Happy Monday, everyone!
Carly and Ryan are now Mr. & Mrs. Warner!
Please give them lots of HBP love! This one is a goodie – both the photos and the story!
So, when I first met Carly at their engagement session (see it HERE), she explained she was getting married at the beautiful barn in Avella, PA (Heaven Sent Farms). She elaborated by telling me, “It’s a barn but we’re not getting married with hay bales.” I had to giggle at that one! It was also hard for me to imagine planning a wedding at a barn that wasn’t going to have much of a rustic feel. A barn wedding…without the rustic vibes…HmmmMmMmm. It definitely got my wheels turning. Well, if any of you are having those same questioning thoughts in your head, let me show you what that exactly looks like. Everyone…let me present the PERFECT mix of rustic meets classic romance. Carly worked with Ashley (owner of Simply Sweet Cakes) to make this happen. Ashley doesn’t just do sweets and cakes…she decorates too!! Together, Carly and Ashley NAILED.IT!
Beautiful, right?! You can see a live video of the set up on that day on my Facebook page if you’d like!! I couldn’t help it! I had to show it off! It was the perfect blend and executed flawlessly…rain aside! I’m about to tell you all about that too!
So, the weather called for rain all week. That didn’t get me worked up because the weather is ALWAYS changing and after all the weddings I’ve done by now, I’ve gotten pretty used to it. Heck, I’ve had weddings where it called for all day thunderstorms at 9 PM on Friday night only to wake up in the morning and see a clear forecast. So, I really wasn’t worried. Welllllll…I probably should have been a bit because this forecast was solid. It never changed. You see, this was basically all to be done outside…the whole wedding. Getting ready and formal photos were planned for her parents’ home in New Cumberland, WV…outside. Then, we were planning to travel (45 minutes) to Heaven Sent Farms in Avella, PA to do a few more photos…outside. Then, the ceremony was planned outside with a reception in the barn with big open doors for nice light and a breeze. You all see where this is going right?!
All my past couples know me. I plan ahead. I envision things for each of my couples with their help. I talk out the game plan with my assistants and second shooters the Monday before AND then again the morning of the wedding. As a result, we go into each day with a unique mission for how we’re going to capture the day. This day tested us and I’m happy to report we “won”! The weather lost and it has 110% to do with this couple, their families, and their friends! You can see another video on my Facebook page where I’m sitting in the car during the continuous downpour trying to psych myself up! Carly, on the other hand, was calm as a cucumber!
So, I did that live video and then Jenna and I were off to “pull a rabbit out of our hat” as we kept saying! When we first arrived, everyone was done with hair and makeup except Rhonda, Carly’s mom. Of course, I snapped a few extra photos of her while Jenna focused on more of the details. I’m telling you…when I say Carly was “calm”…I mean it. She handled this day with more grace and class and calmness than some brides with a perfect timeline and perfect weather. She even gave me lots and lots of Carly smiles and laughs! I channeled her calmness and confidence immediately. I think everyone was doing the same thing. It worked! You just wait and see!
We were a little scrunched for time. I definitely (admittedly) was more worried about the timeline than Carly. She kept reassuring me that it would be fine…her family and friends would be on time and cooperative. You know…she was saying all those normal things I hear before EVERY wedding and then somehow we ALWAYS run behind…ACK! Nope. She was 110% correct and I admit it. This day…rain and all…was smooth sailing! There was no stress…we never fell behind. We actually ran ahead of schedule. CRAZINESS!
The timeline didn’t allow for a lot of getting ready and detail shots though so I snapped a few because I really wanted Carly to have them and then I left Jenna to it!! This was the first time I left Jenna to do details on her own and she nailed it!! Here were my three (and only three) detail shots I took! Crazy, right?! These are some of my favorite things to shoot…definitely…but sometimes the control freak in me just has to “Let It Go…..Let it GOooOoo..” (just like Elsa says). My shots were inside with the beautiful bride!
Can I just tell you how happy this theme and color palette made me?! It made me REALLY happy! REALLY REALLY REALLY HAPPY! Spring and Summer were amazing but I was ready for some fall in my life and the “feel” and colors that come with it! EEEEKKKK!! All these shots below are Jenna’s! She focused mostly on the rings…because how could she not!?! AHHHHHHH! Also, huge shout out to Wilkins’ florist in Wellsburg who did these amazing flowers! Wilkin Flower Shop is my #1 pick for my northern couples!
More detail shots compliments of Jenna! By the way, we absolutely rearranged Carly’s parents’ porch. We didn’t have many places to go and the porch had good light and Rhonda was more than gracious in welcoming us (if you remember from their engagement session…they gave me all the warm and welcoming feels even back then too). She wouldn’t even let me put it all back before we left!! EEEK! Jenna was positioned in a little corner of the porch. We found this little stand and it was just perfect for what we needed (I love the natural wood). I’m telling you…these detail shots make my eyes and heart so happy!
So, while Jenna was out doing that, I was inside taking these! If you saw the sneak peek on Facebook, you’ve heard this before. I KNEW…just KNEW…when I saw this room at their engagement session that I would be using it a lot. It’s decorated like it belongs in a museum. It just makes you feel good when you walk into it (and the smiling faces help too). I don’t know exactly how to describe it but it’s clean and “fresh” while still having antiques and it’s just.so.amazing. This was a shot I was NOT going to miss! Nope! No way! I knew it was sneak peek material before I even took it!
So then we did a first look and now you can take a look around the room too! I would have never guessed just how much we would utilize this area thanks to the rain…but it all worked out and I actually like that we were forced to do it in there! I should note there are usually things on the piano and the window sill but I wanted to make sure nothing took our eyes away form the happy couple (and trust me…the little trinkets are cool enough to do just that) so we moved them to the other side. It was all meant to be! I said it before but I’m going to have to redo a room in our house when my kids get married! HA! These families are showing me how it’s done!
Now, for a very special moment. I wish I could have shown you this first look live. These moments you’re going to see were “Carly and Ryan” in a nutshell. It showcased their personalities and love for one another. It was sweet and it was honest…nothing was forced or awkward. I looked over after it was all said and done and Jenna had just as big of a smile on her face as I did.
Jenna was taking the shots closer to Ryan from the fireplace. I was taking the shots from the behind chair. We nailed it! The couple nailed it! It was PERFECTION!
Carly smiles and laughs for everyone!! Ryan is definitely the calmer of the two and more reserved…but he couldn’t help letting that slide in this moment. Just look at his face!
Then, Carly did something that was “so Carly” to me. She said to Ryan, “Should I twirl? Should I spin?” and she proceeded to move back and forth letting her dress swing like a bell and then she did a showcasing spin just for her husband-to-be (and for Jenna and I…because we were creepin’). How can you not smile when looking at these? Do you feel like you were there?! I’d also like to note that after that spin…it wasn’t all about Carly anymore. She’s a selfless individual and she made sure to check out every detail on her soon to be hubby and complimented him multiple times on his duds. <— I’ve never used that word before. It kind of just popped into my head and I DID check the definition before leaving it….that note is for all of my friends who watch my every typo and grammatical error! HA! You know who you are! 😉
Seriously, it was JUST PERFECT! Look at the joy on their faces!
Then, we headed outside to do the formals on the porch. I am SO GLAD Jenna grabbed these shots because I was too busy setting up lights…making my own light…and I could have possibly forgot! EEEKKKKK! * high five *, Jenna!
So, I don’t normally share formal family photos. You all know we take them as it is standard for weddings for as long as I can remember so I’d much rather showcase the more unique photos BUTTTTTT…I wanted to not only show you how we overcame the weather but how happy and loving both families were this day (and I bet every day)! I had big lights set up with big umbrellas so I could mimic sunlight. It was pouring but you’d never know! Again, a HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Carly’s mom and dad for letting us literally take over their deck. We pushed all the furniture to one side so we had room for these photos and there was so much furniture behind me at this point we could barely move. I’d also like to thank every person who moved a car for me. I’m sure they were just about over my requests for them to be moved but I wanted to make sure Carly and Ryan and her family had “wall hanger” photos without cars in the background (including mine…which I also had to move). THIS wedding was all about group effort and teamwork! All hands were on deck….with smiles on their faces…and just look what we were able to do!
Carly and her brother Kyle (who was also the officiant) were cracking me up. I ALMOST missed these hysterical moments while I was double checking my lighting but Jenna said, “Hannah! You’re missing it!” Then, I got to snap these right before the shenanigans were over! This was the whole day. No one would have guessed it was raining on a day that was planned to be 60% outdoors and everyone was still having an amazing time! Scratch that…everyone was having a great time!
So, then we did some bride and groom individual formals on the deck. They’re looking good, right?! Goodness. I squealed when I saw Carly’s dress at first. She had described it to me and I couldn’t wait to see it. I’m a ball gown girl…you all know that! This one made my heart sing!
Here’s their bridal party! One on each side…simple…sweet…perfect!
Then, we headed out into the drizzle. It really wasn’t raining directly from the sky at this point (just some mist here and there). We got about a half hour window where it didn’t rain and Carly wanted to go for it…that’s right!! Big, ruffly, ball gown and this girl was more than willing to go out in the wet grass and get those photos we’d dreamed of (yes…”we” because I seriously spend days and nights envisioning my couple’s photos).
Just so we’re all on the same page…this is how we managed to do it! We’ve got the best man holding the bouquet. We’ve got the maid of honor (in heels and a long dress) helping with the dress. We’ve got Jenna literally bringing up the behind. I had a light stand in my hand and my camera and the sheets. Someone (and in all the sweet craziness…I can’t remember who) had gone ahead and put the sheets down for us. It was magical. When Carly said everyone would be on time, ready, and cooperative…she was not kidding! So, we got her and that beautiful dress safely on the sheets (that her mom kindly allowed us to probably ruin…I haven’t checked on the status of the sheets yet) and tucked it so you couldn’t see. We were ready for photos…rain or shine!
…and I’m SO GLAD we did! This is the same wood line where I took their engagement photos…just a different season. They’re also a tad more dressed up this time too!
Because we didn’t want to move Carly and risk wasting precious time before the rain returned, I wanted to shoot through something and get creative. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was nuts when I asked Jenna to get me some weeds (those are the white flowers you’re seeing in the foreground). So, I grabbed the extra sheet we had and got down on my belly and shot through the flowers so we could give them some variety! Score! I’m loving these but you all know I love to creep and hide and shoot through things…I just happened to be making this one up!!! You’ll see the pull back in the behind the scenes coming at the end of the year!
I still can’t believe it didn’t rain during this!! The trees were blowing and a bit of “rain” came down on us but nothing that stopped us from powering through. I mentioned it in one of my videos but I was pulling strings for any kind of good vibes and karma to come my way the morning of this wedding. So, I bought my own meal and the car behind me when I ran through the drive through that morning. I’m happy to report it seemed to have worked! I hope I brought smiles to that couple’s face too!!
This is Carly to a T and Ryan compliments her spunky personality. He also does the very best nuzzle I’ve seen in a long time!
I’m telling you…I love everything about these especially the memories that go along with them!! I wish you could have all been there! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat…rain and all!
So, once we were done with all the formal photos, we were off to Heaven Sent Farms in Avella, PA! At this point, it was pouring again. My stress level had decreased exponentially after we got those bride and groom formals complete. So, we had lots and lots of time to take photos of the amazingness that was going on inside the barn!
The cake was extraordinary and so were the cookies but you know what really stood out to me? The tulle they artistically draped over the cookies to protect them before guests arrived was genius. It looked great and added to the whole romantic feel!
More details! I love how everything matched!
Then, guests started to arrive! I still can’t believe how cold it was this day. I’ve had October weddings that were MUCH warmer than this! Crazy!
Ok…just a few more detail shots! I mean…there were even flowers on the plate table!
Then, it was time for the ceremony. Of course, it was moved inside and it was beautiful!
…and just as they got to the front and joined hands, it down poured…like torrential downpour. That might not seem like a big deal now that we were all safely inside, right? Welllllll….there’s something you should know about this barn. The roof is tin. What happens when rain hits tin? It’s LOUD! Now, I’ve done a lot of weddings at this point. It’s not uncommon for the bride, groom, and officiant not to be mic’d up for the ceremony but now it was raining HARD on that tin roof and I literally said in my head, “Uh Oh!”. Have no fear though…Kyle, Carly’s brother, came to the rescue! You know…there’s a difference in projecting your voice and flat out yelling. Kyle SOMEHOW projected his voice OVER the rain so the whole place could hear him…and it wasn’t like he was yelling. It was like he was talking really loud…that’s all. In this moment, I had to smile because life is funny like that. I’m not sure any other human being could have pulled off this ceremony the way that he did. It was perfect.
Just for some frame of reference, this is how big the place is and Kyle didn’t let that get him down…at all! I also enjoyed the nice big aisle I had to work with! This was also the very first ceremony ever that I was forced to use flash. Don’t let these photos fool you. The only light we had were those chandeliers and the a little natural light. It was dark! I had packed all my lighting gear! They had closed the doors to prevent the rain from coming in…so I had to get creative. We used big stands about 9 feet in the air with big umbrellas and I used electrical tape to secure them to the wooden poles so they wouldn’t topple over if a gust of wind made it inside. We tested the flashes to make sure it was the right amount of light we needed but wasn’t overpowering and distracting. Heck, at one point, Jenna’s light kept going off and I could NOT find her anywhere. The flash only goes off when you take a photo and I couldn’t find her! HA! Alas…she was using her creeper skills and hiding behind a table. HA!
It was short. It was sweet. It had some witty moments. It was perfect!
The NEW Mr. & Mrs. Warner!
Again, no one was letting the rain get this bride down!
The speeches were also very meaningful. Ryan’s brother, in particular, said something that really made me think…and he’s right. He said something to this effect, “If you really love someone and you are really meant to be with them, marriage isn’t hard. It just works.” Again, those weren’t his exact words but close. AND I feel like he’s right because I also feel that same way. We ALL have our differences…yes. That’s natural…but when two people love each other as much as Carly and Ryan do, as much as his brother and his wife do, as much as me and my husband do…marriage really is pretty easy and you can just enjoy it and enjoy life! I also just happen to be the lucky one who gets to experience these special speeches and moments weekend after weekend!
Then, they cut the cake and Carly’s expressions and Ryan’s “coolness” just kept coming out! I seriously could not stop smiling. Check her out! HA!
Jenna was off taking her usual architecture photos and table detail shots! I’ve noticed she’s known to do this now. She’ll wander about and catch some things we may have missed earlier in the day.
Then, it was time for the bride and groom’s first dance! Ryan spun Carly right off the bat!
Then, dad and daughter shared a really special dance!
Then, mother and son got the same opportunity. At this point, something happened that really stood out to me. Ryan made his way back out to the dance floor once his wife and her dad were done with their song. The DJ announced the upcoming dance and asked for his mom to move to the dance floor. Ryan looked out over the crowd for her and when he spotted her, he didn’t just stand there and wait for her to make her way to the floor. Nope, like the kind gentleman that he is, he went into the crowd and gave her his arm and escorted her back to the dance floor himself. My goodness! You just don’t see those kinds of gestures happen as much as you used to and I was so overjoyed when it happened. I know…it’s just a little thing…BU I’ve said it before…I DO believe fairy tales exist. I do believe ladies and gentleman still do exist. This wedding proved it. Being the photographer this day was like being wrapped in one giant, smiley, warm hug!
Then, the DJ opened up the dance floor and asked for people to start busting a move. Nothing happened at first. The electric slide was playing but no one was “sliding” to the beat! Then, this guest came out and decided she was just going to do it. She didn’t miss a beat (pun intended) and she danced out there all by herself. I looked at the person beside me and said, “I just love this chick already!”. THENNNNNNNNN, someone else joined her. That’s right!! Grandma wasn’t about to let her get down to the electric slide by herself…nope! She joined right in and they danced to the beat!
Look at them go!
Of course, it wasn’t long before they encouraged everyone else to join! The party really got started then!
EVERYONE was having a great time!! It didn’t matter if you were on the dance floor or off to the side! It didn’t matter that it rained on the outdoor wedding or that we had to wear jackets because it was so cold. Nope. You never would have known! I consider this whole day a success!
BUT THEN…the WOOBLE BABY, WOBBLE BABY, WOBBLE BABY beat dropped (who sang it just now?!) Grandma may not have known this dance but she wasn’t about to leave the dance floor. Nope. She got right in there and watched her fellow dancers, family, and friends and picked up on it so quickly. I added this to another one of my life goals. I’m going to win the anniversary dance one day AND be this hip and get out there with the crowd and learn the new songs and moves! I also should admit I’m not sure (even after all these weddings) if I know the moves yet! HA! Maybe she can teach me now! I may need it!
Check out all the fun being had!
WAYYYYY back when we were planning and envisioning their day, we talked about a sunset. Most of the venues I commonly shoot at don’t give us the opportunity to do this so I was super excited about it! Then, it rained…whomp whomp. I know you know what I’m going to say next…IT DID NOT MATTER. This happy couple took our umbrellas and off we went. I purposely left the rain drops on the first two photos so you could really see how hard it was raining (I photoshopped them out of the finished one). The rain was coming in from the side and was landing on my lens. So, not only were we battling rain…it was coming down sideways AND getting me. Ryan, the gentleman that I mentioned he is, was so concerned about us he kept offering us the umbrella and wanted us to stay dry! We insisted they stay more dry than us (we did bring extra clothes anyway).
So, I had my light set up. I was ready. Camera up. I assumed they were going to keep the umbrellas…not the case! Carly said, “Ready?!” and I just happened to snap the first photo when they decided to literally throw the umbrellas to the side. We took the bottom image in less than 20 seconds…I am not exaggerating! Then, we made a break for it to get back on dry land! I also exaggerated the sky and added a little color in post processing…they deserved it!
We were cold. We were wet. Jenna said, “I’m not sure how wet we’d actually have to be to change our clothes.” I had to laugh at that because she’s right. This day was so distracting and in the greatest way possible. We were soaking wet and could have changed our clothes but when you’re feeling this good on the inside…the things on the outside don’t matter. It never crossed my mind once to go to my car and get a warm, dry change of clothes. I think our expressions here show what I’m talking about! Then, Carly came over and I got her in on the selfie too!
THAT’S A WRAP! CONGRATS TO THE WARNERS!
I never want it to rain on any wedding day…ever. Jenna and I couldn’t get over how crappy the forecast looked this morning but it did not matter. Not that I would pick and choose, but this day couldn’t have happened to a more perfect couple… if it HAD to happen. Carly and Ryan (and all their family and friends) didn’t let anything get them down. She acted the part of a total princess and Ryan the perfect gentleman. Their families were so kind to us and we smiled all day long. Their friends and brothers and sisters (who also have the most well behaved children I’ve ever met in my life) are also amazing individuals and played a huge part in making this day a success! This wedding will go down in the books as the rainy, cold day that was so perfect! I can’t say it enough…Jenna and I left there feeling good about it. We chatted the next day and the day after about it even. I’m so happy for this couple and I hope their honeymoon was even more fabulous!
…and one last huge shout out to Carly’s parents for letting me invade and rearrange their home for sake of their daughter’s and son-in-law’s wedding photos! THANK YOU!
ONE LAST TIME…IT WAS A FANTASTIC DAY!
Remember, it wasn’t just us, Carly, Ryan, and their family and friends…it was also these other amazing vendors who played the roll of a winning sports team to make this day fabulous and memorable!
Bride’s Ruffle Gown – Allure Bridal from Special Moments in Schuylkill Haven, PA
Maid of Honor Gown – David’s Bridal
Men’s Attire – Kohl’s (….during the Father’s Day Sale! HA! <—- That made me laugh.)
Jewelry/Rings – Zales, Groom’s Ring from Antler Rings
Hair/Makeup Melissa’s Donavie from Salon 902
Florist – Wilkin Flower Shop
Cake/Desserts – Ashley Haddox of Simply Sweet Cakes
Reception Decor – Ashley Haddox of Simply Sweet Cakes
DJ – DJ Ran
Catering – Undos
Transportation – Heavenly Limo
Venue – Heaven Sent Farms
Favors – Donations to Angleman Syndrome
Please let me know if you have any information on any of the vendors listed…I’m happy to add it!!
HAVE A GREAT WEEK!