Blissful Meadows Wedding
Leanne & Evan
Blissful Meadows Golf Club, Uxbridge, Massachusetts
August 8th, 2020
As a wedding photographer trying to navigate his way through the toughest season anyone in my profession has ever experienced, one of the hardest things to wrap my head around when it comes to 2020 weddings in the midst of a global pandemic is the overwhelming sense of dread many clients have about their big day. Often, many brides and grooms this year have taken a "let's get it over with" mentality and, honestly, it hurts my soul just thinking that's an acceptable way to approach one of the biggest days of your life.
That's why I loved working with Leanne and Evan so much in the lead-up to their August wedding ceremony at Blissful Meadows Golf Club in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
No matter how often I spoke with the bride-to-be, whether it was through email or a random Facebook message in the middle of the night, she ALWAYS kept an upbeat attitude about her wedding day and that sense of hope paid off in a huge way as her and Evan's wedding day may not have been when or what they originally envisioned but it was, without a doubt, an amazing moment I know they (and I) will not soon forget.
I knew I was in for a fun afternoon the moment I arrived to Leanne's bridal prep. And by Leanne's bridal prep, I mean Leanne and Evan's prep as the groom made a surprise appearance to finish getting ready as the bride had her hair finalized.
I was a bit worried, at first, that this would ruin the special feeling most couples have when they "finally" see each other on their wedding day but Evan's presence kept the bride in great spirits and I could tell there was just no separating these two friends, especially not on a day they've been waiting a lifetime for.
Leanne and Evan's prep was super laid back and a lot of fun but the tone shifted quickly when the groom left the room and the bride finally put her dress on.
You would think something as simple as getting dressed wouldn't remarkably change the way a day feels but it sure did for these two and, as we set up their first look, I think the reality of the day they were about to experience finally hit home as Evan got super emotional seeing Leanne in her beautiful dress the moment he turned around.
One of the only downsides to having Leanne and Evan move their wedding day from a planned May festivity to the beginning of August was there was no way to fully prepare for just how hot it would be and, trust me, these two got the full brunt of a summer wedding day.
That's not to say they didn't still enjoy themselves, though.
Leanne and Evan's wedding ceremony may have been a scorcher but I could tell just by looking at the intimate crowd they had that everyone who was there was fully tuned in and wanted to be nowhere else, heat or no heat.
While I loved every part of Leanne and Evan's wedding ceremony, by far my favorite little detail was their choice in officiant. Leanne and Evan are wrestling fans and, as such, they just HAD to hire WWE legend John Cena's father to serve as their justice of the peace.
And, much like his son, John Cena Sr. delivered with a noticeably hilarious ceremony that kept the mood upbeat and the crowd fully engaged. The bride and groom? They didn't need any help. These two were zeroed in on each other and soaking in every moment of this major life milestone and by the time they kissed and officially became husband and wife, I could tell they felt it was well worth the wait.
I'm thankful Leanne and Evan chose me to photograph their wedding day but I'm even more thankful they trusted me in how we handled their formal photos.
After an extended family portrait session that was an incredible challenge thanks to the sun and the available locations, Leanne, Evan and I briefly started their bride and groom portraits but called an audible and went inside to the reception early.
My plan was to take them back outside later in the evening and, boy, did that pay off down the line.
Speaking of their reception, Leanne and Evan showed a great amount of respect for their friends and family by choosing to hold the party portion of their evening as close to COVID-19 compliant as possible.
That's not been an easy decision for most couples but I could feel how important it was for this bride and groom to feel safe on this day of celebration. As such, Leanne and Evan eschewed many of the bigger traditional elements of a wedding reception. They still managed to make it feel special, though, with simple decorations and details and, more importantly, moments they'll remember forever.
As for the moments, Leanne and Evan made sure their wedding would feel special ... pandemic or not pandemic.
One of the ways they did this was having not one but TWO first dances together. The first happened before dinner and was set to "Beautiful Crazy" by Luke Combs. I loved this little dance between the two on the patio of their venue. While certainly not the big ballroom you might envision for a first dance, there was something special about this dance for these two as their very select group of close friends and family looked on.
How special the day was would be highlighted right after that first dance as Leanne and Evan listened to their best man and maid of honor give a pair of great toasts that made them both emotional.
While dinner was being served, I asked the bride and groom for 10 minutes of their time to wrap up their formal photo sessions. We ended up only needing seven and took what I truly believe were the best photos of the entire day.
I love how Leanne and Evan's late afternoon portraits came out. It was clear the two lost any and all nerves they might have had at this point and they both looked so happy and playful that the shots were an absolute pleasure to take. And, perhaps most important, Leanne and Evan had their own ideas for posing and fun photos that were absolutely THEM. I loved it so much.
With photos out of the way, it was time for Leanne and Evan to have the second of their two dances of the night and, personally, I loved the sequel even more than the original as the pair danced to "Baby I Love Your Way" by Peter Frampton.
The cooling temperatures, the fading sunlight and the mood all contributed to a beautiful and fun dance between the newlyweds and capturing their faces and reactions to each other left a huge smile on my face.
While they may not have had a "traditional" full wedding reception with an open dance floor, Leanne and Evan still had the moments that mattered most and make any party. Case in point: The traditional cake cutting.
Or, what would have been the traditional cake cutting for most moments.
These two had much more fun than I think either of them expected and, all in all, I think they ended up with more cake in their face than their mouth when all was said and done.
Wrapping up the signature moments of the night were the traditional parent dances as Leanne and her father shared the patio together and Evan got emotional with his step mother during their dance.
Both dances were beautiful in their own ways and enhanced significantly as the light slowly started to fade on a beautiful summer night.
Leanne and Evan wrapped up their wedding day with a super casual hangout and catch-up session with their friends and family members.
While I would have loved to photograph a ton of dancing from what was clearly a rowdy bunch of folks, there was something unique and different about this night and I appreciated how much everyone went out of their way to celebrate responsibly without making anything awkward for the couple or the venue forced to maintain social distancing and enforce some pretty tough event rules on everyone in attendance.
And just because you can't have a wild party doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. To me, that made the event even better.
By the time my night with Leanne and Evan concluded, both the bride and groom were quick to thank me for everything I did to make their wedding as easy as possible. In reality, the credit is all theirs.
Leanne and Evan were dealt a tough hand in getting married in the middle of a worldwide pandemic but, like the super positive, look on the bright side people they are, they handled every bump in the road with grace and style. There's something to be said for couples who are so in love they're willing to battle any amount of adversity to walk down the aisle and say "I do" and Leanne and Evan's August wedding leaves me no doubt this bride and groom can handle all that life has ahead of them and so much more.
So congratulations Leanne and Evan on an amazing wedding day and thanks for letting me be there to document for you to remember forever.