Blog Category: Engagements

It’s all in the details: Special considerations for planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard

We once heard that Martha’s Vineyard is only second to Las Vegas as the most popular wedding destination. It’s hard to believe that a seasonal island that is only 100 square miles could support such a booming industry–we are small but mighty! We’re honored to be one of a select number of wedding vendors that are able to successfully tackle and execute some pretty incredible events here.

Given the unique nature of Martha’s Vineyard (we’re surrounded by water after all and the Island gets pretty sleepy for at least 4 months out of the year) there are some extra things that must be taken into consideration to ensure getting hitched goes off without a hitch.

First of all you’ll need to get your guests here and thoroughly communicate the logistics involved, and be specific. Make sure to have a detailed wedding website or information card in your invitation that explains some of the nuances of getting to and around the Island. There is no bridge, no tunnel. It will require a boat or a plane and the various options available depend on the season, not to mention service can be complicated by the weather. Cape Air offers year round air travel from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer seasonal service from various locations including New York and Washington D.C. For additional details visit the Martha’s Vineyard airport website here

The airport itself is pretty small and pretty adorable. No long security lines so no need to allot a bunch of extra time when departing, and when arriving your luggage will follow you off the plane shortly thereafter. (Fun fact: the show Wings was set in a fictional Nantucket airport but is similar in size and scope to our own Martha’s Vineyard Airport). Visit our local Chamber of Commerce website for additional information on getting here that could be helpful to your guests.

If your guests are opting for the maritime route they have a number of different ferry liners to choose from, which again is dependent on the season. There are several seasonal ferries available including the Island Queen from Falmouth, Hyline Cruises from Hyannis, Seastreak from New York and New Bedford and the Rhode Island Fast Ferry from North Kingston.

The Steamship Authority bills itself as the ‘lifeline to the Islands’ and is the only ferry that operates year round and transports cars to the Island. It leaves from Woods Hole on Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard several times a day. It’s important to note that if you plan on bringing your car over you must make an advance reservation (via phone or online) with the Steamship Authority, and plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Reservations for the summer season often book up months in advance so be sure to make your reservation as soon as possible. If you are a walk on passenger you must allot extra time to park in the designated lots and take a 15-20 minute shuttle ride down to the boat, where you can purchase passenger tickets at the terminal. Car rentals are available on Martha’s Vineyard but note that they can be significantly more expensive than off-Island prices–we have to import a lot of things here including the cars!

Once your guests have successfully arrived to the Island it’s time to help them get to their hotel or rental property. If you’re looking to host a big group and reserve a block of hotel rooms you will want to contact Summercamp in Oak Bluffs, or the Harbor View Hotel, Clarion Inn, the Kelley House, and the Winnetu Oceanside Resort all located in Edgartown. These are some of the Island’s largest hotels that can accommodate your special event, and provide appropriate amenities for a big group. Another popular option for housing big groups is to rent a private home. AirBnb, VRBO and homeaway.com all offer several listings on the Island, as well as local real estate companies like Point B Realty, Sandpiper Realty and Tea Lane Associates.

Be mindful of the accommodations you choose based on where your ceremony and reception are taking place, the Island is actually bigger than many people think. For example the Winnetu is located in Katama in Edgartown. If you have guests stay there and your wedding is taking place at the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark (a gorgeous venue offering breathtaking views of Menemsha sunsets) your guests will be traveling 20 miles, essentially from one end of the Island to the other. This isn’t a problem but it’s good to understand the geography of the Island as you plan around it. There are various transportation companies that offer private charter service and specialize in weddings and large group transportation including Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing and Resort Man. There are also several cab companies available including women (and sister!) owned Lighthouse Taxi as well as Uber and Lyft service.

Another important thing to note is that most of your vendors will be small businesses, and given the demand for weddings and limited vendors they may book up far in advance. We recently rounded up our favorite venues, caterers, musicians, florists, bakers, locally inspired favors and trusted beauty professionals that you can read about here.

As for choosing a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard we have decades of experience capturing dream Island weddings and would of course love to assist you with any photography services for your affair. We also recommend working with one of our local wedding planners including With Grace and KG Events to help you best navigate the Island’s resources and make it the momentous affair you’ve always dreamed of.

For additional wedding planning tips check out our wedding related blog posts and visit Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings for a complete list of vendors, stories and inspiration.

Capture the big ask with a surprise wedding proposal photographer

A “surprise proposal” seems a bit redundant, after all most people don’t expect to be proposed to when it happens, and that’s the idea after all. But the kind of surprise proposals I get most excited about are the ones that take it a step further, and hire me as a photographer to stake out the proposal location and secretly capture the big ask.

There’s something covert about the whole operation, it requires some stealth action on my part, and reminds me of my early days as a photojournalist for Greenpeace, working behind the scenes to snap quickly and efficiently without being seen. Life as a proposal photographer on Martha’s Vineyard is a bit more casual of course, and I often find myself crouched down in a patch of beach plums or quietly lying on my stomach in the sand (sometimes with my arch enemy, poison ivy lurking nearby) waiting for the perfect shot.

Recently, I’ve been contacted by more and more couples to photograph secret proposals and I think it’s a brilliant idea. The raw and honest emotion and excitement that follows the big question make for some of the most endearing moments I capture all year! 

For the couples we work with it’s a time they’ll never forget, and a story that will be told again and again. Having stunning proposal photos is the perfect way to relive the special occasion, plus they provide a meaningful memento to mark the very beginning of the couple’s next chapter together.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of assisting a client with a surprise proposal to his girlfriend on the beach. It was followed by a thoughtfully executed visit by two alpacas–which he had also secretly organized, given her affection for the friendly farm animals. Not only was I able to capture the initial shock and joy of the proposal, but the second surprise made for even more emotional photos–it’s not everyday you see an alpaca on the beach.

I’ve photographed secret proposals at some of my favorite portrait locations, including South Beach in Edgartown and further up-Island at a private beach in Chilmark, and each one has been a truly touching affair. Many have been followed by a second reveal, like an unexpected after party of friends and family to join in the celebration, making it that much more meaningful.

If you’re planning a secret wedding proposal ask yourself what types of environments and landscapes are important to your partner? Is there a place on Martha’s Vineyard that holds a significant meaning? Or maybe there’s a personal spot that’s totally out of the ordinary–we’ve even seen couples get engaged at the famous Jaws bridge! Wherever and however you’re thinking about proposing I can help you pull off a surprise proposal that you and your partner will be talking about for years.

Need some more inspiration? Check out some of the featured proposal stories on howheasked.com by The Knot.

What’s next? Wedding trends to look out for in 2018

Over the last thirty years we’ve photographed hundreds of weddings both on and off Martha’s Vineyard. Each one is different and uniquely personal and we’re always impressed with the thoughtful, creative details our brides and grooms incorporate into their special day.

We’ve seen a lot of wedding trends come and go (remember disposable cameras at each table, and the introduction of the cupcake tree?) and 2018 weddings will no doubt be marked by their own styles and traits. We’ve been following along with our favorite wedding blogs–The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, WeddingWire, Junebug Weddings–and have highlighted five trends and predictions we keep seeing pop up for 2018.

  1. Even more personalization. As the traditional wedding has evolved it seems now more than ever couples are embracing personalization and customization over the conventional. Nowadays the wedding planning process begins with the couple determining the overall vibe they want to set and the experience they want to curate for their guests. The Knot offers a helpful Style Quiz we recommend to those in the early planning stages, and if you’re planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard get in touch with our friends at KG Events & Design to determine the best theme for you.

 2. Taking it inside. It looks like more people might be opting for indoor venues as a way to safeguard against the unpredictable weather, while embracing architectural details that speak to them. Historic homes, libraries, museums, and industrial lofts will top the list, offering eclectic, romantic touches. On Martha’s Vineyard we love the Old Whaling Church and the Daniel Fisher House in downtown Edgartown. Both can be reserved through the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust for a  (relatively) reasonable tax deductible fee.

3. Flowers, flowers everywhere. Look forward to seeing more flowers in unexpected places, from lush arrangements to living botanical bars, to vertical hanging plants above the tables, potted plants along the aisle and large bohemian statement wreaths. Dogwoods and baby breath are expected to make a comeback, along with a lot of greenery. As far as color goes the trend seems to be dark and moody, and all signs point to purple being the color of the year. Think dramatic hues like wine, lilac, lavender, and mauve. When it comes to wedding flowers on Martha’s Vineyard we trust the thoughtful and creative work of Morrice Florist and Tea Lane Farm to provide the perfect floral designs for any affair.

4. Covering up. Sleeves and capes are likely to adorn a lot of wedding dresses this year. Brides are taking cues from the runway and this year they’re saying that bell sleeves, sheer capes, lace capelets, and kimonos will appear at the altar too. On Martha’s Vineyard the extra fabric will be especially useful to combat the chilly ocean breeze and cooler temperatures of the spring and fall.

5. Embracing the local culture. As the trend of destination weddings continues (and Martha’s Vineyard popularity too) couples are more and more invested in connecting with the local culture and sharing it with their guests. We recommend sourcing locally made wedding favors, like small jars of honey from Island Bee Company of Martha’s Vineyard, or the delectable confectionaries of Chilmark Chocolates. Another great way to embrace the local scene is to plan a pre or post wedding activities that is specific to the wedding destination. On Martha’s Vineyard try hosting a clambake in Menemsha, a bonfire on the beach, or a fishing charter for a rehearsal dinner or special event.

Spring will be here before you know it and our weekends will soon be packed with weddings of all kinds–romantic and whimsical, woodsy but chic, intimate and extravagant–and we can’t wait to see all that’s in store! In the meantime we’ll keep you informed of wedding trends and our favorite ideas for planning the perfect occasion. If you missed our last wedding post be sure to have a read for helpful planning tips and our recommendations for local vendors on Martha’s Vineyard.

Don’t miss the chance to enter to win an engagement photo shoot with us, winners will be featured in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings magazine. Deadline to enter is March 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM.

 

 

For the love of engagement sessions

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and recent engagements are in the air. When two people commit their lives to one another it’s kind of a big deal.

First comes love then comes marriage… after the engagement photos of course! As photographers we get to see a lot of people get excited about a lot of things, but newly engaged couples remain some of our favorite subjects. They’re smiling from ear to ear, and so deeply wrapped up in each other. They’re about to begin the next chapter of their lives together–there’s really no better time to get in front of the camera.

Engagement sessions are a great way to help curb couples’ camera jitters so they’re that much more at ease once the big day rolls around. 

We encourage them to get lost in the moment and forget that the camera is even there. 

We’ll get them comfortable with our shooting style and build their camera confidence. There’s no guests, no strict agenda, and no distractions, just two people in love appreciating their time together. Fun is the name of our game!

In advance of the shoot we’ll ask how the couple met, how the proposal went down, thoughts on the wedding, and romantic ideas for their session. We’ve got an arsenal of favorite locations sure to satisfy every personality and theme.

Be it woodland, coastal, rustic or chic–we’ll help them select the perfect backdrop, uniquely catered to the their personality and the season.

During the shoot we’ll embrace the provocative, the sexy and the sentimental, but above all we want our clients to get lost in the moment. We recommend outfit choices that they’re comfortable in, above all we want them to feel relaxed and confident. We take a back seat and allow the couple to simply enjoy each other, honestly and intimately.

The shoot itself is just as important as the photos we’ll capture to remember it by. We always get excited to hear about the sweet and creative ways our clients have used their photos: save-the-date invitations, wedding guest books and websites.

Some clients have even displayed them alongside wedding photos of their parents and grandparents at the reception–we just love how sweet and sentimental they can be. Whatever the reason, wherever they end up, they’re evidence of a special day together and an unforgettable period of time that should be treasured forever.

Recently engaged or know someone getting married? Get in touch and we’ll get collaborating. We’ve also teamed up with Martha’s Vineyard Island Weddings magazine to offer a free engagement shoot to one lucky couple. Winner will be selected March 17. Click here for details.

At Randi Baird Photography it’s not business, it’s personal

We know choosing a photographer for your special occasion can be overwhelming, and we appreciate the opportunity to not only have your business but to have your trust. On Martha’s Vineyard there are dozens of other photographers offering similar services at comparable prices. Our discerning eye, our creativity and our technical knowledge are critical to our business, but what really sets us apart is the time and energy we invest in our subjects.

From the initial point of contact with our clients we take a genuine, personal approach, and strive to build a meaningful relationship before the camera comes out of the bag. We want to know what brings our subjects together, and use that information to not only make them feel more comfortable once we meet, but to help us determine the best setting for the shoot.

For our family portrait clients we want to know where they call home, what they enjoy doing together and how old the kids are. For our engagement shoot clients we want to know how they met, how the proposal went down and what’s planned for the wedding and honeymoon. We also offer suggestions and recommendations on wardrobe, and hair and makeup preparation to help ensure our clients arrive with the utmost confidence. This type of communication and information sharing allows us to better connect with our clients and prepare for our time together.

Once we arrive to a shoot we already have an established relationship and can expand on that with the camera. Photography is a personal business and we love making new friends! We enjoy conversing and engaging with our clients, we’ll talk constantly and ask questions to help distract them from the lens. We encourage natural interaction between our subjects, and use these candid exchanges to make our clients feel more comfortable, while we capture the best shots.

One of our favorite techniques is to incite laughter and joy among our subjects. It is so important for people to feel at ease and forget that they are having their picture taken! We don’t force fake smiles or demand people look directly at the camera. The best photos happen when people let their guard down, be themselves and live in the moment–this is how we enable our clients to help us tell their story most authentically.

For some of our more comfortable clients we’ll even suggest some really silly poses. We’ve photographed kids upside down, dad’s making funny faces and parents being climbed on by their kids. Their courage and self-assurance often yield some of the best photos of the entire shoot, and most honestly capture their personality and spirit. Basically however our subjects typically and most genuinely interact is how we want to shoot them.

We honestly love what we do and truly enjoy being able to capture life’s most cherished moments for our clients. Whether it’s a secret proposal, an intimate wedding, or a lively family reunion we have the tools to capture the perfect photos of your affair.

Have something planned? Contact us and we’ll get started planning the ultimate shoot for you and your family. In the meantime take a read through some helpful posing tips so you can build your camera confidence and ensure the most flattering shots.

 

Twist Your Body and Position Your Arms.

We know you’ve heard this red carpet trick before, a.k.a. ‘the skinny arm.’ By twisting your body and placing your camera-facing arm on your hip your upper arm will look smaller. If you find the pose to be a bit forced, try holding your bent elbows out from your sides ever so slightly or put your finger tips into your front pant pockets.

 

Chin Down! 

You usually want to avoid direct head-on shots. Why? Because there’ll be an absence of shadows, which could make your face look wider, larger, or slightly discolored. Instead, stand slightly sideways and tilt your chin a little bit downward.

 

Cross Your Legs. 

In general don’t position your body straight on towards the camera, it’s not interesting and appears flat and broad. We recommend creating angles with your body, such as crossing your legs, starting at the calf. For ladies we also recommend putting your right foot forward, knee bent and place your weight on your back leg. These poses will make your hips look narrower and your legs look longer, plus it looks a bit more casual. During the shoot we work with our clients to direct and suggest different angles and shapes that can flatter the whole family.  

For more tips on getting the perfect pose check out StyleCaster.com.

www.randibaird.com | 508.505.5909 | info@randibaird.com