Crystal & Andy
The Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, Massachusetts
November 19th, 2016
Sometimes as a wedding photographer, it's easy to get jaded and forget how important an individual wedding can be when you've shot a ton of them in a given calendar year. At a certain point, you inevitably start going through the motions in your head and every shoot tends to blend together. Because of this, I pride myself on getting to know my couples on a more in-depth level than just clients so that when their day comes, I can be just as excited as they are for the big moment they're about to have.
But even if I didn't do that, and even if I didn't psych myself up for every shoot, I wouldn't have had a problem getting hyped up for Crystal and Andy's November wedding at the Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Crystal is one of my oldest friends and a person who has had an incredible impact on my life and her fiance Andy is, by far, one of the nicest guys I've had the pleasure of meeting. So to see them come together on an absolutely gorgeous late fall afternoon and pledge to spend the rest of their life together was not only rewarding personally, it was inspiring professionally.
And that's exactly why this was a wedding I had been looking forward to for years. But even in my most optimistic of moments, I would never have predicted how amazing this day would actually be. It was, in a word, perfect. And no one deserved it more than these two.
Crystal and Andy's wedding at the Salem Cross Inn had everything going for it but, by far, my favorite part of the shoot was the fact that everything was happening all in one place and within walking distance. I can't stress how nice this luxury is and, when I'm lucky enough to have clients who plan their day like this, it makes a wedding shoot that much more relaxed.
Crystal's prep session was a breeze and it wasn't until the time came for her first look with Andy that we saw anything resembling nerves on the face of the bride to be.
Not that I can blame her. A first look is an incredibly big moment for a bride and groom and Crystal and Andy's was breathtaking.
I have to admit. There were a number of moments during Crystal and Andy's wedding day that I found myself getting emotional for the bride. As a friend of Crystal's for 13 years, I know some of the life struggles she has gone through and know just how much she and Andy love each other. Perhaps more than any other couple I've met, these two were built for each other and it shows.
Knowing that back story and seeing this love blossom from the beginning meant the first look hit me in the feels just as hard as the bride and groom but, thankfully, I was so focused on taking advantage of the amazing lighting that I didn't even process the moment until it passed.
I'm thankful for that because Crystal and Andy's first look was beautiful but I was even more anxious to finish their family photos and get to the solo shots of the two of them before the sun disappeared on us entirely.
I had a lot of fun shooting Crystal and Andy's formal photos. Even though they're not the type of couple that relishes being in the spotlight and are almost never the center of attention, I could tell the two of them were having fun in the moment and really looking forward to what was still to come: A beautiful ceremony in front of a huge fire and all of their friends and family members.
Crystal and Andy's ceremony was only 10 minutes long but it was packed with little moments between the two that made many of those in attendance, myself included, a little misty-eyed.
I especially loved watching the way they looked at each other as they made their vows and the way each word held a special story to it. You could tell these two spent a lot of time thinking of what they wanted to say and it was absolutely perfect and emotional.
Following Crystal and Andy's ceremony, we arrived to the point of the night we were all looking forward to most: The reception.
Crystal and Andy chose to get married at the Salem Cross Inn for a number of reasons but the absolute No. 1 most important part of wedding planning for both the bride and the groom was hiring an awesome band at a great venue and having an amazing reception.
Crystal and Andy knocked this one out of the park with a reception their friends and family will be talking about for years.
First off, they couldn't have chosen a more beautiful place for a late November wedding.
While it was cold outside, it was beautiful inside the Salem Cross Inn and the hardwood floors, coupled with the indoor barn feeling made the atmosphere incredibly intimate and special for those inside.
Add to that the fact that their live band crushed it all night long and it's easy to see why Crystal and Andy look like they're having the time of their lives in all of their dancing photos. Because they sure were.
I think my favorite part of Crystal and Andy's wedding reception was their unique twist on the tradition of cutting a wedding cake.
Instead of your standard wedding cake, these two opted instead to go with a small wedding pie and cut it in a quick and direct way.
Immediately after that, however, was a moment that says a lot about who Crystal and Andy are as people as they spent 15 minutes serving their guests directly as a way of interacting with everyone in attendance and thanking them for coming to their special day.
Afterward, it was time to PARTY and this bride and groom took advantage of every minute of this part of the night that they could.
Crystal and Andy had a blast during the party portion of their reception and it was really the perfect cap to a perfect night.
Whether Andy was jamming with the band for a few songs (And doing a great job of it no less) or Crystal was busting a move with her bridesmaids on the dance floor, this new bride and groom soaked up every moment of the best night of their lives and made memories that will last for a lifetime.
I always knew Crystal's wedding would be a special one for me but I never knew how much it would impact me personally to see one of my best friends marry the love of her life but I can honestly say this is one wedding I will never forget.
So congratulations Crystal and Andy on an amazing wedding and a beautiful start to what I have no doubt will be a lifetime of happiness and love together. I can't think of two people who deserve to live "Happily Ever After" more.
And, if "All you need is love", you guys have everything you could ever need and then some.