STYLED SHOOT | PHOTOS BY LAURA OLSON
LOCATION: HAVRE DE GRACE, MARYLAND
Labor of love at La Banque
When a group of great talents comes together, the results can be wondrous.
For our spring styled shoot, La Banque at the Seaplane Base served as the backdrop but, more importantly, also the inspiration. And it is clear everyone involved was enlivened by the possibilities of this special spot by the Bay.
Photographer Laura Olson stepped onto the scene with fresh eyes and was immediately taken with the venue — calling it “absolutely stunning” — and it shows.
Each of the vignettes within the scene — the dock, the sweeping stairs, a luxurious tablescape overlooking the water, the delectable dessert spread, an arch dripping with the brightest blooms imaginable — had its own beauty and charm, granting Laura the advantage of every angle, every nuance.
The three women who styled the shoot — La Banque owner Kim Barth, planner Marta Kastner of Affairs Extraordinaire by Marta and Donna Meros, owner of Essex Florist — enjoyed the opportunity for collaboration, and took it to the highest level. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Kim says.
She also loved working with Laura, who took some of the photos from an unusual vantage point — the Susquehanna River. “That was the first time I’ve seen a photographer get in the water, and I was so proud of her,” Kim says.
Along with her willingness to do anything for the perfect shot, Laura had one other advantage: Her models were her own son and daughter-in-law, recent newlyweds Hunter and Alexandra Olson, allowing Laura to “tell their story with truth and spontaneity.”
And such a sweet story it is:
“We met through our church,” Alexandra says. “… When I first met him, it was his going-away party for Ranger School for the Army. The whole time he was gone, his mother and the whole church was trying to set us up.”
Having recently gotten out of a relationship, she was adamant she wasn’t interested. And though he had found Alexandra quite beautiful upon their first meeting, Hunter was more concerned with his duties.
But love does tricky things.
“The first time we hung out after he got home from Ranger School, I was like, ‘Oh wow, I really like this guy,’” Alexandra says.
The matchmakers’ instincts saw true — the pair were married on May 23, 2019.
When Laura approached them about being the subjects for this shoot, Alexandra was happily on board.
An entire photo session another time around with her new hubby, hair and makeup done to the nines, and a second chance to wear her dress — that radiant smile says it all.
SITE/VENUE La Banque at the Seaplane Base, Havre de Grace, Maryland
WEDDING PLANNER Affairs Extraordinaire by Marta
FLORIST Bridal Creations by Essex Florist
ACCESSORIES Bridesmaid Dresses, Veil and Jewelry by Edel’s Bridal
CAKE TABLE Sweet Eats Cakes
BRIDE AND BRIDESMAIDS’ HAIR Fabulous Hair Studio
GROOM’S TUX Berrier Menswear
BRIDE’S WEDDING RING Shearer the Jeweler
PHOTOGRAPHY In His Grace Photography
More About the Venue:
If you want to make an entrance, this is your place.
Havre de Grace’s La Banque at the Seaplane Base has gained renown for its waterfront views in a downtown location, but it truly stands out for the incredibly rare distinction of also being an airport, allowing a bride or groom to arrive by plane.
Venue owner/operator Kimberly Barth says brides have elected for that option just twice since the venue opened in 2016.
Arriving by water has been the more popular mode of entry thus far: “We have had several brides come in by boat. I had groomsmen come in on a Zodiac, which was super cool. I’m still waiting for some grooms to come in on Jet Skis, 007 style. I think that would be so awesome,” she laughs.
She averages 140 events annually, in tandem with her indoor location just up the stairs — the historic La Banque de Fleuve, opened in 2010 after being beautifully restored.
Kim loves being able to offer the seaplane base to couples. “It’s waterfront, and it’s got magnificent views. Nature always attracts people, and especially water.”
And she loves her brides: “There’s not a girl, when I send her down that aisle, that I don’t start to cry. I get it. I get why it’s so important.”
But it’s Havre de Grace itself that has her heart, and she is keen for others to experience its charms.
“You come back here (the seaplane base), you would never guess there is a whole little city behind you. … It’s a beautiful thing for our clients because they have access to that world. To be able to host an outdoor, waterfront wedding, but also have this entire town as your venue, it’s really a unique thing. There aren’t many places like this … that have all of these unique features together.”
Photos courtesy of La Banque at the Seaplane Base
Havre de Grace as a whole has reaped the benefit of Kim’s devotion, as she seems to have a knack for helping like-minded people connect: “I’ve had really good opportunities to create synergy between businesses … being fortunate enough to find tenants who are willing to invest their time and livelihood here and open businesses here that complement their neighbors.”