St. Mary's Catholic Church Wedding Photos
Victoria & Keith
December 5th, 2020
It's rare that one saying can truly summarize an entire year but, for me, 2020 can best be summed up by the concept that "life is what you make it." Nowhere was that clearer than when Victoria and Keith said "I do" earlier this month at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Norton, Massachusetts.
After eight months of hoping and praying the coronavirus pandemic would come to a speedy resolution before their December nuptials, Victoria and Keith eventually accepted reality and pushed off their plans for a big wedding celebration to 2021. In keeping with the tagline, though, the pair decided to keep their ceremony in 2020 and get married in front of a handful of their closest family members and friends.
So what was their reward? The day they choose to say "I do" was also the ONE day beset by insane downpours and crazy winds that made spending anytime outdoors impossible.
But Keith and Victoria aren't the type to let these types of inconveniences ruin their plans and though it wasn't WHAT they planned and it wasn't WHERE they planned, they still put together and awesome, intimate and super fun wedding that shows what truly mattered to this bride and groom.
And I can think of no better way to have closed out my 2020 wedding season.
My time with Victoria and Keith started in a very familiar place: Victoria's mother's home, the same location I began my coverage of Victoria's sister Rebecca's wedding day one year earlier.
In many ways, Victoria's bridal prep felt almost identical to her sister's as Victoria is a super carefree bride and seemed at total ease from the moment I walked in.
The one, and only, difference was the abundant Christmas decorations around the location which gave it an even more festive feel as the bride finished her hair and makeup.
Victoria and her bridesmaids had a fairly relaxed bridal prep session, no doubt helped by the fact that the rainy weather nixed our plans to go to the bride's grandmother's home for some pre-ceremony formal photos.
The extra time before Victoria's ceremony proved super helpful as it let the bride take her time getting into her dress and getting ready. And what a dress it was.
My favorite part of Victoria's bridal prep session was the genuine joy on the face of her parents. You could tell that, even though this wasn't the wedding day they initially envisioned, it was still one of significant importance. Victoria's mom even went so far as to fully decorate her basement so the bride and groom could have a small, family-only reception to make up for the fact they couldn't use their original venue due to pandemic restrictions.
I think that sense of family really defined this day, particularly once we arrived to St. Mary's Church in Norton, Massachusetts, which is the site where BOTH of Victoria's sisters got married in recent years.
Waiting for the bride was her soon-to-be husband and I knew from the minute I saw Keith he was excited to officially make Victoria his wife.
St. Mary's Church is, without question, one of the most beautiful churches I've worked in. While social distance requirements made it tough to get around and get all the angles I'm accustomed to during a full Catholic mass, the church's spacious layout did provide plenty of room for guests to space out and I'm glad as I could tell everyone in attendance was honored to be to witness this special event.
As for the mass itself, Victoria and Keith kept their nuptials classic and traditional and in a year where life has been anything but, I felt it was the perfect decision.
Following Victoria and Keith's ceremony, we stayed inside the church for formal photos. While this wasn't the original plan, the pounding rain we could clearly hear on the windows made it pretty clear this would be our best option for photos on this day.
Thankfully, Victoria and Keith have an entire wedding reception planned in 2021 and we pledged to do their bride and groom formals, as well as more family portraits, outside on that day.
Still, given the limitations, I was please with how everything came out. To me, the most important thing when documenting a bride and groom's wedding day is capturing how they genuinely feel after having just become husband and wife and I think these photos represent that quite well.
With their ceremony behind us, the only thing left for me to document on Victoria and Keith's wedding day was their "mini reception" and though I had no idea what that meant going into the day, I quickly figured out it would still feel just as special as a regular reception ... even if it did occur in the bride's mother's basement.
We even managed to grab a couple of photos near a beautiful stairwell and the family's Christmas tree.
Honestly, I can't think of a better place this reception featuring just a handful of people could have taken place.
There was just one problem with our plans: Because of the crazy rain and wind we'd had all day, the tent where Victoria and Keith were set to have their first dance and parent dances was soaked.
In keeping with the theme of the day, though, the bride and groom made it all work and I can honestly say watching them say "to heck with it" and soldier on to have their special moment was a beautiful thing to watch.
If nothing else, I know they'll never forget the silly time this mini reception turned into.
Once the floor was dry enough for Victoria to enter the tent, she and Keith shared their first dance and, instantly, any thoughts of rain or wind were gone. As the two held each other and swayed back and forth, their closest family members looked on and I couldn't help but think there was an inherent beauty in such a sweet and intimate moment between two newlyweds.
I especially love that Victoria and Keith made sure to honor their parents with traditional parent dances on this day. While they may also dance with their mother and father during their reception next year, I feel these dances were a huge part in making this day feel as normal as possible.
It doesn't hurt that both dances featured memorably sweet moments, either, such as Keith and his mother hugging toward the end of their song together.
My favorite moment, though, and one that still makes me laugh to this day was Victoria's dance with her father. Throughout Victoria and Keith's wedding day, each remarked several times how much they wish the rain had been snow instead. So when Keith found out it HAD turned to snow, he just couldn't help himself and told Victoria. In the middle of the father-daughter dance.
Immediately, Victoria and Keith ran outside like excited children to get some photos taken with the snow covering them. You simply can't put a price tag on such genuine joy, especially not after everything Victoria and Keith went through to have this wedding day in the first place.
Thankfully, the break in action proved especially helpful once we restarted the father-daughter dance as Victoria had one last surprise planned for her father: A special moment where they threw a softball back and forth to one another to honor the bride's special time as a softball player with her dad by her side.
These little moments really helped set an awesome tone among Victoria and Keith's family as their reception began and they settled down for dinner. Before the meal could begin, though, the bride and groom cut their cake and just HAD to share one more lighthearted moment together.
As I packed my gear up and headed out into the suddenly blizzard conditions of Victoria and Keith's wedding day, I couldn't help but laugh at just how much fun their entire event turned into.
It's amazing that, despite how many things technically went wrong on this afternoon — from a global pandemic to torrential downpours that canceled all our formal photo plans — Victoria and Keith still left with smiles on their faces and rings on their fingers.
I honestly can't think of a better metaphor for 2020. No matter how many obstacles come up, love ALWAYS finds a way. And, if nothing else, now I have an entirely different event to look forward to in 2021 as Victoria and Keith get the big party they deserve to celebrate their love. If it's anything like their wedding day, I know it's going to be one worth documenting and one FULL of amazing memories they'll cherish for a lifetime.