Blog Category: Engagements (Page 1)

Reflecting on Summer, and Giving Thanks

It’s hard to believe it’s already October and we’re closing in on the end of the season. As we wind down here on Martha’s Vineyard, we reflect and give thanks.

The 2021 season proved to be different than we expected, but in the end, it was one of the most successful seasons in RBP history. Thanks to my clients, collaborators, and community for not only making it a lucrative one, but a most meaningful one.

To Our Resilient Brides and Grooms, You Deserve Everything.

With COVID forcing many of last year’s weddings to reschedule to 2021, our calendar was packed with even more nuptials. We admire our wedding clients who raised above the stress and hosted some of the most intimate and beautiful events we’ve witnessed.

Microweddings were all the rage, and what they lacked in size and scale they made up for in uniqueness and personalization. Smaller ceremonies meant a lot of extra time with us and the happy couple, while we explored the Island and they basked in that newlywed glow.

To those perseverant couples that were finally able to tie the knot in 2021, we admire your adaptability and commitment to the greatest gift of all, love. We felt even more connected to our couples this year and we wish them a lifetime of happiness! If you can pull off a COVID wedding you’re destined to overcome more of life’s challenges together!

We’re Already Saving The Dates for More Weddings in 2022 and 2023

With so many weddings rescheduled we’re booking further in advance than ever before. This season we met dozens of new couples through engagement photoshoots and secret proposal portraits and we can’t wait to see them in front of our lens again on the big day.

We’re booking up but we always appreciate referrals from our clients!

Family Portraits We’re Even More Fun

There was something about the family dynamics this season that made our family portrait sessions even more special. Perhaps it was the deeper bonds families have been able to form over the last year in a half together. Maybe it was a deeper appreciation of their time on Martha’s Vineyard, but whatever it was, it was in the air and we were soaking it up.

There was so much authenticity, movement, laughter, and love. It was pure joy to witness families being completely present and in tune with one another, it’s a simply magical perk of our job.

Collaborations Within Our Community Filled Our Souls this Season

On Martha’s Vineyard it always goes back to community, and some of our favorite projects of the season were those that allowed us to collaborate with our neighbors and friends and give back to the Island that has given us so much.

Below, Lucy Morrison, of the Coalition to Create the MV Housing Bank, posed for our story in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. The Coalition’s goal is to create a housing bank supported by a reliable funding stream that allows for the construction of more affordable housing units for more Island residents. The lack of affordable housing continues to be one of the Island’s most pressing issues and we encourage you to learn more about this important initiative and what you can do to help.

Below is one of my shots that was featured in Bluedot Living, a new magazine published by the Martha’s Vineyard Times, and the first sustainable living magazine on Martha’s Vineyard. As the challenges of climate change continue to confront us at a rapid pace, and the vulnerability of our Island home increases. Bluedot Living presents impactful editorial and strategic solutions on the issues we face, and I am proud to contribute to this important project.

The first annual Martha’s Vineyard Oyster Fest set sail earlier this month and we were thrilled to capture this inaugural event. Originally slated for spring of 2020 but forced to reschedule due to COVID, this highly anticipated event featured thousands of oysters, a whole lot of wine, and education on the innovative work of our local oyster farmers and the incredible environmental contributions of those beloved bivalves.

Be sure to stay tuned for next year’s event!

Other delicious Martha’s Vineyard collaborations this season included photographing Yommi popsicles and Goldie’s Rotisserie, two companies committed to smart and thoughtful food.

Yommi makes superfood-infused frozen delights that taste as good as they look, and are made with ingredients our bodies love, like blueberry, honey, turmeric, cardamom, and ginger. They’re sold weekly at the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market and their freezers can be found in a variety of Island businesses including Morning Glory Farm and Cronig’s Healthy Additions.

Goldie’s Rotisserie is another forward-thinking food purveyor we had the pleasure of photographing this season. Goldie’s serves fresh hot chicken, crispy rotisserie veggies, griddled sandwiches, killer hot dogs, salads, and desserts from their iconic food truck that has become wildly popular since they launched earlier this year.

We’d Be Remiss If We Failed to Mention Our Favorite Shoot of the Season!

We genuinely love spending time with our clients, and one of our most memorable shoots was with a young woman who wanted to gift herself a portrait session. As a twin this year marked the first birthday she would spend without her sister by her side and she wanted to commemorate her independence with a fun, flirty lifestyle shoot around Martha’s Vineyard. Her energy was palpable, her smile was bright (as seen above) and we loved her zest for life and contagious exuberance!

It was a good reminder that every day is a special occasion and a photo session is always a good idea, no matter what milestone you are celebrating.

So send us a message if you’d like to get in front of our camera soon, and remember holidays are fast approaching! Portrait sessions make for great holiday cards and gifts, and we’d love to see you.

Planning a Martha’s Vineyard Wedding in 2021

One thing’s for sure, there’s no stopping love, even in times of COVID. With 2021 upon us and many restrictions still in place, we wanted to share some tips for planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, even in the current environment. Instead of focusing on those elements of your wedding day that might be compromised this year, we want to focus on all the positive things and the silver linings that can make for an even more meaningful day.

The Natural Beauty of Martha’s Vineyard Can Be Even More Appreciated 

Martha’s Vineyard has long been a popular wedding destination and its allure is even greater in the age of social distancing. The most significant attraction of Martha’s Vineyard is its natural beauty, making the Island the perfect backdrop for your special day, and lending itself well to outdoor events. 

What could provide better ventilation than an open-air Island affair, with the clean ocean breeze wafting through? Some of our favorite outdoor venues include our local beaches like The Inkwell and Lambert’s Cove Beach, as well as the Allen Farm, Captain Flander’s House, the historic Tabernacle, one of our many iconic lighthouses, and the various yacht and beach clubs. Here’s a roundup of more Martha’s Vineyard wedding locations, many of which offer an outdoor venue option. 

The Benefits of Keeping It Small are Big

These days it’s safer and more responsible to keep your event small, not to mention larger events can go against constantly changing state guidelines. We’ve always been big fans of smaller weddings or micro weddings, and elopements too. They are just as significant but more intimate, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. 

Many of the brides and grooms we worked with in 2020 were forced to host smaller events because of COVID, but in hindsight, the event proved to be everything they wanted, and they didn’t miss the fanfare of a larger event. Often the pomp and circumstance of a larger wedding can overshadow the basic meaning of a wedding, which at the core is a celebration of a couple’s love and future together. 

Sure your guest list will need to be trimmed but those closest to you can still attend, and you can get creative with inviting folks virtually. One of our couples in 2020 successfully had 225 onlookers via Zoom watched them tie the knot in Oak Bluffs! And with fewer people on location, we were able to spend more time photographing the newlyweds, moving from location to location, as they basked in their newlywed bliss, instead of having to stay tied to a strict agenda on their special day. Doesn’t an afternoon enjoying your new husband or wife all to yourself along the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, in front of our historic sites, or atop or beloved lighthouses sound dreamy? 

With a smaller group to host it means fewer logistics for you to manage, and can make the event more affordable too (not to mention more eco-friendly!) Given the smaller size and scale of your event, your options and vendor pool can significantly increase. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group, but once your numbers go down you realize there are even more places to tie the knot than you had thought. Or maybe there’s a preferred caterer or private chef that you can swing with a smaller headcount. Many of them offer cooking classes too, which could prove to be a fun interactive activity to enjoy together. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to take your family on a private sunset cruise or a fishing excursion. A smaller guest list means more creative and innovative add ons for your affair. 

And when it comes to lodging many of our intimate inns and bed and breakfasts can function as venues too. With less people to manage you can consider buying out one of our smaller local accommodations like the Nobnocket Inn or the Hob Knob Hotel, where you can house your guests and conduct the ceremony, keeping everything centralized to one location and eliminating the need to manage additional logistics, which means less stress.

 

Wedding Planners are More Valuable than Ever

Another way to mitigate the stress of your special day is to hire one of our local rockstar wedding planners. Even though your event may be smaller in size and scope, there are the constant nuances of hosting the big day on an island with limited resources, and things can get really complicated, and are always more expensive. Couple that with a pandemic that means constantly changing plans and adapting to new restrictions and things can get hard to manage on your own. 

Even in the “normal times” the benefits of hiring a wedding planner on Martha’s Vineyard are even greater than they might be off-Island, quite simply because they get it. Our Island can be hard to navigate–geographically, politically, and socially. Just getting here requires extra work so you better believe what happens here does too. They are knowledgeable, well connected, and quite literally make it their job to master the ins and outs of executing flawless events on Martha’s Vineyard, amid a pandemic and in normal times too. Check out our roundup of local wedding planners and their tips for your big day. 

This is all just the beginning and we wish you the best in the wedding planning process. Keep calm, carry on, and remember–the best is yet to come, even if it means compromise!

If you’re currently planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding make sure to read through our other helpful blog posts on the subject, including Special Considerations for Planning a Wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, Wedding planning on Martha’s Vineyard, Microweddings on Martha’s Vineyard, and You’re Engaged, Now What?. For additional resources on planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding visit mvy.com, and mvislandweddings.com.

Things may have changed, but the importance of our memories remain the same

It might not be business as usual, but we at RBP are more excited than ever to usher in a new season of clients. In the last couple of months, we’ve stayed busy capturing those people in the Martha’s Vineyard community that have stepped up to fill vital roles throughout the pandemic, from teachers to farmers, grocery store employees, pharmacists, delivery drivers and more. Our Everyday Heroes project has filled us with gratitude and inspiration and has allowed us to shine a light on some of the people behind the scenes that have been working selflessly for others.

As we transition back to our more traditional work, the goal of our mission behind the camera remains the same. While we adjust to the “new normal,” we will continue to capture our client’s most memorable moments, it’s what’s at the core of our business, and it’s something that will never change. The world may be shifting around us, but the essence of our work and the beauty of human connection remains more important than ever.

We are preparing for a summer of smaller engagements, including family portraits, intimate weddings, surprise proposals, and elopements. This will be the summer of more intimate, private events and above all, the summer of safety. 

Our number one priority will be the safety of our clients and ourselves. We stand committed to maintaining the cleanest and safest operation, and we’re fortunate that photography on Martha’s Vineyard naturally lends itself well to social distancing. Here’s what we’re doing to ensure your safety:

  • We’ll be checking in with clients leading up to our shoot to confirm that everyone taking part in the shoot has been healthy before the scheduled session. We will reschedule if we or anyone in our household has been sick in any way, within a two-week span of each session date and we are asking that our clients do the same.

  • We will be regularly cleaning our gear and equipment, and our associates and assistants will be wearing a face mask for the entire duration of the shoot. 
  • We will maintain a 6-foot social distance from our subjects at all times. We can use a variety of tools to get the same great photos we have always provided; we will use longer focal lenses so that we can stay six feet away, which will still allow us to capture images that seem like we are closer.

  • We will conduct shoots outdoors as much as possible, on beaches, woodland areas, and open spaces that are legally open. The natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard has long provided us with the most picturesque backdrops and will continue to so. Our most favorite locations have always been outside.

  •  As always we will accept payment online so no cards or cash needs to be exchanged.
  • We have amended our cancellation policies to be more forgiving of unforeseen circumstances. For family portraits, we are offering a full refund minus a $50 administration and credit card fee. For wedding clients, in the event of a Force Majeure, we will reschedule your date for any other time within the next two years and will honor the session fee quoted at the time of booking, plus a $250 administration and credit card fee.

Above all, we will not take any chances with regards to public health. Our business is a personal one and the safety and satisfaction of our clients will continue to be our top concern. We know these times have been trying, but we also know that capturing families and celebrating life, is a powerful and positive thing. There’s never been a more appropriate time to celebrate the beauty of the world and each other, and we’re committed to capturing those sentiments safely and professionally. 

 

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s our drone!

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last thirty years as photographers, it’s that we should never stop learning. After three decades in our line of work we’re still evolving, getting inspired, and always looking to expand our knowledge base. Last year we began embracing drone photography at home on the Island and overseas throughout our travels. We’ve been having a lot of fun with it–and our clients have too!

At RBP drone photography is another lens for us to look through, it’s another tool in our toolkit. We’ve always tried to capture things from different perspectives and drone photography automatically gives us a new outlook. From high above, aerial photography can capture more of the surrounding area in every shot.

On the Island that means more of our expansive beaches and lush landscapes, resulting in a whole new composition for our photos. Our high flying camera enables us to capture unique viewpoints of our subjects in a whole new way, and can tell the story of our subject more broadly, with more context.

With a bird’s eye view we see things in a way we could never see them before, creating images like we’ve never produced them before. In many ways it’s a more simplified view, in others it’s more complex. 

From high above we see patterns in the land appear, while the lines and shapes that make up our streets and neighborhoods seem almost abstracted from afar. The spatial relations of our subjects are changed, and in essence the plot of the photo thickens. Then of course there is the light, the all-important light. It’s different from up there, and you know at RBP it’s all about the light. 

We’ve been taking RBP to new heights all year long, and we’ve captured drone photography of weddings, engagements, local business offices, architecture, coastal communities, and beyond through our worldly travels. Our drone is one of our most cherished tools, but it’s also like playing with a new favorite toy. Not only are the photos that we capture so special, but the experience of taking them is so much fun. To control our camera from afar, as it rises high atop the land, is both rewarding and entertaining–making the work we create that much more gratifying!

Ready to take it to new heights with RBP? Contact us to find out what drone photography services we can provide for you.

Plan a zero-waste wedding and the planet will thank you

We all know weddings an get expensive, and excessive. As a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard I see first hand just how lavish these events can be. While your wedding day should be special, beautiful and uniquely yours, it can still be all of those things while being less wasteful. Plus, on top of feeling great about tying the knot you can feel good about lessening your impact too! Executing a “green wedding” doesn’t have to be hard, it just takes some thoughtful consideration.

Here are some of our favorite green wedding ideas that are easy to implement, and won’t take away from the beauty and elegance of your affair. Remember even small details can make a big impact on your big day!

1. Responsible Invitations. I prefer good old snail mail for wedding invitations, especially in this digital age there’s something particularly nice about opening a beautiful piece of mail. Try using 100% sustainable recycled post-consumer paper and minimize it by directing guests to your wedding website for additional information. As for your Save the Dates go paperless–Minted, Paperless Post, evite and Greenvelope offer a ton of templates and options that will still ensure your guests receive high quality invitations they can get excited about. The same goes for your thank you cards!

2. Upcycled dresses and accessories. Consider wearing a previously worn or second hand dress down the aisle or during your rehearsal dinner or brunch. Sites like Tradesy and Nearly Newlwed sell preowned dresses that look brand new (and no one will ever know!). Shoes and accessories can get pricey too, and there’s loads of gently worn versions available more affordably and responsibly. You may also want to ask around your family to see if there is an heirloom piece you can repurpose or redesign. Nothing is more special than sharing in the history of your family during your big day! If you prefer a brand new dress, shop around for a designer that uses sustainable fabrics (like organic cotton, silk or hemp) such as H&Ms eco-friendly wedding line Conscious Exclusive Collection. As for your bridal party why not give them a color palette to select from and have them wear something they already own? We all know most of those bridesmaid dresses we hope to “wear again” just stack up in the back of our closets…

3. Go plastic and paper free. Make sure to tell your vendors that you’re trying to be as zero-waste as possible and they’ll help you! If you’re ordering linens ask that they not be wrapped in plastic for delivery. If you’re serving cocktails ask your bartender to forego the straws. Serve water from pitchers or have a water station with a tap. Look for bar/catering options that offer stainless steel kegs that are reused and avoid buying ice in plastic bags. Use cloth napkins in the bathroom instead of paper towels.

4. DIY Flowers. There’s no denying that flowers are gorgeous but their environmental cost can be high. When selecting fresh flowers be sure your blooms are sustainable as possible by seeking out vendors that are farm-to-table or using local flower growers. By using locally grown in-season flowers you’ll be ensured the freshest, highest quality stems at the best price. On Martha’s Vineyard Tea Lane Farm and Morning Glory Farm grow many varieties of annual and perennial flowers and they design beautiful arrangements. Additionally, Donaroma’s offers floral design, as well as the opportunity for brides and grooms to rent their Island grown plants for their special event–allowing for the look of fresh greenery while knowing it will be thoughtfully repurposed.  

Paper bouquets can also be fabulous, and unique, plus they’re compostable. There’s also the option to plant your own flowers or use a recycled or foraged bouquet. For centerpieces, consider growing or purchase potted plants or fresh herbs that can be reused. Even dried herbs can make beautiful arrangements! I love the idea of clustering several small arrangements together to make one beautiful display that several guests can bring home. Be sure to compost any remaining flowers after the event that can not be reused, your soil will thank you.

5. Less is more. Decorating your venue can be enticing but some of my favorite weddings have been the simpler ones. You can save a lot of waste and money by minimizing your decorations, plus your venue is likely an attractive space in it’s own right, so let it shine! When decorating use organic materials that can be sourced in nature. Things like bark, seeds, rocks, stones, bricks, building materials, and found objects. Also don’t be afraid to ask for donations! You can use or collect jars/glassware that you or your family may already own for centerpieces. Pieces like bird cages, wooden grates, chalkboards etc. are likely lying around at your friends’ homes waiting to be repurposed.

6. Go natural with your place cards and signage.  You can also use plant matter for your place cards and table assignments. Get crafty by writing on things like eucalyptus leaves, flat rocks, and wooden bark or shingles for your signs and display notes. And of course there’s all sorts of green inspiration on Pinterest!

7. Make it family style. When it comes to your catering options consider serving local food family style, reducing the footprint it takes to get to your plates and reducing the dish ware that needs to be used and cleaned. Several Island-based caterers like Smoak BBQ and Kitchen Porch Catering offer farm-to-table menus that will allow your guests to taste the delicious local food available on Martha’s Vineyard, while reducing the resources it takes to feed them.

8. Go green with your gifts. Traditional wedding gifts often require shipping resources to get to you, and come decorated with wasteful wrapping paper. Instead ask your guests to donate to your honeymoon. Sites like honeyfund.com make it easy for guests to safely and securely donate to your dream vacation or new home. If your guests are insisting on giving you a physical gift create an eco-friendly wedding registry.

9. Do the world a favor with your favors. When it comes to giving your guests something special to remember your event by, look into items that come in compostable eco-friendly packages. Soap, reusable totes, plants, seeds or homemade jams all make great thoughtful gifts that are easy on the environment. Or instead of a physical gift make a donation in everyone’s name to a local charity you can feel good about!

10. Compost, and recycle as much as possible. Make sure to do all you can to reuse and compost whatever remaining trash and leftovers remain at the end of your event. As for recycling remember the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle”? Recycling comes last because it should be a last resort, it’s complicated and not as environmentally friendly as most people think. Composting on the other hand is easy and goes straight back to the earth. You’ll want to make sure to compost your flowers and any other organic matter that can be reused. Paper from your cards and envelopes can also be shredded and composted. Be sure to ask your caterer about composting the prep, scraps, and leftovers from your event, many caterers will do this anyway. You can also hire Island Grown Initiative (IGI) to do it for you as part of their Food Waste Collection initiative. Contact them at (508) 687-9062 or at sophie@igimv.org more more details.