Team Swales: Our Own Sullivan’s Wedding!

From Tammy: Photographing Valerie & Sullivan’s wedding was SUCH an emotional experience.  They were married a little over a year ago on July 6th, 2012 at Ontario Barn Vineyard.  In celebration of their first anniversary, I want to share this beautiful, intimate wedding with you!


You rarely find a couple as in-sync as Val & Sullivan.  The love between them was palpable.  Their sunny July day was filled with vibrant hues and lovely, simple details.  Bright primary colors were the order of the day.  Val wore a gorgeous floral crown and the centerpieces were simple mason jars with wildflower bouquets.  The landscape was stunning – alternating between softly sunlit forests and sprawling fields.  As the sun went down, hanging mason jars filled with candles were lit, swinging from the tree branches.  But my FAVORITE moment was when the bride walked down the aisle.  Sullivan’s eyes never left Val – there was such profound emotion, fully undisguised, playing across his face!

Sullivan's face as Val walks up the aisle
Sullivan’s face as Val walks up the aisle

Val & Sullivan’s vows were wonderfully unique.  They sang them!  With such genuine lyrics and elegant voices the moment was truly magical.  Here is video of their incredible tribute to each other.

From Val & Sullivan….

Magical – a word I’d never really understood until my wedding day.


Sully and I made the decision to have an outdoor, evening wedding (our ceremony didn’t start until 6:30) for a couple of reasons.  We weren’t serving dinner – just hors d’oeuvres and dessert – so there wasn’t any pressure to get to a reception.  And, I think, summer evenings are the most beautiful time of day – completely golden and warm just before the sun sets.

When it came to choosing the venue, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Ontario Barn Vineyards.  It was the perfect place for our wedding! The gardens and landscape were so beautiful and I LOVED the rustic, old barn (which we used for all of our food and drinks!) Their wine was delicious and they provided enough for our entire wedding.  Plus it was only a half mile from my family’s home and very intimate.

From the beginning I knew I wasn’t going to be working with a very large budget but I’ve always been thrifty so I knew I would be able to create a simple but beautiful wedding.  My focus was never on the details.  I had very minimal decorations.  All that mattered to Sully and me was the celebration – the fact that we were getting married!



Team Swales Wedding



The morning of the wedding we were both shaking with excitement.  We got ready separately – we didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony – but we both ended up at the venue, setting up, at the same time.  It was SO hard waiting to see each other!  We sent messages to each other through our friends – they carried them back and forth between the barn (where Sully was) and the farm house. 

Before we knew it the ceremony began.  I walked down the aisle to ‘Go Do’ by Jonsi – it’s our theme song – and I wasn’t nervous at all.  I couldn’t stop grinning.  Poor Sully couldn’t stop crying and it was incredible to feel all that love!  To see it written so clearly on his face.  Our ceremony was short and sweet but it had one, true standout moment (well….two).  The first was our vows!  Music is an incredibly important part of our lives and relationship – we met in a band after all – and we thought, ‘Why not write a ‘Vow Song’?!’  And so – after cutting it a little close and only finishing the song about two days before hand – we sang our vows.  Once again….magical.  The second moment?  Those five little words – you may kiss your bride.  (We enthusiastically took him up on that!)

There wasn’t a set plan for the reception – we just rolled with it.  Our first dance was to ‘Mango Tree’ by Angus and Julia Stone – the song we’d talked about since we started dating.  We cut the cake, heard the toasts and the rest of the night was a blur.  We drank plenty of wine, the music was blaring, and EVERYONE was dancing.



Tammy Swales Studio Wedding



Our day could not have been more perfect.  The photographs Tammy took completely captured the magic.  She was amazing!  If I could give couples who are currently planning their weddings any advice, it would be to focus on the real meaning of your marriage – why you love this person!  Don’t spend more money than you have – your day will be beautiful even with very little.  Party hard at your reception!  And most of all, don’t stress.  It won’t help your day go any smoother and it’s going to be such a happy day no matter what.  Finally, make time to talk!  If I could have changed anything about our day, I would have made more time to spend just chatting with our friends and family.

At the end of the day, what mattered most about our wedding was that we were making the biggest and best promise you can ever make to someone.  It was – and will – always be the best day of our lives!


Here are the vendors who helped bring this simple and intimate wedding to life.  And a huge thank you to Ali Dean who second shot for this beautiful wedding!

Wedding Location: Rochester, NY   Photographer: Tammy Swales Photography    Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ontario Barn Vinyards    Linens, Tables, Chairs, and Tent: Flower City Party Rentals    Floral Design:Mary McCormand   Event Styling: Bride    Wedding Dress: Juliana’s     Hair & Makeup: Bride   Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Old Navy    Groom and Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse    Wedding Caterer: Creative Caterers     Wedding Cake: Upper Crust Bakery

Posted byTammy Swales