So, there was a Wheeling Wedding at the White Palace last weekend AND it was amazing AND it was everything I love in a wedding…EVERYTHING (well, chaos aside and it did lack a black tux but I’ll make an exception and you’ll see why here in a minute …Alyssa and Chas might just be changing my tastes after all this!). That’s right! Alyssa and Chas became Mr. & Mrs. McFarland and it was a spectacular day…and a chaotic day…and we did it! I’m so proud of everyone and I can’t wait to get this blog up! So, let’s do this! Sit back and relax…another long one is coming at ya! First photo by Kari! What’s not to love?!
Alright. Let’s start from the very beginning of this day. Put your wedding blog reading seat belts on because if you think my blogs are usually long and rambling…this one is going to be intense! I want you all to really FEEL everything we were feeling on this day so I’m going to do my best to throw you right back into this day with us! Do you remember their engagement session?! If not, you can see it HERE! Chas claimed he didn’t necessarily like photos and Alyssa said she was an introvert. Those two things still boggle my mind because I’m a photographer and I’m a high strung, LOUD, Type A, extrovert…and these two make my wedding photographer heart SING! I feed off their energy and their love for one another and bebop around just being myself (and even more so on their wedding day…more on that in a bit). This timeline was NOT perfect despite our best efforts to make it that way…and while you are all probably thinking it wasn’t a good thing…well, you’re wrong. I’m still trying to figure out how a fast paced and sometimes stressful timeline led to one of the most fun and engaging days for us and some of the best photos we’ve taken as a team of three. I just have SO MUCH to say so make sure you’ve got lots of time on your hands! It’s going to be a long one and I’ve been trying so hard to do better (maybe 2020 will have shorter blogs…is that a good thing? I don’t know! You tell me!)! There’s just too much detail on this one!
Ok. This is usually the part of the blog that starts off with me describing which assistant I picked up and how the weather was forecasted . I sometimes even throw in there what we had for breakfast or lunch but that’s most certainly NOT how this morning started for any of us! You see…Alyssa and I determined a month or two ago that she was going to need me longer than what we’d originally thought so she discussed it with Chas and her family and decided to max out the time we were with her to 12 hours! So, the morning of her wedding I was scratching my head trying to figure out how it still didn’t feel like we had enough time. Kyle Mac (Smash Weddings) had spent the whole week decking out the White Palace for this Wheeling wedding. The florist was doing all live flowers. The coordinator was working on hair and makeup for the ladies and making sure everything was going to run on schedule. That morning…I found myself on the phone with everyone trying to rewrite the timeline so we could all make this happen together as a team. I called Kyle. I talked to Jay Morris, the videographer. Stacy, the coordinator, even called me on my way to Oglebay cabins! It was chaos, I tell ya! Kari and Lacey had been thoroughly briefed on what was about to happen this day and I made sure they knew all the details, the timeline, where everyone was going to be…you name it…I drilled it into all our heads! SO, off we went! We just kept chanting…”we can do it…we can do it…we CAN!” Alyssa didn’t know ANY of this was happening, of course! That’s the most important thing to me…never stress the bride! And we did it! OooO you just wait to see what we did! So, to Oglebay cabins we went to find the ladies getting finished up!! Hair and makeup was ahead of schedule…WOOOooooOOOO!!! CHECK MARK! It’s all going good! My blood pressure was up and I honestly had a little chest pain…but it was going good! YES! The energy of these ladies helped me exponentially!
Kari and Lacey didn’t stay long though. We knew this was going to happen going in. There wasn’t anyone available to bring the flowers to us (and we had planned to do more than half the photos before the ceremony…because…you know…tight timeline). I went straight into detail shots while they went to grab the flowers from the florist at the White Palace in Wheeling where the florist, Bill, was setting up (and just wait until you see all the beauty). So, I sent them off together since they’re both out of town. Wouldn’t you know it, GPS took them down that back road by the waterfall at Oglebay and it was closed. Oy! I had wondered what took them so long BUT they made it back with all the flowers intact eventually (YAY! Kari literally texted me the night before and asked that I please not ask her to do it by herself because she didn’t think she was the right person for the job…HA!). Also, with that tight timeline, I apologized to everyone ahead of time that I was going to have to use my “Professional Bossy Hannah” voice and they all said it was A OK! Whewww! I didn’t have a choice though if we were to get everything done with the tight timeline AND THEN…*bomb drop*…we found out Alyssa’s grandpa wasn’t going to be able to be discharged from the hospital like they had originally planned. I saw the defeat and disappointment on her face and immediately told her we were going to get her down to see grandpa before the ceremony! In my head, I KNEW this was going to tighten the timeline even more and there was a brief moment she wanted to go after the ceremony and I assured her we could get it done before so we didn’t have to start the reception late. I’ll admit it…my stress level jumped and I had a little bit of “what have I just done” but I KNEW we were going to get it done. Yes, we were!! We were!! So, imagine Kari’s surprise when she comes back and I say, “Ok. New Plan. You’re going to the hospital.” So yea…it was craziness and I thank my lucky stars for this couple and their bridal party because I’m not sure we would have been able to pull it off with just anyone! They were laid back and fun and more than willing to take my very loud and assertive directions to get this stuff done…FAST! So…we did it! Check out some of the detail shots I did all by myself (it’s been a while).
So, let me catch you up just so you can understand how fast we were moving. We’d already had a tight timeline. We were literally down to minutes to get each part of the morning done and still make it to the 2 PM ceremony in Wheeling. Now, we’ve shortened that timeline by about 30-45 minutes so we could get Alyssa to her grandpa. AHHHHHH!!! I was two camera-ing it to get everything photographed since I was by myself while Kari and Lacey went to get the flowers (man…I don’t know how I used to shoot weddings alone). I’m told I have an excellent poker face when stressed on a wedding but I’m not even sure I had one this day! HA! So, I finished some getting ready shots and detail shots and I flew down to the basement where the guys were and met up with Chas!! Oooooo my goodness me!!! Check out these suits! If you would have told me these colors and style together, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine it looking THIS great!
I also gave them my apology speech right off the bat and told them how important it was that we rush, rush, rushhhhhhhhh to get all the photos done!! And while I usually pretend for these photos, I was literally taking photos of Chas while he got dressed in real time! HA! Anddddd I went so fast he had to undress later and fix everything!!
…and while I was taking these I was “yelling” for people to grab his vest…grab his jacket…grab it all! I turned around and this is what I saw and THIS was exactly when I knew we’d be ok for the day. The gals were already so chill and helpful and now the guys were taking my Bossy Professional Hannah voice in stride and helping me any way they could!! I could have hugged this guy right then and there but that would have been weird.
So, he started helping Chas get his jacket on!
…and then realized the best man usually does this and we ALL had a good laugh! Stressful timelines are nothing when you have people like this surrounding you!
Chas’ brother (and best man) REALLY got into it and I barely could take the photo I was giggling so much!
Alright. It’s NO secret I’m a black tux kind of gal BUT THIS…may have changed my mind. Just look at the detail on this suit (tux?). OoOO my goodness!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!! The button holes…the outline on the vest…AHHHHH!!!!! I CAN’T EVEN! I think I inappropriately told Chas how snazzy he looked!!! Sorry…no…not sorry!
AND..just like that…right outside to take photos we went! My assistants pulled in with the flowers at this point too!! Lacey flew right into assisting me and I sent Kari off to do some photos of the rings on the flowers! I’m pretty sure I was setting up my lights and yelled, “I need HELLLPPPP!”
In true Kari fashion, she gave me lots of variety.
Check out these amazing gentleman and I love them all the more for allowing me to go SO FAST! I think we did groom, individual groomsman, and all the groomsmen in 20-30 minutes?
Ok! Guys were done! Just like that! We ran back inside! I got there at 10:30 and we’d already done all the details, hanging out/getting ready/groom/groomsmen shots AND the girls managed to get the flowers back! Then, we went back inside to get the bride dressed and while I did that I sent Kari and Lacey out to photograph Chas opening his gift! Can you feel the chaos? It was CHAOS at this point and we were hustling like we’ve never hustled before. Jay Morris showed up to do video! He was feeling under the weather so I pumped him up (or stressed him out…not sure) and we went off to make all this happen! I think we got her ready in 10 minutes flat and the ladies were just as on top of things and helpful as the guys!
I can’t take credit for this one!! Alyssa requested it!
I SO wish I could have been here to see this!! Chas is such a gentleman and his personality is contagious!! Lacey told me the whole story and I was swooning! His reaction to getting this watch was like no other (besides the struggle get it unpacked, I hear). AND at the last minute, Lacey reminded him to double check it because they are usually engraved…and she was right…and he was surprised all over again! Kari gets credit for ALL these photos!
Wheww!! NEXT! I took the ladies out to do their photos! Ooo my goodness ME! Isn’t she stunning?!
Can we just talk about how much I LOVE the colors HERE and that maid of honor dress?! It’s all perfection!
…and because we were all dying laughing and Lacey even said, “Every…single…time”, let’s all see the “group hug”…guys vs. girls!! LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE TIME…guys and gals are just wired differently!
Then, it was time for Lacey and I to run to the reception hall to photograph it. I’d been told by multiple people including Kyle himself that this Wheeling Wedding at the White Palace was not going to look anything like what we are used to and booooyyyyyy oOooO boy were they correct! So, right before we raced away, Lacey literally grabbed Kari’s lunch out of the car and threw it at her. I told the bridesmaids to PLEASE make sure Alyssa left no later than 1 o’clock. I did NOT want to be the one that changed the coordinator’s timeline and then have the bride get stuck in traffic…and then we drove off like Curella Deville (for real)! I even had to ask the bus to move so I could sneak past them!
This was JUST the entry way decorated! AHHHH!
I wish you could all see the time stamps on these photos. By the time we made it to White Palace, Kari and Alyssa had made it to the hospital. So, I can see it was happening at the same time when I sort through these photos and the couple will be able to see it on their USB! Lacey and I were photographing the reception hall at the exact time Kari and Jay were photo/video-ing Alyssa and her grandpa having a moment and I’m all kinds of emotional looking at BOTH this beautiful reception hall (you all know I love a good, grand ballroom) AND Alyssa and her grandpa having a moment (remember…retired nurse here with a soft spot for grandparents)…WAAAAAHHHHH! I also want to shoutout to that nurse who got him out there and is standing by…nursing jobs are hard but rewarding!
We were doing this!
…while all this was happening!
Kyle turned the lights down to make it all pretty! He made sure all of his stuff was out of the way and was so particular about the lights looking perfect!! I appreciate it SO much! 15 minutes…that’s all we had!
I’m not sure how long they stayed at the hospital but I know Lacey and I quite literally used that whole 15 minutes flat to photograph the reception hall and then we drove off to the church in Wheeling…like Cruella Deville again (can you picture it in your head?!). The Cathedral of St. Joseph is a BEAUTIFUL church!! Holy Moly! I’d never been there before and now I can’t wait to go back. So, I’d already seen the big, beautiful ballroom. CHECK. Now, I had a big, beautiful church! CHECK AND CHECK! Lacey and I pulled right up to the curb and I tossed her a bag with the keys so she could be my get away driver. No sooner did I start to unload the car Kari came down the stairs (I didn’t even know she was there…she forgot to charge her phone the night before…Oy). She started briefing me on her conversation with Fr. Dennis (we always talk to the Priest to be respectful and double check on all the rules). I could have hugged her right then and there!! THIS is the team I always wanted!! YAY! We know the drill. We all know what needs to be done and speaking with the officiant ALWAYS needs to be done and Kari took care of it for me!! Seems silly..but it meant so much to me! So, please enjoy this eye candy of the church!
You all know how Wheeling is under construction? Like…EVERYWHERE. OY. All that worrying I did about changing the timeline and still getting Alyssa to the church on time was for nothing. I’m totally high fiving Kari for getting her there (let’s face it…Kari’s not one for being on time for anything..HA!) because the bridesmaids actually arrived late. What are the chances?! It didn’t matter though and gave me some good, blog material, right?! SO…let’s get this ceremony started!! YAY! I LOVE THIS PART!
They were both getting emotional!
It was beautiful! Fr. Dennis always does a wonderful job! I enjoy working with him! These are all three of our angles, of course, and huge shoutout to Lacey for going up top and getting that beautiful wide angle shot!
Mr. & Mrs. McFarland, everyone! Recently, everyone wants that Pinterest shot of their first kiss with guests in the back (not this couple in particular)…but we aren’t allowed on the alter so I loathe that photo because it’s just not possible. THIS is the alternative though and I do love it!
Ok, so this was the point in the day we knew was going to be hectic and I knew this months ago (like maybe back in January). You see, we always have to be out of the Catholic church before confession and mass. I’m a FIRM stickler for that to be respectful and as a “thank you” for allowing us to take family formals! This is no different for any wedding but we were running a wee bit behind since we’d started late anyway. SoooOoOoo let’s do this! I think we did these in about 30 minutes…Whewwwww!! You still feeling the chaos!? HA! I think Alyssa was really feeling it at this point too and I assured her this is pretty much how we all feel during any family formals!! AND we did it!! YAY! These were our last shots as we literally were heading out the door!
Now, off to Wheeling’s waterfront to get some photos with the suspension bridge!! Shoutout to the kind couple who let me squat and park in the bank parking lot for a minute. I’m telling you…a smile and a kind question goes a LONG way! Lacey, Kari, Jay, and I all tag teamed these photos and I can’t even believe how many we fit into such a short period of time!!! WEEEEE!! We even had men on jet skis stop and say “hello” and “congrats” to the new McFarlands. Everyone was feeling their wedding day!! EVERYONE!! YAY! This is a photo of their faces as I gave them the speech, “We gotta go fast. We’re ALL taking photos. Jay is video-ing…BEAR WITH US!”
ANDDDDDD GO!!! AHHHH! Check out what THREE different angles can do for you! So, cool, right!
I needed some more bride and groom formals in my life!
Lacey was high up on the steps with her pregnant belly doing something (I didn’t know at the time) and I yelled, “Kari…don’t block her shot!” and I ran out of the way and she got this!! YAYYY! I knew it was going to be good!
Three different photo angles again…all taken at the same time! Mine far left..Lacey’s in the center…Kari’s on the right.
…and remember…Jay was doing video and drone too!! TEAMWORK!
Kari kept mentioning loving this area and the fall foliage. I was rushing and not thinking what she meant and NOW I see it!! This was also the exact same location Kari did her very first shoot with me almost THREE years ago and we were having all the nostalgic feels! ALL OF THEM!
SO HAPPY Lacey got this shot!
Then, we were off to the White Palace! Just keep shooting…just keep shooting…SING IT! We left the church at 4:15. We left this location at 4:45….AHHHHH!
The bridal party had been on the party bus for a good while at this point so I really had to use all hands on deck to corral this group! HA! AND we had to do all these photos in about 10 minutes because we didn’t have much time before we had to be at the reception. We started these at 5:00 o’clock and they were to be announced at 5:30 PM into the reception. AHHHHHH! I had Kari and Lacey helping me arrange. While other people weren’t busy, Jay was video-ing them! AHHHHHH! But they are a good looking bridal party!
Alyssa wanted lots of fun photos! So, we made sure to get them!
…and while that was happening, Jay was doing drone shots! Teamwork, I tell ya!
Then, we did some photos of the gals…and this was happening (below)!
Just a few more…we were having a BLAST and this little man wanted in on the action!
Bridal Party DONE! CHECK! …and now…for some more bridal and groom formals!! OooO my goodness!! AHHHHHH!! We’ve got 15 minutes, people! Kyle’s going to KILL ME! AHHH! I mean…Kari, Lacey and I were tag teaming these angles like we’ve never done before!
Just keep shooting…just keep shooting…even when we’re walking! Not my shot (below)…can’t tell you who took it! HA!
EVERYONE keep taking photos!! We’ve got 8 minutes!! Alyssa said, “I don’t know how you do this every weekend!” HA! I hope we made it fun, at least!
Let’s glance at my two favorites Kari took…and yes…he’s kissing her shoulder…HER SHOULDER!
…and then Chas ASKED if he could kiss his wife’s hand for a photo. HE ASKED ME. COME ON! You can do ANYTHING, Chas! We were ALLLLLLL swooning. Ok, maybe not Jay…but Lacey and Kari and I were having all the feels!! How could you NOT?! Ok…so you really need to feel how we were feeling!
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We definitely wanted to included Chas’ late niece into all of this love and we were walking back up the hill and took full advantage of just a few more!
I did keep saying, “Kyle’s going to kill me”. I always like to arrive at least 10 minutes early and we didn’t. UGHHH. Sorry, Kyle!! Thanks for understanding!! EEEKKKK! BUT…I took a HUGE deep breath because WE DID IT!! WWOOOOOOOO!
…and NOW we got back into the reception hall! We gave Kyle the thumbs up and he started arranging the bridal party. I can’t say it enough and I’ll say it over and over and over again. Working with vendors we know and trust makes ALL the difference. Apparently there were shenanigans (the guys kept poking fun at me for using that word so much) so Kyle came back up to get me and said, “You’re probably going to want to go down there. There’s some funny stuff going on while they bustle her dress.” So, off I went and he was right!! I would have had no idea had he not come and get me!
AND…can we just talk about this cake, please?! We NEVER EVER get to see big cakes anymore because it’s just not “the thing” anymore. AND…if we do have a big cake, it’s usually not real BUT THIS ONE WAS. Elegant ballroom, beautiful church…BIG CAKE! AHHHHH!
Mr. & Mrs. McFarland entered the White Palace in style…to Adam Sandler’s song (I think it’s his song..) “I Wanna Grow Old with You”… Lacey said this wedding made her rethink her own wedding! HA!
They just can’t stop being cutttttteeeee! All the speeches were great AND the best man speech was epic!! I’m sure you can imagine going off these reactions!
Then, Chas stood up and said some words and I love when men do this….AHHHHH!! That was my mantra this whole day and blog…AHHHHHHH! So great!
Fr. Dennis serenaded us before the blessing and I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen or heard him sing outside the ceremony! I’m telling you…we were ALL feeling the love!
Champagne for two!
Chambong for two!! HA! LOVE IT! These two are SO MUCH fun!
We hadn’t even really gotten the reception started and we were taking selfies!
Chas said, “Wait! I want one!!” I loveeee him so much for loving photos as much as Alyssa and I do!
GROUP HUG!! Kari had taken off at this point!! We missed her!
Yes…she’s got icing on her nose…yes…he’s removing it! They are so stinking adorable and in love!
We made first dance magic…shoutout to Kyle for the lighting assist! When we are together, we always do some version of this!
Chas is a musician. He sang to Alyssa when he proposed!! He also sang to her during their first dance…that’s right! SWOONING!
He dipped her! HE DIPPED HER!
These two have been married for 60 (SIXTY) years!!! They won the anniversary dance and Kyle asked for some words of wisdom! Their advice was to “just keep fighting” and I loved that brutal honestly. I read a great article one time that said you should actually be concerned if you’re not occasionally fighting with your spouse because that means you don’t care enough to voice your opinion and hash out your differences for the greater good. These two confirmed that article and I love it!
Now, off to more traditional and scheduled events! This is how Alyssa was feeling leading up to the garter removal!
…but he NAILED IT! AND EVERYONE was smiling and cheering him on!
He even did the worm and I missed it BUT Lacey got it! WOOOOOO!!!!
…and he was a total gentleman removing that garter!
…but Kyle egged him on so he went in with his teeth! He did NOT hesitate!
Open dancing began after that and the dance floor was insanely packed…true to this couple, their friends and family and Kyle…it was a great party!
…but they were hot…so we sneaked outside to cool off and take pictures…I kept saying, “Kyle is going to KILL me!”
We made it back inside in about 5 minutes and the party just kept going…and this groomsman lost his sole to his shoe! Alyssa told me later he kept going around tell everyone he didn’t have a soul because he’s a ginger! OMG! Too funny!
Almost heaven…WEST VIRGINIA! SING IT! We were in Wheeling, after all!
GROUP HUGS FOR EVERYONE! What an amazing way to end the night!! I was kind of jealous I wasn’t in there with them all!
OooO wait! We’re not done yet! We did a sparkler exit!!! Chas’s brother didn’t get the idea though!! I had to yell at him! HA!
…Chas and I both yelled at him this time!! I’m cracking up! These are NOT easy to choreograph!
WE DID IT THOUGH!!! WE DID THE WHOLE DAY!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! CONGRATS TO THE MCFARLANDS! It was so good!! SOO GOOD!
Ok. Deep cleansing breaths. This wedding was everything I love in a wedding and it was so fun and so amazing and yep (you guessed it)…so hectic! So, I do KNOW I have a great team of ladies behind me. It’s no secret I love them all dearly and I’m forever grateful for all their skills and for putting up with me and for helping me make the Hannah Barlow Photography experience what I always wanted it to be. Well, Sam, Lacey and I did a great job at the wedding the weekend before…and now Kari, Lacey and I were doing the same thing this weekend!! I wish you could all see the gallery! It’s amazing! If this wedding wasn’t proof that I have an amazing team for my company and that we’ve definitely used this year to make our process a VERY well oiled machine…well…I don’t know what more proof we’d need!! From the beginning of the morning rewriting an already tight timeline to Lacey throwing lunch at Kari as we sped away to the reception (we always eat in the car) to Kari having already talked to the priest before I even arrived and then us knowing which lens each person would want and tag teaming the formal photos like no other…it just all flowed and flawlessly. I was definitely stressed leading into this day. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’d spent the morning at my house on the phone with Kyle and then Jay and then the coordinator. I wanted this day to be perfect for Alyssa and Chas and I was definitely feeling the pressure. Kari and Lacey knew the plan and they kept cheering me on and telling me it’d be fine at the end of the day…and it was! YES! It totally was and I CAN believe it. Despite the stressful and sometimes chaotic timeline, this day was thoroughly enjoyable because of the people we were surrounded by – an amazing couple, kind family, and an amazing bridal party…and a vendor team who is used to working together! HIGH FIVE TO EVERYONE!
Alyssa and Chas are seriously two of the sweetest people I’ve met. Alyssa has always been a star in front of my camera but Chas can give a lot of grooms a run for their money. Not only did he seem to enjoy photos but he also made suggestions and asked for certain things…and I LOVE that! EEEKKKK! This wedding was seriously everything I could ever want in a wedding (I’ll just keep saying it)…and it fit my tastes and style to a tee! Like I said, I was even loving all over these navy and grey menswear! AHHHH!! I also heard Lacey squeal a few times so she’s definitely got the wedding bug. In fact, she even sneaked up on me at the reception singing and dancing (with her pregnant belly) to a great song! I’m telling you…we were having a blast this whole day. I may have lost my voice from all the quick directING and my feet and back may have hurt like they haven’t hurt in a long time…but gosh, I can’t even explain it. It’d do this day over and over and over again and it’s another wedding I’m really sad to pull to my “past weddings” folder. All great things have to come to an end THOUGH…and this one is definitely bittersweet for me!
And that’s it! These two are currently honeymooning in Italy and I can’t wait for them to see this!!! Thank you to EVERYONE who was involved!! We did it! One more time…AHHHHHH!!!!
Bride’s Gown – Maggie Sottero from Simply Blush Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Jasmine B2 from Carolina Bridal World
Groom’s Attire – SF Tailor (Custom Made)
Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse
Shoes – Etsy
Hair/Makeup – Hello Gorgeous
Wedding Planner/Coordinator – Stacy Gilson
Florist – Rhodes Talik Floral, LLC
Videographer – Jay Morris Video Productions
Cake – Blossoms Cakes
Caramel Apple Favors – Unique Treats by Jacquie
DJ/Band – Kyle Mac/Smash Weddings
Catering – Wheeling Park White Palace
Transportation/Limo – Red Carpet Limo
Save the Dates/Invitations/Programs – Etsy
Ceremony Venue – Cathedral of St. Joseph Wheeling, WV
Officiant – Fr. Dennis Sheulkens
Reception Venue – White Palace at Wheeling Park