Herb Lyceum Wedding

Herb Lyceum Wedding

Herb Lycuem weddingStrolling the lavender garden just after being pronounced married at their Herb Lyceum wedding.

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As a wedding photographer I get to know couples many months before their wedding. I remember when these two first walked in the door and the sweetness between them. With family traveling from both across the country and the world to be at their wedding, they had a lot to think about. At the same time they, ultimately wanted a relaxed and joyful day. The peaceful scenes and gardens of an Herb Lyceum wedding were just right!

Both of them were born and raised in China and had a plethora of Chinese tradition to draw on when crafting their ceremony and wedding day. In China, a wedding is a celebration not just of and for the couple, but for the whole community. One of my favorite photos is the couple under the gorgeous arbor listening to the bride’s dad speak. I remember how clearly he spoke from his heart.

I also adore the moment of the bride and her best friend during the ceremony—they are both laughing and crying. Sanli had chosen to give her bouquet to her friend to thank and honor her; it was a beautiful way to blend Chinese and American traditions. I also love the close up of Sanli holding a red envelope with the double happiness symbol on it—a gift that she had just received from her new husband’s parents.

They made everyone feel a part of the day, which is why I included a photo of friends and family looking on and applauding—there were many toasts and stories told, so people got to know each other. In fact, the couple insisted on having a toast with Cathy and David Gilson (the owners of the Herb Lyceum), my assistant, and myself to thank us for our role in the day. It’s truly an honor to be acknowledged, except I don’t have a photo of that moment!

Overall I just love seeing the joy—petal showers, dancing, snuggling, sky-gazing—unfold in the beautiful surroundings!

Lastly, I included two photos of a game they played. For any reader who doesn’t know, games as a huge part of a traditional Chinese wedding celebration. For this one the groom is blindfolded and has to feel all the woman’s hands to see if he will know his wife’s hands. His friends made it incredibly hard for him by moving around, changing his bride’s clothes, and all types of antics. But ultimately he did know his wife’s hand when he finally got to feel them.

Happy Anniversary Sanli and Travis, and thank you for sharing your beautiful hearts with me!

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Enjoy this slideshow of moments, or scroll down to relive the day.

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Thank you to the magical Herb Lyceum hosting and catering this special day!

Thank you Flourish floral design for the perfect blooming bouquets and centerpieces.

Check out more authentic wedding photography by Maureen Cotton>>

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cute flower girls

Oh! And of course I love the two mischievous munchkins who stole licks of the gorgeous (and tasty) cake by Bliss Bakery. In fact it was recently featured on the Huffington Post in an article about kids at weddings!

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Boston wedding photographer – The story of my first wedding

Boston wedding photographer

As a teenager I decided wedding photography was the worst job ever. Today I’d say I was practically made for this job.

The story of photographing my first wedding is not only surprising, it helps me explain to the world why this work is so rewarding… almost 20 years later!

Did you enjoy my cartoon? Check out a couple more about Community and Smiles! 😀

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See what kind of Boston wedding photography this approach creates. >>

A big thank you to George of Drawn Stories for helping me express my purpose in a fun and unique way! I learned a lot in the process.


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Boston Bat Mitzvah

Boston Bat Mitzvah

Boston bat mitzvah

Sara had been anticipating her Boston bat mitzvah for some time. In fact, I remember three years ago at her brother’s bar mitzvah when she was extremely outgoing and even sang a song at the reception!

Finally, Sara’s big day at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham had come!

Sara’s family followed the tradition of not having photographs during the ceremony itself, so we did family photos in the morning while she practiced her torah reading, and I focused on getting telling candids at the reception. There were so many great moments! I love how Sara walked into the party on the red carpet like a rockstar—or should I say stage star since the red carpet fit the Broadway theme.

Sara spent the whole time on the dance floor and had worked hard choreographing a special dance with her dad! After that she revelled in having all of her friends together, and a couple of them gave a thoughtful and giggly toast.

It makes me laugh to see the photos of Sara, her mom, and her dad in the chair during the hora—each had such different reactions and expressions to this fun honor! Without a doubt my favorite photo is the one I posted above from the end of the night. I made it black and white so you can really focus on Sara’s face; she’s soaking up all the joy of the bat mitzvah threshold!

Congrats again Sara and I hope you are enjoying your life as a young woman!

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Enjoy this slideshow of moments, or scroll down to relive the day.

Boston bat mitzvah from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

Boston Bat Mitzvah

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Thank you to Embassy Suites for hosting such a special day for Sara!

Check out more authentic family photography by Maureen Cotton!

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Royal Sonesta Boston Jewish Wedding

Cambridge Jewish Wedding

cambridge jewish wedding

I met these amazing families through an introduction by the Innkeeper at The Inn at Hastings Park who is close friends with the bride’s family. On the day of their Royal Sonesta Cambridge wedding the Innkeeper was in attendance, and I asked her throughout the day, “Are these people for real?!”

Jen and Jesse, and both of their parents, and their siblings, and their grandparents, and all the people who surrounded them on their wedding day were so present, so affectionate, so open, so fun, and living their Jewish tradition so joyfully that it seemed too good to be true. But, it is true. I feel honored to have been chosen to capture all the personalities, relationships, rituals, and the pure merriment of the day.

Everyone who attended was treated as a VIP and part of the family. Jen’s dad even grabbed me for a spin around the dance floor! See the blurry photo (at the end of this post) that I took mid spin!

I love the photo of Jesse lifting his bride’s veil during the bedeken (see below). It was both an intimate gesture between bride and groom, and a community ritual with parents and friends looking on joyfully—that moment encapsulates the day well. Also, I always love capturing dozens of huge grins in one shot!

I don’t usually include detail shots in a blog post like this, but I love the close up of the kiddish cup during the ceremony because both Jen and Jesse deeply honor Jewish ritual. Likewise, I love the photo of Jen circling her groom—the hakafot— at the beginning of the ceremony. She’s participating in a very old ritual and taking in the whole scene around her. Then, there is the dance party… I’ll let you see the fun for yourself. 🙂

Happy Anniversary Jen & Jesse!

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Enjoy this slideshow of moments, or scroll down to relive the day.

Cambridge Jewish Wedding from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

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Thank you to the Royal Sonesta for hosting such an amazing night!

See more images from Jen & Jesse’s day on their Facebook Gallery >>>

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton!

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Just one more shot and story to share:

I wedged myself in tight during a circle when everyone was showing off their moves—I didn’t want to miss anything. The bride’s dad spotted me, reached his arms out in invitation and spun me around in the center. I lifted my camera high in a Hail Mary to take whatever shot I could get—it was a big blur of smiles, and brings a big smile to my face remember the moment.


Naturally, Jen’s dad and I bonded and I was touched when he posted this appreciative comment on Facebook: Maureen Cotton is professional, invisible, and part of the celebration all at the same time. Creative, artistic… fun… she captured each of the special moments! Our daughter and son-in-law’s wedding pictures surpassed our wildest imagination! For Maureen, it’s not just a job… it’s a calling!

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Lenox Hotel Wedding

Lenox Hotel Wedding

lenox hotel wedding

I remember meeting Regina at the BPL to discuss her wedding. She told me about her long relationship with her beloved Joe and their vision for an Old World Boston feel to their wedding. The clarity of her vision was inspirational, and she’s a detail-executor extraordinaire, which made the very full day in Boston—including a full Catholic mass at Our Lady of Victories and bridal party photos in the Boston Common before an epic dance party to close out this Lenox Hotel wedding—a day of unspeakable joy.

The events were perfectly planned, and yet some of the best moments were spontaneous, like the flower girl from another wedding wandering into their portrait (see below) and a few photos in the dimly lit Lenox Hotel lobby. It was unlike any portrait of a couple I’d done before: it was cinematic and played off of the vintage decor, and yet Regina and Joe are very much themselves in it—I was thrilled when they chose it for their thank you card!

Most importantly, both Regina and Joe are very close to their loving and fun families. I loved catching little moments and affection between family members, especially the ones of Joe and his grandma (see below)!

One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer is the chance to explore unique places, and I enjoy playing with interesting elements of a venue; historic Boston never disappoints! We got many fun and romantic candids in the Lenox’s elevator. (I’ve included a couple here; make your way to the Facebook gallery if you want to see more!)

Of course no Lenox Hotel wedding is complete without a journey to its famous (yet tiny!) rooftop. Although we did get the iconic sign in a few photos, my favorite shot was the two of them looking off toward the Boston night skyline.

Happy Anniversary Regina & Joe!


Enjoy this slideshow of moments, or scroll down to relive the day.

Lenox Hotel Wedding from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.
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Thank you again to The Lenox Hotel for hosting such a special day!

See more images from Regina & Joe’s Facebook Gallery >>>

Check out more authentic & intimate wedding photography by Maureen Cotton!>>

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One more fun thing! Regina rocked her heavy frames at the beginning of the reception. So gracefully so that this image was featured in the Huffington Post article 12 Bespectacled Brides Who Rocked Glasses At Their Weddings.



Regina and Maureen Cotton Photography featured on the Huffington Post!

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Boston Common Family Photography: Baby’s First Year

Boston Common family photography

I first met Farrah & Clayton when they were engaged, and wanted to have fun during their engagement shoot! They chose the beautiful surroundings and thought-provoking sculptures of the DeCordova Sculpture Park as the place to let their affection and quirkiness shine. They talked about the first time they met and how they connected quickly with their shared loves of travel, art, and new experiences…


Years later, as parents they have not lost their worldliness and curiosity—they have already brought their young son to Malaysia and elsewhere in the world. I love the photo (below) of them reading the children’s book A Walk in Paris to their baby. For me, I see how they are both dedicated parents and still sophisticated adventurers. More importantly, they truly cherish their time together as a family.

I was thrilled when they decided to go with my Baby’s First Year package that brought me into their home three times after there son was born, and finally on a playful morning in the Boston Common. I got to see their little guy grow: wearing his first Halloween costume (rawwr!), learning to crawl, forming a relationship with their dog, and finally becoming a bit mischievous.

It’s all fleeting, so I have a huge grin on my face as I prepare to hand over the gorgeous heirloom album that weaves together the best moments of a year of family photography. Not only will they relive these precious phases that have now passed, but even better: someday they will give the album to their son. Someday he will reflect on his childhood and get to say, “Wow, what young and fun parents… I remember my first little dog… look how much I was loved… Who made me that ridiculous turkey hat?”

Farrah and Clayton, may I suggest grabbing a few fresh tissues when you see a big package from me arrive at your door this week?

In the meantime, here’s a special peek!

Get a page-by-page look in this video, or scroll down for some highlights!

Boston family photographer – Baby’s First Year from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.



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boston common family_photography

boston common family photography

The albums come together from a Baby’s First Year package. See how the magic happens…

See more natural family photography by Maureen Cotton>>

Check out another Baby’s First Year Boston album>>

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Harrington Farm Spring Wedding

Harrington Farm Spring Wedding

Amy and Paulo’s relationship defines sweetness. Their Harrington Farm Spring wedding was a big bustling day full of laughing, dancing, and cheer, but time and time again I’d catch them looking at each other, or snuggling close, as if they were alone…

The gray sky created a romantic calm for their outdoor ceremony. The grounds were slow to bloom because it was after the winter of snowpocalypse in Massachusetts, but that’s no matter—their love warmed the whole day.

View their slideshow, or keep scrolling to enjoy the day!

Harrington Farm Wedding – Amy & Paulo! from Maureen Cotton Photography on Vimeo.

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Thank you Harrington Farm for hosting such a magical evening!

See more images from Amy & Paulo’s Facebook Gallery >>>

Check out more authentic, natural & documentary wedding photography by Maureen Cotton!

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FEATURED: Maureen Cotton Photography on the Huffington Post – Fun wedding party

Fun Farmington Gardens CT wedding

I was thrilled when the Huffington Post chose to feature this fun wedding party! Melissa and Joe are such loving people; it was impossible to choose just a few friends to stand next to them at their wedding ceremony.

With such a big, fun, ready-for-anything crowd I knew we had the chance to do something different. Thanks for Joe and Melissa for trusting me and their friends!

fun wedding party : Maureen Cotton Photography

They were married at a church in Farmington CT. Their reception was at Farmington Gardens: a gorgeous converted barn and greenhouse. We stopped at a private garden to capture all the family and wedding party portraits.

See more more of their Farmington Gardens wedding on the Maureen Cotton Photography Facebook page>>

Check out the full HuffPo article: 22 Fun Photo Ideas That Put The ‘Party’ In Wedding Party>>

Enjoy more fun & natural wedding photography by Maureen Cotton >>

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Real family photography — Documentary at-home family photo session in Boston {Boston family photography}

Natural, documentary, at-home family photography

05_family_reading_playing_homeThis photo was featured in a heartfelt blog post I wrote last year about why real family photography means so much to me. It’s high time that I blog about this natural documentary style family photo session itself! These moms opened up their home and hearts to me—100% pure joy and chaos of raising toddler twins, a newborn, and furry family members!

It was a Boston winter so we captured everything in their natural environments—living room and playroom, as well as everyone piled on the bed!

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Baby’s First Year album {Boston family photographer}

Boston family photographer

I’m in love with this Baby’s First Year album I created after four authentic family photoshoots. From newborn to crawling and standing, here is a story-telling baby book like no other.

After food, shelter, and water, family photographs are the most important tangible things in our lives. What else can be transport us through time? But, in 2015, family photos often aren’t *things* at all, and many families are at risk of losing their memories, their treasures, their time machines.

When this little man is an adult man he will be able to hold this album and know, realize, remember how deeply loved he was from the beginning. So I put the care of a lifetime into each book.

You can see Danny’s First Year on my Family Photography site.>>

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See the full Baby’s First Year album design.>>

Curious about album quality and options? Check out album sizes and album cover materials.

P.S. Baby’s First Year is a blast for everyone…

See more Real Family Photography by Maureen Cotton.>>

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