A Plus Party Rentals

Lauren & Jon's 2013 New Year's Eve Wedding in Portland, Maine

After two years of ringing in the New Year with amazing couples tying the knot, Alan and I have a low key evening ahead of us as we mark the close of 2015 and the start of 2016. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't miss the excitement we've had this day the past two years! So, with that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to look back at the past two New Year's Eve weddings that Alan & I were fortunate enough to capture.

The tradition started back on December 31, 2013 with Lauren & Jon as they got hitched at the First Parish Church in Portland, Maine before their rocking party to ring in the New Year at one of our favorite venue, Portland's Ocean Gateway. Looking back through their gallery brought the day back in a rush. From Lauren getting ready with her ladies at the Residence Inn while wearing monogrammed oxford shirts. To the absolutely freezing temperatures that they were hit with when they left the hotel to head to the Church. And Lauren & Jon's beaming smiles when they looked at each other. Oh, and then there was the fire alarm shortly before midnight. Yup. A fire alarm. And that meant bonding time with their friends and family as they all huddled in the cold to stay warm as the building was cleared by Portland's Fire Department.

With the champagne flowing, the clock counting down, and Phish tribute band Pardon Me, Doug rocking it out, Lauren & Jon certainly started off their marriage on one epic high note! Thank you for including us way back at the beginning, Luaren & Jon! We hope your second anniversary is fill with lots of love & laughter. And no fire trucks.

Lauren & Jon :: New Year's Eve Wedding at Ocean Gateway in Portland, Maine

Sometimes, when a couple contacts me about their wedding, I have to dig real deep to not jump up and down screaming "PICK ME!" like a crazy stalker. That's pretty much what happened when Lauren contacted me (on my birthday) back in February about her New Year's Eve wedding with Jon. Seriously. I could barely contain myself. The idea of ringing in the New Year at one of my all time favorite venues, Portland's Ocean Gateway, with such an awesome couple was more than a little exciting to me. By Valentine's Day, they made my wish come true and I was booked for their wedding. THANK YOU! I was so excited. Then we met up in the Old Port in September for their engagement session and I was jazzed up once again simply because Lauren & Jon are two of the most caring, loving, thoughtful people that I have ever met. Add in the fact that they are just so cute together? Yup. They make my "job" easy and so hard to call it that. I was instantly excited just to see them get married not to mention all of the other awesomeness.

December 31st finally came and my husband and I geared up and headed to the Residence Inn in the Old Port for Lauren getting ready with her fab ladies. The temperatures? Yeah...single digits at best. I bought a long down coat from LLBean just so I wouldn't freeze (and to warm Lauren up should she need it). Suffice to say, it was chilly. Lauren and all of her gal pals were just putting on the finishing touches while wearing their super cute monogrammed dress shirts when we arrived at their suite. Then I saw Lauren's gorgeous gown from Andrea's Bridal and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It was stunning! Add the fur wrap and the muff... oh my goodness. I knew Jon was just going to die when he saw her.

2014-01-02_0005

The ceremony itself was held at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland. I love shooting weddings there because of the amazing wrap balcony, which makes it perfect for a wide variety of shooting angles. My second shooter (otherwise known as my best friend and husband), Alan, covered the balcony during the ceremony. I dare say some of his shots are my favorite ceremony shots from the entire year (and a big reason why I waited to compile my 2013 posts). The ceremony itself was performed by Reverend Ronald Franklyn, who is a family friend of the groom's. I absolutely love it when the ceremony is performed by someone that has known the couple for a while. His sermon was heartfelt and moving and detailed the progression of Jon & Lauren coming to that moment. I had to choke back the tears as we heard of how their families had come together and the positive changes that they had brought to each other. Their love is really the kind of love that you read about. Heartfelt. Pure. Meant to be.

Given the frigged temperatures outside, we decided to make short work of their formal portraits at the church and then head to the Ocean Gateway to get their party started!

2014-01-02_0006

In true "party of the year" style, Lauren & Jon brought in their good friends of Pardon Me, Doug to perform at their rocking party reception. And boy did their friends keep the dance floor rocking all night long! From the props they brought in for the photobooth to the delicious platters that were generously refilled by Bread and Butter Catering all night long to the signature drinks at the bar... it was one heck of a way to end 2013 and ring in 2014 in style. The toasts given by the best man (who happened to be Lauren's brother and the reason the lovebirds met in the first place), Lauren's maid of honor (who knew she HAD to be friends with Lauren when she first saw her on the other side of the cafeteria at college), and the speeches given by the fathers (Lauren's dad actually performed a song with the band for the newlyweds while Jon's dad made everyone cry) were some of the most memorable of all time. It was all too obvious to everyone how special this night was for everyone, not just for Lauren & Jon. They were just so incredibly awesome.

2014-01-02_0007

As midnight approach, the champagne was poured and the 2014 glasses, hats, and masks were brought out in full force. This was what they had been planning for all year. Everyone's' eyes turned to the countdown clock as the seconds ticked by. With his arm around his wife, Jon's excitement was contagious. Lauren was beaming and glowing. Their crowd of family and friends was pulsing behind them in jubilation. 3...2...1... HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2014-01-02_0008

And what a New Year it was. Cheers erupted everywhere. The entire dance floor was like a giant mistletoe was hanging over it. You could feel the love. See the love. This was what the newlyweds wanted: "a pretty rad New Year's eve wedding". And boy did they deliver. Alan and I both agree that we've never had such an awesome New Year's before. It was such an awesome night!

Congratulations, Lauren & Jon, and thank you so much for inviting both of us to be there for your rad wedding. It was such a complete honor. You are both fantastic people and together you will go so far. Give lots of hugs, kisses, and treats to your furry baby, Sadie, for us.

This is just a sneak peek at the almost 900 photos that will be coming their way shortly. You'll be able to see them all in their event on my website as soon as they are ready. In the meantime, you can see them all over on my Facebook page as well (be sure to tag, share, and hit the "like" button on my page)!

Date: December 31, 2013  |  Getting Ready Location:Residence Inn Downtown Portland in Portland, Maine  |  Ceremony Location:First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland, Maine  |  Reception Location:Ocean Gateway in Portland, Maine  |  Bridal Boutique:Andrea's Bridal in Portland, Maine  |  Groom's Attire:Men's Wearhouse  |  Caterer:Bread and Butter Company  |  Cake Artist: Jessica Ennis  |  Ceremony Music: Dan Moore  |  Hair Stylist: Friend of the Bride  |  Band:Pardon Me, Doug  |  Officiant:Reverend Ronald M. Franklyn  |  Stationary:Wharf Industries Printing, Inc.  |  Rentals:A Plus Party Rentals  | Transportation:Custom Coach and Limousine

Jacqueline & Josh :: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Wedding & Ocean Gateway Reception in Portland, Maine

Every year there is a date that is just so incredibly popular that it feels like everyone that contacts me is looking for the same one. This year, it was July 13th. I had seven(!!) couples contact me. I always give the first couple to contact me the opportunity to book me first and, fortunately for Jacqueline & Josh, that meant them! They first got in touch with me just over a year prior as they were planning their wedding from "away". I met Jacqueline and her mom and sister to chat about their shared vision for the day and how I could help them capture it all. Knowing that they had chosen by all time favorite church (The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception) and one of my top wedding venues (the waterfront Ocean Gateway), I was secretively praying that they would like me, I mean REALLY like me, and book me for the big day. My wishes came true in August when they made it official!

Fast forward to last weekend. Normally you think of July. In Maine. And those of us "locals" envision it being so hot that we spend every second we can in a lake or the ocean. But not July 13th. It was the most picturesque wedding day I think I have ever had. There were high, puffy white clouds in the sky to diffuse the sun just enough to not have harsh shadows. There was a cooling ocean breeze in downtown Portland. It was perfect.

Jacqueline got ready at her mother's condo on the north side of Portland with all of her lovely ladies. I had been anxiously waiting to see her dress for the past year since I heard she had made the trip to NYC's Kleinfelds. It did not disappoint! I loved the lace, the corset back, and the fact that it wasn't strapless. (If I had to do my wedding over, I'd seriously reconsider my choice of strapless.) It was gorgeous! And her ladies were dressed in perfect, short purple dresses each chosen to match their own taste and style. Love it! (I'm sorry to my ladies for not doing the same.) To add the cherry on top, Jacqueline made her own broach bouquet, which is definitely my all time favorite at this point. It was incredible and definitely worth all the time I know she put in to it. Once the ladies were all dressed and the details had been finished, it was off to the Cathedral for the formal Catholic Mass wedding ceremony, which was made extra special since Jacqueline's Great Uncle performed it. I love when family is so involved in the big day!

After doing the formal portraits in the Cathedral, we all loaded on to the party bus and cruised around the Old Port while taking more portraits of their newlyweds with their bridal party. Jacqueline & Josh made sure to schedule plenty of time for their portraits and allotted me almost two hours! That certainly was a record in my books and was SO amazing! We got tons of pictures of them with their friends but, more importantly, some of my all time favorite portraits of just the two of them. Seriously, it was awesome! They planned for their reception to start a bit after the ceremony to give their guests time to enjoy the Old Port a bit before partying and it worked out so well. Brides & Grooms, take note! If you want tons of awesome portraits, make sure you give yourself time in your day to make it happen.

Following our trip around Portland, it was time to get the party started at the Ocean Gateway! The toasts by Jacqueline's sister and Josh's brother were funny and heartfelt (with a few tears shed for good measure). The Ohio clan rocked it out early screaming O-H-I-O at the top of their lungs during their theme song (it was hilarious)! Jacqueline & Josh's siblings swarmed the dance floor all night and definitely kept the party going for a long time. Lake Region Caterers made sure everyone had the delicious fuel they needed to keep dancing. They always do such a great job!

Jacqueline & Josh, I hope that you are both enjoying your honeymoon in wine country on the West Coast! Thank you so much for letting me play a roll in your perfect day. It was such an honor. Congratulations!

Here is a sneak peek of Jacqueline & Josh's photos from the day. For more, be sure to head over to my Facebook page (and hit the "like" button while you are there). And, within the next couple days, you'll find their complete gallery of photos from the day posted on my website. There are a TON more photos to come and you definitely will not want to miss them.

Jacqueline & Josh's Wedding: Getting Ready
Jacqueline & Josh's Wedding Ceremony
Jacqueline & Josh's Formal Wedding Portraits in Portland's Old Port and East End Beach
Jacqueline & Josh's Wedding Reception Formalities
Jacqueline & Josh's Ocean Gateway Wedding Reception Party
Jacqueline's DIY broach bouquet, Jacqueline & Josh's rings, and a nighttime view of Portland's Ocean Gateway

Date: July 13, 2013  |  Caterer:Lakes Region Caterers  |  Cake Artist:Two Fat Cats  |  Ceremony Music: Organist from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception  |  DJ Services:MRK Entertainment  |  Officiant: Jacqueline's Great Uncle Alfred Jacques  |  Invitations:Cotton Ink Invites  |  Rentals:A Plus Party Rentals  |  Transportation:Mainelimo  |  Bridal Boutique:Kleinfeld Bridal  |  Ceremony Location:Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine  |  Reception Venue:Ocean Gateway in Portland, Maine