The Perfect Golden Afternoon: Sara Anne + Brendan

Jul 2, 2008 | Weddings

I had my first crazy summer wedding marathon weekend last weekend, and it all started on Friday evening with Sara Anne & Brendan’s rehearsal dinner.  I’ll hopefully get to post a few teasers from the dinner at some point, but I was too excited about their wedding to delay posting their teasers any longer!

I started off with the girls at the Marriott Springhill hotel downtown for some getting ready and detail shots.

The light was crazy bright all day, and I had a lot of fun playing with it.

The ceremony was at the tiniest park I’ve ever seen, Sunset Hill Park which overlooks the Sound.  I was initially concerned how such a tiny area would work for wedding photos, but I needn’t have worried …

They rented a porta potty for the ceremony, and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of shots of Sara Anne paying it a visit!

They also had a very fun school bus for transporting their guests between locations – such a cute idea!

After the ceremony, my assistant Mike and I rushed straight down to Golden Gardens Bathhouse for the reception to grab some detail and room shots before everyone else arrived.  The yellow disks on the seats are frisbees!  They had stick figure drawings of Sara Anne and Brendan – awesome!

Keeping with the unusual wedding theme, how’s this for a wedding cake?  I’m afraid the photos don’t do it justice – it was easily the most amazing cake I’d ever seen, a cupcake replica of Mount Rainier, where Brendan proposed to Sara Anne.  It was quite the crowd-drawer!  Huge props to Cupcake Royale for pulling off such an amazing work of art – and of course all of the cakes were delicious too (not that I had too many, just the two … or three …)

And aren’t these the cutest cake-toppers ever?

Once everyone had arrived, we headed outside for some quick group photos.  I like the red brick as a backdrop – and it was pretty much the only space in the area that wasn’t filled with sunbathers.

The first dances were great – Brendan and Sara Anne did a salsa number, and Brendan and his mom did a very entertaining dance …

There was a basket of flip-flops next to the guestbook so that people could enjoy the beach.

Brendan, performing sound effects for his new wife’s speech:

For any photographers reading this: check out the challenging light!  There were about four stops difference between the window area and the back wall, probably the toughest lighting I’ve ever had to deal with at a wedding (and I was so determined not to use flash!)

Brendan is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met – he had Sara Anne (and the rest of us) in fits of giggles all day.

They had the Emerald City Throwdown playing all evening and they were phenomenal.  I’ve seen them play before, but they really came into their own at the wedding.  If you can afford to squeeze them into your budget – and if they aren’t already booked up – this is without doubt the best thing you can do for your reception.

Despite the crushing heat – and the lack of AC – the band had everyone dancing up a storm all evening.

I snuck outside with this lovely family for a mini portrait session – at the request of the bride, of course!  We took some shots up at the bathhouse, then later on went down to the beach.

Then, at sunset, it was the bride and groom’s turn …

It wouldn’t be a Kate McElwee wedding without a feet photo …

A perfect golden sunset to end a perfect day.  Congratulations to Sara Anne and Brendan on a beautiful and utterly unique wedding.

© 2008 Kate McElwee Photography


  1. I love the images captured during the sunset — great work utilizing the challenging light!

  2. you rocked the crazy light situation lady – i love the photo of the rings!

  3. Very nice work with challenging light. It looks like you and everyone else had a great time. I shot a reirement last week under much the same circumstances. YOU did a very nice job.


  4. Wonderful work. Great use of scenery and lighting.

  5. Kate is an incredibly talented artist and photographer. Her sense of light and creative choice of her subjects is outstanding. For me, of course, the emotional impact is overwhelming. That beautiful, happy and fun day is wonderfully captured! I can’t wait to see the rest!

  6. Fabulous! The photos are so fantastic. You really captured the fun and lively spirit, and all the laughter, that was there that day. thank you. Can’t wait to see the rest!

  7. Your ability to capture the essence of this day through your photos is beyond description, but your pictures say it all. Not only are your photos wonderful, but you did your work without imposing on the celebration. Brendan and Sara Anne could not have selected a better photographer. I’m thrilled!

  8. I do believe that someone who was not at the wedding could experience it through your photos. You captured the love and joy of Sara Anne and Brendan; the beauty of both the day and the settings; and the happiness and fun experienced by the guests. As Peggy said, you did it all without imposing on the preparations or the celebration. Can’t wait to see the photos still to come. Do you do Florida weddings?

  9. Gosh, thank you all so much for the wonderful comments. It was such a great wedding – and the crazy light was fun 🙂 Thanks for visiting! Nancy: I would LOVE to photograph a wedding in Florida, are you kidding?! That would be fab! Tell me more!

  10. Kate, you were so warm, thoughtful and flexible throughout the 3 days of events. You obviously love your work, and that love shines through in your photos. Thank you for the opportunity to relive many of the unique and joyful moments of Sara Anne’s and Brendan’s wedding and to share
    those moments with family members who were not there. You have provided us all with a fantastic gift.

  11. Kate,

    Is there an e-mail address I can write about a wedding in FL?




  1. Cambridge Family Session: Sara Anne, Brendan + Baby Jasper » Boston + New England Wedding Photography, Boudoir and Portraits - [...] and they trusted me to photograph their rehearsal dinner and wedding the following summer.  Their wedding was one of…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *