Mood: hug me
This past weekend's wedding was that of Doug Zorzi and Joanne Wells. It was beautiful in no small part because for once the rain held off and we were treated to sunshine, comfortable temperatures and dry dirt roads, instead of muddy dirt roads. This was particularly important for this wedding because the ceremony was held at the Old West Church.
The Old West Church was a new venue for us and if you want to go there, we recommend that you take an old fashioned paper map, if you do not know your way around. It is located in one of those places in Vermont where you get zero bars of service - no GPS, no cell, no LTE, and not even SMS for text.
The National Park Service describes the Old West Church as "an extremely well preserved meeting house, that has served the community of Calais (Vermont) since 1825." It is further reported that the First Meeting House Society of Calais was formed 1823 "to select a plan for a meeting house."
A plaque on the wall of the church says that it was funded by selling boxed pews. And in fact it is these boxes that make it somewhat unique in that not all of the seats face forward. And as the photographer who needed to get from one side to the other during the ceremony - it made for some very circuitous routes. While the designer is unknown, some believe the selected plan may have been that of the moderator of this Society, Caleb Curtiss, who had migrated from Salisbury, Connecticut. Curtiss family tradition holds that Caleb's plan drew upon his memory of the Salisbury Meeting House. Other interesting features include an accessible three-sided balcony.
Tradition has it that the church was originally owned by six denominations, the Baptists, Universalists, Congregationalists, Christians, Free Will Baptists, and Methodists. But, the building was also used for secular purposes such as community meetings and plays. And while it has a couple of wood stoves for heat, my grand daughter, who lives near there and has attended Christmas events there says that it can be quite cold inside in winter. But that was not a concern for this wedding in July. Instead we worried that it might get too hot, but an overcast sky made for near ideal conditions - temperature wise.
We first met the bride, Joanne, at one of Needleman's Bridal Expo's in the initial planning stages of her wedding. When we later sat down with her and her husband-to-be, Doug, we knew it would be a great event and unique in many ways! When I asked them about their love story, they said, "We found true love the second time around. We now have the perfect family of three sons and three daughters."
Interestingly enough, it was Doug that had three sons, one of which was unable to attend because he is currently serving in the military.
But they were a great group and fun to work with. When we spied an old overpass near where the groomsmen were getting ready, we got them to give us their version of the famous finger-snapping scene from West Side Story.
And Joanne, as you probably guessed by now, has three daughters, all of whom were able to participate in the grand event as bridesmaids. One of them makes jewelry and provided all the necklaces and earrings for the three sisters.
When you have a group as close as this one, and they have a great sense of humor, it makes for some great spontaneous moments. It is at those times, I almost love the "outtakes" better than the formal posed shots because they show fun authentic spontaneous joy - that cannot be faked!
And others are a bit more contrived, but they made them so much fun!
We often warn brides and grooms that not everything will go according to plan. Something will go wrong - hopefully minor - but there is almost always something that has to be ad libbed. And we watch for it because it can lead to some great spontaneous expressions.
In this wedding, one of those moments came during the exchange of rings. The groom placed the bride's ring on her finger first and all went well. When the bride came to put the groom's ring on his finger, however, she could not get it on! She pushed and pushed. The groom even tried himself - all to no avail. Finally, they adapted and she placed his ring on his pinky finger amid uproarious laughter!
Ensuring no one will forget this wedding for its pure joy!
They greeted their guests after the ceremony and we took a few group portraits. One of the bridesmaids then suggested we go to downtown Adamant, Vermont.
Adamant is a tiny unincorporated village in the rolling countryside between Montpelier to the south and Calais to the north. If it were on a highway, you would probably pass it before you noticed it. But, the washboard dirt roads insured we drove slow enough to fully appreciate its beauty. Its population was last recorded as having only 53 residents, but they managed to have a theater, a music school, and a gorgeous park in "center" of the village.
Interestingly since Adamant has no government and no legal status, it has no universally recognized boundaries. This apparently has given rise to the aphorism that "Adamant is a state of mind!" And a fine state it is!
The pond even had a couple of waterfalls.
There are some beautiful spots in Vermont if you know where to look.
When we were finished, we headed back into Barre, Vermont to the Knights of Columbus hall for their reception and a dinner provided by the Hill Top Restaurant. Butch Getek, serving as DJ and MC, kept the party moving. One highlight was their cake from Delicate Decadence, for which Joanne had won a door prize at the Needleman's Bridal Expo!
In sharing ideas for their wedding we had told them about the Anniversary Dance that we had seen others use at their receptions. This is were they have a dance and every so often the DJ will ask all couples to leave the floor who have been married less than a certain amount. Of course the newlyweds are the first to leave, and the final remaining couple had been married over 60 years!
When Butch asked the couple if they had any advice for the newlyweds, they said they sure did. The man told them that marriages are like ships in that you needed to know who was in charge. Now he said that he always thought of himself as the captain, but his wife was the admiral!
When it comes time to throw the bouquet, you never quite know what you are going to get. At some weddings, they are aggressive in trying to catch the bouquet, while in others, just the opposite. In either case the best parts of the resulting photos are usually the expressions on the faces of the ones who did not catch the flowers.
The woman in red almost has it, but misses at the last second. The bouquet continues on to the floor and rolls over to the feet on the bridesmaids, who pretty much just stand and look at it!
Finally, one of them bends down and picks it up, while everyone else just watches.
All in all it was a great celebration of two great families coming together as one. We were happy to have been a part of it and wish Doug and Joanne our very best!
Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Doug and Joanne's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!
- Bridal Gown - David's Bridal
- Bridesmaids' Dresses - Needleman's Bridal & Formal
- Groomsmen's Tuxedos - Needleman's Bridal & Formal
- Wedding Rings - Nina's Jewelry
- Invitations - L. Brown and Sons Printing
- Flowers - Juliet O'Neil
- Officiant - Donnie Blake
- Wedding Venue - Old West Church in Adamant (Calais), VT
- Reception Venue - Knights of Columbus in Barre, VT
- Caterer - Hill Top Restaurant in Barre, VT
- Wedding Cake - Delicate Decadance
- DJ / Announcer - Butch Getek DJ Services
- Photographers - Ayer Photography of Vermont
To see additional photographs from Doug and Joanne's wedding:
- Sample Gallery by Ayer Photography
- Full Gallery by Ayer Photography (requires password from Bride and Groom)
Posted by Linda & Warren