Willowdale Estate Wedding Photographer :: St Cecilia's Church Boston :: Sarah + Ryan

Happy Thursday! Just over 3 weeks ago I had the honor of photographing Sarah & Ryan's wedding and I thought you might like to see some favorites from their day. Fun fact, I photographed Kristin & Dan's wedding last year at the NEAQ and Sarah and Ryan were guests at the wedding so I was delighted to hear from them just a few days later saying they were looking for a photographer! We started at the Boston Park Plaza hotel, I was with the girls and Audrey with the guys. I began photographing some of the wedding details like these adorable glitter heel Kate Spade shoes:

Special Event Beauty were responsible for hair and make up and everyone looked flawless:

As you can imagine I attend a lot of weddings and every wedding is such an individual event. Some weddings are an excuse for the biggest party ever. Other weddings are a giant celebration with friends and family all in one place. Sarah & Ryan's wedding was very meaningful and kept coming back to their religious faith. Not to say it wasn't a fabulous party later that night! Sarah and Ryan wrote letters to each other on the morning of the wedding. I worked alongside Promessa Films for the first time (loved working with Karen and Nicole!) and they asked Sarah if she'd be comfortable reading her letter aloud for the video. Let's just say I had to wipe my eyes when hearing what Ryan had written to Sarah

Once the tears had dried it was time for Sarah to get into her dress helped by her Mom Linda. The dress was incredibly heavy with all of the swarovski crystals and embroidery.

Sarah's father Dan came in to see his daughter as a bride for the first time and let's just say it was time for the tissues again. When I look back at the weddings I've photographed, one of the things that almost all of my couples have in common is having incredibly loving and supportive families. Sarah and Ryan's families were just that too - they couldn't have been more proud of their children and they were so happy for this wedding. 

The bridesmaids were pretty excited to see Sarah in her dress too!

We made our way through the city to St Cecilia's Church for the ceremony. A quick preview of the beautiful flowers courtesy of Orchids n' Blooms:

The fabulous Gracie Lou ladies Adrienne and Elizabeth had helped Sarah and Ryan plan their day. When we were working on the timeline we knew it would be incredibly tight in terms of pictures as there was no first look AND after the ceremony we had to get from Boston up to the North Shore in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic so to help the pictures not feel too rushed we took some individual family pictures at church (making sure the coast was clear before bringing Sarah and/or Ryan out!)

And then it was time for Sarah and Ryan to get married. Sarah walked down the aisle with her dad:

St Cecila's is a beautiful church...

...although that wasn't the reason Sarah and Ryan chose to get married there. They regularly attend services there, Sarah less so now that she's in Chicago for law school but Ryan still makes the fairly long drive there most Sundays. This led to a very personal and meaningful ceremony with all sorts of emotion and laughter too!

Family blessing:

Married! Thanks to Audrey in the balcony for the black and white shot of the recessional:

We then boarded coaches for the fairly long and slow drive to Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

Ryan and Sarah holding hands the whole way:

We knew time would be tight on arrival to take some additional photos (me) and get the lights set up for the reception (Audrey) so Sarah and Ryan asked me to add a third photographer (a great idea if you choose not to have a first look). I was delighted to have Steph Stevens join us for the day and photograph cocktail hour while Audrey and I took formal pictures/set up. The flowers, food and guest pictures at cocktail hour are Stephs:

The rain was fairly heavy bordering on torrential for most of the day but by some miracle it stopped for just long enough for us to take advantage of the beautiful courtyard at Willowdale:

The tent for the reception looked beautiful thanks to the Gracie Lou team, Orchids n' Blooms and Rentals Unlimited

The new Mr & Mrs Gelchion made their grand entrance and went straight into their first dance:

Toasts followed. Hilarity and tears happened. Ryan's brother Matt made one of the most touching toasts I've ever heard explaining how as young kids he had a little routine with Ryan before bed:
- Goodnight Ryan
- Goodnight Matt
- I love you Ryan
- I love you Matt
Ryan's dad Joe decided it would be a good time for a group hug with his boys:

Parent dances:

And with that the party was officially underway with amazing music by Sam of TSG:

Guests enjoyed signature cocktails and even milk and cookies late into the night:

The torrential rain stopped again for a few minutes so we snuck out for some night time pictures under the twinkly lights. A good chance to cool down from all the crazy dancing fun.

Sarah & Ryan's friends and family know how to have a good time:

Sarah and Ryan still found a little quiet time on the dance floor: Sarah & Ryan - I am SO happy for you both. Your wedding was such a wonderful day, a celebration of your relationship and your faith and you couldn't have looked happier together! Wishing you an amazing life together in Chicago and wherever you go next! Thank you for choosing me to photograph your wedding.


  1. I would die for even a sliver of your talent Leah. This wedding is stunning. Congratulations to the beautiful couple!

  2. Leah, this looks beautiful and your pictures came out amazing (no surprise!) Love it! Gorgeous wedding!