Ellen & Jeremy
Bittersweet Farm Restaurant and Tavern,
May 6th, 2016
Every now and again, it's nice to remember WHY you do whatever it is that you do. For wedding photographers, this lesson is especially important as at least 90 percent of your job involves finding inspiration to make it through another 10-12 hour day or another 3,000 photos.
But I can honestly say I've never had a couple who more clearly reminds me exactly WHY I love weddings as much as Ellen and Jeremy.
I met Ellen at a wedding expo last year as she sulked over to my table having just been instantly shot down by another area photographer who, apparently, was "too good" to work with her (I've seen her work. She's not.) Needless to say, this made my blood boil because I was on that side of the world just a few years ago when I was getting married and couldn't find anyone to shoot my wedding.
But it all worked out for the best because, much like Ellen and Jeremy's love story, fate finds a way to connect you with the people you're supposed to connect with.
And I'm so glad fate intervened here because Ellen and Jeremy are, without a doubt, one my all-time favorite couples. Why?
Because they epitomize everything that's right with young love and timeless romance. And so did their wedding ...
Ellen and Jeremy were married at Bittersweet Farm in Westport, Massachusetts. That venue will always hold a special significance for me as my sister-in-law Holly and her husband Damien got married there in 2011 and I was asked to shoot it fairly last minute as their photographer had to cancel on them. It was only my second wedding ever and, to this day, I feel like it was a special turning point in my career.
Needless to say, getting to go back there for the first time in five years was something I was looking forward to. A lot.
And within moments of walking into the bridal prep area and seeing how relaxed Ellen and her bridesmaids were, I knew this was going to be a special and incredibly fun day.
Ellen's bridal prep session was exactly what I expected it to be. Not only was she super relaxed and chill about the entire thing, she spent the entire time at the hotel just bonding with her bridesmaids and making sure she didn't forget to bring anything over to the venue.
Once at Bittersweet Farm, she went right into preparation mode and focused on perfecting the little details of the day the way any good planner would. It wasn't until she had her dress on and everyone else was away that Ellen showed even the slightest hint of nervousness and, even then, it was only for a moment before she took it all in, smiled and got ready to hide out for the start of the ceremony.
Because when you know, you know. And Ellen knew exactly what was waiting for her at the end of that aisle: the man of her dreams.
Ellen and Jeremy had one of the simpliest and quickest ceremonies I've ever seen. In all, it was just eight minutes long, had no readings and got right from processional to vows to rings and a kiss. In truth, it was refreshing to see a couple just get right down to the basics of what they were there for but it was far from surprising. Ellen and Jeremy aren't a very "Look at us" couple and the ceremony fit their style to a tee.
As much as I adored Ellen and Jeremy's ceremony, I'll admit it was a bit of a bummer that we had to move it inside because of rainy May weather but, thankfully, the newly crowned bride and groom were on board with my plans to head outside for the formal photos and, boy, am I glad they were as Bittersweet Farm has some incredible scenery for couples that just makes wedding photos stand out like no others.
Ellen and Jeremy were a blast to shoot during their engagement session last October and their wedding formal photo session was even better. We didn't get a ton of time to explore the grounds as the weather was starting to turn rough again but we made the most of the time we did get and had a blast before heading inside for what promised to be an adorable wedding reception in a lovely barn area full of character and charm.
Given how low-key Ellen and Jeremy are as a couple, I was expecting a pretty low-key formal event portion of the reception and I was delightfully correct. There were no over-dramatic speeches, just really sweet and personal stories from both the best man and maid of honor that showed the type of people the bride and groom were.
The same could be said for the cake cutting and first dance for the newlyweds. It was such an intimate affair and the lack of theatrics really made the moment even sweeter for those in attendance.
I absolutely adored Ellen and Jeremy's first dance. To see the way they looked at each other - and only each other - from the start of the song until the end of the song really hammered home the importance of that moment for me.
Weddings can often be big distractions where your attention is pulled in a thousand different directions but, at the end of the day, they're supposed to be about the two people committing to each other and their future together.
Ellen and Jeremy personified this idealized concept to perfection.
Following their first dance and parent dances, Ellen gave a small speech thanking those who came to share in their love. It was a sweet moment but a nice turning point for the evening as, up to that point, the entire day had been just about the new bride and groom.
You forget, sometimes, the influence friends and family members can have on a couple and to see Ellen and Jeremy officially kick off the dancing portion of their evening with their friends and family was like ending one event and starting another.
And this event? Man. What a party.
You can tell a lot about a wedding reception from how the guests react to the inevitable moment where a party dies down for a second.
For Ellen and Jeremy, there was a small moment - no more than three minutes maybe - where it looked like no one was going to dance but all it took was a little bit of magic from the DJ and a determined group of young school friends to transform that dance floor from an empty space to a rocking night club-worthy scene.
And once the colored dance lights came up, it was clear this party was only getting started.
There are so many moments that stood out to me at Ellen and Jeremy's reception that I couldn't list them all here if I wanted to.
The ones I'll remember for a very long time, though, all revolve around spontaneous dancing. Not only did the group go crazy during "Safety Dance," a song I hadn't heard in maybe five years but they also exploded with joy upon the DJ's playing of "Shipping out to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. The sheer joy on the faces of those in attendance during those songs and later during spontaneous limbo dancing made for some great, great photographs.
The thing I loved most about Ellen and Jeremy's wedding reception, though, was how the two never managed to lose sight of each other.
At almost any given moment, Ellen and Jeremy were attached at the hip and you could just see their affection for each other radiate everytime Jeremy looked in his new bride's eyes or Ellen rested her head on her now husband's chest.
It was these little moments that truly gave their wedding reception that amazing feeling you normally only get when watching DIsney movies and seeing fairy tales brought onto the screen via tightly-constructed screenplays and out of this world characters.
Ellen and Jeremy are a couple wise beyond their years and full of potential. While their future is uncertain as Jeremy pursues a career in the armed forces, it's clear they're destined for great things because they have each other.
When I see the way they look at each other and the way they fit together like two pieces of the same puzzle, it fills me with hope for all of my couples. It's not often that something can jolt me out of the day-to-day reality of busy season in wedding photography but Ellen and Jeremy did just that. They reminded me WHY I love to shoot weddings and why it's so important to get to know a couple before you tell their story.
It's a lesson I don't plan on forgetting anytime soon. :)