ceremony: Hawksnest Beach St John, USVI
officiant: Mary Bartolucci Island Style Weddings
steel pan: Lem Callwood
florist: Susan Pratt Passion Flower
hair/make-up: Michelle Grapevine Salon
transportation: Slimo's Limo
dress: Jacqueline Exclusive Madeleine's Daughter Portsmouth, NH
suit: Calvin Klein
Mainers Jennifer and Steve opted to forgo traditional wedding plans and eloped on the beach instead in St. John. And they brought us along!
Jennifer works at the Pottery Barn where I spent my first winter in Maine, helping furnish my house and meet some new people. The employees have remained friends of mine ever since, and when they heard Jennifer talking about the possibility of a St John ceremony, they directed her my way. Initially, she and her now-hubby Steve hired us to photograph their upcoming New Year's Eve party to celebrate their nuptials with family and friends here in Portland. But over a pint and conversation at Gritty's Pub about our own recent St. John wedding, it was decided we would go along and document the adventure for them in November, too.
How they met, in Jenn's words:
Our shared passion for University of Maine hockey brought Steve and I together. We first met four years when we were both season ticket holders and had seats in neighboring sections. I would often catch Steve stealing glances and flashing me that big beautiful smile. We never actually spoke until the end of the season, when we found ourselves sitting in the same row at the hockey championship in Boston. It was just a brief hello and an exchange of names but that was all and the season ended. When the new season began seven months later, I looked for Steve at every game but he no longer had those assigned seats and I never saw him once that year. That is, until I found myself at the same hockey tournament in Boston and as I walked into the pre-game pep rally, he was the first person I saw. This time we exchanged phone numbers, had our first date the following day and the rest is history :)
So armed with our gear- both camera and snorkel- J and I returned to the exact place where we tied the knot just six months prior. I had a bit of anxiety about going back so soon and documenting an event quite similar to our own. But St John is a wonderfully cool, calming escape, and within minutes of arriving any anxiety quickly turned to gratitude for the chance at experiencing such relaxation three times in the same year (our original scouting trip to St. John was at the end of last November).
This is now our second destination elopement where it's just us and a couple (we traveled to Mexico in March with Kristin and Jesse), and boy, is it tremendous. It's a different approach to documenting a traditional wedding in the sense that when Jenn was getting her dress on or riding in the limo to the ceremony, it was just the two of us. We had more interaction as we were always talking in between shooting (can you imagine how boring it would have been for her to be with a mute solo sidekick all day?) and the majority of the photographs are portraits. Tho I always prefer unobtrusive to obtrusive, in this case J and I had a very active role as we also represented 100% of the guests. Knowing that we were solely responsible for producing the only images of this event to share with family and friends back home was a huge pressure and also a great honor.
The afternoon after we arrived, we met Jenn and Steve at Caneel Bay, the rustic luxe lodge owned by the Rockefeller family where we had our mini-moon after our wedding, for a casual portrait session on the beach and among the ruins before a sunset dinner.
The following morning at nearly the crack of dawn, 7a, I met Jenn at the salon for her hair and make-up prep. She and Steve were having an 8:30a Wednesday morning ceremony on the beach.
J met Steve at the Westin, where they were staying, to capture his preparations.
And then the two of them set off for the perfect spot on Hawksnest Beach for the ceremony.
Here comes the bride.
The sun peeked out from white fluffly clouds at all the right moments during their ceremony. And the beach was perfectly quiet with just the sound of the waves crashing to keep their words exchanged private, J and I didn't hear a thing.
Love this!! My hats of to officiants who move quickly out of the frame during the kiss, especially with such spectacular backgrounds as this!
We headed back into town for some portraits around the town of Cruz Bay.
It was too early for a rum punch, so Steve and Jenn opted for slushies instead. Jenn decided hers was her "something blue."
And we rounded out the morning excitement back at the Westin.
Pretty adorable, right?
You're welcome to view their slideshow below, chock-full of more images than usual from the day, so long as you promise to keep it a secret from their New Year's Eve celebration guest list. We'll be sharing it there as a play-by-play of the experience on the big screen!
Jenn and Steve, you did it!! Thank you so much for taking us back to a very special place and inspiring us with your wide-eyed sense of discovery in surroundings already familiar to us. The four of us now belong to a very special club, Mainers married in St John, and we cannot wait for the party in Portland to meet the rest of your fan club in just a few weeks!! Cheers!