One area that I love to visit is Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. I was lucky to have gone to photography school there in a little town called, Turners Falls. I often visit the area as my best friend, Shelley lives there. A fellow alumni who I graduated photography school with referred her friends Sarah and Dan to me for their wedding set in the summer of 2011.
Anytime someone I know refers me, I feel really honored and I was excited to learn that Sarah and Dan were getting married in Gill, MA which is in the area where I went to school. So, I got to go back to the place where it all began, I had the opportunity to work with two really amazing people and visit my friend Shelley.
I hadn’t met Sarah and Dan prior to their day yet I headed to their rehearsal the evening before their wedding to be introduced and also to tour the property. You’ll see below the casual picture of the two of them. I’m pretty sure this may have been the first time they were professionally photographed together.
They were married on Dan’s family’s property which has great big lawns and open space. The ceremony and cocktails were staged in one place, dinner was off in a tent in the orchard and dancing took place in another tent. It was setup really nicely and had an exciting flow so guests were never in one place for too long. Every part of the day had a place. I liked that.
Sarah and Dan heading into their families orchard after they were married.
Sarah had mentioned that she really wanted to sneak away after the ceremony for a few moments and be in the orchard with Dan.
The whole entire day was planned to create moments for them and their guests. I liked that.
They got ready at the Brandt House in Greenfield which is the town I lived in while going to school. The Brandt House is gorgeous and served as a really nice backdrop for dress details, getting ready and their first glance. We chose to have their first glance in the zen garden on the property. After we spent a few minutes photographing just the two of them, we all headed to Gill where we photographed the family and wedding party portraits. Having the first glance and taking all of the family portraits prior to the ceremony allowed everyone to just enjoy themselves after they said, “I do”.
Sarah and Dan were married at sunset. The wedding party set up their handmade wedding chuppah in the beginning of the ceremony. They had 3 flower girls and 2 jr bridesmaids that distributed flowers to guests as they arrived and they decorated the aisle as the ceremony began. Sarah’s parents walked her to the back row of guests, kissed her and walked down the aisle to their seats together. Sarah walked down the aisle herself. I really liked that.
During their ceremony, they sang to each other, the wedding party chimed in, guests stood up and did their readings from their seats and Dan shared a peach from the orchard with Sarah. It was an extremely unique, sweet, and romantic ceremony. I think everyone felt connected and will always remember the moment they shared their vows and exchanged rings.
View their wedding day slideshow set to their first dance song by clicking here.
Sarah’s family is Jewish so they did incorporate Jewish tradition like my favorite thing in the WHOLE wide world of weddings, the Hora. Thank you!
Dan sent me an email that made me feel so good about what I get to do.
“Every time I think about my wedding, I think of how lucky we are to have such amazing people in our lives and you truly captured this essence in your photos. You are a true professional to the utmost degree and Sarah and I are so grateful for your beautiful pictures and all of your suggestions or helpful hints that helped to make our wedding an amazing day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”
*Behind the scenes :
During the family portraits, I noticed something on the brides dress. I put my camera down to go fluff and fix whatever it was. When I approached, I realized it was a VERY LARGE BLACK SPIDER crawling up the inside of her dress, under the lace. I pointed over my left shoulder and said to Sarah, “Look, over there!” She did and I looked at Dan and pointed down to the spider. He got it out and we seamlessly avoided a very serious situation. The spider was HUGE. I’m NOT exaggerating. It had really long black legs. It looked more like something you’d see in Costa Rica, not Western Mass. If that would have been me, I would have destroyed my bouquet by smashing it against my leg and totally freaking out. I can handle bugs but that thing was gigantic and moving very fast.
During dinner, I smelled fire. One of the tiki torches that lit a path near the dinner tent had started a fire in the orchard. Luckily, Ashley and I got to it in time and put it out. I don’t think anyone knew as they were all enjoying dinner in the tent. Go us! That was pretty darn scary though.
Thank you Sarah, Dan and your families for such a lovely weekend in one of my favorite New England places.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the details from their wedding, please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.
xoxo . . .