“Over there, under the willow tree” said Holly, as we were standing in the rain. With that simple instruction, I could see her vision with crystal clarity. We were location scouting at Holden Arboretum for Holly and Brian’s wedding in Kirtland. There are a million great locations to choose from at Holden, but it had to be this willow tree.
It just rolls off the tongue – “We kissed, under the willow tree” or “He said,’I love you’, under the willow tree” or “We sat and watched the stars, under the willow tree.”
“Perfect” for Brian and Holly was found “under the willow tree.” When their June wedding day finally arrived, the heavy spring rains had just passed. The gardens were fresh and in early summer bloom.
Most meaningful for me was the warmth that flowed from Holly, Brian and their families. I could feel their welcome and kindness the entire time I was working with them. At one point, Holly’s mother could see I was a little anxious. With just a couple kind words, she permanently changed the way I work. Somehow, in that moment, I found a “photography zen” that sticks with me to this day.
Below are some of my favorites from their wedding day. I have become personally attached to Holly and Brian’s images and I had a tough time choosing among them. So, there are more below than usual -
Yes those are leopard-print shoes, and they were smashing!
“Keep Calm and Carry On” sees like as good a mantra as any.
Holly’s sister, in her fine pink dress, was as much a joy to work with as Holly herself.
The Willow Tree (I thought it deserved capital letters). It’s positioned on a small peninsula gutting out into a large pond. The branches descend from the canopy and nearly touch the water, and the leaves are a marvelous teal-green. Underneath rests a bench, with Holly and Brian.
After the arboretum, we headed over to Lantern Court for the wedding reception. Lantern Court is an old mansion attached to the Holden property. Much like the gardens, Latern Court is like a little dream world. The wine was furnished by Holly’s dad and is homemade.
Holly used bud vases and a selection of flowers to help guests find their tables. As intended, all the guest took their flowers home.
No wedding is complete without shots of Jack Daniels…WAIT, what?
Holly and Brian’s wedding cake featured a vintage cake-topper that was used on Holly’s parents wedding cake.
For their first dance, Brian secretly wrote and recorded a song just for Holly. Far from cheesy, it was down-right amazing!
At dusk, the Lantern Court staff lit luminaries lining the drive just for Holly and Brian. As they took an evening stroll alone, I snapped just a few pictures. I’m told the wedding reception ended with non-stop dancing.
Brooke and I are really looking forward to our next dinner with Holly and Brian. At the last one, we got a chance to compare our notes from mutual, but separate, vacations to Napa. Now we just need to find a suitable restaurant.