Traci & Ryan had an absolutely breathtaking woodland and greenery filled summer wedding at Brotherhood Winery. Seeing their vision come to life before our eyes was such a special moment for us. When Traci first began corresponding with us about their wedding her description of the day completely matched what we saw before our very eyes. All went perfect according to plan (minus the bit of rain – but we had fun because that allows for some cute umbrella photographs) – the historic and lush location, the original stone arches, and the gorgeous green based florals were all as Traci described to us many months prior.
We knew from the moment we began discussing photographing their wedding that is was going to be such a momentous and special day. They are the kind of couple that has such a strong love, appreciation, and respect to one another. There is this strength (and fun!) that exists when they are in your presence. Getting to know them during their engagement shoot was truly an honor and photographing their wedding was even more so. Their wedding gifts and notes to one another were pure and beautiful – and coincidentally similar! She gave him a compass that read “So you can always find your way back home to me.” and he gave her a bracelet with the coordinates of the location of their wedding day (Brotherhood Winery).
- An emotional and beautiful first look.
- Location Location Location.
- The saturated & lush beauty of a damp day.
- Centuries old architecture.
- Stone arches (and the moss that so beautifully paints them).
- Their modern, timeless romance & taste!
- Their attire – her dress, his suit, the bridesmaids dresses, and groomsmen’s suits!
- Forgoing table numbers for names of their favorite hiking trails.
- Their wedding cake was secretly a giant rainbow cookie, other desserts were pies & donuts.
Ready below to hear details from the bride on their love story, how he proposed, choosing their wedding day location, why they chose to forego tradition and see each other before their ceremony, nixed a formal sit-down dinner (that stops the party), and traded table numbers for hiking trails.
How they met:
“When we were very young, middle school forward, I was friends with Ryan’s older brother and step-sister. We were often at the same households or events, but because Ryan is 2 and a half years younger, we never really interacted. After high school, Ryan’s older brother moved to Arizona, and we lost touch. Unbeknownst to me, for 3 years during college, Ryan was getting his hair cut by my best friend, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and I went to different high schools, so when her and Ryan started to develop a friendship, she learned through conversation that Ryan had a older brother that was moving back to New York, and they both went to my high school. She asked me if I knew them, and suggested we all get together as Ryan’s birthday had recently passed and she wanted to celebrate. Even though it had been several years, I reached out to Scott and asked him if he would be interested in meeting some of my friends and I at a local bar, the Dubliner in Poughkeepsie. He agreed, and brought friends of his own, one of which was Ryan. This was the first time we had seen each other since childhood, so we hugged and said hello as if we were old friends. We got to talking and got along really well, and continued our friendship until it developed into something more shortly after.”
“Ryan and I had talked about getting a dog together for years. We found a breeder in New Hampshire that had a litter of 10 golden retriever puppies, and we went to NH to pick one out. We decided to name him Roscoe, after my grandfather, but we couldn’t bring him home for 2 more weeks. When those 2 weeks had passed, we packed the car with toys and blankets to go pick up our new family member. Unbeknownst to me, Ryan had spent weeks prior communicating with Amy, the breeder, his plans to propose to me. She agreed to help arrange the proposal. Ryan mailed Amy a blue dog collar for Roscoe, that had on it a small ring and a charm that read “Will you Marry Us?”. She put this collar on Roscoe prior to our arrival. Ryan also arranged to have my parents meet us at the breeder’s home to be present for the proposal. When we arrived at Amy’s house that day, I was so excited to be finally bringing home our new puppy that an engagement was the farthest thing from my mind. I immediately got on the floor and started playing with the new puppy, completely unaware of the collar and charm that held so much of our future right in front of me. I assumed it belonged to the breeder, as a way of telling the puppies apart, and we would be returning it to her. I knew we had brought our own collar for Roscoe for him to wear home with us. Nervous and knowing he had my engagement ring in his pocket, Ryan gestured and encouraged me to take a closer look at this collar. It was only then then I realized the charms dangling, and read what they said. I looked up at Ryan in complete shock, and he got down on one knee in front of me. He told me that I was his whole world and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Of course, I said “yes!”, and my parents came into the room behind us. Little Roscoe had no idea that he was going to be such a big part of our future. When we arrived back in Massachusetts at our home, Ryan had arranged to have my best friends, sister and nieces and nephew there waiting to celebrate our engagement. He truly thought of everything, and I truly had no idea.”
Why we chose Brotherhood:
“Having relocated from our hometowns in New York, to Massachusetts 2 years prior, we first had to make the decision that we would be planning our wedding from a distance, as it would be more convenient for our guests to attend a wedding in NY than to travel to Massachusetts. We took several trips to NY to visit venues. We knew we wanted to be married outside, as the outdoors is a big part of our relationship, hobbies, and passions. After seeing a few local barns, we traveled to Montgomery to visit Brotherhood Winery. The grounds were absolutely stunning, and we knew would be the perfect backdrop for our ceremony. When we were able to tour the ballroom, we knew the original, historic wooden beams that lined the ceiling, and stone that covered the walls would go perfectly with the wooden theme we wanted to incorporate on our tables. My eyes filled with tears and Ryan and I knew this was the place we would promise forever to each other.”
“*Besides the world’s best photographers 😉
The first of our priorities was to be married outside. We spend a great deal of our relationship hiking, kayaking, and picnicking outside, and knew that a wooden backdrop was what would feel the most “us”. Unfortunately, that is risk we took with the weather in July. It was in the mid 90’s on our wedding day, and mother nature decided to grace us with a little rain right before the ceremony. Our desire to be married near the historic original stone arches had to be changed to accommodate our guests during the unfortunate weather. We decided to move our cocktail hour inside, and get married inside a tent. It was still beautiful and we were still able to be married outside like we wanted.
Another priority was to incorporate our love of hiking and the outdoors to our theme. We decided instead of table numbers, to name each of our tables after trails we had hiked together as a couple. We set our table arrangement map for our guests on a map we had brought home from a hike in New Hampshire. We incorporated birch candles and vases as our centerpieces, wine barrels and branches around the room, and stuck to mostly white and green flowers to keep a natural look.
The last priority was the food. We selected an outside caterer for our food, as it was important to us that it fit our personalities. I had worked in a catering hall in NY when I was in college, and I didn’t want my won wedding to be so cookie-cutter and artificial as so many weddings I worked and therefore attended. We selected a station-style food service, and requested that our DJ continue to play music throughout the dinner service. We did not want out wedding to come to a screeching halt while people waited for their food to be served, or others to finish eating. It was important to us that people could eat what they wanted, when they wanted, and could choose dance or mingle throughout dinner hour, which they happily did. The food itself was important to us as well. We selected entrees that fit our personality and family background, including farm-to-table entrees and a german-style table with sausage because both of our families are German. Finally, we picked desserts that fit our personalities. Neither Ryan nor I actually enjoy eating cake, so our wedding cake was actually a giant Rainbow/Tri-Colored Italian cookie. Our desserts, therefore, were not classic cake vanilla cake, but was a table of 12 fresh pies and apple cider donuts, as we are huge fans of both.”
Favorite wedding day moments:
“Both of our favorite moment was the first look.”
“For me, planning the first look was extremely important to me. Although it goes against tradition, and I knew our guests would be disappointed that they didn’t get to the see the groom’s first look at me, it was more important to me that I got to see his true reaction. Ryan is an emotional man, but also very private. I knew that if his first time seeing me was in front of everyone we know, he would try to hide his true emotions and I would never get to see how he really felt. By having the first look in private with only our photographers, I was able to see him react in his purest emotions, and it was absolutely worth it to me. It was also my favorite moment because spending the entire day apart, the happiest day of my life, was killing me. Ryan is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the love of my life. Being able to see him, and hug him, and talk to him, before we saw everyone else, calmed all of my fears and grounded me, helping me remember that this day was about us and our future together.”
“For Ryan, the first look has represented something I had been looking forward to, exciting and nervous about all at the same time. The first time I got to lay eyes on my bride-to-be is something that I will remember forever. Traci looked more beautiful than I could ever imagined and it was only just the start of an emotional day! I remember trying to keep my tears of excitement back as Brian stood in front of me on the other side of the rock wall and those few moments felt like an eternity but Brain helped me breath through it. Once I saw Traci it was a relief that I didn’t have to be apart anymore and was excited to go through all the different moments of the wedding day together. Other moments I loved were of course getting to actually say “I Do” and place the ring on Traci’s finger and I also during the first dance I was able to dip Traci during one of the parts in our song. I like to dip Traci on normal days for the fun of it so getting to do it at the wedding during the first dance was a moment I wont forget with family and friends their to support us.”
“Again, as avid outdoor-lovers, we wanted a honeymoon where we could relax and enjoy each other, but also enjoy the great outdoors. We selected the islands of Kauai and The Big Island of Hawaii because they offered the serenity and beauty of a tropical and romantic getaway, but the adventures of waterfalls and volcanos. On our 10 day trip, we soaked up the sun on black sand beaches and in cabanas. When we couldn’t sit still any longer, we enjoyed a day long hike and 3-mile kayak to a hidden waterfall, snorkeling and swimming with Manta Rays at night, a catamaran sailboat tour of the Napali coast that included snorkeling with the tropical fish, and a helicopter tour of the waterfalls and Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure that we dream about repeating every day. “
Take a look below to see their vision as a reality and the magic of the day unfolding.
Location : Brotherhood Winery
Dress : Watters
Dress Shop : Cristina’s Inc. – Andover, MA
Bride’s Shoes : Walking on Air via Etsy
Hair : Krista Shirley
Make Up : Alexandria Gilleo
Suit : Jos. A Bank – 1905 The New Tradition
Flowers : Secret Garden Florist and Gifts
Bridesmaid’s Dresses : Bari Jay
Planner : Kayla Coogan
Caterer : Inncredible Caterers
Stationery : Wedding Paper Divas
Rings : Zimmer Brothers
Groom’s Wedding Band : Jewelry by Johan