My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images

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A Wheeling/Moundsville Spring Wedding | Hannah Barlow Photography | WV Wedding Photography

Hey Hey, everyone!  I’m SO READY to share with you the first Hannah Barlow Photography wedding of the year! EEEEKKKKK!! I finished this baby in record time too!  Kari and I always joke we get “rusty” when we have a significant gap between weddings and it takes us a few extra minutes at the beginning of the day to get moving, but that apparently was NOT the case for this wedding!  Despite the fact that I smacked her in the face with my camera about 10 minutes into the day and then we literally “blew” our first test shots (seriously…they were so bright they were not even salvageable and had to be retaken), we did great and editing was a breeze!  Looking back though, it definitely had more to do with the members of this particular wedding, but I’ll tell you more about that later!

So, lets go back in time, shall we?! *cue the rewind sounds* I first met this happy couple at Alexis and Zach’s wedding back in the fall of 2016!!  Ironically, I took this photo of Sarah and Nate at the reception having NO idea I’d get to spend so much more time with them in the future AND get to photograph them as they became Mr. and Mrs. Harshberger (they weren’t even engaged yet when I snapped this baby)!  I can’t believe it has been almost two years since I first took this image and now I have been blessed to have been the one to photograph their own wedding too!  I love when stuff like this happens!  It gives me all the warm and fuzzy feels! 

So, before we get started, I need to tell you a funny story.  These two weren’t originally going to get married on May 5th.  They had chosen another date and I had the contract all ready to go.  When I met with them to finalize everything, they mentioned they changed their date due to venue availability but still wanted to book me.  Luckily, I was still available for the new date so it all worked out.  I’ll be honest though…when I went to book their original date with another couple, I was so nervous.  My brain said “booked” even though my contract said I had booked the new date.  I sat there with my contract in my hard mulling over it.  Ultimately, I emailed Sarah JUST to verify the date change (because I thought it would make me feel better).  It didn’t! HA!  You all know me…I’m super OCD and organized.  I fretted about that date change until the morning of their big day (I’m totally serious)!  I was SO happy when I finally got to see them and knew 100% I didn’t mess up the dates!! I even kept creeping on their pages prior to the big day when they’d post “100 days until the wedding” updates just to quadruple check I didn’t mess it up! It’s like my worst fear…right behind dropping/losing a ring!  Maybe it is first.  I don’t know!

Oo and by the way, if you want to go back in time and see their slightly rainy but OoOo so gorgeous engagement session, click here! Please note:  She changed her hair color.  When brides do that, it confuses me sometimes when I go to meet them on their big day!  I mean, I only see them once at their engagement session and then a year could go by before I see them again.  Hair color changes make my brain confused!  I’m bad enough with names as it is!  She’s not the first and she won’t be the last!  So, don’t mind my semi confused look when I meet up with some of you on the wedding day!  Heck, I once thought the groom’s brother was the groom because they looked SO MUCH alike! Oy.

So, that’s enough rambling for now!  I warned you in the sneak peek.  I have A LOT to talk about AND this is what I’d like to call an “over share” of beautiful, wedding images.  So, make sure the kiddos and puppies are distracted so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy!  My friend Kat (Hi, Kat) sometimes hides in the bathroom to read these.  You can do that too if need be!  So, here we go!

Say “CONGRATS” to Mr. & Mrs. Harshberger!


 Bottom Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Bottom Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Most of you know I bring a lot of stuff with me on the wedding day!  I was so organized this year and Kari even said, “Awwwww…look!  But you know what this will look like in December, right?!”  I even bring fancy, pearl hangers for those brides who don’t have one for their dress shot.  So, here we were…standing outside this beautiful church getting ready for a dress shot.  I had to turn the top of the hanger so I could hang it on the door…and it broke.  PEARLS FLEW EVERYWHERE.  I just looked up at Kari.  I laughed.  In the most serious voice ever she says, “Yea.  You’re going to need a new one of those before next weekend.”.  I’m not sure why I thought that was so funny but I busted out laughing.  I DO have another one! Whewww! 

So, this was the first wedding I handed one of my Canon Mark IV’s over to Kari.  I had this grand idea I was going to shoot with two cameras this year.  I’ve gone back and forth in the past and have decided I just don’t like it.  I don’t.  So, Kari and I both shot with Canon’s newest models and she actually shot almost ALL of these detail shots!  Usually, I do it, but she was doing a great job and who am I to barge in and change things?!  So, from here on out, I’ll try and give credit where credit is due in regards to photo credits but it was hard to tell who took what while I was editing.  It’s amazing!  In just one year, Kari is shooting shots just as good (if not better) than mine!  I do know that bouquet shot is mine though! HA!

While we were doing the detail shots, the ladies arrived.  They were so laid back and probably one of the most easy going groups we’ve ever worked with.  The schedule was running behind.  The groom did not have a tux (for real…it is true).  They had to overnight the correct size pants and he ended up getting dressed about 45 minutes before the ceremony.  They were all so chill though.  Meanwhile, even Kari was getting a little stressed (I’ll blame the pregnancy hormones.  She’s never stressed.) That, in turn, stressed me out! HA!  So much that I ended up leaving my ladder at the church!  Huge shoutout to my dad’s buddy and former coworker, Matt, for rescuing my poor ladder (I love that thing…I do).  He’s a member at the church and went over and grabbed it.  I almost called Father James to grab it (we’ll be doing another wedding with him at a different church this month) but he’s currently walking with a cane and that’s just a bit much!

Anyway, so check them out!  This is exactly how they were all day.  Relaxed.  Beautiful.  Having a good time.  So easy to photograph!

So, Kari and I continued to run back and forth between the bride and groom.  St. Vincent de Paul in Wheeling, WV is not easy to navigate…especially when some doors are like “trap doors” and you can get through them one way but then they lock and you can’t get back out without finding a alternative route!  We started propping some with tiny baskets we found to speed things along but it got to the point I realized I just wasn’t going to be able to get “getting ready” photos of the groom considering he had nothing to “get ready” in (I tell all my brides these things DO happen…expect something “major” on your wedding day.  Laugh about it.  I’ll then blog about it)!  So, we headed back and these girls were on it!  They multitasked like pros while we snap snap snapped away.  I had to do black and white for Sarah because if I haven’t said it enough already, the light loves her and you can really see the contrast in these images!  Her cheekbones are just amazing!

When the groom writes, “My Beautiful Wife To Be” on the front of his letter, we all swoon a little bit!  I photographed it.  It was a beautiful moment even while her sister fastened the back of her dress!  I’m telling you…their ability to multitask was something to see!

So, we then flew around to the church…the BEAUTIFUL Catholic church!  I quickly met Father James LaCrosse and was given a tour by the musical director, Michael, of the areas we could stand and the areas we should avoid.  Kari and I nailed down our game plan and the wedding was ready to commence!  It was time! EEEKKK!

We switched up our usual routine for this wedding.  I didn’t go all the way up front like I usually do out of respect for the whole ceremony plus I really didn’t want to block anyone.  I found a spot where no one was sitting and asked the gentleman if I could sit beside him.  He was kind enough to agree and we shared the space for a bit!  If you look REAL closely, you’ll see my arm up in the air on the left!  That’s me!  I remember when I first made Kari take these types of photos, she was always so nervous!  Now, it’s so easy!  We’ve got this down pat like a well oiled machine! 

It was a beautiful ceremony.  There are these amazing stone pillars we both hid behind (you can see one below).  It was very papparrzi style!  It worked beautiful too!

Seriously, there is nothing better than a beautiful church and the opportunity to get high and wide!  I always giggle and always tell this story.  You all remember that scene in Sex and the City when Carrie drops a bible from the upper level?  That’s my worst fear…always!  This time, when I got up there, there were Christmas trees EVERYWHERE!  It was hard for me to get centered.  And I took my long lens off and placed it on the ground and it kept rolling and I was so afraid I was going to lose it.  Keep in mind…this all happened in about 2-3 minutes.  I didn’t want to be up there any longer than I had to be!  I also told Kari to watch for me to leave and to leave her camera up to her face just in case something major happened while I was scaling the stairs!  Honesty to goodness, we’re considering getting head sets Jennifer Lopez style.  Kari refuses to go Apple so watches are out!

The ceremony went on and Kari nailed this angle!  Most of these shots are hers!  At this point, I was centered in the ailse in my “normal” place.

I’m happy to report we’ve become very comfortable in dark churches.  We had lots of practice last year and although Father James gave me permission to use flash (he said he was “flash friendly” to be exact), I’d still rather not be a distraction!  We played that light and got some really amazing images!

And just like that…they’re man and wife!  Catholic church first kisses are tricky!  You never know when they’re going to happen and they don’t announce them!  I kept checking the program and then just held my camera up for a long time.  A long time.  So long my arms were burning…HA!  I got it though! WOOOO!

They had a little bubble send off before we went to do photos!  I love this shot so much!  The weather was amazing.  It wasn’t too hot but warm enough I didn’t have to wear a jacket.  At this point, I did not know the weather man had changed the forecast and added rain.  I found that out soon after I took this shot.  Ironic that it rained on their engagement session one year before this wedding and then rained this day.  Nonetheless, these two are the perfect people for that kind of forecast.  They’re game for anything and aren’t afraid of a little “bad” weather!

So, this was right when when someone broke it to me that rain had poked into the forecast.  Cue the panic.  I had no idea!  So, here’s some amazing photos of both Sarah and Nate’s families because they were so good to us.  They were real troopers and let me be “loud, bossy, professional Hannah” so we could blow through these and keep everyone dry!

Ugh.  Seriously.  If she isn’t beautiful enough on the outside, she’s a truly beautiful soul on the inside.  You’d just have to meet her to get it.  Words don’t do her justice.  She was SO laid back on her own wedding day.  She worried about everyone else instead of herself (seriously, she came and found us eating in the lobby during the reception and was so worried about us).  She never got worked up.  She’s just a kind and calm and gentle soul.  Even the Priest had nothing but great things to say about her, Nate, and their families.  There was no way not to feel the love this day!  Love from everyone!  Love even for the photographers! 🙂 

Here’s a beautiful bridal party portrait for the win!  This location just made my photography heart so happy.  The green complimented their bouquets.  The brick on the church really accentuated the peach in the flowers.  It all just made for a really gentle and pleasing color pallete!  These were definitely some of my favorite shots to date!

And now… some beautiful bride and groom portraits!  Because of the overcast sky and impending rain, I had to use some flash for these and I’m SO glad I did!  They’re such a beautiful couple!  They deserve the best!  Nate is so easy going and doesn’t really have a care in the world when it comes to photos (at least he didn’t tell me if he did…).  They compliment each other and that makes photographing them a breeze!  Just look and see!

Shoutout to Kari for holding the veil!  She also took that photo on the left!

Sarah requested a “pinky promise photo” and I LOVED the idea!

I almost forgot the dip this day!! It’s true!  Can you believe it?!  The rain had started to fall and I was so worried about them getting wet (no one wants to dance the night away in heavy, wet clothes).  Luckily for me, Sarah was on it AND they nailed it!  She wasn’t freaking at all over the rain!  Did I mention how much I loved her veil?!  The appliques on it were perfection!  I don’t think we’ve ever phtoographed one like that!

So, we headed from Wheeling to Moundsville to Grand Vue Park!! I’d never been there so it was super exciting!  I mean, I was there earlier in the day, of course, but I wasn’t there prior to their wedding!  I hope that all made sense! HA!  This couple handed a bag off to me earlier in the day and told me it was “for the bridal party…later”.  Seriously, they were so fun!  Later, we caught Nate’s mom and dad with the same glasses on!

We sent the bridal party inside shortly after the above photos were taken so we could take just a few more bride and groom portraits.  She requested a forehead kiss photo.  Kari had requested the same thing at her own wedding so we were on it!  My shot is to the left…Kari’s to the right!

The rain was falling!!! EEEEEKKK!  You’d never know though, right?!

…but I’m never done so just a few more especially when the couple doesn’t even seem to notice the rain!! A FEW MORE!  If they can handle it, my cameras can handle it!! That’s my motto!

Ok.  So, NOW it was reception time!  These photos below were actually snapped at the beginning of the day but you get the idea!  You needed to see this decor!  It was just so pretty!

Introducing…Mr. & Mrs. Harshberger!!  Let’s get this party started!

OooOo and here’s a little behind the scenes moment.  For whatever reason, I got this “feeling” all of a sudden at the reception and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was.  THEN, it hit me.  I couldn’t remember taking a photo of Sarah and JUST her mom and then JUST her dad.  I grabbed my cards and put them back in my camera and sure enough…between the shoe changes and her brother being MIA for a moment, we missed taking single photos of her parents.  So, being the easy going girl that she is, we headed back outside (in the rain) to snap these!  We added Father Jim in there since he was getting ready for mass when we did the other photos!  Always trust “those feelings” people!  I also shared a hilarious photos of Kari on my IG stories (@hannahbarlowphotography) of her holding the reflector, the bride’s drink, and the Priest’s cane.  It was pretty comical and will, of course, show up at the end of the year in the Outtakes blog!  Check back!

It was then time for the first dance!  These two never stop smiling.  I’m serious.  Even during the ceremony, Father Jim had to mention it becuase these two NEVER stop smiling at each other!  It’s so sweet to sit back and witness!

Then, there were tears during the father/daughter dance!  I cried when I danced with my dad too. I get it!  I love love love catching these moments though.  I play the mental game “find the people who are trying not to cry” and snap those photos.  They’re great memories!

Nathan and his mom did a great slow dance that turned into a fast dance.  I was shocked!

…because the dance floor filled up FAST when they started busting those moves.  I literally said it my head, “Holy crap!  That escalated quickly!”.  Check out how packed!! This happened in just a few seconds!  I’ve never seen that before!  I’m interested to know if people knew this was going to happen or if they were just that eager to get on the dance floor!  It was totally wedding flash mob style!

This was one of those amazing receptions where we would get trapped like rats and couldn’t get out of our positions because of the amount of people dancing.  I couldn’t see Kari most of the time and she couldn’t see me.  We had no idea where each other was located until we’d run into each other!  Lots of times I’d just wait and look for her flash to go off! HA!

Seriously, look at this dance floor!  It didn’t matter how old you were, who you were, who you knew…you were dancing!  I even had to laugh at myself.  I had asked Nate’s Grandma and Grandpa earlier in the day if they were ok with coming down a flight of stairs for formal photos (channeling my old, nursing instincts).  They told me they were “fine with stairs”.  Well, they weren’t kidding!  They were out there busting coordinated moves on the dance floor too!  The whole night made me smile from ear to ear!

Per the usual, Kari remembered our dance floor selfie!  Sarah kept apologizing to me for hugging me all sweaty. (Seriously…the bride kept hugging us.  I’m telling you…she’s a gem and I’m a hugger!).  Look at this photo though, I probably should have apologized to her.  I’m quite shiny! Ewwwwww! HA!  I look tan too! WOOO! 

So, that’s a wrap for our first wedding of the year!  These two won’t be honeymooning right away! They’re waiting until this September to take their first trip as man and wife!  I’m hoping I’ll be seeing them more and more at future weddings!  Nonetheless, I’ll be following their journey via social media platforms, of course!  Sometimes I love social media so much!

Thanks for reading, everyone!  Don’t forget to comment on the Facebook page so lots and lots of people get to bask in all the pretty that was Sarah and Nate’s big day!  Facebook is goofy…they only let lots of people see it if lots of people “interact” with the post!

Happy Thursday!  Toodles! <3 

This wedding would not have been possible if it wasn’t for these amazing vendors!  I provided links for the ones I could find! 

Bride’s Gown – David’s Bridal – St. Clairsville, OH

Bridesmaids’ Dresses – David’s Bridal – St. Clairsville, OH

Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse

Jewelry/Rings – Howard’s Diamond Center at the Highlands (Wheeling, WV)

Hair – Kristen Ruckh – Always Forever Young Salon

Makeup – Alyssa Smigel – Always Forever Young Salon

Florist – Michele Will

Cake/Cupcakes – Whisk Bakery

DJ/Band – Michael St. James

Catering – Hog Fathers

Transportation/Limo – Rick Bostic

Church – St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church

Officiant – Father James Lacrosse

Reception Venue – Grand Vue Park


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My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images





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