Joseph & Sumi - July 30, 2023 - A musical event! Part 1 - Ceremony & Cocktails on Board the Charles I
Joe & Sumi met TWENTY years ago at the Longwood Orchestra where Joe was already a member of and Sumi joined. Joe told us he saw Sumi walk in and I'd like to believe it was love at first sight. They finally decided to tie the knot after twenty years together! They both said that their distaste for planning kept them from officially wedding for so long. Their day came together so perfectly - our first wedding of the year without rain!! I think this was because it was a Sunday, not a Saturday as it had poured the day before like every other Saturday we've had this year in Massachusetts.
Having worked with the Charles Riverboat company before but on Boston Harbor we were super excited to experience what their river boat weddings are like. These leave from a little dock outside of the CambridgeSide Galleria which makes parking and getting to these boats super easy and convenient! Parking was significantly more affordable ($4 for the day after validation vs $18 at the Harbor). Accessibility was very easy with elevators from the garage. This was helpful considering Joe & some friends were towing a wagon full of decor to set the boat up prior to Sumi's arrival. The riverboats are a much more relaxed and DYI experience. I don't know the specifics whether or not you can pay more for the company to set up or if they are all DYI. The capacity was max of 75 people and I believe they had about 50 set up for a cocktail party (dinner reception was to follow at the couple's favorite restaurant - find part 2 of this blog soon).
The woodwork on the Riverboat is stunning and so were their floral arrangements and especially the fabric accents on the arrangements and the bridal party's attire. Sumi's mother came to America from Japan with gorgeous handmade kimonos and had the brilliant idea to use the fabric for bridal attire and accents throughout the day. The men's ties, pocket squares, sashes, ring box and Sumi's dress all came from her mother's kimonos!
How adorable is Sumi's mother holding a custom made purse from her own kimonos?! Here she is in conversation with Sumi's long time violin teacher.
A stunning wedding on a Charles Riverboat Company luxury yacht vessel.
Cormier Wedding - June 24, 2023
Tricia & Travis chose to have an intimate wedding in June on board the Charles Riverboat company's most luxurious vessel. You can check this specific yacht out here: charlesriverboat.com/vessels/valiant/
If you've been following along with our busy wedding season on Instagram (or even just noticed the pattern of weather Massachusetts has had this summer) you might recall A LOT of rain on Saturdays!
Tricia & Travis chose the Boston Harborside Inn on State Street for getting ready. It was beautiful and a perfect location, however, the rooms were very small and dark. This bride and groom actually swapped rooms right before we arrived because the bride's room was originally TOO dark and small for photographs compared to the groom's. The only window in the room was a window that went to an interior hallway within the hotel. We made it work regardless! This I can't stress enough is a reason to ask your photographer if they are only a natural light photographer or if they are knowledgable in using flash and accessory lighting.
For photographers or enthusiasts- these photos would have been very dark and grainy & lacking in sharpness had I not used a flash. I prefer to use a Godox high-speed sync flash speedlight with 2000mAh Li-ion battery. You can find older models (last year's is a good amount of money less and just as good) depending on what camera brand you shoot with. I wasted years using cheaper flashes that took AA batteries that barely lasted 100 shots that I would keep recharging. I would carry around a giant bag of AA batteries and pray that they lasted through the night. With lithium ion batteries I can go an entire day on ONE but we each carry two with us and plug our first one in when we switch to the reception just in case. I plan to do a full gear blog for my Fuji system soon and what each of us carry.
Travis was originally apprehensive to having photographers for the day. Being his second marriage his experience prior was that he spent too much of the day posing for pictures and feeling like he was constantly on camera instead of being able to enjoy the day. We promised we would be quick and easy going to get the shots done and let them enjoy their special day.
This couple chose to do a first look so they could walk down to the yacht together and do some portraits beforehand. The Custom House on State street was the perfect location for this. Beautiful columns and a grand staircase to frame up the first look couldn't have been more ideal. We were watching the weather knowing some storms were predicted and the bride sent some groomsmen out to find some clear umbrellas!
Just as this couple met together on the staircase the sky let the water fall like glitter! We were able to step up into the columns for more portraits and stayed dry. The rain soon stopped in time to walk to the boat for more portraits. Amazingly the sun stayed out the rest of the day!
After Tricia & Travis had their first look they ducked into the hotel bar for some quick shots together!
When we arrived to the Boston Harbor Hotel (where the Charles Riverboat Company harbor boats dock) we were so excited to do portraits under the arch but when we arrived there was a Dîner en Blanc happening! All of the guests boarding a dinner cruise were dressed in all white, a theme that goes back to the 1980s in France. Thankfully this bride thought it was funny and didn't mind not being the only one in white!
As we arrived at the dock many guests were also starting to gather, we only had maybe 20 minutes to get all of the family portraits finished so that they could board the yacht. We strategically went past the boat to the backside of a building so we could get portraits done without guests saying hi to the couple! Shortly after we were able to board and the bridal party was able to use the downstairs bar as a waiting area before the ceremony upstairs. This yacht has two bars, one upstairs where the ceremony was and one downstairs where the cocktail hour was. After the ceremony the upstairs is flipped to a dining room with a dance floor. We were so impressed with how seamless their staff was able to pull off such a transformation and in such little time!
The ceremony was short and sweet! Tricia's sister was the officiant and as warned would happen many boats going by cheered and shouted during their ceremony! It was such a fun vibe all around!
Rachel & Rick reunited as adults after actually having grown up together! They have one beautiful daughter together, each had daughters of their own before, and Rachel also has one son.
Both Rachel & Rick are artists themselves - painters & photographers. Every part of their special day had artistic details that were meaningful to them, including paintings from family members.
Their day was full of loving family and friends, we felt a unity of two families merging to become one.
Rachel with her father before heading out to the ceremony.
We arrived from wedding #1 about 15 minutes behind, thankful that the bridal party was also behind! We don't typically ever run late, in fact we always aim to arrive early. Today was an exception and both couples were aware of us doing both weddings in one day. There was clear communication on all of our parts to make it happen for everyone. I was tired and immediately realized that I had left my flatlay canvas in the car that John had just driven away with to head over to where the groom was getting ready. Luckily he hadn't made it far down the road and was able to turn around. For snags in the day this was the end of the mistakes on our part! I take it as a win!
Rachel with her cousin (bridesmaid) and Rachel with her two daughters while getting ready.
Rachel's adorable son had been practicing posing for pictures.
At this point when I entered the bridal suite I was able to find a safe space to start charging my batteries and find some water to hydrate myself before moving on to taking detail shots. Meanwhile John was at a nearby Inn with the groom, his daughter and groomsmen.
Rick with his gorgeous daughter who was his "best man" for the day.
The venue - the 1761 Old Mill - Cracker Barrel Pub restaurant. Since 1761 the Old Mill has been in business - 98 of those years as a restaurant. The venue was beautiful and unique. There were many rooms to be able to use to spread out and get ready and a beautiful room to bring the dress and details into for detail shots. Their coordinator was amazing and helpful to work with all day and the food was delicious! We always appreciate when a couple makes sure we eat, it's always such a long day and having been at our second wedding of the day we most especially appreciated some food to keep our energy up.
Above is the symbolic rope with other details used for their traditional Jewish ceremony.
The flower girl basked with a cardinal bird.
The Swan Ring boxes held Rachel & Ricks rings! The detailed embroidered boots were worn as Rachel's wedding shoes.
Guests gather awaiting the ceremony, a Jewish ceremony under the chuppah. The ceremony was officiated by Rachel's aunt.
Rachel's cousin walked her son down the aisle.
Rachel's bridesmaid walked their daughter, the flower girl, down the aisle.
Rick, seeing his bride in her dress for the first time. This couple chose not to do a first look.
There was breaking of the glass and beautiful vows.
Below, Rachel with her uncle - gotta love the bowtie! Rachel's cousins in the middle. Rachel's Nana giving off all the artistic hippie vibes.
My very favorite image from the day - two daughters from their previous relationships officially sisters. Unintentional sun flare created a rainbow at their feet. I had no other images with sun flare the entire day which makes me feel like it was just meant to be in this moment!
On our way to do some quick couple portraits after their ceremony.
Their ceremony begain with Sheva B'rachot: Seven Blessings over wine and challah. The blessings were read by Rachel's cousins.
The night continued on with amazing dancing including the Hora! Rachel changed into a lacy cocktail dress shortly after eating so she could dance more easily,
After the reception, it turned into a karaoke after party in the same location! We stayed for one song but we were absolutely exhausted and had an hour drive home still ahead of us. We were really impressed that the venue could accommodate an after party - many venues will close down right after the reception due to there being so much to clean up and hours worked by their staff. We would highly recommend this venue for someone wanting extended hours, delicious food (hushpuppies in real maple syrup!), a great coordinator and tons of room to spread out.
Overall it was a successful day for us as photographers but I wouldn't do two weddings in one day again! The amount of time spent on our feet, bending in awkward positions, and not hydrating to avoid bathroom breaks really does wear on you. I plan on doing another blog post specifically for photographers about this!
Congratulations Rick & Rachel - your day was amazing!
Michela & Matthew & their cute pup, Budo, tie the knot in their backyard!
*Also titled - the day we shot two weddings in one day*
We had previously booked an evening wedding for June 10th, meaning for us it would start around 1pm for getting ready pictures for our evening couple. Michela reached out desperately looking for a photographer who could do a 2.5 hour backyard wedding all in - getting ready, portraits, ceremony, and 1 hour of reception time. Since it was a 10:30 ceremony I wracked my brain for days trying to figure out how to make it work (including the hour drive between locations). It was exhausting but we made it happen with minimal stress! Follow along for wedding ONE on June 10th!
Michela & Matt started dating during the height of the pandemic. Due to shut downs their relationship quickly became a safe pod to stay in and watch movies and cook together. Michela already owned her home and Matt moved in and became Doggy Daddy to sweet Budo! Their home was the perfect intimate location for their vows together. Their home has so much special meaning to their relationship!
Wanting a non traditional wedding, this couple chose to get ready together in their home. It was so relaxing! There was no bridal party, just a close friend acting as a coordinator for the day (so helpful)!
They still chose to have some traditional flatlay pictures of their invitations, rings and a custom made tuxedo collar and new name tag for Budo!
Matt's flatlay had to show off his new sneakers, being a sneaker head he had to get new ones for his wedding day!
Michela's clutch was borrowed from her best friend who also used it on her wedding day!
I love a good ring shot in flowers! I especially love grabbing a detail shot with the names and date on the invitation showing. It's all in the details! Read more to see their amazing portrait location, backyard ceremony and bourbon bar reception!
Ian & Ivana contacted us last fall about having their wedding in Ian's hometown, Walpole, MA! For them, it was a travel wedding, for us it was conveniently down the street from us! This gorgeous couple lives in Florida and had an amazing family member do their coordinating and decor for them. Collectively they have amazing, classic taste combining neutrals, greens and pinks so it was fitting the rhododendrons were blooming in the backyard where Ian grew up!
The two days prior to their wedding it was a hot 90 degrees here and humid - Saturday we woke up to a major cold front and...rain. Sometimes you just have to be ready for a plan b due to weather! Rather than do first look pictures at Bird Park in Walpole we decided to utilize the stunning home Ian grew up in. An early 1800s home, it was the first school in town! The stairway and front double doors made for the perfect first look location. This couple was so flexible and understanding, they went with the flow all day rather than feeling upset about the cold and rain.
For every one of our couples I hand paint a canvas for their detail flatlay shots. We discuss ahead of time which color they want!
Ivana chose Ian's historical childhood home as her getting ready location - look at that banister and that window!
John led Ian in with the double doors closed, had him turn around and then opened the doors. We always love a groom's reaction to seeing his bride for the first time in her dress. We also love first looks because it gives a more relaxed opportunity to do couples portraits prior to the wedding. On this particular day we were so thankful for a break in the rain! The break gave us the opportunity to run out to the backyards for some portraits. If we had waited until after the ceremony at the Country Club everyone would have been miserably cold and wet. In fact once we were at the Country Club, Ivana was so cold the consensus was to just finish family portraits inside the reception room before the guests were released from their cocktail hour location. I felt so bad for her being used to the Florida heat!
After a quick 10 minutes it started to rain again and it was time to head over to the church for the ceremony, it was a beautiful Mass.
Blessed Sacrament Church, Walpole, Massachusetts
From the church we went over to Walpole Country Club, the bride & groom spent some time warming up in their car with heat on and a blanket! We grabbed some very quick family pictures again (we also got some at the church altar).
Ivana is originally from Macedonia where dancing is very much a tradition at weddings, I loved that they combined Macedonian music and pop music! Their wedding had the most amazing dance floor all night!!
I'll be updating more photos as I edit and deliver - I can't wait to update the altar and family portrait photographs!
My daughter, Maya in 2018 on Boston Common for the Endometriosis March. (Published photo in WGBH magazine).
Boston's "Below The Belt" premier at MIT - Aprea Media
Sometimes our worlds collide. Endometriosis and photography!
It's no secret that for the majority of my life I struggled with what 1 in 10 women have been diagnosed with - endometriosis. For some it's a minor blip, it might cause some discomfort or come up during fertility treatments. For others, like me, it caused life changing pain and organ disruption. It took over in more than one sense. As a child I had horrible side and abdominal pains all month even prior to menstruation. When I did start my cycle at age 11 it became so unbearable I couldn't keep up with academics, nor anything active or social. This pain only became worse as I aged. In high school I missed so much school and couldn't concentrate. I was hurt emotionally and mentally because I was told I was going to be held back, I wouldn't amount to anything and that I was making up my pain. Being sent to the nurses office and being given a Tylenol is honestly still angering to me looking back. I barely got into college and had difficulties keeping up.
After graduation I lost job after job due to needing surgeries I didn't have the leave time for - ovarian cysts rupturing, suspected appendicitis (surprise - that was actually endometriosis). It took me a decade of pain and laparoscopic surgeries every 6 months to remove new growths until I found an excision surgeon who specialized in cutting the endometriosis out rather than burning the top layer off. My husband was with me throughout all of it, the pain effected him too especially when we wanted to grow our family. We had our baby girl (pictured above, now 11) and years later had a missed ectopic that went late, causing one of my tubes and ovaries to go necrotic and need removal. I also suffered a leg injury during surgery, my femoral nerve being pinched too hard for hours while I was on the table. I needed help walking for 6 months due to loss of sensation of my right leg and suffer nerve pain still on a daily basis. I also suffered sepsis due to the infection, I'm thankful to have survived but that was my last straw.
I haven't needed surgery since finally having had a thorough expert operate in 2016 but I had also experienced so many terrible employers by this point. I'm healthy but I also have a healthy dose of mistrust now! In 2016 I started Sarah Aprea Photography. I figured - self employed doing something that makes me happy - why not give it a try?!
I struggled like any small business does getting on my feet and learning the ropes. I studied photography in college but it had been years before. I invested in education, learned from peers and did things the right way. In 2022 my husband shot his first wedding with me and from there we re-branded to Aprea Media to encompass that it's not just myself and we hope to add video eventually.
In 2017 or 2018 I met some amazing women doing fantastic endometriosis advocacy work, I volunteered photography for two marches and that led to work at MIT for their department of gynecological research. I photographed the Boston Premier of "Below the Belt" - the second installment film after "Endo What." This led me to the opportunity to be an official MIT vendor and to work on more corporate events!
I'm thankful today to be a parent to a child who won't have to suffer like I did and so many girls do. I'm also thankful for the community I've met because of endometriosis and for the push to just go for it with self employment. If you have any questions about endometriosis please feel free to reach out to me!
Tony & Jen decided for their vows to have a backyard elopement combined with photos at the Endicott Estate! It was the perfect combination of relaxed, going with the flow with a plan to do pictures at a beautiful venue! We are so happy for this family!
Jen wanted to wear her cowboy boots and what really stunned us is that she made her own wedding dress! Completely designed by her it was layered in a delicate lace and the straps had gorgeous flowers on them!
Since this was a quick elopement there weren't many wedding details to capture, however, this couple did want their favorite whiskey captured on camera! During the pandemic they started to collect unique whiskeys and these were some of their favorites.
Last but definitely not least, while elopements do not have as many details to capture we always make sure to document the signing of the marriage certificate!
Congratulations Tony & Jen! We love working with elopement couples! If you're in the Boston, Massachusetts area and you're interested in documenting your elopement or micro wedding we're happy to work with you. We have week day flexibility at hourly rates!
My very first styled shoot! This styled session was very special because the models are really a married couple! Emily & Sean were the perfect models because you can really see their authentic love for each other. This curated session was essentially a wedding without the guests! Everything down to the long table set up, linens, place settings, flat lays, cake, champagne, dress changes, hair, makeup - you name it - it was there! We even got to eat the cake after! I don't think the day would have been such a success if it wasn't for Jenny Murray Weddings + Events. When choosing my first styled shoot I wanted it to especially be with someone with a lot of experience pulling off such an event!
Jenny went with a unique color palette and totally went with it - emerald! The deep green florals, the brides maid dresses - even the wedding ring! I was all so cohesive I absolutely loved it. The palette was so perfect for a winter wedding, I'd highly recommend emerald green and neutral tones for anyone exploring options for next winter. They even had brass and gold colors mixed in for the silverware and table props! The whole day was a wedding dream!
Venue - The Garden at Elm Bank @elmbankevents Planning+Design - Jenny Murray Weddings+Events @jennymurrayweddings Planning + Design Assistant - Kiley Murray @_kileymurray_ Bridal Gowns - L'elite Bridal @lelitebridal Flowers + Tabletop - Thistle and Bone - Sheryl @thistleandbonefloral Tabletop Rentals + Champagne Glasses - Curated Rentals - Diana & Danielle @curated_rentals Invitations + Gold Menu - Custom Creation Boutique - Lauren @cust.creationsboutique Cake - Bella Confections - Lauren B. @bella_confections Makeup - Brittany Eileen Beauty @brittneyeileenbeauty Hair - Hair To Admire - Heather @hair.to.admire Calligraphy + Stationary Details - Simply Done for You @simplydoneforu Gown Designer - Sareh Nouri @sarehnouri Gown Designer - Oscar de La Renta @oscardelarenta Gown Designer (short dress) - Ines Di Santo - @indesdisanto Bridal Gown Dressing Service - Christine Cornell Bridal Dresses - @christinecornellbridaldresser Tuxedo - Delux Tux @deluxtuxwalpole Emily Ellison - Bride - @em_ellison Model Sean Ellison - Groom Bridesmaid/other Bride Model - @alliemariesilva
The year was 2019, it was a busy fall season and I had just invested a lot of my hard earned cash into marketing myself as strictly an in home documentary photographer. You should see the stacks of beautiful postcards and flyers I ordered! The problem is, no one ever saw them. 2020 happened. We all know what that means. The irony of it!
You see, 2018 and 2019 were incredibly rainy autumns. It even rained once during an outside family session when it wasn't even on the radar! My camera and lens got wet. On top of that, the sweet family who had just dressed up, come from a hair blow out and made it on time for their session then had to come back the next day to do it all over again.
This also meant rescheduling other clients constantly due to the inclement weather. It was a disaster and I was so over it! I thought, wouldn't it be amazing to have control over my climate, shoot in client's cozy homes and have more control over my schedule? Plus, families are always so much less stressed in their own homes. They don't have to rush to be on time somewhere, toddlers have all of their favorite toys and snacks with them and the temperature is right where it should be. I was going to work hard at marketing clients who wanted the same style!
2020 happened. Pandemic, loss of employment or pay cuts for many; not knowing our futures. Fall 2020 was my slowest season ever. Many people couldn't justify the cost of family photos as a necessity. The entire year was incredibly slow, my worst year since opening in 2016!
You may be saying at this time - GET TO THE POINT SARAH. Okay, I am getting there, promise. I am finally back to doing in home sessions, I am vaccinated, boostered, wear my KN95. I trust in my clients that they are also being as safe as they can be leading up to their sessions. My social circle is SMALL. I homeschool our 10 year old (we have since kindergarten, this wasn't a Covid choice) and we get our groceries delivered. We are still not traveling, man I miss traveling. If I know I've had any exposure to any illness, I let my clients know immediately and they are so kind to do the same for me.
As 2021 was wrapping up I had SIX in home newborn sessions, all felt incredibly safe. I'm looking forward to booking more 2022 babies this year for those who feel comfortable with sessions in their homes. I would love to book for in home family sessions again as well. If you feel safe, are expecting or know someone who is and would be a great fit for a low-stress, beautiful in home newborn photography session then please send them my way. I would be truly honored to capture their sweet moments. I also REALLY miss in home family sessions, winter is a fantastic time of year to snuggle up or bake something yummy. So if you're ready to book and curious click below!
We are deep into the slow of winter here! You know - that post-holidays-it's-dreary-out-when-is-it-Spring time of year! I've been trying to embrace the cold this year. I have made a real effort to be more active, get out and socialize, hike (even winter camp) and do winter pictures for clients! I have to admit it has helped the time go by a little quicker this year.
Our eight year old daughter is also active outside year round - she even works at a farm in their homeschool program rain or shine! I love these mornings! We get there early, I drop her off and watch the goats and sheep have their breakfast. I can see my breath and know I'm starting my day off with fresh air. The farm has a rolling green pasture with a stream running through; it reminds me of Ireland!
I've always loved time spent on farms! Growing up in Ashland, MA my closest friend always had horses. I spent so many afternoons with her caring for them and mucking out stalls. I admired her ribbons from dressage and her precious portraits with them. She now owns her very own horse ranch in North Carolina and gives lessons to children with anxiety (you can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/steppingstoneslessonprogram/) Definitely check her out if you're in the Charlotte, NC area!
Now, my closest friend in Massachusetts also has a beautiful horse, Likely! See how beautiful he is?! ---->>> She was so gracious and trusting with me to do my first equine session with them.
I would really love to do more equine sessions and I'm offering a major deal to help build my portfolio (contact me for more info). I have so much experience with newborns, families - even dogs and cats - I would love to add more horses to my portfolio!
Sessions would lean more lifestyle documentary - the kind of session where you can see the love and passion between owner and pet! Do you know anyone who would love a session like this? Reach out!