This has been a year of many firsts – including my first ever Grove at Briar Barn Inn wedding! I’ve already (just this year) photographed my first ever weddings at Ledger Salem, Newport Vineyards, the Willowdale Estate and Dune at Wychmere. I really love photographing in new places, and this cute-as-a-button venue was so perfect for this adorable couple and their lovely families and friends.
I started my day with Kayla, both moms, and the bridesmaids – including Kayla’s two sisters, and her cousin (who incidentally kindly referred me to Kayla & Jeff – thank you Olivia!) Makeup was almost complete when I arrived, and the girls were in high spirits. This crew is so positive, welcoming and FUN! There was a very funny moment as they were discussing Kayla losing a tooth and I got completely confused and thought it had happened that morning. Thankfully not. 🙂
The guys got ready in the wedding suite upstairs at Grove. I asked how they all knew Jeff, and they are all childhood friends who grew up together. I’m not sure if they realize just how special and unusual that is!
After a first look with her dad, we set up Kayla & Jeff’s first look in the gorgeous shaded corner at Briar Barn Inn. It is the absolute perfect spot for the first look as you can duck behind the ceremony area for total privacy, and the shade is soft and flattering but also a little sparkly (hopefully the photos show what I mean).
Jeff and Kayla wanted to read personal vows to each other, but also wanted it to be private, so they decided to do this at their first look. It was such a great moment … and of course I LOVED that Kayla teared up during Jeff’s vows. This is the second time I’ve witnessed personal vows at a first look this summer and I am a BIG fan. I encourage all of my couples to consider doing this!
After some time together, Kayla told me that she wanted to have a first look with the groomsmen … so we set it up just as you would a regular first look … and the twist was that she decided to Ice them, which of course made for some fun photos (and I am always impressed at anyone that can chug an entire bottle of anything fizzy and still function, ha).
Then, we all jumped onto a party bus and headed off into the countryside for some portraits away from the Inn – as that’s where all of the guests were also staying. Our first stop was Grass Rides at Appleton farms which is bucolic and gorgeous … and unfortunately still very, very buggy. I felt so bad for my poor suggestion … it has always been a favorite dog-walking spot of mine, but I’m usually there in the off season when the bugs aren’t around. Still, I do love that we got a couple of portraits there that we couldn’t have made anywhere else. It really is such a neat spot.
Kayla & Jeff’s suggestion – our second location – was much smarter and just as pretty: Mill River Winery just around the corner from the venue. I especially love the photos of Jeff & Kayla walking through the vines … and then we had a little time when we got back to the Inn for some final photos back in the first look spot – and of course those are my favorite group photos out of all of them!
The ceremony was short and sweet, officiated by a family member who did a beautiful job, then cocktail hour flowed naturally into the surrounding outdoor spaces at Briar Barn Inn – it was such a pretty afternoon, and I loved that guests spread out to enjoy the property. After a bunch of fun group and couples shots of family members and friends, I retreated into Grove restaurant to photograph the beautiful reception decor. The florist did a fantastic job, repurposing the ceremony flowers and bouquets seamlessly. The bar display was so gorgeous!
There were some very fun entrances by the wedding party, then Kayla & Jeff went straight into their first dance. Just as I was running upstairs to get some birds-eye view photos the DJ invited all the guests onto the dance floor to join them, and I actually like the resulting photos even more than what I had planned to capture – this sweet couple surrounded by their nearest and dearest.
The rest of the evening passed in a flash with three short and sweet toasts, parent dances, then a VERY fun dance floor. A little before my end time, Jeff & Kayla changed into their party outfits and made another entrance – so great! Kayla’s dress was so fun, but it was possibly Jeff’s pinstripe suit that stole the show – I don’t see many grooms embracing the late night outfit change, and he killed it!
Thank you Jeff, Kayla and your families for trusting me to document this beautiful day for you – I hope you enjoy these highlights!