This past December, I photographed my very first Alden Castle wedding, a gorgeous vintage venue that I’ve been dying to work at for years. Alden Castle is also one of my closest wedding venues, just a couple of miles down the J-Way in Brookline. I had the most amazing families to work with at this incredibly special and emotion-filled wedding – I seriously adore Katie and Andrew, their familes and friends. I immediately felt welcomed into their tight-knit group on the wedding day and it’s been so much fun putting together the photos for this post and getting to relive the day. I asked Katie and Andrew to tell me about the wedding from their perspective – here’s what they wrote:
How/why did you choose your venue?
The church was a natural fit. Katie had grown up going to Grace Chapel in Lexington and was hoping to get married there, as it was important to both of us that the ceremony be in a church. The Lexington church did not quite have a natural spot for our number of guests, though, so my mom scouted out the new satellite venue they had opened in Watertown. It was love at first sight and actually led to the family attending that satellite church ever since!
I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to have the reception at a hotel, We really wanted a venue that was beautiful on its own and would require very little extra to make it feel special. On our car ride to Alden, my mom asked me what I really wanted in a venue and I said I don’t know, I imagine candles and light and beauty. The second we walked into Alden I turned to her and said wait, I can really get married HERE? Michelle, the sales manager, and Cindy, the event coordinator, sealed the deal.
Did any of your vendors go above and beyond for you?
Besides you?! Seriously, whenever I tell people that it was YOUR idea to come back the next day and photograph us so that we could have outside shots they are completely shocked. Each and every one of my bridesmaids (not to mention my mom) also want to be your best friend, but me first! 🙂
Cindy at Alden Castle was also incredible from the very first meeting with her. Literally, she would email me and ask me a question about some small detail I had forgotten I had even told her, just to make sure I got exactly what I wanted and we had enough time. Frequently, I would go to meetings with her completely stressed out and would leave with an overwhelming sense of calm and a plan of action for the next time I saw her. I am so lucky that I had no concerns or worry the day of about our reception because I knew Cindy would be there. People are also still talking about the coordinated dinner service!
Our pastor, Robert Frazier, made the whole part leading up to the wedding awesome. We actually looked forward to our pre-marital sessions with him, which I don’t think many couples can say!
Why did you choose Kate to photograph your wedding?
Photography was what we really wanted to focus on with our wedding. I will never forget meeting Kate. I had already looked through her portfolio and loved her take on photography. I could FEEL the emotions in so many of her photos and that was super important to both of us. She seemed to make a videographer unnecessary because her pictures told such an incredible story. After meeting her with my mom, the deal was all but sealed. Andrew says now he could hear it in my voice and knew before I said it that Kate was our photographer. That was just underscored once we had our engagement session and she made us both feel incredibly comfortable and she really captured our love.
Do you have any tips to help other couples with the planning process?
Don’t get too overwhelmed by timelines! Everyone has an opinion but in reality it will all get done. Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing, you get to commit to the person you love for the rest of your lives, whether or not the flowers are perfect or you start a little late.
Which detail(s) did you like best about your wedding?
I loved how cozy our venue felt for our winter wedding and the light that we were able to bring in juxtaposed with the dark wood. I also loved that we had a DVD of childhood pictures (even though I didn’t see a second of it!) and the key placeholders were a big hit. The table numbers were perfectly “simple but elegant”. Honestly, I was just happy from beginning to end!
Describe your wedding decor/theme and how you chose it
My dad and I decorate my parents’ house with Christmas lights every year, it has become our tradition. It has become the running joke that our theme every year is “simple but elegant” (mainly because we do the same thing every year!) When Andrew and I started planning our wedding, we both felt like this was a good direction for our wedding. We wanted so much for our love, the love of our families and friends, and the natural beauty of our venues to shine through.
Tell us about your food and cake
We worked with Cindy to choose food, especially appetizers that would meet all the various dietary likes and needs of our guests. Andrew’s original desire was to have an ice cream cake. I felt like logistically, that could be a nightmare, but we went with his favorite cake, chocolate with Oreo frosting, as a perfect compromise. I also really wanted late night snacks which apparently we had, but I was far too busy dancing the night away to have a bite!
What were some of your favorite moments from your wedding day?
Getting ready in my parents’ room at my childhood home is an incredibly special memory for me and always will be. Having both my parents see me for the first time, and then seeing Andrew and his parents as I walked down the aisle, was magical. Andrew and I got to practice our first dance and eat some appetizers in the ballroom prior to entering the cocktail hour and that was so incredibly special. I also love thinking about the last dance of the evening to Pharrell’s “Happy”, dancing by myself like a COMPLETE fool surrounded by everyone I love. It epitomized how I was feeling at that very moment.
What’s next on your calendar as a couple?
Let’s see, we are still very much getting used to our busy schedules at our still new-ish jobs and look forward to seeing each other when possible. We are also hoping to buy a house sometime in the near future so we will probably spend many weekends at open houses in the area.
Thank you Katie and Andrew for welcoming me so warmly with your huge, outstretched hugging arms 🙂 and also to my fantastic second shooter and good friend Kari Herer. Kari took a number of photos in the slideshow above, including those of Andrew getting ready and traveling to the church.
Ceremony Grace Chapel, Watertown ~ Reception Alden Castle, Brookline ~ Hair Jennifer Tawa ~ Makeup Hilary Warner ~ Coordinator Cindy Goodman at Longwood Events ~ DJ Cory Harding at Murray Hill Talent ~ Stationery Wedding Paper Divas ~ Florist Madison Floral ~ Transportation Kenny's Trolley ~ Bride's Dress Waters from Occasion's Bridal ~ Bridesmaids' Dresses Dessy from Weddington Way ~ Caterer Longwood Events