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Phipps Conservatory Wedding | Hannah Barlow Photography | Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

Real Weddings

OOo my goodness! OOo my goodness!! You just wait until you see this next wedding!  Summer wedding fans, outdoor wedding fans, and rose gold fans UNITE!  It’s a GREAT one!

Courtney and Steven are now husband and wife!  Just wait until you see these beauties!

WEEEEEEE!! Let’s do this!

This wedding was a long time coming!  Courtney hired me well over a year ago (it may actually have been 1.5-2 years ago…)!  I knew it was going to be a fabulous wedding because I’d already photographed her once before.  She just so happened to be a bridesmaid in my VERY FIRST wedding ever back in 2015 and her and Steven weren’t even together then!  Neat, right?!  I’ve come A LONG way since then! too  Back then, I never dreamed this would be my full time gig!  Life is funny like that!

It was a beautiful day…BUT another one that threatened to rain.  I’m telling you…I’m about done with this rain for 2018.  FOR REAL!  I’ve only got 15 weddings to go…chances are good, right?! HA!  So, we started the day at the very beautiful William Penn Omni Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA!  First, I had to pick up Caitlin (a bridesmaid in this wedding and my VERY FIRST bride ever).  She messaged me the night before and asked if she could hitch a ride so her hubby would have the car to come later!  I mean…I can’t say “no” to that, right?!?!  Nor did I want to!  It was totally fun!  We swung around and picked Kari up too!  It felt like a girls’ road trip!  But anyway, we hadn’t photographed a wedding right in Pittsburgh yet this year so that was exciting!  Courtney’s details were SO dreamy and so romantic!  We shoved ourselves into a tiny corner in her hotel room where we begged for light (the Omni is old so it doesn’t have great big bright windows…and it is in the city…the buildings restrict the light that comes in), but look how great they turned out!! EEEKKK!  These are some of my favorites…EVER!

Seriously, are you rose gold fans drooling yet?!  I still am!

I’ve said it before, but every wedding I do seems to “add” something to my list!  A few weddings back I needed to add lash glue.  Last year I added garters to my bag.  At this wedding, we learned we needed to be able to tie bow ties! HA!  These were legit.  None of those pre-done things!  Thank goodness for this groomsmen and YouTube!  He figured it out and ended up being the “bow tie-er” for the rest of the day! HA!

These photos below were those “real moments”.  Not posed.  Not planned.  Apparently Courtney was given strict instructions on how to get into her dress.  I felt like she was pumping herself up for a big game.  “Ok.  You gotta lay it down like this.  You gotta face it this way.  Then, I gotta slip into it.  Stand.  Stand up.  Pull up.”  …or something to that effect! HA!  That dress! Yowzas! It was amazingly beautiful!  Those buttons are for real too!! Real bow ties.  Real buttons! EEEKKKKK!  It’s like my dream come true!

Gosh.  I shared these in the sneak peeks and I still prefer color (although I did convert to black and white too for their gallery).  It just feels so “dainty” and “light” and they just FEEL good when I look at them!  Do you feel that way too?!  She’s a beauty!

So then it was time for the first look.  I have SO many great memories of this first look and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.  Earlier in the day, I found Steven on his floor in the hallway.  He was calm.  He was cool.  He’s always been that way when I was around him.  So, I was telling him the plans for the day and the plan Courtney had for an “elevator first look” and he got the sweetest look on his face, breathed out, and said, “Boy, now I’m getting nervous!”.  I was only TELLING him about the first look at that point!  I knew when it actually happened it was going to be EPIC!

So, we had a plan, Kari and I.  We tested out where we would stand.  What would happen.  That’s the beauty of working with the same person over and over again…there really is just quick conversation – not a lot of “planning” per say.  It took us about 30 seconds to get set.  We got Courtney all set.  Kari stayed with her.  I went and got Steven.  But before I went and got him, we could NOT get the specific elevator we wanted to come get us! HA!  We had planned out the positions and could not get that dang one to come get me!  FINALLY, it did!  I headed up to the 7th floor and snatched Steven.  It’s important to note Courtney was JUST below him on floor 6!  Well, wouldn’t you know it…instead of taking us just one floor down…it took us PAST floor six and to the bottom.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Remember, it’s just Steven and me in the elevator.  We had a good laugh.  Then, the doors opened when we got to the main floor and I stuck my head out to the people waiting and said, “I’m sorry but this groom back here has a bride waiting for him.  Do you mind if we take it back up?!”  Those people were awesome. They yelled their “congrats” and off we went…back up!  Steven was totally chill about me being stuffed in the corner (I did this so Kari didn’t catch me in the photos when he got off).  I also was taking pictures of him during all this.  He didn’t complain!  I love that about him!  Most guys would have killed me!

So, these are a combo of Kari and I’s shots.  From here on out, just assume about 40% of the photos are Kari’s when she’s there! HA!  It’s getting too hard to tell which is which!  Of course, she is outside the elevator at this point so those shots are hers!! I even love that the elevator light is on!  He saw her…clapped…took a deep breath.  OMG…it was the sweetest, I’m telling you!! She stood there being her beautiful, sweet self just laughing and smiling!  It was amazing!  I teared up just a bit!

I’m telling you…first looks can be SO amazing!  There were tears from everyone (maybe not Kari…she’s not the emotional type…lol).  This one was just REALLY special!

I’d like to call that bottom one the “we surivived the first look” photo!

Then, it was time for Dad’s first look with his daughter!! Seriously, brides…DO THIS if you’re close with your dad!  They’ve been AMAZING this year!  Dad just couldn’t hold it together and that resulted in Courtney tearing up again!  I had to help her get back to the room after all this before the makeup artist left so we could fix her back up!

I’d like to title this spread below… “I’m not crying.  You’re crying!”  Dad couldn’t hang with us too long. 🙂  It was probably a good thing because Courtney’s makeup couldn’t take much more!

So, then we headed to Phipps!  I told Courtney I would text her…and I did…but she didn’t have her phone! HA!  I should really know better after all these weddings!  So, Kari and I waited on one side of Phipps and the rest of the bridal party was on the other.  We didn’t know this.  I guess Courtney was a little panicked and someone (probably Caitlin who is a former bride of mine) said, “Don’t worry.  If Hannah isn’t panicked, it’s fine!”  I was told this later and that’s SO TRUE!  If I’m not freaking out…if I don’t have nervous hands…there’s no need to worry!  This couple gave me GOBS of time to take photos and they were amazing!!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors going on here!  I love how “summer” if feels!  It was perfect!

Some bridal party photos.  I think the verdict is in…I like the mixed look!

…and some shots of the guys!  They were a hoot and so fun to work with!! The formal session didn’t last long…as you can see! HA!  We were having a great time!  Lots of laughs.  Lots of banter.  You wouldn’t know it from these phtoos, but they were actually VERY cooperative and we FLEW through their photos…I just thought these were really funny!

Steven made one handsome groom!  I don’t know how he managed it because I was hot and I was sweaty and I looked a mess at this point!  He had to have been dying in that suit!

Then, we were off to the orchid room!! I have to giggle.  My friend Denise (I mentioned her in another blog.  She lives in NYC and is a photographer.) always says she avoids Central Park because of the “green nightmare”.  Grass is known to create color casts and it can be really difficult to shoot.  She once asked if I could avoid the green where I live and my answer was, “No, Denise.  My life is one giant, green nightmare and we don’t have as much concrete here anyway.”  So, I was laughing inside when I saw this room.  It’d be Denise’s worst nightmare.  No worries though,  I had anticipated this so I had my flash and all was well!  Just because…I made them black and white too just to see what I thought!! I liked it!  The landscape (side to side) photos are Kari’s…you can pretty much assume that!  She prefers to shoot that way!

I made them put their foreheads together and they were not loving it! HA!  We were all a sweaty mess!  We didn’t last long in this room!  Talk about humidity!

…but I did leave some color because – LOOK HOW PRETTY!  When you have a wedding at Phipps, you HAVE to have these! EEEEKKKKKKKKKK!

Then, we headed outside not because of the green (because clearly there is more green in these next photos) but because of the heat and humidity and lack of breeze.  It was HOT inside the greenhouses, as you can imagine, and we were all dehydrating a little (and we hadn’t even gotten to the ceremony yet).

Gosh, these two are amazing people.  Did I mention they’re both doctors?  That’s right!  Some of you may not know but I’m also a registered nurse in addition to being a wedding photographer.  I consider myself “retired” since I don’t practice anymore BUT I have A LOT of experience with doctors…some great and some….welllllllll…..you decide.  You would NEVER know these two were doctors (or that many of the bridal party members were doctors too).  They’re the sweetest and most kind people and genuinely love each other and their family and friends AND their vendors!  They’re humble and amazing and I’m sad they don’t practice closer to home!

They’re also just so super easy to photograph!

Kari and I were trying to get them inside in the AC before the ceremony so we tag teamed this part of the formal session.  I stood at one angle and she stood at another!  These were taken in just 5-10 minutes and we got a WHOLE LOT that were “keepers”!

Aren’t they a beautiful couple?!  I couldn’t stop smiling while editing these!

The back of her dress was important and Kari was at that angle so I left her to it!  She texted me and emailed me, “How were the back of the dress pictures?!”  They’re great, Kari!  I’m telling you!! LOOK!  I don’t know why she still worries…half the time her photos are just as good as mine!  My brides are also rocking the veils this year!  Ugh! They’re just so pretty!

Then, we flew around and took some reception decor photos before the guests got under the tent! oOooOO did I mention it was an outdoor ceremony AND reception?!  THAT’S RIGHT!  Ironically, I didn’t know this either until I got there that day!  It was a nice surprise but my allergies HATED me!  I was popping allergy pills like it was my job…the doctors probably would NOT have approved! I also wonder what the people in the parking lot thought when I whipped out a pill container (it’s blue..one of those M-F things and has assorted over the counter meds in it “just in case”).  HA!  I still sneezed all day long so I apologize to everyone!

Then, it was time for the ceremony and despite the first look…they still got REALLY emotional! It was an amazingly, sweet ceremony.  Adorkable weddings did the ceremony and it was PERFECT!  She nailed it!  If you need an officiant, call them!

“I’m not crying.  You’re crying”.  Steven teared up.  Courtney teared up.  It was beautiful.  LOVE is a beautiful thing!  I remember how stressful nursing school was…so how these two made it through med school and now their residencies with very little time together is astonishing!  True love will do that to you though!  I can’t wait for the next few years to be over for them so they can be together all the time.  P.S. I got the whole story from Kari.  SOMEHOW she knows the whole story of every wedding..the ins and outs…all the details…names… and usually just halfway into the day.  She also tells me all about it while we’re shooting and driving.  I learn a lot!  I never really realized this about her before, but looking back, she’s always done it!  It’s kind of really nice in the long run and gives me extra goodies for the blog!  So, I had no idea these two didn’t live together!  AND if I got any of that wrong, Courtney and Steven, blame Kari! 🙂

OOoo these two little girls.  So, they were the flower girls in my VERY FIRST wedding and they were tiny back then.  I’ve also photographed them a lot since.  They spotted me during the ceremony and were giving me cute little smiles so I took their picture.  They later came up to me at the reception yelling, “Hannah!” and wrapped me in the best, little girl hugs!  It’s moments like that when I realize I’m doing the perfect job.  How’d I get so lucky?!

Then, the bride and groom exchanged rings and just like that…husband and wife!

Drs. Courtney Crain and Steven Mandish are now man and wife!

I’d like to title this one, “It’s over!  We did it!  Planning is complete!”

They had an outdoor and intimate cocktail hour which gave us LOTS of time to shoot more reception decor details.  I remember back in October when I found out Kari was pregnant.  I counted the weeks on my calendar and, having two children myself, decided this would be her last wedding at 32-33 weeks.  That seemed like the best time!  She fought me a bit.  I insisted…and she learned why this wedding!  She was hot.  I was hot.  She was a little swollen and tired.  I made her sit the whole cocktail hour while I took more photos and set up lighting.  LUCKILY, half the bridal party members were OB/GYNs so I didn’t need to worry at all! HA!  Courtney included is an OB!  Wouldn’t THAT have been a blog story?! Jeesh!  Everything was fine though but Kari, in true Kari fashion, did NOT stop shooting from her seat.  My friend Jenna said, “I think she likes the challenge,” and I think that’s totally true.  Some of the best reception shots were taken from her spot…where I parked her and would not let her move from! HA!  I wasn’t about to have her husband David have to come get her!  No WAY!  I’d be in big trouble! 😉

THIS is how you do a beautiful, completely outdoor, wedding!

That photo on the left (below)…is Kari’s…from her seat! GAH!  I don’t know how she does it!  I was down in the grassy area taking cocktail hour shots while she was snapping away!  We didn’t even need anymore shots but she managed to get some goodies!

After announcements and their grand entrance, it was then time for their first dance.  I THINK Steven chose the song (and possibly last minute).  I have a few photos of him looking on his phone and talking with the DJ so my gut tells me he decided right then and there (and maybe Courtney didn’t know?).  I bet Kari knows!  It was an amazing first dance.  They danced to Book of Love by Peter Gabriel.  Again, I don’t know the details but Kari told me it was the song on the last episode of the show Scrubs.  I’m assuming they are big Scrubs fans becuse they didn’t just dance…they serenaded us all!  Even the groomsmen got in on it and sang!  I loved it SO MUCH!  Also, if you’ve never heard the song or read the lyrics…do it.  I hadn’t and I did and I thought it was so amazing!

Seriously, they nailed the first look.  They nailed the first dance!  GAH! I love it so much!

Then, after some necessary cake cutting and other formal dances…it was time to PARRRRRRTAAAAAAYYYYYY!  People were ready!  It was rocking!

…and becuase I love a good dip AND the sky was beautiful…we did one last formal photo of the night!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  They nailed it.  Everything about this wedding was beautiful!

A HUGE congrats goes out to this lovely couple!  They honeymooned immediately after their wedding in Alberta, Canada (I wonder if they saw Harry and Megan?!).  This was another one of those weddings where I have nothing to complain about.  We had more downtime than ever to take our times with photos and no stressful events occurred!  The bridal party was great!! The families were great!  I wish them ALL the best and thank them dearly for inviting Kari and I to be a part of it! <3

…and Kari and I forgot a dance floor selfie…AGAIN! Whomp Whomp!


I gotta give credit where credit is due!! These amazing vendors played a HUGE part in making this outdoor ceremony and reception remarkable!  Use the links below to get more information and if you have extra information I couldn’t find…please let me know and I’ll add it ASAP!

Hotel: Omni William Penn Hotel

Venue (Ceremony & Reception): Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden

Bridal Gown Designer: Nicole

Brial Salon: Bridal Beginning

Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Makeup: Makeup by Kristin

Hair: Buffy

Florist: Parkway Florist

Cake: Bethel Bakery

DJ: Eventures

Save the Dates: Vistaprint

Invitations: Etsy

Officiant: Adorkable Weddings

P.S.  I now have a VA (virtual assistant). Hey, Ashleigh!  Huge shoutout to her for helping me get this blog ready.  I told someone I was doing this (Hi, Kat) and she said, “You’re still going to write it, right?!”  Yes…Yes…I’m still writing it!  No worries!  Ashleigh is just preparing it!  It saved me a TON of time! YESSSSSSSSS!

Toodles! <3

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i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a s n will always sing is you

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