The clouds were in and out, the wind was strong, and the sound of seagulls and crashing waves filled the air on the morning of Jacque and Ben’s wedding at Casa Blanca on Cherry Island. As team SHP, led by associate photographer Wesley, made a phone call to Phil, the boatman and owner of the wedding venue, we quickly realized we were not in the intended meetup spot. In typical tourist fashion, we piled back in the car and made a few more K, U, and probably a couple other letter turns before finally seeing our guide and loading all of our gear onto the boat.
As we approached Casa Blanca we were greeted with a comprehensive waterfront view of this late 18th Century mega-cottage. We took a bit of a self guided tour around the grounds after stepping foot on land. The interior of the cottage was just like a museum. There was a distinct musty, antique smell that was so comforting, and always accompanies those objects from days gone by. The groomsmen were gathered around the piano and someone was playing flawlessly and quite proficiently. Molly and Mary Grace walked closer to see who it was, but to their surprise, the piano was playing itself! Venturing outside, we walked down an orange and winding boardwalk, past a row of three inviting waterside hammocks, and a collection of stone animal statues with gleaming marble eyes. The stone gazebo that was to be the place where Jacque and Ben say “I do” had four opened archways that all provided an unparalleled view to the St. Lawrence River and the castles across the water.
All of this splendor aside, it was time for us to capture the beauty of the bride-to- be who was getting ready inside her perfectly pink room. As soon as we walked up the stairs to this room, the sense of family was immediately apparent. Children were running around, wide-eyed with curiosity, and pointing at the enormous ships that were floating by just outside their windows. They seemed to be just as fascinated with Wesley’s camera and lighting setup and kept saying, “One more picture” as they watched while being asked to come away and eat their lunches. Jacque’s gorgeous embroidered dress captured such a simple yet elegant sophistication. Her pale pink shoes coincidentally matched the walls of her room, and her grandmother’s stunning diamond ring brought tears to her mother’s eyes as they both looked down at it on her finger for the first time.
As the men were getting ready in the green room, Ben’s attention for detail shined through; he made sure all of his men had their boutonniere, collar, and ties on point. Ben’s dad joined the men in the green room, while drinks were being had and told them a story about Ben that brought about quite a few good laughs. We loved Ben’s “Groom” koozie he was sporting with his beer of choice and his boutineer that was perfectly crafted to complement the bouquets.
Before long, we noticed through the big picture window, the guests were arriving on their ferry. All were greeted warmly with smiles and hugs by the handsome Ben. They were then directed down the orange boardwalk past the swanky sounds of a saxophone being played live. It finally came time for Jacque to walk down the aisle to her patient but eager groom. Escorted on both sides by her mom and dad, Jacque couldn’t take her eyes off of Ben. The ceremony was almost threatened by a few ominous raindrops, but luckily everyone made it through, mostly dry, to witness Jacque and Ben be pronounced husband and wife!
As their guests milled about the giant wrap-around porch and sat in the comfy lawn chairs at cocktail hour, the now Mr. and Mrs. Taylor escaped away for some couples photos with Wesley. Walking side-by- side down the boardwalk and waving long distances to well-wishers in boats going by, the couple was so wrapped up in each other.
Before long, the band was set and ready to introduce the new couple into the tented reception space. This space was decorated with a bird theme with little birch-bark box planters holding the table numbers, and a bag of birdseed for each guest’s favor. Both Jacque and Ben love to birdwatch, and Ben’s gift from his bride was in fact a brand new camera with quite an impressive telephoto lens to capture all kinds of birds for years to come.
Jacque and Ben were introduced, had their very romantic first dance, and then moved right into Ben’s mother-son dance with his mother, Dara. Some technical difficulties ensued, however, when Ben’s new phone was unable to connect to the band’s sound system for Jacque’s father-daughter dance. An ipad was quickly located, though, and what came next was probably the most emotional polka SHP has ever seen. The love between Jacque and her father Phil was so beautiful and brought the whole reception to tears.
Not long after dinner was served, it was time for Mr. and Mrs. Ben Taylor’s epic wedding boat ride. Phil, the owner of Casa Blanca, quickly explained his intended route to Wesley who stood at the ready on a high point of the island to capture the whole scene. Wesley was then invited onto “The Garwoods” boat to capture an entirely new and exciting perspective. This celebratory boat ride caused quite a stir, though, and the Coast Guard was eventually spotted coming to give their congratulations, as well as a warning to slow down! Oops! 🙂
The remainder of the night included some fun groomsmen photos in the billiard room, a heated family game of poker, and a giant group photo at sunset. Wesley was assisted by a young man with a camera of his own as he shouted at the 30 or more members of his family to “Pay attention to the photographer, guys!” Future SHP member, right there!
The sky was turning all sorts of beautiful colors over the water as the sun set and this magical day came to its conclusion. As the SHP team piled back onto the boat back to the mainland, lively music and laughter could still be heard coming from the party tent – family and friends showing their love and appreciation for the wonderful couple, Jacque and Ben.
Feel free to check out our favorites from Mr. & Mrs. Taylor’s best day ever!
Featured Wedding Professionals || Caterer – Mullins | Florist – Flowers by Vinnie | Band – Soft Spoken | Transportation – Uncle Sam Boat Tours | Photography – Wesley Feuz, Mary Grace Johnson & Molly Baldwin – Sarah Heppell Photography‘s Associate Team | Blog post writing – Molly Baldwin