For the past few years I have been a lurker in the local wedding resale group. That is how I met Whitney and Jacki. Whitney posted looking for someone that had photographed Salem Cross Inn rustic wedding. I was lucky enough to not only be the first person to chime in, but to also have blogged about Salem Cross being in my Top 5 Favorite Wedding Venues! I had the pleasure of photographing Christine & Josh there the previous fall and FELL IN LOVE. The venue is beyond beautiful, rich with history and charm. Whitney fell in love with the venue the same way I had and we definitely connected immediately on that level.
When I sat down with the couple I was sold. I wanted to work with these two. Not only did they seem truly happy and in love, they were so sweet and laid back. I got to hear all about there love story, there wedding planning, and their dog! Everyone knows I’m a sucker for a cute pup!! When I finally got the thumbs up on being their wedding photographer I was over the moon excited. Not only to work with this amazing couple, but to have the chance to go back to Salem Cross Inn.
If you have read my bio or any of the info on my page, you know family comes first for me. As a single mom, as someone who has been through hard times and relied on my family to get through, family is number one. I have found this resonates with my wedding couples also. Whitney & Jacki were no different. First, Whitney referred me to her future sister in law for her wedding photographer. So I actually got to work with them first! Next, Whitney and Jacki decided to forego engagement photos and had me cover the bridal shower instead. I was able to meet the WHOLE family (well the ladies anyway), as well as their closest friends. I found out so many did bits about the two by being a part of their party. By the time their wedding came, I had already worked with them, and their family THREE TIMES! This is somewhat unheard of for me. I truly felt a part of the family by the time it was over.
The Brides got ready at Sturbridge Hotel & Conference Center, only a short drive from their venue. The rooms were large and full of light. The previous night, the wedding party had celebrated with a camp fire right at the hotel. What a perfect way to end a rehearsal dinner! With the ladies getting ready in rooms next to each other, it was so easy to bounce back and forth between the two.
Whitney was AMAZING at having all of her details pulled aside for me. She didn’t miss a single thing! Flowers, dress, veil, shoes, socks, rings… you name it, it was there! Brides if you’re reading this, I can’t tell you how much time this saves me!
Whitney was a DIY superstar. She made just about every piece of decor for the entire day, including her hangers and flowers. I was amazed!
When it came time to exchange gift, Jacki hit it out of the ballpark. In a shadow box frame, she placed her mother’s and Whitney’s grandfather’s glasses, both no longer with us. The thoughtfulness and love that went into this gift was touching. I even welled up with tears! For Jacki, Whitney hand painted a wooden rack filled with craft beer. Adorned with their wedding date and venue, it is sure to be a special heirloom in their home for years to come.
Like so many couples, these two wanted to go into their wedding day hand in hand. So they decided to do their first look as well as bridal party photos before the ceremony. While I never allow friends and family to be at the first look (to keep it more intimate), I did give the okay for everyone to watch from the hotel balcony!
The couple knew immediately they wanted to incorporate the blaze orange tree and the water at the hotel. It was the perfect Fall New England backdrop. The all girl wedding party wore different style dresses, all in burgundy. It was a stunning way to let everyone choose their own style, yet keep consistency throughout.
While the wedding party ushered upstairs to the bridal suite, I was able to capture all the little details of the ceremony space. The couple had tables set up with fleece blankets in case it was chilly. There was also a remembrance table and hand painted welcome sign. Salem Cross’s gazebo over looks a gorgeous garden and rolling hills. The afternoon ceremony was perfectly lit by the sun sinking on the horizon.
The Brides had an incredibly intimate ceremony. They wrote their own vows, both sharing their love story from their own perspective. It was so sweet, and SO funny, to see the differences in the two. While their dog couldn’t join them at the venue, Jacki surprised Whitney with a life sized cut out! And instead of the typical ceremony readings, a poem about how love is like a dog, kept us all laughing… and crying. Check out the poem, “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali, I promise, you’ll love it!
I’m not one to look for signs, or the supernatural, or anything like that. And while I consider myself an empath (don’t ask me about the top floor at Salem Cross), signs from lost loved ones isn’t what I usually pick up on. But I can tell you, this wedding was blessed. First, while Jacki was waiting to walk the aisle, a big monarch butterfly was flying all around above her. I walked over to point it out, as it didn’t seem anyone had noticed. I really hoped I could grab a photo of the butterfly, but she flew away just after I pointed it out. All of Jacki’s family immediately said it was her mother’s way of saying she was there with her on her big day.
Next, after finishing up our formal photos, we started to mingle in cocktail hour. All of a sudden I heard people yelling that there was a rainbow! I quickly ran over to the couple and got them situated in front of the rainbow and got the photo. But seriously y’all… a rainbow… at a same-sex wedding… does it get better than that?!
Salem Cross Inn, while being a rustic venue, also holds a TON of history. It is decorated with vintage and antique items throughout. Whitney’s hand crafted wedding decor only complimented the vintage style of the venue.
The couple’s first dance also stayed true to theme, choreographed number to Frank Sinatra. It was like a dream. The Bride’s cut a small cake, then served warm apple crisp with fresh whipped cream to their guests. This is BY FAR my favorite part of this venue!!
In my delay in blogging, six months have passed since this glorious wedding day. A perfect couple with a perfect wedding day are now expecting a perfect baby boy! I only hope to continue working with their friends and family. I can’t wait to watch them grow as a couple and as a family. It was truly one of the best experiences of my career working with the DiGeronimo and Peruzzi families! Love you all <3