Two Brothers and their Basketball and Car Themed Joint Mitzvah

While I’ve been photographing Jewish weddings for years, this energetic mitzvah was the first I helped Chris Connor of 26 North Studios photograph, and it didn’t disappoint. The location was meaningful, the basketball and car theme was super fun, and the two brothers had a fabulous group of family and friends gather to celebrate their mitzvahs!

I joined Chris for the portrait time in the temple earlier that week. It was chilly outside, but we slipped out for a few photos that were fun and showed the boys’ personalities.

A Winter Willowdale Estate Wedding in Shades of Emerald

| Willowdale Estate Wedding Photographer | Topsfield, MA Wedding Photographer

There are fabulous reasons to get married in all seasons. I love the newness of spring, the blooms of summer, and the colors of fall. But winter…winter inspires cozy indoor gatherings with drinks that warm you up, rich jewel tones, and dancing that doesn’t stop. H+O’s December Willowdale Estate wedding was simply stunning, and their style (that dress and that green jacket!!!) was so on point that I’ve even had inquires from people on Instagram asking where H found that exact shade of green for her bridesmaids’ dresses! (For the record, the dresses are by Birdy Grey in the shade of emerald.)

You’ll find other vendor details below, but now it’s time to share some of my favorites from this December wedding at my favorite historic venue on the North Shore!

Vendor details supplied by H+O:

Venue: Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Lead Photography by Danielle of Salty Raven Studio with Joseph Gonzalez-Dufresne second shooting

Flowers: Leiby’s Garden and Flower Shop

Make-up: To Make Beautiful

Hair: Tuan

Cake: Lyndell’s Bakery

Live Band: Entertainment Specialists



A Stunning September Willowdale Estate Wedding

I’m absolutely going to bookmark this blog post so that when it’s the middle of winter and the sun is nowhere to be seen, I can be taken back to the warmth and joy found in abundance at A & N’s beautiful Willowdale Estate wedding!

I mean it when I say that every wedding I photograph is memorable, but when I meet a couple who smiles with their eyes and laughs together simply by exchanging a glance, it’s just such a rush to be a wedding photographer. Add to that my favorite venue on the North Shore, Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA (the stonework and wood carvings are a dream), and you have a wedding that I’d love to photograph again and again! Be sure to scroll down to the sunset photos and the twilight hour ones- I can’t get enough of  those twilight-blue skies and café lights.

Wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness, A & N. It was such an honor photographing your sunny and heartfelt wedding celebration!

Willowdale Estate Wedding, couple walks hand in hand in front of stone building.
The couple stands in front of the iconic red door at this Willowdale Estate Wedding.
At sunset, the couple strolls hand in hand back to Willowdale Estate.
Details including the ring, invitation, and the makeup artist
The bridal suite at Willowdale Estate has the perfect place for hanging a dress. The bridesmaids gather for a photo in their robes.
The gentlemen enjoy beer while they get ready. The groom fixes his hair and puts on his tie.
The groom reads a card from the bride and the bride reads a card from the groom at Willowdale Estate.
The bride gets into her dress at this Willowdale Estate Wedding. Her sisters help button the buttons.
The bride and her mother share a last moment together before the bride descends the stairs at Willowdale Estate. The groom waits for her outside in the courtyard.
The couple share their first look outside in the courtyard of Willowdale Estate.
The ceremony is held at a Catholic church nearby. The bride is walked in by her father.
The bride gets her veil on and the groom waits behind the glass nervously.
The bridesmaids come down the aisle first, then the ring bearer, and finally the bride escorted by her father.
The couple shares looks during the church ceremony.
The couple shares their first kiss and then recesses out the church doors into the sunlight.

Immediately after the wedding, I get ready for the “Hugging Challenge!” to see how many hugs I can catch of the couple getting those first, emotion-filled, hugs from close family and friends. It’s so exhilarating because they’re happening like fireworks all around me!

Lots of hugs!
Family portraits outside the church and wedding party photos back in the courtyard at Willowdale Estate.
The entrance to Willowdale Estate is beautiful.
The flowers under the tent, tablescapes, and the view of the room set up at this Willowdale Estate Wedding.
People come in with excitement to the reception at Willowdale Estate.
Toasts under the tent at Willowdale Estate.
The sun sets and the couple slips out to enjoy the beautiful grounds of Willowdale Estate.
The toasts are funny, the couple laughs and kisses. The college group gathers for a large photo.
Under the lights of the courtyard, the couple cuts their cake while a young child looks on.
The bride shares a dance with her father, the groom with his mother at Willowdale Estate.
The couple dances together at their Willowdale Estate Wedding.
The party atmosphere revs up as the dance floor fills at Willowdale Estate.
The celebration is over and the couple departs Willowdale Estate in a Rolls Royce car.

Fab Vendor Team:

Venue: Willowdale Estate, https://www.willowdaleestate.com

Photography: Salty Raven Studio & Event Photography, https://www.saltyraven.com

Make-up and Hair: Pro Radiance Artistry, http://www.proradianceartistry.com

Cake: The Danish Pastry House, https://www.danishpastryhouse.com

Flowers: The bride!!! (the centerpieces were incredible!)

Dress and Tux: Maggie Sottero Noelle wedding dress, Hayley Paige bridesmaid dresses, and Black Tux for the groomsmen suits

DJ: E.C.F. Entertainment, http://www.ecfentertainment.com

Transportation: Michael’s Limousine Company, https://www.michaelslimousine.com

Olbrich Botanical Gardens Wedding

| Abbey & Natalie in Madison, WI |

Abbey & Natalie’s wedding at Olbrich Botanical Gardens was simply magical- just look at how they glowed! And the gardens! They were like nothing I had ever seen- with every direction you turned, different botanical textures, colors, and patterns would lead your eye to the next gorgeous backdrop. I was absolutely giddy with the options, and because they chose to do a first look (a fabulous choice), we were able to explore the gardens a bit before the ceremony. The day started out *very* wet, but by late afternoon, the skies cleared, and everything was shiny and fresh for the ceremony to be held outside.

Along with the stunning garden setting, I also loved how involved their families and friends were in the wedding.

-That gorgeous ivory dress that Natalie wore with the lace on the top? It was Natalie’s mom’s wedding dress, and Abbey’s mom, a talented seamstress, modified it. Check out the before and after picture to see the remarkable transformation!

-The officiant was Abbey’s father (and he did a fantastic job!).

-The talented make-up artist was a close friend from college, the chauffeur was a brother, the day-of-coordinator was a sister, the DJ was a former roommate and friend….

…and they all knew exactly where to be and when using remarkably thorough Excel spreadsheets that the couple put together. My favorite spreadsheet title was “The Stuff and Who’s In Charge.” I wish I had been half as organized when I planned my own wedding!

Congratulations you two, and thank you so much for choosing Salty Raven to photograph your wedding; I loved getting to know you and your guests, and I hope to return to Madison someday very soon.madison-wedding-photographer-1madison-wedding-photographer-2madison-wedding-photographer-3madison-wedding-photographer-4madison-wi-wedding-photographer-5 madison-wedding-photographer-6madison-wedding-photographer-7madison-wedding-photographer-8madison-wedding-photographer-9madison-wi-wedding-photographer-10 madison-wedding-photographer-11madison-wi-wedding-photographer-12 madison-wedding-photographer-13madison-wi-wedding-photographer-14 madison-wedding-photographer-15madison-wedding-photographer-16madison-wedding-photographer-17madison-wedding-photographer-18madison-wedding-photographer-19madison-wedding-photographer-20madison-wedding-photographer-21Venue: Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI

Caterer: Blue Plate Catering

Cupcakes: Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery

Abbey’s Dress: BHLDN Wedding Dresses, Badgley Mischka

 

Canaan, New York Wedding Celebration!

| Audrey & Eric's Stylish and Relaxed Countryside Celebration in the Rolling Hills |

Audrey & Eric’s marriage was celebrated this fall in a gorgeous setting rich in family history near the Berkshire Mountains, just over the border into New York. With rolling fields, charming farm buildings from the 1800’s, and beautiful meadows of flowers and cattails, this wedding was a dream to photograph. And Audrey’s dress- amazing!!!

Perhaps because they were “officially” married in Cambridge City Hall earlier this year, they were able to enjoy a more relaxed gathering where the focus was on good food and drink, great company, and the beautiful surroundings. Their guests were greeted upon arrival with drinks and appetizers, an hour or so later everyone moved to the shade under a gorgeous tree for a brief ceremony honoring Audrey & Eric’s marriage, and then it was off to their lunch reception at Mario’s Restaurant in New Lebanon. A few guests returned to the farm afterward to play a generations-old family golf game with a tennis ball, dance, and soak up the late afternoon light.

It was a pleasure photographing this lovely celebration for Audrey & Eric!berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-1berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-2berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-3berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-4berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-5berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-6berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-7berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-8berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-9berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-10berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-11berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-12berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-13berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-14berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-15berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-16berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-17berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-18berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-19berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-20berkshire-mountains-wedding-photographer-21

A Sunny Surprise Proposal in Rockport, MA!

| Rockport, MA Wedding and Engagement Photographer | Bearskin Neck |

If you want to choose an adorable coastal town to propose to your special someone, Rockport, MA is one of my favorite places on the North Shore. It’s quaint walkways, iconic “Motif Number 1” red fishing shack, and ocean views are a huge draw. Plus, how cool would it be to have a place like this to come back to on future anniversaries?

I had the pleasure of photographing the surprise proposal of J+D recently on Bearskin Neck, and I’m in love with photographing proposals like these where it’s just two people enjoying a beautiful view or special place together. The couple’s elation and emotions are simply amazing to witness as a photographer who loves capturing genuine moments.

Plus, the lead-up for me as I try to act like I’m totally interested in photographing the birds/boats/harbor can be quite comical. More on my running inner monologue as we go, but first, the big moment:

Proposal photography in Rockport, MA where a man proposed to a woman by getting down on one knee with a ring. She is surprised and says yes!

Backing up to earlier that morning, J texted me saying that they were on their way. The only trouble was that the parking lot (which is usually packed with people) was nearly empty! When a man commented about how hard it was to track swallows (a really fast bird that zooms in the air eating bugs), I figured out he was also a professional photographer and asked him to hang around for a few minutes and be my accomplice. When J+D arrived in the parking lot, I was “taking head shots” of him while they finished their tea before heading out on the walk.

Photos of birds I took while waiting to photograph the surprise proposal in Rockport, MA.
That’s them!

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the two of them set off on the walk to the end of the rock jetty.

The couple sets off on the walk to where he will propose to her.

And this is where it got tricky for me because…WHERE WERE THE OTHER TOURISTS?!?! I’ve never seen Bearskin Neck so quiet on a beautiful Saturday morning. Luckily, I have a 70-200 mm lens that I call my “paparazzi” lens, so I was able to stay far back and feign a lot of interest in the boats and view while grabbing a quick photo of the two of them when I dared to….

The couple walks out to the end of the rock jetty and stops to kiss on the way.
I want to join the person on that lobster boat someday- look at how many gulls swarm the boat!

If you want to get your proposal photographer’s heart racing, getting down on one knee to take a cell phone photo will do it…..

They reached the end, and he took a photo of her with his cell phone before proposing.
False alarm!
The couple enjoys a moment alone by Bearskin Neck before he proposes to her.

And then… it happened!

Surprise proposal photography in Rockport, MA out on Bearskin Neck.
I love how D covered her mouth in surprise and then wiped away tears.

Above, D is clued into the fact that I am there, and her reaction was awesome. I always take care to set expectations with the person doing the proposing ahead of time by saying, “If the person you’re proposing to would like to savor this time alone together, I will bid farewell immediately!” As it turns out, D was very excited I was there. In fact, she saw me in the parking lot earlier photographing the man, and she almost approached me to ask if I would take photos of her and J!!! She was absolutely elated that J had hired me and kept asking, “So she took photos of the proposal too?!?! I’m so excited!!!”

The couple is so happy after they became engaged. They hug, cry, and smile after having their proposal photographed in Rockport, MA.
I love black and white photography on sunny days.
The newly engaged couple walks back to town and along Motif Number 1.

After we made it back to the parking area on Bearskin Neck, we walked around Rockport for a mini-engagement session downtown and at the iconic Motif Number 1. It turns out D’s favorite color is red, so the red walls of this fishing shack were a perfect backdrop. A few minutes later I said my goodbyes; they had a lot of people to call and share their happy news with!

The couple has a short engagement session after the proposal along Motif Number 1, a building that

Congratulations, J+D! It was wonderful meeting you and photographing this joyful moment in your lives together!

Tea, a Walk, and the Sunset in Brooklyn

| Jenny & Ethan's Adventure Session/Engagement Session |

Many couples become a little wary when I bring up planning their Salem or Adventure Session (a.k.a. an “engagement session”). They envision awkward poses and forced emotions, but that isn’t at all my approach because….yuck! I explain that the point of an adventure together session is for us to have fun, get comfortable around each other, and for me to get to know them as a couple so I know how they connect and interact together naturally. When words don’t convince them, I offer examples, and this recent November session in Brooklyn is a perfect example of how dynamic Salty Raven adventure sessions can be- I know I had a blast!

Jenny and Ethan were married in Brooklyn, and their wedding day was as “them” as I had hoped it would be- we covered a good bit of ground in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn- see more here!

A Sunny Cambridge City Hall Wedding

| Cambridge, MA Wedding Photographer | Getting Ready at Home, Smoothies at Life Alive, and a Jaunt Around Cambridge Together! |

I absolutely love City Hall weddings. I’ve photographed one in NYC and lots at Boston City Hall, but this was my first wedding at Cambridge City Hall, and it was just lovely.

A merry band of close friends and family gathered in Cambridge that sunny day to celebrate S + A. Luckily, they were all able to witness the wedding because the weather cooperated, and their awesome city clerk was willing to perform the wedding outside on the lawn of City Hall!!! Were there a few interruptions by car horns and buses rumbling by? Of course. Did a stranger or two stop to watch for a moment? Sure, but as S + A said their vows, wiping away tears, the city noise and the passersby melted away.

But my favorite part of the day? I think maybe it was starting out in their apartment- the cozy home they would be saying goodbye to in a few short weeks when they moved abroad. When I asked them what they loved doing together in their apartment, they laughed and said that A enjoyed laying his head on S’s lap. “Then let’s do that!” I replied.

Or maybe my favorite part was stopping for a smoothie right after they were married. When they mentioned they loved Life Alive located directly across the street from City Hall (it’s a favorite of mine too), I insisted on treating them to a “Just Married Smoothie!”


A Cambridge City Hall wedding of a woman in a short white dress and a man in a white shirt. They dance in front of a blue wall, walk across the street in a crosswalk, and then order a smoothie at Life Alive.
The couple relaxes on their couch at home before heading to Cambridge City Hall to get married.
The man lays his head in the woman
The bride puts on a flower crown, the groom fixes his bowtie, and they stand outside of their apartment before heading to Cambridge City Hall to get married.
The couple walked to Cambridge City Hall to get married and stopped in front of some of their favorite archways.
Before heading to Cambridge City Hall to get married, they stopped on their favorite park bench in front of the Cambridge City Library.
The bride is hugged enthusiastically by a woman when she arrives for her Cambridge City Hall wedding.
The couple walks up the steps to Cambridge City Hall. The American Flag flies along with others including the Gay Pride flag.
The couple heads to the office of the city clerk to check in and get their marriage license looked over.
Their ceremony was on the lawn of Cambridge City Hall. They stood under a large shade tree.
They said their vows to each other and shared a first kiss under the tree at Cambridge City Hall.
The couple receives hugs after their Cambridge City Hall wedding and poses for photos with friends.
After their Cambridge City Hall wedding, the couple enjoyed some moments alone together on the steps in the sun.
After their Cambridge City Hall wedding, the couple headed to a friend
Toasts resulted in much laughter by the couple and their friends and family as they were toasted for their wedding at Cambridge City Hall.
This is the final photo showing them walking away after getting married at Cambridge City Hall.

Other things I will remember from this wedding:

  • Visiting “their” bench in front of the Cambridge City Library on the way to their wedding.
  • The welcome they got from their friends as they walked up to City Hall.
  • They pointed out that Cambridge has the LONGEST walk signals of any city, and I believe them! We could have walked across the street and back a half dozen times before the blinking hand started.
  • Those reactions during the speeches- there’s a good story behind them. Now, I was taking photos so I didn’t catch every detail, but there was a bananas tale about how S’s mother mistakenly sent a friend request to A on Facebook right after their first date!!! She panicked, thought she had fixed it, but….A *TOTALLY* noticed that the mother of the woman he had just shared a date with had friend requested him. He kept it a secret for a few years I think before fessing up and admitting that he took it as a very good sign!


Are you interested in getting married at Cambridge City Hall? You need an appointment, and there are indoor options too inside City Hall to have the wedding. Click here to be taken to their website that walks you through the process of getting an appointment, and then call Salty Raven to reserve your date!

A Rainy Garden Wedding in Massachusetts

| Portraits with Umbrellas! |

I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful wedding at the Gardens at Elm Bank with Zev Fisher Photography this past spring. Garden weddings are always stunning- even in the rain! In fact, I actually think rainy garden weddings are quite special, and not because everyone says “Ooh, rain on your wedding day is lucky!” My opinion is that: walking together under an umbrella forces you to get cozy (and sometimes also a little silly), rainy and reflective walkways are quite romantic, and the party goes later into the night because guests don’t want to leave their happy and dry cocoon!


Bride and groom under arbor at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA.
Bride and groom walking under an umbrella in the rain on their wedding day.
Bride getting ready in a hotel room with her bridesmaids who are wearing robes. She has to sit to put her dress on, and she laughs!
Bride
The groom walks out of a building and into a greenhouse where he will wait for his bride to arrive.
The bride and groom share their first look in the greenhouse at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA
Close-up photos of the bride and groom in the rain under their umbrella and a far away shot in the doorway of the greenhouse.
The groomsman hold mismatched umbrellas, the groom snuggles with the bride up against a brick building, and the bridesmaids look on.
The bride and groom descend the stairs. Friends and guests pose for portraits with their babies.
Hugs and apprehension as people wait for the ceremony to start.
The wedding ceremony- the couple says their vows, and guests tear up before the couple shares their first kiss.
Handmade details- placecards, flowers, a photo of the room from afar, the cake, and the table settings.
Guests enjoy cocktail hour and pose for photos.
The toasts made guests laugh out loud. They toast champagne, and one guest brings his daughter outside to look in.
The dancing commences! Lots of joy and a person holding up a love sign.

A Proposal in Rockport, MA!

| Boston and North Shore Proposal Photography |

“What are you waiting for?” a tourist asked, approaching me and my giant camera lens.
“Oh, nothing- I just love photographing birds!” I laughed…

Well, that wasn’t quite true, and I don’t think I’ve felt before-session jitters like this for years. I had to keep reminding myself that the person who hired me to photograph the moment when he proposed to his girlfriend was likely far more nervous.

The setting was scenic Rockport, MA just before sunset, and I stationed myself in the parking area at Bearskin Neck and waited for what felt like forever. I do love birds (hence the name Salty Raven), but when I could sense (and hear!) the couple only feet away from me, it was SO hard not to look!!!

Here are a few of my favorites from just after he spilled the beans on my presence. They were absolutely glowing!

And here is THE moment!

But before that, there were lots and lots of photos of boats and birds and dogs as I tried my hardest not to look out of place…

And here’s the gull I was SUPER focused on while they were just feet away from me!!!

Finally they started out on the walk, and I loved the suggestive message of this sign. Choosing a partner to share life’s adventures with really can feel risky at times, but when you “just know,” you go for it.

They stopped walking, and I looked for something to photograph lest she turn around and notice me and my camera. More gulls and more boats!

I’ll stop narrating now because at this point it became all about them and the moment. 🙂

It was such a pleasure, you two, and many congratulations for this next stop in your adventures together!

Goodnight, Rockport. Until next time…