Melissa and Morris were my last wedding in the crazy month of May (8 weddings - what was I thinking?!?) and I've been dying to share these pictures with you! Imagine one of the most elegant wedding venues in Boston - The Mandarin Oriental - now mix in Melissa & Morris's awesome sense of fun and quirkiness - vows on hamster paper, pre-wedding bowling, tons o' fun in the Photo Booth - and that's the fabulousness that was the Chang Tang wedding!
The wedding was not only perfectly planned by Emilie of Pink Orchid Weddings (I cannot say enough good stuff about Emilie, one day I aspire to be as calm/efficient/organized as Emilie is!) but her company Pink Orchid Designs also designed all of the beautiful stationery:
I loved the elegant soft gold with a hint of pink color palette that Melissa and Morris chose. Melissa's cute little wedding purse:
While hair and make up magic was happening, Audrey went along with Morris and the guys on their little bowling jaunt.
Back with the girls, Erik Howard of Will Charles Salon was doing Melissa's hair. Melissa's hair is super shiny and soft and so to ensure her updo stayed in for the whole day without a gazillion hairpins Erik actually used a needle and thread to hold it all up. Genius!!! Lisa Lee of Lisa Chy Makeup made Melissa look even more beautiful than usual (and had everyone ready on time - yay!)
I'm a big fan of being dressed and ready with a good 15-30 minutes to spare. It's more relaxing, there's time for a restorative glass of champagne AND I can take a beautiful bridal portrait like this. Melissa's dress was Monique Lhuillier from Erin Cole Couture:
One final touch was this pin on the underside of Melissa's wedding dress. Those of you who've watched the movie "Up" will not be surprised that Morris wore the same pin on the inside of his jacket. The ChangTang club seems like a pretty awesome one if you ask me.
Melissa and Morris exhanged notecards and gifts. Sadly Morris's England soccer shirt didn't help them get past the first stage of the world cup :(
Just another awesome touch - vows printed on hamster paper:
Throughout the wedding planning process I discovered a shared love of food with Melissa and Morris. Knowing their love of food and how delicious the hors d'oeuvres would be at the Mandarin Oriental would be they wisely chose to do a first look and all of their pictures pre-ceremony so they could really relax, enjoy time with their friends and family AND eat all the food after the wedding! The Mandarin Oriental has an awesome little courtyard outside and this made for a perfect first-look setting. Loving Melissa and Morris's reactions :)
We made our way back inside as Melissa's parents hadn't seen her in her gown yet:
Tropical location or a little palm tree in the Prudential mall ;)
Reason #8574 why Morris & Melissa are so awesome; they spent a happy 10 minutes chilling in the bar with a glass of champagne. I was joined by the always-amazing Long Haul Films who were making the film for this wedding. Whenever I work with Long Haul we'll usually collaborate behind the scenes to come up with picture locations and plans and this was one of those awesome times:
We left the bar so that Melissa and Morris could meet up with their families for some relaxed yet mantel-worthy family pictures:
The ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental was perfectly set for a wedding. Orchids n' Blooms did these beautiful bud vases as well as the bouquets and centerpieces:
Melissa and Morris wanted to see the smiling faces of their friends and family vs. a sea of cell phones so they chose to have an unplugged ceremony. I'd estimate ~70% of the weddings I photograph are now unplugged. Note that your guests can go crazy later on - why not even have a wedding hashtag? - but there's something really special about an unplugged ceremony. Note that unless you have your officiant announce this, your guests will probably ignore any signs...
Melissa entered the ballroom on the arm of her proud father Joseph:
The ceremony was conducted by Melissa's brother Michael and he shared all sorts of fun personal stories about this fabulous couple including Melissa's talent for sleeping on the floor in her scrubs:
Melissa and Morris added the photobooth to their wedding collection (you'll be able to see pictures tomorrow on my facebook page - make sure to hit LIKE if you want to be able to tag your crazy self!) and as Audrey would be manning the booth I had the talented Jen of Aphrodite Photography join us. This picture of Melissa and Morris is Jen's:
Guests enjoyed a signature cocktail and some of the most delicious looking appetizers ever. This would also be a good time to RAVE about the amazingness of the Mandarin Oriental staff. Everyone from the security guards who helped us load in our equipment to the waitstaff and valets was phenomenal. Special commendation to Jeff Watson who couldn't have been more flexible and accommodating. The very best wedding venues acknowledge that all of the vendors are there for the couple and they enable you to do the very best job for your mutual client - from a walk through, to a convenient storage space for equipment to vendor meals being on time so we can get back to working as quickly as possible. More importantly, if venues are treating your vendors well, they're likely treating you and your guests like celebrities! If you're thinking of booking the Mandarin Oriental Boston for your wedding or special event I would recommend them 110%!
I can't decide what I love more. These cute little origami escort cards or how Melissa added Morris's last name to hers to become Dr. Chang Tang!
Melissa and Morris snuck into the ballroom to see it set up for their wedding reception and their awesome DJ, Mike Amado from Entertainment Specialists started playing the music for their first dance leading to an impromptu private dance rehearsal. Love!
The #ChangTangs!!!! Straight into their first dance to Sea of Love by Cat Powers:
Melissa's good friend/man of honor Ben gave a toast sharing stories about their eating adventures and how they've graduated from giant bags of Costco chips to tasting menus at Michelin-starred restaurants. Ben explained that Morris does an amazing job of keeping Melissa company on her foodie trips as well as supporting her dreams. Morris's friend and best man Evan then spoke about Morris's quiet determination and careful and thoughtful personalist. Evan talked about how Melissa has encouraged Morris to be more adventurous, not only with food but with travel and life in general and how Morris provides Melissa with a steady anchor. A side note about the picture above, so often venues will sit couples in a corner or against a wall which doesn't look so great in pictures for toasts. It's really great to have some depth and interest behind you. In this case Melissa and Morris chatted with me and the Long Haul team and decided they'd like to just turn their chairs 180 degrees so they could see the person toasting and also have a great background in their pictures. The toasts were over but Melissa's friends did a performance of Halo that blew everyone's mind. Their musical talents are perhaps even more impressive when you know they have "day jobs" as surgeons! After listening for a while Melissa and Morris took another turn around the dance floor.
You might have been wondering about the hamster vow paper earlier, well check out the little hamster (Morris) and the little panda (Melissa) on the cake topper (cake by the Mandarin Oriental team):
The dancefloor was PACKED thanks to DJ Mike Amado and after some very energetic dancing Melissa and Morris were ready to take a 5 minute break to cool down and take some night time pictures:
The Chang Tangs and their friends and family knew how to have a good party!
Just when guests thought they couldn't eat another thing the Mandarin Oriental Boston team brought out coffee and the most delectable looking pastries:
See what I mean about the dancing!
Melissa and Morris - I can't begin to explain how happy I am to have met you both and to have had the honor of documenting your wedding. I will 100% be tracking you down to have a drink and catch up about our latest restaurant discoveries. Wishing you both a lifetime of health, happiness, love, laughter and amazing food and travels.
A few days ago I got the most amazing thank you gift and notecard from Melissa and I'm blushing but it was the best note EVER so I'm sharing some of it here:
"When I first saw your photos I was immediately impressed by your work but it was the first text from you about the spilled diet coke [Leah's note - just before I met with Melissa and Morris I managed to spill a whole glass of diet coke over my white pants. I texted them to let them know that I didn't generally meet clients with soggy brown stains on my clothing :)] that I knew I would definitely love working with you.
We are so greatful for the opportunity to have worked with you, aside from making us look incredible, you offered us so many great recommendations, sage words of advice as I bumbled around and countless emails of reassurance that we never doubted we were in capable and excellent hands. When friends and family commented how carefree I was about the wedding process I knew it was only because I had an amazing team of vendors that would make our wedding day absolutely perfect."
And that's all for today ladies and gentlemen! Coming up next I'll have 3 engagement shoots for you - from Austin, TX to Boston and the North Shore followed by Sarah & Cameron's Crane Estate Wedding and then Sara & Jason's Castle Hill Inn wedding. Happy Wednesday!