Stone Mountain Arts Center Maine Wedding - Shannon & Mark
Shannon and Mark had the most quintessential hippie wedding at STONE MOUNTAIN ARTS CENTER in the rainy woods of Maine with ample laughs, beer, loud music, and dancing. It couldn't have been more THEM.
I've known Shannon and Mark since college, and when Shannon reached out to me to shoot their wedding I was in utter shock! The last time I saw them they were just roommates, but apparently a lot had happened since then! She told me she'd been following my work on Instagram and couldn't imagine anyone else photographing their wedding! I was SO honored, considering the two are artists themselves.
I met Shannon in art school at the SMFA (she was actually one of the first people to model in front of my camera!), while Mark was in a rock band focused on social justice and environmental sustainability, and also in our circle of friends. They both lived at the legendary "Monkey Palace" (a deceivingly average-looking apartment in JP) where they would host art shows and open-mics, and generally any excuse for a bunch of us to get together and share ideas and feel at home.
They both still live there, and are both continuing the give back to their communities. Mark is performing for young people educating them about recycling, and Shannon is doing work with animals and conservation!
The two of them have cultivated such a beautiful culture of acceptance, welcoming everyone and anyone into their home that didn't have anywhere else to go. The Monkey Palace became a safe meeting place for all types of people: artists, musicians, activists, makers, folks of all colors, genders, transcending every spectrum. Shannon and Mark are the most passionate people- believe me when I tell you that together with their chosen families they absolutely filled the room with the most genuine, tangible love I've ever witnessed at a wedding.
They both started off the day a little nervous- Shannon was doing a lot of heavy breathing, and she even tried singing a song she and Mark came up with for stressful moments, along the lines of "Anxiety, Anxiety..." (I believe those were the only words, but I think the idea was if you sing it cheerily enough, you forget why you were anxious in the first place.) When that didn't work, they decided they NEEDED to see each other before the ceremony.
So, there was a little change of plans and they had a first look, where they shared a quiet moment together to hug it out and let the butterflies settle. When Mark was waiting behind the barn for Shannon to come out, he looked down and saw a little daisy poking up out of the grass right at his feet. He picked it and gave it to Shannon when we saw her, and her face was just too perfect. The two of them were so damn cute, I didn't have to give them any direction at all during the portrait session. If anything I had to tell them to STOP hugging, because I could only see one of their faces at a time!
Right when we headed inside for the ceremony and it began to rain. The large windows and twinkle lights were the perfect unique backdrop for an intimate barn ceremony. Not to mention, they literally got married on stage (the arts center hosts live performances as well as weddings), so Mark was in his element. After the ceremony, we went outside for more portraits and were shuffling around clumsily holding our umbrellas until we found a roped-off wooded path. Naturally, we jumped it and embraced the rain to get cozy under the canopy of pine trees.
The whole day was extra special for me because it felt like a mini-college reunion! It was so nice to see so many familiar faces, and meet some new ones as well. But get a bunch of art kids together, and things get weird- FAST. Once the dance floor opened up the crowd was absolutely bonkers, complete with head-banging, mosh pits, and crowd-surfing.
My favorite part had to be when Mark surprised Shannon by going up on stage and singing "Home" by the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It's a song that will always remind me of that time in my life- feeling homesick for what I was leaving behind but also excited for this new community I was becoming a part of here in Boston. And the lyrics so perfectly represent what Shannon & Mark have created together. "Home is wherever I'm with you."
I wish I could relive this one, and I'm SO glad that the photos will help Shannon & Mark and all of their guests remember it for years to come.
Venue & Catering - STONE MOUNTAIN ARTS CENTER - Brownfield, Maine
Floral Designer - MOONSET FARM - Porter, Maine
Gown - BHLDN
Suit - ZAREH - Boston, MA
Officiant - REVEREND JO - Boston, MA
Procession Band - THE CHARLES OVERTON GROUP - Boston, MA
Reception Band - AS THE SPARROW - Boston, MA