Our ceremony was simple, peaceful…and humid.

Ceremony Location

We held it at Alex’s parents’ house in leafy Hartsdale, New York – about an hour outside of Manhattan. Although my dream wedding was to elope to the alps in France (and I will forever complain to Alex about it), it was very important to Alex that we do it with family. A church was out of the question and with both of us feeling super connected to the natural elements, we decided to have it outside surrounded by grass and trees.

Originally the plan was Central Park. But our desire to make our wedding as deeply personal, heartfelt and intimate as possible was met with the perfect solution: we’ll have it at Alex’s parents’ house! A simple backyard wedding, away from the hustle and bustle of New York that we so desperately hate and surrounded by green. Plus, a backyard wedding is just so romantic and old-fashioned! (I always loved the wedding ceremony that Mark Ruffalo had at the end of 13 Going on 30…) 


Our ceremony was on the lush grass in my husband’s parents’ small but charming backyard, surrounded by blue and purple Hydrangeas and the soft golden rays of sunlight. Flowers were plentiful and white flower petals were sprinkled to the “altar.” I was barefoot and held a dried lavender bundle, as my mother walked me down the aisle. Red cardinals were heard chirping, and the mosquitos were everywhere. And it felt utterly magical and perfect.


Our ceremony was beautiful, long in duration and so very special…and messy. I hadn’t met our wonderful officiant, Judith, until at the altar and looking back, we probably should have gone over the order of what we were planning to say and do. But it made for a hilarious story, and we were all laughing throughout. We did a traditional Irish Celtic hand fasting to bind our commitment to one another and read aloud our personal vows both of which made us and our entire family burst into tears. I told myself I wouldn’t cry…but alas, I hadn’t practiced or even looked back at what I had written after writing it the day before. I decided to keep it raw and authentic. We celebrated our vows with a blessing from the parents, a beautiful poem about the highs and lows of marriage, a short prayer and a kiss.


Everyone was given sheet music cones filled with bits of lavender petals (Etsy was a literal godsend during our wedding planning) before the ceremony and after sealing our union with a kiss, we ran through our crowd of loved ones as everyone threw the petals at us. Our friend Simon even flew his drone around us! Technology these days, am I right?!

The part I loved most and look back on fondly on of our wedding was the ceremony. It was the vows and the commitment and the decision to forever stay side-by-side as partners and friends. It was looking around at all our loved ones, seeing their smiles and tears. It was that feeling of mutual love and support – human connection. All united by a common love for the love of two souls.

It was pure joy…perfectly imperfect and messy and magical and ours.

Now it’s time to share the pretty from our ceremony!

To see all the pictures from our wedding, check out our wedding post here!



Our Ceremony

June 27, 2018


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.