We got the chance to reach out to Mike and Jane, a husband and wife duo that are the founders of Iris Photography. Jane focuses on the family and corporate clients while Mike is the lead on weddings. We asked Mike a little bit about his journey being a photographer and his experiences photographing weddings under our tents.
How long he has been a photographer: 11 years
How he got started/ what made him choose to photograph weddings:
Photography is a second career for him--he got an MBA in the late 90s and was in marketing roles for Fortune 500 companies. His wife Jane left the corporate world before him and started a wedding photography business in metro Detroit. They started having children and made a plan for him to leave the corporate world too and to join the photo business with Jane. In September of 2008, just before the financial crisis hit, he gave his notice and they started working together. They've grown the business steadily since then, opening a physical studio in West Hartford, CT. Their business is split between weddings and events, family portraits, and commercial work. On the commercial side, they have photographed the NY Mets at Spring Training for 10 years!
Mike leads the wedding and event segment. What he loves about it is the emotional impact and importance of the day and all the opportunities weddings present for taking honest, real photos that people value.
The geographic areas Iris Photography services:
They are based in West Hartford CT, but photograph most weddings in Fairfield County CT, Westchester County NY and Litchfield County CT. They have shot weddings from NJ to Martha's Vineyard to Vermont as well.
What he likes about photographing under our tents versus an indoor space:
Many things...first, a tent is inherently more festive than a ballroom--it adds a youthful, fun element to the celebration. A tent allows for people to come and go from the grassy areas easily for a relaxed, outdoor experience.
For photography, there are several advantages. First, a translucent canopy like the Sperry Tent sailcloth has a beautiful amber glow that looks great against the cobalt sky at dusk. Then, inside the canopy allows for bouncing flash behind or to the side to soften the light falling on people. He mentions that even if it rains, a tent concentrates the wedding energy in one place--many of the most memorable weddings he's photographed were tented weddings in the rain.
His favorite style of tent to photograph and why:
He really likes Sperry's sailcloth series with open sides. The amber glow, the wooden poles, and graceful lines are a beautiful backdrop to a celebration. The ochre sailcloth is close enough to a white to allow the bouncing of light as well. Clear tents really make a statement and are very cool too though.
An event he has photographed under one of our tents that has created a lasting memory:
They photographed a really nice couple's wedding in Darien CT a few years back, held on her parent's yard. (By the way - this is one of GTC's all time favorite weddings too!!) He loved the iconic image of everyone celebrating in the tent at dusk, with the bride's childhood home in the distance...kind of says it all for launching your children into the world. (Photos throughout post)
If you want to see more amazing moments captured by Iris Photography follow them on Instagram!!
Event Planners, or as I like to call them - the fairy Godmothers of all things wedding and special events - are really the glue to every single aspect of your wedding day/event. They help piece together your dream vision while giving you ideas and feedback about each decision from the catering and floral designs to the guest experience.
Ashley Douglass Events is the total package with the motto of "seamless planning for luxury events." We have worked with her and her team for the past few years and the work that they have done is stunning. We have shared the final images of numerous we have worked with her in the past, but we thought it would be fun to learn about the process of making those events a reality. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some one-on-one time with the one and only Ashley Douglass.
Her experience in this industry:
Before event planner, Ashley was involved in professional theatre both in NYC and regionally. She grew up in a professional theatre family and was a serious ballet student all throughout childhood so “production time” was just part of her life. While still in the theater, she worked as a staff trainer for a larger NYC restaurant group. For her it was ideal because when she needed a job, be it for a month or four, she always had a restaurant to be placed into and sometimes was helping to open a new restaurant too. She moved to LA in her late 20s and did the same work on the side and eventually her name started circulating as a subcontracted wedding or event coordinator. That was when she first got the wedding bug. Ashley shadowed some designers as well, laying the groundwork for a future job, all the while still treading the boards. She then went back to school to become a therapist and in tandem started to book her own weddings. (Is there a more perfect pairing of professions? Planner and therapist? She can make your event beautiful AND help you through the inevitable meltdowns!) Without planning it, a new career emerged and picked up speed prior to completing her training hours as a therapist so she went for it as a full time wedding/event planner. That was about 9 years ago.
How she got started and what made her choose this career:
Ashley always wanted to work for herself. That was a must. She says she is for sure right brained but also loves detail and a hard challenge. The harder the job, the better she will do. With weddings and events, you see the final outcome which is the ideal reward. Ashley also has a few other business ideas up her sleeve, but we will get back to her on that!
What geographic areas she services:
She works in NYC, Hamptons, Hudson Valley to the Berkshires, Vermont and Fairfield County CT. But really she works wherever her clients take her. They have also planned in CA, CO, FL, TX and Mexico.
Her favorite part about being an event planner:
Happy clients make a happy planner. Ashley feels good to be in
a job in which she excels, as silly as that may sound. She is good with people (thanks therapy degree), detail and an absolute pro design.
What Ashley likes about working with a tent for a wedding reception versus an indoor space:
She finds that its important to have a tented event even if you are in
a location that does not get much rain. Having a main structure calls for guests to
focus and gather in one space and you are able to do what you want aesthetically. You can be anywhere - a patio, a field or even outside
in the woods - and have a formal event. She loves lighting and a barren tent gives
How she discovered Greenwich Tent and why she enjoys working with us:
She began working with us back when we were first Sperry Tents Greenwich. We're a growing company that still feels and operates like a small family company and she and her clients value that.
Some of her favorite events she has done with us!
A New Canaan wedding the night after the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage as legal. Click Here to see the full story! (No big deal - Justin Timberlake showed up...)
A wedding at Glenmere Mansion where the bride actually let her mother do a majority of the planning since she was busy with her career and wanted her mom to have some fun with it!
And a wedding at The Country Club of Fairfield where her parents got married sixty two years before. Click Here to see the full story!
If you are equally as happy seeing her gorgeous events, then pop on over to their Instagram!
When people say that a picture is worth a thousand words that couldn't be more true for a wedding day! Your wedding photographer becomes your second set of eyes on your big day, capturing all the personal details, moments and an atmosphere full of love.
Having photos of the moment your bridesmaids see you in your dress for the first time, the moment you say I Do, the beautiful reception tables and your first dances are memories that you wish could last a little longer, well, that is exactly what Leila Brewster is going to capture on your magical day.
She is a photographer that has been a part of a few of our favorite weddings over the past few years and we wanted you to meet her and see some of the amazing pictures she has taken!
She been a photographer for over 20 years, and 10 professionally. Her mom gifted her a camera when she was 15 for a trip to Paris and the love affair with the still image started that day. It was pretty much fate!
How she got started photographing weddings:
About 10 years ago, she sat down and asked herself what she loves. Having two degrees and at the time playing soccer in Denmark, Leila knew she didn’t want to work for anyone but herself and knew that her soccer career was ending. So she sat down and made a list. She LOVED people, travel, and photography. Reviewing the list it just made sense that weddings were the perfect combination of those three things! She then hung up her soccer cleats and never looked back.
The geographic areas she services:
She is really all over the place - Most of her weddings are in CA (up and down the whole state), NY, RI, CT, VT, with a few destination sprinkled in. She will go anywhere!
What she likes about photographing under our tents versus an indoor space:
She love photographing under your tents because of the dynamic lines! Instead of a flat ceiling, she loves how the tents curve upwards. And she loves seeing the many ways you can dress the tents up - some prefer twinkle lights, while others do floral installs. It's so fun to see how each client makes the space their own.
Her favorite style of tent, Sperry or Clear top to photograph:
She does love a clear top for daytime because she has always loved nature and thinks that the clear top is the best way to be out in nature, but inside not worrying about bugs (the mosquito's LOVE her). She will say though that a Sperry tent is great for bouncing light - It helps create a more dynamic lighting situation under a white tent whereas the clear top is limiting on her flash angles.
Some events she has photographed under one of our tents that have created a lasting memory:
Sammi and Rob's wedding a couple of years ago in Greenwich, CT. Pictures Below!
If you love these photos as much as we do, then you will love her Instagram!!
Florals and greenery are one of the biggest focal points of any wedding from the bride's beautiful bouquet, the complementing bridesmaid bouquets, the ceremony altar to the wow factor of the reception table centerpieces. They are truly what make the wedding atmosphere feel dreamy and celebratory all at the same time.
We thought it would be a great idea to chat with one of our favorite floral companies, Hana Floral! They have created stunning weddings under our tents over the years so we are giving you the chance to get to know the owner, Yumiko Fletcher a little better and show off how amazing and talented her and her team are. Seriously - they create the most dreamy florals.
How she got her start in the floral industry:
Yumiko got her start in the floral industry over 15 years ago after her mom passed away suddenly from cancer. She ended up taking a leave of absence from her NYC job and worked at a small flower shop that summer. Her boss at the flower shop told her that she was a natural and she then decided to take a few classes at the NY Botanical gardens as well. She continued to work with florals at another shop after she moved that focused on a lot of weddings and events and then in 2004, she decided to start Hana Floral officially. Before finding her love of florals she was a classically trained opera singer and wanted a way to get back into creativity in a new form that could also end up being her livelihood.
What she likes most about working in the wedding/event industry:
She loves meeting her clients and getting to be a part of one of the most important days of their lives. It's still a thrill to her even after over 700 weddings!!
Her favorite wedding she has done with us and why it was so special:
She loved our Vermont wedding at the Hermitage Inn (photos below). She was fortunate to make a connection with the family and loved being a part of both of their daughter's weddings.
Does she prefer working with greenery or florals for decor? BOTH
What she enjoys about designing florals for tents vs an indoor space and what are the major differences that clients would want to know:
She loves a tented wedding because it's a blank slate. You can create your dream wedding without the walls of a ballroom confining you. She's also just a huge fan of any weddings outdoors. Nature is your background and that is always beautiful.
The geographic areas she services:
Her and her team will go wherever their clients ask them to travel however, their general area is all of CT, NY, and New England.
Her favorite flowers to use for wedding bouquets/table centerpieces:
Without a doubt, she says she is a peony lover. She also really loves so many spring flowers, such as lilacs, hellebores, and ranunculus. (Us too Yumiko... us too.)
The process behind creating and designing floral décor for a wedding:
She likes to hear about the couple's story and the reasoning behind the venue/location for their wedding to get a vision of the overall day. From there she goes into more detail with the couples about where the florals are going to be - whether its the bouquets, personal flowers, ceremony or reception. She always encourages brides to send her images of what they are envisioning or a Pinterest board full of ideas which then helps her and her team to pull common themes and colors for the florals.
For more incredible dreamy pictures go to their Instagram!