Category Archives: weddings

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.

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Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center weddings

Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center weddings are some of my all time favorites. I recently had the honor of photographing Elizabeth and Andrew’s big day. We couldn’t have had more perfect weather! It worked out lovely for their outdoor ceremony. The ceremony was held at Centanni Park with their reception held at the adjacent Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. I’ve got to say, they have great taste in wedding venues! If you never attended a wedding at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, you might be interested to learn that the center is home to an amazing and extraordinary theater with ornate Victorian details throughout. From start to finish, their day was filled with joy and laughter. Some of the amazing team members for this spectacular wedding included Laurel Events, wedding officiant Ellie Jackson of Boston Ceremonies, Blooms of Hope wedding flowers, East Coast Grill catering, Nick of Beat Train Productions, Lindsay Griffin Boston Hairstylist + Co., and TADA Makeup + Weddings and Veracious Productions. This was a total dream team if I do say so myself!  I know you’ll adore the rest of the shots as much as I do!

outdoor ceremony at Cambridge Multicultural Arts CenterLocation: Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center 41 Second St. Cambridge, MA (617) 577-1400

Boston Wedding Alden Castle Photos and Info

Sara and Paul hired me many moons ago to photograph their wedding at Alden Castle. They are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and that made their wedding even sweeter. I had an absolute blast photographing their engagement shoot in the rain nearly two years ago, and wasn’t sure what was in store for their April wedding. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for their super cool couple to celebrate such a special day. They got married at a church in Paul’s hometown and after the ceremony, we took a classic car to the Larz Anderson Park in Brookline for photos. The folks at Alden Castle had the space looking absolutely beautiful for when everybody arrived. Their cocktail hour had live music from C-Zone and the castle’s newly renovated Vintage Ballroom was decked out in Sara’s favorite color: pink! The Vintage Ballroom is a favorite of many couples because of its boasts royal Tudor architecture and captivates with silk champagne draperies and dramatic windows.  The space seats 250 for dinner. One of my favorite features of Alden Castle is the separate lounge that has a balcony overlooking the ballroom flanked with ecru Becara chandeliers. Here are some of my personal favorites from Sara and Paul’s unforgettable wedding.

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Wedding Photography: Heather Parker Photography
Gown: Kleinfeld New York
Wedding DJ: C-Zone Entertainment
Live Percussion: C-Zone Entertainment
Uplighting: C-Zone Entertainment
Wedding Ceremony: First Congregational Church
Wedding Reception: Alden Castle of Longwood Events
Videography: Timothy Balkland Video

Fairmont Copley Plaza Grand Ballroom Wedding Ceremony & Reception

The Fairmont Copley Plaza hosts lots of gorgeous wedding ceremonies and receptions in the Grand Ballroom. During the planning stages of the wedding, I met with Liza and her mother to learn more what parts of photography was important to them. Having a Fairmont Copley Plaza Grand Ballroom Wedding deremony & reception was an easy choice because of how stunningly beautiful the ballrooms, lobby, and renovated suites are. For Liza and her then fiance Andrew, having a classic Boston wedding was the goal as they were living in Los Angeles at the time. We talked a bit about what the family loved in terms of photography, and it was very important to capture the intimacy and emotion throughout what might be a very fast-paced day. The wedding day was beautiful and we were able to step outside to create a spectacular set of cadid photos and portraits.  The wedding ceremony and reception took place in the glamorous Grand Ballroom at the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza. Liza’s sister sang a song alongside the live band Search Party for the first dance. All the ballrooms at the Fairmont Copley Plaza have their own unique qualities but they all have one thing in common – absolute elegance.

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Fairmont Copley Plaza Grand Ballroom Wedding Ceremony & Reception by Boston wedding photographer Heather Parker Photography

Ceremony Venue: Fairmont Copley Plaza
Reception Venue: Fairmont Copley Plaza
Wedding Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Hairstylist: Lindsay Griffin Boston Hairstylist + Co.
Makeup: Tara from Tada Makeup
Band/DJ: Search Party
Florist: New Leaf Flores
Wedding Photo Album: Queensberry Albums

Chicago & Boston wedding photographer | hotel wedding for June & Mike

June and Mike contacted me the winter before their summer wedding. They had just moved to Chicago from New York City. June had taken a job at The Field Museum and dove right in to plan her Chicago wedding. In the months leading up to her wedding, I learned bits about the big day. Her bridesmaids would be wearing bright poppy colored dresses and we’d be making a stop at the Field Museum for some photos of the bridal party. A friend of the couple officiated and aunts assisted with the traditional Chinese tea ceremony. The reception was in a ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and the space was decorated with countless floating candles, really warming up the room. The Hou and Chen families along with friends and coworkers, came in from all corners of the globe to celebrate with the newlyweds. The vibrant colors and fun bridal party are what I will remember most about this super fun wedding! Here are a few photos from their wedding day.

shoes at the hotel wedding by heather parkerBoston wedding photographer at the hotel Boston wedding photographer at the hotel June and Mike's wedding at the hotel by Boston wedding photographer Heather Parkerhotel wedding by Heather Parkerwedding gown at hotelbouquet from Ashland Addisonorange wedding tie on grroom at hotelbride and groom at hotel rooftopField Museum weddingwhite flowers with red bridesmaid dresses Field Museum wedding photos Field Museum wedding photos red modern asian wedding groomsmen on a bridge june and mike on their wedding day groomsmen heading to the hotel wedding ceremony floating candle flower arrangement with red placecards floating candle cylindrical vases for hotel wedding ceremony decor chinese wedding ceremony tea ceremony at a chinese wedding hotel wedding ceremony with great city views wedding vows at a hotel ceremony silver and white modern wedding reception decor with floating candle centerpieces silver and white modern wedding reception decor with floating candle centerpieces silver and white modern wedding reception decor with floating candle centerpieces white and pink elegant wedding cake sleek modern hotel reception decor first dance at a hotel reception with great city views first dance at a hotel reception with great city views wedding cake at a hotel reception

Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
DJ: Style Matters – Duke Shin
Gown: Jenny Yoo, achiffon style
Bridesmaid dresses: J. Crew
Florist: Ashland Addison Florist
Cake: Take the Cake
Photo booth: Shutterbooth
Hair: Danielle Asay
Makeup: Julie Booma
Transportation: Nightstar Limo
Tailor: La Modista
Officiant: Liliana Chen
Save the Dates: Hello Lucky

Boston Wedding Photography | Omni Parker House Wedding

Today there may be nothing that captures your heart more fully than Erin and Dean’s wedding at the Omni Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston, I wanted to create images that would stay relevant and beautiful. Erin and Dean held an elegant reception at the stunning rooftop ballroom, where guests mingled and enjoyed food and dancing. When the folks at Omni Hotels and Resorts caught wind of such a gorgeous wedding, they asked if they could feature it on blog on their main website. How delightful! While this wedding was photographed in color, black and white images worked perfectly for such a historic wedding venue. One of my favorite things about the Omni Parker House is the city views from their ballroom that spans the entire 15th floor. As one of Boston’s premier wedding venues, at the Omni Parker House you will find turn of the century elegance in a state of the art hotel, which also happens to be not only one of the oldest hotels in America but was the hotel where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie! There is so much history at this gem of a hotel, and this wedding will surely be remembered for decades by the guests that celebrated with Erin and Dean.Omni Parker House Wedding

Boston Wedding Photography | Omni Parker House Wedding

Ceremony: St. Josephs Catholic Church in the West End, Boston, MA
Reception: Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston, MA
Photographer: Heather Parker Photography
Gown make: Melissa Sweett
Shoes: Valentino
Bridesmaid Dresses: J Crew
Bridal Boutique: Priscilla of Boston
Something Borrowed: Sister’s veil
Something Old: Grandmother’s bracelet
Tux make: Jos. A. Bank
Officiant: Father Dan O’Connell
Band/DJ: Jack at DJ Raffi Productions
Florist: Annette Rinaldi for church/centerpieces
Florist for Bouquets: Allison Phalen Floral Design (bride’s sister and MOH)
Video: Veracious Productions
Lighting Design: DJ Raffi

Alexander and Co. custom save the dates for your wedding

While shooting one of my favorite weddings a few months back, I stumbled upon such a great idea. The lovely Christina and Scott hired Chicago-based artist Alexander Doll who runs Alexander and Co. This cool artist creates completely custom designs that are so fun. They can be used for save the date wedding announcement postcards, welcome signs, and guestbook alternatives. Their custom image was used as a save the date. Their cocktail hour and wedding reception were at one of my favorite wedding venues the University Club of Chicago, and the large version of their custom artwork was framed and displayed for guests to see. I love when my clients go the extra mile to personalize their wedding and guests love it too. At this particular wedding I even saw guests taking photos of themselves in front of the sign. This vintage art deco wedding print was a big hit. After the wedding Christina and Scott have chosen to hang their artwork in their home.

Alexander and Co. custom save the dates for wedding announcements

Alexander and Co. custom save the dates for your wedding!

The Knot Magazine Real Wedding at Union League Club & Holy Family Church

You really can’t go wrong when you go classic for a sophisticated wedding. The Knot Magazine featured this stunning gorgeous wedding at Holy Family Church and the Union League Club. A classic feel has timeless elegance and will stay in peoples’ memories for years. You will swoon over this winter wedding – one of the prettiest ways to end a year! Matt and Katie both attended Saint Ignatius College Prep For a festive wedding, the well-decorated Holy Family Church and the Union League Club were the perfect wedding venues. Crackling fireplaces and classy chandeliers warmed up the rich blue ballroom which was decorated by Blumgarten & Co. with white and red flowers adorned with evergreen sprigs. Matt and Katie tied in their Irish heritage with bagpipers at the reception and the groomsmen were gifted plaid scarves. The bridesmaids wore navy dresses from Lula Kate and kept warm with faux fur black shawls provided by the bride. Because their wedding was held less than 10 days before Christmas, the Steve Edwards Orchestra played a mix of holiday music and classic hits.

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The Knot Magazine Real Wedding at Union League Club & Holy Family Church

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