I first met Heather and Ryan over the best milkshakes of my life at the belated south end kitchen in Burlington. I was a maple latte addict and she suckered me into her obsessions, milkshakes. And so you are thinking before you read any further with this interview that I am going to squak on and on about how much Heather loved me and how you should probably hire me to shoot your wedding, but that is not the case. Believe it or not, Heather had another photographer she had booked with and then was sent to me as a referral. I want to tell her story about her wedding planning experience, selecting vendors, the CKPhoto process, regrets and favorite parts from her wedding day all over a good cup of peppermint hot cocoa. (Lake Champlain Hot Cocoa Powder, of course.)
Heather and Ryan got engaged at a Natalie Merchant concert in Maine. She noticed Ryan plowing through his alcoholic beverage at dinner which she thought was strange. After dinner and on the way to the concert, he skipped ahead to a beautiful spot in the garden terrace and got down on one knee.
“It was unlike anything I could ever feel again – it was a combination of so many emotions - excitement, & bliss.”
Q: what were your initial thoughts about planning your wedding?
A: I was so excited to plan! I went into a mode of looking at resources: libraries, yard sales, VT Bride, VT Vows, I started watching Say Yes to The Dress! I made Ryan watch it and he even got into it! I love interior design and decoration and I can be cut and dry with what I like and don’t like. But everything was so fun to pick out! We knew we wanted to be outside and I like late summer before the fall so we decided August 29th 2015.
Q: how did you find your venue, the barn at lang farm?
A: We loved the barn! We love the antique shop! And we love Jon – everything that he’s done in terms of restoring the barn & the pride he took in his business. You could tell it was special to him. The structure of the barn and the white lights we loved. The landscape with flowers and plants was the perfect set up.
Q: how did you find other wedding vendors?
A: it was a combination of word of mouth & recommendations from local publications. I got my dress from Sewley Yours and I loved the private attention and in-home appointments. I had the best experience with my wedding dress!
Q: what was most overwhelming in the planning process?
A: our situation with our wedding party wasn’t normal – we had our parents and immediate family members be our wedding party. Also, Ryan’s father would marry us and no one in my family had even met his father before!
WEDDING PLANNING TIPS FROM HEATHER:
· Keep pieces of info in a folder for inspiration – swatch samples, visuals,
· I did use Pinterest a lot! I hadn’t before and I probably won’t again but the visual inspiration was helpful
· I was not a bridezilla and I went with what felt natural to us. Take things that resonate with you, not what you are told. Try to make it your own and not focus on what you ARE doing and not what you are NOT doing.
· Follow your heart to what’s important to you
Q: what were your initial thoughts about a wedding photographer?
A: A MUST. I love pictures. That was going to be our memory of the day when you’re older and your memory fades. It’s something tangible. My mother always made photo albums so having an album was important. We knew we wanted more of a photojournalist approach, less posed, more creative in finding those moments. Our food? I could take it or leave it, but the photos? I wanted little details captured. I had a style in my head and it’s such a big element of the day. I didn’t want to be photographed so I knew I had to build a relationship with my photographer.
Q: what did you think when we first met?
A: from the beginning it didn’t feel like I was meeting a vendor at all. you jumped right in – it was like meeting a friend like we knew you from before. You wrote in a notebook and asked us questions. I didn’t think a photographer cared about those details when photographing, but it felt like you wanted to know US and be a part of our process. It felt like this wasn’t just work for you. I knew I would be nervous and uptight about a photographer and you were laid back, humorous, bubbly & extroverted and I knew it would be a good fit.
Q: what do you remember when you think about your wedding day?
A: the weather. It was a perfect day! I had an overall feeling of calmness. I am detail oriented but I was so calm and was excited to see Ryan. Just an overall feeling of ‘THIS IS RIGHT.’
Q: how was the photography aspect of the day?
A: easy. I knew you were there because you were a comfortable marker, you blended in with everyone, like our friends & family, I never felt like I had to do or be a certain way and you explained everything that needed to be done. I was the most calm when it was the 3 of us. These parts felt the closest to Ryan too, with the three of us. Very intimate.
Q: what did you feel after the wedding?
A: I didn’t want it to end! It went by too quickly and I WANTED TO DO IT AGAIN! After the wedding, we left and we were SUPER hungry and we went to the gas station (in my wedding dress). It was there or McDonalds so I got Lunchables and Smartfood popcorn! We stayed at the Charolette Inn for the night and it was so nice and cozy. I didn’t pack any other clothes than my wedding dress and a dress Ryan’s mother had gifted me which was hilarious when meeting the other couple staying there as guests! We left for Maine the next day for our short honeymoon which was spent reminiscing about the wedding night and reading our wedding cards we brought. I would be alone and think “I don’t want it to be done!” We had planned another honeymoon later in the winter to Aruba and it sank in again- I was still mourning the wedding process!
Q: what did it feel like seeing your wedding images for the first time after?
A: I was at work and I just couldn’t wait for Ryan but I started with a few and saved the rest with him. They were beyond my expectations and I just wanted to show everyone – I couldn’t believe it was ME! I was so excited but at the same time I knew it was a great process and I was going to get great photos out of it. I loved being surprised of the other images of people or details I didn’t know you took – the cabbage in the garden, apples in the tree we were married under, it was like a surprise, things I didn’t know you had captured and it was an amazing spread of details. There wasn’t anything I wished to have more of. There were moments I didn’t know existed or my family’s reaction to me coming down the isle that I didn’t witness at the time.
Q: how do you value your images after the wedding?
A: I can’t place a value on them. The album is on our coffee table and I pick it up often – I go through it and I love it so much. I love being able to go back and relive things! I love the album; No one has an album like that and I can be confident in that!
HEATHER’S PLANNING ADVICE ON PHOTOGRAPHERS & VENDORS:
Have a professional. The quality makes all the difference
Get an album!
Have a rapport with them! How are they as a person is telling as to how they will be on your wedding day. Great communicators and people you get along with are key components.
JUST ENJOY THE PROCESS! It’s so much fun and goes by really quickly!