Blog Category: Engagements (Page 1)

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.

Planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding? There’s a coordinator for that

We’re no stranger to the ins and outs of planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding. With over twenty years of Island experience we’ve contributed to hundreds, possibly thousands of them. While each one is special and unique in its own right, we all know weddings share a common thread–they can get stressful. Couple the typical stress of wedding planning with the nuances of hosting the big day on an island with limited resources, and things can get really complicated, and extra expensive.

There’s no question a Martha’s Vineyard wedding is worth the extra headaches (and costs) that may arise. Where else can you find beautiful beaches, classic New England architecture, and breathtaking remote locations to add to the charm and allure of your special day? The Island makes a perfect backdrop for the most formal to the most casual of weddings, but there’s a lot of things to consider. So how can you best navigate the wedding planning process on Martha’s Vineyard? Enlist a professional of course!

First and foremost 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.

That’s where the help of our local wedding planners really comes into play. 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.

We’ve rounded up some of the best tips from our local wedding planners on how to ensure a seamless event and what they can do to help. Take it from us, if you’re planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard their services are worth budgeting. Whether you can spring for a full planning package or a more affordable day of coordinator, their expertise, and connections, are worth it.

KG Events & Design is a Martha’s Vineyard based boutique planning and design firm specializing in private, corporate and destination events throughout the Northeast, and available worldwide. Planning a green wedding? KG Events & Design is also a Certified Green Event company.

Weddings can be challenging to plan, let alone when they are on an island. The bride and groom have to manage a budget, two families (who sometimes have opposing views and traditions), vendors, and the list goes on… Many wedding venues are without power, running water, and bathrooms. A coordinator can help navigate the complexity of the venue and quickly assess its needs. This can allow for a quicker response time, especially in the off-season.

–Meghan Gosselin, Meeting and Events Manager, KG Events & Design

Timeless Event Planning, serves both California and Martha’s Vineyard, creating beautiful event and weddings for the modern bride.

Planning a destination wedding can be tricky as there are so many factors that come into play.

When you have a planner that knows everyone on the Island it will put your mind at ease, as they know who will be the best option for your budget.

In general, planning a wedding on an island is also very different then on the mainland. Transportation isn’t as easy and having music past a certain time isn’t permitted. Having these little insights and tips will help ensure you have smooth sailing throughout the process.

If having a full planner isn’t in your budget it’s so important to hire a day of coordinator. On the big day you are not going to want to worry about little details such as who will be folding your napkins or setting up your escort cards.

You may have family that offer to help out, but remember they are also paying top dollar to attend your wedding. You want to ensure that your guests get to enjoy the day as well and their mini-vacation here on Martha’s Vineyard.

A planner can also spring into action when something goes wrong. What happens when it shows rain in the forecast or when one of your vendors suddenly can’t attend the wedding? Having a professional oversee the event will calm your nerves, as they will be the one handling these difficult situations. Remember–they know everyone on the Island and have plenty of resources they can call for backup.

–Sandy Brooks, owner, Timeless Weddings

Julie Hatt, Martha’s Vineyard based wedding coordinator

I do a large amount of day-of wedding packages. This means the bride and groom hire the vendors themselves, but on the actual day they can enjoy being with family and friends while I help set up the venue, and work with the vendors to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be.  It takes a lot of the pressure off the couple and their families to know it’s all being taken care of.

It’s nice to have a person they can connect with that knows all the venues on the Island and all the vendors. A planner that has a personal connection with everyone is crucial, several of us have worked together for many years.

Hiring a wedding planner on the Island is even more important than hiring one for an event off-Island. We know the ins and outs of the island, like which roads buses can not get down. What location buses can drop guests off and where they can’t–we know what works and what doesn’t here on the Island.

–Julie Hatt

With Grace is and event coordination and consultation service based on Martha’s Vineyard.

Owner Patrie Grace offers “experience, assurance, excellent vendor rapport, long lasting beauty, personal care, attention, and forever memories.” Personally I’ve worked with Patrie on many events and she’s truly the coolest cat. You wouldn’t even know if the musicians or the chef didn’t show, or if all the lights went out because she would fix it in the calmest way.

Plan It Martha’s Vineyard + Nantucket is a Vineyard based wedding coordination company specializing in local island weddings.

We got started in this industry by working events from the ground up, and before we knew it we were building a business. With over 30 years of combined experience and knowledge-sharing, we have fostered valuable relationships with Island vendors and venues.

During the planning process, we help clients make the best choices based on their needs and budget. On the day of the wedding, we make sure everything goes off without a hitch, just as planned! Surprises always pop up, but it’s a matter of being able to manage and troubleshoot on the fly. We love working with Island vendors; we promote them 100%. We know we can count on them. It can be just a phone call and they will come through to rectify problems for you. Part of being a wedding coordinator is about being resourceful.

–Doriana Klumick & Kate Conde Foster, owners, Plan It Martha’s Vineyard + Nantucket

More than anything hiring a wedding planner on Martha’s Vineyard guarantees peace of mind, and that’s priceless. You’ll stress less and enjoy more of the process, with the help of our local pros.

If you’re currently planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding make sure to read through our other helpful blog posts on the subject, including It’s all in the details: Special considerations for planning a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard and Making a list and checking it twice: Wedding planning on Martha’s Vineyard. For additional resources on planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding visit mvy.com, mvislandweddings.com, mvpreservation.org, or mvol.com.