I met Jill and Henry last year when we came together to shoot their engagement pictures right at Henrys parents house. His parents backyard has the perfect combination of lush greenery and flowers, hidden spots under forest like trees, and endless views of hills and farmland. It is incredibly picturesque! Here's a quick sneak from that session:
They were originally planning for a large wedding celebration at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort for this year, but COVID-19 has forced many couples to either postpone, or change their plans. Rolling with the punches Jill and Henry decided to keep their original date, and move the ceremony right back into Henrys parents yard, complete with close family members and friends. Decisions like these are never easy to make, but when they called to tell me I could tell they were excited about this new idea, and I was thrilled to shoot in this location again.
When I got to Henrys parents house on Saturday August 1st, I pulled up to find the cutest outdoor set up. Tables and chairs were laid out to meet social distancing requirements, and were decorated with beautiful flowers, place settings, menus and even custom made individual hand sanitizers at each seat.
I immediately found Jill downstairs in the office wrapping up hair and make up, and getting ready to put on her dress. Jill was such a calm and excited bride! Her energy got everyone in the house excited, and the family was all hands on deck for set up.
Henry was upstairs getting ready with his father and brother. (Another plus about backyard weddings -- the bride and groom are usually getting ready just feet from each other, and I'm not have to take precious minutes from the day to travel throughout a hotel to find the other!)
As we neared the ceremony start time, Jill hide behind the home with her father, and Henry walked out with this parents.
Jill thought of everything when it came to everyones safety. The ceremony chairs were laid out at an acceptable social distance, those who haven't been quarantined together wore masks, everyone maintained distance and utilized the hand sanitizer, and my favorite piece: A long white scarf that she held, with her father on the other end, to show their connection while allowing him to maintain his distance. He walked her down the aisle with this, and they incorporated it into their father/daughter dance. More on this to come!
Jills brother Matt was the officiant for their wedding, and I truly believe that having someone who's known you your whole life lead a ceremony like this makes it far more intimate and special. It was obvious that he holds a special place for both Jill and Henry, and there wasn't a dry eye in that yard when vows were exchanged.
Oh! And ANOTHER benefit of a family backyard ceremony -- you can have all your fur babies be present! Of course for Yogi, witnessing the event wasn't nearly enough, he decided that he wanted to be apart of the nuptials and plopped himself right down on Jills train. It was perfect.
After the ceremony Jill and Henry took some alone time to share champagne and reflect, before allowing us back to take photos and video. I really respected this! Regardless of the type of wedding you have the day will always fly by -- and it's important to take a moment with your new spouse to really reflect on the ceremony, on how far you've come, and what the rest of the evening has in store.
I was able to take some images of their moments together towards the end, and then we jumped right into portraits. I honestly try to keep this part of the day to 20 minutes or so, because I understand how tiring it is to keep smiling and posing when everyone else is ready for the party to start!
After that, we did some family portraits and of course had to show off the COVID masks. Someday Jill and Henry will look back on these with such fond memories, what a crazy time to be married!
On the count of 3 I had everyone rip off their masks, hold their breath, and snapped a quick photo. Worked like a charm!
Because Jill and Henry had planned a much larger wedding, there were a lot of family and friends who had originally planned on attending who were now unable to. To include them, Jill had a large zoom call going with EVERYONE on one cell phone and it was carried throughout the party on a tripod. Maybe these family members couldn't attend in person, but they were able to see the ceremony, the dances, and the toasts from the comfort of their own homes. It was such a thoughtful and neat addition!
Jill and Henry enjoyed their first dance right there on the driveway, while a friend played the music through a speaker on the front porch. When it came time for Jill and her Dad to do their first dance, they maintained their distance by incorporating the white fabric. It made for such a beautiful and unique moment! Following their dance, Henry and his mom showed off their dancing skills and everyone came together for toasts.
Everything was planned out beautifully -- even down to the food. A white clothed table was placed near their fence, and a very talented neighbor passed gorgeous restaurant worthy meals over the fence and laid them out for everyone.
I always feel so honored to be apart of a couples most important day, but especially with this wedding. It was such an incredible and intimate evening that will be forever remembered by everyone who was there.
Jill & Henry: THANK YOU for choosing me to capturing this day for you. It was nothing short of magical!!!