Hey Hey, everyone! Whewwww! I'm five weddings into the year and I have four completed now. *insert high five GIF*. This wedding took me the longest to complete at just two weeks and three days...I'll take it! My May weddings were AMAZING and that's a good thing because my personal life in the month of May was MEH! I suffered a broken toe, the flu, a cold, plus terrible allergies. On top of that, my kids both got each sickness and so did my husband! GAH! It was ROUGH but I powered through and I feel like super woman, I tell ya! But really...these pretty dresses and amazing couples and generally just easy weddings kept me going!
Let's do this! ENJOY!
So, that's right! Kristen and Matt FINALLY got married! I say finally because I feel like a lot of history was made between all of us over the last year/year and a half and I couldn't wait for it all to come together! Before I forget, if you haven't seen their WVU engagement session, you can find it here. Anyway, Kristen and Matt live in Delaware, so her parents did a lot of the planning for them. Kristen's mom (Hi, Barb) reached out to me initially and asked for a meeting. Kristen's dad Mark came along too armed with my contract (I think I told this story in their engagement blog post). You just never know how those meetings are going to go and ours went AMAZING! We talked everything out and cleared up any and all questions. They were warm and kind people and I knew...JUST KNEW...this was a wedding I needed to photograph! So then we did their engagement session and Kristen's mom and cousin tagged along for that too! It was all about family from start to finish for this wedding and you'll REALLY see that here in a few! It was never weird. It was always comfortable and we were always laughing and having fun! GAH! I can't wait to tell you more! This is probably the longest one yet!
So, here's a few details! I know...I know...I usually blast you with lots of detail shots but I'm going to save that this time because I have SO MUCH MORE to show you! P.S. Betsy Johnson has THE BEST shoes, doesn't she?! Can I also mention Kristen's dress was champagne!? When I saw it, I WAS SO HAPPY! I don't think I've ever photographed a champagne dress! I'm sure I did the normal Hannah squeal and just stared at it...I do that a lot!
I'm happy to report there was only one minor glitch in the whole day that I can recall and it was just that...minor. There was a miscommunication on who would give the key to the family for the school where the bride would be getting ready. As a result, I was in the parking lot when Kristen arrived! Look how happy and animated she was! I love it! This was also ANOTHER wedding it threatened to rain and thunderstorm all day. You can see the clouds behind the church. This was the wedding Kari called me "75% tyrant" and looking back at these photos, I think I now know why! Jay Morris (link below) was the videographer and had mentioned it was looking "dark" outside. So, I think I sent Kari out to get a photo before the torrential downpour happened (it didn't happen though...whewww). Rather than asking...I probably just demanded she go out there. Whoops! When I get stressed, I get that way...and the weather in May was pushing me toward a nervous breakdown, I tell ya! So, I vow to be nicer to my help in the future! HA! Although, Kari did once tell me I could stop thanking her. She stated, "From now on, I'll just assume you're thankful!". So, there's apparently no middle ground here! I'm typing this and literally laughing. In all seriousness, we have a blast at these weddings. Our banter is what gets us through these long and sometimes stressful days. It's not what it sounds like but so funny to look back on! I'm seriously giggling right now.
I'm rambling again! I'll try and focus! So, here's Kristen arriving at the church. This church is gorgeous but the clouds definitely WERE NOT at the time!
Many people at the reception asked why we had three photographers at this wedding. Well, you all know Kari is largely pregnant now so I'm training another amazing individual to fill in while she's gone. This was Jenna's first official wedding and she rocked it! It's funny looking at other people's photos and seeing what they are drawn toward. I, of course, love full body shots and lots of leading lines and framing. Throw in a stone building with a big door and I'm in heaven. Kari, of course, doesn't care much for what the location or light looks like as long as she can get up close, shoot landscape orientation, fill the frame, and shoot with a narrow aperture (you photographers know what I'm talking about). She likes lots of things to be in focus rather than being blurry. Enter Jenna. She's got a HUGE eye for architecture and the little details. I guess I already knew this about her looking back on her first photos as a photographer. Nonethless, you'll see what I'm talking about here. She took ALL of these photos below and they're all similiar BUT have completely different focal points. Pretty neat, right?! I also had taken a photo of pianist but it is just boring compared to her shot down the hall! Nailed it!
Those nasty clouds went away pretty quickly so we had a moment to get the girls outside for some cute photos of them in their shirts! We didn't know when Matt would arrive so I told someone to watch for him while we did this! The coast was clear! Even Father Jim mentioned this was one amazing bridal party (guys not pictured included)! I couldn't agree more!
Then, Kristen wanted to do a first look with her dad and it was one of the sweetest moments ever! I feel so fortunate to have spent some extra time with Barb and Mark over the last year and a half! They're wonderful people and these photos show it!
I mean...Mark pulled out a handkerchief to help Kristen with her tears and makeup and THEN waved her face to try and provide some air. My goodness. It was SUCH a sweet moment between father and daughter! I'll never forget it! I love these photos so much! SO MUCH! Ladies, if your dad and you are close...I need more of these moments in my life! For real! Consider it! I regret not doing it at my won wedding!
Time went so quickly and the ceremony creeped up on us fast! It was a 1:00 PM ceremony! Check out St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheeling, WV! WOW! You know I love a good, architectural church! This one did NOT disappoint!
I don't normally share these kinds of photos but the ring bearer ROCKED IT! He didn't miss a beat. Hand behind his back - he walked down that aisle with purpose and like the little gentleman that he is. He completed his march with a handshake and handed off the rings. It was impressive (and he never let that hand behind his back move from its spot). Cuteness alert!
THEN, it was time for the groom to see his bride! I love this set. Matt has always been a somewhat serious and quiet guy around me. That didn't change much until he saw Kristen!
Check it out! As soon as the doors opened and he saw her, his expression changed...just slightly...BUT it changed and I LOVE LOVE LOVE these moments! I'm also glad I caught it! The photo of the doors opening was actually my "test shot". I always take a test shot before I step into the middle fo the aisle...for two reasons. #1 - I don't want to block the groom's first shot at seeing his bride. #2 - I want to make sure I'm set so I can get into the aisle and get out quickly. No one wants to see the photographer fiddling with her camera during this pivotal moment! Nonetheless, I caught these moments just SECONDS apart so I felt the need to share them. You can also see Kari (if you look REAL closely) fluffing Kristen's dress back there! I'm not sure what goes on back there at weddings because I'm always in the front but Kristen later told me to thank Kari for calming her down. Now I'm jealous! It's like an inside secret thing! HA! I have no idea what hapepend! I kind of love it though too!
Ooo goodness!! LOOK at how beautiful! Whoa. Just whoa! This (I'm pretty sure) is a combination of my shot (from the front ) and Jenna and Kari's shots. I'd have to look again but the girls must have been tag teaming the back shots!
Ooooo Father Jim. He makes me happy and does AMAZING ceremonies! He's had LOTS of practice though (I THINK he said he's done close or maybe more than 600 weddings in his lifetime...don't quote me...but it was a HUGE number). I also heard rumor he may be retiring and I'm so sad if that's true!
So, Barb had mentioned prior to the wedding that the light was "tricky" at the church. I wasn't worried as I've been to quite a few Catholic churches and they're all pretty much the same. Big. Dark. Hard to access. THIS church was a breath of fresh air when we walked in, however. It had LOTS of light. LOTS of room. I was pretty happy about it. There was no major spot lighting and I was really happy with the way they looked...but then...I got home. I was sorting through the photos on my 27 inch iMac and I had an "Ahhhhhhhhh...I see it now" moment. You can't really tell from these photos but this church must have LED lighting. LED lights flicker and our human eyes can't see it but our cameras can. As a result, every single photo I took had a different amount of light present AND a different color cast or hue. I had to hand edit every single one to get them as close as possible! HA! That's another reason why it took me a little over took weeks. Almost 200 ceremony photos...editing and color corrected...one by one! Wheww! I'm going back too in October too so I'll be doing it all over again! Check back!
I digitally high fived Jenna for this moment! She happened to be on this side of the church and I'm SO HAPPY we stuck her there or this moment would have been missed!! I obviously didn't even know it happened until I got home and was sorting through the photos! I'm telling you...Father Jim is one of a kind!
And just like that, they were husband and wife! Catholic wedding kisses can be tricky for us photographers. They aren't announced and you never really know when they're going to happen. This one was REALLY sneaky and the bridal party even missed it!! After the ceremony, some of the bridesmaids even said, "you didn't kiss, did you?!" They did though and I got it! Whewww! My arms were burning and I was sweating but it was documented and that's what matters! Of the three of us, we got only ONE photo of it! WOOOOO!!
Then, we headed to Oglebay for some BEAUTIFUL (AND I MEAN GORGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL) wedding, formal photos! The beauty of Catholic weddings is that they are early and that gives us first dibs on the beautiful mansion (for those of you who don't know...there can be 1, 2, 3, 4, or more bridal parties at any given time at this place)! I usually don't shoot with the yellow parts of the building in the photos but her whole color scheme was so pretty and light and spriny...it just WORKED!
So, let's check out some bridal photos of this beautiful bride!
...and her bridesmaids! These ladies were amazing, I tell ya!
Like...REALLY amazing! I'll share some personality shots! Why not?!
Matt made a handsome groom! They're all just SO EASY to photograph!
I must note his guys were awesome too!! They were so cooperative. No complaining! Heck, a few of them actually LIKED their photo being taken and asked for some extra shots and some personality shots despite the groom's wishes! HA!
Kari probably know his name (I'm terrible with names) but the guy on the bottom? Yea...I need more of him on my camera! HA! He was not shy AT ALL (as you can see). I love when the guys get into it (and they look great...let's be honest here). This whole wedding was so well put together! Everything about it was pretty...yes...including you gentlemen!
Let's do a poll!! This year I can't decide which I like more...all guys on one side and girls on the other...or mixed? I've been doing both just in case but I'm feeling the mixed look which is SO UNLIKE the traditional me!
Of course, we HAD to get in front of the mansion too and Jay was doing drone shots anyway so I just clicked away! We let them keep their drinks though. They'd been through enough! Also, please look at that beautiful sky! Looks great, right?! HA! Just wait! The storm was coming!
Another thing I loved about this wedding was the love, friendship, and camaraderie. It didn't matter whose side they stood on...they took photos with EVERYONE. The guys were also helping Kristen with her dress and that just warms my heart! This is what true friendships, love, and weddings are all about! I'm a lucky girl to get to witness it weekend after weekend!
Then, someone got the bright idea we needed to have the guys pick up Kristen. No one hesitated. They nailed it! It was adorable!
The girls (not wanting to be outmatched) suggested they pick up Matt. There WAS hesitation. HA! Not from the girls, of course...but Matt hesitated! It was hysterical! I'm happy to report they DID lift him and didn't have any problems and we were able to laugh through it and document it all! I mean...when I say he hesitated...he REALLY hesitated! HA! I'm giggling here while typing this and seeing these photos again! OoOoo memories!
Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for some classy and timeless and ooOOoo so wonderful bride and groom portraits! This wedding was MY royal wedding. It felt royal. The photos are amazing! The bride and groom are such sweet and amazing people. It was all just photographer and wedding goodness! Photo top left is mine. Photo top right is Jenna's. Photo on the bottom in Kari's! Cool, right?!
I'm telling you. It was SO HARD to choose what to keep and edit! Kristen and Matt gave me so much time for photos so we were able to take our time and enjoy all these moments with no rushing. It is always SO worth it and the gallery shows! These are some favorites of mine!
Then, we moved them over just slightly to the side of the mansion for these beauties! At this point, they were relaxed and we were about done with photos. I REALLY saw Matt loosen up and oOoooOoo my goodness his love for Kristen really came out in these photos!
It was so sweet. Matt kept kissing Kristen on the cheek unprompted and I just kept clicking. I'm guessing this is normal, lovely behavior for them because they were just so relaxed in these moments! EEEKKKKKK! Don't they make a beautiful bride and groom?! I can't say it enough...they're beautiful on the inside and out! Brothers...sisters...parents...friends...they're all so great too! I could do this wedding over and over again!
Just a few more!
I'm never really done and apparently neither is Kari! She took all these photos below! I didn't pose this one. This was Kristen and Matt just being themselves!! I might name this post after them! I liked it!
...and then the angry clouds rolled in and T-minus 3 minutes after the above photos were taken...it POURED. Not just a little rain...A LOT. We got them on the trolley just in time! It rained so much that getting into the reception proved difficult with our equipment. We dropped Kari at the door, threw equipment under cover (literally..threw...one of my $500 flashes hit the ground HARD...whomp whomp), and we parked. Then, Jenna and I couldn't figure out how to get to the reception and stay dry! HA! There was a long discussion in the car. Do we just run for it? Do we cover? Umbrellas were pointless as the rain was hitting the ground so hard it would have just soaked our feel and legs. We did manage to get inside though (and brought extra shoes and clothes just in case). It is just so crazy to me how this all worked out. We were given a crazy, scary, rain forecast earlier in the day. The sky remained clear AND beautiful despite the weather person's predictions for all the photos we needed. Not 5 minutes after we called photos "complete", it poured. THAT makes for a perfect day and a perfect story and great memories!
So, we made it into the amazing Pine Room at Oglebay and shot these beautiful details! My flash DID survive the fall I'm happy to report! I have five so it would have been fine anyway but still!
Shout out to Jenna for this amazing speech shot! I texted her and told her to channel this angle at future weddings. I LOVE how you can see everyone...the couple, the guests, the speaker. It's PERFECT!
It was Father Jim's birthday too!!!!! A LOT was happening on May 19th this year! Everyone sang Happy Birthday to him and he didn't mind. He even conducted during the serenade AND danced with the bride afterward. He makes my heart happy, I tell ya! He had nothing but sweet things to say about not just the happy couple but also about their family AND the bridal party too!
It was time for cake!
...AND FIRST DANCES!
Then, it was time to get this party started AND boy OOOooOo boy was it a party! I said it before, these 2018 weddings are giving me ALL kinds of life goals!! AGAIN, this was a wedding where it didn't matter who you were, how old you were, what kind of music you liked, etc. Everyone was on the dance floor enjoying themselves!
Seriously, they were having SO much fun! Everyone was dancing and mingling!
The party just didn't stop! I was changing out batteries like a mad woman!
But 10:00 PM DID roll around. In true WV wedding fashion, John Denver's famous song was played (I'm sure Father Jim and Kari were the only ones not appreciating it...HA! They're Ohio fans and made sure to unite over their fan club at the last wedding we did). Once again, this couple surprised me. They didn't just dance in the center while all the attention was on them. They went around the circle and clinked glasses and toasted with each guest who was still present. They're one of a kind, I tell ya! And, of course, at the very end of the song...they were enveloped (more like covered and smothered) by their family and friends!
It was an AMAZING day!
These two love birds honeymooned in Jamaica immediately after their wedding!! Totally jealous over here! I hope their wedding was everything they wanted it to be and more! I can't thank them enough for welcoming all THREE of us and treating us like friends! I also can't believe we stayed for the whole reception and did not get ONE photographer selfie! Jeesh! It was just such a crazy party that half the time I couldn't even see or find Kari or Jenna and they couldn't find me either! HA! THAT'S how you know there was a lot going on! I wouldn't have it any other way for these two!
Speaking of selfies...I DID run into a former HBP couple! Remember these two?! Kari and I were so excited to see Emily and Aaron again AND to see her parents! I love love love running into old couples and it warms my heart to no end when they're happy to see me too! So, a selfie was in order! Sorry Aaron...DSLR selfies are NOT easy...you're out of focus...whomp whomop! HA!
Well, that's a wrap! I'm 99.9% sure you're going to be seeing MANY of these faces again here VERY soon! SO, don't forget to check back! Thanks for reading and have a GREAT day!
Also, please don't forget to give this couple lots and lots of love on Facebook if you've made it this far in my LONG blog (and thank you for reading all my rambling...I'm always so grateful!). This couple deserves it! They're amazing! I know...I know...I love my couples WAY too much! HA! They're just all so good to me though! Ok...Toodles!
Credit is definitely due for this amazing wedding! These amazing people and companies made Kristen and Matt's Wheeling wedding a possibility! Per the usual, use the links below to access more information if needed!
Bride's Gown - Allure from Claire's Fashions, Wilmington, Deleware
Bridesmaids' Dresses - Bill Levkoff from Claire's Fashions
Men's Attire - Men's Wearhouse
Shoes - Blue by Betsey Johnson
Rings - Zales
Hair - Becky's Hair Salon - Wheeling, WV
Makeup - Jane Allen <-- You know her! She's an HBP bride too!
Wedding Coordinator - Lori Horvath/Oglebay
Florist - Margo Straight
Videographer - Jay Morris Video Productions
Cake - Oglebay
DJ - Nick Arno
Catering - Oglebay
Transportation - Oglebay
Invitations - Minted
Officiant - Father James Lacrosse of St. Michael's Catholic Church - Wheeling
Favors - Etsy.com