Last weekend was not the best weekend for a wedding.  Hurricane Irene was blowing her crazy self up the east coast, and those of us who were working outdoor weddings started talking extreme weather tactics.  My new wet weather kit includes umbrellas and ziploc bags and trash bags galore … it should also, I soon discovered, include some rain boots.  Buh-bye favorite Vera Wang peep-toe wedding shoes!  And I have never been more grateful for my assistant.  As well as grabbing some great shots, she spent the day holding a super-size umbrella over my head and mopping my brow.  Thank you, Charlotte!

Still, the day started out well enough – there was almost even some sunshine as I drove over to BC’s gorgeous Connors Family Retreat over in Natick, MA.

The girls were in high spirits in the large getting ready room at the venue. Luiz Filho of Luz Beauty and Jana Lamas were doing a beautiful job of the hair and makeup for Emilie, the moms and Alexei’s sister. The other girls were DIY-ing or helping each other. It made for some great photos …

Also, I think I might have shrieked with delight when I saw Emilie’s dress … SO beautiful!

Emilie had some regular white Kate Spade shoes for the ceremony … and these hot pink bad boys for the reception – love!

Love this photo of Emilie, and of Alexei’s mom Denisa reacting to her:

This talented and super-crafty bride made her own bouquet. I did the same on my own wedding day, but the result looked nothing like this (which was beautiful):

Alexei and the guys were hidden far, far away on the other side of the retreat, and down a level or two. I tried to find them twice and failed, getting lost each time. The third time, I had one of coordinator Susan Allen‘s assistants help me, and here they are!

Emilie decided to have TWO first looks (love that!), the first with her parents:

Then, during a brief ten minute break in the rain, came her first look with Alexei. Alexei greeted Emilie with a, “wow! You look so hot!!” and then told her that that was EXACTLY the dress he would have picked out for her. :)

And then the rain really started. Thanks, Hurricane Irene. I really wanted Alexei and Emilie to be able to get the outdoor portraits they wanted, so I had my assistant hold a huge golf umbrella over me and my gear, out in the rain, with the group photos taking place under the huge archways at the Connors Center. Considering the conditions, I’m delighted with how these turned out. It was actually raining so hard at times (1.5 inches in 30 minutes!) that I had to mime instructions as the bridal party couldn’t hear me over the sound of the rain!

I tried to keep the rain OUT of the photos for the most part … but there were inevitably a few that showed what Saturday, August 27th 2011 really looked like:

The ceremony and reception will be along after the weekend … until then, enjoy one final pre-ceremony teaser!