Ilana & Sam had a beautiful winter wedding at Ledger restaurant in Salem, MA. It was my first time photographing at this upscale spot, but my husband and I have had dinner there before. It was really cool getting to photograph in this fantastic space and I especially love the drama of the main dining room for some couples portraits!
I started my day with Ilana and her lively crew of family and friends: both moms, Sam’s sister, Ilana’s sister-in-law and her very fun nieces; plus a few of her very best friends. It was the best kind of chaotic and I loved getting to meet all of these fantastic people before portrait time. I think it makes a big difference in helping to get everyone feeling relaxed when it counts.
We had such lovely vendors to work with, including the always delightful Katie Pape (hairstylist extraordinaire) who referred me to Ilana (thank you!!) and makeup artist Liz O’Malley.
Once Ilana was dressed, I met up with Sam at the funky staircase in the entrance to their hotel, The Hotel Salem. I was drawn to the wall of natural light and the clean, crisp design on the walls and figured it would be a great place for their first look. It was a very sweet moment, and I think Sam came pretty close to welling up. 🙂
We’d scouted some awesome locations around Salem for their couples portraits, but sadly the weather was not cooperating … high winds, rain, snow … It was a little disappointing but Sam and Ilana were such great sports about it, and they agreed to walk from the hotel to the restaurant for a few quick snaps en-route.
The staff at Ledger was so great about letting us in early to use the main restaurant space, and I set up a video light to enhance the lighting situation. I really love the variety of portraits we were able to get in that one location! Then, it was on to group photos in the Macomber Room, followed immediately by a beautiful ceremony.
Some favorite ceremony moments included the reading by Ilana’s friend, ‘All I Know About Love’ by Neil Gaiman, and catching most of Sam’s family members (and Sam himself, of course) wiping away tears! Here’s a favorite excerpt from the reading:
“and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing”
Immediately after the ceremony is always a favorite moment for catching big hugs, and the inevitable ring-studying moment (I always try to sneak in one of these photos as I love seeing the ring shown in a completely natural setting). There was a short cocktail hour, followed by a fantastic family-style feast, probably my favorite way to serve a wedding dinner – and usually only practical at more intimate weddings. Toasts were short and sweet (and invoked more tears, hurray!) then there was a sweet shared parent dance, followed by a very lively hora.
Thank you Ilana and Sam for being such wonderful humans to document; I absolutely adored working with you both, and your families and friends!