January 2018

January 10, 2018

When Kim Lyn Chauvin and Shiloh Aaron Chauvin were married on July 21, 2012, they had absolutely no budget and no one to help out. Five years later, they made up for that when Kim surprised Shiloh with a vow renewal ceremony. Kim says, “Our vow renewal was our dream come true.”

The couple planned their wedding in three months. “Crazy, but it can be done,” assures Kim. The vow renewal was planned over the course of five months. Kim kept going back and forth trying to figure out if she should wait or not.

They met in sixth grade at a bowling alley Shiloh likes to tell the story, but Kim doesn’t seem to remember this momentous occasion. Apparently, Shiloh has liked her since that first day. He kept trying to introduce himself, but she wouldn’t pay him any mind. The two of them didn’t get together until they were in their twenties.

In 2012, Shiloh planned a trip to New Hampshire for Valentine’s Day. They were celebrating it two weeks late, and he rented a cabin in the mountains. They drove up in the middle of a serious snowstorm; Kim was scared out of her mind, but Shiloh kept her calm. Originally, Shiloh had planned on taking a hike to a waterfall because the weather had been great up until that weekend. Needless to say, the hike didn’t happen, so the couple lit a fire and settled in for a cozy evening in the cabin. While they were slow dancing (they slow dance a lot) Shiloh began by telling Kim how much he loved her, and the next thing she knew he was down on one knee. They snuggled by the fire the entire night. The next morning, they woke up to watch the sunrise and there were deer in the yard. It was a beautiful moment they will always remember.

Being a wedding photographer, Kim has worked with Longwood on many beautiful weddings. Since their wedding had been so low-key, she was inspired to have a ceremony to renew their vows. Shiloh had no idea what Kim was planning and got quite a surprise on on April 15, 2017.

“We spend lots of time by the ocean. It’s our happy place,” says Kim, so the Newport Beach House was the perfect venue. Kim wanted everything to feel and look cool, clean, and romantic. She praises the Longwood vendor team and says they did an amazing job. The couple’s four sons stood up for them as the wedding party, and they even recited some scripture from the Bible. Kim says, “I really loved writing my vows for Shiloh and renewing them was amazing. Especially with our sons present.”


Location: Newport Beach House


Photographers: Kearsten Taylor Photography


Tiffany Von


Baker: Wingate Cakes


Florist: Bloom Floral Designs


Videographer: Ayan 5 Media


Bride’s Dress: Ve’Lace Bridal


Groom’s suit: Express - Express.com

Planner: Mollie Morracco


Planner: The Newport Bride


Paper goods: The Paper Perfectionist


Hair + Makeup: Tiffany Cantin


Decor: Ryan Designs


Rentals: BBJ Linen


Flatware: New England Country Rentals


January 7, 2018

Carissa and Ryan Kittredge were wed July 1, 2017, at Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, Connecticut.

One day in 2011, their friends came up with the idea to connect the two of them and called Carissa and Ryan to see if they were interested in coming out for a group dinner. The dinner arrangements almost got called off because of a hurricane, but they braved the weather and made it out to the restaurant. They were all happy that they did because Carissa and Ryan had a great connection from the start.

Three years later, Ryan proposed while the couple was on a vacation in Yellowstone National Park, at the summit of Mount Washburn. Ryan had been carrying the ring around with him the entire trip until he found the right moment. They were with some friends, and when Ryan took Carissa over to the spot where he proposed, their friends trailed behind to take a video. Conveniently, their friends had glasses and champagne in their backpack so they wasted no time in starting the celebrations. Carissa and Ryan are grateful that they have the video of the proposal to look back on and watch.

They took their time setting the date, wanting to enjoy just being engaged. Once they found the perfect venue, they took about a year to plan, which seemed like plenty of time to get everything done for the wedding.

Carissa really wanted to enjoy the planning process, so she told herself right from the start that she wouldn’t let herself get too stressed out. She took her time in the beginning and left the smaller details for later. She cautions brides-to-be not to believe those people who tell you that there will be a “lull” near the end of the planning process. She says that there were a lot of things she could have been working on throughout the year (e.g., bridesmaid gifts, vows, jewelry, etc.), but she put them off until the last minute. As a consequence, she had a lot of late nights as the big day got closer. Carissa still enjoyed the process, which she feels is super important. They both had fun creating the event and seeing it come to life on the day. In the end, it was everything they could have hoped for.

When Carissa and Ryan got engaged, they knew right away that they wanted a venue where they could stay and host a wedding weekend. Ryan has a lot of family who live in the South, so they knew they’d have plenty of guests traveling up for the event. They wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as they could. The Lord Thompson Manor was exactly the type of venue they were looking for, considering the wedding weekend is one of their specialties. The wedding party had the entire venue from Friday to Sunday for the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and brunch the morning after. 

Carissa wanted their wedding to have a glamorous/romantic feel, so she chose blush pink, gold, rose gold, and a light taupe for the color palette. The bridesmaids wore gold, taupe, and blush pink. The men wore French blue instead of traditional black. 

For favors, there were pashminas for the ladies (which also added to the decor), and Jackie at the manor did a fabulous job with the floral arrangements, inspired by some photos Carissa had shared with her on Pinterest. Ted, another member of the team at the manor, decorated the arbor exactly like a photo Carissa had provided, and it came out beautifully. The manor team also did all of the decorating with props that they had on hand: sequined pillows, lots of candles, and different eclectic pieces on each table. It all came together nicely and Carissa believes that the members of the manor team are amazingly talented when it comes to orchestrating a wedding. 

For Carissa and Ryan, the food was a strong selling point in favor of the Lord Thompson Manor. They take great pride in the quality and quantity, so no one was left hungry. In fact, there were so many appetizers that many people were full by the time they got their entree—sirloin and scallops over risotto accompanied by mashed potatoes.

For dessert, there were cupcakes by My Sweet Escape Treats in exotic flavors such as salted caramel, red velvet, cookie dough, lemon raspberry, dark chocolate merlot, and blue moon (an orange flavored cupcake with vanilla frosting and a Blue Moon shot on top). Chef Mike at the manor made a small cutting cake, and he was responsible for the amazing food they enjoyed all weekend long. The incredibly talented Silver Arrow Band provided the music. Carissa believes that there’s something about a live band at a wedding that adds a magnetic energy to the festivities.

The bride’s dress was designed by Lillian West and her shoes were by Badgley Mischka. The bridesmaids purchased their dresses at David’s Bridal, and Ryan and his groomsmen wore suits by Mantoni.

One of the most memorable moments of the day was after the ceremony. Carissa and Ryan went up to the balcony to give a toast and looked down to see everyone who had come out to celebrate with them. The band was also a crucial element in the event’s success, keeping everyone on the dance floor throughout the evening with their eclectic and up-beat mix of songs. There was also an after-party outside where everyone could hang out in cabanas—the perfect way to wind down the evening.

What advice would Carissa and Ryan give to couples about to tie the knot? As with any big event, planning is essential, but before any of that gets done, think about and identify the most important aspects for you both, so that you know where to dedicate the resources to make the day what you want it to be. Find the right people to help you organize and coordinate the wedding on the day, so you don’t have to worry, and you can fully enjoy every precious moment of your special day.


Ceremony and Reception Site: Lord Thompson Manor, Thompson, CT 

Photographer: Dani Fine Photography Northampton, MA danifinephotography.com

Caterer: Lord Thompson Manor (Chef Mike)

Baker: My Sweet Escape Treats Gardner, MA mysweetescapetreats.com

Florist: Jackie at the Manor

Music: Silver Arrow Band silverarrowband.com

Bride’s Attire: Dress by Lillian West, purchased at Elizabeth Ann’s Bridal Boutique, Auburn, MA elizabethannsbridal.com

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Bridesmaids Attire: Dresses purchased at David’s Bridal, by David’s Bridal

Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Suits by Mantoni

Photo booth: Swoon Booth, Berlin MA swoonbooth.com

Hair & Makeup: Christy & Co. Bridal Beauty makeup-artistry.com



January 1, 2018

Sally Pinera

Who needs a wedding hashtag? You do. Although your professional wedding photos are worth waiting for, in today’s social-media obsessed world, “there’s an immediate need for visual images,” says photographer Allison Niles. “It takes time to perfect, edit, and export images... and a wedding gallery turnaround can take between four and eight weeks. Because couples like to see pictures right away, hashtags have become really big!”


Hashtag photos are instantly uploaded and shared to public galleries on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. “There are apps and add-ons for phones and iPods,” adds Niles,” that add filters and special effects.”


Other than posting, couples’ sneak peeks before proofs are ready, Niles “typically doesn’t contribute” to hashtag feeds. She also recommends couples integrate “unplugged moments into their wedding,” in order to prevent guests from snapping away during quiet moments. For her clients Kerin Soares and Edi Naco, that meant enforcing a “no photo” policy during the ceremony portion of their October 2016 Chocksett Inn wedding. “I didn’t allow cell phones,” Kerin recalls, “so as not to disturb the integrity of professional shots.” Come reception time, guests were encouraged to take and upload photos to Kerin and Edi’s #NacoConKSo hashtag (pronounced na-cho con queso), explains Kerin. “My maiden name is Soares and people have called me K-So. My husband’s last name is pronounced nacho. Conceived by Kerin’s sister, their clever NacoConKSo hashtag fit perfectly.


Selecting a hashtag takes persistence and ingenuity. Begin by plugging in your names, and wedding date on a few free web-based hashtag generators. If you find a winning combo, you’re #done! If not, brainstorm. Incorporate rhymes, puns, numbers, places, or key words until you’ve achieved success. Then, perform a test search to make sure your chosen hashtag doesn’t pop up on other Instagram feeds.


Next: share and conquer! Include your hashtag on your save-the-date cards, invitations, and website; reveal it at your bridal shower; spread the word on social media. “Encourage the hashtag, have your DJ announce it in a fun way, spell it for people, and tell them to use it,” says photographer Aram Orchanian, co-owner of Kataram Studios with his wife Kateryna. They use hashtags when uploading wedding photos, “to make it easier for our clients.” He suggests couples use reminders in order to help their guests memorize it. “Have cards set on the place settings, use signs all around,” and prominently display “a large photo of your hashtag.”

Ramble Free


“Hashtag sharing is great for vendors, newlyweds, and their guests,” says Chris Sullivan, owner of the New England–based 77 VW Bus Photo Booth Rental—a “cool, fun, entertaining photo-booth experience” that operates out of a 1977 vintage VW van. Sullivan recently worked two weddings where the bride and groom incorporated hashtags into customized VW-themed photos and filmstrip graphics.  


Ramble Free

The photo bus, which was parked on the grounds of the Gardens at Elm Bank during Allison Chou’s May 2017 wedding to Kory Ng, “was a hit!” enthuses Allison. The VW filmstrip photos were among many shared to #chouwedng, a clever mash-up of the couples’ last names with the word “wed” in between. “More than half of our 185 guests used social media,” Allison recalls. “Our day-of coordinator also wrote our hashtag on the chalkboard sign outside the photo bus, on signage throughout the venue, on our wedding website, invitations, save-the-date cards, and programs.”


Allison Niles

Guests at the September 2017 wedding of Deborah Bang and Sean Lee at Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI, also “happily took photos... and displayed Instagrams” of the VW photo bus,” says Deborah. Their #SeAnDeborah hashtag, which she admits didn’t come easily at first, “was unique to us... catchy and easy to remember.” Deborah also made a keepsake wooden block hashtag sign, which she placed prominently at the guestbook signing table.


“Out of 100-plus tagged photos taken, you’ll end up with 10 percent good ones,” says Allison Niles. And some, as you might guess, will be not so good. Thankfully, there are features and apps that can edit or delete those embarrassing candids and selfies from your online album.


Allison Niles

With more than 800 million Instagram users, it’s clear that hashtags are here to stay. Niles maintains, “They’re a fun way to keep everyone busy and show what everyone is doing at your wedding.”

Written by: Cindy Papish Gerber

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