Kristin Chalmers Photography » the blog of Kristin Chalmers Photography

Adult Education – The Wedding of Laura and Dan at Willowdale Estate

Dan and Laura were married on May 4, 2013 at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA. About a week prior to the wedding I met up with Laura and we did a scouting tour of the Willowdale. It was still a bit chilly and nothing was really in flower yet. Laura said her dream was to have to tulips and other flowers blooming. Sure enough on their wedding day, not only was the weather perfect, but the tulips were in full bloom.

Dan and Laura met in grad school while getting their Masters of Education from Lesley University. Laura describes how they met the best: “We were interning at the same school. We were just peers in the beginning, but one day, on a lark, I invited Dan to go to a play with me. We had a blast, even ran into one of Dan’s high school teachers, but I didn’t think too much of it after that evening. We knew we’d see each other at school, so we didn’t make any official plans to go out again. But I guess Dan was hooked, since he called me two days later and asked me out on a real date! I had read about this light show in Fort Point that I took him to, so imagine us wandering around this quiet neighborhood in the middle of February only to find this overpass with the lamest Christmas lights we’d even seen! I wonder if Dan knew just how many crazy adventures I’d drag him on – and now for the rest of our lives!
One of the best adventures we had was last summer. We spent 15 days on the West Coast – traveling from San Francisco to Vancouver. Even though Dan had decided to propose in December of 2011, he waited until July to pop the question. We were in Crater Lake, Oregon for a few days and believe me when I say it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! The last day there, we decided to hike up to this secluded waterfall and when we reached the end of the trail, we were all alone and Dan decided to do it! We celebrated alone for a few minutes before another couple finally came along and took our picture! One of the best and worst parts about it was that Crater Lake has virtually no telephone/cellphone/internet service, so we were able to keep the news to ourselves…for just a little while! Obviously our friends and family were so thrilled when they got the calls – Dan’s parents said “we’ve been waiting all day for your call!” because they knew he was going to ask on this day.” Dan and Laura are now both teachers and love what they do. You could see this in every detail of their wedding.

The day was awesome on every level. I spent the early part of the afternoon with Laura and her girls, while Meg Belanger, my second shooter, hung with Dan and the groomsmen. Laura wore a Watters dress from Madeleine’s Daughter Bridal in Portsmouth, NH and Kate Spade shoes. En Vogue styled the girl’s hair and Whim Events handled all the flowers. Inside Willowdale Estate provided a beautiful setting for getting ready, complete with a funky tub that the couple climbed into later for pictures. They opted for a first look outside. We started by blindfolding Dan, my couples really seem to like the blindfold thing! Then, just for fun and knowing Dan & Laura, I really dragged out the first look. They totally loved it.
After the first look the couple signed a Kutubah and spent some time with their families. The ceremony was held by two officiants, Dan’s Cantor, Avi Tekken from MA and Laura’s Reverend, Kelly Bender came all the way from Arizona. With influences from both traditions, it was a lovely celebration of marriage. After the ceremony the party moved to the tented area for dinner and dancing!

So many moments stand out from this wedding for me. During the reception, Dan and his sister sang to the guests but I think he was just wooing Laura with a serenade. It worked for sure because Laura was beaming! DJ Dan Sky Music kept the music flowing all night.Every detail, from the table decorations to the goldfish flavor bar, showed how much Dan and Laura loved their life and each other. The centerpieces were made from Dan and Laura’s favorite books (both kid’s books and adult novels). Even the back of their chairs had apples draped from them. Get it, an apple for your teacher!:-)Dan and Laura did a horah, which was was great fun. I was warned by the couple and all their friends that I should look out for a head band moment. I had no idea what they were talking about until low and behold, Dan whips out a Celtics green terry cloth athletic headband and worked that thing like nobody’s business! Finally, Little D (Dan’s custom muppet) made an appearance because I nagged the hell out of them to bring him. That Muppet made its way all over the wedding like a roaming gnome and I loved capturing how everyone interacted with him.

The whole day was a blast from beginning to end.  Come to think of it, I think it all started when we did their engagement shoot way way back last year.  Our relationship is still going strong even after their wedding has come to a close.  I just love everything about this couple.  Too much fun to be had by all.  Ok, Laura and Dan, we need to figure out how to get you to move to Arlington so we can go to Chilly Cow (our favorite ice cream joint) all the time.

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