IRENA MANDEL PHOTOGRAPHY

October 15, 2019

Nirvana in Vermont

I’ve known Caity for many years. I’ve known her since I moved to New England from California. I had lived here a few years working with her father on a video game with Red Sox baseball player Curt Schilling. You see, I used to work in video games, and I was helping make a video game with the great R.A. Salvatore.

If that isn’t enough to make all you nerd-squee, I don’t know what is. But this isn’t about me.

I met Caity a few years into my time here as a transplant – I befriended her brother and his girlfriend (later wonderful wife – whose wedding was the first I photographed!) first. Their family welcomed me as if I were a distant cousin. There was no pretense, it was always just, “hey Irena!”. They made me feel like home. Caity most of all (she defended me against the teasings of her brother).

Caity is a snarky, strong-willed, take no prisoners goal-getter of a woman. She amazed me day 1, and I wished I could be her friend from the moment we met.

When she asked me to photograph her wedding, I fell over myself to make it work for us. She was (and is) beautiful bride, but more importantly, her husband-to-be was a rocket scientist groom (sorry, Caity, he’s just that much cooler), just as snarky and another go-getter. They were a passionate couple who never had any fucks to give in the first place so they were just … them. We all dream of being as strong as that.

Ryan got sick. Badly so. Caity was by his side the entire time. Ryan got many treatments, Caity wrangled insurance companies. Ryan, working for SpaceX, had the full support of his company but still worked hard, long hours while in treatment. They suffered in strength, they struggled in silence.

Then they struggled to have a baby. I did not want them to struggle to get married, and in fact, I wanted to give them the most beautiful wedding memories I could possibly deliver.

I cried half the wedding, I’m surprised I have any photos in focus. Maybe it was because I was 8 months pregnant and a hormonal mess. Or it was because the energy all day was palpable.

Here I give you my favorites from one of my favorites. On the anniversary of their beautiful wedding at the Taconic in Manchester, Vermont. This wedding is even featured on their wedding blog.

This is also a slideshow Ryan watched the night before he passed, surrounded by these people that loved him so dearly. I am grateful that their son (that was born just before Ryan passed) has these images to carry him into adulthood.

I hope I did their wedding day justice.

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