darling apple orchard wedding of Ally and John in Brentwood, New Hampshire


Sitting across from me, I adored watching Ally and John interact in our meeting just a few weeks before their wedding. His thoughtful questions, her care at describing all the personal touches and the glances between them. There was a calm respect and a playful fun that made me feel at ease with these two as if we were sitting at my dinner table as friends, even tho we had just met. Well, sort of.

Engaged for three years, Ally and John booked me before booking their venue- the first of their wedding planning decisions halfway through their engagement. What a tremendous compliment is that?! We've been in regular touch since, finally having the opportunity for a face-to-face hello while they were recently in Portland. During that meeting they told me that the most important photo they wanted captured would be the moment John saw Ally at the ceremony. 

Their wedding day was glorious, postcard perfect and a visual treat to photograph in an apple orchard! And that moment they anticipated being so emotionally charged? Oh, my heart. Scroll down to see John so sweetly peeking around the low tree limbs to catch a glimpse of his bride.

Ally spent a considerable amount of time typing out the inspiration behind their wedding day to share with our blog readers. Inspiring indeed. Enjoy it, and the love between these two in the images to follow, a small sample of an incredible day.

Much love and happiness, Ally and John. Can't wait to have you over for that dinner when you (eventually!) make Portland your home. xoxox

How they met and their wedding inspiration, in their own words:

Ally met John on a bar stool in Boston on a rainy and cold January night. After striking up a conversation about John's broken wrist, we chatted for three hours before realizing we were there with the same group of people - John worked with an identical twin in his job in finance and I worked with the other twin in a law firm. We've been inseparable since that night! In fact, John optimistically ran home that first night and woke up his mother to tell her that he met the girl he was going to marry. Thankfully, Ally consented to that arrangement a few years later. We can't wait to (finally!) become husband and wife and start on our own little family.

We both grew up in picturesque, coastal New England towns - Ally in Kennebunk, ME and John in Ipswich, MA. We love the outdoors (Ally the beaches, rocky coasts, and oceans, John the ponds, rivers, and wilderness). In planning our ideal wedding (over a long 3-year engagement), it became clear that reflecting a deep appreciation for our New England heritage is incredibly important to us both, and to our vision for this event. Our wedding meal will be a lobsterbake with Maine lobster and Ipswich clams, to reflect our home towns, and served family-style in long rows to reflect a shared community meal with our loved ones. Cocktail hour will be a simple cheese and charcuterie spread reflecting some of our favorite flavors from our around-the-world travels, especially France. John, both of our brothers, and our tiny ring bearer will sport ties made from the tartan of County Mayo, Ireland, where John's mother grew up on a small island off the western coast before emigrating to the U.S. as a young woman - it is very important to us to reflect this important piece of John's family's identity. Look for the homemade Irish soda bread (secret family recipe) to appear late night!

We both love thunder and lightning and fortuitously got engaged in a tropical storm while marooned on Block Island, so we've peppered the wedding with secret little nods to stormy weather: Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 will be one of our wedding readings (about how true love is an "ever-fixed mark" and "looks on tempests and is never shaken"), along with an excerpt from a mountain climber's Himalayan excursion journal. We will have brass hurricane lanterns on the dinner tables and ring an engraved brass ship's bell to beckon our guests to dinner. In homage to Bermuda, where Ally's parents honeymooned 41 years ago and visit frequently, we plan to be sipping on Dark and Stormies, our favorite summer cocktail (and probably the only one our taste buds agree on!).


We hope the wedding will also reflect a down-to-earth, farm-to-table homestead feel. We chose a friend's apple orchard for its organic outdoor setting and New England charm. Pots of herbs will decorate the tables in lieu of flowers and all waste from dinner will be composted. (We are very proud of the fact that the whole event will be zero-waste, using only compostable and recyclable materials. We've hired a local composting company, Mr. Fox Composting, to help us out.) There are even chickens and goats at the orchard for our youngest guests to meet!

Planning a responsible, eco-friendly event was also an important aspect of our planning process. There are many gorgeous weddings out there with all the trappings but it felt important to us to focus on sharing with loved ones and staying connected to the outdoors - so we've cut out a lot of the extras. I have in mind a simple, almost Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic, with mix-and-match whites/ivories/golds, wood tones, and green plants. There are hand-crafted table runners (including one for the bride and groom's table that Ally embroidered by hand) that will be cut into kitchen towels after the event and used for years to come in our household. We are hand-embossing thousands of recycled unbleached paper cocktail napkins and John even designed a custom website with online RSVP form to cut down on paper waste at every level of the event. To avoid financial waste, we've invited our friends to camp out in the orchard with us the night of the wedding, when John and Ally will spend their first night as husband and wife in a hand-built yurt on the property.


In the end, much of our wedding is handmade, and will hopefully look simple yet elegant and, most of all, thoughtful. Ally is knitting a cardigan sweater to wear when the sun goes down, and has made a lavender-filled ring pillow nestled into a small Shaker cherry box. The save the dates, invitations, and thank you cards for each dinner plate were hand embossed and hand stamped on recycled paper with custom-made rubber stamps, and the table number cards were hand-lettered in our spare time. Instead of wedding cake, Ally's mom is making birthday cakes for our family members who share birthdays close to the wedding day (including Ally's almost-95-year-old grandmother and John's mother's 75th birthday) and has sewn 130 bibs for the guests to wear during the lobster feast. This wedding will be a labor of love and a reflection of our appreciation of the homemade and the rustic New England beauty we have been blessed to experience while growing up in this charmed corner of the world.
  photographers: Emilie and Chris, emilie inc. photographyvenue: Apple Annie, Brentwood, New Hampshire • officiant: groom's cousin • caterer: Foster's Downeast Clambake and Formaggio Kitchencake: bride's mother • tent: Sperry Tentsrentals: New England Country Rentalsdresses: J Crew and Ralph Laurenhoneymoon: Norway

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