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Monday, 29 September 2014
Our Last Wedding
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Weddings

The final wedding in our 2014 season and our eleven year wedding photography career was that of Brian and Carla.  This one was held at the Sugarbush Golf Course in Warren, Vermont, on the last Saturday in September.  And the foliage, while not quite peak, was sporting lots of vibrant color; while the temperature was just right - a nice 78 degrees with a light breeze - not too hot and not too cool!

We had been to the Sugarbush complex before to ski, to attend meetings and even retreats, but this was our first wedding.  And we have had many previous weddings - all attempting to hit peak foliage - this was about as close as we have ever come to having good foliage and weather that enabled us to see it well on the same day. 

As we arrived at Claybrook on wedding day to take the pre-ceremony pictures we found good color in the surrounding hillside. 

As well as plenty of colorful fall decorations around the property. 

We went in search of the bride and groom.  I found the groom delivering sandwiches to his friends in the hottub. 

The wedding party was made up of the groom's niece and nephews.  They proved to be a lot of fun, always ready to help make the photo more interesting.  I asked the niece to kiss the groom, while the nephews looked on in disgust - this is what I got. 

When posing with their parents, I asked them to show me the future of family photography. 

After the wedding party photos, it was time for the bride and groom to meet.  This event we staged in a nearby courtyard.  The groom waited facing the ski slope, until the bride was only a few feet behind him.  He then turned to see her in her gown for the first time, followed by a kiss.  The bride said she wanted them to have their first look privately, so she would not streak her mascara during the ceremony. 

Then it was off to the golf course.  The site selected for the ceremony was a flat spot up the hill across from the club, just off the 17th fairway.  It was just a short cart ride, or a good hike up the hill.  It was well shaded in the late afternoon sun, with a panoramic view of the valley below and hills beyond. 

Here is a view of the full panorama from the ceremony spot that served as a magnificent backdrop to their marriage vows. 

The officiant was Justice of the Peace, Rick Rayfield, a former rabbi and now owner of Tempest Books.  The ceremony was largely civil with a few Jewish traditions thrown in.  When Rick asked if anyone objected to the marriage, the bride and groom exchanged a few smirks with the audience. 

But, no one objected, and the service went smoothly, except they forgot to bring the glass for the groom to stomp on up the hill - so that had to wait till they got to the reception. 

The reception was held at the other end of the Sugarbush complex at the Mount Ellen base lodge in Waitsfield, Vermont.  The "cool" part about it was that the bride and groom rode the last mile or so in a horse-drawn cart. 

And shortly after disembarking, they had to break the glass they had forgotten to bring to the ceremony site. 

Since they were in a ski lodge, it seemed only appropriate that their guest "book" should be a pair of antique skis. 

And in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, they had an assortment of Ben & Jerry's ice cream cakes - quite yummy! 

And as dark descended on the mountain, our newlyweds spent a little cuddle time by the bonfire.  A fitting end to a beautiful day.  

Great weddings like Brian and Carla's do not happen by accident.  It takes quite a team of professionals all working together to pull it off properly.  Some of those who helped make this day as nice as it was were:

If you would like to see more photographs from Brian and Carla's wedding, check out the following links:

Posted by Warren 

Ayer Photography of Vermont                            

Posted by ayerphoto at 10:43 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 October 2014 2:39 PM EDT
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Monday, 15 September 2014
Egyptian Bliss In The Green Mountains
Mood:  special
Topic: Weddings

On September 12, 2014, I drove to Stowe, Vermont, to participate in the wedding rehearsal of a couple I had never met before.  Since we had only been in contact by mail and email, but never in person, I was not quite sure what I was looking for.  They had sent me directions to a field with a tent, which I found.

As I looked at the tent, it seemed a little small for a wedding.  They had said it would be small, but I did not think that small.  And I have been to all kinds of weddings and seen some pretty informal rehearsals, but this field had only about 10 people with their dogs.  I was starting to think this would be one of the more unique weddings I had ever photographed.  But as the appointed time arrived and no one acted like they were getting ready to go through anything remotely resembling a wedding rehearsal, I decided that something was very wrong.  So, I called the bride's cell phone and found out the rehearsal was delayed while they waited for some out-of-towners to arrive.  I was apparently the last to know.  While I had followed their instructions to the letter, the field I was in was the wrong field - this was the one where they held canine agility training - ahhh! that explains all the dogs!

They gave me new directions to a new field and a new tent!  This one had horses!       

I do not know what these horses were saying to each other, but I imagined it was something like, "Would you like to roll in the hay?" 

Nearby, I found a much bigger tent, that was much more suitable for a wedding.  I took a photograph of it with the mountain visible in the background.  It was a good thing I did, because after that night, I never saw it again.  The day of the actual wedding brought fog and rain so thick you would not even know a mountain was there, off in the distance - you could not see that far.   

When I found out that the groom was Egyptian, I asked if there were any cultural differences I should keep in mind, as I took their photographs.  The bride informed me, not to worry, "I've thoroughly Americanized him!"  While this was true to some extent, any American groom would do well to emulate his gracious hospitality, visible respect and love for his bride, and impeccable manners.  His great sense of humor also helped to make them a delight to photograph.  

For those of us who attend a lot of weddings, it is always fun to have someone from another culture participate.  It has a way of making you see some things differently, that you may have heard so many times in the past, that you no longer even think about it.  One of those came during the rehearsal, when they got to the part where the couple exchange rings.  This part of the service was about as American as you can get.  The officiant said to the groom to repeat after him, as he puts the ring on his bride's finger, "With this ring, I thee wed."  The groom, whose first language was not English, did not understand what he was being asked to say.  Specifically, what does "Thee" mean?  It is not really a modern word, none of us ever use it in our ordinary speech, but in the context of a wedding, we never give it a second thought.  Not wanting the groom to be saying words he did not know what they meant, they changed the vow to modern language and all was well. 

The next day it started raining at our house in Colchester, Vermont, about noon.  The storm was slowly moving east and we wondered if the mountain would slow the storm's advance enough to at least get the ceremony in at four, before having to retreat to the tent?  As we drove to Stowe, however, it became obvious that that would not be happening this time.  As we pulled into the Topnotch Resort parking lot, it was already raining and while not hard, it was enough to thoroughly soak the ground and showed no sign of stopping soon.  The wedding was moved into the tent.   

For photographs it was a lot darker, but definitely drier!  But then they wanted to do umbrella shots out in the rain!  After all, that was a unique aspect of their wedding and they were going to make the most of it! 

The reception toasts are always an interesting part of any wedding event.  Sometimes they are so funny, you think you will bust a gut laughing, while others turn out to be mini-testimonials to how great the couple is, who is getting married.  This was one of the latter.  After the speeches were done, you just felt glad to be a part of making the day a little better for this couple, who others clearly thought so much of.  One speaker spoke at length of how the bride had given selflessly to help his family; it brought tears to many of the eyes in the audience.  He was not related to the bride and said, "Some say, blood is thicker than water, but sometimes it is the other way around."  

Rings and flowers ...

Once the official part of the wedding was over, the party got underway.  One guest insisted on sitting in the rain for this image -

One aspect of this wedding, that we do not see all that often, was live music for the reception.  This was from Ed McCarron, who we found to be delightfully talented.  As we were eating together at the "vendor table" I mentioned that I had not seen him around before; did he have a regular gig, or did he just do weddings, etc.?  He said he plays every Friday night at an Irish Pub in Boston - no wonder I loved him!  

As the evening wore on, I asked the bride and groom if there was anything else they wanted us to photograph before we called it a night?  The groom said, "Yes, there was one more picture," and he rushed off to find his uncle.  They huddled together for several minutes tapping on their iPods, apparently searching for something.  After many minutes they finally worked with Ed McCarron to tap into his PA system and we were all treated to what the groom described as an "Arabic dance."  

It was all great fun!  We were happy to have met this couple and felt privileged to have been their photographers for this important day in their lives together.       

Such events do not happen by accident.  It takes a team of professionals to pull off a great wedding like that of Hakim and Laurie.  Some of those that helped make this a great day were:

If you would like to see more of Hakim and Laurie's wedding photographs, use the links below:

Posted by Warren  

Ayer Photography of Vermont                  

Posted by ayerphoto at 2:36 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 October 2014 10:42 AM EDT
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Monday, 23 September 2013
A Stowe Fall Wedding At Trapp Family Lodge
Mood:  flirty
Topic: Weddings

We had long hoped for an opportunity to photograph a wedding at Trapp Family Lodge; and it arrived this year!  Our final wedding of the 2013 season took place just as autumn arrived on September 21, 2013.  It was a destination wedding, the couple arriving from out of state only two days before the wedding.  They were familiar with the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, having visited several times earlier.  

Even though they said the Green Mountains "were hills" compared to the Rockies, they still found them romantically perfect for their nuptials.  The weather was near perfect - not too hot, not too cool!  Fall was just arriving, with a few trees with advanced color, but most still fairly green.  

As we met with them the night before the wedding to scout out locations for some of their photographs, we walked through the Trapp Family garden across from the main lodge.  The sun was beginning to set to our backs to the west, as the moon rose in front of us to the east over the sunflowers.  

When you are up high like that on a clear evening when sunset and moonrise occur almost simultaneously, the moon takes on a very yellow-orange glow of harvest.  

We asked the couple where the ceremony would be held on the grounds and they said they had not yet decided.  So, we had to arrive early the day of the ceremony and call them to find out exactly where everyone would gather.  While such a laid back approach to wedding planning might not be practical with a huge wedding, this was a small intimate affair, making it far easier to be more relaxed and "go with the flow."  

The day of the wedding brought sunshine and light warm breezes.  It was a beautiful day in the Green Mountains.  As it turned out, the couple choose to have their small ceremony out behind the main lodge among the apple trees.  The Trapp Family staff had rustled up some branches from some of the trees with more mature color and added a few pumpkins and our fall decorations were complete.  As the appointed time approached, one key person was still missing - the officiant.  They had asked Rev. Bruce Comiskey from the Community Church in Stowe to perform the ceremony, but had neglected to tell him the exact site they had chosen.  

Wth the help of the Lodge staff, he soon found us and the two were joined in holy matrimony.  

One of the great things about a small wedding is that we wind up with a lot more time to photograph the newlyweds - instead of the sometimes daunting logistics of a mulitude of group formals that so often accompany very large weddings.  

And of course the beautful grounds of Trapp Family Lodge afforded us so many options for picturesque spots as we took our time.  

We even found a small pond to capture a reflection before the light failed us completely and we had to join the other guests inside.  

The reception was held inside the main lodge complex in the Strauss Room.  Dinner was served by the Trapp Family Lodge chefs.  I was particularly impressed with the corn chowder.  I never knew corn could taste so good.  Linda really loved the chicken that seemed to be soaked in maple syrup.  

Toasts and dancing followed dinner and then they cut the cake.  

It was a beautiful wedding on a beautiful fall day in the Green Mountains.  Perhaps you could say it was a "Sound of Music" day!

Of course it takes a team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration, even when it is small. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!

Wedding Professionals:

All other photographs from this wedding are reserved for family and friends only in password protected galleries:

Posted by Warren       

Ayer Photography of Vermont                    

Posted by ayerphoto at 2:12 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 28 October 2013 3:24 PM EDT
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Monday, 19 August 2013
The Advani-Shanks Vedic Wedding
Mood:  happy
Topic: Weddings

One of the great things about being a wedding photographer is getting to meet new people at a joyous event.  But occasionally you meet old friends when you least expect it.  Such was the case with our latest wedding. 

We first met the bride, Dimple, at Needleman's Bridal Expo.  She booked an appointment to come and talk to us in more detail, but it had to be out a ways after she returned from her trip to India.  That was our first hint that this wedding would be a little different than our usual fare.  For while we had photographed weddings in the past that incorporated Indian decorations or elements into their otherwise American / western weddings, this was our first where they incorporated only a couple American traditions into their otherwise Indian / Vedic wedding activities. 

Our second surprise was meeting so many old friends at the event itself.  It turned out that many of the bride's family had worked or still work at IBM.  And back long before I began Ayer Photography, back before I consulted with Eastman Kodak, and long before my IBM career took me out of Vermont and around the globe, we had worked side-by-side as young engineers - back when a million bits on a chip was a big deal!  So, it was a bit like a reunion - catching up on 30-plus years with friends you barely recognize, yet surprised at what you still remember.    

As we got to know Erik and Dimple, I asked them how they got engaged.  Dimple told me that after dating three years, she "knew he was the man (she) wanted to spend the rest of (her) life with."  It was on the occasion of their third anniversary together that Erik took Dimple on a surprise trip to New York City.  Erik kept trying to convince Dimple to go to the top of the Empire State Building, but her fear of heights held her back.  So, he was forced to go with his backup plan and proposed when they returned to their hotel.  Dimple described it as, "I couldn't believe it.  He was so sweet and he was so nervous!  But he proposed before he turned thirty, just as I wanted." 

She went on to say that the story of their engagement typified their courtship.  She said, "he goes with the flow and I always plan things.  But sometimes it is important to just let things happen.  Either way, it always works out with us - sometimes planned, sometimes going with the flow and realizing how being in the moment can become so special and show our true love for each other."  

When it came to the wedding, they chose to have it at the Sunset Ballroom overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain.  And facing west as it does will often experience a sunset when the weather cooperates.  They chose the weekend of August 17-18 as a way of honoring Erik's mother.  This was just one of many elements that made this a very family-centric wedding celebration. 

In keeping with her family traditions, Dimple had long dreamed of having an Indian Vedic wedding ceremony.  While there are almost as many variations as there are Indian dialects, she was able to incorporate several core traditions and rituals into her wedding. 

It began with Mehndi night, a celebration held at the Hampton Inn Champlain Ballroom in Colchester, Vermont.  Mehndi, or Henna, as it is sometimes known in the western world, refers to the creation of intricate decorative skin designs by the artistic application of henna paste.  The paste will create a temporary stain where applied to the skin as it dries.  The groom told those gathered at the celebration that the amount of henna the bride chose to have applied was traditionally proportional to how much love she has for her husband-to-be.  Tradition also has it, one of the guests explained, that how long the mehndi lasts is indicative to how well the bride is cared for after the wedding.      

When we went to photograph the bride getting ready, we found that the Hindu bride does not wear white (white in the Indian culture is usually reserved for funerals). Instead, her intricate gown is a bold red or maroon.  In fact all the clothing for an Indian wedding is boldly colored and intricately beaded.  So colorful is the clothing that flowers are only used in petal form or in garlands during the ceremony and as table decoration at the reception.  A western wedding is almost monochromatic by comparison.  

The wedding itself begins with Swagatam, or the welcoming of the groom.  The bride's family greets the groom and his family and then escorts him to the wedding location.  As the bride makes her entrance, the groom his hidden behind a curtain.  Only after she has made her grand entrance and is standing next to him, is the curtain finally removed. 

Parents and family play a much stronger and more visible role in a Vedic wedding than a typical western ceremony.  And parts of the ritual are quite beautiful and touching even for those of us who did not understand a word that was said (because it was all in a language foreign to us).  Food is exchanged, and garlands of flowers are exchanged, as are vows.  Normally, I am told, the groom places a necklace on the bride instead of the exchange of rings.  Erik and Dimple, however, did both.  

Following the ceremony, the bride changes into a third beautiful, intricate and heavy gown before joining the reception.  The reception was more familiar to those of us with more experience with western weddings.  Introductions, toasts, dinner, cutting of the cake and first dances are celebration elements common to most of the weddings we have photographed.  Because Erik's mother had passed away, he danced with his sister and announced he was dedicating an emotional dance to her memory.


As we went out on the roof to take a few portraits, the sun began to set.  And while not the most dramatic we have ever seen, the sky did grace us with a touch of orange to add its blessing to a great day!    

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Erik and Dimple's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Erik and Dimple's wedding-related events:

For more details about the wedding ceremony itself (and some of our photos), see our blog post regarding the Vedic Wedding Ceremony.

Posted by Linda & Warren

Posted by ayerphoto at 7:36 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 September 2013 3:56 PM EDT
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Monday, 15 July 2013
The Wells-Zorzi Wedding
Mood:  hug me
Topic: Weddings

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!

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Doug and Joanne's wedding:

Posted by Linda & Warren

Posted by ayerphoto at 2:36 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 July 2013 5:35 PM EDT
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Monday, 1 July 2013
The Maxfield-Demars Wedding
Mood:  on fire
Topic: Weddings

We first met the groom (Tyler) way back in 2009 when we photographed his sister's wedding.  He was one of the groomsmen in that wedding.  We loved the family and were delighted when they asked us back to photograph Tyler's.  It is so much fun to photograph a second wedding in the same family or circle of friends, because you see so many people you know, it is like a reunion of sorts.  And in some ways it is easier, because you already know some of their family traditions and know what to look for.  

The bride (Alexis) and groom (Tyler) were both members of the National Guard, and I am told that that is where they met.  (CLICK HERE to see their LOVE STORY)  This made for some unique aspects to this wedding - the bride being kidded about having "non-regulation" nails and the officiant pausing during the ceremony to thank them both for their service.  

The wedding was originally planned to be at the home of Tyler's parents, where they had recently put in a pond. It was a beautiful spot and we shot their engagement photos there.    

It is a beautiful spot and we had grand plans for some of the photos for the wedding.  Unfortunately in the few short weeks between this photo and the wedding itself, it rained.  And rained.  And rained and rained.  A few days before the wedding it was decided that there was just too much mud and the hillside, where the wedding was to take place too slippery to be safe for a party crowd.  So, less than a week before the wedding, they had to change the venue.  Now this is not the first wedding we have photographed where they had to change the venue, but it is the first venue change with so little lead time.  It made for what the matron of honor called, "one very stressful week!"    

In the end the whole event was moved up a generation to the home of Tyler's grandfather. It was another lovely spot - nice to have a plan B that was as nice as plan A - but flatter and drier - with great white-fenced horse corrals and lots of room for the tents. Because of the daily rain storms they had tents for the ceremony and tents for the reception and tents for the walk between the tents. And they all turned out to be necessary, for while there were periods of sun, there were numerous showers between times.    

One of the traditions of this family is a great rehearsal party after the rehearsal. This time it was a luau theme at the Hardwood Ranch in Elmore. With all the rain we wondered how accessible this would be at the end of Hardwood Flats Road (a dirt road). But, aside from some ditch erosion we got there and back just fine. And of course there were more tents that proved their worth when it started to rain long before the night was over.   

While all weddings have key elements in common it is always a delight to see what the couple will do to make their celebration a little different.  Often they will incorporate some unique mode of transportation for the bride or groom or both to use in getting to the venue.  Sometimes it is an antique car, horses, an RV, a fire truck, or in this case an old tractor.  

Originally it was supposed to bring the bridal party to the venue, but since the venue was moved to the place where the bride was getting ready, it was switched to bringing the groom and his groomsmen.   

As time for the ceremony approached, we could see a storm brewing in the distance as the guests found their seats under the tent. After considerable debate on the wisdom of going or waiting, it was finally decided to "go for it!"  

The "ring bearer" announced the bride was on her way.  The rain held off as she walked toward the tent.  The groom came down the aisle and met her, taking her hand just as Lauren Paine sang the lyric "... take my hand."  And then they walked together out the other side of the tent with the officiant, braving the elements, should they come.  

They got through a lot of the ceremony, one reading, the vows, and even the exchanging of the rings.  But part way through the harp music, big fat rain drops began to tap out a beat on the tent.  The wedding party waited for a moment to see if it was going to be just a few drops, or become a full fledged shower.  That it was to be a shower was soon evident and they scurried under the tent with their guests to finish the last couple of elements of the ceremony, before recessing down the tented pathway. 

For the rest of the day it was just a series of showers interspersed with sun.  At one point we even got a gorgeous rainbow and were able to run out for this shot.   

We were never able to get very far from a tent or a porch, for the breaks were short lived and the rain always returned.  So we would take a few shots, then join the reception.  When another break came along, we would gather another group for a photo.  

In between breaks, we ate, danced and cut the cake in the dry tent. 

And then another photo with another tractor.   

As the sun began to fall, the party kicked into high gear directed by Supersounds.   

And the groomsmen stood in the rain for the traditional cigar!  

And then after it was dark and it stopped raining and the Doppler radar suggested the next shower was at least a few minutes away, we all went out to watch the fireworks!  After all, when both the bride and groom are in the Guard and it is only a few days before the fourth of July, they must be practically mandatory? 

And for the younger guests they had provided sparklers which were a big hit. But the bride and bridesmaid had reserved five for themselves, and we decided to try some lightpainting. This is where you hold the camera perfectly still, and the couple stands perfectly still, while a bridesmaid runs around them painting something in the dark with a sparkler. What is only revealed by looking in the camera's LCD after it is done. 

All in all, in spite of the sporadic rain showers, it was a great time with great people celebrating the marriage of a great couple!     

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Tyler and Alexis'. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Tyler and Alexis' wedding:

Posted by Linda & Warren


Posted by ayerphoto at 8:44 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 August 2013 7:12 PM EDT
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Monday, 12 November 2012
The Carpenter-Haight Wedding
Mood:  happy
Topic: Weddings

Our last wedding of the 2012 wedding season was that of Kira Carpenter and Jeremy Haight.  They were married on November 10, 2012 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Charlotte, Vermont.  After the service we stopped at the Charlotte Beach with the wedding party for a few photos and then joined the reception at The Old Lantern, also in Charlotte, Vermont.         

At the rehearsal the night before, we were delighted to learn that the officiant would be Father David Cray.  We had first met him back in 2009 when he married Michaela and John Wisell over in his other church - St. Jude's Catholic Church in Hinesburg.  While we do not often get the opportunity to get to know the officiants, in that case we sat next to Fr Cray at the Wisell rehearsal dinner.  We found him to be a fascinating person, worth remembering.  While we were "catching up" as we waited for Kira and Jeremy's rehearsal to start, he shared that he had just had the privilege of baptizing Michaela and John's second child!     

Kira and Jeremy's wedding, however, was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Charlotte, Vermont.  The church was "founded" in the winter of 1858-59 when a community of mainly Irish and French Canadian immigrants came together and literally pulled together to move a former Quaker meeting house ten miles overland from Starksboro and resettle it in Charlotte.  

Today, it is a beautiful little country church that seems particularly well suited to its Vermont surroundings.  

Its faithful community has kept the little church well maintained, including several classic stained glass windows.     

The wedding day, itself, actually began over at the Old Lantern, where family members were frantically decorating the old barn for the reception, while the bridal party were putting final touches on their makeup and donning their wedding finery over at the inn.  Kira told us that she got her wedding gown at David's Bridal, and unlike what usually happens on "Say Yes To The Dress" she said "YES" to the very first dress she tried on and loved it!  Once she put it on, we could see why; it suited her perfectly!     

The lace overlay was particularly stunning as were the beaded accents.    

As is so often the case with the bride's attire, many of the pieces have stories, or perhaps I should say, attachements.  One of those for this wedding was a brooch, that Kira had incorporated into her bouquet.  It had originally been her grandmother's, to whom she had been close as a child.      

And what wedding would be complete without a few corny "fun" things like bride's shoes that say, "I Do!"    

A limo took the bridal party the short ride over to the church.  While a little cool (it was November after all), the sun was out, giving the day a joyous feel!  The guests were already seated and the groom was waiting anxiously at the front of the church.  The couple's young son served as the ring bearer, successfully delivering the rings to the best men.       

All were craning to catch a first glimpse of the bride.    

But, none were happier than the groom.    

The ceremony was simple without a lot of embellishment, but did feature a Scripture reading by the groom's sister. 

After a few family portraits at the church, it was off to the cold Charlotte beach.  It was a sunny day, but the wind coming off Lake Champlain made it a bit chilly, especially for the bridesmaids in their sleeveless gowns.  In fact, shortly after arriving at the beach, the bridesmaids all borrowed the groomsmen's jackets.     

The bride, however, was undaunted by the cold.       

And then we  backtracked to join their guests at the reception nearby at The Old Lantern.       

After introductions, toasts by both co-Maids of Honor, and both co-Best Men, and the buffet dinner, it was time to cut the cake.     

It was a beautiful cake, but as we looked at it closer, you could see it was unique to their personalities.  The cake topper played to Jeremy's fondness for fishing.      

Once the cake was cut, it was time for the dancing to begin - the first dance, of course, belonging to the bride and groom.     

Parent dances followed and soon others were joining in on the fun.  The bride's DJ uncle, Ronald Carpenter, provided a nice mix that kept the dance floor full.  I was, however, unfamiliar with this particular dance move by one of the younger guests.      

He would later go on to catch the garter, while the bouquet was caught by one of the Maids of Honor.     

All in all it was a beautiful fun wedding!  We were happy to have been a part of it, and wish Jeremy and Kira our very best for a happy future together.      

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Jeremy and Kira's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Jeremy & Kira's wedding:

Posted by Linda & Warren


Posted by ayerphoto at 11:52 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2012 3:55 PM EST
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Monday, 17 September 2012
The Brooks-Vallone Wedding
Mood:  special
Topic: Weddings

The Windjammer Conference Center was the setting of our ninth wedding of the 2012 season.  It was the wedding of Darlene Brooks and Warren Vallone on Saturday, September 15th, 2012.  And while technically still summer, we were blessed with cooler temperatures, making it a perfect day for a wedding.    

In spite of the fact that this was the Windjammer Conference Center's first wedding, all went smoothly and we were pleased to have been a part of it.  The main lobby had been transformed into a wedding "chapel" with flowers, candles, an arch, a runner, and rows of white chairs, perfect for a small intimate wedding.  The Montreal room served as their reception hall complete with formal table settings, a bar, and a dance floor.         

We often encounter nervous brides when we arrive for the pre-ceremony photographs.  And, Darlene, true to her own predictions at the rehearsal, was full of nervous excitement as the hour approached.  Her daughter (the Maid of Honor) and the groom's daughter (the bridesmaid) were trying to calm her nerves by reminding her she and Warren had already been together for over 13 years!  But bridal nerves are bridal nerves no matter what.  In any event it was a good excuse for a couple of glasses of a nice wine to "calm the nerves."      

The bridesmaids proved stunning in their long plum dresses by David’s Bridal.  And as they laced up the corset back of Darlene's bridal gown (also from David’s Bridal) you could see a beautiful calm settle over her as at last everything was finally coming together after so many months of hectic planning.  It was time to marry the man of her dreams.


While Linda was focusing on the bridal party, Warren wandered off in search of the groom's party.  In a unique twist, the groom's party consisted of one groomsman (the bride's son), and a Best Woman - the groom’s daughter.  While the men wore three-piece suits from Men’s Wearhouse, the Best Woman was dressed in a traditional tuxedo jacket and vest, matched with a lovely black “tuxedo skirt”.   It was touching to see that all four children were included in their parents' very special day.     

The flowers from Kathy & Co., soon arrived and it was time for Darlene to make her way to her groom.  On the arms of her daughter and son, she was led down the aisle to her waiting groom.  You could see tears in both Darlene’s and Warren’s eyes when they first saw each other and realized that they were now starting the next chapter of their lives together.    

After listening to a poem read by the groom’s daughter, it was time for the exchanging of vows and rings (from Kay Jewelers).  Once the unity candle was lit, Less Hunton pronounced Darlene and Warren married, and after their first kiss, he introduced them as husband and wife.     

As most of the guests made their way to cocktail hour, we gathered the family and wedding party for formal photographs in the courtyard of the Windjammer.  A few scattered clouds and a gentle breeze kept the temperatures comfortable letting us take our time to capture memories that will be treasured forever.  We even got a couple of photos over by the pool.    

After a leisurely glass of wine on the bench in the cool shade of one of the courtyard trees, they joined their guests at the reception, being introduced by their friend and DJ, Gerry Lawrence.  Everyone soon erupted in laughter when they realized Warren had a ball and chain shackled to one ankle.  

Darlene and Warren had their first dance as husband and wife as the wedding party surrounded them with love and support.  One of the tenderest moments of the evening is when Warren reversed the traditional father/daughter dance and danced the groom/daughters dance.  There were very few dry eyes in the room.   

Toasts were offerred by both the Maid of Honor and the Best Woman and following dinner we were treated to another beautiful, but tasty creation from Julie Almond at Caketopia Cakes as the cake was cut.    

And then it was time to dance, which this crowd loved to dance.  Everyone was having a great time dancing to music, both old and new!    



Another interesting twist happened when it came time to throw the bouquet and garter.  For the bouquet toss, the bride rounded up all the single women, young and old, including the DJ's date, who just happened to be the one who caught it.  So, when the groom rounded up the single men, he insisted that the DJ be a part of the crowd, as the bride commandeered the  microphone.  The groom's first throw sailed over everyone's head landing several feet behind the men amongst the tables.  So, they insisted he throw it again.  This time he compensated too much and it fell short.  As the Maid of Honor's fiance leaned over to pick it up, he flipped it up right into the surprised hands of - you guessed it, the DJ!  It was the first time we have ever seen the DJ putting on the garter to his own music!    

As the evening came to an end, Warren had one final request.  The ever popular Chicken Dance.  As the crowd surrounded the bride and groom, the chicken dance went down as one of the highlights of the evening.  

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Warren and Darlene's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Warren & Darlene's wedding:

Posted by Linda & Warren         

Posted by ayerphoto at 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 24 September 2012 1:15 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012
The Fuller-Woodruff Wedding
Mood:  happy
Topic: Weddings
The Stables at Pigeon Hill Farm, an 1800's farm restored as a B&B, barn-style reception venue and gardens, was the setting for our eighth wedding of the 2012 season.  It was the wedding of Aaron Woodruff and Kristi Fuller on a beautiful sunny Sunday, August 26, 2012, in the little town of East Berkshire, Vermont.  While all of our weddings are unique, this wedding took on special meaning as this time, the bride was our daughter.    

If you have not visited or driven past this delightful venue, you have missed one of the most beautiful, peaceful spots in Vermont.  Pigeon Hill Farm consists of an amazing Bed & Breakfast, an 1870 carriage barn, known now as “The Stables”, and gardens that bloom from spring to late fall.  From the rehearsal to the special day, every detail was handled with special loving care by Michael and Jeffrey, owners of this wonderful spot. 

The Bed & Breakfast was the setting of the bride and groom getting ready – separately, of course, but that did not prevent Kristi from trying to get a peek.         

Joined by the mother of the bride, daughter, Rachel, and niece, Allison, was Christina Williams, a friend, who did the bridal party hair and the bride’s hair and makeup.  You can find Christina at Orbit Hair Design in South Burlington and Colchester. Once the bride was in her gown by David’s Bridal and the girls were in their beautiful green dresses by Monella, it was time for a few photographs.  Getting ready was great fun and we could not help but take advantage of the unique vintage kitchen and dining room.      

The groom's brother, Carl, served as best man, while Kristi's sons, Theron and Jeremy, were the groomsmen.  Once they had donned their suits from  Men’s Wearhouse,  it was time for a few “make sure the groom looks his best” pictures.     

Before we knew it, it was time to begin what Kristi referred to as her “fairy tale”.       

While the temperatures climbed into the high 80’s, the guests took their seats, or found cool vantage points in the shade.  As Carl began to play the bride's song on his guitar, the bride emerged from the lush garden on the arms of her two sons to walk down the aisle - the first of many emotional moments.      

To make the ceremony uniquely theirs, Aaron and Kristi wrote their own vows to each other with the help of Justice of the Peace, Linda Carpenter, and incorporated the reading of a poem by e.e. cummings.  While Kristi's grandparents were unable to attend in person, her grandfather wrote a prayerful blessing over their wedding rings, that was read by Kristi's uncle, Dave Robideau.  It was another emotional moment as rings were exchanged and the couple were announced husband and wife. 

As we took the formal portraits in the gardens and the vintage porches of the B&B, guests enjoyed cocktails and tasty hors d’oeuvre’s to the music provided by Peak Entertainment.  Guests from both sides of the family had a great time getting to know one another, while the groom worked on bustling the bride's gown before they made their way into the Stables.  After their formal introduction and first dance as husband and wife, Carl made a beautiful toast to the couple as dinner was served.   

Another very special part of the evening was the singing of Happy Birthday to Aaron’s 93 year young grandmother.  What a blessing having her with us on this special day.  Then it was cake cutting time and dancing.   

When we first heard about their departure plans, we were looking forward to some unique photo opportunities with the vintage Ford.  But when it came to the time we had planned to take these photographs, the car was not there, and word had arrived that the car had broken down enroute.  But, then finally, as the meal was getting underway, cheers erupted as the dusty blue Ford sputtered up the drive and parked by the barn.  A couple of the guests quickly washed it off and we soon had the whole crew engaged in a series of fun shots.       

As they rode away in the vintage car to begin their lives together, we all felt blessed to have witnessed this wonderful union and a day that was filled with laughter, tears of joy and a sense of peace that Kristi and Aaron were truly beginning their fairytale life together.   

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Aaron and Kristi's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!       

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Aaron and Kristi's wedding:

Posted by Linda              

Posted by ayerphoto at 2:08 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2012 4:01 PM EDT
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Monday, 27 August 2012
The Osborne-Whitaker Wedding
Mood:  bright
Topic: Weddings
The beautiful grounds of the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, Vermont, were the setting of our seventh wedding of the 2012 season - that of Amanda Osborne and Austin Whitaker on August 25, 2012.  What started as a “warm” late summer day became one of the season's hottest!  But that did not prevent the bride and groom from having a stunning wedding.     

The day started with Linda taking pictures of Amanda getting into her wedding dress from David’s Bridal and Formal.  Of course all the bridesmaids were also there in their blue, knee length dresses, also from David’s, assuring that Amanda would be pampered from her veil to her shoes.     

Warren went in search of the groom and groomsmen and found them enjoying the day, taking their time getting ready.  Of course on one of the hottest days of the year, who could blame them for waiting until the last minute to get into black tuxedos.   

Finally everything was ready, as Greg Trulson, the officiant led Austin and his groomsmen to their place under the Basin Harbor Club's wedding arch.  As Carolyn Beaver from Vermont Wedding Violinist continued playing, the bridesmaids made their way down the aisle.  One of the cutest parts of the ceremony was the ring bearer and flower girl, William and Kate Vella, children of the sister of the groom, Kristen, and her husband Chuck.   William, who is 2 ½ did just fine, while Kate who is only 11 months old was carried by her Dad.  Both Dad and daughter did a great job throwing rose petals as they made their way to the front of the ceremony.  That definitely was a picture taking opportunity (can we still say "Kodak moment?") for all guests.

Then Amanda, on the arm of her father rounded the corner and made the way to her future husband, who, if you looked closely, had a tear in the corner of his eye when he first saw his bride.      

Greg then led the couple through a beautifully orchestrated ceremony, from the welcoming of all family and guests, to the tender moments of the vows and exchanging of rings.  One special moment came as Kristin Vella read a poem that she had written for the couple.  While filled with jokes about the couple, the poem was also filled with tender moments.  There was not a dry eye among the guests.  Then it was that special moment when the bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife.    

Immediately following the ceremony, Amanda and Austin requested that all the guests pose with the wedding party for one large group photo.  As the guests, young and old, made their way to the designated shady spot, Warren climbed to the second floor porch overlooking the group and captured the shot beautifully.    

While pictures were being taken in a nearby garden, guests enjoyed a variety of cocktails and hors d’oeuvre’s all catered by Basin Harbor Club.  Even though the temperature was continuing to rise, we had a wonderful time taking pictures of this fun loving bridal party. 

Formal portraits complete, it was time for the reception.  By that time all were glad to join the rest of the guests in the cooler, more comfortable, air conditioning for dinner, dancing and great fun.  During the toasts, given by both the best man and the maid of honor, we learned a little about the bride and groom's courtship. 

They met while working at Essex Cinemas.  But it appears their relationship did not become official until that first kiss on August 29, 2008, while sitting in a swing on the shore of Lake Champlain.  Two years later Austin proposed to Amanda in a very unique way.  Amanda and Austin loved to play scrabble, so after dinner one evening Austin suggested they play.  While Amanda cleaned up dinner, Austin went to get the game and when Amanda turned around the board read “AMANDA NICOLE OSBORNE WILL YOU MARRY ME?”   Now that was unique and clever!  Of course the answer was "yes" and the wedding planning began.     

Amanda and Austin’s advice for newly engaged couples includes giving yourself plenty of time to make your arrangements for your special day.  Amanda also suggests doing as much as you can yourself, without going overboard, so you don’t stress yourself out on the wedding day itself.     

Of course it takes a fairly large team of people to pull off a great wedding celebration like Austin and Amanda's. Here are some of the professionals that worked together to make this day a delight!       

Wedding Professionals:

To see additional photographs from Austin and Amanda's wedding:

Posted by Linda          

Posted by ayerphoto at 11:05 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 15 February 2013 6:00 PM EST
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