For this post, I’m going to try to do my best to speak “from my heart;” that figurative place where many of us think our feelings of love originate…
I was recently commissioned to photograph a wedding in the Berkshires and found myself so thoroughly moved by the entire experience I know I will not likely forget it or my feelings, ever. I’ve tried to think hard to put the experience and my feelings into words in an attempt to convey this wonderful occasion, but I’m afraid I’ll probably fall short of doing justice to it all. So, I’m hoping that in the end the images seen in the slide show below will speak loudly and clearly for me. But, I should try at least, to set the stage…
This past May, only one month before the wedding, I received an inquiry from Texas where the couple wanted me to photograph their destination wedding in Lenox, MA. Always being honored at the opportunity to work with couples no matter where they may be, I was honored to the brim here mostly because out of all the photographers there are – literally thousands of them between Texas and Massachusetts – I was the photographer they wanted. Jeffrey said he “looked through hundreds of photographer’s websites” and chose me as the photographer! Most couples look through maybe 10, 20, 50 sites, but hundreds? And then they chose me? I was almost afraid they had someone else in mind, but Jeffrey assured me that it was me they wanted! What an honor for me! Little did they know what a gift THEY would become to ME! It was an intensely magical and transcendental experience, where everything and each of us who participated were exactly where we were supposed to be, and love was the destination.
It was a whirl-wind wedding weekend/two days: my assistant and I photographed a wedding Saturday in Seven Springs, PA, made it back to Pittsburgh by 11:30 PM Saturday night, then immediately left at 5 AM Sunday morning on a flight bound to Albany, NY. Once we landed in Albany, we rented a car and drove to Lenox, Massachusetts to an exclusive hotel, Wheatleigh, where the ceremony was being held. The Wheatleigh staff were superb; bar none. All I can say about them is ‘ WOW!’ They anticipated every need and delivered the highest level of service I have ever had the good fortune to witness or receive! A special thank you goes out to Ana who took great care of us and made sure we had everything to make our work easy and our stay delightful! Here’s an image of this magical place…a hotel so divine I’m going to have to leave explaining the wonderful experience with them for a separate post!
We arrived at 10 AM and just before my assistant and I walked out of our room to begin photographing at 11:30 AM I said, ‘ This is THE most important day in this couple’s lives; everything we do for them today must come from a place of love from within us.’ And so it was. We had a brief break late in the afternoon then photographed until, oh, I don’t know, 10 or 11:30 PM that night – time truly was irrelevant! Traveling and putting in many hours photographing two consecutive days was a bit taxing, but the experience was so energizing that I could have continued photographing for hours long after we finished!
There was the couple, Jeffrey + Allen, two top medical professionals from Texas who were so delightful and generous – they shared their champagne, their lunch and their cake with us! The officiant, Mary Coburn from Connecticut, who was simply so special and genuine. And then there was me and my assistant photographing throughout the day – it felt as if we had all known each other for years despite only meeting at this moment; all of us together on a beautiful terrace setting at Wheatleigh, just as it was meant to be! With Jeffrey + Allen in supportive spirit on their wedding day were their parents by way of beautiful photographs watching over them as their marriage ceremony was held. I’m looking forward to meeting them when I travel to Texas for a visit!
Mary Coburn had the perfect demeanor and made the ceremony meaningful and celebratory! I’ve never witnessed an officiant who had so much grace, sincerity and respect while officiating. Mary’s ability to make the marriage ceremony all about Jeffrey + Allen made capturing their precious moments easy for me! During their exchange of vows, Mary stepped aside. During their kiss, Mary stepped aside. Mary instinctively knew how important those moments were to Jeffrey + Allen, so when I photographed them, it was just about them. Perfect. Mary, it was such a delight to meet you – you are a gem!
The setting at Wheatleigh was magical and idyllic and no one else existed in the world at that place and that time except the five of us. It was a transformative and breathtaking experience for me and I will not ever forget the feelings I felt throughout. I find myself becoming overwhelmed while photographing at many weddings, but this time there was a moment when I found it difficult to quiet my sobbing behind my camera. I was overcome for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because of the love that was present; the love I got to witness and create from. It was a profound experience for me.
The ceremony began, and…well, I’ll just let you see the magic through the images in the slide show I created. There are hundreds of images we created from the ceremony alone (and thousands from the day!) and although the slide show is a condensed version of the imagery we have, it should give you a flavor of the beauty and specialness of Jeffrey + Allen’s ceremony. I’ve made one of my favorite images from our portrait session the link to the slide show. I intend to add much more to this post later by way of another slide show of the remainder of the day, or more single images, or both, so stay tuned!
Jeffrey + Allen, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for allowing me to participate in your most beautiful marriage ceremony and special day and thank you for our new-found friendship. CONGRATULATIONS! I couldn’t me more proud to present your love by way of my images here on the blog. ENJOY the love everyone! And don’t forget to comment!
CLICK ON THE PHOTO to start the show…
BIG love, Joanne Bartone Photographer | www.joannebartone.com