Hellllloooooooo, everyone! I'm not even going to do my usual introduction. You just need to know this one is going to be a LONG one! So, do what you normally do, hide in the bathroom, a closet...seriously...do whatever you usually do to have some "me time" with your phone or tablet or computer and get ready to see Kari and David's beautiful 1920's, vintage themed, but still earthy and OooooOo-so-beautiful wedding! Your telegram has arrived and you are invited to see this wedding!
Kari & David are now officially Mr. & Mrs. DeShong!
So, who is this wonderful couple?! Well, I'm sure most of you already know! Kari and David are very, very dear friends of mine and Kari also happens to be my right-hand woman at weddings these days! Want to know what's so amazing?! I did not even know these two prior to her seeking out a wedding photographer two winters ago. Our friend and David's sister is married to my husband and I's other friend, Greg! Did you follow all that?! Greg and Danielle pointed this couple in my direction (Thanks, you two!).
You might remember this story. I told it in Kari and David's engagement session blog last fall. If you need a refresher, you can find it here. Anyway, I know I'm biased but these two are seriously amazing people inside and out AND they take great photos too! Kari and I have become very close and I can't imagine my life without her now! My children absolutely adore David and he's actually watched them a time or two while us girls did the photographer thing (or the wedding planner thing)! I, of course, love David too, but more on that later!
So, back to the wedding! To start off the day, I headed to Be Pure Organic Salon and Boutique in Pittsburgh! It's such an amazing and quaint little place and it's so clean and the staff members are wonderful!! They even let Candice pop in and do Kari's makeup while she was getting her hair done! You can find links for everyone at the end of this blog, of course! So, I stopped here first and met up with my other photog friend, Christie, who was willing to come and take Kari's spot for the day to help me out! It was surreal walking into the salon and seeing Kari sitting there as the bride but so so so fun too! I guess the word I'm looking for is "surreal"!
Kari's details were ammmmmmaaaazing! Here's a funny story though! One month before any wedding, I always send out my wedding questionnaire and Kari was treated no differently! The very first question on it is, "What are your colors/theme?". Do you want to know how Kari replied to that one? She said...and I can almost quote it...."*insert bad word*.....I don't know.....I guess - neutrals? reds, browns, nudes...". That's right, people. My assistant who has attended almost every wedding with me this year who is also super organized and keeps me on my toes did NOT know what her colors were for her own wedding (aside from what the bridesmaids would be wearing, of course). *facepalm* Additionally, we were on our way to a wedding back in August and she showed me a picture of the mock bouquet she put together and I was like..."No. NO NO NOPE.....". More on that later too! HA! So, yes....these colors and details you're going to see? It pretty much all came together just a couple weeks before her big day!
Doesn't look like all nudes though, right?! This color palette was so gorgeous! She also had two pairs of shoes! EEEKKKKK!
...and an amazing 1920's themed head piece, of course!
Let's talk about the bigger details now! The wedding ceremony and reception were held at Robin Hill in Moon Township right outside of Pittsburgh! Let's have another fun, wedding planning fact, shall we?! This place can only be booked about a year in advance....AND...you have to go wait in line to get it! There is no guarantee you'll get the date either! That's right, people! Kari booked all of us vendors BEFORE SHE EVEN HAD THE VENUE LOCKED DOWN.
Many of you have met and/or worked with Kari and I...we really have our you-know-what together when it comes to the wedding day. Well, here's a secret. We really couldn't be more different in the wedding department (maybe that's why we make such a good team?). While I was FREAKING out about all her little details (many...MANY emails were exchanged), she's like "whatever...it will all turn out". HA! While I'm all about my fancy, elegant churches and ballroom receptions with big, poofy dresses and amazing and dramatic decor.....Kari is very much the simple, backyard type...she's basically a hippie! I mean...there was no dance floor at her wedding. Green grass was the dancefloor. OooO yea....and while I was freaking about the potential weather (more than a year in advance) and we talked about the fact that she planned a completely outdoor wedding in October, she was all "It will be fine...we have two heaters and a tent....". WHAT?!
Well, wouldn't you know it though, it turned out to be beautiful and warm and I never even needed a jacket....no rain either. Again...WHAT?! Had I planned that....it would have poured down rain and been freezing. Wait, I did plan that actually. I planned a December wedding for myself about a decade ago and it snowed and iced so bad we had no electricity in the whole town (for real....true story....don't get my mother started again...it's been 9 years and I'm not sure she's over it completely. Love you, mom!). So, yes...while Kari and I are very much on the same page the day of everyone else's wedding, we're so different in our tastes and styles and the level of "worry" we experience! I gave her "the look" many times and I was only allowed to do that because she's my friend and she "knows better"...that's what I kept telling her at least! HA! We really do balance each other out!
So, to make the long story longer...David did get up early about a year ago and did stand in line and DID get their date to the dismay of the man behind them who wanted that same day. Seriously, I'm sweating just thinking about what could have happened (but didn't). Check out how neat this place is though! It's a totally unique place to photograph a wedding! If you need a spot near Pittsburgh, check this out!
There was enough food to feed an army, I tell ya! All of these photos below were taken by Christie! Thanks, girl! The rest of us were dealing with a HUGE hiccup in the day. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about! I'll leave those precious details out though because the day was still fabulous all the way around!
Look at this prep too! Planning and lists and everything anyone could ever need! I love seeing this!
Christie also took all the getting ready photos! I let her do that while I cleaned makeup off Kari's dress. Yes.....yes.....I had to clean makeup off Kari's dress. Make sure you come back at the end of the year to see those photos! HA! And yes...that's me buttoning her up in the bottom right hand corner. Kari's not traditional. There was no big to do when she got ready but the photos are still so pretty! It just works!
They didn't even cut a cake at their reception BUT they did get this topper so they could celebrate their one year anniversary! Isn't it adorable?!
Now, we're getting into the really good stuff!! They did a first look! I thoroughly expected David to cry...darn it, he held it together! He's usually such a softie! It's one of the things I love about him!
One of the many other things I love about David is his attention to detail. He was all about the details for this wedding and in true Kari form, he got to see her dress ahead of time and was quick to notice the makeup she got on it (that I apparently didn't get off....fail!). I've now done two first looks with two different close friends (Hi, Hayley!) and they both looked back at me! Focus people...this is your moment...I've got my paparazzi lens on so you don't notice me....looking back right at me and yelling is defeating the whole purpose! HA! I also had to giggle!!
At this moment, the first thing David noticed was the makeup on her dress and the second thing they did was turn around and tell me about it! Bahahahahahaha! I love these two! They make me smile!
...and because Kari was running late (seriously, people...she made me sweat...she's never run late with me at any other wedding...only her own!), I decided we couldn't miss a moment and I love brick anyway! We shot some formal photos immediately after the first look!
Now, for some REAL goodies! As I mentioned before, Kari has the soul of a hippie. She loves the outdoors. She's super easy to get along with and she wanted her photos to reflect those things. She stated she wanted "earthy". So, we did earthy! Isn't she gorgeous?! Ugh! That bouquet....more on that bouquet in a bit!
Check out the ladies! This color scheme makes my eyes happy! And now about those bouquets I've been mentioning. Months ago after Kari showed me a photo of what she was thinking, (and she planned to make them herself having no bouquet making experience), I may have gently (maybe not so gently) insisted she come to my house and we put them together. We enlisted my mom who has lots of experience with this kind of thing! We spent the night giggling and laughing and tearing drafts of it apart and adding things and removing things until these beauties happened! Kari wanted "big" and you all know how I feel about big bouquets! EEEKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!! Yes! Definitely YES! David watched my kiddos while we were doing this because he's got baby fever like no other man I've ever met! My kids also love him dearly and think he's just soooo much fun! We also needed his final input on these beauties because Kari doesn't get excited and show emotion like I do! He made the final decision!
So, if you need bouquets, call us! We had a blast doing this!
OoooO Pinterest, how you and I have a love/hate relationship! This was Kari's idea and while I do love it...you can take it up with her if you want this for your own wedding! HA! HUGE shoutout to Christie who shot all these for me while I was doing other photos! This will now be Kari's job from here on out! HA! It really is a super fun final product! I think the bridal party enjoyed it too!! Maybe?! YES?!
Please, meet the ladies and gentlemen of the bridal party! I could hang with these people all day long!! The ladies, in particular, were SO FUN and their personalities are a lot like mine and Kari's!
This really is one good looking bridal party when you put them all together, right?! It's a new thing that kind of just happened this summer but I now also have my bridal parties walking and snuggling too! HA! Hey! It works!
Check out this handsome groom! There was a funny moment while I was editing these particular photos! Many of you know my daughter. She has lots of opinions like her momma! She's also developed her own style for weddings (because she sees so many on my computer these days). Well, she came into the room and gasped and asked in the most excited voice ever..."IS THAT DAVID?!" I said, "Yes, isn't he handsome?!" to which she replied, "No. He's missing that black coat thing"....HA! Upon further inspection, she decided she really liked his suspenders and his flower so she could let the lack of jacket slide! If you know my daughter, you probably find this hysterical! I'm guessing her husband will be wearing a black jacket when the time comes! I better start saving now!
Check out these guys! I'm not even sure how the "peeing picture" happened...
...and now, for some bride and groom formals! There are not very many brides who want to go tromping into the woods for photos. Kari loves to hike though...so hiking we went!
These sets below are some of my favorites! Whewww!! It sure was getting steamy in the woods!
These two have a love for one another and a bond like no other! David is so enthralled with Kari and loves her dearly! Kari once told me she didn't think she'd ever get married and just didn't realize she needed to find David. I agree. It takes the right person and these two are definitely perfect! The adoration and the love you see in the photos below is real. I just barely posed them. I simply told them where to stand. It probably helps they are super used to me snap, snap, snapping away...but seriously, anyone who knows them knows these two are a match made in heaven!
The sun couldn't decide whether it wanted to stay in or out this day! It didn't matter to these two though! Look at them!
The 1920's look good on this girl!! Here are our version of the "window shots" which we actually did right before the ceremony! HA! I LOVE that brick! GAH!
Christie had the AMAZING angle!
Couples! Attention, please! If you need a way to entertain your guests, do this! This was their version of a program! It fit right in with the vintage theme!
...and now, it was time for the very sunny ceremony!
Ok. Story time. I have a "thing" about the rings. When I photograph them, I don't take them outside. I most certainly do not take them on decks or on cement with cracks or in the woods. Nope. No way. I have a system. I take the rings. I wear them on my fingers. I photograph them (not on my fingers, of course). I quickly put them away and return them. I even have a witness or two. I will NOT be responsible for losing them. Ok. Got it?
Enter Wade. See him on the right of these photos below? He's coming for me. Literally. During picture time and prior to the ceremony, he had the box with the ring in his pocket. In true Hannah fashion, that box had to go during photos (it drives me batty when the guys have things stuff in their pockets). Well, he didn't want to give them up or set them down (don't blame him) so, I suggested he put them in the bag I carry on me at all time. Wellllllllllllllllllll, I forgot we did that. He forgot we did that. OMG! I had that box in my bag the whole time we were tromping through the woods. I'm getting hives just typing this! So, RIGHT BEFORE THE CEREMONY (seriously, these photos were right as the guys walked out), he comes up to me and says "You have the rings." to which I quickly and firmly replied (because I always give them back and with a witness) "No, I DO NOT!"....we proceeded to have a little conversation that many guests were witnessing until I realized that I DID HAVE THEM!!! My goodness! Talk about a panic attack!! My face must have been priceless because the guests watching this whole thing unfold had a really good laugh! I'm not even sure Kari or David knew this happened and Wade and I jokingly bickered about who was to blame the rest of the night!! You be the judge! HA! I stand by my position. He had ONE job...the rings. He forgot to get them back from me! HA! Well, I guess he DID remember in the end...
Alas, the ceremony went on, of course! Kari made faces, of course!
It was definitely and literally a backyard wedding! It was perfect and exactly what this couple dreamed of! It's so "them"! It was short and sweet and they became official man and wife!
And now...more formal photos!
Kari wanted orange. She got her orange foliage! October is super weird this year! WHERE ARE THE PRETTY TREES?! THEY'RE STILL SO GREEN!
Ugh...I REALLY do love this one! All of them! Good location choice, Kari!
Again, Kari loves "earthy" and she loves what she calls "artsy fartsy" so I crab crawled on the ground like a goof trying to make that 4 pm bright sun look "artsy fartsy"! I think I hit the mark!
David is super emotional. Kari most certainly is not (not that I have seen, at least). I kept waiting all day for David to tear up and it didn't happen until he was thanking everyone for coming ANDDDDDDD Kari teared up a little bit too which I totally loved because she tries to hide it but she's a softy deep down and has a heart as big as David's!
Then, the sun started to set and the shoe game was played!! I love the shoe game!
I had this vision of them dancing in the moonlight (while I sang the song in my head). But they danced before the sun went down so I faked it in camera with some flash! I gave them a little of both - the real story and the story in my head!
Now, it's time to PAAARRRRRRRTAAAAY!
...and it was definitely a party! I've never been to a wedding with no dance floor. This was one of the details that was discussed during the planning process!! I enjoy that there was no floor!
...that's right people! True love is when you're dancing the very last dance of the night and your bride is standing on your feet. I didn't even know this kind of thing happened anymore but check them out! GAH! The cuteness. The love story. Why am I such a sucker? How did I get so lucky that I get to experience it, capture it, and document it?! I love this job! And I love Kari and David even more!
Congrats to the DeShongs! I'm probably going to call her "Mrs. DeShong" all weekend just because I can! HA! We're back in action in just two days for another wedding!! I'm also happy to report that she'll be with me for the rest of the year! So, if you're getting married in the coming months, we'll be there!! I can't wait!
...and because it's our new tradition...we took a reception selfie! We also had Danielle (Kari's new sister-in-law) play photographer (with a quick camera crash course)...I added David into the selfie mix too!
Per the usual, I'm giving HUGE shout outs to these amazing vendors who helped this happy couple make their wedding day possible!
Bridesmaids' Dresses - Various Locations (Please inquire if you're interested in a specific one.)
Shoes - David's Bridal
Hair - Be Pure Organic Salon
Makeup - Candice Cortes Beauty
Wedding Planner - Kari & I (During our car rides to and from weddings! HA!)
Florist - Kari & I & My Mom (Via picture texts and in my living room! HA!)
Wedding Cake - Crystal's Cakery
Guests' Cake - Costco
Other Desserts - Bruster's Ice Cream
DJ - Stephen Antosz from Allstars Events
Catering - Philomena's Catering
Main Course (AMAZING, homemade Mexican food) - Friends Joe and Dan
Invitations - Design by Kari -purchased from VistaPrint
Officiant - Michael Panzitta (Friend)
Photobooth - J&J Pittsburgh Photo Booth