I’m obsessed with everything about Caroline and Ben’s wedding at MIT Chapel and Catalyst in Cambridge, from Caroline’s upbeat attitude of being open and willing to do whatever it takes to get great photographs to their DIY centerpieces at reception. I happened to be lucky enough to document all of the amazing details at this wedding.
Before you scroll down, you have to check out Caroline and Ben’s super fun and colorful engagement session. We made great use of their roof deck in their apartment building in Beacon Hill.
Caroline & Ben’s Boston rooftop engagement session.
We started the day getting ready at Caroline and Ben’s apartment in Beacon Hill. Shannon Rouvel was the makeup artist and she did a phenomenal job and was a pleasure to work with.
The Boston skyline view was incredible on their roof deck. There was no better place to do their first look than here.
What was the most memorable moment of your wedding celebration?
Caroline: “Probably the toasts. Leading up to the wedding, our friend Brian had repeatedly insinuated that he was going to unleash a lot of embarrassing/inappropriate stories, so we were surprised and moved when he gave what turned out to be a pretty sentimental and sweet toast. Our friend Mark and my brother Dan followed that up with pretty great toasts as well. We felt very loved.”
Ben: “Later on in the evening, the group of friends hoisted Caroline and I up on their shoulders, and danced us around the room while Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on A Prayer blasted. It was so spontaneous and ebullient that it really stuck with me. Also, getting to walk out of the chapel to an organ rendition of music from Star Wars was pretty awesome.”
This was the backyard/lawn of the MIT building, which was right next to the MIT Chapel. It was really great to be able to walk a short distance for their bride and groom portraits before the ceremony.
MIT Chapel Wedding Ceremony
I was fascinated by this unique backdrop for the ceremony at MIT Chapel. I definitely hadn’t seen anything like this at any other wedding venues.
Funniest memory of the day?
Caroline: “The spontaneous dance-off that I was (fortunately) a witness to and not a participant of.”
Ben: “It was pretty funny hopping in a cab to make our way over to the chapel. Not only was the driver super happy and surprised to pick us up, but Caroline and I spent the ride over making silly faces and taking selfies.”
On our way to Catalyst, we stopped by the Stata Center, the geometrically unique looking building, for a few photos. The vibrant lavender and green grass were a nice contrast to the light colored building.
Catalyst Restaurant Cambridge Wedding Reception
I had photographed a number of weddings at the Catalyst before, each time was always a unique and pleasant experience. The Catalyst was a great venue not only because it was perfect for small and medium-sized weddings, but the staffs there were always really friendly. We a wedding vendor, our top priority was to provide the best service to our couples; Maggie (the wedding coordinator at Catalyst) went above and beyond to make sure Chip (the DJ) and I were taken care of. We couldn’t be more appreciative of it.
One of the main highlights of the reception was the centerpieces, which were succulent in handmade wooden pots. Caroline and Ben made them from scratch and hand painted them weeks before their wedding with the help of their families and friends. They also had a love for turtles, hence the turtle and other sea animal card holders. I also loved that they displayed pictures of their grandparents on the guest sign-in table. Instead of the traditional place cards with guests’ names, they used old/childhood photos of the guests, which I thought was a clever idea.
Tell me about some of your DIY details and inspirations.
Caroline: “Ben and I had dinner at Catalyst before making our final decision to have our reception there, and after looking around the room, one of us said “what do you think about succulent centerpieces?” and the other one of us said “I was just thinking that too!”. We got further inspiration from pinterest, and we ended up constructing all of the centerpieces ourselves. Several of our friends participated in the process, from sawing the boards to filling the finished boxes with plants. The gold tortoises we used to hold our table numbers were also inspired by pinterest. I wanted to use dinosaurs, but Ben suggested we go with tortoises to match some of the other Galapagos-themed touches we incorporated into our wedding.”
Ben: “Caroline was the main driver of the creative items and did a ton of work (I helped!). I chipped in a few ideas, such as making our guest book a coffee table book about the Galapogos (where we got engaged). We got some really fun responses (speech bubbles on sea creatures, etc)”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Caroline: “I would definitely recommend taking as many pictures before the ceremony as possible. Ben and I took all of our family formals before the ceremony, and only missed half of our cocktail reception while we finished up with some shots of just the two of us. I loved having that time to catch up with friends and family before being seated for the formal dinner.”
Ben: “Definitely plan the party you two want to have. If you like the party that you’ve put together, the people you’ve brought together because they like you will also like the soiree.”
I had an incredible time photographing this beautiful wedding ceremony at MIT Chapel and reception at Catalyst, as well as all the amazing DIY details. If you’re engaged and looking for a wedding photographer with a fun and candid style, please get in touch.
Photographer: Ze Liang Photography
Makeup artist: Shannon Rouvel
Ceremony: MIT Chapel
Reception: Catalyst Restaurant, Cambridge
DJ: Chip McConney
Bouquet and succulent centerpieces: DIY’d by Caroline & Ben
Linen: Rentals Unlimited