If you ask me what my favorite wedding I have photographed in my ten years I would have a few. Each one different from the other. Each with different moments that I’ll never forget, things that will stick with me forever. Mostly they have nothing to do with actual aesthetics, flowers, vendors, or venues. Just people and the connections I have felt all around me. This wedding is up there. Although it was three years ago I still think about it often and how I wish more weddings would follow suite.
Becky and Marshall had planned a bigger wedding at a summer camp down the road in the Adirondacks. But when 2020 swept in as you know all of our lives were changed and their wedding plans with it. Instead of rescheduling and waiting another whole year to get married they decided to slim it down and go for it. I remember walking into her cabin at the Cove Wood Lodge in the Adirondacks and being just so happy to create with like minded nature lovers. If your not from Upstate New York, the Adirondack Mountains is the creme de le creme of nature and outdoors, especially in the fall. Moss Lake, situated in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is a captivating destination for couples seeking the perfect fall wedding venue. As the season’s rich hues transform the landscape into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows, the serene lake becomes an enchanting stage for a romantic celebration. Surrounded by lush forests and pristine waters, this idyllic location offers a truly memorable setting for couples and their guests to revel in the beauty of nature while commemorating their special day.
There was only 16 people total including me. I instantly felt like I was apart of the group, The girls were putting together flower crowns from the Thistle Flower Farm and DIYing as much floral as they could. They were lined up like a braid- a thon like what we would do back in middle school. It all felt relaxed and carefree, my favorite kind of environment to photograph. One of the girls even put flowers in my hair, like I was just a friend with a camera not a vendor.
We did all the first looks- with dad and then with Marshall out in the woods by the cabin. While that was happening their best friends were at the ceremony spot in the woods hanging flowers and getting everything ready. Everyone was helping, everyone was included in their day. Now when I say this was the most intentional ceremony I can ever remember I mean it. I wasn’t there to do a job It felt like I was there to witness. To document this fraction of time and space. To preserve these relationships as they truly were.
Everyone gathered in a circle unifying as one. They placed a basket that they had created together (including cutting down the tree, processing the wood, and weaving it). One by one each loved one would pull an object out of their pocket, hold it up and tell a story. Each object resembling something meaningful between them and the couple. It’s been three years and I so vividly remember the grooms dad pulling out a rock explaining that it was the first rock that his son had ever found and given him. I didn’t understand quite fully then but now that I am a parent I get it. It just shows so much love to hold onto something so mundane as a rock for 20 something years.
Next came the blessing of the rings which I had never seen before. I came to find out that the couple carved their own wedding rings together and they were cast using gold from both of their grandmothers rings. The rings were passed around the circle, and each guest closed their eyes, held the rings to their heart and whispered a blessing. Next they all joined in lighting candles ( that they of course had made themselves) and sang a song. After their vows when it was time for the first kiss, he picked up up and like really kissed her. It was something out of an indie movie. Now if you thought there’s no way this could be any more meaning and sentimental, here’s the kicker. The dried flowers that were tossed like confetti after that first kiss were from roses Marshall had gotten her the year before.
I am dead at this point, I am 15 weeks pregnant and tears are rolling down my cheek. As we were leaving our little spot in the woods I subtly ask them if I can be apart of their family. Soon after we all gathered for a delicious fall themed charcuterie board and champagne toast. Everyone laughed and cried overwhelmed by love. After family portraits we all just migrated to Moss Lake where half of everyone went right in. There was no stress of a normal wedding day. The whole gang was just being, soaking up that last of early autumns sun. It was so easy to just document. After exploring the Adirondack woods and wandering the lake we headed back to Covewood Lodge where they had a small white tent set up for dinner. We all sat together eating and telling stories. Each person got up and gave a speech, as a person who is a sucker for speeches it was beautiful. They ended the night wrapped up in blankets with their closest loved ones truly soaking in all the love that was present.
Becky and Marshalls intimate wedding in the Adirondacks changed my views on what a wedding day could be. It made me fall in love with smaller quieter days. Their intimate wedding changed my whole perspective and man did it make me want to be whole heartedly just more intentional in my own life.
As the years have flowed by I have started to really take a second look at the traditional wedding.The industry has become so saturated in performance, extravagant decor, and perfection. Although nothing wrong with it just might need to be toned down a tad. It’s just not realistic and sometimes I don’t know if I am part of the problem or the solution. My hope is that intimate weddings like this can take over and push some of the perfect traditional weddings out of the way.
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