Keri & Jim’s Branford House Wedding ~ Mystic Connecticut Photographers

Keri & Jim’s wedding was something Andy & I had been looking forward to for nearly two years! Even though we get to witness a lot of “I dos,” it’s not often that we’re also there for the, “Yes!” that inevitably leads a couple to the aisle. But, we were there for Keri’s, “Yes!” and that made also being there for her and Jim’s “I dos!” that much more special!!!

Back in the fall of 2013, a very sweet Jim had reached out to us because he was planning a romantic weekend on the Cape with his girlfriend, Keri, and he was going to pop the question and ask her to marry him. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that!! He reached out to us because he thought it would be nice to have that moment captured in photographs. Having never photographed an actual proposal before, we were super excited for the opportunity to be in on such an intimate moment.

Jim & I spoke over the phone and in emails for several weeks, planning how it would all go down. And, as if the love Gods were shining down on us all, Jim got an unseasonably warm November day to sweep his girl off her feet. As expected, Keri said, “Yes!” and so began the wedding planning. You can read more about them and their proposal HERE and also check out their super sweet spring love session HERE.

Andy & I have grown quite fond of Keri & Jim over these many months. They are two of the sweetest, kindest, most sincerely loving, happy, wonderful, fun people and we just knew their wedding would be full of the kind of love & goodness that makes getting great photos a cinch….and even better….makes us LOVE what we do!

The wedding itself took place at the stunning University of Connecticut’s Branford House, located at the seaside Avery Point in Groton. Originally built in 1903 by wealthy railroad magnate Morton Freeman Plant, the 31-room Tudor style granite mansion was designed by his wife, Nellie, and named after the town where he was born. Eventually, the mansion was sold and ended up in the hands of the State of Connecticut. It became the property of the US Coast Guard for a time, and then was turned over to the University of Connecticut as a branch campus.

With a unique history, the Branford House is a truly stunning backdrop for a wedding, and it was super fun for us to be somewhere new!

We arrived in Groton the day before the wedding to check out the area and find our spots for pictures…..and there were LOTS of great spots!! We then popped in on their welcome party later that night, to meet their families. Everyone was super welcoming, which made us even more excited for the big day.

The morning of the wedding, I met Keri & the girls at the Red Door Spa, in the Mystic Marriott, where Keri, Jim, their wedding party and nearly all of their wedding guests were staying. Loved that!

In this first photo, Keri is getting her wedding day make up applied, while her super sweet and doting MOH, Kate, looks on.

After hair & make up were done, the girls all headed to the Branford House to get dressed. With all of its stunning woodwork & detailed architecture, the Branford House was a picture perfect back drop for getting ready! Such a treat! But, the best part was that Keri was smiling the entire time. Sometimes brides get so caught in the moment of getting dressed that they pull really funny/serious faces. I’m often having to say, “happy thoughts” or “happy faces” to remind them to relax. But, with Keri, it was all smiles….all day!  See what I mean as Keri gets tied into her dress by Kate & another bestie, Justine…

I love the look on Keri’s lovely momma’s face as she watches her baby girl get dressed. Momma Jeannine and Justine help put the finishing ties to the dress, and she’s soon ready to go.

Love her girlfriends’ reactions….Sweet Jolene got a bit emotional. Awwwwww!!

Our gorgeous gals: Tara, Justine, Jessica (Jim’s cousin), Keri, Kate, Jolene & Jessica (Keri’s cousin). Pretty ladies + pretty light + pretty room = pretty easy job for me.

The arched doorways and stunning fireplace mantle made for a perfect frame for our lovely bride. Isn’t she ga ga gorgeous?!!

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Jim gets a little help with his cufflinks from his best man, Brian, as the rest of the guys get ready too.

Love the nautical inspired bowties from Vineyard Vines….almost as much as this candid moment Andy captured as Frank (who’s married to Jim’s cousin, Jess) takes a selfie with Jim’s lovely momma, Gail.

Our handsome groom. I love this photo Andy captured of Jim….he looks so seriously serene, and this may have been the only time all day he wasn’t smiling the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Watching Jim make his way to the ceremony was particularly sweet. He was BEAMING….like a kid on Christmas morning who got everything on his wish list!

The lovely guys: Joe, Jason, Frank, Jim, Brian, Jason (Keri’s big brother) and Scott. Such warm, fun, funny guys! Love them!

Jim is an only child and the apple of his momma’s eye. Watching her relish how happy her son was on this very special day was such a treat. Jim’s proud papa, Richard, was also a love! Truly, such an awesome group to not only work with, but get to know and welcome to our bello family!

Keri makes her way to her soon-to-be hubby, flanked by her mom & dad, Jeannine & Peter. Is she beaming or what???!!!

As was her main squeeze…..if this isn’t the look of love, I don’t know what is!

More happy…..

As perfect as their proposal day and engagement day were, their wedding day could not be topped….perfection in every way!

Father Shawn Smith infused a lot of humor into Keri & Jim’s ceremony, which seemed perfectly befitting this fun couple!

Happy friends & family look on, showing their love & support with more happy smiles…

Audrey (Jess’s & Frank’s baby girl) listens sleepily during the ceremony…..what a little cherub, eh?!!!

With this ring….

Gail & Jeannine fight the wind on the point to light the unity candle. It made for some giggling by everyone. Love that!!

And with that….our new mister & missus are married. Happy. Happy. Happy!! Now off for some photos….

After the family portraits on the lawn, we took the bridal party to the front of the House to take advantage of the shade and cool building facade. This next shot makes me laugh because it was taken right after Andy got pooped on by a very angry seagull. There were several birds circling above us as we were photographing the bridal party. They were squawking and seemed irritated we were there. One let us know exactly how he felt. Ironically, I heard the splash as a portion of the sizable deposit hit the floor, right next to me, and I thought to myself, “Phew….that was close.” I looked up and the bridal party had this reaction as they realized the bird got Andy, who took it like a trooper and laughed it off. We got a picture of him too, but will save that one for Jim & Keri. Love the reactions of everyone…this was such a fun group! Totally worth getting pooped on. (Easy for me to say.) Happily, Andy was able to clean up and no one was the wiser…plus, it makes for a great story for Keri, Jim and their friends.

And then there were two….two very happy people.

Love these two together so much!!!

A little stroll to the lighthouse at sunset…..ahhhhhh!

A couple who laughs together stays together….

Jim gives us the thumbs up….she said Yes! AND I do! Woooo hooo!!

Love, smiles and delicious kisses…..This is love!

Such joy…and a backdrop that rivals any of the Newport Mansions. Could be my new favorite place to photograph!

The gorgeous Sperry Tent and beautiful cake by Coastal Gourmet Caterers.

Love the besties’ selfie introduction (and obviously so do J&K)….you guys rock!!

The new Mr. & Mrs……let’s get this party started!

In your arms….it’s where I always want to be….

Warm embraces as the setting sun streams into the tent. Just beautiful!

Love this sweet gal….way to rock the toast Katie!!

Jim & Keri reacting to all the love directed their way…eat it up guys! Eat up all that glorious love!

Sunset…..Mmmmmmm good!

Gail gets all emotional dancing with her sweet boy, as a tear runs down her beautiful face. So lovely!!!

Meanwhile Keri & her crazy dad get down on it….you go you two!!! Me & my dad went nuts to Shout at my & Andy’s wedding. I’ll never forget Dad turning to me while we’re on our backs on the floor and saying, “You make me wild, Chrissy!” It is in these moments of connection that our strongest memories are formed. Blessed are we who let love rule!!

And, who also play with cake…..deeeeelicious!

Get it guys…get it!!

Life is to be lived large and celebrated with great passion….today and always.

Dance like no one is watching….and smile with your whole heart.

For when the night comes our dreams shall be made of this….

Jim & Keri….I wish words could do justice to how much we appreciate you both, your families & friends and how warmly you all welcomed us into your lives and into this amazing day of love & celebration!! Your wedding was the stuff from which fairy tales are made. And, your love is both inspiring and contagious!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! For sharing your beautiful hearts and this beautiful day with us!! We feel so grateful to have been able to be there to document all of the love & goodness that sprang from a Yes that warm November day and led us all to this. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts as we hope these photos hold a special place in yours!! We adore you and feel so happy you found your way into our life!! More to come soon!! Big love & hugs, Chris & Andy xoxox

 

Jenn & Jordan’s Chatham Bars Inn Wedding ~ Cape Cod Photographers

We’ve been photographing weddings for a long time now….14 years, actually, which is hard to believe. Even after all of these years, I am still in awe of the power of love!

The real joy for me is seeing how love presents itself in so many different ways. Sometimes it’s quiet and reserved and harder to see, and, other times, it’s so big and in your face, it nearly knocks you over. I must admit, I tend to love big myself, so I am more affected by this kind of love.

But, even for me, the love shared between Jenn & Jordan came as something of a surprise….a wonderful, glorious, inspiring, this-is-something-to-celebrate kind of surprise. In fact, it moved me in such a way that I’ve struggled with how to really do it justice in this post….and it’s taken me longer than I like or expected to compose my thoughts and craft words that would honor Jenn & Jordan and their beautiful love.

Sorry Jenn & Jordan, but you guys are just too freaking awesome, what can I say?!! And, Jenn…..after your vows, which completely blew me away (and everyone else in attendance)….I just didn’t know how to follow that!

But….I’ll try.

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you probably remember Jenn & Jordan, and how I gushed about them back in May, when we got together for their engagement session. Andy & I had been looking forward to photographing them since first meeting months earlier. And, watching them together in front of our cameras confirmed everything we expected….such sweetness, silliness, complete adoration and oodles of love. Still, nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.

Yes, the details were stunning. The flowers were gorgeous, the bride a vision and the setting could not have been more perfect. But, the love….oh, man, the LOVE! It was overwhelmingly beautiful, and getting to be there and be a part of it was truly a gift! Their Chatham Bars Inn wedding gave new depth and meaning to the vows so many take, perhaps without really thinking about them. For Jenn & Jordan, they had already begun living their vows before they spoke them to each other with such sweet sincerity.

An outsider looking in would have no idea that just a few weeks earlier Jenn was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A second opinion reduced it to Stage II, but doctors still wanted to start treating Jenn aggressively…and right away.

She had surgery to put in a port and began treatment. At about that same time, Jenn’s grandmother passed away, with Jenn at her side. The stress of seeing her granddaughter suffering and her daughter (Jenn’s amazing mom, Mary) beside herself with worry proved too much for her failing heart.

All of this might make some question whether to go ahead with the wedding, but not Jenn & Jordan. Their love cannot be denied and besides, “for better or worse” had already begun for them.  Plus, if you’re lucky enough to know Jenn & Jordan you know they are two of the most lovely, kind, wonderful, loving, positive people you could ever hope to meet. And although they’re not the type to complain, they and those who love them most all needed something to celebrate, a break from the cloud that hung over them and a chance to focus on all that beautiful LOVE.

And, focus on love they did….in a big, beautiful, someone-pass-me-a-tissue kind of way!!!

Watching them together, pledging their hearts to one another, when “in sickness and in health” had more meaning than it does for most was truly a gift. Couples like Jenn & Jordan are why we do what we do. Getting to document that kind of love….the kind that makes you a better person just for being around it….is just the coolest thing!

So, without further ado…we’ll let the love do the talking….and invite you to share in the joy that was Jenn & Jordan’s wedding day.

Jenn gets the finishing touches on her hair, while her soon-to-be mother-in-law, Linda, and sister-in-law, Jackie, look on with all smiles.

You can tell how wonderful Jenn & Jordan are by the company they keep. Days after finding out about Jenn’s diagnosis and the treatment she would soon be undergoing, Jenn’s friends secretly rallied and started a Go Fund Me page to help with the unexpected slew of medical expenses, figuring too that Jenn would likely have to miss work while she focused on her health.

Within just a few days, their friends raised thousands of dollars. Click HERE if you want to help too. They surprised Jenn by gathering together at her mom’s house to show her a book they’d put together with photos and messages of love & support. And, the last page highlighted the secret fundraising website, which left Jenn unusually speechless and in a puddle of happy tears.

But that wasn’t all. After the wedding, an old friend from high school, whom Jenn hadn’t seen or spoken to in ages had heard about what she was going through and wanted to help, so he arranged another fundraiser/fun night out at the Boston Improv Comedy Club to help lift spirits as the honeymoon was put on hold so Jenn could continue with her chemo.

All of this love and support could most definitely be felt on the wedding. There were some tears….though most were happy, loving, supportive tears. I may have shed a few myself. But, all of the scary ugliness that comes with a cancer diagnosis was put away for a most glorious day of love and joyful celebration. Here, Jenn’s besties, Kerri, Sheri & Elizabeth oozing with love & happiness for their gal pal….

Happy, wonderful, delightful Jenn has her veil put on….

After her hair & make up is done, Jenn gets a warm embrace from her sweet momma, Mary. Love this sweet wedding hankie Jenn got to dry her mom’s happy tears. So beautiful!!

Sheri & Mary help Jenn get in her gorgeous wedding gown. Va Va Va Voom…

The girls gather to help button Jenn in….

Meanwhile, across the property in another room at CBI, Jordan and his mates snap on their suspenders and pull up their socks in preparation for what was to be an unforgettable day…

Jordan gets a little help from his BM Robb. Sweetest guys.

Checking out the bling….

First looks are my fave….look at how these two react to seeing each other for the first time on the day they become hubs & wife. Just delightful!

Sooooo much love!!!

Love the pink-a-licious invites they choose by Splash Stationers in Sandwich and the gorgeous blush inspired flowers by Enchanted Florist in Centerville. And, per their request…..a fun snap for their guest thank you cards. Adorable.

Jenn & Jordan and their super fun posse. Love this group!

Jenn & her gal pals….and blue “I do!” proudly stuck to her beachy flip flops.

Guests begin arriving for the ceremony.

Love these candid moments of guests as they excitedly wait for the love fest to begin. This next photo makes me exceptionally happy because it includes two former Bello brides….Jenn’s cousin, Laura (in foreground) and friend Keri, whose wedding we photographed about 10 years ago. She’s as gorgeous as ever and we love the dark new hair, which totally stumped us when it came to immediately recognizing her.

As Jenn stood at the top of the stairs, ready to make her descent, Jordan was overcome with emotion. Me too!!

Loooove how you can feel the excitement, anticipation, love and pride in this next one as Mary leads her sweet girl to her soon-to-be husband. Love. Love. Love!!

And, more love…

The way these two look at each other, it’s just beautiful.

Jordan’s sister, Jackie, read a beautiful reading for the couple and had to hold her heart to keep herself together. It was just so lovely. And, again….the way these two look at each other. Be still my love loving heart!

Jordan’s beautiful vows to his bride were so touching…how he kept it together is beyond me.

And, like Jenn, who was moved to tears by Jordan’s words, Jordan struggled to keep it together as Jenn shared her vows, which like Jordan’s were so so, beautiful! I could barely contain myself.

And, then it was official….our new missus and mister.

Let the happy flag fly…..

Oh, so high….

I swear it did touch the sky.

Hugs from baby brother Stephen.

Let the celebrations begin. Love these guys!!!

But first, a quite moment for our newlyweds….

To take in the magnitude of the moment.

With a little snuggling on the dock.

Jenn was so cute….when we were taking her photo with whomever, she would grab the person’s head to bring it right in close to her. That’s just how she is….she likes those she loves nice and close! Lucky are those to be loved by her!!

And, doesn’t Jordan know it….look at that smile!!

Like I said earlier, Andy & I have been at this wedding thing for a while, and because there are only a handful of truly amazing places to get married on the Cape (unless you’re lucky enough to have a fabulous property on the water) it can be challenging to find creative, new ways to photograph our couples that feels fresh and different, but still appeals to our timeless sensibility. Working at the same places year after year, it gets increasingly more difficult to find places to put our couples that we and no one else has ever used before (at least that we’re aware of). But, it’s that kind of out-of-the-box thinking that Andy & I have always strived for, and truthfully, I think it’s something we’ve done really well. I remember in the first or second year of our career, a very well established photographer had told us that we raised the bar and changed the way others  photographed on the Cape. It was such a huge compliment, and it was in my mind when I asked Jenn & Jordan if they’d come sit in the beach cabana while I tried something new. I have to say…..I am in LOOOVE with the results. And without sounding too big headed, something tells me these cabanas are going to become a new hot spot for photos. I just loove the architecture of the lines! Having a crazy cute, totally smitten couple snuggling in them sure doesn’t hurt either!

Swoooooon…..

Cape Cod perfection….

More fun lines and happy smooches…

The beach house looked beautiful…orchids are my faves! And in touches of gold and grey and I’m in heaven.

Wedding thrones…

Cocktail hour candids….lots of smiling, happy faces.

And, a congratulatory kiss from Grandma. Be still my heart!

These guys know how to embrace life…it’s so inspiring!

Just before being announced into their reception, Jenn & Jordan share a happy look, as the roars of their friends usher them in…..Wooooo hooo!

Their first dance and hubby & wife….complete with dips and twirls and kisses, oh my!

The look of love and complete contentment. Makes my heart smile!

These two….just too much! The way they are together…it’s so natural and so full of love.

Like no one else was in the room…..

Moved by her momma’s words of support and encouragement…

And, then it was the co-best men’s turn. And, this happened.

Sheri showered Jenn & Jordan in more love-filled words…..

A lone tear on Jenn’s beautiful cheek….and a hug that says it all.

A mouth full of sweetness and a smile to match …..beautiful cake by CBI bakers.

Jenn laughs with her whole body and it is infectious. Love this girl!

Time to get down on it…..

Dance floor selfies….

Tearing it up…..

Co-best man, Andrew…..so much fun!

Towards the end of the night, the DJ (who, by the way, was AMAZING….Way to rock it C-Zone) played a killer remix of Rachel Platten’s Fight Song, which has become Jenn’s battle call. Watching her, surrounded by friends, all singing at the top of their lungs, nearly made my heart explode. I’m not sure if Rachel was thinking of cancer when she wrote  the song, but I think it’s a powerful anthem for survivors everywhere. I think of Jenn every time I hear it on the radio and imagine the day she’s doing Limoncello shots with her loved ones, celebrating her recovery, with this song still playing in the background…

….remembering the love that surrounded her this day….as her fight began and her love story moved to a whole new beautiful level of loveliness!

Jenn & Jordan, we hope you can feel all the love we saw surrounding you both on this most incredible day!! We love you guys so much and feel so grateful that you found your way into our lives and our hearts! Thank you so much for sharing yourselves and this day with us in such a warm and welcoming way. Thank you too, to your friends and family, who made us feel like part of the clan. We hope these photos serve as happy reminders of all the blessings of love in your lives and that we can all do it again to celebrate your five? ten? twenty? etc. year anniversary! Love you both to pieces and cannot wait for you to see the rest of the photos. This is such a small sample of all the beauty and love that was your awesomely inspiring wedding day!!! With big hugs & kisses, Chris & Andy xoxoxoxoxo

 

Juliet & Brede ~ An Oceanside Wedding in Orleans

Life is in the details…and oh, how we love us some good details! But, even more than fabulous details, we love….LOVE…..big, live out loud, shout it from the hilltops, who cares who sees, I’m crazy for you LOVE!

Juliet & Brede’s Orleans wedding had it all! You might remember this sweet couple from our picnic-style love session with them earlier this summer. Click HERE to read their story.

Their day started with a sun-filled ceremony on Skaket Beach, attended by their families and closest friends. Sweet, hand-made signs directed guests to a quiet and marshy corner of the beach. It was the perfect backdrop for two special people and two important words….”I do!”

I’m embarrassed to admit that even with 14 years of living on the Cape and having photographed more than 100 weddings, that was the first time we’d ever been to that beach…shocking, I know. But, we’ll definitely be going back…it’s gorgeous!

After their poignant exchanging of vows, Juliet, Brede and their guests put their shoes back on and headed to the Winslow Estate for dinner and dancing. It was the kind of day little girls dream of and Andy & I had a blast capturing all of the incredible details and love-filled moments. Here are some of our favorites from the day…

Looove Juliet’s super cute bedazzled shoes and stunning Melissa Sweet gown.

How fun is this dreamy view of Juliet’s dress? Like layers of glorious girliness!

Juliet gets dressed with a little help from her mom, Robin, and her very attentive and very pregnant MOH, Emily.

Mom’s rock…

And, in the smaller cottage on the property, Brede & his groomsmen were getting ready…

Juliet & Brede choose orange and navy blue as their colors. They were perfectly fall festive!

What would we do without our technology toys? Juliet’s super cute brother, Sean, works on the laptop, while Brede checks his phone. Too funny!

Putting on his tie…

Here are some of those great details I was talking about…Flowers by the very talented Judy Fligg of All About Flowers.

Juliet & Brede opted to see each other before the ceremony, which was GREAT! We had plenty of time for photos and they got to enjoy their cocktail hour. Love that! Here’s one perspective of this moment…

And another…

I love this shot of them. Juliet has got a great smile/laugh…I love the way she crinkles her nose.

Swwooooonn….love her expression in this next one! To die for!

Ahhhh…..

Love is….THIS!

I swear my heart stopped for a second when I saw this moment as captured by my ridiculously talented husband! Andy really does have an amazing ability to find perspectives that the average person would never consider….just one of the many reasons I am so lucky to be married to him.

Va va va vooom….

Juliet & Brede and their amazing friends & family, including Juliet’s super sweet brother, Sean, (second from the left) & sister, Jennifer, (third from the left) and Brede’s super sweet sisters, Kaycee (third from right) and Courtney (second from right).

Seriously? I heart this next photo of Cora The Beautiful…big time!

Juliet & her bridal party head to the beach in style…

Here comes the bride…

Love this next shot and the curious seagull who was hovering around to see what was going on.

Sand ceremonies are very popular here on the Cape, and we love the sentiment behind it…two people coming together from different places joining their lives in love. So sweet…

The new Mr. & Mrs….

The guests headed back to the Winslow Estate for cocktail hour, while we spent a few minutes with Juliet & Brede on the beach for some portraits and a little alone time…

Juliet & Brede have a wonderful way of being together that just feels so natural. They hug like this a lot and Andy & I squealed with delight when we saw it because it made for this magical moment…

They do this a lot too…and we just love it when our couples let their guard down and let us see who they are together. We can put people in poses, but it’s ALWAYS better when they just are themselves and do what comes naturally. This next photos is a perfect example of that.

I took a little artistic license with this next one. It just felt like the right thing to do with the setting and the way Juliet & Brede were laying together…..looooove it!

Happy couple+ killer dress & stiff breeze = perfection!

As they made their way back to the Winslow Estate to join the cocktail hour already in progress, Juliet & Brede were welcomed by a showering of bubbles and oodles of love & happy wishes. Can we talk about how cute ring bearer Colter is with his Just Married sign?

One of Brede’s cousins, Hayden, big brother to Cora & Colter, holds up a fish he caught to put in the live centerpieces, which had crabs, fish & snails.

A first dance full of love & laughter…exactly how it should be!

DJ Wayne Baptiste of Boston rocked the party in style. Wayne wins our award for best dressed DJ of the summer. Loooove that suit & hat! Way to work it Wayne!

And here are just a few of the fabulous details that colored Juliet & Brede’s amazing day, including my personal obsession, crazy good cupcakes by Cupcake Charlies of Mashpee. Don’t try these if you know what’s good for you…one taste and you’ll be hooked for life!

We can’t finish this post without thanking Connie Nye Clark of The Perfect Plan for organizing Juliet & Brede’s incredible day! It was fabulous working with you Connie and we look forward to doing it again soon! Thanks too to all of the amazing vendors who helped make our job not only easy, but a pleasure! But, our biggest thanks go to Juliet & Brede…you two are a perfect match and getting to be there with you when you committed your love and your lives to each other in front of the people you care for most was truly an honor! Thank you for trusting us to document this special time in your lives and for welcoming us with such open arms & open hearts! We hope you love these photos as much as we loved being there with you! Stay tuned for more to soon follow! Love & hugs, Christine & Andy xo