Way way back in July, there was a huge storm that hit New England. It was July Fourth weekend, or as I shall forever remember it, the weekend of wedding awesomeness that was Shana and Mike’s rustic Maine adventure. Out in the middle of nowhere, but also quite near to Canada, a group of fantastic and somewhat crazy people gathered in the woods, on a lake, to celebrate the marriage of this quirky, smart, funny, sweet couple. The weekend started with white water rafting (in the pouring rain – but still fun I’m told), followed by a July 4th BBQ in the rustic recreation center hut. Fireworks and s’mores were sadly postponed as the heavens were dumping huge amounts of rain on us still … rain that continued throughout the night and into the wedding day.
Throughout the year, when friends asked me which wedding I was most looking forward to, I told them about this one. I was so excited to be in the wilderness, on a lake, with a gorgeous outdoor ceremony with Mount Katahdin as the backdrop. So I was pretty bummed out about the weather, which was cold, still raining, and very, very breezy. Luckily, the bride and groom were still in high spirits and had decided to go ahead with the outdoor ceremony no matter the weather. Perfect!
Instead of hair and makeup for hours, the girls started their day by putting together all the flowers, including the beautiful bouquets and boutonnieres. I’d done the same at my own wedding and would never recommend it; thanks to Shana I’m officially rethinking my stance on that. Hair and makeup was a DIY affair too, although smart Shana had taken lessons with the wonderful Joanne of Joya Beauty, something I highly recommend to all of my DIY brides!
Ceremony time arrived, and the rain finally lifted. It was cool and breezy out, but guests snuggled up under blankets, and windswept hair was greeted with laughter instead of self-consciousness. Good people make undesirable circumstances something memorable; I truly believe that crappy weather somehow brings people closer together. The ceremony was funny, sweet, emotional. My favorite photo is of Shana and her dad walking down the aisle together, the emotion clearly visible. I also love Mike and Shana’s impromptu kiss immediately after the ceremony, with their guests cheering them in the background.
After that, the sun came out – just in time for some fun portraits with the huge wedding party, and some sweet couples photos next to the lake. Dinner was a delicious buffet, and it was punctuated by some wonderfully funny speeches. I love photographing not just the couple and those speaking, but also all the guests reacting to the toasts, and when you have great speakers the expressions you can capture are wonderful. The evening was a whirlwind of dancing, a hora, and then s’mores and fireworks. It turned into a pretty awesome day.
With our portrait time cut short on the wedding day, I persuaded Mike and Shana to join me on the lake at 7am the next morning for a few extra photos, and we were rewarded with one of my favorite ever couples’ portraits: the paddleboarding photo at the start of this collection. That’s a badass couple right there! Thank you Shana and Mike for your bravery, your optimism, your warm welcome, and of course for trusting me to document this wonderful wedding weekend for you!
Ceremony & Reception New England Outdoor Center ~ Lighting Taylor Rental ~ Makeup Lesson Joanne at Joya Beauty ~ Stationery Ladyfingers Letterpress ~ DJ Aaron Topfer ~ Photographer Kate McElwee ~ Floral Design DIY by Bride and Friends ~ Cake My Three Cakes ~ Bride's Dress Oscar de la Renta (customized) from L'elite Bridal ~ Groom's Attire Isaia at Neiman Marcus