adventure

Our Wedding at Honeymoon Acres in Ramsey, NJ

Our Wedding | Heather and Terrence Huie | Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ | Apollo Fields

Despite attending and photographing countless weddings, I never knew how I would feel on my wedding day. Would I get cold feet? Would I cry helplessly at the altar? Would my vows live up to what I hear in my heart? I really wasn’t sure, but now I can say that it was without question the best day of my life. Typically I avoid using superlatives and hyperbolic statements like “the best day of my life,” because I believe they don’t really tell you anything, but it was the best fucking day of my life. (I usually don’t use curses either, but I guess I’m breaking all my rules today.)

On Saturday, October 6th, 2018, a quintessentially grim and misty northeastern autumnal day, I wed Heather Erny in front of our closest friends and family at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Ramsey, NJ. Honeymoon Acres, as aunt Pam and uncle Rick like to call it, is a beautifully-manicured farm splashed with wild sunflowers and potted mums, a vintage 1950’s Ford with big round headlights and an entire family of farm animals. The amount of work that Pam, Rick, and both of our families and friends put in to wrangling all of the animals (roll call: 1 pig, 1 horse, 1 donkey, 2 goats, 1 cat, and 4 dogs), making all of the food, and assisting in the general logistics of the day will have me grateful for many years to come.

For those of you who don’t know, Heather and I decided to make and serve all of the food for our wedding day. Many called us crazy, as we only arrived in New York on October 1st from our road trip back from Colorado, leaving us five days to set the place up and prepare all the food—but with the help of our family and friends we did it. We made a fresh pasta bar consisting of truffle mushroom linguini, vegetable lasagna, pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli and a classic spaghetti and meat sauce. As we ladled and scooped generous portions to our guests donning our respective aprons, I couldn’t help but speak with an Italian-American accent to move the line along like I was running my own Long Island deli. We didn’t plan to serve everyone ourselves but we were having fun, so we did—to our relief nobody went hungry.

As dinner waned and the scotch shed opened, our wedding was now in full swing. The small potting shed that we converted into a whiskey tasting room exploded with laughter, warmth, and old stories. The dance floor in the garage-turned-banquet-room jumped beneath the Edison lights, uniting the older and the younger in a musically-induced exuberance. All around there were smiles, especially from the farm animals living their best lives as moonlight entertainers. Fairytales aren’t just for storybooks, anymore, I thought.

Then came the speeches. Justin and Grace spoke on mine and Heather’s behalf’s like they knew the most intimate thoughts inside our diaries. Great friends never fail to recognize the greatness in those closest to them, for they keep their company for those exact reasons. It’s only until we throw each other on stages with microphones that we realize how well our friends really know us. We should do it more often, for all of our sakes.

Perhaps the thing I was most excited about our wedding, with exception to swigging whiskey on the dance floor as “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood played, was to announce the surprise Heather and I had for Pam and Rick. For twenty years, Pam and Rick have been going to Negril, Jamaica, in late winter, but for the past few years financial troubles have stymied their tradition. As a way to say thank you for hosting our wedding, Heather and I asked the Dj to play their wedding song from when they got married on Honeymoon Acres in 1996. When they tried to retreat to their seats after the song’s conclusion, we kept them out there and told them we’re all going to Jamaica in three weeks and the animals are already taken care of. They cried. We cried. Everyone cried.

On a day filled with so much love, I cherished every minute. Even when Heather and I stood at the “altar,” a bunch of red begonias that Rick planted in the shape of the heart, as a light rain fell upon our shoulders, I remained grateful. During our ceremony, our officiant, David “Killer” Miller, spoke with equal parts comedy and soul, the very reasons we chose him. On a day where the bride and groom are supposed to be celebrated, I’ve never felt more part of our communities.

Here’s to everyone who helped, whether giving the animals haircuts or drinking whiskey in the scotch shed, because without you, it wouldn’t of been the best fucking day of my life.

Photography: Alexis Cohen & Derek Morf for Apollo Fields

Venue: Honeymoon Acres, Ramsey NJ

Dress: Maggie Sottero

Flower Crown: Allendale Flowers

What Happened When I Published a Piece About My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy | early pregnancy loss | ectopic awareness | apollo fields wedding photography

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What happened when I published a piece about my ectopic pregnancy: 

Over 100 women personally reached out to me to share their own stories of loss.  Some were close friends who had been holding their pain so close to their own chest that I had never actually seen their struggles, while others were complete strangers who by the power of the internet had found my blog post.  I had women who were merely acquaintances suddenly show me the most intimate and vulnerable parts about themselves.  I had more than one person tell me how I was the only person they told about their loss besides their partner and their doctor.  I am so humbled by the amount of support and compassion that we received yesterday, but especially from the women who feel empowered to speak about an otherwise very off-limits topic. 

This is a sisterhood and holy shit I’m so grateful for it.  I went back and forth for a long time about whether or not to share our story. On one hand, I felt like I should be quiet about the loss.  That felt like the protocol that you’re supposed to follow. On the other hand, I was afraid to hurt other women who have experienced pregnancy loss.  I didn’t want my words twisting the knife in their own wounds because they were too raw.  The last thing I wanted to do was resurface someone else’s pain.  But that’s not what happened.  My story became a safe zone for sharing, a platform for empathy, and a step towards breaking the silence around this type of loss. 

 

Do I think that everyone should share their losses?

Absolutely not.  This is such a personal decision and you have to do what is right for you.  We are a very open couple and transparency has always been our default, but what is right for us is not necessarily right for other couples.  There is this stigma around loss and that is what I want to shatter. Women should feel just as empowered by choosing to share their stories as they should be by choosing to be private. The last 24 hours have been absolutely eye-opening for me because of two realizations:  pregnancy loss is not uncommon and women are so fucking strong. 

I heard stories of women who tried to conceive for years and years and then lost their babies, women who have had multiple miscarriages and still don’t have any children earthside, women who have also suffered ectopics, women who bravely delivered stillborn babies, and women who finally have their arms tightly wrapped around their rainbow babes.  Every story is unique, heart wrenching, and so full of love.  Pregnancy is no joke.  This shit is hard and a positive pregnancy test does not always give you a healthy baby.  We give up our bodies and our souls to become mothers and when you put that much on the line, any loss – no matter how early – hits hard.  

 

What exactly is an ectopic pregnancy?

I’ve been talking a lot about how common pregnancy loss is, but I’m using that as an umbrella term. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; however, ectopic pregnancies only occur in 1.5% of pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is not a miscarriage and should not be used interchangeably.  Physically, they are quite different.  I am losing my baby, but I am not miscarrying.  My pregnancy took place in my fallopian tube (where 98% of ectopics implant) and therefore cannot continue.  A healthy pregnancy must take place in the uterus, and anywhere else is considered a life-threatening condition.  This is because as the baby continues to grow, it puts an enormous strain on the tube and if not diagnosed and treated in time, will eventually rupture and cause massive internal bleeding.  Ectopic rupture is the leading cause of first trimester maternal deaths and the only lifesaving option is emergency surgery.  

There are many risk factors for ectopic:  over the age of 35, previous abortions, chlamydia, pelvic conditions, getting pregnant with an IUD or other forms of birth control, smoking, previous ectopic, or scar tissue from pelvic surgeries.  Personally, I didn’t have any of these factors and yet I still ended up with an ectopic.  Sometimes the embryo just ends up in the wrong place and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

 

What about getting pregnant again?

A lot of people have asked me about this.  First, I have to get my body back to a non-pregnant state (an hCG of 0).  This can – and probably will – take a few more weeks at best.  Then I’ll have to be on folic acid supplements for 12 weeks to get myself healthy enough to actually grow a baby again.  The methotrexate works by depleting your body of all of its foliate in order to halt the progression of the pregnancy.  Foliate is imperative to a healthy pregnancy so I’ll have to restore my levels before we’re cleared to try again.  Once we do get pregnant, I will be considered high risk until they can identify a fetus in my uterus on an ultrasound.  My hormone levels will be monitored closely as soon as I get a positive pregnancy test because my chance of having another ectopic will be 1 in 10 for all future pregnancies.  I don’t love those odds, but it is a chance that I’m willing to take. 

In terms of fertility, everything comes down to scar tissue and my tubes.  Lovely, right?  Our biggest motivation for trying the methotrexate before surgery was to preserve my fertility.  Most ectopic surgeries result in the removal of the affected fallopian tube because the scarring makes it too risky for another ectopic.  Scar tissue is unavoidable and can present very real complications for future pregnancies.  If I lose a tube, my chances of never conceiving again are 30%. Some women end up losing both tubes and for them, IVF is sometimes an option.  Many women go on to have normal, healthy babies after ectopic pregnancies, but we’re also being pragmatic about our options.  

 

What should you say to someone who is dealing with pregnancy loss? What shouldn’t you say?

I’ve heard some fucked up stuff the last two weeks, and most of it was well-intentioned.  If you don’t know what to say, that’s totally fine. Sometimes the simple act of holding space with someone is the best thing that you can do.  Most likely, you’re not a doctor and you can’t solve this shit for me, so just bewith me.  Listen, hug, and look me in the eyes.  One of my favorite things anyone has said so far came from a dear friend, Lindsey, who just asked, “how can I support you?”  That’s perfect.  

What not to say? Don’t tell me that there will be other babies.  Don’t call this my “practice round”.  Don’t remind me of how sick my baby was.  How it ‘wasn’t meant to be’.  How I had no choice, or how this baby would have killed me if we did nothing.  Don’t assume that I’m as bible thumping as you are because God’s plan ain’t working for me right now.  Don’t make this about your religion.  In fact, don’t make it about religion at all unless the person experiencing the loss takes it there first.  Be conscious of your words and the impact that they have.  I’m in hormonal-mama-bear-mode right now and I’m ready to check your ignorance, unapologetically.  

 

What am I thankful for right now? 

So, so much.  The holidays have a way of bringing this to the surface.  We got engaged on Christmas morning last year.  This has been the year of my highest highs and lowest lows.  My husband is a freaking saint.  He is always my partner-in-crime but this experience has brought us even closer together.  He held my trembling body through the second round of methotrexate while I sobbed into his hands, and found the strength to tell me how strong I was in my darkest moments.  He’s not unaffected by this.  It might be happening in my body, but we are going through it together.  

I’m also thankful for my (relative) health.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ve been quite sick the last two weeks, vomiting in parking lots, losing a bunch of weight, being completely anemic, and pumping my body full of toxins.  The methotrexate combined with the hormones has made me feel like a steaming pile of garbage, but things could have been much worse.  I could have gotten on that plane and ruptured.  No shit, I could have died.  As of right now, I still have both of my tubes and have avoided surgery. I finally got my hCG levels to drop by 27% yesterday.  Things are slowly moving in the right direction and we’re feeling optimistic. 

Finally, I am immensely grateful for this community of friends and family we have.  I am especially grateful for all of the women who have shared their personal stories with me and continue to put their own hearts on the line.  They are the true warriors, the mothers of all types, and they are my role models.  I have neverfelt this supported, even on our wedding day.  I have the thickest-of-thieves badass group of women behind me.  People have stepped up when we needed them most: they have offered their homes, their cars, their booze, and their hearts.  We have had a squad helping to keep our dogs and horse cared for while we cannot be there.  We are immeasurably lucky to have you all.  So thank you to anyone who has held space with us, offered us solace, or shared their love.  We love you all, too.  


PC: Maddie Mae Photography

Carline & Scott's Garden of the Gods Engagement Session in Colorado Springs

Carline & Scott’s Engagement Session | Garden of the Gods | Colorado Springs, CO | Apollo Fields Wedding Photography

Garden of the Gods is not only a popular destination spot in Colorado but a great and iconic place to do your engagement photos! This sweet couple lives near CO Springs so they are lucky to have Garden of the Gods practically in their backyard and it was the perfect place to shoot.

Terrence and I actually first visited here when we were touring Colorado with the idea of potentially moving there. I got tipped off by my dentist in NYC to visit there because he had tons of huge printouts of the landscape there in his office. While I was getting my teeth cleaned, I was staring at the beautiful Red Rocks up on the walls and had casually asked afterwards where they were taken. He told me about the park and I let him know that we actually had a trip planned out there later in the month and the rest was history!

It’s so crazy to imagine how all of those things eventually led to me shooting at that same place years later. It almost felt surreal! I loved shooting these guys there because they had such a fun and flirty vibe. Scott has two kids from his first marriage and they wanted to incorporate them in some of the shots which I love. I think engagement sessions should represent your lives, whether that means kiddos, pups, sports, whatever! It was also fun watching his two teenagers make faces every time Carline and Scott kissed so naturally, I couldn’t resist!

The photos feel so undeniably “Colorado” to me and I love how their personalities really shined in these dramatic landscapes! Another big plus about this location is that it’s PERMIT FREE which is a bit of a rarity in CO. I love all of the red rocks, rock faces, mountain ranges, and big blue skies that this location boasts and would love to find another great reason to shoot there! I can’t wait to shoot Carline & Scott’s wedding in the summer of 2018 at Lake Grandby!

Colorado Engagement Photography: Apollo Fields

CO Springs Engagement Location: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Erica & Matt's Romantic Engagement Session at Standley Lake

Erica & Matt's Romantic Engagement Session | Standley Lake, Arvada | Colorado Engagement Photography | Adventure Wedding Photographer | Rocky Mountain Photos | Apollo Photojournalism

Erica and Matt had an epic engagement session showered with beautiful golden light.  It was a photographer's dream!  As I was driving to Standley Lake, I could see the sun getting closer to the horizon and I knew we had timed the session perfectly.  We snagged some fun family shots of them with their two children dirt biking, which is one of their favorite things to do together.  The kids had a blast and hammed up the camera, making my job easy as we just hung out together snapping pics.  

I love when my couples bring their kiddos along to engagement sessions!  It makes the kids feel like they are a part of the wedding and they feel like an important part of the family.  Plus, the pics are so cute!  After we did their lifestyle shots, the kids ran around the lake and Erica and Matt changed into their formalwear.  Her red dress was the perfect pop to the dramatic landscape.  

I just adore the emotion and movement in these photos!  I look at their gallery and I feel like I really know who Erica and Matt are just by the love they have for each other, and the sweet way that they play with one another and how happy their kids are.  

We had such a great time enjoying the beautiful views while the sun set, and I got to snap away while Erica and Matt loved up on each other.  I always encourage my couples to take advantage of an engagement session, even if they don't feel like they "need" it, it's a great chance to get in front of my camera and gives them a chance to feel comfortable working with me.  Plus, I think it's actually really fun.  My couples will often tell me before our session how they don't like having their photos taken, or that they feel awkward in front of the camera, or they promise me that they are un-photogenic.  

One of my brides for this season gave me a half-smile and just said, "good luck" to me when she got in front of my camera for her engagement photos.  I love a challenge, so I secretly got really excited when she thought she wouldn't look good in any of her pictures.  My favorite part is delivering the galleries and then getting their feedback.  "Oh my god, I don't know how you did it", she exclaimed!  "I'm speechless".  

Hearing that kind of excitement from clients who don't think they photograph well is what I love so much about my job.  Everyone deserves to have photos that they love and are proud of!  

Colorado Adventure Photography:  Erny Photo CO | Apollo Photo

Location:  Standley Lake | Arvada, CO

Allison & Dylan's Wedding at The Chautauqua Dining Hall in Boulder, Colorado

Alli & Dylan | Chautauqua Dining Hall Wedding | Boulder Colorado | Mountain Wedding Photographer | Wedding Writer | Apollo Photojournalism 

Kintish - Est. 2017

On a cloudless Colorado summer day, the Flatirons at Chautauqua Park in Boulder play second fiddle to no one.  The greens and grays of the slanted rock faces humble all that meander along its worn dirt paths, but when Alli and Dylan danced as dinosaurs before the cliffs, the mountains knew there was something familiar yet admirable and new about them.

In the beginning, Alli and Dylan’s love was forbidden, a sacrifice to the bureaucracy of Americorps where greens and grays were not to date.  It didn’t matter at first because Alli found Dylan repulsive, but eventually he won her over with snacks, silliness, and his patented pose for photographs. After a couple of years of hidden romance, Dylan literally yelled his love for Alli from the mountaintops of Big Bend, Texas, where they met for the first time.

Their lives in service to others was to continue in the Peace Corps in Paraguay after their celebration in Boulder, but for those few days they allowed their love to point inwards towards their own hearts. 

Surrounded by sunshine, the hand-stitched chuppah provided the only shade for Alli and Dylan and her snacks as notes from Nathan’s guitar gently danced upon the breeze. By the time that golden hour struck and the sun tucked itself behind the mountains, they gazed upon one another with honeymoon eyes, kissing, just like they accidentally did when Alli arrived at the altar, forgetting tradition in a showcase of their genuinely awkward love.

From amateur poetry to Irish quotes and Jewish rites, all who spoke over glasses bubbling with champagne honored tradition in their own language.  Alli and Dylan listened, laughed and cried, dancing through the night in their own way, whether it was a routine to Backstreet Boys and MMMBop, or inch-worming in a wedding dress, they never lost their balance with a reverence to the past as their hearts danced towards the future.

Outdoor Mountain Wedding | Boulder, Colorado | Chautauqua Dining Hall & Erny Photo CO Wedding Photographer

Smiling from ear-to-ear, Dylan Kintish and Alli Bell Kintish said goodbye to their guests as they filed out of their wedding venue, making their way down the stairs as a gentle rain began to fall in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO in August 2017.  They only had seven months to plan this day and there was little flexibility as they were set to leave for Paraguay just a month later on a 2-year mission for the Peace Corps.  This didn’t stop them from having a wedding that Alli’s dad would later call, “rough around the edges, but straight from the heart.”

From the get-go, Alli and Dylan knew that they wanted to focus on making their wedding day their own, knowing that would be a key to the happiness of everyone involved.  “Don’t try to fit your wedding into someone else’s box. It should be a day that fits your personality and who you are, not the other way around,” Alli and Dylan wrote after their wedding.

I couldn’t think of a better way to word the day partners celebrate their love.  It’s so easy to get lost in the planning of the ‘most important day in your life,’ shuffling through vendors, table settings, venues, DJ’s and travel arrangements.  

Alli and Dylan set a great example of how they made the whole experience their own, letting all the conventional stresses of wedding planning fall to the green grass of Chautauqua Park like flower petals from the fingers of a smiling flower girl. To understand just how much they made this process their own, know that they got their engagement photos done in dinosaur onesies.  (Who does that?! We loved it!)     

Before the wedding we asked them, “What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?”  A lot of couples would say ‘to enjoy the most important day in their lives,’ or to ‘finally make their love official’ but Alli and Dylan selflessly responded, “[to have] all of our loved ones in one place!”  Collecting loved ones under one roof is perhaps the most underappreciated aspect when stressing about planning a wedding because those in attendance will not remember the place settings, the food, or the angle that the tent was set up; they will remember the people tucked into their button-down shirts, the smiling faces shining more than the veneer of any gorgeous dress, and the couple that brought them all together.

Alli and Dylan enjoyed every moment of their outdoor Colorado wedding because they made it their own and they focused on the love in their lives and the love of the day. Now when they look back on their photos, they see no trace of the day that was ‘rough around the edges,’ and only see the moments that came “straight from the heart.

About Alli and Dylan

Alli and Dylan dated for four years before getting engaged at Big Bend National Park in Texas. They had recently both signed up for the Peace Corps and decided that they wanted to be married before they started their new adventure. 

They believe that marriage means both loving and liking someone.When asked, they said that it is a mutual understanding that two people realize that they are stronger together as one, than they are apart.

I couldn't agree more. 

Alli and Dylan's, your summer wedding was one of my favorites to date. Your zest for life is contagious and your love for one another is absolutely incredible to see. We love following your Pair-In-Guay Blog and we can't wait to hear about your next adventures!

Alli and Dylan's Boulder Wedding at the Chautauqua Dining Hall

 

Alli and Dylan's Awesome Vendor Team: 

Wedding Photography:  Heather Huie for Apollo Fields

Boulder Wedding Venue: Chautauqua Dining Hall

Wedding DJ: DJ Drake

Alli and Dylans wedding cake and flowers were DIY. 

 Colorado Wedding Venue: Chautauqua Dining Hall, Boulder CO

Journalism:  Apollo Journalism


Heather is a Colorado wedding photographer! Contact her today!