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Jackson, NH Wedding: Sarina & Matt


Sarina & Matt have a love that had already stood the test of time by their wedding day.  They met in collage and have been together through cross country moves, new jobs and all that life throws at you in those post collage years.  They tied the knot on a crip fall day surrounded by family and friends in the White Mountains of NH.  Their soft colors were the perfect compliment to the falling leaves and rustic setting of Whitney’s Inn in Jackson, NH.  Sarina’s tule dress was swoon worthy and her crocheted shall gave it the perfect finishing touch.

Carrie at Dutch Bloemen Winkel created the most beautiful bouquet for Sarina full of peaches, greens and purples and the centerpieces were a lush mix of greens and flowers that Ijust loved!  Even with a little snow squall the day was full of warm love and the reception in the pub was cozy and fun!





Venue/Catering:  Whitney’s Inn Shovel Handle Pub  Florist: Dutch Bloemen Winkel  Cake/Pies: The Sugarmaker Bakery   Dress:  Madeleine’s Daughter  DJ: Matt Spofford  Hair/Makeup:  Debony Salon  Video: Curtis Weddings 

Why Weddings?


You get asked a million times while growing up.  Your answer changes 100 times from the time your two sometimes right through retirement.  Sometimes what you give for an answer is the last thing you imagined years before. What do you want to be?

I started answering this question with a zoologist and then played with the idea of marine biology- rather typical for your average young girl.  Art never creeped into my answer until high school when I found myself staying after school just to spend more time in the dark room and spending every study hall cutting up photo paper, rolling film for other students and doing any odd jobs I could find around the lab just to earn a few extra rolls of film to shoot.  Photography captured me, fascinated me, challenged me and it inspired me.  By the time I got to my Junior year of high school and the real questions about what you’ll study in collage and where you want to go pop up in every conversation from your guidance councilor to the bank teller- the only answer I could confidently say was “I want to study photography”.  Everyones first question: “will you shoot weddings?”



UGGGH WEDDINGS?!?! YUCK.  Keep in mind this was the late 90’s early 2000’s and wedding photography was not what it is today.  Most wedding photographers were still older men, everyone was shooting film and there wasn’t much of the artistic aspect of wedding photography that thankfully we have today.  I was NEVER going to shoot weddings that was stuffy and formal and no fun.  I was going to take pretty landscapes, editorial portraits and somehow become famous and shoot for magazines and sell prints for thousands of dollars.  I honestly had NO idea what being a “photographer” would really look like and how I could possibly make it into a living, but I did know that shooting weddings was not on my agenda.

Fast forward to the year after I graduated from Northeastern University with a photography degree.  I had moved to Texas and was working with a local photography studio there shooting families, seniors, bridal portraits, pageant girls and of course the dreaded wedding.  The first weekend that the ladies who ran the studio took me along to a wedding I was not totally sure what to expect.  I wasn’t excited per say but the $100 cash at the end of the day was worth giving it a try.  I’d been shooting with them for a while and knew this bride as I’d been at her bridal portrait shoot.  We arrived at a wood paneled church with overhead florescent lights and no windows. The reception was in the church function room which looked remarkably like a elementary school cafeteria. There was taffeta, paper streamers, Jordan almonds and paper plates.  It wasn’t full of crystal dropped florals, black bow or string quartets.  But there was a whole love of love.

The groom was in the coast guard and was quiet and reserved dressed in his crisp white uniform.  When the music started and the doors to the church opened and he saw his bride for the fist time walking down the aisle I remember looking through my 200mm lens from the back of the church and seeing tears well up in his eyes.  I immediately had this nervous butterfly feeling in my stomach.  All I could think was  ‘I hope I am able to capture this moment in all of its perfection’.  The emotion in the room was palpable and I couldn’t believe how I instantly felt like I was a part of this tight knit group of family and friends witnessing this beautiful marriage begin.  I cried looking through that lens and prayed my auto focus worked and that I hadn’t messed up the only job I had been given by my boss to capture the grooms face when he saw his bride walk down the aisle.

You could feel the in that room, love they had for one another and the love that everyone had for the bride and groom.  I started to feel myself fall in love with love.  I wasn’t married at the time, I was about a year or a little more into my relationship with my now husband.  I wasn’t sure that I knew what this kind of love really was- this forever, all inclusive, all consuming love.  But I knew I wanted to be around more of it.  While I was waiting with the couple, just before they walked out through millions of bubbles to their get away truck, all I could think about was just how sad I was that the day was over.  It had been so much fun.  A day full of anxious moments with the bride before the ceremony, love and emotion when they said their vows and of course lots of laughter at the speeches from best friends and siblings.  I had had a blast.  I remember babbling to the couple “This was my first wedding and I can’t thank you enough for letting me be a part of documenting your day- I love this job!”  The bride smiled and possibly thought I was a little crazy but I wanted them to know that they had quite literally changed my life.



I fell in love with shooting weddings that day.  I fell in love with documenting love, documenting the start of something bigger then any of us.  I couldn’t help it- families and friends surrounding a happy couple who are head over heals in love.  Maybe there are pretty flowers, maybe there is a gorgeous dress and maybe there are black ties and crystal tree centerpieces but as fun as those things can be to take photos of -its the love that I love.  Its the love you can feel when you walk into the room.  It’s the love you can see in the eyes of the father of the bride seeing his baby girl all grown up.  It’s the hands wrapped around her waste, holding her close, while they dance their first dance.  Its the love that surrounds everyone all day long- thats why I love my job and why I choose to shoot weddings.  It may not always be perfect but there is always an abundance of love and I feel so incredibly lucky to document that love.



Jewel Ward - What a great story. It is fun to read how you evolved into your career and job. It is fun to hear when people finally find their niche in life, work-wise.

Mandy - You took me back to my high school darkroom days! Some of my favorite memories are in my school’s photo lab, with the pungent smell of decktol all over everyone!

The love I know


I’m lucky.  I’m so lucky.  I have always been surrounded by love.  My parents are a shining example of love and marriage.  They have been married for over 40 years and although it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine they have made it through those hard times, that we all experience, and come out the other side happier and move in love than before.  My grandparents set a wonderful example for what love should be.  They were married for over 50 years before my grandmother passed away and after she was gone he talked about her everyday.  I knew his heart was broken to live without her but he always had a way of talking about her as if she was still here, a way that kept her love alive and real within all of us.


Silas and I have been together for over 10 years and married for almost 4. (Ummm wow how time flies!!!)  We are a rather unlikely couple as we went to high school together but I’m pretty sure never spoke to one another until after we had both graduated.  His little brother was in my class and a good friend of mine and I think he was more than a bit surprised when he found out that Silas and I were dating.  We haven’t always had the perfect relationship – we have out fights – we have our disagreements and on a rare occasion a day of silence between us but we are best friends and I can’t imagine not having him as my other half.  Above all we not only love one another are are totally, head over heals, crazy in love with one another.


I talk about love like I understand it and honestly thats not very fair of me.  I don’t for the life of me know what love really is I only know what I see and feel.  I see couples in love and recognize it by the look in their eyes, the way that they hold on to one another- and not always just holding hands, but the way they lean on one another or just have that lightest touch to let the other person know they are there, supporting them.  I see love between family members, mothers and children, grandchildren and grandparents.  I see the smiles that are so expressive, I see hugs that rival any bear’s I’ve ever seen hugging.  I hear laughter and stories and words that express love without even using the L word itself.


I feel love from my friends and family.  I feel it in their company, their support and their kindness.  I feel love when I see those beautiful blues eyes twinkle up at me from my little crazy 18 month old baby girl.  I feel love when she wraps her arms around my neck and kisses me on the nose.  I feel love when my dog Coby low crawls up the bed in the morning to lick my face.  I feel love when I get messages of encouragement, invited along on wonderful trips and to be a part of someones special day.

In a world where maybe there isn’t enough love I feel so overwhelmingly lucky to feel and see love everywhere.   I have chosen to spend my days documenting love and I can’t imagine a better way to fill my life then with the joy and love of others.   I started this post saying how lucky I am and honestly its because of all of you lovers, all of you kind and sweet people who’ve allowed me to document your love.  Thank you!



**Photo of Silas and I by Justin & Mary Marantz**

Questions That I Want Couples to Ask Me.

There are a million and a half lists out there telling couples what they “should” ask any potential wedding photographer.  Just google “questions for wedding photographers” and there are pages and pages of people telling you what to ask to make sure you get all the info you need to make an informed decision.  Don’t get me wrong a lot of them are very valid questions, such as “How long after the wedding before I see my photos?” and “Do you have insurance?”  Those are fair and important questions that every couple should ask.  But when I’m chatting on the phone, or having a cup of coffee with a couple the questions that I want them to ask go beyond the technical questions.


All those lists of questions you found on google- they give you a lot of insight into how the company does business but they don’t give you any insight into the actual person that you are hiring.  Hopefully couples have read the “about me” page on the photographers website,  they know that they prefer Pepsi over Coke, that they have a cute little cockapoo puppy and likely that they first fell in love with photography at age 14.  But what about all the things that make you excited to have that person be with you for 8 +/- hours on your wedding day?  Here is a list of questions that I wish I was asked by more of my couples:

1. Why do you shoot weddings?
2. What is your favorite and least favorite parts of a wedding day to photograph?
3. Will you travel for our wedding? (the answers is YES- I have a passport and am ready to go!)
4. Will you be out on the floor dancing with us at the end of the night?
5. What is the best part of being a wedding photographer?
6. How many weddings do you shoot in a year? in a month? in a weekend?
7. What is the best piece of advice you can give us while we are planning our wedding day?
8. What about us as a couple and our wedding excites you about working with us?



The key is there is more to hiring a photographer then the nuts and bolts of the contract and package.  Of course you have to find someone who fits your budget, has a package that works for you and be sure they run a reputable business.  Just don’t forget that you are going to be spending a lot of time with this person on your wedding day.  Brides- you may spend more time with your photographer then your groom.  Take a few moments to ask just a few other questions to make sure the person you hire is someone who you are excited to see on your wedding day, someone you are comfortable with and above all someone you want to hug or at the very least high five at the end of the day!



Wedding Day Timelines

There are so many moving parts to a wedding day.  Trying to coordinate every little moment and detail to perfection is no easy task and often what prompts couples to invest in a wedding planner or day of coordinator.  With vendors, guests and timelines to coordinate it can often give couples a huge headache when trying to really nail down all the details about who they need where and when.

I’ve been to a lot of weddings.  I’ve seen a lot of the behind the scenes and have learned some great tips and tricks to planning your timeline so that things flow smoothly throughout the day and so that you can enjoy the day instead of worrying about all those little things.   Today I’ve decided to share with you just a few of my learned tips incase they can help make your plans and your day just a little smoother!

First- If you’re considering hiring a day of coordinator or wedding planner- DO IT.  You won’t believe how much stress they can take off your plate.  They can take over as much or as little of the planning as you’d like and when the big day arrives they worry about the small stuff, they make sure your flowers are where they should be when they should be there.  They handle the DJ setting up speakers, they will make sure your favors are displayed in the right place and all those other little things so that you can focus on the whole getting married and having fun and being in love parts of the day.  If a planner or coordinator are not in your budget then consider the next few tips.


Second- Designate tasks to your bridal party.  These people are your best fiends and closest family.  They are here to support you and celebrate with you.  Ask your maid of honor or best man to help organize your family for family photos so that you don’t get stuck running to cocktail hour trying to find great aunt Susan.  Likely they already know your immediate family and can help wrangle them up for photos so that we can get those group photos done efficiently and move on to the fun portraits of the two of you!  They can also help with other tasks such as keeping track of your lip gloss for that post ceremony kiss touch up.

Third-  Consider a first look.  Its not the tradition but its becoming more and more popular when couples really sit down and look at their timeline and realizing they just might want to enjoy some of cocktail hour themselves!  The tradition of not seeing one another before the wedding is an old one and although some couples want to keep that tradition alive other are opting for breaking tradition and doing a first look.  *More on first looks coming in a blog post very soon*  Planing a first look gives you the opportunity to get all your family photos, bridal party photos and even some of your couples photos done ahead of the ceremony, which in turn allows you to enjoy some and maybe even all of your cocktail hour!

Lastly- Thinking about your reception and the end of your photography coverage time.  If you plan to have a first dance, parent dances, formal cake cutting, bouquets toss etc consider scheduling those for early in your reception.  There are two main reasons for this.  One- you don’t have the photographer, DJ, planner, caterer etc chasing you around all night reminding you it’s time to do this and time to do that.  You can be introduced right into your first dance.  Follow up your toasts with dinner service and plan to cut the cake just after dinner and then use your parent dances to open the dance floor.  DJ’s and bands hate to have to clear the dance floor they’ve worked to hard to fill to have a special dance then have to work to get everyone on the dance floor again.  This also allows you to keep your photography coverage down.  Unless you have a planned exit with sparklers or a fireworks display you can typically have your coverage end after 30mins to an hour of open dance floor.  This allows you to have all of the formal events of the reception covered and some great open dance floor shots before your photographer heads home for the night.  If your collage friend is going to do the worm across the dance floor do you really need to pay the professional photographer to be there? I stand by the rule that if you aren’t going to put the photo in your wedding album or frame it for your wall then its probably OK for the photographer to head home and you’ll enjoy your friends worm by instagram post!

There are a ton of ways to plan your wedding day timeline to reflect the type of wedding day you want to have.  Hopefully these tips help you figure out how to schedule your day so that you get the most out of your photos and enjoy every moment.



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