Favorite Boston Wedding Venues!


Going over our 2016 wedding images, I was inspired to share some of my favorite wedding venues in and around Boston.  Most of the outdoor locations are also wonderful for engagement (or any other kind) portrait sessions.  Some of these Boston wedding venues below are perfect for an elopement (like City Hall), some are great for a small(ish) wedding, and some can fit in all the circles of friends.   



The concrete giant.  I love shooting here, the modernist minimalism of the building is great for framing portraits.  Our City Clerk is wonderful.  And there are so many places to do portraits within a few blocks of Boston City Hall.  Get Married at Boston City Hall

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography


You can choose to get married on the lawn, or in chambers.  Both are beautiful, as is the building.  Get Married at Cambridge City Hall

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography



I didn't actually get to shoot here this year, as the weather had us onto Plan B, but this is a gem. Officially known as Norman Leventhal Park, this green gem sits right in the middle of Boston's financial district.  The park and the neighborhood around it are very quiet on weekends, which makes it an ideal downtown location for city photographs. We'll need a permit to take wedding photograph here.  


boston nature center wedding photography

A classic and beautiful place for a small Boston wedding ceremony.  Weeping willows, gardens, statues and of course the iconic swan boats all add to the atmosphere.  As a City of Boston park, the permit limits you to 60 minutes, under 50 guests, no seating or food and no amplified sound.   



The Arnold Arboretum is available for wedding ceremonies free of charge, but of course as a public space the park will is open to the public,   Your guest count should be under 40.  No seating or food is allowed.   This could be a beautiful ceremony location, then walk to your wedding restaurant reception directly from the Arboretum.


boston nature center wedding photography

boston wedding photography nature center

If you like a backyard feel, check out the Boston Nature Center, a community urban sanctuary, has an outdoor ceremony garden, a patio and sprawling lawn for the reception.  A Mass Audubon Sanctuary, the Boston Nature Center is a green option for a Boston wedding venue and your event fees support environmental education.


We’ve got a lot of them in New England.  These are some of two of favorite spots that I was able to shoot in again last year. 


A magical and elegant little gem just outside the city.  Gorgeous grounds and an opulent interior - it has, as I learned this year, the perfect floors for dancing.  There's space for either an indoor or outdoor ceremony. 

commander's mansion watertown wedding photographer

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography

commander's mansion watertown wedding photography


A National Historic Landmark and beautiful example of a mansion complete with gardens and historic greenhouses. Inside you get an elegant library and ballroom.  It's a formal setting for an informal wedding - a wedding venue that encourages guests to move organically through the space.  Like most historic homes, the room as on the smaller side. 

lyman estate wedding photography

lyman estate wedding photography

lyman estate wedding photography

lyman estate wedding photography

Commander's Mansion Fall Wedding


commanders mansion wedding photographer watertown ma

We met over soup and tea at Flour on a cold evening in Boston.  They had interesting questions, and comments, on my sample albums.  Suddenly it hit me - Are you a designer, I asked the bride.  She smiled.  Are you a photographer, I asked the groom.  He smiled.  

More importantly, they met tango dancing in DC.  And many moves and a few years later they were planning their late October wedding at the Commander’s House in Watertown.  It as an intimate wedding, with about 30 guests.   As dancing is close to their heart, and the start of their love story they wanted to dance - the parlor floor and the band were carefully considered.  A simple civil ceremony was held upstairs in the Commander's Mansion Yellow Room with an officiant and strings, and lots of beaming from the bride and groom. 

It was a small enough wedding that everything was held comfortably inside the venue.  And the interior is gorgeous!   An historic residence, this three storied brick mansion sits by the Charles River. A beautiful cast iron furniture filled veranda wraps a section of the house - and it was the perfect leaf blown setting for a few bridal portraits.  There was something so romantic about the ground and the architecture of the building in the fall. The interior of the mansion is even more lovely.  Rich tones of wood were in floors, the staircase the trim - everywhere.   Maria and Davis chose to use the first floor for their reception and held their civil ceremony upstairs in the Yellow Room.

commanders mansion watertown wedding photography

commanders mansion watertown wedding photos brick walkway

commanders mansion watertown wedding photographer quiet moment


first look commanders mansion wedding photography

Possibly one of my favorite first looks - they were SO EXCITED to see each other, Maria twirled right into frame and ran up the brick walk to see David.  

first look commanders mansion wedding photos

first look commanders mansion wedding photographer

wedding first look commanders mansion photography

We rolled right into couple's portraits after their first look, taking advantage of the beautiful grounds. 

commanders mansion wedding bridal portraits

commanders mansion wedding photos porch

commanders mansion wedding photographer fall leaves

commanders mansion wedding photography fall leaves


diy wedding bouquet fall

commanders mansion wedding dress parlor light couch

commanders mansion bridal portrait couch

commanders mansion bridal portrait window light

commanders mansion diy bridal bouquet

commanders mansion indie bridal portrait crochet shawl


commanders mansion wedding ceremony yellow room

commanders mansion wedding ceremony photography

commanders mansion wedding ceremony photos

commanders mansion ceremony wedding photographer

commanders mansion indoor ceremony wedding

commanders mansion indoor ceremony wedding bride

commanders mansion indoor ceremony wedding vows

commanders mansion indoor ceremony wedding ring exchange photos

commanders mansion indoor ceremony wedding photographer


commanders mansion dance tango wedding photographer

commanders mansion first dance tango

commanders mansion tango first dance live band

commanders mansion tango first dance live band wedding photographer

commanders mansion tango first dance live band wedding photography


indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion wedding photographer

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion toast mom wedding photographer

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion cake cutting wedding photography

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion tango band wedding photography

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion violin tango wedding photos

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion bride wedding photos

indie bride low key wedding commanders mansion tango wedding photography


Thanks to the team at Commander's Mansion for running a smooth reception.

Florals - DIY
Band - Los Chantas
Dinner - La Bonne Maison
Justice of the Peace - Gayle Smalley

Visual Voice Love Story | New England Engagement Session Words and Pictures

Visual Voice New England Engagement Portraits

visual voice boston engagement photographer

A few weeks ago I shared my initial favorites from Cassie and Alex's Berkshires engagement session.  Today I have more images from their beautiful fall engagement session along with their own words.  

I started adding Visual Voice as an option to Ars Magna portrait sessions a few years ago.  I love doing this!  When clients add their own voices to the images - the strength and resonance of their gestures of love is amplified.  

What are Visual Voice Love Stories?

What is Visual Voice? The Visual Voice sessions,are portrait sessions that include a written component.  It's a chance to express and share your feelings towards each other in language as well as in the gestures and emotion of the photographs.

How does it work?  You and your partner will answer a set of questions independently, and mail the answers back to me.  We schedule, plan and have your engagement session.  I read through your responses and pair them with images.  You’ll get a pictures only gallery as well as a gallery of select images that are paired with words.

You can see examples here, here and here

visual voice new england engagement photographer

engagement photos with dog visual voice

visual voice love story boston engagement portraits

engagement photos barn visual voice dog

dramatic lighting frame barn engagement portraits canaan

visual voice love story new england engagement photos

love story engagement photos visual voice

autumn engagement photos visual voice love story

negative space engagement pictures love story fall

barn silo engagement photos with dog

love story new england engagement pictures

If you're interested in booking A Visual Voice Session, a customized portrait session that incorporates your own words to each other, send me an email and we'll get a date on the calendar.  It requires that you be courageous and truthful in your feelings and put them into language.  You can do that, can't you?

Want to book your Visual Voice Love Story?  Don't be shy. Let's do it!  



Fall Engagement Photos New England

Engagement Photos in the Berkshires

Wanted to share a few of my favorite images from this beautiful fall engagement session that I photographed over Columbus Day weekend.  This couple opted in for Visual Voice - so a full post, complete with tears and laughter, will come later, I promise.  You can checkout another example of Visual Voice Love Story here

The autumn leaves have arrived!  And half of them, at least, are still on the trees.  Taking advantage of the natural beauty and the long weekend, we spent an afternoon on The Engineer's family property just past the Berkshires.  It turned out to be a gorgeous day and bonus that it's private property so their adorable dog could join us!  

More to come . . .

fall engagement portraits foliage

engagement portrait barn

This restored barn provided the perfect place to slip in for a dramatically lit cuddle. 

new england engagement photos fall

black and white engagement portrait berkshires

berkshires engagement phorographer

Looking forward to their wedding next year on Cape Cod!  Congratulations on the multitude of new chapters you are enjoying right now. 

Oakley Country Club Wedding Photography

beth el temple wedding belmont ma

When I was snorkeling in Mexico last winter, my guide enthusiastically practiced his English with me.  I asked him how he was learning.  “Little by little!”  Como lo have todo. That’s how you do everything.

Little by little.  This sentiment resonated has resonated with me, as 2016 has been full of both personal loss and major change.  One of the things that I’ve realized recently is the importance of ritual.  Big life events and rites of passage can be overwhelming.  Many times our ritual to take us through rites of passage involve many steps.  Little by little. Step by step. This is how we live in our lives.  Things may happen all at once, but we come to process, understand and accept them bit by bit.  Little by little.

beth el temple wedding belmont ketubah

This beautiful Jewish wedding ceremony included many steps, small but cumulatively significant.  The ketubah signing was done before the service began.  A ketubah is the marriage agreement  - a signed and witnessed document that reflect a couple’s shared vision of their commitment, their life together and their aspirations.

beth el temple wedding belmont ketubah signing

beth el temple wedding belmont ketubah

Many moving pieces to the wedding day.  Initially the clients didn’t plan for me to be at the ketubah signing.  A smallish Sunday wedding, they wanted only the ceremony and the first part of the reception.  But I’m so glad I arrived early and was able to document this part of the day.  

The tissues on the table - one of the dads noted that they should be moved for the pictures.  Not technically ideal for a portrait of the ketubah signing to have a box of tissues sitting there- but when a eye welled with tears - they were handy and I was able to get this image.  Who cares if there’s a tissue box on the table?  Or a stroller keeps a wide shot of the ceremony from being symmetrical? (shout out to Brian Ng for reminding me of this year ago in SF) No day is perfect.  Wedding days happen, little by little, piece by piece. It’s not about perfection, it’s about emotion.  It’s about expression.  It’s about allowing yourself to be overcome with the significance and emotion of this ritual, this rite of passage.    

beth el temple wedding belmont aisle

beth el temple wedding ceremony belmont

Sometimes elements that day were out of our control. The hawk circling overhead as we take the family formals, the wind kicking up the veil, the ring bearer photo bombing the group portraits - yet these are the indelible moments.  These are part of the man moments that mark this day as special, as unlike other days, unlike other weddings.  The pleasure is in the unscripted moments. 

oakley country club wedding ring bearer

application for show stealer received

oakley country club wedding bridal portrait

oakley country club wedding first dance

whirling around the whole dance floor for their first dance, this couple knew how to move

The service was held at the Beth El Temple Center in Belmont.  I recognized the Rabbi from a few other weddings.  He is dynamic and gets everyone involved in singing, being exuberant and praise.  A lovely way to begin a marriage.  

oakley country club wedding reception

another unscripted and beautiful moment, changing into comfortable shoes for the party

oakley country club wedding reception toast

oakley country club wedding reception

tears oakley country club wedding

oakley country club wedding toast

purple tiered wedding cake oakley country club

dancing horah oakley country club wedding

The reception was held at the Oakley Country Club a few minutes away.  It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for a mid-afternoon reception and dance party. 

Preview of Shalin Liu Rockport Wedding!

bride and groom wedding at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport kissing on Bearksin Neck Wharf 

I went to pull a handful of previews/sneak peaks from this weekend's wedding - and I easily picked over 30.  After another hard edit (and it was hard!) here are a few of my favorites from Diana and Rafiq's beautiful wedding at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, Massachusetts.  

getting ready before the wedding ceremony at the Shalin Liu in rockport

I love this 21st century Ladies in Waiting image, where the bride is finalizing her vows on her laptop at the Shalin Liu performance Center wedding in rockport

a final lace up before the first look at the Shalin Liu wedding 

before their Shalin Lui performance center wedding ceremony, we had to stop by the lobster traps on Bearskin Neck Wharf and then head out to Motif Number One

the classic Rockport wedding portrait - with Motif #1 at Bearskin Neck Wharf

groom met bride at the end of the aisle and they walked onto the stage together in the performance hall at the Shalin Liu wedding in rockport

An emotional and tearful wedding ceremony at the stunning performance hall at Shalin Liu

sharing a private kiss, the bride and groom on the stage at their Shalin Liu wedding  

tiny wedding cake on the third floor of the shalin liu wedding

First Dance at their Shalin Liu wedding to Yo La Tengo's You Can Have It All

A break from the Shalin Liu wedding dance floor to roast some marshmallows - s'more time!