I feel so funny writing a blog post with snowy images in it, but hey…the weather in Buffalo can change A LOT in just a couple of months! ;)
Lisa and Cal booked us for their December 2013 wedding over a year ago. Then, we got an email from Lisa asking if we were available in March 2013 instead! They had started planning a huge, traditional wedding, which quickly got out of hand (as weddings often do) and they decided that all of that craziness was not actually what they wanted on their wedding day. Right then and there, they decided to stop planning a huge, crazy wedding, and start planning the wedding they truly wanted, and I give them so much credit for doing that. During the planning stages, weddings gain a momentum that almost gives them a life of their own. Your parents want a say in how things will be, everyone else has an opinion about what you should be doing and why, and pretty soon you’re just walking around in a “wedding daze,” exhausted and wondering how you got there. (I know you feel me, here, people; I couldn’t have been the only one.) You are caught up in the momentum of the mighty wedding planning river, and swept along for the ride. Believe me…I know. “Maybe we should just elope,” is a pretty common thought to have, but that momentum that you’re caught in keeps you going. It keeps you thinking that all of the craziness will be worth it in the end, and most of the time, it is WELL worth it. But, sometimes, it may not be. At least, not for Cal and Lisa. Not only do I give them credit for staring tradition dead in the face and saying, “back down, you bully, we’re doing things OUR way,” I also give them a ton of credit for not being afraid to stand up to their families and friends, who are a thousand times scarier than that age old bully, Tradition. I know all about that whole “standing up to your family”: thing, too…not fun. Lisa and Cal were brave enough to do exactly what they wanted for their wedding day, and we were honored to be a part of it! It was a beautiful, intimate celebration of love, and everyone in attendance (including the photographers!!) thoroughly enjoyed the experience!!
Lisa and Cal took the time to share some of their favorites memories of the day, so that we could share them throughout the post. Please take the time to read their words! They are such a special couple!! The advice they give at the end is absolutely perfect. :)Lisa: “Getting ready in the morning, I couldn’t believe how it was all coming together. The day was here. The day I get to marry my best friend. The morning was so surreal. I felt like a princess. I had someone there to do my hair, someone came to the house to do my makeup, someone came to deliver flowers! It was so special! But, the best part was having my dad see me in my dress. I had managed to keep the dress a surprise from my dad the entire time. It was really special.” Lisa: “We decided not to follow any kind of ‘tradition’ at all. We made our own traditions and did pictures before the wedding. Pulling up to the mansion on Delaware, waiting in the limo to get the word that it was time to come out and see my soon to be husband… I remember the butterflies. I was so excited I couldn’t get inside fast enough. Walking in, and seeing Cal standing in front of the fire place, and touching his shoulder, as he turned around, and we saw each other for the first time. I saw the tears in his eyes, and I just melted. The moment was perfect. You dream about that moment forever, and it was truly perfect! I knew right then and there that my life was complete. When you find THE ONE, your LOBSTER, you smile on the inside and out. Cal’s my Lobster, and that moment right there at that fireplace, was the best part of the day. I knew the rest of my life had just begun.”
Cal: “The reveal. We did wedding photos before the ceremony, so we had our reveal before the wedding. It was amazing to see my wife to be for the first time in her dress. She was absolutely beautiful. At that exact moment not only was the wedding day finally here, our life together was finally here. It was absolutely overwhelming in a very very good way. From that point forward I knew I wouldn’t have to wait for her to be by my side. I knew she would be with me always. That was a feeling beyond words…not to take away from our beautiful ceremony and our pledging ourselves to each other at the altar…but this was THE moment that will always be with me…the moment we came together to stay together…”
Cal: “The Limo ride. Not too many people can say they got to spend the day with their entire wedding party and all their guests. It was awesome. Riding around together. Laughing together. Waiting for a new pope together while everyone was on their iPads and phones and Twitters. Snacking on Krispie Treats and pretzels…Not to mention our amazingly patient and kind driver…” Cal: “Our photographers were fun to watch work. They enjoy and take seriously what they do. As a husband and wife working together in their own business, I give them a lot of credit. That’s a LOT of time together. They each bring a unique perspective and approach to the shoots and each have a unique personality. These differences are their strength as they made our engagement and wedding shoots fun and have produced amazing results bringing out the best in us and creating a permanent record of our days that we will always cherish. They are also real people, who are there with you on your shoots…not just sitting up above it. Thanks Ben and Jen!”
Thank YOU, Cal!! We’re so happy that we were able to make the photography part of the experience fun for you guys! :) As far as the whole husband and wife working together thing is concerned….holy crap, YES. It is a LOT of time together. I don’t know how we manage to make it work, but somehow, it just keeps working. Love makes the world go ’round, I suppose.
Cal: “Wedding pictures at Shea’s…we had the whole place to ourselves. Even better, standing at the top of the Main Lobby balcony and breaking out into a rousing rendition of ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ to the rest of the wedding party down below…I have been going to Shea’s for years, for shows, movies, concerts, comedians. As a die hard Buffalonian I can say it was amazing to have memories of my wedding day tied to this amazing landmark. Even more special…my wife bought me Shea’s season tickets earlier that year when I turned 40…I had always wanted to get them and then in one year got to have wedding pictures and season tickets there. What a great year!” Lisa: “When I got to the altar, something very special and neat happened. Cal and I had two special priests marry us. One special family friend of mine, one special life long friend of Cal’s. The funny thing, I had never met Cal’s friend, and he had never met mine. So when I finally got to the Altar, after my dad had given my hand to Cal, the first person I saw was Father Joel, and he said ‘HI LISA, SO NICE TO MEET YOU!’ And that made me giggle so hard! It really helped as I was about to cry, and he really made me laugh. The other great memory about being at the altar, we had two of the cutest altar girls. They were sisters. And every couple of minutes, they would wave to Cal and I, and smile. I think it may have been their first wedding. But it was so cute, Every time they would wave and smile, I’d wave and smile back, it truly was precious.” Lisa: “The day of our wedding, a major event was happening in Rome. And one joke my maid of honor kept telling us was, ‘for your wedding gift I’m getting you a new pope’. Well, that wedding gift came true because just before we got to the church, in the limo, everyone was on their iPhones and the news had just broke, WHITE SMOKE (which was symbolic that a Pope had been chosen.) That was very special for us! A New pope on our Wedding Day! Truly a blessing. Our wedding was actually delayed a little bit as we needed to await the name of our new pope. Very cool! Very special! First mass at OLV to use the name of our new pope and it was our Wedding!” Lisa: “When we showed up at the Mansion on Delaware and I saw our reception room, my jaw almost dropped! The table was SO fancy, it just completed the fairytale day with perfection! The fireplace, the flowers, the wine glasses, the cake, everything was placed so perfectly I just couldn’t believe this was all for us. Because we made this day small, we were actually able to enjoy every moment of our dinner reception. We were able to talk to the guests, have our dance, laugh, talk, and remember every moment. It truly was a fairytale perfect day, and the best way to start my life with my best friend.”
Cal: “The reception. Because we had such a small wedding we enjoyed the most amazing relaxed dinner with our family and friends. We remember every bite…tried every appetizer, had a couple of drinks, enjoyed our amazing wedding cake. At the end of the night our parish priest even came back from one of his parish events and we were able to sit with him and enjoy a coffee for a little while. Who gets to do that on their wedding day. We stayed right at the Mansion, where we had our reception, so no rushing to get somewhere, AND we were able to send everyone home in the limo so no one had to drive home tired or after having a few drinks. Perfect ending to a perfect day.”
Lisa: “My advice to future brides and grooms: it’s so nice to have the big party and all of the pomp and circumstance but try and remember the most important thing about the day…the commitment you are making to each other and the love you share. You want to remember the day and enjoy it. Keep it small and simple. You won’t regret it. Make your own traditions. There is no right or wrong when it comes to YOUR wedding day. Remember the day is about what you want, not what everyone else wants. Stay true to yourself and your dreams. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.”
Cal: “My advice to couples doing this is to remember it is YOUR wedding. We had 12-14 people there (if you include priests and photographers). We did it our way and moved the wedding up 8 months without telling anyone. We realized at one point that our small wedding was being hijacked by other people’s expectations and ‘tradition.’ Remember that you don’t have to do something just because ‘it’s tradition’ or ‘that’s what you do at weddings’ or “’ut my parents are paying for it.’ Remember that every tradition had to be done once for the first time before it became ‘expected.’ Start your own tradition. While we, personally, upset many people, we have found that those who truly care about us have all gotten over it. We remember our day. We remember our ceremony. We remember eating and talking to people. And this summer we are having a low key, informal summer picnic reception…hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon and beer. Almost like a family reunion and coming out party all at once. Kids will be running around. Volleyball and corn hole will be played. We wouldn’t change it for the world. If the people around you care about you and truly want you to enjoy your day…they will help you make it about you. Do it your way. Start your own family traditions. Have your own story tell. It will be amazing!! I promise.”
Church: Our Lady of Victory Bascilica
Venue: Mansion on Delaware
Photos also taken at Shea’s Performing Arts Center