NYC Wedding Photographer - Bailey Quinlan
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Friendly Crossways Wedding - Steph & Brendan

Friendly crossways wedding portraits in the woods near Boston

Steph & Brendan got married at FRIENDLY CROSSWAYS RETREAT CENTER in Harvard, MA just outside of Boston on a sunny spring day in May- perfect timing for the spring blooms. Their afternoon ceremony was on the shady lawn surrounded by trees, followed by a reception in the tent with a delicious buffet dinner, emotional speeches, and no shortage of dancing. They finished the night off with a fire pit and group games until the wee hours.

Their wedding kicked off my season, and I have to say it’s going to be hard to top this one! Not only are Steph & Brendan two of the most kind, genuine people I’ve ever met, but theirs was one of the most unique wedding days I’ve EVER been a part of, with so many personal touches sprinkled throughout.

In their words,

“The theme of our wedding is friendship and togetherness. We have both moved far and frequently, and lead busy lives, so it's important for us to have moments like these to bring people together, be present, and to celebrate our lucky lives.”

To do so, they put lots of thought into the details to make it speak to their story, and have it be extra special & fun for their guests. Newly-engaged couples- take notes!

  1. They said screw gender norms- let’s both have bouquets! And their wedding parties weren’t divided by gender either.

  2. Instead of bouquets for the rest of the wedding party, they set up a flower crown station where everyone could make their own floral accessory out of an array of flowers and materials- and their guests had fun with it as well!

  3. They MADE their own wedding rings!! According to Steph: “The inside has a map of the rivers in Oxford, with a tiny ruby where we first met. The outside has lavender and eucalyptus, which are plants that have played meaningful roles in our relationship. Lavender specifically reminds us of Brendan's parents' garden and our time in the UK. The rings have 1 lavender and 7 eucalyptus for Brendan, and reversed for Steph! Our birthdays are both on the 17th, and the Tea Ceremony was on May 17th. We really went to town on the symbolism haha!)”

  4. Steph is not only working on her PhD (and was prom queen!) but she’s also an extremely talented painter, so she made all the signs and invitations herself. (She actually considered painting on her wedding dress! She decided against it, but did a trial run and wore it for their engagement session- check it out HERE.)

  5. For the ceremony, guests were seated in concentric circles around the couple, so everyone had a good view of the events. And once guests were settled, a friend of theirs led the group in a circle song, where they memorized a couple measures of music that they hummed in 4 parts, as everyone processed. (Again, making sure everyone was included.)

  6. They had pies instead of a wedding cake! Mary who runs the venue, actually hand-picked the berries on the property and baked them herself!

They had a lot of family and friends travel from overseas, so having everyone together was super special. The whole day was so meaningful, and emotional- Brendan had me crying during his speech! I also shot their tea ceremony the night before, so they were generous enough to let me stay both nights at the venue, which is also a hostel where most of their guests crashed for the weekend. So I was lucky enough to chat with some of their loved ones and get some insight into their lives. Everyone was so welcoming, by the end of it I really felt like I was another guest at the party! I feel truly lucky to have met such gentle souls, and I hope we find a way to cross paths again soon! When we said good-bye Steph even jokingly said, “Maybe we’ll see you at our next friend’s wedding!” :)

Venue - FRIENDLY CROSSWAYS

Floral Designer - FIELD AND VASE

Bridal Gown - BHLDN

Groom’s Suit - INDOCHINO

Handmade Custom Rings - WITH THESE RINGS

Rentals - SPECIAL EVENTS OF NEW ENGLAND

Caterer - JULIANA’S CATERING