I shot this wedding entirely on film, zero digital images taken.
15 rolls, 5 cameras and almost 300 frames later I am still in awe at how much fun & how creatively fulfilling this was.
The couple was amazing, and fully trusted me to do my thing.
No shot list, no guidance except for one – let the heart lead and the camera follow.
So that’s what I did. I shot frames from the heart and captured an incredibly beautiful day while focusing on documentation and leading with love.
Shot entirely on Kodak Portra 400, 800 & Ilford Delta 3200. Cameras used; Yashica Mat 124, Pentax 67, Canon 1V, Canon 7E.
– Grant Martel
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
I actually made a newspaper for our hotel welcome bags for our guests, and the “How we met” story was on the front page, so I’m just gonna copy and paste that!–
“It all started in middle school, when Maggie Noble brought her friend, Lauren, to her guy friends’ (a.k.a. “The Drydeners”) tennis ball baseball game at Dryden. In natural middle school fashion, the guys played baseball while the girls sat on the bleachers looking super cool in their best Aéropostale outfits.
Shortly after that night, one of the Drydeners, “Repple,” asked Maggie about her friend. Maggie realized Repple and Lauren would actually make a good pair, and she told him just that. Her reasoning was ultimately because they had the same music taste, but in sixth-grade Brian’s eyes, that made Lauren “dream girl” material.
Fast forward ten years, Lauren started serving at a taqueria where she met Julie, who knew Repple and would constantly bring up how he and Lauren would make a good couple. Determined to find out if their friends were right, Repple and Lauren decided to attend the same party, hoping to finally see if they’d hit it off. At the party, Lauren was told that Repple was the guy playing beer pong, so she approached him and asked to be his partner for the next round. They became partners and talked all night until it was time to leave. There were no more seats in the Uber home with her friends, so Lauren had to figure out her own way back, until one guy offered her his seat, and he stayed back. On the way home, Lauren expressed to her friends that she gave Repple a chance and spent all night getting to know him, but she didn’t feel a connection at all. Confused, her friends pointed out she hadn’t talked to Repple at all that night. “You were talking to Seth the whole time!” her friend told her. Lauren realized she made a mistake…
Soon after, in a twist of fate, the pair found themselves at a party that would change their lives forever. The couple finally met and discovered the true connection they had been hearing about for years, engaging in a conversation about their shared love of hot wings. The hours flew by, and it became apparent their chemistry was undeniable. Sparks were flying!
Over time, Repple soon became Brian, and not long after, boyfriend. It wasn’t until a camping trip in 2021 where Brian popped the question that made him fiancé.
Seven years and a mistaken identity later, Brian and Lauren live happily together in their house in Crystal Lake with their dog, Ernie. If you ask Brian, he will say Lauren has always been his dream girl since that tennis ball baseball game in sixth grade. True or not, Lauren likes to believe it and loves reminding Brian how lucky he is. Although Lauren knows she’s the lucky one. After all, she gets to marry the guy who selflessly gave up his seat in the Uber so she could get home safely after she flirted with another guy all night…”
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
The story of how we met was pretty funny! But as far as our wedding day goes, our first look was pretty funny. The second Brian turned around to look at me for the first time, he saw something in my teeth and had to tell me. It wouldn’t have been as good if that didn’t happen. It was very “us.”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Weddings are financially challenging. Leading up to our wedding, I wasn’t getting a paycheck, since I was student teaching, and we had just moved into a house. We always discussed how crazy it is to spend so much money for only one day when we could really use the money for our house and savings, but we regret nothing! It was the best day of our lives with everyone we love, and we would do it all over again if we could!! We wanted one big giant party with everyone important to us, and that’s exactly what we got!
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
Our families mean everything to us, so we wanted them all involved as much as possible! One of my brothers was the officiant, we had all 5 of my nephews as ring bearers, my niece as flower girl, and the rest of our siblings in the wedding party.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
Joining our two worlds together and having everyone who was there to support our love party HARD! Also, having our dog, Ernie there was so important to us. Brian thought Ernie was staying at his coworker’s house the whole weekend, but I surprised him by having him show up during our couples portraits. It was the best surprise I’ve ever pulled off, and it meant so much to us that he was there!!
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Over the 7 years we’ve been together, learning how to communicate with each other has been huge. Learning how each other communicates/how they need to be communicated to has been the most beneficial thing to come from our relationship. We’ve learned each other’s wants, needs, and desires, and we’ve grown patient to the things we don’t always agree with. We will have disagreements, but we don’t fight. We remember that we are on the same team wanting the same outcome, we just have to find a different way to get there.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Brian says his favorite thing about me is my sense of humor. He says it makes him happy to see me happy and laughing, and it makes him laugh, and he is always laughing with me. My favorite thing about Brian is that he sees the best in everyone and genuinely wants to help everyone in his life as much as he can.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
As tedious as it was, I loved all the DIYs I made, because it made our wedding feel like OURS, which made it feel even more special. My favorite detail was the wedding favors. I painted a miniature personalized canvas painting on a little easel for each party that attended, which also acted as the seating chart. I was so grateful to everyone that made the trip out to our wedding, I wanted to try and show a little bit of my thanks by giving a wedding favor that was more personal than most. Something that took time and effort and showed that we appreciate them.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
One simple piece of advice, make a separate email just for wedding things!! I wish I did this, it would’ve made the process a lot easier.
I would also say that it is YOUR DAY. If you’re running late, it’s okay. Don’t let anyone stress you out- you don’t want to remember the day like that. If you want to change something last minute, it’s okay. If you don’t want to do certain traditions, don’t do them! It is your day, so do as you please.
Also, the main advice I was constantly given was “make sure you find time to step away just you two so you can soak in the moment,” and boy is that true. The day goes FAST, and you won’t want it to end. The best thing to do is be aware, be present, and don’t fret the small things. The good things, like marrying the love of your life, are always going to trump them.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
It’s scary! It’s scary how much feeling you can feel towards someone and not have any idea what tomorrow will bring or where life will take you. Love makes you feel every type of emotion very intensely, which can be overwhelming, but so special and beautiful. Love is also the most fun you’ll ever have in life. It is SO fun. I always tell Brian I’m so lucky I get to have a sleepover with my best friend every night, and I can just smash my face into his with a kiss whenever I want! I’m even happy sitting in traffic, just as long as I’m with him.
from the photographer: No shot list, no guidance except for one – let the heart lead and the camera follow.
That’s exactly how I documented Lauren and Brian’s day, exclusively on film.
Their wedding day was an exceptionally beautiful event. A first look where the bride surprised the groom with their pup, Ernie, followed by a woodsy, fairytale-esque ceremony. Between the words of her brother officiating, the sounds of birds chirping and mothers shushing babies filled my ears.
The reception space was a beautiful open-sided pavilion where speeches and dances were held. Just outside of the space was a seemingly endless pasture where we took sunset portraits. After the sun slipped behind the horizon we headed back to start the party, they danced the night away with their friends and family.
Capturing these images exclusively on film was one of the most nerve racking but rewarding challenges I’ve undertaken in my career as a wedding photographer. Having the freedom to simply create was liberating and directly resulted in images that are impactful.
Photographer: Gmartel Photography
Venue: Oak Hill Farm
Floral Designer: Hand Picked Just For You
Dress Boutique: BHLDN
Dress Designer Wtoo Watters
Makeup Artist: Olivia Jean Hair Design
Hair Stylist: Hannah Milostan
Mens Formalwear: Indochino
Stationery: Hand Created By Bride
Accessories / Decor: Hand Created By Bride
Film Lab: Rewind Film Lab
Videographer: Brendan Patrick Films