Mr and Mrs Chenard: Our Wedding at The Hermitage Museum and Gardens

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Cory and I sat on our back porch, only twenty-four hours after our wedding day, each with a craft beer in hand. We sat in the two chairs, that happened to be my very first Christmas gift that I got him. We watched the sun shine through our trees and we talked about our wedding day and the beginning of our marriage. We shared the funny stories that we heard earlier in the day at a cookout at my Parents’ home with family. We shared our thoughts and moments that we loved throughout our wedding day. We talked about the weather and how we were still amazed how clear it turned out. We talked about our vows, our notebook we wrote to each other in and our love. We mentioned my brother, and we became emotional over the words shared and the love we expressed to one another. This conversation was heartfelt, meaningful and a moment I will remember forever.

We ventured off early the next morning for our Honeymoon, which is an entire story to share at a later date, and then came home a week later to beautiful photographs of our wedding day to help us reminisce for years to come. Another thing Cory and I both mentioned on our back porch to each other was that we both felt as if we were the two most loved people on earth on the day of our wedding. That could not be more true almost a week and a half later! Our family and friends showed up for us, celebrated with us, shared words of advice, love and of compassion. They looked like they were having a blast and we tried to make sure we got to talk to everyone!

I woke up the morning of our wedding day to a text message from our wedding planner, “Forecast changed; you’re getting married UNDER THE TREE!” I like to think that I was an easy going bride, after all I photograph weddings for a living and I know how to work with rain, but Jamie, our wedding planner, knew just how much Cory and I really wanted to still get married under THE TREE! We took extra steps through out the week for rain plan(s) but we were holding out hope, as a bride and groom, to still get married under the tree, OUR tree! Our first kiss was at our wedding venue and we love the outdoors. We did use our honeymoon going on hikes and being in the mountains, so we wanted our entire wedding day outside and we believed and hoped that the weather would clear. Well, it did! After a really hairy week of forecasts changing from better to much worse every single day, the day came and the rain stopped around noon. The flooded dance floor some how drained before I even arrived, the grass was not sopping wet and muddy near our ceremony site and then the sun came out during our dinner. My Aunt Neysa, came up to me put her hands to my cheeks and said, “This is Richard, sweet girl.” Cory and I both believe that she was absolutely right.

Everyone mentioned our personal vows that we took the time to write and recite to each other during our ceremony. Both of us took roughly three minutes each to express our love and our meaning for our life together. I could have stood there all day, under our tree, telling Cory what he means to me. I barely scratched the surface with my three minutes long vows to him. The rest of our day was followed by so much joy, celebration, friends, family, dancing, laughing, happy tears and the most love I have ever felt from so many people!

All of these portraits are by our amazing photographer; Erika Mills and I will write along these photographs letting you know more about some of the moments that she captured. If I wrote all about our wedding day in the beginning you would never get to the photographs, and there are A LOT of photographs to get too! This was by far the best day of my life and I know with all of my heart that this is where my life was suppose to lead too. Enjoy this first blog post from a wedding photographer that is also a WIFE and has so much more understanding for my brides! I normally end my writing in wedding blog posts congratulating the lucky newlyweds, and since I do feel extremely lucky I am still going to do it! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Chenard; Cory you’ve got me for life now!          Cory and I individually wrote letters/cards to both sets of parents and he wrote letters to his groomsmen while I wrote letters to my bridesmaids. I loved seeing our loved ones reading our letters to them.   Cory got all of these socks for him and his groomsmen. He gave his Dad Red Sox socks and my Dad Yankees socks.  Throughout the year of our engagement we each wrote in these notebooks and gave them to each other on the day of our wedding to read.   If you do not know yet my brother passed away several years ago. He was an avid baseball player and I asked my Dad if I could have one of his many Home Run baseballs to make into a bracelet to wear on our wedding day. I wanted to have him as close as I could and decided to do something like this instead of a memory table. I love the way the designer at Either Ore Jewelers listened to me and worked with me on creating this bracelet.   I cried A LOT of happy tears on our wedding day but I think most of them occurred with the moments with my Dad!   I wrote this for him as a present to also honor growing up on the baseball fields with him, my brother and my Mom and to switch this photograph out of one of us walking down the aisle.   Cory got me a present even though we agreed, no presents, except our journals! Everyone looked at me funny when I pulled two cans of “Fix a Flat” out of the bag but I laughed and I knew exactly why he did that! It is one of the main stories of our love story and I explained to our photographer and my bridesmaids why before opening his journal to me. When I opened to read it he retold the story to me and that this was the trip of two flat tires, in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains that he realized that he was going to marry me. This was a trip he took me on to help me photograph another couple out of town and I love that my work, our calm natured personalities, and our problem solving teamwork all coincided to make this memory that we will always tell. Two flat tires and the day we realized we would be with each other for the rest of our lives.   The way he looks at me just melts my heart all over again!   Cory knew about this bracelet that I was having made but he never saw it until our First Look.  If you haven’t noticed yet you soon will, because I sure did, that when I am happy and with ones I love in these moments I grab their heads! I never realized this until seeing our wedding day photographs.  My Uncle Bobby escorted my Mom down the aisle during the ceremony.    Cory looking at his parents as he walked into the ceremony.   I cried a lot walking down the aisle with my Dad and he just laughed at me. That is okay though because it made me laugh! My Matron of Honor, Nicole, told me that when I walked in my eyes would lock onto Cory’s and everything else would fade away. She said that it would feel like we were the only two there and I was amazed at how right she was. After we walked through that brick archway it was like tunnel vision to Cory for me, and we were still so far away from the actual alter. I was surprised about how accurate this feeling was and I am so thankful she told me about it! ( I also love Josh, Cory’s best man, looking at him! We got some funny ones!)   I cried when I saw this picture below for the first time!  We selected two personal readings that I found and I asked two of my cousins, Nathan and Kristen to read them for us. I have always been close to them and I could not picture anyone else reading these two messages to us. They both are happily married and I think their readings that I chose also fit well with their marriages.   Cory! He always makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in a room and so so so loved!    Our Pastor whispered to us during our first kiss, “Okay now, don’t overdo it!” He was joking but we were very excited and overjoyed and had to do several pecks! Heck, we only get that moment once and I think we soaked it all in as much as we could!   Oh man, Erika! Thank you for this amazing portrait below of my handsome Husband!      All of my bridesmaids are extremely gorgeous! I hope they loved their dress, hair and makeup because I think they look GOOD!      My Mom looked AMAZING! All of our parents looked so dapper and beautiful!   I added one of my Grandmother’s brooches too my bridal bouquet.   Cory makes me laugh a lot and I love so many of our wedding day portraits. He put up with marrying a wedding photographer extremely well and even looked through the entire galleries with me.    If I could attempt to choose my favorite portraits, these two would be in that category!  During cocktail hour we choose to eat our dinner privately in the Rose Garden. I loved doing this because we actually got to eat and it freed up time during our reception to visit every guest table!   I dreamed about this light installation coming together for over a year! I am glad that Stage Right Lighting and Roost Flowers worked flawlessly together.   In lieu of wedding day favors Cory and I choose to donate to two organizations that were personal to each side of the family and we let them all know at their place setting at our wedding reception.  I made these table numbers with stickers after a failed spray paint DIY project. I love plan b’s result.  This Mr & Mrs sign was cut out of metal by Tidal Bay Collections and I attached it to a gold spray painted Hula Hoop! You heard that right! Then Roost Flowers attached green garland around it. We also made a personalized bar sign for our signature drinks in honor of our Moms since Mother’s Day was the next day. They were called “Miss Pat’s Day off” & “Kathy in Corolla”. We also made a large escort card wall as our seating chart, filled with greenery and a stand to make it look like it was leaning on a large easel. A lot of DIY went into our wedding day and we tried to put personal touches everywhere that we could!   Our first dance song was “I Found You” by The Alabama Shakes.   I cried a lot during our Father/Daughter dance! I am definitely Daddy’s little girl and I will never forget the words he spoke to me during this dance.   We laughed too, I promise!   I loved watching Cory and his Mom dance together, they have such a sweet relationship together!   My Dad’s toast was hands down the best Father of the Bride toast I have ever heard, and I am not biased at all when I say that!  I surprised my Mom with a Mother/Daughter dance. I wanted her to have a special dance since my brother is no longer with us. In honor of Mother’s day the DJ asked all of the other Mothers onto the dance floor with their children and that is when Cory cut in and started dancing with my Mom and I danced the rest of the song with his Mom.   I think the other Moms loved dancing with their children too!  The rest of the reception was so much fun and more of those candid and crazy dance party will be on my Facebook later in the week! But here are some more highlights of the rest of the night.   I was 110% sure that Cory was going to smash the cake in my face, and I actually like when Brides and Grooms do that so I was all for it! But clearly, I was the only one that was thinking that way! Some got in his nose, whoops!   One of the main reasons that we choose to get married at the Hermitage Museum was because our first kiss was there. We went to see an artist light installation on Halloween by Bruce Munro. After walking around the gardens looking at all of the installations, Cory kissed me. I feel the need to mention, I tripped over roots three times on that date and the window you see in the pictures below, I hit my head on! We were upstairs leaning over to see this light installation by Bruce Munro from above and I leaned too far and hit my head. After all of that Cory still wanted to kiss me and on our wedding day I surprised him with a private last dance under this light installation, where a part of our love story started years before. 

Thank you to our Parents for making our wedding weekend dreams come true. Thank you to Cory for coming into my life and changing every aspect of it for the better and for being my soulmate. Thank you to all of our vendors and vendor friends involved in our wedding day!

Wedding Venue: Hermitage Museum and Gardens

Wedding Attire: Studio I Do

Wedding Planner: Jamie Leigh Events
Wedding Photographer: Erika Mills Photography

Videographer: Tom Lee

Officiant: Pastor Michael Simeone from Spring Branch Church

DJ: Atlantic Digital Entertainment

Lighting: Stage Right Lighting

Cake and Dessert: Rachel Bakes & Amazingly Glazed

Caterer: Montero’s

Makeup and Hair: Dhalia Edwards and Stephanie Michelle Hair

Florist: Roost Flowers

Stationary: Paperdolls Design

Linens: Waterford Event Rentals

Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals

Transportation: Orange Peel

DIY Decor: Cory and Myself