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Some wedding days are a compilation of hundreds of moments of pure magic. Moments that make you let out a little gasp as a sunset lights up a kiss in a field on a family farm; moments that make you laugh with the pure joy being had by 100 people surrounding you on a crowded dance floor; moments that make you feel a real and complete love in passionate kisses and thoughtful gestures and the way that two just don't feel whole until you put them in a room together.
This was Megan and Ben's wedding day. A day of magical moments and simple elegance.
My day started with Megan and her closest friends and her mom and aunt all gathered for some quiet, laidback time in an upgraded spacious hotel suite where they took care of makeup finishing touches, got dressed and enjoyed a few moments of laughter and snacks before the commotion began!
Megan's dress was incredible. It had a beautiful lace floral design, fitted her like a glove and featured a cutout back that made our bride's muscular back even more insane! Paired up with her blue eyes, I could have photographed Megan against the window light all day!
I was assisted during the day by Sara, who took care of the groom preparation photos for me and took some fantastic images from throughout the day. I loved working with her!
Ben and Megan opted not to do a First Look as they really wanted the traditional and surprising element of seeing each other in the aisle during their ceremony. However, just before the festivities began, Ben was blindfolded and seated in a private room and Megan came in behind him, presented him with a photo album and a handwritten note, gave him a sweet kiss on top of his head and quickly left. It was such a special moment as Ben read Megan's words and was able to have a quiet moment. Shortly afterwards, one of his groomsmen kidded Ben about still having time to run and my second shooter Sara said Ben replied simply with, "Oh no, she just sealed the deal." It must have been a good note!
The ceremony took place at Megan's family's church in her hometown and was very sweet. I loved the support that was clearly visible in all of the guests -- from her mom's teary eyes to his mom's giant smile. Their parents surprised the two of them with a slideshow of photos of them growing up and their time together -- watching them take in all the love was a beautiful moment.
After some family portraits following the ceremony, I had the fun honor of riding on the "party bus" with the bridal party to a few spots nearby for some sunset photographs. We went back to Ben's family farm, set atop a quiet hilltop with stunning views, which was also the setting for Ben and Megan's engagement session with me earlier this year, and it did not disappoint. Everyone, especially Megan and Ben, were so cooperative and really toughened it out despite temperatures near 40 degrees and intense wind gusts. Some of my favorite photos came from those moments against bright red barns and gray silos, tall-grass fields and backdrops of blues and greens.
The reception was a legitimate nightlong party -- there were Dirty Dancing leaps (from the bride!), grandmas boogeying on the dance floor and handcuffed brides during the garter! Every single person, including these two photographers, had a smile on their face the entire time.
It was a stunning day, start to finish, and a fantastic way for me to wrap up my 2015 wedding season. I'm grateful that Megan and Ben trusted me with their love story and journey.
When I first met Heather for a consult, we laughed our way through most of the meeting, which happened to take place at the site and night of a random event that included insane crowds and dancing coffee cups. I loved her plans for her day and the way she talked about John, but it almost sounded too good to be true -- superhero costumes for the groomsmen and beautiful, bright daisy bouquets in a gorgeous church and two hours of photography in between the ceremony and reception?
"The photography is the most important part to us," I remember her saying, and I swear I was dreaming!
And then the three of us laughed our way through an engagement session that was equal parts lighthearted and yet tender and romantic.
So I shouldn't have been surprised when my second shooter Stacey and I enjoyed a perfect day of all those gorgeous details I had heard about months before, but with a healthy mix of loving and fun friends and family.
Heather had an assortment of thoughtful and sentimental details -- from a Mr. and Mrs. box for her ring bearer (who was beyond adorable!) to jewels from her grandma that were the first present her grandfather gave to her decades ago and all those delightful daisies! And the Superhero Groomsmen did not disappoint! Hero shirts and colorful socks and a heck of a lot of personality, too!
For every moment of playing around and laughing, there were two moments of touching speeches, happy tears and endless love.
The first dances made everyone smile -- Heather and John, twisting to Van Morrison (one of my favorites!) and then the bride and her dad rocking out to "Sweet Child of Mine." I think everyone made it out to the dance floor, including Heather's grandma, who was moving and grooving for quite a while -- barefoot!
I hope you can hear the laughter and feel that love in these images. (Scroll down to the bottom to "meet" some of their vendors, too!
Congratulations, Heather and John!
Hair & Makeup: Sorella Hair Salon, Pittston PA
Flowers: Maureen's Floral and Gifts, Ashley PA
Cake: Bakery Delite, Plains PA
DJ & Photo Booth: Pete Bayo Productions
Reception Venue: Touch of Class Catering, Wilkes-Barre PA
Limo Service: Parrish Limos, Pittston PA
Dresses and Tuxes: David's Bridal
Wedding Cake Topper: Ruby and Len
Server and Knife: ParadiseBridal
Ring Box: Modern 101
Second Shooter: Stacey Sherman of SKRS Photography, Chester County PA
(Other items, including signs, card box, table numbers and favors, were all handmade and created by the bride!)
MaryAnna and Ian are married! Their wedding day at an historic resort along the Delaware River was such a beautiful day of supportive family and gorgeous colors.
I remember the first time I met with M&I -- I loved watching him look at her with complete adoration; I loved the way her laugh lit up the entire cafe and the passion with which so many details and little touches had already been dreamed. Their yin-yang balance of quiet and observing / bubbly and outgoing carried through to their wedding day when the very tall Ian greeted me, nicely dressed, quietly happy on the stairs of the inn and the excited and adorable MaryAnna met me with squeals and hugs in a nearby cottage.
With turquoise dresses and bright florals and homemade details accenting the day, the whole thing was just magical. The weather was perfect, which is always a HUGE relief, but honestly, I bet even if it had downpoured for hours, this still would have been a bright day.
Some of my favorite moments:
MaryAnna's bouquet was actually a collection of pins and broaches that all had some significance to her's and Ian's relationship -- colors, hobbies, interests. It was a sparkly bit of gorgeousness!
Another amazing detail? MaryAnna's dress, which was redone from her mom's wedding gown! The lace detail at the top and on the back was so lovely.
M & I had agreed ahead of time that they wanted to do a "No Look", basically where they meet on opposite sides of a large barrier, like a door or tree, and can hold hands and talk but not see each other. It's usually a really special, private moment with amazing emotions for me to capture. At the very last minute, MaryAnna exclaimed, "I think I want to see him!" My second shooter ran it by Ian who was waiting on a nearby porch, and next thing you know, we're lining them up on the expansive front lawn to turn Ian around towards his bride. In those last 90 seconds, MaryAnna began skipping slightly toward her love, wiping tears of complete joy and excited anticipation. I will never forget the goosebumps while capturing her joy.
During their ceremony, MaryAnna surprised Ian with a line in their vows that talked about them being beer pong partners for life (they met at a party!) which had all of their guests chuckling. And then a minute later, "And when life really sucks..." and again, giggles! It was a fantastic nod to their fun relationship and her sparkly personality.
It was truly a day of the most beautiful emotions, most loving friends and family and an honest-to-goodness joyful love, evident in each of their kisses and all of their moments throughout the day.