How to Plan a Wedding that's Uniquely YOU!

After working with more couples than I can count, I know one thing for sure: every couple is entirely unique in their own way. They all have different how-we-met stories, with some swiping right on each other, some who meet up in a foreign country while traveling, and even some who grew up as neighbors. They all have preferred date nights and their own mutual interests. For every couple who loves the life of adventure; climbing mountains, camping for weeks, and the occasional skydive, there’s a couple who loves lounging on a couch together, reading books to each other, sipping a glass of wine. Every mutual sense of humor, approach to comforting each other, and ways to love one other are so vastly unique from any other couple. Every couple is freakin amazing in their own way. And that’s why their weddings should be a beautiful representation and summary of who they are.

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What makes your relationship unique?

So it’s time to start wedding planning! And it’s overwhelming! You have to think about colors, venues, vendors, and CUFFLINKS. Have you ever thought about cufflinks in your entire life? Probably not. The list is endless and jumping in can be daunting, especially when you want to plan something a little unconventional.

The most crucial part is to think about what makes you tick as a couple. It’s an infinite amount but here’s a list of questions to start with:

On a day off, what is your favorite thing to do?
What music speaks to you?
Where was the best place you vacationed?
What are your favorite food or drinks?
How have you decorated your home?
Think of the place you hang out the most - what is the vibe of it?
How do others describe you as a couple?

Once you have it down and have a solid idea, move onto the next step!

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Harness the power of Pinterest

But HOLD UP! Don’t look up anything wedding related. Nothing. Resist the temptation. Instead, you’re going to make a new board, name it “GIANT BEAUTIFUL MESS”, and then go absolutely crazy pinning things that inspire you as a couple. Search tattoos, artwork, architecture, clothes, fonts, travel, snacks, landscape photos, tiny snow-globes, home decor, textiles, ANYTHING, and pin everything that you connect with. After awhile, scroll through the giant beautiful mess of a board you’ve created. You will start to notice some patterns. You’ll see colors you love, your favorite kinds of textures, and your own personal style right in front of you. This gives you a solid idea of the potential look and feel of your wedding day.

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Chat with your vendors

Speaking as a wedding vendor, most of us, at our core, are creatives. We love to make art and to create something perfect for every individual couple’s vision. Vendors are there to help you brainstorm ideas, and put those ideas into action. From the flowers, to the wedding dress, to the music the DJ mixes, every part of the wedding can be personalized into something amazing, and most importantly, YOU. Never be afraid to be yourself with your vendors and talk to them as friends. Like friends, we are here for you every step of the way and are always happy to offer advice and opinions if you’re looking for them. We want to establish a bond of trust, and to get to know you personally in order to make something you absolutely love.

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Think outside the box

A bit cliche? Absolutely. But the possibilities for weddings are endless. I’ve seen weddings at Hard Rock Cafes, in an airport, in a treehouse, at breweries, in a zoo, and even on a net thousands of feet off the ground over a canyon. There is so much outside the typical country club, and if you’re not the country club type of couple, you don’t need to be. You can get married almost anywhere! If you’re not a massive fan of the typical stuffed chicken or salmon, you can get ANY kind of food you want! Get food trucks or a pig roast. Order some pizza. I’ve even seen a wedding that was fed entirely with Chipotle! Explore online shops or small boutiques for wedding dresses- there are SO many options out there that will give you something a bit more one-of-a-kind than the mass-produced David’s Bridal dresses. You’re bound to find something that truly reflects you and makes you feel completely yourself when you put it on. Dive into the music you both jam to to pick out the songs that will play. I had a couple once who was torn between making their first dance song something recognizable or a song that was deeply personal to them. They picked the second and there was not a dry eye in the room.

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Break traditions that don’t resonate with you

The great thing about weddings is that there are no rules!  Well, other than getting married of course. Weddings have been around for a LONG time, and in that time they’ve accumulated so many traditions. You may not be feeling some of them. That’s okay! Think the garter/bouquet toss is a little weird? Toss it out. Don’t like cake? Eat some pie! Or cookies. Or s’mores. Or a pile of gummy worms. Kind of tempted to roll up the aisle in a go-kart? Go for it. Are you kind of a tomboy and not really into wedding dresses? Jump into a jumpsuit. Be comfy! Here’s a huge tradition-breaker that eases the nerves: get ready with your soon-to-be husband or wife in the morning. Make your dog the ringbearer. Grandma as the flower girl. Wear a printed suit. The possibilities are endless. Granted, there may be a huge amount of pressure to keep things traditional. I totally understand. But at the end of the wedding day, friends and family will say “that was SO them!” 

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Good luck and may your wedding day kick ass!

Sakonnet Vineyards, Rhode Island Engagement // Hayley + Ryan

Like so many couples around the world and the majority of my couples, Hayley and Ryan initially connected on a dating site. Honestly, where would we be without the internet?! They bonded over their love of biking, cribbage, walking trails, and wine tastings, which is exactly how Sakonnet Vineyards came into play!

Hayley connected with the staff at Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, Rhode Island and was able to snag a spot for the engagement session during the weekend in September. We were so lucky to have a place with the lushest vegetation, drenched in the late summer light. We walked through the rows of grapes, ran around in some fields, and helped ourselves to some glasses of white wine (not the dog though. Zelda did not partake in the wine).

Some couples grow together to the point where marriage is right, when some have an exact moment where they know they found the one. For Hayley and Ryan, it was the latter. Hayley said that moment was their first date, when they went to see John Wick together at a movie theater in Swansea, Massachusetts. Ryan offered to buy her a slushie and she repeatedly said no, she was all set. Eventually, he got up and told her he was going to the bathroom. When he returned, he had a coke slushie in his hand. For Hayley, this sealed the deal.

They get married next September, at the botanical gardens at Roger Williams Park in Providence, somewhere I’ve been DYING to shoot at! Every detail of her wedding Hayley told me about just got me so excited. It’s going to be such a beautiful day and it can’t come fast enough!

Rhode Island Oceanside Maternity Session // Jessica + Chris

Rhode Island isn’t called the Ocean State for nothing. I’ve lived here my entire life and whenever I head down to the shoreline I’m always amazed. I was so excited when Jessica wanted to use Rocky Point State Park as the location for her maternity session. This place is one of the most unique in Rhode Island - having been home to an amusement park that closed its doors back in 1995. I used to be a regular at this place back when photography was just a hobby, taking artsy photos among the ruins and exploring around with friends.

In place of the amusement park, Rocky Point is now home to a bikepath with incredible views, amazing sunsets, and wildlife that has incredible timing (check out the seagulls in the last photo!)

I’m so glad to have met up with Jessica and Chris and to have this amazing seaside session together!

Backyard Barn Wedding in Whately, Massachusetts // Stephanie + Jake

Am I the Backyard Wedding Queen yet? Cause I should be. These things are my JAM! I absolutely loved how laid back and casual the vibe was at Stephanie and Jake’s wedding- it fits exactly who they are! Super kind, chill, go-with-the-flow types who just want to have an amazing time in their own relaxed way surrounded by family and friends.

Also worthy of noting: this wedding was when I tasted the best mac and cheese of my entire life, compliments of Flying Rhino Cafe in Worcester, MA. I still dream of it to this day.

The day started off at the historic Hotel Northampton, where I spent the morning bouncing back and forth between the bride and groom’s suites. The insanely talented hair and makeup artists from Brighteyes Beauty Bar were an absolute joy to work with and I so highly recommend them. At one point, Jake handed me a letter to hand to Stephanie, to start off the morning of their wedding. Seeing Stephanie’s expression as she read through his love letter was a moment that was just so real and beautiful. And then the whole room was in tears.

The ceremony took place under two gigantic pine trees and was just so minimally gorgeous and natural. When nature is tied into a day like that, you can’t go wrong. The ceremony was so sweet and simple, and the way Jake looked at his bride - you could just tell she’s his whole world.

And then came the reception which was straight FIRE. The DJ, DJ Blackout kept the dance floor going for HOURS. Every single person seemed to have the time of their lives and no one was shy about bringing their finest dance moves to the floor (including me. You put on some Whitney Houston and I can’t hold it in). Outside of the tent, a campfire burned and a few guests tossed around a game of cornhole.

The whole event took place on a friend’s new farm in Whately, Massachusetts. Personally, I think it would make an absolutely incredible full-time wedding venue.

This was such a perfect summer wedding and I’m so glad to have met Stephanie and Jake <3

Rhode Island Maternity Session // Heidi + Scott

Man, what a feeling it is to be posting these lush green, sundressy photos when all there is outside is sticks and dirt snow. I am terribly far behind. The baby bump in these photos is now a 1.5 month old baby boy named Gavin!

This was a session that took place in the tumultuous time between summer and fall. Initially, we met up despite the chance of rain and 5 minutes into the session, the skies dumped WATERFALLS on us and it wound up being one of the biggest storms of the season! After rescheduling twice due to rain, and getting super nervous as the due date was approaching, we finally had a successful session together! Heidi and Scott are such a fantastic, adorable couple, so excited to be first-time parents. I loved getting to work with them back in September! (Even though I mistakenly called Scott “Josh” the whole time. What a mess.)

There’s just something about maternity sessions that I absolutely love and I wish I got more of them. There’s always a gentle, comfortable love that surrounds the session with a smidge of anticipation. They’re so beautiful.