Martha's Vineyard Wedding, Maile & Patrick: Our Bed of California Stars

“We took forever, and then moved really fast.” That’s the quote Maile & Patrick used on their wedding website to describe their relationship. This was a marriage essential decades in the making. But fate/the universe/coincidence made these two wait until the timing was *just* right.

They married on Martha’s Vineyard at a private home, where their ceremony overlooked both a pond and the ocean. Shuttles picked guests up at their hotels and dropped them off at the head of a long dirt road where they then walked about 1/4 mile to the ceremony site. When it came time for the ceremony to begin, Maile would make that long walk by herself, holding on to her bouquet and her white dress as she walked towards the family and friends who came to witness her exchange vows with the love of her life. When she neared the clearing, she was joined by her father and her & Patrick’s daughter to walk her the rest of the way down the aisle. Patrick, Maile, and her father all wore traditional Hawaiian maile leis, the most traditional wedding lei. It was a small (and beautiful) symbol of Maile’s heritage (and of course, her name). The ceremony was officiated by a good friend as their guests gathered around to watch. After the ceremony, all of the guests walked back up to the main house where the reception was taking place. Maile & Patrick took their time, partially because I made them for photos, but partially so they could soak it all in. In the craziness of a wedding day, it’s really special to have some time when it’s just the two of you (and a photographer with a zoom lens).

To help her pull off a perfect island wedding, Maile enlisted by emily b., an amazing group of wedding planners and designers who really helped execute her vision. All of the little details – little sprigs of lavender tied with leather around the napkins, a cool wood beer tap, champagne & oysters at the ceremony – the list is endless! Maile & Patrick enlisted the help/participation of all their talented friends to help pull the day together and as a fun detail, they posted photos and bios of everyone at the reception site. It was like a wedding website brought to life! And if you weren’t already impressed, the reception was amazing – great food, great music, gorgeous location, happy people, lots of dancing! Maile and Patrick just radiated joy the whole night. They weren’t even fazed when someone knocked their wedding cake over! And I swear it wasn’t me! When I said good-bye at the end of the night, I could feel myself tearing up. Sure, being pregnant probably played a small role, but when you see two people so happy together, so happy with the life they created together, and continue to create together every day, and you simultaneously just truly wish them a lifetime of genuine happiness and know they found it, it’s hard NOT to get emotional. And all I can say to them is, Maile & Patrick, congratulations a million times over, and on the days when you drive each other crazy, look at each other and know that even in that moment, it was 100% worth the wait.

Wedding Planner: Kristin Burgess, by emily b.

Dress: Nicole Miller for BHLDN

Veil & Earrings: BHLDN

Hair: Taryn Smith, friend of the bride

Make-up: Katie Nisbet, friend of the bride, out of Influx Salon

Leis: Cindy’s Lei Shoppe

Cake: Jess Michaud, friend of the bride

Tent: Big Sky Tent Rentals

Catering: Clambakes, Etc. 

Donuts: Back Door Donuts

Pies: Morning Glory Farm

 

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Castle Island Engagement Session, Aubrey & Paul: The Music Is Just Starting

When I arrived at Castle Island in South Boston for Aubrey & Paul’s engagement session, it was teeming with humanity. Really. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to find any nooks where there weren’t kids playing catch, old ladies sitting under umbrellas, or families picnicking. Lucky for me, Aubrey & Paul didn’t seem to care. They chose Castle Island as their location because Aubrey used to live nearby, AND it’s where Paul proposed (some little boy actually peed on him right before he proposed, so that’s a fun little detail). We made the most of Castle Island’s shorelines and Fort Independence! I love just strolling around a location and stopping whenever I see a good place for photos. It’s a casual approach to engagement sessions, and it gives everyone a good chance to chat and catch up! Paul loves airplanes, so we made sure to get some cool photos with the planes landing at Logan.

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Cape Cod Family Session: Our Love is Going Gold

After six hours of driving in the rain, he finally pulled up to the Cape Cod beach near where his ancestors used to build clipper ships. He wanted the location to be special. He had not anticipated the rain, or how long it would really take to get there. It was dark and he could barely find the beach. She was just along for the ride. That was the night he proposed. Fifty years later, they are still adventuring and laughing together. There is a deep love that wells up between two people when they’ve spent that much time living alongside, and loving alongside, each other. Even as an outsider, I could feel it. Their family means everything to them – two daughters, four granddaughters. And to celebrate their fifty years together, they traveled to Cape Cod so they could all be together. This time the trip required airplanes – none of them really live within driving distance – but it was worth it. To spend time near the exact spot he had proposed fifty years earlier. And it was my honor (and joy) to photograph them – to be just one part of this big celebration. Here’s to making new Cape Cod memories and to a lifetime of happiness together!

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Gloucester Winter Wedding, Natasha & Paul: You and Me Sunday Driving

When Natasha first told me she and Paul were going to have an outdoor backyard wedding at the end of January, I thought she was a little crazy. I mean, that’s really taking a weather risk! At the same time, I couldn’t help but think of the amazing possibilities if the risk paid off! ROMANTIC SNOWFALL! Instead, the weather did something I don’t think anyone was expecting – it stayed warm! I think the temps hovered around an unseasonably balmy 40 degrees that day. Still chilly to stand outside for a while, but definitely doable and not unpleasantly cold. It was perfect! It also meant that everyone was okay with spending some time outside for portraits!

I arrived at the house while Natasha was getting ready and her family was buzzing around putting the finishing touches on the backyard. She asked me to photograph the activity happening outside while she finished up and we got some great moments. In fact, after she saw the photos, Natasha said she LOVED seeing what was happening while she was sequestered in her room upstairs. Her father and her stepfather spent some time tuning their guitars because both were going to be playing music during the ceremony. There was also some stoking of the fire so that the guests could gather around it and stay warm! All the ingredients for hot toddies were out on a table so the guests could enjoy a hot beverage before, during, and after the ceremony. They really thought of everything!

The ceremony was so heartfelt and Paul & Natasha really involved their families. Paul’s dad was the officiant. Natasha’s sister sang. Paul’s sisters did the readings. And everyone in attendance occupies a special place in this couple’s hearts, which is why we photographed Natasha & Paul with everyone there! Natasha’s uncle, who lived in Key West, wasn’t able to travel up for the wedding, but he sent some lawn flamingoes in his place. We made sure to incorporate them into some portraits. And we can’t forget their pup Kaden! He had joined us in their engagement photos, so it came as no surprise that he was front and center on their wedding day!

After some amazing portraits in some AMAZING buttery golden winter light, everyone headed over to 7 Central for drinks, chowdah, and some dinner. The dads gave some really sweet and funny speeches to cap off an amazing day.  For me, it was truly an honor to be a part of such a joyful and loving and intimate celebration.
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Duxbury Bay Maritime School Wedding, a note: I Put Down In Words

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“Dear Meg-
Thank you so much for all your help through the wedding planning and for taking the best pictures ever! From the engagement shoot until the last pic of the evening, I was so impressed! All my friends and family think they belong in a magazine! Thank you for giving us the best gift that we will always cherish!”

Notes like this make my heart sing.

Lyman Estate Maternity Session: Your Old Man Is Snoring

Katy and Chris chose not to find out if they were having a boy or a girl, so the fact that they wore combinations of pink and blue added a little extra {fun} layer to their maternity session! I absolutely adored Katy’s maternity dresses – she looks amazing, right? They decided on their session location because they fell in love with *my* maternity photos at the Lyman Estate. We explored some other options, but when you fall in love with a place, it’s hard to give it up! I photographed Katy & Chris’ wedding back in 2014, so it’s really exciting to be invited to photograph this next chapter in their lives. We got to spend the morning together, catching up and talking about baby registries. The Mr. & Little Mr. came along as assistants and we just explored the grounds and greenhouses. Everything changes seasonally, so you never know what you’re going to find! We had a gorgeous sunny morning so it was fun playing with the light and shadows. We also wanted to make sure Katy got some bare belly shots, so we finished up back at their place so I could grab those last few important photos. They also let me play with some colored light for a bit – can’t wait to find out if Baby Mac is a girl or a boy! Maternity portraits really capture such a fleeting time in your lives. You’re no longer just a couple because most of life revolves around that little bean already, but you’re not quite three people yet. These portraits honor not just how excited you are to be parents, but also who you are as a couple. I know from recent experience how uncomfortable you can be those last couple of months of pregnancy, but I would still encourage all moms-to-be to set aside some time for a portrait session!

*from one parrothead to another, I thought this was a great song reference and in no way references anyone’s actual snoring. 🙂

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Minute Man National Park Family Session: Be My Sweet Honey Bee

It’s not too early to start thinking about fall family portrait sessions! I photographed this adorable family last year at one of my favorite locations, Minute Man National Park, right on the Lexington/Lincoln border. The little guy was super-shy at first, but with a little patience and a lot of funny faces and silly noises, I won him over! Then there was no turning back – lots of smiles and hamming it up for the camera! His older sister was a pro straight from the beginning. We had a great time running around the park, stopping and taking photos along the way. Don’t forget to email meg@megbelanger.com or call to set up YOUR fall session! If you don’t have a location in mind, I’m more than happy to suggest one!

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Bruins-Themed Session in Lexington: Twenty Degrees and the Hockey Game's On

Great holiday photos don’t need fancy holiday clothes. I know, I know, it’s a little early to start talking about the holidays. But it’s NOT too early to start thinking about holiday photos. Sometimes the best outfits are the ones your kids are most comfortable in. For these two Bruins-loving hockey-playing girls, team outfits made the cut. Decked out in Bruins jerseys and winter hats, they gave me their best smiles! Even Kate the dog smiled while she wore her Bruins jersey! The girls spent most of their session wearing dresses, but these were the best photos. The ones taken at the tail end of the session when they put on their team’s apparel. Even mom and dad thought so. These are the ones that ended up on the Christmas card. I love these images because I see the girls’ genuine smiles, their personalities, and I think their outfit choice is a good marker of who they were and what they liked that year. Plus, that buttery evening light is to die for!

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Winchester Baby Session: We Met in the Sunlight

After having three sons, mom wanted to make sure this little one got her share of photo opportunities! Oh my goodness, what an angel! Her eyes are like Betty Boop eyes to me – just so big and wide and beautiful!
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Minute Man National Park Family Session: Nights Are Warm & the Days Are Young

I photographed mom & dad’s wedding and once they added a baby to the bunch, we knew it was time for some more family photos! The holidays always inspire families to get some photos done and I just love the way these all turned out. We really wanted to focus on getting everyone together, as opposed to all sorts of little breakdowns, and I couldn’t have asked for a more photogenic or cooperative bunch!
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