Blog Category: Weddings (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.

2020: The Year of the Fearless Female

This year has presented a tremendous amount of challenges, but it has also created a number of opportunities, especially for those with enterprising spirits. From where we’re sitting we’ve noticed a majority of them have been females.

This year has been a historic one for women. It marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. We saw our first female vice-president-elect in Senator Kamala Harris, AND for the first time in US history, the president-elect has chosen an all-female senior communication team for the White House press staff. It’s some seriously exciting stuff.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the incredible work and adaptability of fellow fearless females has been inspirational and motivational. At Randi Baird Photography everyone from our bookkeeper to our marketing director, and many of our assistants over the last 20 years have been female, and it’s a tremendous point of pride for us. We work hard to continuously cultivate a supportive network of women to not only advance our business but to empower those that help us do it.

This year we’ve had the opportunity to work with several female-owned businesses that have flourished despite the pandemic. Women that have not been deterred by the challenges, but have risen to them. We’ve worked with ladies that have created new and exciting ventures, or have chosen to adapt and pivot their existing business model to better serve their customers during COVID. 

Here we’re showcasing a handful of those female-owned businesses we’ve had the opportunity to partner with this season.

Martha’s Vineyard Made: This new eCommerce destination was created by Rachel Baumrin of Austin Designs and is intended to be a one-stop-shop for users to purchase unique gifts and curated gift boxes made by Martha’s Vineyard creators and artisans. A concept years in the making, Martha’s Vineyard Made finally came to fruition earlier this fall. Due to the pandemic, local artisan’s markets were canceled, and opportunities for our talented friends and neighbors to sell their wares disappeared. 

As an artisan herself, Rachel knew the toll COVID would take on her colleagues, and took it upon herself to get Martha’s Vineyard Made up and running. Randi Baird Photography was hired to provide lifestyle and product images for the website, and we are honored to help display our Island’s beautiful locally made products. We know great photography is crucial to generating online sales and we’re proud to help further support the efforts of our local makers and creators. 

East Sound Lane: Another local maker, Allie Bernstein McElligott, launched East Sound Lane this year, where she handcrafts natural skincare products on-Island. Allie first came to Randi Baird Photography as a wedding client. We photographed her wedding as well as her father and step-mom. When she launched East Sound Lane she contacted RBP to help with her product photography, and we were honored; nothing makes us happier than returning clients, it’s the ultimate compliment of our work. We were thrilled to hear about her new endeavor, and her minimal, plant-based approach to her ingredients, most of which are grown in her family’s garden, pesticide-free. 

Allie grew up spending summers on the Vineyard at her grandparents house, and inherited a passion for plants, flowers and simple skincare from her mother and grandmother. After a career as a newsroom producer, she decided to quit her job and go to culinary school. During that time, instead of cooking food, she adapted the physics and chemistry of cooking and baking to make her own skincare products.  After a few years as a chef, she decided to follow her passion for skincare and go to esthetician school. Once COVID hit her path was clear, and East Sound Lane was born. 

Martha’s Vineyard Escapes: For brides and grooms that wanted to get married in 2020, COVID obviously presented a number of challenges. Instead of rescheduling to 2021, and risking more unforeseen limitations, some couples decided to tie the knot anyway.  Many of them enlisted the help of Martha’s Vineyard Escapes, owned by the dynamic duo of Carol Bliss Furr and Donna Wilmarth. 

This year RBP worked with Carol, who has an innate talent for planning, organizing, and execution, plus years of managerial and leadership positions in business. When COVID hit Carol’s proven resourcefulness and versatility allowed her to continue to produce fabulous events that were still meaningful and especially unique. 

In one of our most memorable weddings of the summer, Carol pulled off a wedding for Trent and Rhonda with 225 (virtual!) guests at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. We spent hours traveling to iconic locations with this genuine couple, celebrating their love all across Martha’s Vineyard. There might have been less fanfare and far fewer in-person spectators than usual, but there was still so much love and even more intimacy. Thanks to Carol’s core values and exquisite style we were able to share some slightly revised (but still very much magical!) affairs for her clients.

Donnelly and Company: Expanding a business in a new market is tough stuff, made even more complicated by a pandemic. But it didn’t deter Pauline Donnelly, a longtime Boston based real estate agent, from bringing her company to Martha’s Vineyard. Pauline is another fearless female we have had the pleasure of working with over the last several months and we respect her tenacity and extreme professionalism.

Like Randi Baird Photography, Pauline is all about creating a meaningful impact in her work and maintaining a positive culture. We provided headshots and architectural photography for Donnelly and Company and look forward to continuing our work with Pauline and her staff as she flourishes on-Island.

 

Alice Williams Interiors: Alice Williams makes it her mission to create beautiful living environments that fit and reflect each client, their style, and their home. She approaches each project as a full collaboration with her client’s tastes, needs, and resources while adding her personal touches and her discerning professional eye that her clients have come to trust her for. 

We can attest first hand to her collaborative approach. We first met Alice on an architectural photography shoot where we were hired to capture a historic Squibnocket Ridge oceanside home, aerial shots from the outside as well as the entire inside of the home, which had just completed a total interior renovation. Alice brought a carload of props to carefully style and consider each shot, and he worked seamlessly together as a true collaboration.

As Alice says “I believe interiors should be sensitive to the architecture of the house and its surrounding environment, while simultaneously being an expression of its inhabitant’s styles”  and we couldn’t agree more.

We look forward to working alongside these enterprising females in 2021 and remain hopeful for the new year. As 2020 comes to a close, remember to embrace new opportunities and remain grateful for this year’s silver linings.

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. 

 

Micro Weddings pack just as much meaning, only in a much smaller package

We all know bigger isn’t always better, and when it comes to weddings smaller scale events are just as significant, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. As a wedding photographer on Martha’s Vineyard for over thirty years, I’ve witnessed nuptials of all shapes and sizes. More recently I’ve noticed a trend towards more intimate affairs, and the concept of Micro Weddings really seems to be catching on. Basically a Micro Wedding is a wedding on a smaller scale, that involves a lot of the same details but for a small group of people, generally 50 or less. Here’s a look at what makes Micro Wedding so appealing. 

More affordable 

With average wedding prices in the tens of thousands, many brides and grooms simply can’t afford a large wedding, or are choosing to forego the big expense in favor of a longer honeymoon, or a downpayment on a house. Micro weddings can be significantly less expensive as they require less resources and involve less people, freeing up money for other things that can contribute to the couple’s new life together. Typically, brides and grooms are constantly reworking their numbers and spreadsheets once a new RSVP card is received, trying to see where they fall in their budget. With a micro wedding your money can go further and you may be able to do something on a smaller scale that you wouldn’t have been able to provide for a larger crowd.

More intimate

It’s no surprise that weddings have become big business and it’s easy to forget about the essence of the ceremony when there’s so many vendors to organize, details to consider, and guests to appease. 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. With a Micro Wedding brides and grooms can be more selective with their guest list, which creates a more intimate gathering with those nearest and dearest. While the task of writing a guest list can be the hardest part of a Micro Wedding, brides and grooms can take comfort knowing that those they invite are among their most dearest to share in their commitment. 

More manageable

It’s a well known fact that wedding days seem to go by faster than most other days in our lives, and many brides and grooms struggle to find the time to sufficiently interact with all of their guests before the party comes to an end. Micro Weddings mean less guests so it’s easier to get more quality time together without being stretched so thin. Less guests also means the event becomes more manageable as a result. With a smaller group the day can be more fluid and less rigid, and plans can be changed on the fly if needed. On Martha’s Vineyard weather can be an important factor for any special event. If rain and wind are in the forecast you can push back the ceremony or figure out a change of venue a lot easier when accommodating less people. 

More choices

Given the smaller size and scale of a Micro Wedding your options and vendor pool can actually increase. Perhaps you wanted to book that venue on the water that you couldn’t afford with 120 people, but when accommodating 40 people it’s very much within reach. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group but once your numbers go down you realize there’s 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 head count that will increase the quality of your guests’ experiences. When it comes to making choices for your Micro Wedding you can be even more creative and innovative! 

More sustainable

I’m all for reducing waste and being more eco-conscious when it comes to weddings and special events, and I’ve written about it before on the blog. We all know weddings can get expensive, and excessive, and lavish choices can often have serious implications for the environment. Micro Weddings on the other hand, tend to mean more control and less excess, which is a win-win if you’re wanting to reduce your costs and your footprint. Even thoughtful considerations on a small scale can make for a big impact on your big day. 

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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.