Happy Thursday! It is a happy Thursday, I tell ya! I know many people have been waiting for this blog (including Lacey…who was at the wedding…so that’s telling you something!). OoOo my goodness ME! AHHHHHH!!! WEEEE!! Can you hear me in my office right now?! I just had to get that ALL out of my system because it’s been almost two weeks since Laura and Michael tied the knot at their Sunday Oglebay wedding but all the Hannah Barlow Photography girls are still squealing over this one (that’s right…it’s not just me this time). This was the wedding Sam and Lacey caught the squealing bug. I was SO happy and elated to see them squealing and squirming with delight right along side me! We couldn’t help it though! There wasn’t anything at this wedding you couldn’t NOT love – the people, the love, the laughter, the animation, the theatrics . Yea. This is going to be a long one. I don’t even know where to start! So, I guess we’ll just start at the beginning of the day! Let’s do this! Here is the story of how Laura and Michael became the Dunbars in the most theatrical and amazing Hannah Barlow Photography wedding yet! Sit back…and enjoy this one! AHHHH!! It’s so good!! SO GOOD!
This WHOLE Sunday wedding happened at Oglebay so that’s where we started and we never left!! I had originally thought Laura said she would be getting ready by herself in her room. So, I truly expected it to be just her, maybe her mom…and us! Nope. I walked into a room full of more people than I’ve ever seen in an Oglebay suite and while that could have been extremely overwhelming, it was quite the opposite. I was hit with so many smiles and laughs and hugs and happiness and excitement from total strangers even before I hugged Laura. I totally forgot about Ashleigh who had been waiting for a text with a room number! Whoops!! To catch you up, Ash spent the weekend with us because Lacey is very pregnant at this point and I didn’t want her doing all the carrying and lugging around! So, after 15 full minutes of getting to know everyone in this room and soaking in all the excitement…I ran and got Ashleigh who had already talked to the hotel staff and pretty much knew every room each Dunbar was staying in! HA! So, while I was rounding up Ashleigh, Lacey was doing details! Just look at this room! Can you just FEEL the emotions?!
There was SO MUCH going on I just turned Lacey loose and let her do her thing!! I did take a few of my own but for the most part…these are all Lacey’s wedding photos!
Sorry…not sorry, Laura and Michael!! We took entirely WAY too many photos of these rings, but COME ON…how could we not?!
You think I was kidding about the number of people in this room? Check it out!! AND everyone…and I mean everyone…was having a grand time. This wasn’t just the bridal party either. Laura and Michael opted for a smaller bridal party so this photo has bridal party, friends, AND family. There was not ONE ounce of stress in this room either…not one!
I sneaked just a few of my own too! OooO my goodness me!! This wedding had a little of something for everyone (everyone being us photographers too). We even met the florist in the lobby and walked to the hotel room together at the beginning of the day. We were ALL eyeing up these bouquets like no other!! I really needed a blingy bling shot so I snatched this one up real quick!! Laura for the win on saving me a piece of her dress!!!
It was really shaping up to be a great day and I still hadn’t met Michael. Remember, these two are from NYC. They had their engagement photos done there so while I’d met Laura at a pre-booking consult, I hadn’t met Michael yet. Grooms can be difficult sometimes (I’m talking to you husband). They don’t like photo time and would rather be left alone. Michael is not one of those grooms!
We found him in his room (which Ashleigh already knew about from her grand plan to just knock on every Dunbar door until she found us earlier that morning). He was hanging with him own family and the reaction to us entering was much the same as when I entered Laura’s room…warm, welcoming, and full of excitement. It was at this point, I knew it was going to be “one of those weddings”. Lacey would call this a wedding when the wedding Gods were with us! I think she’s right. In fact, I think we had ALL the wedding Gods with us this day! We did a little bit of everything – getting ready, note reading, fantastic modeling of the sunglasses (which were a gift from his wife-to-be).
Jeesh. This blog could be even longer (it’s possible, trust me) but I’m REALLY trying to keep it as simple as possible because as the day went on, it just keep getting better…and better…and better. At one point, we (the Hannah Barlow Photography crew) just kept looking at each other and shaking our heads because we were having a hard time believing this was all happening!! WEEEE!! So, formal photos with the groom! CHECK!
Then, I ran back to Laura’s room to get her ready!
Michael got Laura a necklace!
Then, mom helped her swap it out for her bridal necklace!
…and right outside we went for the bride’s photos!
While I was taking those, Lacey kept saying, “Hannah …look left. Look left.” and I kept looking to see if maybe someone was doing something funny. I didn’t know what she was talking about. Then, I looked up and saw DJ Brian Oliver creeping! Photo Credit: Brian Oliver! HA! Wedding vendors who play together…stay together…or something like that! It is really nice when you’ve got a whole crew who is used to working together because it makes it all the more entertaining! TRUST ME!! We do love some Brian Oliver weddings!
Then, it was time for the ceremony. They had originally planned it outside and while it wasn’t bitter cold like our Oglebay wedding the day before, it was still pretty cold. So, they opted to move it inside! I could say a lot about this ceremony but again…I’m trying to keep this as short as possible because the reception part of this blog is going to be obnoxiously wordy and long! Here I caught Brian giving Michael some last words of advice…including giving him one last opportunity to get out of it since he’s the controller of the mic and could stop this thing right now. I don’t think it’s ANY secret that Laura and Michael couldn’t be more into each other and in love…so yea…the ceremony went on as planned! I did have to capture this though! HA! Did anyone else notice Brian’s attire?! He does this for every wedding!
Laura did have a surprise for everyone. She let her inner Cinderella out as she walked down the aisle…and walked down to…wait for it. What’s it going to be?! You know what…let me just get you there! Click the link and open it in another window and enjoy!
That’s right! Laura walked down the aisle to A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. Trust me…I know it could be cheesy or sound cheesy but somehow…magically…it was pure perfection. She walked down the aisle like she popped right out of a fairytale. Brian and I had discussed our wedding weekend and planned ahead. He mentioned that this couple was “theatrical”. I didn’t think much about it. That could be a bad thing…meaning dramatic…or a good thing. OooO my goodness MEEEEEEEEEE….It was GREAT!! SO GREAT! So, yea…she didn’t just walk. She walked…and waved and I had to force myself not to fall on the floor in a ball of Disney princess mush. There was not one bit of nervousness to be seen!! It was magical…for sure!
Ok. So, it wasn’t that exact version…but you get the picture! It was a beautiful ceremony. Michael’s father is a pastor so he officiated. At one point, they asked the immediate family to come up and share a prayer.
…and during the vows, Laura decided she may not be able to stick to the promise to not be jealous and we ALL busted out laughing!
I mean…is this real life?!
Then, they were pronounced Mr. & Mrs. Dunbar and the ribbon wands went up and it was an amazing moment!
We went into family formals and then took the couple privately out to Oglebay’s mansion to do the rest of their wedding photos! As if we hadn’t all squealed enough over one part of the day or another, these two were galavanting around with us…but not really with us. They were chatting and talking about Laura’s dress and telling each other how much they loved each other and just being in love…and like we weren’t even there! AHHHH! I wish you could ALL experience what it’s like to spend a WHOLE wedding day with two people like this…words just can’t describe it. AND TRUST ME, we’ve ALL been trying to describe this one to our friends and family! Lacey’s husband (Hey, Matt) just told me last night I needed to post this blog PRONTO so Lacey would stop talking about it!
Remember , I’d not photographed them before so it could have been a struggle…but not with these two. AHHHH!! I’d mention one pose and they’d just move through it! I can’t even contain myself two weeks later!
How Lacey is able to creep in the weeds while almost nine months pregnant I will never know!
Even though we weren’t going for the fall feel, these are the last ones you’ll see until Hannah Barlow Photography weddings 2020! Goodbye, fall! You were short but treated my photos well!
Seriously, I could photograph them all day. Well, I could just spend the whole day with them too!! I’ve never met two humans like these two. I can barely describe it. They’re kind and fun and sweet and humble but hilarious and romantic and…there are just not enough adjectives and I’m not sure those words even do them justice! So, just keep on enjoying these wedding photos and soaking in all the love and excitement these two were feeling being married! Did I mention fun? I did!
Laura was most certainly not a bride who requested much of anything but she did request a photo of Michael lifting her above his head. Well, it must be pregnancy brain because Lacey thought she quire literally wanted him to bench press her over this head. I’m still laughing about it. THIS is what she meant though! Isn’t it romantic?!
…and he just held her there…
We enjoyed some fall and some sunset…just a little while longer. It’s a fairytale, I tell ya!
Then, it was time for this outstanding and fun and exciting reception ! You seriously didn’t know what was going to happen next at this one and it kept us on our toes! THANK GOODNESS Laura and Michael gave me some heads up AND we had Brian behind us to keep us on the ball with the next events coming up! Remember, Brian had told me this crew was theatrical but I didn’t realize he quite literally meant…theatrical. AND then, this guy showed up!
I know when I posted the sneak peek my phone blew up and people wanted to know “about the guy in the red”. Well, HERE YOU GO! He came out and said, “PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE SPECTACULAR SPECTACULAR…BECAUSE WE CAN…CAN…….CAN!” He invited everyone to get on their feet and then the parents and bridal party were announced! It was something I have NEVER seen before and I need more of this in my life!
ooooooOOo my goodness me!! I saw Lacey’s face. I saw Sam’s face. I saw Brian over there at his equipment focusing like I’ve never seen him focus before…and that greatness started to happen! Can you believe this is the guy who introduced the bridal party!?! Believe it! It just kept getting better and better! He didn’t just introduce them either…he introduced them Moulin Rouge style! Or…the greatest showman (which is one of Lacey’s favorite movies) but Laura and Michael were channeling the new Moulin Rouge and that’s the music that was playing for the intro!
Then, Laura and Michael came in with a BANG!
Seriously, they ran into the Pine Room at Oglebay! And while this moment was all about them (for sure), they made sure to include everyone in on the excitement and we were ALL cheering them on!
…and they didn’t just stop there! Once they got to the dance floor, they let their love and excitement just expand in all directions and we were ALL enjoying this moment with them! Do you feel it?!
They ended this first amazing moment (of many…trust me)…just like this!
But first, they had to thank someone before we moved on for the night!! THIS is Laura and Michael in a nutshell. I’m not sure I’ve met two people on their wedding day who wanted to very much make everyone a part of it feel loved!
Then, Michael’s dad said a prayer before dinner and we caught the couple praying like this. That’s right. Their faith is a very big part of their lives so it’s no surprise to see them soaking up the words and moment.
…Seriously….just look at them. It was one moment after another like this and it’s STILL making my wedding photographer heart MELT!
Yep. I’m NOT even kidding. I did NOT prompt this. It just happened as we were walking outside to do some photos! Did you notice the clock too?! Where are my Cinderella loves at?!
Laura requested this photo (or maybe her mom did…I think it was mom). Another photographer did a version of this! So, whoever you are…THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION! Oglebay’s Pine Room never looked so good!
Then, Laura’s dad said some sweet words and then his sister said some too!
Can we just talk about the back of her dress?! Holy moly!! I’m telling you…ALL the details of this wedding were extraordinary! Also, check out how Brian matches…perfectly!
Then, Laura’s sister got up to say some words. She warned me they were going to do a little something special so I told her where to stand.
Then, the three of them started singing and Laura and Michael were so pumped!
Then, more people started singing!! It was a FLASH MOB, Y’ALL! NOT EVEN KIDDING….NOT KIDDING! Yess!!!!!!!!!!!
…and these two were loving EVERY second!
THEN…more people started singing! I was literally turning 360 degrees and just kept seeing people join in! I say it all the time but THIS is the stuff that happens in movies but no…it was happening (for real) at a Sunday wedding in Oglebay!
Just look at their reactions! Could they have been enjoying this any more?!
…and because they are so amazing, they stood up and gave everyone a standing ovation and a hand!
Then, it was on to the first dances! Yes…he’s kissing her neck during the dip. I could dance around my office right now!
Then, Brian got the party started and packed the dance floor right off the bat! Wooooo!
Spin the bottle, anyone?! The person it lands on has to go to the center and bust a move!
Laura and Michael even made sure to include their grandparents who didn’t make it directly onto the dance floor!
But really…who the heck needs a dance floor anyway?!
The beauty of working with DJs frequently is we start to know their routines and can help out! Brian told me he was going to invite Laura to DJ at one point in the night. So, he pointed to me and told me to go get her!! So, I did!
Her new husband was cheering her on!
So, we got him in there to scratch a bit and being that he’s a musician…I’m pretty sure he loved it!
Hire a DJ who makes your wedding reception unique. TRUST ME! It makes all the difference in not just your memories…but your guests’ memories…and your wedding vendors!
Get it, Brian!
Success! Everyone was having a good time!
Just when you thought we’d be done, we’re not even close! So, Laura walked down the aisle to A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes right?! Well, Laura’s mom asked Brian if he would “surprise” the couple and play it at the reception too. So, Brian told me he was a little stressed about this because he knew he was playing it at the ceremony and wanted to be sure to incorporate it at the reception so it “worked”. He knew he’d do it but wasn’t sure when and how. THIS is where a real professional comes into play, everyone! So, during a random slow song, no one else came to the floor. Being the Laura and Michael that I now know, they didn’t mind. They’d happily take advantage of some more solo time on the dance floor to just enjoy the moments! So…there they are…dancing the night away!
…not afraid to show off their epic air guitar moves and love for one another!
…and THEN…Brian faded in (is that what you say?) the song. That’s right! As smoothly as can possibly be, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes started playing. I about died when Laura’s mom showed up with the king’s crown and put it on Michael’s head. I know, for sure, I looked at Sam and she said, “Where did these people come from!?” We just couldn’t believe these types of moments just kept happening…over and over and over again.
So, they sang it to each other. Yes, she’d holding a glass slipper. Somehow…there was nothing cheesy about it. It was magical! MAGICAL! I wish you could have ALL experienced it!
Then, Laura gave up the slipper for her princess crown!
…and they just kept on dancing!
…and before the song was over, they brought out Michael’s sister and niece. Laura and her bowed like the true beautiful princesses they are!
Can we just talk about all the Cinderella stuff again?!
Let’s just keep this party going! And while all this dancing was happening, Brian and I were CRACKING up laughing. I’ve never seen him panicked and I didn’t this night either. Apparently, when the couple ended up out there on their own, he saw THAT MOMENT. He saw the moment he needed to play the song for Laura’s mom! He said he blanked out and couldn’t think of it and typed “Disney” into his system in a true panic…and he nailed it!! So, everyone clap!! Seriously, he deserves a high five because I had no idea and it was executed amazingly!
I really could keep going, but I’m forcing myself to stop (kind of) somewhere. It’s crazy BUT that’s a lot of words. I hit almost all of the high(est) points of the night! So, they needed their wedding reception at 9 PM. The second to last song was played and celebrated in true West Virginia fashion…John Denver’s Almost Heaven!
…and then…they played Michael’s own song he wrote to Laura. Yep. Even the last song of the night had us squealing with delight! This was the last photo of the night and I’m pretty sure it’s the perfect way to end the blog.
This is me right now…
Seriously, I still can’t get over this wedding. What a wonderful way to end our busy Oglebay double header wedding weekend! I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to meet Laura and Michael prior to this day. They are two of the most amazing people I’ve photographed to date…and you know I’ve said that…A LOT! I’ll just add them to the list of people I hope to run into at future weddings!! A girl can dream, right?! Their family and friends just put the icing on the cake for us. It was just SUCH a warm and welcoming, love filled day! There was no stress and no fuss. This whole day was very obviously about the couple but also about their whole lives…and love story…and it was just amazing! How many times have I said that?!…Oy. I JUST CAN’T HELP IT! To top it all off, we had an amazing vendor team and I was truly blessed to have Brian Oliver on the mic and as the DJ for these weddings. By the way, he’d now like to be called Brian Oliver, PWDJ…in case you all didn’t know (let’s see if he reads this)! HA! I can’t preach it enough. Make sure you choose vendors who are professionals AND who have worked together, when possible. There were many points in the night when Brian and I were found “bickering”. He likes to do things one way…and I know that…but I also like to do a few things here and there…so we work together and I feel like we make a great wedding reception team! At one point, Laura and Michael reminded us we HAD recommended each other and we had a HUGE laugh over it all! One day he WILL kick me out of the DJ booth though…I’m calling it! Knowing him, he’ll put a gate up with my name on it. I’m probably going to regret this next year. To be continued…
We did get a good one too though!! Can you tell how much fun we were all having?! I, of course, snapped one with Lacey and Sam too. Have you all figured out why Sam has been at these weddings too lately?! We’ve had a bigger Hannah Barlow Photography crew than normal! Big announcements to come!
…and while I could just keeping typing (talking)…I’ll just give a BIG congrats to the Dunbars! Laura and Michael, thank you for choosing me! THANK YOU! Your wedding was one of a kind OUTSTANDING! I know a lot of loyal blog readers who are so happy this one is finally up! OooO yea…and these two sent me some honeymoon photos too!
Aren’t they the best?! And that’s right…they even did this!! DONE! CONGRATS TO MR. & MRS. DUNBAR! That’s it, everyone! THANKS FOR READING!
Bride’s Gown – David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Dresses – Azazie
Men’s Attire – Express
Jewelry/Rings – Oscar Gama
Hair – Lori Crow
Makeup – Bride’s Mary Kay
Florist – Nicky’s Garden Center
DJ – DJ Brian Oliver
Ceremony/Reception Venue – Oglebay Weddings
Coordinator – Cassie
Cake – Oglebay
Catering – Oglebay
Invitations – Minted
Officiant – Michael’s Dad – Rev. Frank Dunbar