15.2.12

Enjoy Project | Nick + Whitney | The Oaks Wedding


i was thirsty so i drank,
and there was something 'bout the way
it tasted so familiar
time, love.
time, love.
change of time | josh ritter
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Training for a marathon.  Building a new house.  Commuting three hours every day.  Planning a wedding.  Traveling.  Running a family business.  These topics are childs' play for Nick and Whitney. 

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If there has ever been a motivated, capable, hands-full yet thriving in the busy-ness, completing the details, fulfilling the phrase "live your life!" couple who could handle all these things at once, it has to be Nick and Whitney.
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Whitney is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met, because she has to be one of the most opposite of "me" I've ever come across.  She's like a Jamie Delaine or something ;)  I seem to thrive off of people who aren't like me.  I love Whitney's OCD administrative skills, her ability to plan and manage schedules, her impeccable and careful attention to the little things, her grand dreams accompanied with specific steps on how to get there.  Now, if I just told you that you might think "eh, she sounds boring."  But let me assure you: boring she is not!  She is FULL of personality.  This crazy brilliant system she has going works, because she is living life, man.  I'm telling ya.  She has FUN.
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Here is a classic Whitney picture:  three pairs of back-up shoes.  All color-coordinated, all ready and in their place, all perfect.  I would have probably NEVER thought to buy back-up sandals and rainboots in case of rain!  But not only was her idea smart and reassuring, it was super cute!
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She's really just "on it."  She's there for you.  She's got it taken care of.  She has an idea? Boom. Done. Ordered. Printed. Next idea? Let's do it. Boom. Spread sheet. Done.  She makes things happen, and she works hard.  I really wish I had more of "that" in me.  Sometimes dreamers can really be the most lazy people... we need more people of action in this world!  And Whitney is most certainly a dreamer in action.
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I can't tell you how many e-mails I got from her with galleries for wedding inspiration, floral ideas, color schemes and general information.  She wanted me to be up to date, involved and really a part of her day.  I loved those e-mails.  
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Her heart and soul were in this event.  Now, some may say "If you focus too much on your wedding, you aren't making your marriage the priority!"  Trust me, I understand the sentiment, I get what that phrase is referring to.  But I must say, oftentimes a persons extreme focus on the wedding is a reflection of their gigantic hearts.  Their hearts for their families, friends, parents and spouse.  Whitney wanted this day to be perfect for everyone.  She wanted everyone (who drove ALL the way across the bay bridge ;) haha) to be showered upon with memories and celebration.  She was no casual "eh, I don't care, whatever" participant in this day.  She was engaged in every element, and when wedding day came around, it was so personal, emotional and meaningful.  It's the difference between a Stouffer's frozen lasagna and a homemade, hand-made pasta, slow-cooked sauce, fresh baked lasagna.  The person who puts hours of time into the lasagna doesn't "care more about the meal than the family."  No, no... it's BECAUSE she cares for the family she desires to give them the best meal!  That is how Whitney is.  
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Ashley, Whitney's sister, got married at Glen Echo Park.  If you've been around for a while, you'll know that Glen Echo Park is one of my most cherished venues.  I ADORE GLEN ECHO.  Well, besides Glen Echo I have a running list of venues that I want to shoot at in my general area.  Leave it to these sisters to choose perfect locations ;) because The Oaks was on the Dream List of mine.  I actually jumped off my chair when I read Whitney's e-mail telling me the good news ;) Isn't this place perfect? 
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Love. her. ring.
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This feels like a very Lydia Jane shot to me ;)
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I have to say, I'm very 50/50 on the whole first look thing.  As a photographer I adore it - who doesn't want more uninterrupted time with your couple?  There are few things I enjoy more then pleeeeeenty of time to shoot!  And there is the sweetness of a moment with nobody else around.  It's like being proposed to in public vs. private.  However, the other side of me - the girly side! - can't help but love the traditional, chilling, gasping, musical entrance with a fatherly pass-off.  I know you STILL get to have that when you did a first look, but I don't know... their is something about the idea and legacy of that ritual that I love.  All that said, I don't have much of a preference with what couples would like to do.  I can offer suggestions, especially as the photographer.  I do like more time!  But I'm going to be bold here and let you in on something: first looks are REALLY awkward sometimes.  "Honey, it's just you and me... and strangers recording our every move, hoping for us to cry or kiss passionately... or something."  Maybe Jasmine Star has some magic trick she does to make all her first-looks go flawlessy, but I sure didn't learn that in the workshop! So we arrive at Nick and Whitney's first look.  Truth be told, it was beautiful.  Honestly.  If I could be guaranteed to have a first look be so special, happy and gorgeous, I just might do it myself.
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After their happy, normal (aka: not awkward!) and relaxing first look, we tooook ooooour luuuxurious time doing portraits!
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We had a lot of grounds to cover at The Oaks... especially since Whitney knew that place like the back of her hand!
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This looks so New England-y to me!  <3
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Oh Kyle and Ashley.  We were created to be friends.  I've been back to their house for dinner a couple times, they were one of the very first to meet my boyfriend (who wasn't my boyfriend at the time!) and we even spent Fourth of July together this year.  I miss you guys!
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After all the group pictures were finished, the photog crew and the almost-weds drove down the road to a sweet little bay town.  I love the rush of taking photos in a busy place, seeing everyone stare at us as we walk down the road, marching through crowds making no eye contact, being all "Ye-ah. YE-ah. What?"  It's very glamorous.
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(It's also a fun challenge to make it appear like there were not many people around.  This streets were not empty, my friends!)

Now we arrive at the wedding climax, the great build-up, the part where the tension peaks.  Our vehicle full of media crew and talk-of-the-town couple pulled back onto The Oaks property about 20 minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to start.  While we were gone the storm radar took a turn for the worst, and the grassy, waterfront wedding under the giant oak trees seemed to be a precarious option.  While we were out, however, none of us answered our phones (or felt them ringing for that matter.)  With the bride and groom gone and rain approaching, they wedding team made a game-time decision to move everything under the covered dock.  
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It's not that this option wasn't a perfectly wonderful location, or that Whitney wouldn't have even made that decision herself, it was just a little confusing to drive up and see half the chairs in the grassy location, the other half on the dock, speakers being moved, floral arrangements being transported across the lawn. What on EARTH was going on?!
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That sliver of just a few minutes gave me a front seat view of Whitney and Nick's relationship.  I haven't described Nick much to you thus far.  All that I've said about Whitney is true - and I could say much more!  I truly LOVE her, and I LOVED shooting HER wedding because I SO love HER.  But I have to hand it to him, Nick is one quality man.  In all this commotion, and in the mounting stress, there was nothing I could say to relieve Whitney, nothing her sister or mother or girlfriends or wedding coordinator could do.  She wasn't going ballistic or anything, in fact, she was remarkably calm!  But you could tell her sweet, planners heart was racing a bit.  And Nick was the only one who could help.  "I understand how you're feeling.  I've talked to _______, _______ and ________. The change is being made.  We will be getting married on the dock.  It will be beautiful and I personally will make sure it is exactly like we talked about for the Plan B."  Whitney visibly calmed.  "Do not worry, Whit.  I've got this under control.  You finish getting touched up and I'll see you in just a few minutes."  And like *that* she had not a care in the world.  And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is a man.
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Patient, calm, gentle and also bold, "fix-it" and decisive.  Manly!
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I really am glad that the weather looked like it was going to be bad, because I loved how personal and unique the dock ceremony was.  Though it never rained, I think it was just a little special touch to the wedding to have it over the water ;)
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One mis-step and I would have been Kristen Phelps, the swimming photographer!
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I love all the things children do to get through a ceremony ;)
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After promises, pledges, surprises, and I-do's, Nick took just another situation on this wedding day into his own hands! Ow ow!
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Yayayayayyayay!
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The reception had Whitney-love glazed all over it.  From her perfect flowers and darling cake...
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... to the nautical feeling shutters...
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... to an album about Nick and Whitney's home that built together, or "The Home That Built Them"...
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... to her creative table names!  At their engagement shoot Whitney brought props and we spent an extra hour taking photos for the table "numbers."  Each table was named after a vital part of making a relationship work.  They took a silly picture to go with each word.  Cute, huh?!
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Such a feast. Such. A. Feast.
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Some of the best I've ever come across.  I love you four!
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The night the best I've ever seen yet.  With the guests all lined up on the gorgeous deck, and newlyweds down on the grass, fireworks lit up the night, reflecting on the glassy water.  It was perfect.
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Thank you for the magic, the love, the friendship and the fun.  I will never, ever forget this wedding! Love you BOTH.

10 comments:

  1. Ten AM? Pshhhh. Ten AM, ten PM, all the same to me. ;) but seriously now...these are SO good, Kristen. Love them ALL.

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  2. oh, also, apparently I like to TALK IN CAPS. pretend I'm excited and yelling or something.

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  3. hahah I can do that ;) IT IS A VERY EXCITING HOUR!

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  4. Lovely, lovely photos here, Kristen. :)
    so beautiful and inspiring!

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  5. I love love :) so so so happy!

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  6. Anonymous16.2.12

    Thanks for my fix :) you're great!!

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  7. Oh Kristen! What a lovely surprise to see this posted on Facebook last night. I couldn't wait to read it this morning, but did have to explain to a co-worker why I was crying at my desk! Thank you for all of your kind words and for capturing our day in such accurate and magnificent fashion! You Rock!
    -Whit

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  8. SO beautiful. What a lovely wedding. :)

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  9. Hi Kristen! I've been following your photo blog for a while, and I have to say your photos are truly amazing and inspiring! Your photos are actually are changing my mind about wedding photography!
    If it's not too much and your not too busy, would you be willing to check out my photo blog? You can find it here --> http://nachelleelizabethphotography.blogspot.com/

    Again, beautiful photography and I'm looking forward to future posts! :D

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  10. Wow! That is amazing! I love your wedding photography. You are super inspiring.

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Oh, you've made my day! Thank you for the thoughts and words!