How to start your wedding season off with a bang at Bean Town Receptions with Michelle and Nicolas!
I can’t believe it’s been since fall of 2019 that I’ve photographed a full wedding day. This pandemic has been absolutely insane but I can safely say, I started my season with a Bang thanks to Michelle, Nicolas and Bean Town Receptions. So I’m going to hop right into it because I am just so excited about it all, EEP!
I’d never met Michelle and Nicolas prior to their wedding day, which is so foreign to me but turns out, my clients are always amazing in the end and these two were no exception. I started the day off at Michelle’s parents home out in Rockland where I was greeted by two adorable little boys running around with balloons, my bride in her flannel steaming dresses and family and bridesmaids happily getting ready for the wedding. Straight to work I went on getting some beautiful detail shots of the rings because, well, have you seen them (they’re below)? I obviously love Michelle’s ring but Nick’s ring caught me by surprise as it had an inlay of what I think is either wood or tigers eye which made it super unique. I had to be sneaky with the dress shots as Michelle wanted no one to see her gown before so I was walking through the house and into the yard trying to be sneaky as I can be. Almost twisting my ankle in the process because I didn’t realize there was a step down into the living room haha! Good old clumsy Sam is back at it, nothing new there.
Soon enough, the guests had left the home and only the Bride, her boys, the Bridesmaids and her parents remained, it was time to get her dressed. Her mum and sister quickly helped her get into her gown, add her jewellery and of course the task of putting on her shoes because long nails do not make it for an easy task on a bride! Before leaving, I asked Michelle if she wanted to do a quick first look of her in her dress with her sons and dad and so we did! They waited in the front yard as she walked out, almost got attacked by a bee (not really but she booked it out the door when she saw it), and almost twisted her own ankle on the interlock lol. But all was well, Zach took a sneak peek and then all three turned with big old smiles on their faces. A few hugs and lots of love and we were on our way to Bean Town Receptions in Plantagenet!
I arrived at Bean Town to find the boys hanging out in the pavilion, drinks in hand as per usual and I finally was able to meet Nick for the first time! I had been warned he didn’t like getting his photo taken, as most grooms hate, so I was prepared to sweet talk him into it. But to my surprise, he was all for it when I suggested starting with some shots of him and his guys. In that moment, I knew we wouldn’t have any problems with the rest of our day. We had an awesome time just hanging out and laughing until it was time to get ready as guests arrived and it was time for the ceremony to begin.
The ceremony was beautiful, short and filled with tears. The boys happily walked down the aisle to their dad to deliver the two hand made ring boxes the bride’s family made. I have honestly never seen such a smooth act by such young ring bearers, there is almost always tears or turning away going on, but not Zach and Max. Then it was time for their momma to walk down the aisle, and she held it together… for a little while. As soon as she got half way down the aisle the tears welled in her eyes and by the time she got to the front, it was full on tears. She hugged her father and her mom was quick to get up with tissues to wipe away her tears. Nick held her arm and the two walked to their spot, held hands and proceeded with the ceremony. Everyone looked on a beamed with joy as they recited their vows, looked into each others eyes and smiled like the world had stopped. They were pronounced husband and wife, after 10 years of being together and shared their first kiss. But one kiss wasn’t enough and they went for a second one before walking back down the aisle! Flower petals fell from above, Nicolas took his bride and dip kissed her as the guests cheered on and off they went with champagne on their private horse and buggy ride around the property.
After the ceremony we kept things pretty mellow for a little while, this is something I absolutely love about small and intimate weddings such as these. There is far less rush rush throughout the day and the couple get to enjoy the little moments they would normally miss. Michelle and Nicolas got to spend time with their guests, have a drink, take care of their boys and just unwind before hopping back into portraits for almost two hours. We of course started things off with some family photos so that the guests could get back to their drinks and snacks and we even got the boys to cooperate for all of them which is so rare with kids of this age. Zach really loved giving his biggest smile while Max really wanted to show me his hands.
We then wandered to a little area on the property to have fun with the bridal party. We did the usual traditional photos but then Ben, one of the groomsmen was talking with the group as I was aside with the Bride and Groom, mentioned as a joke; ”When are we going to do the walking photo holding hands?” I heard him and said well right now. We removed Michelle’s beautiful over skirt to reveal her beautiful slim crêpe fabric gown and I proceeded to tell them; ”line up and link arms”. They seemed a little confused but they did it and then I told them to simply walk towards me while talking to each other. They did it and they felt so weird about it, laughing and mentioning at least they weren’t running. So then I made them jog instead of walk! Again, they were weary of it especially since well, the ladies were wearing heels and Stephanie one of the bridesmaids is pregnant (she was not wearing heels thankfully). But they rallied up and went for it and it ended up being hilarious and so beautiful, probably some of my favourite photos of the day. Honestly, the candid moments often come from these posed or staged shots and they are ALWAYS gold, trust your photographer my friends.
I sent the party off to go enjoy themselves while I whisked the Bride and Groom away for some portraits. We stayed in our initial spot because the light was just too good and I wanted them to just hang out and enjoy themselves still feeling the energy from their guests nearby. They were complete naturals and I hardly had to give them any pointers, you could really feel the love coming from them both. Something that made me laugh was Michelle asking me, not once, not twice, but three times; ”Are my eyes even open in these photos? All I can see are these eyelashes and I feel like my eyes are closed!” I burst out laughing, reassuring her each time that yes, your eyes are open. Not to mention she has absolutely beautiful eyes, Nick knows, he’s stared into them for the past 10years. Pascale (the ever amazing Bean Town receptions attendant) drove us in the golf cart into the woods for more photos.
Now the woods here are pretty much my favourite spot for photos at Bean Town, however Michelle is not a fan of bugs. Dare I say even afraid of them. So I had to like, prep her before we went in, reassuring her that everything would be fine (remember the bee at the front door when we left her parents place?). To my surprise, she was super relaxed about it all, not phased at all. She asked how I’d deal with all the little bugs but honestly I don’t have to because with the kind of lighting in the woods, and the magic of my flash, they look like little balls of light. Glitter almost and it’s actually quite beautiful for photos. So after Pascale lathered our bride up with bug spray we waltzed into the woods like it was no ones business. Michelle and I may have almost toppled over thanks to the branches laying around- I mean she had heels so I can’t blame her… I on the other hand, I was wearing sandals and am just clumsy by nature so it isn’t uncommon to find me on my butt or on my face during a session :). But she pulled through and we got these absolutely stunning photos to show for it.
We ended the session around the lake… pond… what should I call this mass of water Bean Town Receptions?!? TELL ME, I need to know! With the gorgeous sun we were gifted for this perfect wedding day. Their sons joined us for a final family photo and then they (everyone) went off to enjoy what was left of cocktails before it was time to start the reception.
The reception was nothing short of beautiful. I’ve never seen Bean Town Receptions do this style of reception in my ten years of shooting weddings but with the pandemic, they had to come up with alternatives and this was perfect for this size of group. They were able to put tables all along their outdoor patio for the guests with beautiful decor and then the head table just outside the main entrance for the couple and their sons. It was like al-fresco dining and it was perfect. I hope to see it more!
Michelle’s family is so talented, they made quite a few items for the wedding including the beautiful wood medallions with burned etching of their names and wedding date and those beautiful birch wedding ring boxes. Candles and champagne + blush linens completed this low-key rustic decor and it was a dream. Gen, the owner and coordinator for Bean Town even went and put a stem of lavender in each napkin which was such a sweet touch and smelled divine.
The night went without a hitch and started with lots of tears from our Bride, her sister (and Maid of Honour Jess) and her momma during Jess’ speech. She talked about growing up together, her love for her big sister, their adventures and of course how grateful she was to now officially have Nick as her big brother. Oh and let’s not forget the pride she has about being an aunt. It was honestly so beautiful and both of them burst into tears almost immediately as she started talking. Michelle was able to hide hers thanks to some sunglasses but don’t you worry girl, I got many photos of you wiping away those tears ;).
The kissing game was a fun one too as guests were invited to walk up to the microphone and say the word Trivia to which the DJ would proceed to ask the guest a question about the bride and groom with the answer being one of either. If you got it right, the couple would kiss. It started off great with the first answer being correct, great! The next 5, not so much haha. It seems people thought Michelle was way more organized then she let on, turns out Nicolas is the organized one between the two. All the wrong answers made everyone laugh because, well who knew! The boys even came up to answer a few… well more like yell TRIVIA!!! in the mic for fun while others answered the questions.
Dinner was delicious as always and desert was my favourite part (who doesn’t love a good flambé). Once the sun set enough, the music started playing and the boys decided they wanted to dance with their uncle and grand parents, so they did! They showed us a few moves like the good ole’ floss which my brain just can’t seem to grasp lol. And as quickly as the sun set, it was time for the first dance. Our happy couple made their way over to the magical little island and took their moment to dance under the stars and fireworks which is always such a magical experience at Bean Town Receptions. I always love to take a moment and to take it all in myself because these are such special moments. I ended my night with photos of the father daughter dance which is one of my favourite moments of the day so I’ll always be happy to end on such a high note!
Michelle and Nick, thank you for sticking through your wedding even with all of these uncertainties. When you messaged me during those difficult times to reassure me that you would be going through with it either way, you gave me hope. As a vendor, I need to be there for you but you were there for me and I will never be able to have the words to tell you how much I needed that and appreciate it. You were both so wonderful, fun, and just amazing. Your family and friends were so welcoming and also an absolute blast to spend the day with. I hope these photos serve as a reminder of the beautiful life you’ve built and will continue to build together. Congratulations on 10 years, a beautiful family, and now a marriage. To many many more years xox