Why do we love October in New Hampshire? Is it the crisp, cool and refreshing Autumn air? Or maybe the limitless views from the craggy summits in the White Mountains? Ahh, yes it’s all these things but mostly it is the Fall foliage colors that cover the forests of this state like a quilt throughout the month of October. These are also the reason why this time of year is the most popular for weddings. The backdrop is unique and beautiful, like every bride, where the white dress pops from a background of oranges, reds and golds.
Is it the crisp, cool and refreshing Autumn air? Or maybe the limitless views from the craggy summits in the White Mountains? Ahh, yes it’s all these things but mostly it is the Fall foliage colors that cover the forests of this state like a quilt throughout the month of October.
These are also the reason why this time of year is the most popular for weddings. The backdrop is unique and beautiful, like every bride, where the white dress pops from a background of oranges, reds, and golds.
The Bride and Groom Getting Ready at Mountain Edge Resort & Spa in Newbury, NH
Nicole and Colton picked the summit of Mount Sunapee, a popular ski resort in Newbury, NH, as the location of their outdoor Fall foliage wedding ceremony.
Before they rode the chairlift to the summit, the couple each got put together in separate rooms on separate floors of the rustic, outdoorsy styled hotel rooms at Mountain Edge Resort & Spa at the base of the mountain. The bride was assisted by her bubbly bridesmaids while the groom had his motivated and helpful groomsmen attend to every last detail.
Once prepared, the groom and groomsmen went on ahead to the base of Mount Sunapee Resort to ride the Sunapee Express chairlift to the top of the peak before the rest of the bridal party left the hotel.
The bride arrives at Sunapee Lodge and rides the chairlift to the summit with her father
Once the groom and groomsmen rode to the summit and were safely far from view, the bride and her father took a short limo ride from Mountain Edge Resort & Spa to the base of Mount Sunapee Resort. The two had a private moment together on the chairlift ride that I was able to view, at a distance, from the chair in front of them. The ride through the forest was stunning, the trees were a brilliant orange and surrounded us completely as we steadily gained elevation. The view of Lake Sunapee became clearer and clearer while big white, puffy clouds made the view picture perfect!
Once the bride and her father reached the summit, the ceremony promptly began with the groom and his mother walking the couples' wonderful dog down the aisle in front of the most impressive view of Lake Sunapee and the surrounding area. The ceremony space is located on the Chipmunk ski trail.
The most amazing view from Mount Sunapee during peak Fall foliage made for a memorable wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony on this brisk, Fall afternoon was full of laughs and emotion. The couple read personal vows to each other, not leaving a dry eye in the house! Once the rings were traded and it was sealed with a kiss, there was nothing but smiles and cheers coming from everyone. The view was simply jaw-dropping and only added to the emotion of the event. After the couple exited, we headed over to the next ski trail to start family photos while the rest of the guests headed down the mountain to enjoy cocktails at the Sunapee Lodge.
Lake Sunapee made a stunning backdrop for family photos and bridal party pictures
An artist could not create a more inspiring background for family photos. Though it was chilly and windy out, the couple and their family members were game to tough it out to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get there wedding photos taken at the summit. I was more than happy to comply! I used my 85mm Sigma lens to compress the scene but not eliminate it completely. It seemed like you could just reach out and touch the lake (or dip your toes in!)
The bride and groom ride the chairlift down and additional wedding party photos at the base of the mountain
The ride down the chairlift was so much fun! I sat in the chair behind the bride and groom where I could see their fun “JUST MARRIED” banner hanging off the back of their chair. The wind blew just right and I was able to capture the photo as we were lowered through a stunning forest of colorful hardwoods on all sides. The best part about riding the chairlift down is watching the view and faraway mountain disappear along the horizon.
After the chairlift rides down, we took additional wedding party photos were the wind was less breezy and the temperature a bit more tolerable. All the trails were lined with gorgeous Fall foliage colors, so an amazing picture was easy to capture in any direction. I lined up the groups, told a few of my terrible jokes to get some smiles and we had a lot of fun getting these memories documented for this close group of friends to cherish for a long time.
The Sunapee Lodge is a fantastic venue for a wedding reception.
The Sunapee Lodge is in two levels, dancefloor downstairs with seating for dinner upstairs. In the middle of the second level, there is a giant open rotunda where you can look down at the dancefloor and see all the goings-on without missing a thing. I chose to photograph the events from the first floor for a more intimate view of the dances and toasts. It would be fun to capture some of the action from the second floor, if time allows, so I’ll save that idea for next time!
Emotional first dance and parent dances at this wedding at Mt Sunapee
There were lots of tears of joy during the first dance, father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance. The emotion in the room was contagious. During the father-daughter dance in particular, when there was a surprise video played for the bride during the dance, tears streamed down the bride's face. Despite this, she was more stunning than ever to everyone around because she was truly enjoying this moment to it’s fullest potential. What an amazing day!
After the dances, the best man and maid-of-honor gave heartfelt toasts to the newlyweds. The only thing left after the toasts were dinner and cake! The cake topper had the bride and groom in silhouette alongside their dog, their constant companion. The cake cutting was fun with frosting being shared on noses.
Since the Sunapee Lodge is such a beautiful building, I decided to set up a nighttime shot for the couple before I headed home for the night. I lit the couple with two speedlights and asked them to dance, twirl and kiss. I ended up making several versions of the photograph below, but this was by far my favorite. I think it shows exactly how fun and in love these two are and I wish them all the best in their long lives together.
Thank you so much to Nicole and Colton for letting me be a part of your special day! It was certainly a day to remember. And thank you to all the vendors that made their wedding possible, without you, it would have not come together so beautifully.