The “First Look”

One of the MANY decisions engaged couples have to make about their wedding day:

Should we do a “First Look?”

What is a first look exactly? What are the benefits of doing a first look? What are the downsides? How do we decide??? Don’t worry, I’m here to help!

What is a first look?

It’s more of a recent thing that modern couples do with their photographer, where they set up a private moment before the trip down the aisle with just the bride, groom and their photographer to capture the moment they see each other for the first time on their wedding day.

Usually the photographer will face the groom away from where the bride will be approaching to start and take photos of the groom anxiously waiting. The bride will approach, tap him on the shoulder and the photographer will capture his reaction as he turns around and sees the bride for the first time and their interactions as an almost married couple. Hugs, kisses, high-fives, tears, jokes and usually lots of compliments about how amazing they both look!

What are the benefits of doing a first look?

1.  Nerves. On such a big, eventful day with a lot of people around, sometimes the nerves can get the best of you, and seeing your favorite person in the world is the only way to calm those nerves. Doing a first look can bolster you because you get a quiet minute (mostly) alone before the vows and celebrations.

2. Timeline. Photographers like first looks because it gives them an extra chance to take photos of just the two of you. Often after the ceremony, with celebrations waiting and antsy family members on-deck, the time for portraits is rushed or cut short. With the opportunity for a first look, we’ve already got at least a dozen keepers of just the two of you where we weren’t trying to wrangle family members at the same time. We’ll even have a little more time to expand on poses after the ceremony!

3. Memories. While it’s a departure from the tradition, a first look can add another special memory to your day. Moments go by so quickly, and this can be an instance when time stops for a minute.

4. Daylight. Depending on the time of the year and the time of your ceremony, we may be competing with the sun to get your portraits in! Doing a first look ensures that even as the sun is going down, we’ve got all the shots we want and takes the pressure off. You want to be able to relax and enjoy yourselves as a married couple. The least amount of stress in that process, the better.

5. You’re freshly dolled up. The first look happens literally right after you’re finished with hair, makeup, and in the dress. Your man is freshly ironed, groomed, shaved, and cologned. Why not see each other and take pictures while every hair is actually still in place? No one’s had a chance to even start sweating!

6. Convincing your Groom. Surprisingly, it’s usually not the Bride who opposes the idea of a First Look… it’s the Groom! He envisioned the “watching his bride coming down the aisle” moment and is attached to the tradition of it, which I totally get. But a couple points that may sway him? The more pictures you have done earlier in the day, the faster your post-ceremony portraits are… the sooner you’re on to eating (!), drinking (!!), cutting loose and having so much fun you forget your photographer is even there! And, you still get that walking down the aisle moment, just with fewer nerves and a better chance of soaking it all in.

Still not convinced? First looks don’t always have to be the Bride & Groom. A first look with the Bride and her Dad is a great idea (and usually make me cry), or anyone who she’s close to that isn’t in the room helping her get ready. I really like the idea of a first look with the Bride and her twin brother, so if anyone out there is ready to make that happen, let me know! 

Another way to “be with” each other before the ceremony is to write each other a letter. They can find a quiet moment to read it before the ceremony, reading words you wrote for them to make them smile and feel your love without you even having to be there. These letters make great mementos and have that vintage, old school feel.

 Perry was SO nervous. Until the moment Zoe made him laugh.

Perry was SO nervous. Until the moment Zoe made him laugh.

Whatever you decide, it will be beautiful and unique to you two as a couple. Remember there’s no wrong way, so go with your gut and do what feels right!

XO,

Mary

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Katie & Justin – New Bedford, MA Wedding

I have the amazing organization Brides Across America to thank for helping me find Katie & Justin and for the privilege of shooting their (second) wedding day.

What do I mean by second? Let me tell you a romantic story.

8 years ago, two 20-year-olds were in love. Separated by distance, Justin longed to propose to Katie. He, in fact, couldn’t wait to see her in person. Instead, from his US Air Force base, he got down on one knee and sent her a photo. Ring poised high, he asked her to be his wife… via email. The modern Juliet to his Romeo (but with a happy ending), she said yes and they married young, happy, and simply in a courthouse ceremony in Texas.

Both members of the Air Force, they served their country for 8 years. Once again separated by distance, Justin stationed in Korea, Katie leaned on the support of her best friend since Kindergarten, Ashley, for love and support.

Katie and Justin wanted to celebrate their marriage with friends and family, so what was eight years? Justin was coming home for just over a week before they both moved on to a new life, and new station, in Hawaii, so the timing was perfect. 

Evident soulmates, they’re reunion was heartfelt and their emotions pure.

This time around, their special day was shared with their hometown, New Bedford, MA, Katie’s Maid of Honor Ashley and Justin’s Best Man Nate.

The ceremony featured twin flames, an intimate crowd, and enough love to fill a stadium at Seamen’s Bethel Chapel in downtown New Bedford.

Mr. & Mrs. Miranda (again), they set to celebrating with the assembly of friends and family.

And while their courthouse ceremony was the height of romantic spontaneity, August 25, 2016 still offered Katie and Justin a few firsts.

With their move to Hawaii just days away, Katie & Justin soaked in all they could of the day with all their closest friends and family.

Their friends and family partied almost as hard as they did. Celebrating Justin’s homecoming, their renewed marriage, and big move is a lot to undertake in one night, but they made it look easy.

Best wishes to Katie & Justin in their new adventure together! Thank you for having a second wedding day for us all to share in. It’s a beautiful life.

VENDORS

CEREMONY VENUE: SEAMEN’S BETHEL
RECEPTION VENUE: BITTERSWEET FARM
DJ: DJ DANNY LEVIN
GOWN: DAVID’S BRIDAL VIA BRIDES ACROSS AMERICA 
PHOTO BOOTH: 77 VW Bus Photobooth
 

Burlington, MA Wedding – Jen & Scott

I was one of the lucky people who got to witness Jen & Scott get married in Mary Cummings Park in Burlington, MA on a crisp fall day in October. The day was relaxed, fun, heartfelt, intimate, and full of love, and I was honored to be asked to photograph it! We all literally met in the park, and Jen had arranged for a JP to follow as we walked through trails in the woods to the spot where they would exchange vows. Before we got to the spot that Jen and her son Jack had found on previous adventures, we came to a clearing with beautiful grass and surrounded by trees that just felt right, so we all stopped and the ceremony commenced.

It was so special to watch as Jen & Scott exchanged vows, because it was clear that nothing else mattered. It definitely didn’t have to be perfect – Jen even ended up with burrs on the bottom of her dress, but she didn’t care –  they were going to be happy no matter what. I admire that kind of love!

And of course, a true mom, as soon as the ceremony was over, Jen was pulling up Jack’s pants and securing them so his minion underpants wouldn’t be showing. 🙂

Falling in love with wedding photography

I’m one of those people who follows, likes, pins, and generally seeks out and admires wedding photography. I have liked so many wedding photographers on Facebook, my feed is practically consumed by them – from all over the U.S. I see the sneak peeks photographers post in the days after the celebration and eagerly click through their albums, loving every minute of it.

One of those photographers is Caroline Winn – who I reached out to via email and was super nice and took time out to meet me for coffee and tell me about her journey. This past Saturday, she let me come along and assist/second shoot Peter & Danielle’s wedding at the Exchange Conference Center in Boston. It was my first experience with wedding photography, and let me just say…..LOVE! It was a busy, long, tiring, on-your-feet all day kind of day, but one of the ones where when you get home you can’t go to sleep because you’re still jazzed!

The day started out in Charlestown, where Caroline had me take another angle on the first look. After that we did portraits at Monument Park, and later headed to the ECC for the ceremony, where I shot down the aisle following Danielle’s entrance.

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I learned so much thanks to Caroline, and Danielle & Peter who were so happy and in love – thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding day!

It’s so exciting to see such a special day come to life in photographs that will be family keepsakes. I can’t wait for my next opportunity!

Political Happy Hour – Senator Elizabeth Warren

Web-1379There are definitely perks to working where I do – one of them being involved in this event last night with Senator Elizabeth Warren. She spoke about the insanity of the student loan system, the Affordable Care Act and its positive role in Massachusetts healthcare, and her love of relaxing with a light beer. It was a great event, with a packed room at Suffolk Law and some great lines of questioning from the Globe’s Joshua Miller. Topics ranged from whether she would endorse a democrat for president (to which she replied, “duh”), to her worst day of service – the day the Senate failed to pass gun legislation. Read the Globe story for more of what she said.

Next week’s Political Happy Hour features Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Until then, more of my photos from last night’s event.

 

 

 

Zumba in Post Office Square

Now this is a lady who loves what she does. Her passion shines through in every candid I took that evening and as a regular in her Zumba classes, she brings it every single time. I loved this shoot and the challenge of action shots. Thanks, Emily!

Want to catch one of Emily’s classes?
They are FREE in Post Office Square through September.
T/TH 5:30-6:30PM

Stodder’s Neck

My sister’s pups are swimmers. Especially Layton, the irish wolfhound mix, loves the water and will swim toward a tennis ball any day of the week. So one Sunday afternoon I joined them at Stodder’s Neck dog park in Hingham. It’s a beautiful park & I love playing with the pups! My sister took some photos of me for my website and caught a couple shots of me during silly laughs post-inappropriate jokes.

Larz Anderson Park

Web-0464This spring and summer I’ve been making the park rounds, checking out as many in the area I’ve never been to! Which is pretty much every park in the area. How did I go so long without exploring these? The same day as checking out Larz Anderson, I hit a couple of other Brookline/Newton spots I’ve been wanting to try: New England Mobile Book Fair & Cutty’s.

Web-0460Next up Stoddar’s Neck Dog Park & Middlesex Fells Reservation!

Yoga Sessions with Emily of Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

When Emily and I were trying to decide where to do our session we debated: tulips & the Boston Public Garden or oceanside with some woods at World’s End in Hingham? Two totally different venues that both give us great backdrops. After waiting and waiting through 108 inches of snow this winter, we were really ready to head outside to take some photos, so, why not both? Nothing sounded better than spending a few hours outside on an early Spring afternoon.

Emily is a yoga instructor and founder of Stay Healthy, Stay Happy. She’s also a Zumba instructor and lifelong dancer, which is very obvious in some of these photos. She is so graceful and very strong, and I really wanted to capture both of those aspects in these sessions.

One of the best things about shooting with Emily is that she is very open to trying out a pose or idea, just to see how it comes out. I wanted to get a shot of her looking very zen in the middle of the bridge in Boston Public Garden during rush hour because I thought it might be a cool shot – and while we pondered whether we’d be photobombed or if we’d have angry Bostonians crabbing at us for standing in the middle of the g–d— bridge – she was willing to give it a try anyway.

Here is a mixture of shots from both days & thanks to Emily for two AWESOME shoots!