couples Photos Best In Massachusetts Farm Engagement Photos_154
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Massachusetts Engagement Wedding Photographer Worcester Millbury Couples Photos Best In Massachusetts Farm Engagement Photos_155
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Massachusetts Engagement Wedding Photographer Worcester Millbury Couples Photos Best In Massachusetts Farm Engagement Photos_156
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Massachusetts Engagement Wedding Photographer Worcester Millbury Couples Photos Best In Massachusetts Farm Engagement Photos_158
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Dawn + Steve's Engagement Session | Massachusetts Wedding and Engagement Photographer

Oooh, I am so excited for this couple's wedding tonight! I met Dawn & Steve last fall when they came to visit me in my studio to chat about their wedding photography. Come to find out we have a relative in common (we didn't actually know this until after she booked me, which is even more amazing)! The world is so small sometimes, and I'm so happy that photography brings us all together. Anyways, back to the happy couple who is getting married at The Chocksett Inn tonight! Dawn & Steve met a few years ago when a friend tricked them into getting together. They spent their first date fishing, and Steve bought the boat they went fishing on!!! But, wait, it gets even better... he proposed to Dawn on the very same boat!!! This guy knows how to do things right! But, I guess when you meet someone as sweet and special as Dawn, I think he knew the best way to reel her in (hahahahahaha!!!!). Okay, that was such a terrible joke, but I just couldn't help myself.

It's probably best to just move onto their engagement photos, which I definitely couldn't mess up because they are just too cute for words. And their dog, Cooper, isn't too shabby either (don't you just love his tie?).

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Young Love | Millbury, MA Engagement and Wedding Photographer

Ahhh, this couple is just too cute for words. Lindsey + Adam have been together since their first year of college, and they both just graduated. Finishing up their last year of college while planning a wedding..pretty impressive! Oh, and Adam is in the Army, too. Just an amazing young couple, and I'm thrilled to photograph their wedding next weekend at Wachusett Mountain. It's going to be gorgeous, I just know it! I also know it's going to be super fun, too. They brought a friend along, who is also the Best Man, for support and to help with the Harley for their photos, and let's just say the three of them had me laughing and his speech is going to be a good one! Massachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton Wachusett WeddingMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton WachusettMassachusetts Engagement Photos Millbury Photographer Worcester Wedding Photos Couples Engaged Grafton Wachusett

And he's sort of a big Bruins fan, too!

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Wedding Photography Timeline Tips Part Two | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

So, where did we leave off in Wedding Photography Timeline Part One? Oh, yes, you've made it to your ceremony location and you were very patiently waiting for THE moment to walk down the aisle! How could I forget? While you're relaxing and having a sip (or a couple sips!) of champagne, I'll be checking out the best locations for me to stand to get the best shots, without being obtrusive, during the ceremony, if I haven't shot here before. I'll also be taking photos of guests as they arrive and more photos of the bride and groom as they begin to realize what they are about to embark on. Ooh, I love these photos of deep thought, last-minute emotions before you walk down the aisle.

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The Ceremony! 20-90 minutes

Every ceremony is unique, so we will chat about the specifics of yours before planning your photography timeline. You may be having a quick, but still meaningful, non-religious exchanging of vows that takes 15 minutes, or you may be having a ceremony filled with religious traditions. Whichever you choose, please check with your officiant to determine an approximate length so that we can plan your timeline accordingly.

 

The Receiving Line! 20-40 minutes

If you choose to have a receiving line after your ceremony, plan on about 30 seconds per couple to say "hello, congratulations, you look lovely, thank you, nice to meet you, etc.". Then, your

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Bride and Groom Formals, Bridal Party, and Extended Family Portraits! 30-120 minutes

After the ceremony, and after the receiving line (if you choose to have one), now is the time to take all of the bride and groom formals, bridal party and extended family portraits. Now, if you did a First Look (which I highly recommend), we can get these done in 20-3o minutes max, allowing you to go enjoy some of your Cocktail Hour with your guests. This is the last big chunk of formal photos that we'll take together, so if there are any shots that we didn't get earlier in the day, either due to grandparents not available or running late with hair and makeup, for example, we will do our best to get them done now. As you can see there's a very big chunk of time allotted to this area, but there are a lot of "ifs" that will determine how long it will take:

  1. If your ceremony and reception are at different locations, you have to factor in travel time. And remember, always add 25% extra for traffic; if it's a holiday weekend or you're traveling into the city, add even more.
  2. If your photography location is on the way to reception, plan a little extra time to park and for everyone else to park and make their way to the location.
  3. If you did a First Look, we will need about 30 minutes to get some shots with the grandparents, parents, a few more full bridal party shots, and a few more bride and groom shots.
  4. If you didn't do a First Look, plan on spending a good 60 minutes taking photos, and please don't expect to attend your cocktail hour. Also, add on any travel time to the reception location here.

Here are a couple of examples to help with timing:

  1. Your ceremony and reception are at the same location, so there is no travel time, and you did a First Look = 30 minutes
  2. Your ceremony and reception are at the same location, so there is no travel time, and you did not do a First Look = 60 minutes
  3. Your ceremony is 30 minutes from the reception location with 25% buffer, and you did a First Look = 60 minutes
  4. Your ceremony is 30 minutes from the reception location with 25% buffer, and you did not do a First Look = 90 minutes

Also, keep in mind that even if your ceremony and reception are in the same location, it will take some time to get everyone gathered together and actually start taking photos. Again, it's a great idea to assign a responsible close friend and give them a copy of your shotlist with timing to help make sure everyone is where they need to be. And if your ceremony and reception are in different locations, keep in mind that it takes a bit of time to get everyone into the vehicles, parked, out of the vehicles and to the photo location. And by this point in the day, everyone is ready to get into the reception and have some fun!

 

Cocktail Hour! 60 minutes

If you've hired a second shooter, they will help me with some of the post-ceremony formals for a small chunk of the time, and then, once everything is in order, she will head off to take some shots of your guests at cocktail hour and of your undisturbed reception ballroom. Let's face it, you probably won't have a chance to see all of your placecards, floral arrangements and table numbers that you planned so carefully until the room is filled with guests. So, it's always good to try and plan for one of us to take a couple shots. If you haven't hired a second shooter, and your reception and ceremony are at the same location, I will try and sneak and take a few shots of your reception area before the cocktail hour is over. Of course, if there's any time at all left, I will try to get some of your guests enjoying cocktail hour.

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Massachusetts Best Wedding Photographer Central MA Millbury Wedding Photos Worcester Auburn

The Reception! 3+ hours

Now it's time to have some fun! Most receptions will start with you and your bridal party being announced as you enter the room. Prior to this entrance, I will go around to tables or groups of people and take some fun guest photos. Once you're announced and you make your entrance, you will then go into your very romantic and special First Dance. Typically, the Maid-of-Honor and Best Man will give their speeches next, followed by the start of dinner. Again, prior to dinner being served, I will go around and take more group photos. Once dinner is served I usually stop the group photos for a bit, because let's be honest, I wouldn't want to have photos taken of myself as I'm stuffing a dinner roll in my face, so I highly doubt your guests would appreciate it either. Some venues will have you cut your cake after the salad course, some will have you do it after your first dance. I've seen it done both ways (and at other times), so it's best to check with your venue coordinator so that I can plan accordingly. Usually the coordinators are very good, and they will give me a heads-up that it's almost cake-cutting time, and I definitely appreciate this! After dinner, the parent dances usually take place, and then the night of everyone dancing officially commences! Please keep in mind that guests don't start dancing until about 90 minutes into the reception (30 minutes for First Dance and Speeches plus 60 minutes for Dinner Service), so it's best to allot 2-3 hours for your reception photography in order to get the cake cutting, parent dances, bouquet toss, and guests dancing captured.

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Sneaking Away! 15-20 minutes

Many times, if I see an amazing sunset or a location too good to be true, I will steal the bride and groom away from the reception for a few minutes to take some extra special photos of just the two of them. These are always some of my favorite photos from the day! The two of you are relaxed and the idea that you're officially married is starting to sink in, so your happiness is through the roof! This is also the perfect time for using some special lighting techniques if we've entered into the evening hours.

The Exit! 10 minutes

If you've planned a special exit as you say goodbye to your guests and hello to your honeymoon, we can definitely capture that for you! Some couples like to be showered in the glittery goodness of sparklers, while others like to drive off in an antique car. Whatever it is, it's great to get this captured in photos! If you haven't planned for me to stay until the very end of your reception, I have had some couples stage their goodbye so that they can get these images. It's not always ideal to get guests from larger weddings all outside at once, but it can work with smaller weddings or a smaller group of people.

Time to Say Goodnight!

When it's time for the photography to end :(, I will come up and let you know that I have a few more minutes left and ask if there are any special photos that you'd like me to take before leaving for the evening. When all is said and done, you will have about 6-10 hours of photography for your wedding day. Six hours is usually sufficient if your ceremony and reception are at the same location. If you have a short trip between your ceremony and reception, 8 hours is a good amount of time. Ten hours is perfect for larger wedding parties and longer trips between the ceremony and reception.

And that's about it! I know, it's a LOT, but don't worry! I ask lots of questions and then create your preliminary timeline with the best way to use your time with me. Then, once the preliminary blocks of time are set, I get a bit more detailed and do my best to keep everything on schedule. I want you to have the best wedding photos that you could possibly have, so I work very hard to make sure the timelines are realistic. My goal is to capture your day as it happens so that you can create gorgeous keepsake albums that help you relive the day moment by moment.

 

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Millbury Engagement and Wedding Photographer | Sneak Peek!

Lindsey and Adam's wedding is quickly approaching (July will be here before we know it!), and it was so nice to meet up with them last week for their engagement session. They booked me for their wedding last fall, but they wanted to wait for the weather to get better in Massachusetts before taking their photos. This is just a sneak peek of this fun and young couple's engagement photos...more to come! Millbury Massachusetts Wedding and Engagement Photographer Worcester Grafton Sutton Auburn Photos Outdoor Couples

Julie + Mike | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

I have been waiting to post about this wedding for weeks now! Well, I actually photographed this wedding back in August, but then the holiday rush started. So, why didn't I post it in January? Well, this lovely AND BRAVE bride went off to BASIC COMBAT TRAINING in Fort Jackson, South Carolina just a few months after getting married!!!!  While there, she was assigned to the delta company, 2-39 infantry regiment, and she had very limited access to any communication with the outside world, never mind access to Facebook or my blog, so I wanted to be sure to post it when she could actually see it. It's the least I could do, right? I really loved working with this couple! They are young and fun, and their wedding at Highfields Country Club in Grafton, MA was just beautiful. They had perfect weather, perfect sunlight for photos at the end of the day. You will see by their photos below how much they truly love each other.

These two are also totally made for each other! Just a couple days after returning home from basic training, she and her husband hit the streets in all their gear and committed to the "tough ruck". Every year members of the military ruck the marathon on Marathon Monday and fundraise for fallen soldiers, but due to the outpouring of support and security concerns, they aren't allowed to ruck the route on marathon Monday. An agreement was reached with the national park service to allow them to instead ruck on April 19th in Lexington. It's a great thing they are doing, and if you would like to support their efforts, I'm sure Julie and Mike (and all those affected) would be very grateful. You can read more about the "tough ruck" here: http://www.militaryfriends.org/programs/toughruck/    and support them here, if you like:     http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=295389

Okay, on to the wedding photos! There are lots and lots, so enjoy! 

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Massachusetts Wedding Photographer Grafton Highfields Country Club Wedding Photos
Massachusetts Wedding Photographer Grafton Highfields Country Club Wedding Photos
Big CONGRATULATIONS to the both of you, Mike + Julie! And thank you for your service to our country! I enjoyed getting to know the both of you, and I wish you all the happiness in the world :)

Wedding Wednesday! | Plymouth, MA Wedding Photographer, Massachusetts Beach Wedding Photography

  Coral + Matt contacted me several months before to photograph their wedding, and while we chatted about their photography and wedding day plans over the phone and via email, I didn't get to meet them until their wedding day. Matt's originally from Massachusetts, and he still travels here often for work, but he and Coral call Maryland home. They are such a down-to-earth family and so easy to get along with that having our first meeting just a couple hours before walking down the aisle wasn't even a problem. They wanted romance and fun and their love for each other to show in their photos, and they wanted to make sure that the happiness of joining their families as one (he has two beautiful girls and she has one lovely little lady) was documented.

Their ceremony was set to be outside, and the weather in Bourne for Coral's "getting ready" photos was gorgeous: the perfect sunny and warm day in July for a Cape Cod wedding! But, the skies had different plans, and while we were on our way to the outdoor Ceremony site in Plymouth, it started to downpour...a lot!! I will never forget the phone call I got from Coral while trying to see through the sheets of rain hitting my windshield: "Shawna, I don't have a Plan B. I don't have a Plan B!" We made it work, and luckily, they were able to have their ceremony indoors at the Reception Site, Union Fish. And, miraculously, the sky cleared and allowed us to take some gorgeous outdoor photos on the pier.

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Love and Law | Massachusetts Engagement Photographer

  I love this couple, and I can't wait to photograph their wedding this October! These two met in law school in Boston, and now they work together at the Worcester Court House. So, it was pretty obvious where the perfect location for their Engagement Photo session would be!

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Then a quick change and off to the park for some more casual photos! Did I mention that I love the outfits and colors that they chose for their photos?

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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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Jessica + Rich | Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

  Holy Smokes...Get ready for a lot of pics! I just couldn't help myself. Everything about Jess + Rich's intimate wedding over Memorial Day Weekend was perfect. They couldn't have dreamed about better weather in York Harbour, ME...especially after the dreary forecast earlier in the week. I think we were all constantly checking the weather on our cell phones the entire week leading up to wedding day.

The entire day just moved so smoothly and effortlessly, like it was supposed to happen, and if you could meet this couple in person, you would feel how in love they are (and I hope my photos portray that). I get the chills just thinking about their "First Look"; it really was magical, and I could feel the spark between them. Oh, and their vows...THEIR VOWS!!! They even had me a little teary-eyed, and that's no small feat.

Jess + Rich ~ you are such a beautiful family, and I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness! xxx000

Ceremony & Reception: Stage Neck Inn

Music: Cara Brindisi

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Massachusetts Wedding Photographer

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Psst...isn't her dress stunning?

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I love these :)

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Jess could actually see Rich waiting down below for her to come down for their "First Look". She was soooo excited when she saw him! Plus, we were running just a few minutes behind...woops!

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Stunning view at the ceremony.

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If you're local, go see Cara Brindisi perform. She's phenomenal!

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They were such a happy and emotional couple. Such love and everyone was so thrilled for them!

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After the ceremony, we had a few minutes to run down to the water for some gorgeous scenery.

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Katie is quite the performer as well! She got up and sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" for everyone. It was such a wonderful moment.

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Just the beginning of a lifetime of beautiful memories together...