When Austyn + Mike first got in touch with me about being their elopement photographer, they started off by telling me their vision for their day, which was a blend of "The Great Gatsby meets Sherlock Holmes," and I was immediately HOOKED!
Their wedding was in mid-July and it was a HOT one out! Luckily, their whole wedding day took place inside a gorgeous old library building in Nashua, New Hampshire called The Hunt Memorial Building. It was SUCH a stunning venue, and perfect for their elopement - and, it had air conditioning which was a life saver that day! (Fun fact: I loathe being hot, so if your wedding is in the summer, and your venue has air conditioning, you will receive immediate brownie points hahaha!)
Getting ready photos were not hugely important to Austyn + Mike, so Austyn ended up getting her hair and makeup done at a salon, and then got ready elsewhere. Mike was mostly ready when I arrived, and I was able to capture some super laid-back and authentic photos of him putting the final details of his wedding outfit together.
I feel like I need to take a moment and describe The Hunt Memorial Building for you to help set the scene, because it seriously couldn't have been more perfect for Austyn + Mike's vintage, moody elopement day, especially with the Gatsby-meets-Sherlock theme they were hoping for. When you first walk in, you enter a central room to the rest of the building, with tall, peaked ceilings and Spanish revival looking windows that cast the most gorgeous shadows on the wall when the sun hits them just right. This room is what Austyn + Mike used as their reception room where their intimate amount of family members sat and enjoyed a meal with them after the ceremony.
If you walk straight through the reception room, you enter a smaller back room with moody vibes, and the most grand portraits hanging on the walls. When Austyn + Mike first toured The Hunt Memorial Building as a potential venue for their elopement, they were instantly drawn to the grand portraits in this room, and told me about an idea they had for photos next to them to make it feel very Victorian and moody. It had me falling in love with their elopement even more! This room housed their nibbles, drinks, and their wedding cake.
If you were in the reception space and walked right rather than straight into the refreshment room, if you will, you would enter their ceremony space. Your eye is torn between being drawn towards the tall, gorgeous windows on the right-hand side of the room, and the fireplace nestled between floor to ceiling bookshelves to the left of the room. Together, these characteristics made the room feel like the moody library of dreeeeeeams! The whole venue was absolutely STUNNING and would be the perfect location for vintage, moody lovers.
Once Mike had finished getting ready, Austyn + Mike's guests (aka a handful of their closest friends and family) started to arrive. We got the tip that Austyn was ready and had arrived, so we all made our way into the library room for their wedding ceremony. Mike was escorted by his mother towards the fireplace in the center of the room, exchanging kisses on the cheek before she sat down in the front row. Then, the music shifted to The Imperial March (aka Darth Vader's song), which was extremely badass!
Once together in front of the fireplace, Austyn + Mike's wedding ceremony began. Their wedding officiant did such a beautiful job of welcoming their friends and family, describing the couples' relationship up until this point, and led the couple through a Hand-Fasting ceremony. If you haven't heard of a Hand-Fasting ceremony, it's a unity ritual where the couple faces each other as their hands are tied together (a true representation of tying the knot). With each wrap of, in their case, ribbon around their hands, the officiant recites words that express the couple's commitment to one another. It was my first time documenting a Hand-Fasting ceremony, yet it's physical and visual representation of two becoming one, two becoming bound to each other in the most beautiful way was such a lovely addition to their wedding ceremony. It was unique, intimate, and truly beautiful - all of which was so fitting for Austyn + Mike on their special day.
And finally, it was time for Austyn + Mike to seal the deal with a kiss - which literally gave me goosebumps! It was the most sincere ceremony, and they were both so giddy to finally be pronounced husband and wife. Even though I've witnessed many weddings over the years, that moment never ceases to feel magical to me. The moment right after the ceremony is finished, when the couple can't help but smile the biggest, cheesiest smiles, they throw their arms up, maybe let out a "woohoo," and walk out of the ceremony together is one of my favorite moments on a wedding day.
After their ceremony, Austyn + Michael took a moment together and soaked in that, holy-sh*t-we-just-got-married feeling. I documented the moment from a far, truly letting them soak it all in.
We then moved onto family photo combinations, which didn't take very long at all, which was ideal to Austyn + Michael, as they were more excited to spend quality time with each of their guests, and also to cut their wedding cake shortly afterwards. Their cake was stunning, and all their guests gathered around as the couple cut the cake together, and politely fed each other a small piece. Then, we had some fun taking some portraits! Austyn + Michael were drawn to the venue partly because of the epic portrait paintings that were eyeing witness to the event from the walls. They wanted some Victorian-style portraits of their own among the authentic ones hanging around them. Austyn + Michael got SO into these photos, and totally trusted me in my vision. It's safe to say we were all absolutely obsessed with how these photos turned out.
Once the portraits were done, Austyn + Michael, along with their guests, sat down for an afternoon lunch together. I was gathering detail photos in the ceremony space during that time, and yet I could still hear giggles and laughter, story telling, and I could really feel the love. It all felt so relaxed, so stress-free, and so full of love.
Before the day was over, Austyn + Michael opened some unique, custom gifts from their family and friends, which were both touching and hilarious. Then, I snuck them outside quickly for one last portrait in front of the grand doors to the Hunt Memorial Building before saying goodbye and letting them all enjoy the rest of their day together.
Austyn + Michael's vintage, moody elopement was really wonderful to be a part of, and I'm so grateful our paths crossed, and that they gave me the honor of documenting it all! Their day also serves as a great reminder that, 1, you can invite your family + friends to your elopement! And 2, that you should plan your wedding day in a way that feels true to you, and in a way that doesn't feel stressful so that you can be totally present and soak all that goodness in on your big day.
If you're looking for a wedding photographer that will be your biggest hype girl, and who will truly get you and your partner, then please get in touch! I would absolutely love to work with you!
Thanks for reading, and speak soon!
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