buffalo backyard barn wedding mary dougherty011 Buffalo Indie Barn Wedding This wedding day was unique. Hannah and Ben are creative, free people who live a life that speaks to others and invites them to see things in a new way. They devour books and thoughtfully paint and spend time outdoors in the real world more than they ever will do online. They are also people I know, from days spent at Houghton where I helped with the track + xc team and went on long runs with Hannah on more than one occasion. She was my first intern, and quickly became a friend to our whole family… but this is about her and Ben, who recently hosted the most beautiful Buffalo indie barn wedding.

The day was planned, as one would expect, thoughtfully and with intention. They used the property of friends to host an intimate ceremony and tented reception on either side of the large barn. Girls readied upstairs while the guys were below, and notes were exchanged moments before starting the day with a first look. Flowers were perfectly rustic yet elegant by the talented Ferncroft Floral and guests were treated to barbeque for dinner and an array of sweets from Buffalo’s own Sweet Hearth Food Truck. At night friends gathered under twinkling lights and shared music before sending off the couple with sparklers.

It was a gorgeous day. So many friends and familiar faces gathered and shared stories and enjoyed each minute of their time together. I’m so glad I could be among the people there to witness the day, and of course document it! Here are a few favorites and open the post to see a more complete look at the day!

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IMG 8227 homemade lettuce wraps

Family dinner is a regular part of our lives, and in the summer it typically takes place on our large front porch. I didn’t know how much I loved porches until we lived in this house, and it has a great one. We sit around the table and talk about the day while taking turns helping Daphne make less of a mess than if she was on her own. It’s still a mess usually, but that’s what happens when you are learning to use utensils.

These homemade lettuce wraps are easily one of my favorite new dishes, perfect for summer but I would eat it any time of the year. However, it has a few ingredients that could scare you off, fish sauce being the main culprit. Let me assure you, this is worth buying a bottle of fish sauce just so you can make this recipe (and perhaps discover a few others with the ingredient) because it definitely can’t be skipped. Maybe it’s the fact that anything wrapped in lettuce feels healthier and you allow yourself to eat more of them (I know I do) but picture this plate x6 and that’s a typical homemade lettuce wrap meal. Plus isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it fun to put together your own wraps and take your time at the table? Well if you agree then you need to read the rest of this post + try the recipe… and let me know what you think!  read the full post»

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IMG 3976 why I like engagement sessions

Do you naturally take great photographs? Do you look at the camera and immediately know what to do? No? Perfect, you’re just like everyone I’ve photographed. Each engagement session starts with a few caveats from the couple. Warning : we are not very pose-y, we don’t know what to do and I blink a lot in front of the camera. It doesn’t scare me. In fact, it’s probably why you hired me in the first place.

After over six years as a photographer of people (and couples specifically) I know how hard it is to be yourself. I know that because it’s true for me when I’m photographed. You need to have permission to laugh, to reminisce about your first date, to remember forever what it feels like to be held close in each others arms. That doesn’t always happen naturally – not because you aren’t in love – but because you just tore apart your closest changing your outfit last minute or were stuck in traffic on the way to the shoot. We all need to be invited to slow down, to take a deep breath and reflect on what it is that’s important.

Engagement sessions do that for us. They introduce us slowly – without the pressure of the wedding day – to the process of documenting our relationships.

Getting to know each other happens best in person, and I really want to get to know you. I want to make sure you are so comfortable having me at your wedding that you can greet me like a friend and know that I’ll take care of everything you are worried about. All of the other obvious benefits of engagement sessions still apply : experience being photographed helps so much on a wedding day, pictures can be taken in a different location and season then the wedding…. and you can easily bringing your dog along for a few shots.

It’s because of those things that I invite couples to plan for something fun. Think of it as a date you always wanted to go on, or maybe one that you always enjoy, and set the framework to start planning. This could mean spending an evening on a boat, walking around the city you call home, enjoying the scenery at a gorgeous estate, or shooting at your favorite restaurant. It can be complicated, it can be simple, but most of all it should be you.

Yesterday I photographed Jim and Dana (who you see above) and they are tying the knot this Saturday. Distance kept us from shooting this any sooner, but I don’t think the proximity to their wedding will make these images any less special. We took advantage of the tall grass and rocky rivers here in the country and captured some images that speak to the laid back nature of these two beautiful souls… and it was beautiful.

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plumbush chatauqua wedding mary dougherty photo01 Chautauqua Wedding at Plumbush Bed + Breakfast

This was no ordinary day. The hours spent planning for it and dreaming up every detail exceeded the preparation for perhaps any other day in Chelsea and Adam’s lives. Vintage handkerchiefs and carefully selected bridesmaids dresses – each in a different style and color – were surrounded by custom wedding bags and thoughtful letters from the bride. This Chautauqua wedding at Plumbush Bed + Breakfast began with the girls right at the house that they conveniently had access to for all of the weekend. The barn and tent had been decorated beautifully and were within a stones throw of each other. A giant game of Jenga awaited guests on the lawn as well as corn hole, custom drinks, and a family history through wedding photos. It was beautiful.

When the time was right, Adam waited outside and Chelsea walked out the front door to meet him. They began their wedding day – together – in those quiet moments, which were few and far between for the rest of the day. She was radiant and he was beaming and within the hour they pledged their love at the very church parents and grandparents had wed. In fact, they chose the date in part because it was the anniversary Adam’s grandparents also shared.

Adam and Chelsea, you two know how to throw a party, and make it look effortless. Thanks for being willing collaborators and for allowing me to document your wedding day. Enjoy these favorites and open the post to see a more complete look of this day.

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Invitations : Minted | Favors + Gifts : The Wedding Chicks | Dress : bought at Brides against Breast Cancer |  Veil : Veils by Roxanne | Equipment Rentals : Jamestown Awning | Linens : It’s Your Day | Caterer : Rowdy Rooster | Cake : Fifth Avenue Cake Works

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wedding invitation styling styling wedding invitations

I love paper goods and my brides do too. Hand written letters, deeply imprinted or just kissed letterpress, the most amazing collection of vintage stamps on your envelopes – I’ve seen it and I love styling wedding invitations to document them.

It all starts with that envelope, the one that contains the details of your day and invites them to join in. Everyone does this differently which is partly why I love seeing what people come up with. The other reason is… I just love paper. Call me crazy – “crazy!” I heard one of you shout – but the days I spent touching paper samples and deciding what to print on while I was a graphic designer have never left me. That’s really all I did back then… sit at my desk and sip iced coffee while deciding what beautiful things to use… I’m kidding! Most days as a designer (and a lot as a photographer) are locked behind your computer until you find ways to work outside of that box.

I guess this is one of those ways. Sure it has to be edited and blogged and posted and shared, but until I find someone to do that for me the escape to the tangible world is enough to keep me coming back.

Oh, and in case you’re looking for inspiration a few of my favorite invitations have recently come from : Bella Figura  |   Nota Bene  |  Minted – which is the one you see above!

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