Catalyst Restaurant Wedding in Cambridge: Jen + Sebastien

Mar 27, 2013 | Weddings

creative portrait of cute family in wedding clothes

A couple of weeks ago, on a cold but sunny Friday, I photographed my first Catalyst Restaurant wedding in Cambridge with the wonderful Jen and Sebastien. It was an incredibly fun and quite unique wedding; although intimate, a third of the guest list was kids under the age of twelve, and although a fine dining and artful restaurant in the heart of Technology Square is the last place you’d think of for a family oriented wedding, it couldn’t have been more perfect for this vibrant group.

I started my day at the family home, a sunny apartment in Brookline, just up the road from my place. I was a few minutes early, and as I was beginning to photograph the details I noticed this sweet interaction between Jen, her daughter Linnea, and Linnea’s new dad Sebastien:

family sharing the love before getting ready

Now for a few of the details, which were such a perfect fit for this smart, quirky, and very artistic couple. I especially love Jen’s yellow Seychelles shoes:

funky modern retro wedding invitation in black and whitefun shoes by seychelles and cute flower girl basket

While Jen was having her makeup done by superstar makeup artist Joanne of Joya Beauty, Linnea and Sebastien played some games on the iPad. I love this photo because it highlights the relationship between Jen’s daughter Linnea, and her new step-dad, Sebastien. And for the photo nerds out there: I also love that this shot came from my new Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera. It’s not a camera I intended to use for weddings, but it’s helping me create some great images – its diminutive form allows me to get up much closer without being invasive than one of my huge SLR cameras would allow.

photo of family getting ready for wedding with mom in background having makeup donejoya beauty does airbrush makeup on bride

I love this next photo of Linnea watching with fascination as her mom Jen gets her makeup done (and Joanne of course gave Linnea a little sparkle of her own, too).

brides daughter watches her mom have makeup appliedfun little ring shot with tiny elephant statue at couples home

One of the things I really enjoy about a couple getting ready at home is that the photos become that much more meaningful because of the surroundings. The little elephant statue above was sitting on the mantel in the dining room, just begging to be used for a ring photo; and there’s something extra special about mom getting dressed with her daughter in her lovingly decorated bedroom.

mother and daughter getting dressed together in daughters roomsweet photo of flower girl linnea in black and white

Sebastien and Jen didn’t do a first look – they simply wandered between rooms as they got ready … and it was perfect. Love this photo of Sebastien helping Jen with her necklace:

groom helping his bride with her necklace on wedding day

And of course I had to get a couple of quick snaps of their doggies too.

fun black and white photo of family dogs

We met up at Catalyst, the wedding venue, to take some portraits before the wedding started. The photo of the gorgeous fire at Catalyst was another photo from the X-Pro 1.

front door of catalyst restaurant wedding venuefire at catalyst restaurant taken with fujifilm x-pro 1

We spent a little time wandering around MIT. One of my favorites from this session is this portrait of Jen – Jen, you’re such a stunner!

beautiful portrait of the bride

We braved the outdoors for as long as we could bear (it was pretty chilly out!) and got some beautiful photos on the MIT campus:

couples photos in black and white around MITfun detail shot of bride and groom's funky shoes

Linnea got her very own mini photoshoot too!

portrait of daughter Linnea jumping at catalyst weddingscience themed couples photos at MIT wedding

We got back just as guests were beginning to arrive at their Catalyst Restaurant wedding. The dining room was set up, and the sun streaming through the huge windows made for some great light for a few detail shots of the reception setup:

wedding decor and tables set up for catalyst restaurant weddingflowers set up for catalyst restaurant wedding

Cocktail hour was held before the ceremony (love this!) and Jen and Sebastien socialized with their friends and family in the little area next to the fireplace.

cocktail hour preceremony at catalyst restaurant people laughingpassed hors doevres at restaurant wedding

The sweet ceremony took place in a small room adjoined to the dining room. There was an amazing reading by Sebastien’s sister, Juliette. She read the book, ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton which is both delightful and hilarious. One of my favorite quotes: “I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping,” thought the Dinosaur. “For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.” (Side note: Josh and I used the author’s Purple Ronnie series for our own wedding invitations seven years ago!)

sister reading a lovely love story by edward monkton at wedding ceremonyfun photo with bubbles at the end of the ceremony

At the end of the ceremony there were bubbles, then hugs. Thank you Erica for the photo above!

bride hugs her new father in law after ceremonyguests sitting talking and enjoying their dinner at catalyst restaurant wedding

The reception was basically a multi-course dinner – the best wedding food I’ve ever eaten, period – interjected by toasts from friends. Oh, and a lot of drinking!

catalyst restaurant wedding toasts by friendsbride and groom reacting to toasts at their catalyst restaurant wedding

The kids had the best time of everyone, from what we observed. They had an awesome time, playing games, and coloring and crafting with items in their gift bags, then dancing and running, and hugging, and collapsing on the floor. It was pretty fun to watch – and document!

kids having fun at wedding receptiongroom playing with kids at his wedding

Sebastien was incredible with the kids. Erica and I nicknamed him the Pied Piper of Catalyst, and the boys, especially, had a grand time climbing all over him. He was completely unfazed … (Photo below by Erica.)

groom plays pied piper at his weddingdelicious dinner at catalyst restaurant wedding

The highlight of the evening for me was a very special dance. Jen and Sebastien had planned not to have a first dance, but the kids got together and asked the bride and groom to let them do something special for them. Orchestrated by Sebastien’s sister Juliette, the kids created a circle around the couple, and danced and spun. It was really quite magical:

first dance with kids surrounding bride and groom at their catalyst restaurant wedding

Thank you all so much for making us feel incredibly welcome. We loved documenting your Catalyst Restaurant wedding, and I hope you’ve enjoyed these teaser photos! The full set will be available in just over two weeks – I can’t wait to share the full collection with you!


  1. Kate! That last image is soo amazing! Love this cute wedding!

  2. Thank you so much Shang!

  3. Love these images Kate! The last one has to be a favorite! Great job capturing all the love and fun!

  4. Awesome 😉



  1. Blended Family Wedding Tips: Including Your Kids in Your Wedding | Lace and FrillLace and Frill - […] Photo via Kate McElwee Photography […]

Submit a Comment

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