A few years ago I received a memorable application from a Cape Elizabeth gal with an MBA and a banking background. Not entirely convinced our worlds would meld, she kept in touch and I watched as her career shifted to marketing at Portland's VIA Agency. She emailed me ideas for blog posts or interesting industry articles. She engaged on our Facebook page. She commissioned me to photograph her family. Just before Christmas she asked if she could come in for coffee. Nearly a year without a studio manager, she offered suggestions on how she could help. Basically, she made it impossible for me not to hire her. Please meet Nicole, our new studio manager (and yes, our third manager named Nicole!). And because she didn't mention it, I invite you to check out her impressive profile on Yelp, too. Welcome, Nicole!
Where did you grow up? How did you land in Maine?
I grew up “Outside Providence”, Rhode Island, and made my way north during my college years (there was a boy … it didn’t work out with him, but I did fall in love with Maine!). There are things I miss about Rhode Island — especially Del’s Lemonade in the summer — but when I went back to visit family a couple of years ago, I realized that I’ve truly become a Mainer at heart. There’s something inexplicable about the community and atmosphere here.
Tell us a little about your work experience prior to joining emilie inc.
This is my first foray in photography or weddings! I was a project manager in the banking industry for quite a few years. I later began a whole new adventure by joining an advertising agency as a proofreader to learn more about the marketing world.
What are your initial impressions of our operation so far?
The wedding scene in Maine is much bigger than I realized! I’m so glad so many people appreciate our beautiful state. I’ve been forewarned that the summer can get a little crazy around here, so I’m jumping right in and can’t wait to talk to more of our brides and families.
Are you married? I've gotta ask (as I always do), how did you two meet? How did he propose?
We are coming up on our five year anniversary! We met through Match.com, I was on the last day of my free trial when he appeared on my “Daily 5” list. His bio mentioned that he was studying for the GMAT exams for grad school (like I was!), so I sent him a quick message to ask if he wanted to meet at Starbucks on Friday. We did, I grabbed the wrong drink off the turnstile, coffee turned into dinner, and we have been pretty inseparable ever since! I feel like I’m narrating a movie script when I say it, but he planned a secret trip to PARIS and proposed under the Eiffel Tower. It was such a whirlwind! We got married one year (to the day!) from the date we met.
What was the biggest surprise of wedding planning for you?
How difficult it can be to describe the vision in your head! I feel like it’s so much easier these days with smartphones and social media to provide a visual to your vendors.
What is your own favorite wedding photo?
We had a small wedding with around 50 guests. When my mother-in-law gave us a scrapbook she made of our wedding a few weeks later, we discovered that my brother-in-law actually went around and took photos of all of our guests in their seats after dinner! We were so surprised and touched to have a visual guestbook of who joined us on our big day. (Back then, I hadn’t even heard of a photo booth!)
Now that you’re in the position to be speaking to our couples planning their own wedding, what is the best piece of advice you would share?
I always tell my friends to enjoy being engaged, have fun planning, and don't stress the small things, because, no matter what, you're going to have fun and make some awesome memories on the big day. Oh, and make sure you do that hair trial because you may end up worrying all morning that your curls won’t drop …
What keeps you busy outside of our four walls?
My 8 month old! It’s amazing how their batteries seem to recharge 10x faster than your own. Aside from that very demanding (but adorable!) little boy, I took up casually bicycling a few years ago and love to ride on the local off-street trails. I read when time allows (I’m a big Harry Potter fan!) and catch up on missed episodes of Project Runway, Game of Thrones, or Downton Abbey. I’m kind of a sucker for period dramas, I’ve probably watched every version of Pride & Prejudice a hundred times.
I have had the pleasure of photographing your son as a newborn. What was that experience like for you?
Being photographed? Or having a newborn? Gosh, it’s so insane how much joy can fill your heart just looking at another human being. I’m so, so glad we decided to have you capture those early memories — and even though we both worried it would be awkward to have photos in our home, you were so seamless about taking photos in between chatting with us about being new parents!
Have you done anything with those images?
Oh yes! Our living room walls had been bare for years (I had a hard time committing to art), but now we have probably a dozen framed prints and one large canvas. I made birth announcement cards and a 2015 calendar with the photos, too. We absolutely cherish those photos of our first days as a little family. It’s about time to update them though!
What place or restaurant do you recommend folks from out of town check out when visiting Portland?
OTTO’s pizza! I am obsessed with their mashed potato, bacon and scallions pizza and the butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry one is delicious as well! And, if you don’t mind crossing the bridge (and you’re awake enough to get there before they sell out), the bagels at Scratch in South Portland are divine!
Where did you get those bouncy curls?
Would you believe me if I told you that my mom has stick straight hair that can’t hold a curl?! I definitely inherited it from somewhere deep on my father’s side. I may have bemoaned it while a teenager, but I'm super grateful today for my natural curls!