Beginning A Life Together
03.15.2017 (From The Archives)
This lovely couple, James and Jen, met through college years ago. Though life took several turns and degrees for the two of them, it ultimately led them to each other and towards a lifetime of love. Read on to hear more about their beautiful central Pennsylvania wedding day on May 29, 2016! So, though its nearly a year later, the day is beautiful, comfortable, and lots of fun!
"Getting Ready" Details
Jen had the softest wedding gown I've ever seen! It was a dress from the Vera Wang White line and she found it at David's Bridal. Her dress was ivory and looked amazing on her as well as looked soft and romantic and stood out in its simple asymmetric tulle lines in comparison with the bridesmaids' dresses. She looked stunning. And those blue shoes were such a creative pop of personality in her "something blue" selection. I loved this and Jen looked amazing.
Calm & Collected:
I don't think there is a term for the opposite of a "Bridezilla" but it should just be "Jen." Jen is calm; she understands the big picture. The perfection of the day wasn't a big deal to her or James. They knew the end goal of the day was to celebrate this big step in their lives with family and friends and they did just that. The big picture view that they had came through everything, even down to the getting ready - it was fun and relaxing. The bridesmaids made time to order lunch in the hotel room. Their dresses were all unique and though Jen gave them a color to coordinate with, each bridesmaid found her dress independently. That allowed each woman to feel comfortable and good about herself. It all had such authenticity and flow. That, I believe, can come through in these detail and "getting ready" shots!
Getting Ready & Hanging Together
James and Jen chose Diamond Lane Farm in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania for their ceremony venue. It is a lovely place! A couple could potentially get ready there and the bride could be brought to the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage because they keep horses right on location. (Side note: They also offer fun winter sleigh rides for couples and families in the area!) You can have your ceremony outside, as James and Jen did, but Diamond Lane is even prepared for rain with a back-up tent. You can have your reception there too - and the wedding party and family can even stay that night!
Here you get to appreciate how all of the bridesmaids' dresses are unique! This is also when there is so much anticipation. Everyone is waiting, making sure they begin to walk at the right time. That's all each person can think about and it always all comes together just fine. This group gave me dazzling smiles as they waited and walked.
A Waiting Groom
A Waiting Bride
with the most gorgeous bouquet!
Jen loves the flowers from a place in Pittsburgh, but needed to find something closer to her ceremony and reception. She found just what she was looking for in Piney Creek Greenhouse in Martinsburg, PA. The greenhouse is actually listed as a home improvement center online but owners Vernon and Lucille also offer fresh cut flowers and have lots of beautiful options. (Lucille is the one who does the cut flowers!) They were also so willing to listen to Jen's vision for the flowers and made those visions a reality!
Here Comes The Bride!
I love the excitement of this part of a wedding. I highly recommend remembering to look at what is going on with the groom any time you're at a wedding. Watching his reaction when he first sees his bride is always priceless. Watching a bride beam at friends and family as she makes her way down the nave is also my favorite. You'll always see my head and camera switching back and forth - because it is the best!
And then they were married!
The New Mr. & Mrs.
A Buzz of Activity:
Children loved watching the horses at Diamond Lane Farm and played on the swings in between the ceremony and reception. It really gave them an activity while we took family portraits. James and Jen though opted to have their reception at the Casino at Lakemont. It was a lucky choice too - I don't think I've ever been out in such a crazy rain storm, one where you got soaked in time time it took to open your car door and put up your umbrella? Torrential? Oh yes! I think I have heard that rain is good luck on a wedding day!
Wedding Party Portraits:
I always like to take the time to do portraits with the Bride and each of her Bridesmaids and the Groom with each of his Groomsmen. I think these can make nice gifts later and certainly offer some more personalized memories and more comfortable moments that feel slightly less posed. These ones are some of my favorites that I've ever done!
Carousel of Wedding Party Portraits
Wedding Party Formal
Bride & Groom Portraits!
James said, "We like a little kitch!"
Bride and Groom Portraits:
This one is my favorite of this lovely couple. This is also one of my most favorite parts of the day. These are the images that we tend to hang or frame on our walls. Just after we took a few like this, drops of rain began to fall. We decided to let them get into their limo with the rest of he bridal party and drive to another location for portraits...deciding that the rain couldn't last long. When we arrived at the next spot, it was raining so hard that you could probably call it torrential. We sat it out a bit to see if it would pass suddenly like May storms sometimes do. It did not. This easy-going bride and groom much rather wanted to move on to their celebration - so that's what we did.
Bridal Party in the Limo!
Despite the rain...
We grabbed a few more bridal party shots inside before heading in to the celebration just by using the beautiful spaces inside of the Casino. This beautiful bride was ready to relax and enjoy being married and celebrate - after a whole lot of attempts to bustle that dress! (This quite amazing staff-person at the Casino knew just what to do after the bridesmaids realized that the hooks weren't all there. I always carry extra safety pins to weddings for reasons just such as these. This lovely lady helped it all work out perfectly and beautifully though!
This lovely reception happened at The Casino at Lakemont Park and was in the Grand Pavilion. This is a community favorite and the balconies and lighting add charm and a relaxing atmosphere. If you're into history, like Jen and James are, you'll appreciate that the Grand Pavillion space, overlooking the lake, has been a part of the community since the 1890s. Their food is good too and they make sure to accommodate any guests with dietary restrictions.
What Made This One Of The Best Receptions Ever?
The friends and family! The DJ! The Bride and Groom! Why just look at all of the fun in these images!
A wedding, I've learned after doing this for years, is always reflective of the personalities of the bride and groom. James and Jen are thoughtful of others and allowed the celebration to be organized in such a way that everyone had a good time. Children were welcome at this reception! Something I've noticed about many weddings is that when children are present, there is way more dancing! The more children there are, the more people are brought out onto the dance floor and the celebration really gets going. A few drinks always helps too. :)
When a group of kids breaks away for more space for their larger their dance moves...you know there is some serious dancing!
The DJ got everyone out there to "Shout!"
Smiling, Fun, & Kind DJ!
This DJ did SUCH a good mix of music. The caring and familiar atmosphere that was so strong in the two families coming together was paired perfectly with the music choices, DJ style, and kindness by Steve Scott. I have rarely been to a wedding when there were this many hands going up in the air for "Shout!" It was just so much fun!
James and Jen had beauty in their wedding in the traditional ways like flowers and centerpieces, but they also captured the beauty and history of their families coming together in both the past and the present as well. They had this display of family photographs to honor those that were no longer with them, but whom they held dear to their hearts so that all of their guests would be able to remember those souls and memories too.
Holding on to More than Signatures...
There are lots of ways that we try to collect the signatures of guests at our weddings and many think beyond the traditional book to signing on mats of photographs or signing a cork to be made into an original cork board. But this idea offered more than just a signature. Guests were able to fill out trivia cards and words of wisdom, even suggestions for road trips that James and Jen should take together in their future. The questions were made up by Jen's high school students - another really meaningful choice. They'll hold on to the unique thoughts and suggestions and ideas from their guests to really begin their life together!
A Joy for Me to Photograph!
This wedding was a really special one for me to photograph. I knew James from high school and was able to get to know his beautiful and smart wife too. These two have a future full of laughter and love and I wish them all the best of everything.
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