Longfellow's Wayside Inn Wedding in Sudbury, MA :: Jennifer + Wiktor (Part I)

The weekend before Thanksgiving I had my final wedding of 2010. It was a great finish to a fantastic year (I'll be doing some kind of review in the next few weeks - who says you have to do reviews on New Years Day?!?)

Jennifer and Wiktor got married in a beautiful ceremony in the Mary Martha Chapel and then celebrated with family and friends at their wedding reception in the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA.

When you're planning a wedding in the winter months of November through March, it can be completely dark by 4:30pm; if you'd like family pictures and couples portraits outside then you might want to consider doing a first look/pictures before the ceremony or having an earlier ceremony time of 2 or 3pm. Although of course, if you choose not to see one another before your evening ceremony - as Jen & Wiktor did - then I'm more than comfortable with the lighting required for indoor pictures.

I went early to the Wayside Inn to set up my lighting equipment in the various rooms for the ceremony, cocktail hour and the reception and as I left to drive to Jen's Mom's house, the Mary Martha chapel was beautifully illuminated by the late afternoon sun:

As I knocked on the door, I noticed this sign which seemed very apropos:

Jen wore these beautiful pearls:

And of course there were wedding rings:

Wiktor waited patiently at the altar for Jennifer. You'll notice more people than perhaps you would expect standing up and that's because this was truly one of the most unique and personal wedding ceremonies I have ever seen with such a focus on family. The wedding was actually officiated by Jen's Stepfather Vic:

Jen walked toward Wiktor simply beaming:

And by the power vested in me by the state of.....hold on! we haven't had the ceremony yet...I guess Wiktor was just so happy to see Jen that he decided a pre-wedding kiss was in order:

The wedding ceremony incorporated all sorts of family traditions and acknowledged Jen and Wiktor's heritages. Wiktor is Polish and Polish wedding tradition has the bride and groom greeted by their parents with bread, salt and a glass of wine. Wiktor's mother had baked the bread herself and she explained that the bread is to convey the parents wish that the couple never go hungry. The salt represents the wish for the couple to work through the hard times. The wine is to offer refreshment after their long day. And in a nod to Jen's family, the wine was replaced by a family-brewed "moonshine":

The newlyweds as they leave the chapel:

And then we actually came straight back into the chapel to take the family pictures.

When it comes to family pictures I usually suggest thinking carefully about the groups of people you would like and need to be photographed. You can torture yourself (have you ever tried smiling for an hour?) and your guests by coming up with every random permutation and grouping (expect each group picture to take 3-5 minutes to gather everyone together, arrange and take multiple shots to avoid blinking!) OR you can make a short but thoughtful list of the groups that you'd like to see in your album and those that will be framed for the mantel.

It also makes the most sense to give a copy of the short family shot list to someone who actually knows the people involved. This can be an organized and reliable family member or one of your wedding party. You usually make a considerable investment for your wedding photography so it's better to have your photographer actually taking pictures vs. hunting people they don't actually know :)

At Jen & Wiktor's wedding I totally lucked out. Not only was a copy of the short list given to Jen's cousin Beth, but Beth is also an events manager. Beth was an absolute joy to work with on the wedding day and was invaluable in calling the groups.

I usually just show one or two family pictures on the blog but with this wedding being virtually 100% about family, I'll share a few extra.

There's no rule that says a family picture has to be stiff and posed. Here's Jen and Wiktor laughing with her father Ron, and stepmother, Laura:

I loved how all the children; nieces and nephews were involved as flower girls, ushers, ring bearers:

With Andre and Barbara, Wiktor's parents:

Jennifer's extended family:

And of course with Jen's amazing mom Nina and her stepfather (and wedding officiant), Vic:

Just 20 minutes later we had finished the family pictures and so I stole Jen and Wiktor for a little time for couples portraits, here they are outside the Wayside Inn (more thanks to Beth, this time for holding my light!):

I love the excitement and joy that I see immediately after a couple get married:

In a little world of their own:

Ooops - that's already twenty preview pictures. I will sign off for now and you can check back in tomorrow for part II of the wedding reception including the most fabulous toasts from Jen's Godmother Carolyn and Wiktor's Sister Anna...


  1. Awww, what a sweet, happy couple! Gorgeous pics! The lighting is just fabulous! Nice job!

  2. Leah- you're killing it with the blogging this week!! :) I love coming into work and seeing my google reader light up with new posts! It makes my day.

  3. Love the photos! The family feel of the ceremony sounds really awesome. And I love all of the fun details... the colored leaves in the aisle and the colors of the flowers. Great for the season! The laughing photo is wonderful... so much warmth.