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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Elegant Summer Wedding | Hannah Barlow Photography | WV Wedding Photography

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s not just another Friday for me but also wedding eve!  So, it was especially important I get this blog up before tomorrow!! Maddie and Cody deserve all their own spotlight right now because this wedding was highly anticipated by many (including myself)!  Plus, Maddie and her mom are two of my loyal blog readers who, I later found out, had taken some mental notes over the last year and a half and applied them to this day…which I LOVE, by the way!  MY GOODNESS!  I’m a lucky gal!  I can’t say that enough!  So, here we go!

Say a HUGE HBP “Congrats” to Maddie and Cody!

Jenna and I started off the day at Generations Restaurant and Pub to photograph some wedding reception decor.  You’ll see some of that later on though!  For now, let’s focus on the beginning of the day goodies!  After we snapped some reception photos, we headed over to Maddie’s mom’s home in St. Clairsville to catch up with the girls, meet Chris the videographer, and get those important detail, getting ready, and first look shots!  Maddie’s parent’s home WAS PERFECT for this kind of thing!  It’s almost like they planned their home for this!

Jenna definitely fell right into the HBP groove early on so this wedding was easy for us!  While she was marching up and down the stairs (between where the guys were located and where the girls were primping), I was getting these beautiful detail shots!  Let me tell you something.  I work with a lot of amazing florists but a few REALLY stand out to me and Bodnar’s is one of those!  I can spot their flowers a mile away, I tell ya!!  There are NEVER any brown leaves or petals, they’re SOLID and tough (we tend to abuse them a bit…ekkkk), they’re beautiful, bridal, and usually have lamb’s ear (which I’ve come to notice I can’t get enough of…or maybe it is dusty miller?).  See for yourself!  Maddie also had a bone charm on her bracelet.  Arson (her beloved fur baby you probably remember from their engagement session) wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t make the wedding!  Speaking of their engagement session…if you missed it…you can see it (and Arson) here!

Let’s rewind a bit.  If you didn’t know already from past posts, Maddie and I formed a close bond over the last almost two years.  We didn’t know each other prior to her booking me but our client/bride relationship quickly took off. We met up MULTIPLE times from the time she booked me until this wedding day including her taking me to a bridal show as a “guest” and “friend” so I could scope out the competition incognito style.  That day was pretty hilarious especially when people asked, “So, how do you two know each other?”. HA!

So, you can imagine how touched I was when she came in to hang out with me while I was doing detail shots.  GRANTED, I THINK she also wanted to see how these images all come together but still! ? <—- LOOK!!  I ALSO GOT EMOJIS IN MY BLOG!!!!!!  I’m so stinkin’ happy about those emojis!  I’ve needed the swoon emoji for a long time!

Anyway, she could have been spending that time anywhere but she chose to come in and chat with me and keep me company (and Jenna…who clearly took this image).  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d develop such great friendships and memories doing this job!  Seriousy, I’m one lucky gal right here! 

So, while Jenna was living up to her creeper status AND utilizing architecture, of course (photo left below), I was finishing taking some candid shots of the girls (photo right below).

Then, Jenna and I tag teamed the rest of the detail shots so we wouldn’t get behind!  Jenna was in charge of Cody’s details and she NAILED it.

Chris, the videographer, liked this room because it was more quiet so we all stuffed in there and got some really great photos of the girls before they put on their dresses! Good looking group, right?!?!  They’re just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside…I promise!

So, I headed down to finally say “Hi” to Cody and get some getting ready shots.  Jenna had been down there multiple times but this was the first time I managed to get down there!  The guys were on it, dressed, and ready to go!

So, while I was downstairs doing that, Jenna was upstairs getting the most AMAZING photos of little Reagan admiring Maddie’s dress.  Seriously, I could not love these more!  The only one I took was bottom right and that’s because I happened to pop into the room and snap a few before they were finished!  I also happen to love her name because I have a Reagan too!  She was the cutest and the sweetest!

Then, it was time to throw on that beautiful dress!! Maddie was really good at keeping me up on all the details leading up to her wedding so I had already known what the dress would look like.  The bottom, in particular, was even more beautiful than the pictures I had seen!  I’d also love to note that this sun room was AMAZING for photos.  It honestly made me think, “Man, I need a sun room built on before my kids get married.”  I’m not even kidding.  I’m sure I’m going to hear, “NO YOU’RE NOT!”  when my husband reads this!  I’m at least going to paint and refurnish a room! HA!  I am!! Check back in 20 years!  You just watch!

She was almost ready to go!  We just needed a few finishing touches!

Like the garter and the shoes!

…and then something happened.  Something major.  Something I don’t like to EVER see happen.  Maddie stood up and then bent over to either fix a shoe or dress and we all heard a very loud and pronounced “SNAP”.  Cue my stomach dropping.  The eye hook hadn’t been sewn on tight or something and just flew off.  A very important detail to note about this dress is that the zipper doesn’t start right below the eye hook like most dresses.  Nope.  OF COURSE NOT!  It had a beautiful see through area that was held together with buttons and elastic loops below the eye hook.  It made it elegant.  It made it beautiful.  It made it unique.  It also made that eye hook even MORE important!  Well, guess what happened next (and Maddie doesn’t know this)!  When that eye hook went flying, significant stress was put on each elastic loop around each button and the more Maddie moved to try and see what was going on back there…the more they stretched and got smaller and I was internally FREAKING out (and picturing the loops giving way and then what would we do?!).  They seriously looked like they were very close to ripping and THAT’S why that eye hook was so important because it took the stress off the buttons and the loops.  I know I looked at her sister at one point who looked at me with the “what do we do” eyes, and I just shook my head and grabbed hold of the two pieces of dress to try and relieve the stretching.  I remained calm and had my poker face on.  That’s where my history as a cardiac nurse comes to play.  “Everything’s fine.  No one’s dying today!”  But now, it’s more like, “It’s fine.  No dress is dying today!”  And so we all stood there silent.  I’ll give it to Maddie though..she was calm.  HOW?!  I have no idea how!  Maybe because SHE didn’t get to see those loops stretching! HA!

Another plot twist…at the last wedding I did, we had the exact same issue with a bridesmaid’s dress and I had tried to sew her into it only to find that my thread had been in my bag for so long it had lost it’s strength, basically dry rotted, and wouldn’t hold..AND I FORGOT TO REPLACE IT for this wedding.  It’s like the wedding karma Gods were punishing me for forgetting.  Jenna and I both sew well so if I had had the right thread…I wouldn’t have been panicking.

BUT…her Aunt saved the day!  She had brought her sewing kit (smart lady) and sews well too.  She ran right in there as calm as a cucumber and sewed Maddie right into her dress!  Whewwww!  I’m happy to report this was the only “issue” we had all day!  I always tell my brides…”Everyone has ONE!”  This just happened to be ONE major issue!  I mean…it’s THE DRESS!

Crisis averted! It was then time for the girls to see the bride!  I love these shots!  They’re so sweet!

Now…the first looks!  We were planning to do a father/daughter first look first.  I had Maddie’s dad, Ron, all set up and ready to go when her mom popped out asking if we were ready for the bride.  She then saw the opportunity and asked if she could do a first look herself and my answer was, “YES! OF COURSE!”.  I mean…look at them!  THAT is true love right there!! Have you ever seen anything cuter?!

Seriously, cuteness overload!

Then, it was time for Maddie and her Dad to have a moment!

Funny story about these photos…mostly, photographers will appreciate this.  Jenna and I had spent a few minutes getting all our cameras ready, settings set, people arranged.  If you look above, the sun was out in full force!  Then, the sun popped behind the clouds and neither Jenna or I adjusted settings (you have to do that when the sun goes away).  Lots of people have told me they feel outside weddings would be easier for us photographers but they actually aren’t…because the light is NEVER consistent and we constantly have to change settings.  This was kind of like that except I wasn’t thinking.  Jenna got in the car and I think she was feeling bad because she said, “So, ugh…you’re going to have to edit those…I forgot to adjust for the sun.”  I literally started busting out laughing and said, “Yup!  So, did I!”.  It happens.  We’re human AND that’s the beauty of post processing.  It took me just about 3 minutes to add some light and exposure boost to all these and here they are!

Sorry…got a little lost in that story! HA!  It was the only time the whole day we weren’t 100% on our game so it was worth mentioning!  I have nothing to hide!  Weddings are crazy!  Crazy fun, too!

I actually prefer the sun not to be out…look how amazing!

Her dad kept saying, “It was worth the wait,” which told me he hadn’t even seen the dress yet!  Gosh, this was so sweet to witness!

Then, we realized her dad didn’t have a handkerchief (she MAY have stolen his…I think that’s what happened).  So, she helped him out!  My dad still carries one everywhere he goes!  They’re definitely handy to have around!

Then, it was time for Maddie and Cody’s first look which was ironically the shortest of the three!  We switched it up a bit and instead of moving Maddie around, we let her stay outside and let her groom approach her!  It was a nice change and I love the angles Jenna and I shot!

So, I have a firm “no family or friends” rule when it comes to first looks.  Unless the couple wants everyone present, I try and keep anyone not directly involved inside.  There are many reasons for this.  #1 – Sometimes someone may inadvertently swing around getting lost in the moment with a phone or camera and we end up in one other’s shots.  I knew Maddie had an “unplugged” wedding rule so I wanted to honor that.  #2 – Many couples are nervous at this point and sometimes get afraid to show emotion with friends and family around for fear of embarrassment and generally just feel distracted from the moment with an audience present.  #3 – This is sometimes the ONLY time during the whole day the bride and groom will get to be alone.  So, I always stand as far back as I can and as quiet as I can and let them have their moment.  I was SO HAPPY Jenna got these photos of everyone watching though.  It really shows how much they care to not only give the couple a private moment but to also witness the special moment (secretly..or maybe not so secretly. HA!).  Their family and friends were so understanding but were also still able to sneak a peek!  Best of both worlds, right?!

…and just like that it was time to get on the limo and head to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Clairsville!  BUT not before Heavenly Coach Limo gave Maddie and Cody a gift.  They framed their invitation for them and gave it back!! Isn’t that sweet!?  I get to work with some amazing vendors, I tell ya!

We all made it to the church and while we were getting set for the ceremony, some family and friends popped in to offer their “congratulations”.  I was happy to have been back there to catch some of these moments!

We also had to send a call out to Kari to say “Hi!”.  As a loyal blog reader, Maddie had gotten to know Kari first virtually and then came to a bridal show and got to meet her in person!  When I found out Kari was pregnant last fall and due August 1st, we all knew Maddie’s wedding would be the first one she would definitely miss.  So, as we were all missing Kari and Kari was missing us, we called her and happened to catch her! 

I took a screen shot so Kari could make the blog! HA! Hi, Kari!

Then, it was time for the processional!  Like most Catholic churches, I was not permitted in the front so I snagged my own seat with the guests and had the nicest conversation prior to the start with that gentleman you can see on the right.

Jenna and I nailed these shots if I do say so myself!  We always set up the plan ahead of time.  So,  she hid behind a pillar during my shot and I hid amongst the guests for hers! HA!  I always wonder what guests think when they see this happen!

Vows and rings were exchanged, of course!

I loved this sweet shot so much!

Then, they were pronounced man and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Goff, and gave me THE BEST first kiss, first hug, and extra first kiss.  I don’t now if this was intentional or if they were just lost in the moment but I know Maddie knows (from past blogs) that the first kiss gives me hives…especially Catholic first kisses because they can pop up anywhere and there’s no announcement.  They drew out that first kiss, hugged, and then kissed again for good measure!  I’m wondering (and she’ll have to tell me) if they did this to cut me some slack and to be sure I was able to get it!  Either way…I got it! YAY!

Nonetheless, I almost elbowed Chris the videographer about 100 times because I kept lifting my camera…putting it down.  Lifting camera up.  No kiss yet.  Putting it down. HA!  He probably thought I was nuts but HEY… his camera is on a stand…his arms weren’t burning! 

…leave it to Jenna to REALLY embrace the architecture of the church.  Hey, Kari!  We’re really going to have to channel Jenna tomorrow.  Just like we channel Kari for her “romantic” side and attention to detail…we gotta start channeling Jenna’s eye for shapes, architecture, AND her creeper status!  I’m starting to get a complex here.  What do I have going for me?! HA!  I mean…I taught those two everything I know about wedding photography…so I guess there’s that! HA!

Jenna’s shots again!  She actually said, “I don’t think we took enough pictures of the building.  I’ll be back.”  I did know…for a fact…she had taken photos earlier but I have to admit, her second set was better!  She was right!

Then, we headed to Oglebay to do all the formal photos.  It was tricky.  As always, there were other bridal parties present so we had to share space AND there was an actual wedding going down too.  Maddie had envisioned photos in the amphitheater but the sun was awfully bright and awfully harsh this day.  I had warned her earlier in the month that if the sun was like that..we’d have to go plan B…and it was like that this day…and my Plan B didn’t work because of the wedding…WAAAAAAHHHH!  So, I took the guys in the shade to keep them cool (both literally and figuratively) and got these goodies!  I was racking my brain the whole time on where I was going to go for the rest of the photos!

So, I busted out my flashes for bridal party shots in the amphitheater JUST to see what they’d look like and I just didn’t love what was happening.  Even though Maddie wanted those, I was pretty sure they weren’t going to be how she pictured them in her head and I wanted her to have pictures she loved, of course!  So, we headed up and I did the girls’ photos for a little distraction while I racked my brain!

Check out the beautiful bride!  I also have to mention something else about Bodnar’s bouquets.  They aren’t just strong but the flowers survive long periods of time out of water!  These had hydrangeas which do NOT love to be out of water and do NOT love the heat.  The staff must have magic, floral powers because that bouquet nevere wilted and I can’t figure out how…it was HOT and we were out there for a long time!

When you have a train like that, a fluffy dress shot is a MUST!

Now, here are the beautiful ladies!

…and the bridal party all together!

And now…here are the goodies!  

Jenna did the close up shots (creeping from the side with a long lens) and I did the wider angle ones…all at the same time!  Neat, right?!

At this point, I was reviewing the photos I took above on my camera during this phase of formal photos and noticed she was missing her long, beautiful veil.  She had talked about this beauty for a long time leading up to her big day so I asked why she had taken it off.  Like most brides, she found out fast how it can be a HUGE inconvenience.  I’ll admit…they really are and are hard to get around in on top of it all!  Nonetheless, I convinced her we needed it and I knew she’d regret not having some photos with it.  One of the girls was so gracious and quickly ran back to the limo to get it!  Jenna got it back in her hair in o time and we were off to take some more photos!  Check out this beauty!  Maddie, aren’t you glad?!  I’m so glad!

Maddie also wanted some photos on the steps.  I have a love-hate relationship with “requests”! HA! It makes my job a wee bit more difficult BUT it makes me get creative and think outside the box too not to mention I always end up loving those images the most!  I really had to angle myself “right” because there’s a parking lot with not so pretty cars in it above those steps.  I was able to avoid those but caught Cody walking back.  I kid you not…he isn’t supposed to be there.  Most people probably won’t even notice him (and now you’re all looking for him ?) and I almost…ALMOST…cloned him out in post processing but then decided I kind of loved that he was “secretly” in the photo!  It’s so fun when things like that happen and just add to the story!

We did these so quickly before we moved on and I’ve gotten more compliments on “those photos with the yellow flowers” more than any other sneak peek!  Crazy, right?!

So, then I decided to contain them in this area and get creative!  I’m so glad I did!  I think this location adds to the romantic feel of the whole wedding! What do you think?!

Then, Chris the videographer mentioned how much he loved this wall.  HOW DID I NOT NOTICE THE WALL ENOUGH TO USE IT?!  I raved and “thanked” him for pointing it out…all while taking photos and acting like a lunatic over my excitement (the couple can confirm)!  It was brilliant!  Jenna!  How did YOU not notice the wall?!  I’m SHOCKED!  This has you written all over it!

These are two of my favorites from the entire wedding, I tell ya!

Then, we finally got to do some photos of the groom by himself!  His guys were a rowdy bunch so I’m glad we waited to take these until we were on our own!! We had some good laughs with those guys though before they left.  You see…most of these guys (Cody included) are either nurses, paramedics, first responders, fire fighters, EMTs…you name it.  Well, I used to work on a floor that was notorious for being chaotic and having daily transfers (Hey Hey, 3 West Ladies and Gents) that involved all those people I mentioned and many times we worked with their specific companies.  So, the jokes were rolling all day…”Don’t trust her.  She worked on 3 West!”.  Anyone in the valley can appreciate that comment!

So yes.  We finally got a chance to take some really great photos of Cody without his friends’ antics! HA!  He even gave me his best pose and it’s my favorite!  He nailed it!

Of course…Maddie was ready for the dip and they NAILED IT!  Not to toot my own horn, but I liked it more than the videographer’s version! HA!  Chris is shaking his head right now saying “You’re so wrong, girl!”  It was a dip competition!  You can see a version of his dip in the bottom left photo which Jenna creatively took!  She’s brilliant! 

…and one last one of the bride before we’re off to PARTY!

It’s reception time!  

These were actually taken earlier in the day, in the morning and first thing before we met up with the girls!

Maddie didn’t miss a detail!  Jenna said she loved it so much and loved that Maddie made sure everything “fit”…I bet Etsy was loving Maddie too!  She even included the fur babies!  And you know how I always say each wedding teaches me something new?  Well, I learned at this wedding that I need windex wipes in my bag.  That mirror was driving me batty so I finally just set my camera to make it blurry so you couldn’t see the finger prints! HA!  Seriously though…I’ll have wipes in my bag for tomorrow!! You watch!  I also got to meet Tina the baker and we learned a bit about each other’s trades.  While I watched her put the finishing touches on the cake, I taught her how I avoid getting herself in the photo! HA!  She said, “I always can see myself in this mirror”.  So, I taught her the awkward but effective cake squat which you’ll probably see in the end of year blogs! HA!

So, these are real time photos and were taken right before the reception got started!  See how the lights are on?  That’s usually how you can tell when they were taken! 

Brian Oliver always rocks the house but he started off this night with a bang.  He always plays the bride’s family off the groom’s family to see who can make the most noise for the newly married couple.  Both sides were excited …but I think Cody’s side was definitely louder!

The bridal part definitely made a grand entrance!

…but Maddie and Cody nailed it.  I mean…this is just showing off!! COME ON!  It was perfect!

There was no lull in the night.  Things got started and kept moving!  Heck, I even think my wedding had a little bit of down time during dinner.  Nope…not this wedding!

Lots and lots of smiling and laughing and dancing!

Heck, there was so much dancing that her mom, sister, and aunt got on the floor and literally rolled during Tina Turner’s “Rolling on the River”.  I THINK that was the song, at least!  Check out Grandma in the background AND check out the fact that I almost got run over by a mop! HA!  There’s a first for every wedding, right?!

I’m telling you…the party NEVER stopped!! This was a great group but it’s not just the group.  I’ve never been to a wedding Brian Oliver did where the dance floor didn’t look like this!

…and because of that…we always mess with him a bit!  We were scheduled for the whole reception and had lots and lots of pictures already so we tried to photobomb him.  He’s on to us though.  He keeps a look out and was able to jump into the photo! HA!  You can see that in the video I posted on my Facebook page a couple weeks ago too!!   I also creep and get some pictures of him doing his thing.  I try to do this for all the vendors because people don’t get to see all the work we all do behind the scenes and I think it’s neat, right?!  I think we should also pat him on the back.  For whatever reason, his corner of the room raised up high got really HOT! Like…really hot up there.  He had to have been dehydrated! HA!  I KNOW heat rises but jeesh…I was hot up there!

Maddie had this amazing little “Dance Floor Rules” sign.  I propped it up on the table and got the dance floor in the background…because…why not?!  We were there all night anyway so we were trying to get creative to give the couple some variety!

Then, this happened!  Maddie got to play DJ for a second!

…and the crowd went WILD!

…and the party kept going!  There was never one time the dance floor didn’t look like this!

Before the end of the night, we went out and took a picture with their sign too!  I think it’s totally cool that Generations does this for their wedding couples!! Makes for good photo ops for us wedding photographers too!  BONUS!

Dance floor selfies are needed when you’re having fun!  We also color coordinated for this wedding.  We channeled our inn Brian Oliver (who always coordinates his outfits with the wedding colors). Bahahahahahaha!  I think Jenna ruined that shirt too from all the sweating! Ewww!  I also ruined the back of my dress by brushing up against something…I don’t know what…but the dress might not make it!  OoOO the hazards of 12 hours days! HA!  It’s totally worth it!

…this was one of the last (or maybe the last) photos of the night and it was perfect for the ending!  Maddie’s parents high fived in celebration of their first daughter’s successful wedding and marriage.  OOoo Did I not mention it?!  Maddie has three sisters too.  Maddie has a twin sister AND her other two sisters are twins!!!!  TWO sets of twins for these two parents!  They’re going to get to do this THREE more times, as a result!  Bless them!

Here are their FOUR beautiful daughters who are also those two sets of twins I mentioned above!  Crazy, right?!  Don’t worry!  I have already started channeling the Wedding Gods.  Could I get so lucky?!?!?!  Stay tuned in years to come!  We’ll have to see!

That’s a wrap on this wedding!  Before I go, I just want to say one more time how bittersweet this wedding was for me.  Like many, it’s hard for me to see a wedding like this move to the “completed” folder.  You have to remember that many of these couples book me 1.5-2 years in advance.  I get to know them WELL in that time and Maddie, in particular, was one of those brides I could talk to about ANYTHING…not just wedding stuff.  We spent more than just an engagement session and wedding together.  We spent bridal consultations, multiple photo sessions, multiple bridals shows together.  She’s a beautiful girl and has always been so kind to me and my crew!  She even took the time to get to know both Jenna and Kari too!

So, Maddie, I wish you and Cody a LIFETIME of smiles, laughter, and happiness!  It was a pleasure getting to know you over the last few years and photographing you over and over!  Your wedding was BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t have planned it better myself!  CONGRATS again!

Thanks for reading ,everyone!  Remember, if you don’t mind, head back to the Facebook page and give them lots of love!  Google likes it when you read these (and so do I) but Facebook likes it when you “like” and comment on the post so lots of other couples will be able to see it too!

Congrats to the Goffs!

This wedding would NOT have been possible without all of these amazing vendors!  Links provided when applicable!

Ceremony Venue: St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Reception Venue/Catering: Generations Restaurant & Pub

Bridal Gown Designer: Christina Wu

Bridal Gown Salon: Henri’s Cloud 9

Bride’s Shoes: TOMS

Bridesmaids’ Gown Designer: Bill Levkoff

Bridesmaids’ Gown Salon: Dee’s Country Bridal Shop

Men’s Attire: Rodinelli Tuxedo

Jewelry/Rings: Kay’s (hers) Amazon (his)

Hair/Makeup: Salon 2212

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: The Bride

Florist: Bodnar & Sons Florist & Greenhouse

Cake/Other Desserts: Tina’s Sweet Celebrations

Videographer: Chris Lucarelli – Suburban Video

DJ/Band: Brian Oliver

Photo Booth: Sunnie Ruble (friend of the bride)

Transportation: Heavenly Coach

Save the Dates/Invitations/Programs: Vista Print

Favors/Gifts: Sweet Treats by Carrie

OooO yes!  One last thing!  Remember this couple?  Do they look familiar?!  They should!  Not only were they busting a move on the dance floor that night…they are also another HBP couple who just happen to be the ones who are getting married tomorrow!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK!  Check back Sunday for their sneak peek!  Audrey and Kyle…you’re next!  See you tomorrow!

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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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