Besame - The wedding of Tulsi and Lisa at The Willowdale Estate
You know that saying: "and they told two friends, and they told two friends and so on, and so on.”? Well that could not be MORE true with this wedding. You see, first I photographed two fabulous ladies named Renee and Daniece for their wedding. About a year later, they passed my name on to LeTeesha and her now wife, Dallas for their wedding. At this point, I started to feel like family among their tight-knit group of friends. So, while I was shooting LeTeesha and Dallas's reception, I found myself in this large group of people, mostly couples. I looked around and said at the top of my lungs, "Ok, which one of you couples is next? Because I'm so down!” And these two beautiful woman (who I remembered from Renee and Daniece's wedding because they were magic on the dance floor) look up at me. Then they looked at each other, and then back at me. All of a sudden, they raised their hands and said "We are!" And that is how I was hired to be a part of Tulsi and Lisa's amazing October wedding at Willowdale Estate.
We did meet up before the wedding at their favorite spot in Jamaica Plain - The Milky Way, so I could hear their story. Lisa told me the most memorable parts:
“I was in my first year of grad school, living in JP, and enjoying the freedom of single-hood after a not-so-good break-up. A college friend suggested I come to visit her in Virginia for the New Year. On a whim, I got plane tickets. This was a huge feat! My sister is a survivor of 9-11 and many members of my family and I are super fearful of flying. I decided the night before my flight (December 28, 2003) to head to the Milky Way. I needed a few drinks. It was a snowy night and there happened to be a poetry slam at the venue. I was sitting at the bar, drinking a beer, and writing in my journal. All of the sudden, I felt eyes on me. It was super intense. I am blind as a bat and did not have my glasses on so I could not see who was looking at me but felt like someone was trying to peer into my soul. I kept shooting shade to the corner where I felt the eyes. Then the song "Besame" by Elvis Crespo came on. Tulsi's friend, Johanna, bumped into me and asked if I knew the artist. Tulsi then came to her friend's side and introduced herself...the rest is a story that meanders…
Tulsi and I were anti-marriage for a long time, but suddenly we had a certain drive to get married. However, I am someone who is super frugal. I did not want a gaudy ring. I wanted something simple and pure that was a true reflection of our love and who I am. Tulsi hired a British jeweler to design our engagement rings. It was a long process! On May 1, 2010, she brought me to Tower Hill Botanical Gardens. We took a beautiful tour of the grounds and she started taking pictures of me on a deck. At one point she told me to look out to the land so she can take a picture of me reflecting...when I turned around, she was on one knee with my ring! (If you want to see the custom rings, you can Google "Tulsi and Lisa engagement ring”)”
On the day of the wedding, my second shooter, Vanessa, and I arrived a little on the early side. At this point, I feel like family, and I wanted to get started right away. Vanessa and I split our time between both brides while they were getting ready. The decided not to do a first look, which was really worked in this case because both women were super emotional and I believe that came through loud and clear during their ceremony, especially when they first saw one another. There was blessings, poetry, live drumming, and they even jumped the broom, which brought cheers and tears.
After the service, everyone went outside for formal photos. Lisa and Tulsi are part of a very strong group of friends - 6 of them. And they call themselves the Sweet Six. It was important that we capture these friends-who-are-family together on this day. The group consists of LeTeesha and her wife Dallas, Michelle and her wife Pam, and, of course, Tulsi and Lisa.
After photos, the reception consisted of some serious dancing. I mean house music all night long. Their DJ - Master Millions - is not a wedding DJ but a very serious club one. (he was the opener for The Roots at the House of Blues when I shot there last month.) He had the dance floor packed all night. He played all the classics and everyone was in heaven. Including me because I'm an old house head. They even had drums, tambourines, pots and pans with spoons so that people could play along with the music. That’s what I remember most from this day - Dancing, dancing, dancing.
Thank you Tulsi and Lisa for bringing me into your family circle. I love you both and hope to see you soon - maybe for some dancing?
Vendors Venue: Willowdale Estate Make up: Ligia Centero Cake Artist: I Dream of Jeanne Cakes Florist: Lyndsey Loring Design, LLC Lisa's Gown: David's Bridal Tulsi's Gown/pantsuit: Alfred Sung Vintage Hair: Lisa Morais DJ: DJ Master Millions Officiants : Dallas Pride and LeTeesha Thomas Videographer: 617Weddings