All posts by Heather

Boston Proposal and Engagement Ideas

A lot of thought goes into picking out the perfect diamond to complete the perfect ring. Everyone always asks how did you propose? A story is told, but rarely there are photos to go with it. Paparazzi can be intrusive but the way I go about photographing a proposal is to get a good understanding of location and timing beforehand.

Whether you are proposing by walking around the lake three times at Wellesley College, asking for a hand in marriage on the Brooklyn Bridge, or are presenting a ring during a walk along the water after a special dinner, I can discreetly capture one of the biggest surprise moments in someone’s life. I will talk with you on your engagement and together we can walk through your ideas on exactly how and where you will be proposing down to the tiny details. After the proposal, the moment will be available to view online by your friends and family. If you are looking to make it official and want it documented, get in touch!

Boston proposal photography engagement

Boston Proposal Locations

Some favorite spots in Boston to propose are the Boston Public Garden, the ice rink at Frog Pond, Top of the Hub, Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon, Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Fort Point Channel, college campuses, or the Harborwalk.

Chicago Proposal Locations

Notable spots for proposing in Chicago are the Sears Tower / Willis Tower, Millenium Park, Signature Room, the lakeshore, or right in the median strip of Michigan Ave.

The Knot Best of Weddings Boston DJ featured

The Knot Best of Weddings Boston DJ has featured a Thompson Island wedding in Boston Harbor that I had the pleasure of photographing. If you take a peek around for wedding deejay reviews, DJ Nick is one of Boston’s most sought after. Meredith and Regan who live in Chile were lucky to have him spin at their island wedding this summer because even with record-breaking temperatures, the dancing went non-stop that night! They had guests from New Zealand, Europe, and various parts of the US travel to be with them to share in celebrating their marriage. If you are looking for reviews on DJs, check out Beat Train Boston on Yelp, WeddingWire, and The Knot. I’ve worked with many of the Beat Train deejays and my clients rave about every one of them. You can also follow @beattraindjs on Twitter.
boston wedding dj reviews

Some of the wedding venues I have photographed alongside Beat Train Productions DJ include Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Oceancliff Mansion in Newport, the Langham Hotel and Le Meridien Hotel in Cambridge. Just like when you are sorting browsing wedding photographers, interviewing potential wedding DJs can be a daunting task. So you know how to spot the best DJ company for your wedding, here are a few tips. Finding a DJ who focuses in weddings is important. Knowing how to get a wide range of generations dancing will ensure your reception is memorable and most importantly fun! Beat Train Productions is a well-rounded, successful group of DJs who can bring a level of expertise and versatility to your wedding. A great DJ is able to create a collection of music for your wedding that is based on your style, taste, and vision for that day but also touches upon the DJ’s understanding of what gets the most amount of people dancing. An experienced DJ will work with you on a wedding schedule so that everything goes smoothly. Writing out the names of your family and bridal party if you are doing an entrance is key especially if names are difficult to pronounce – you can spell out any tricky names phonetically. The best DJ will make sure your father is nearby before announcing a father daughter dance. He or she can communicate with the banquet staff to ensure the cake is ready to be cut before making the announcement. The team of DJs at Beat Train Productions is flexible and willing to listen to make sure the reception goes smoothly. Because of this, they’ve earned hundreds of 5 star reviews and have been ranked best Boston DJ on many occasions. If you haven’t already checked them out on WeddingWire or Yelp, you will be impressed with the kind words earned by their entire team. Whether you are getting married outdoors under a tent, at an historic mansion in a luxury Boston hotel or at a trendy event space, a fun reception will be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding day and no doubt a competent DJ contributes to this.

Union League Club Winter Wedding Photos Chicago

Winter weddings are just as delightful as spring and summer celebrations except they are a million times more cozy. That’s why winter tops my list for my favorite wedding season. It’s hard to find a better spot than Chicago’s timeless Union League Club. If you both love the holiday season and have picked a wedding date close to Christmas you know you’re going to have fun choosing a wintry color palette of red, navy and green. I adore venues with candlelight and crackling fireplaces. There’s no better way to warm up a room with old-fashioned ambiance. Rather than working against holiday decor and trying to compete with it, work with it! This couple added some festive touches by integrating stringed lights and evergreen garlands to create an elegant Christmas-inspired theme.

Union League Club winter wedding ChicagoChicago wedding pictures at the Union League Club taken by Heather Parker Photography featured in The Knot Magazine.

Gown make:  Romona Keveza
Bridesmaid dresses: Lula Kate
Bridal boutique: A L’Amour
Tuxedos: Ralph Lauren
Church: Holy Family Parish
Reception Venue:
Officiant: Fr. Ed McLaughlin
Band: Steve Edwards Orchestra
Florist: Blumgarten & Co.
Wedding Stationery: The Design Group

The Union League Club has a capacity of up to 350 guests in the Main Dining Room. My favorite feature is the deep blue walls. The room is decorated with an impressive collection of fine art, crystal chandeliers, ornate gold-leaf crown moldings, and of course fireplaces!

winter weddings union league club

Information on how to get married at Boston City Hall

Looking for Information on how to get married at Boston City Hall? Many engaged couples wonder the same thing. If you are planning a reception overseas or at a later date, it’s still important to have a look at wedding photographers. After all, just because your vows won’t be in a typical venue you still deserve photos that show your emotions and feelings towards each other when you speak your vows. Too many times, wedding photographers choose to engage in churning out publishable “wedding detail” photos that could surely get pinned and re-pinned and serve as a resource for newly engaged couples planning their wedding. I really, really enjoyed being able to photograph this super cool couple because it was a reminder that I should be able to create meaningful, momentous photos that showcase love and tell a story, no matter how many votive candles are involved. Kasia Gora and Matthieu Couturier met at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They decided they wanted to tie the knot, and were looking through Boston wedding photographers. I was thrilled to be selected to work with them for this very special occasion! Through email and phone correspondence, we hammered out the details and I couldn’t wait to meet them in person. Their ceremony was going to take place one floor above the mayor’s office in what Yahoo! ranks as the world’s ugliest building. I was ready, and I admit, beyond excited. It might be sheepish to share, but I’m a fan of Brutalist architecture and I had never had the opportunity to photograph in the cement fortress. This building may be a blemish that so many people hate, but inside there is so much love. It is a place that thousands of couples have professed their love in.

If you’re looking for more information about how to get married at Boston City Hall then this article will provide you with useful tips.  Wedding ceremonies take place in the Office of the City Clerk Monday through Friday with the exception of Wednesdays between the hours of 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM and between 2:00 PM and 3:30 PM. An important requirement is that you both have to apply in person for a certificate of marriage 3 days before making your appointment for a wedding. If you’re planning your own elopement/small weekday wedding and are looking at wedding photographers, get in touch to learn more about my mid-week elopement sessions in Boston. I would be happy to create a set of documentary style photos for you to treasure.

I loaded up some Modern Lovers on my phone so I could listen to Government Center headed to meet them ready to turn out some incredible images. I passed through the security scanner, and was prepared to conquer fluorescent lights, file cabinets, and stereotypical disgruntled city employees and create beautiful photographs. As wedding photographers, we have the opportunity to photograph countless weddings in luxury hotels, faraway islands, and elegantly transformed rural barns loaded with flowers, but I challenged myself to re-focus on why I am a wedding photographer. The bride and groom were a perfect match. Their parents who were from Poland and France were present for their vows. After they tied the knot, their little dog was outside waiting to greet them. They chose locations that we as wedding photographers have photographed at many times – Beacon Hill and the nearby Public Garden.

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Gallery 1028 Chicago wedding | AJ & Laura

Could this wedding ceremony be any more fabulous? Gallery 1028 is hands down my favorite venue in the city. I’m drawn to this unique space because while it is dark and more of a challenge to photograph in, there’s something undoubtedly magical about weddings that almost always are filled with countless votive candles flickering amongst exposed brick and unfinished wood floors. The venue creates a warm, cozy atmosphere with its brick and beam loft like space. While it is a blank slate, my clients tell me the team at the venue works with your choice of floral and decor to customize it to your liking. When AJ and Laura hired me over the phone, I happily shared with them dozens of photos of the many Gallery 1028 weddings I’ve had the opportunity to photograph because being able to see some photos of how a blank canvas like Gallery 1028 can get transformed would be very helpful. Not one wedding I’ve shot at Gallery 1028 has been the same and that is why I adore it. I’ve seen everything from rustic chic to sleek and modern. During one of the open houses at Gallery 1028, I ran into AJ and Laura so it was great to meet them in person. On their wedding day after they got ready at Hotel Sax and had a first look in the Crimson Lounge, we were able to take some outdoor photos before the rain showers arrived. The schedule that Laura and I created allowed for time before the wedding ceremony to take some family photos since the sun would be setting shortly after they would officially tie the knot. Going by guests expressions as they enter the space, it certainly doesn’t disappoint and is a pleasant surprise to generations who have been to many weddings at typical venues. AJ and Laura had family in Minnesota and Indiana meet in Chicago which was the perfect location for their friends and family to come together. AJ was exceptionally dapper and Laura took everyone’s breath away as she walked down the aisle in her gorgeous gown. This autumn wedding was a delight to photograph. While the newlyweds are on their honeymoon spanning four islands in Hawaii, I hope they get to see a few of my favorite photos from their wedding day!

Chicago wedding ceremony Gallery 1028Chicago wedding reception Gallery 1028Gallery 1028 Chicago wedding | AJ & Laura

Gallery 1028 is owned and operated by one of Chicago’s best wedding caterers, Calihan Catering. Their team consists of innovative chefs that offer creative menus with seasonal ingredients. Their artful presentations and top-notch service have earned them quite the array of awards. Their award-winning pastry chef is nationally recognized.

Wedding Photography: Heather Parker Photography
Wedding Ceremony + Reception Location: Gallery 1028
Catering: Calihan Catering
Wedding Gown: Provinias
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Bridal Boutique: Mestads (Rochester, MN)
Hair & Makeup: Lillian Toma – Starlight Makeup
Florist: Studio AG
Tuxedo: Calvin Klein
Officiant: Bruce Otto of Spirited Weddings
DJ: Max of Style Matters
Decor: Studio AG

Boston Wedding Photography | Ghana Traditions

Prince Tetteh found his princess! Samira Musah and Prince were recently married and incorporated many Ghana traditions and costumes. My favorite was the kente of course! This awesome couple was a real treat to photograph because they had such a perfect connection and were constantly smiling at each other. I’m very much looking forward to sharing more photos. If you are a fan of gold, you will most certainly want to subscribe to this blog!

ghana wedding traditions NYC boston

Boston Wedding Photography | Ghana Traditions

Wellesley College Chapel wedding photos at Houghton

Wellesley College Chapel wedding photos at Houghton – Caleb Wong and Stephanie Chan’s super sweet ceremony was truly unforgettable. From a documentary perspective, this photo encompasses so much of what their wedding day was. There was love, there was friends and family, and there was of course the summer heat. Nearly 500 guests made their way to the massive chapel on the historic campus of Wellesley College. It has got to be one of the most beautiful churches in the Boston area. With the help of Linda from Lemon Drop Team, the ceremony went off without a hitch. Stephanie Chan is a Wellesley alum so it was the perfect setting to get married. Pastor Enoch Liao from Chinatown’s Boston Chinese Evangelical Church officiated the ceremony. I am looking foward to sharing the rest of their wedding photos including some great shots from their traditional Chinese tea ceremony and Chinatown reception. Greg of Beat Train Productions, Lindsay Griffin Boston Hairstylist + Co., and TADA Makeup + Weddings vendor partners that helped make the day flawless.

Wellesley Chapel weddingWellesley College Chapel wedding photos at Houghton

If you are looking for information on getting married at the Houghton Chapel at Wellesley, you may call 781-283-2615. The address is 106 Central St. Wellesley, MA 02481.

Boston Harbor Islands Wedding | Regan + Meredith

A Boston Harbor Islands Wedding featuring Regan + Meredith is live on the blog! This amazing couple lives in Chile, so when they were looking for a Boston wedding photographer we only had the chance to talk on the phone rather than meet in person. On the day that Boston broke a 31-year record, I started my morning by me loading up on Gatorade (four bottles), packing a suitcase full of camera gear and finding the harbor ferry at the Black Falcon Cruiseport in Boston’s bustling new Seaport District. Heading out to the Boston Harbor Islands, the water was choppy and the breeze was warm. I could enjoy a commute like this every day! I arrived and headed up to an air-conditioned Adams House where Meredith was getting ready for the day which would mark the start of a new chapter in her life with her soon-to-be husband Regan. Regan comes from New Zealand, but since they first met in Boston while Regan was working on a boat, a Boston Harbor Islands wedding was the perfect destination for them to tie the knot. Under sunny skies and in the company of dear friends and family that traveled from all corners of the globe, this perfectly matched couple would say their vows. Chowder, lobsters, corn on the cob and barbecue were part of what Meredith and Regan offered as a New England summer feast for their guests. After dinner a bonfire, fabulous music, and a once-in-a-lifetime red sun descended west on the Boston skyline. I am looking forward to sharing many more photos from this wedding with you all! Here’s one of my favorites – the best skyline made even better with a silhouette photo of the newlyweds. It was such a dream to photograph!

boston wedding at harbor islands with sky lineThe Boston Harbor Islands is a great setting and beautiful backdrop for weddings. Having your event on the islands combines unique natural beauty with the opportunity to support Boston Harbor Islands national park area. This island was named for the man who established a trading post here in 1626. It was later leased as farmland for many years. The Thompson Island Conference Center offers the air conditioned Adams House for getting ready, and two outdoor venues including a covered reception area and professional catering. There is over 200 acres of beaches, rolling hills, meadows, salt marshes and fields. The island is a short ferry ride from downtown Boston. During your wedding, you and your guests will experience breathtaking views of Boston’s skyline. Whether you’re looking to accommodate around 125 guests or 350, there are two options. The Hollow is an adorable seaside wooden pavilion with barn-like exposed beams, high open eaves and interior lighting that offers spectacular views of the harbor and downtown Boston. With open sides, you will still have an outdoor wedding reception. Alternately, the North Lawn Pavilion can hold two tents for larger weddings. There are wonderful photo opportunities throughout the island. Newlyweds can take a guided tour around the island on a golf cart

Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Florist: The Plant Bazaar
Entertainment: Beat Train Productions Boston Wedding DJs
Venue: Thompson Island at the Boston Harbor Islands
Hair: Maricruz Hairstyles
Makeup: Claudia Moriel

Trinity Church first look in Boston by writer Whitney Wolf

Not long ago, I photographed the Fairmont Copley Plaza wedding of writer Whitney W. Wolf and her husband Ian. They married at Boston’s iconic Trinity Church and held their reception at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Because Whitney comes from a traditional family and holds certain family and religious traditions close to her heart, I knew she would be one of the best brides to share her ideas on the subject of the new trend of the first look. Whitney W. Wolf is a writer from Newport, RI and Boston, MA who has lived previously in Chicago and until recently, lived in a seaside village just outside of Naples, Italy.

To See or Not to See: A first look doesn’t have to mean the end of tradition.

After the “yes” has been said, the phone calls have been made, and the (many) celebratory cocktails have been consumed, It’s time to get down to the details, one of which includes a decision on to see, or not to see each other prior to the ceremony.

When it came to my wedding, I considered myself traditional – and superstitious – and so it was no surprise that my gut reaction to whether or not we would have a First Look was “No, of course not! Are you crazy?” End of discussion.

A few months later, I was in a wedding party, where the bride did choose to see the groom prior to the ceremony. Much to my surprise – their First Look seemed remarkably sacred, and even traditional, in its own modern way. The First Look didn’t detract from the anticipation and excitement of the day, nor did it seem to serve as an indicator of looming misfortune (as superstition would suggest).

Boston wedding ring bands jewelryOn the contrary, the couple seemed even more relaxed, confident, and connected, by nature of the fact that they had shared this cherished moment prior to the commencement of jubilant chaos that was sure to ensue after “I do.”

The First Look seemed to free the bride and groom to embrace every moment thereafter with ease, unfettered by any angst that can grow while awaiting a moment that, though intended for two, is performed entirely in the “public” eye.

The bride later said that she felt like she and her groom felt an even stronger connection throughout the day by sharing that moment together first, and that doing so also allowed them to take in moments of the ceremony procession that they might not have had we been focused on had they been seeing each other for the first time

Having a First Look prior to the ceremony also created an opportunity for the bride and groom to get their formal wedding party photography done early and while everyone was looking their freshest – in the sweltering August heat. It also meant that they could partake in all the aforementioned jubilant chaos following the ceremony, without the added pressure of squeezing a full-on photo shoot into a short break before cocktail hour – or miss the cocktail hour altogether.

In contrary to a third option – a long break between ceremony and reception – photography beforehand enables a seamless flow from ceremony to cocktail hour – instead of the alternative where the bridal party races from vows at the alter to a shot list of local landmarks, leaving guests to kill time in an unfamiliar location, and uncomfortable shoes, when they’d rather be taking shots of their own… at the reception.

After seeing the astounding success of my friend’s decision I decided to reconsider my own. I played through both scenarios in my head as if strategically plotting a game of chess against two key opponents: emotions, and logistics.

How would I feel if I waited to see my groom for the first time at the end of the aisle – and in front of a hundred people? Would the day feel less special if I met the groom before the ceremony? Emotionally, which route left the most opportunity for anxiety and/or regret?

Whitney W. Wolf with Ian at Trinity Church in Boston
Logistically, how would each scenario affect our timeline and the management of our wedding photographs?

I had originally built an hour into the timeline between ceremony and reception for photography, and for guests to drop off their coats, freshen up, or take a quick breather at the hotel bar.

All our locations were within a block of each other, so an hour was plenty of time to capture the photos we wanted – there was no logistical necessity to cover photos beforehand; but, our wedding was in December and it would be dark by the time we finished the ceremony, so how important was it to us to have some moments captured before the sun went down?

Last but not least, with an eye toward superstition, how likely was it that the act of seeing my groom before the wedding would result in a tragic divorce years down the road?

In a moment of bridal clarity, I summed up all my thoughts, questions, and concerns, by asking myself this: Would I look back on my wedding day and say “Darn, I wish I hadn’t seen him before the ceremony. That was mistake.” Or would I be more likely to look back on the day and say, “It all went by so fast, I wish I could have had just a few more hours to enjoy it, and spent more time with my new husband.”

In my life, I’ve discovered that my deepest regrets stem from the things I haven’t done – not the things I have; after all, you can learn from, laugh at, and grow through mistakes, but you can’t recreate what you didn’t do in the first place.

From that moment on, my mind was made up. We would do a First Look and it wouldn’t be bad luck, nor would we let it detract from the purity and tradition we desired for our matrimonial event.

With timelines tweaked and the photographer consulted, we planned our First Look with the effort and attention we had dedicated to all other aspects of the day.

For location, we decided on a secluded arbor way in the back of the same church where our wedding would take place later that day. The structure of the location enabled my groom to stand there, without risk of seeing me walk over from the hotel, while allowing privacy from the bustling city around us. It was meaningful because it was the church where we would be married; and it was architectural interesting, allowing for the memorable photographic documentation of our moment.

To maintain anticipation and a sense of tradition, we did not stay together the night before the wedding, nor did we communicate with each other on the day of, prior to our First Look. Our goal was that the First Look be as honorable, and as honored, as if it were to happen at the ceremony – we were simply doing it a couple of hours, instead of a couple of minutes, prior to our vows.

We outlined a fail-safe method to arrive at our First Look location without risk of running into each other beforehand. He would leave for the location ten minutes before I did, and my bridesmaids would confirm with his groomsmen that he had left before I set out to meet him.

For those with cumbersome dresses, dirty cities, or fields filled with grass, leaves or anything else that could discolor or damage the dress prior to your ceremony, the reverse is also an option.

Another bride who did a First Look had the groom come to her, enabling the photographer to position the bride and the dress perfectly after which, the groom arrived and their authentic joy at seeing each other was captured flawlessly.

In viewing the photos, it would be impossible to deduce who came to whom, because the emotions and expressions are the same no matter who does the waiting or who does the walking; but if you’re worried about your dress getting dirty, you might be more relaxed if you have your groom come to you.

We did not get each other gifts. Instead, we opted to write letters, creating another opportunity to keep the moment as meaningful and ceremonial as possible. He and I both share a love of written word, and the letters we exchanged served as a special milestone, not only on our wedding day, but also in our relationship. They are keepsakes we will always cherish, and can reread again, and again.

Trinity Church Boston weddings first look

We chose to exclude the bridal party from our meeting. For the First Look it was only my groom and me, with our photographer inconspicuously capturing us from the sidelines. We asked the bridal party to convene at the hotel, where we met them afterwards to take photographs in alternate locations, but our First Look moment and venue was for us alone. By secluding ourselves, it was every bit as intimate and sacred as we could have dreamed; a brief haven of peace in the midst of an overstimulated day.

Doing a First Look was one of the most impactful decisions I made with regard to the wedding day for a number of reasons. It not only enabled us to get incredible photographs – in daylight, in December, for an evening wedding, but it eliminated the potential angst caused by needing to capture dozens of photos in multiple locations during the time between ceremony and reception, thus creating an interval of space for us to regroup, catch our breath, and arrive relaxed and on time to greet our guests, and partake in all the merriment of our cocktail hour.

Most importantly however, the First Look blessed us with one more cherished moment on our wedding day, and enabled us to maximize the time we got to spend with each other, without compromising the anticipation, excitement, or tradition we desired.

Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston wedding photography

The end result of debunking superstition and reconsidering tradition:

Two extra hours together.

Hundreds of incredible photos.

And zero regrets.

Trinity Church wedding BostonHere are a few of the great wedding photos Whitney and Ian were able to have during their winter wedding before the sun set, because of choosing to have a First Look.

Fairmont Plaza wedding Boston Public Library wedding photographyCopley wedding