Happy, Thursday! OoO my. I almost hate to type this one up because I’m so sad that means it’s final…it’s over. After all these months of wondering if this wedding would actually be able to happen, it did…and it was perfect. I know…I know…I say that about all my weddings. It’s true…after any wedding is complete, I always think they are pretty perfect. As long as my couples are happy, I’m happy! But when you look at this day last Saturday and you look at the weather, and the decor, and the moods of everyone, and the color scheme, and the bridal party, and the families, and the guests…it’s pretty darn hard to find anything that was just not 100% perfect and meant to be wedding greatness! So, sit back…make sure your kids are entertained, your work is done and you have a spot to sit and read this. It’s going to be a long one and a great one! Emily and Michael and their family and friends deserve nothing less than all the HBP love we’ve got! This Oglebay Pine Room wedding ceremony and reception was one for the books and even though COVID tried…it didn’t stop us! Enjoy!
So, I arrived to this wedding last Saturday about 40 minutes earlier than scheduled. You know, that morning while drinking my coffee I went back and reread their engagement blog to get me pumped up (read it HERE <— with typos corrected…Oy). It’s hard for me to remember a time that Emily didn’t feel like a friend who texted me about just about anything. BUT…I reread that blog that morning and was surprised to realize I hadn’t know them quite well at that point. I had even typed out in that blog that Emily hadn’t become one of those brides that called and texted me all the time and that “a girl can hope”. Enter COVID in 2020 and Emily did become that bride (but not for the reason I would have originally hoped…). She constantly apologized for all those calls and emails and texts and I constantly reminded her that that is what I’m here for…I’m a wedding photographer who loves to help! Through those conversations, we got to know each other even more (I mean..she had texted me before all this COVID nonsense but this exacerbated things). Heck, I do think we even texted COVID margarita photos on Cinco De Mayo…that’s right!! I’ll have to search for them! So, yea…I needed to arrive early to get all my nerves out of the way. I very much felt like I was rolling in to photograph a good friends’ wedding (and there were other Hannah Barlow Photography couples going to be there too). So, I walked through the Pine Room at Oglebay and really got a feel for everything. Deep breaths…all that jazz. Shooting weddings for any of my couples is NERVE RACKING. Shooting them for couples that have become friends too? Cue the high blood pressure and nervous sweats. I had prepped for this. Leading up to this wedding, I’d talked to the DJ, the Oglebay ladies, the planners, the videographers…you name it. I was trying to prepare! OooO and did I mention that Emily and Michael attended a wedding shot by THE Katelyn James? You know…”famous” wedding photographer. I just can’t even. That’s right…I was taking my monthly class and watching her shoot a wedding and there is this groomsman that looks just like Michael. So, text Emily…sure enough…it WAS Michael and I saw Emily in the videos too. Lord. So, now I’m up against one of the best wedding photographers in the states. Sweating…so much.
Once I arrived though, I got a glimpse of what was to come and it was SO dang beautiful! Just look at the Pine Room transformed for both wedding ceremony AND reception.
While I was in the Pine Room, I got to meet up with Lisa and Rachel of Elegant Event Solutions. They are the best and helped me out. I took ALL the reception detail shots “just in case”. I even went as far as having them light a few candles so I could squat down and create the illusion that the whole place was lit (this was about 6 hours before cocktail hour so, of course, no candles could be fully lit yet). I always try and get those shots especially on days like this. It was a tight timeline and I knew that. I didn’t know if I’d have time to get back there after the ceremony so I wanted to make sure to have some shots (which aren’t pictured below yet because I did end up back there…Wooooooo). So, after I did that, I made it to Emily’s cabin RIGHT on the original time I had promised. She was getting hair and makeup done so I snapped that. Lacey got me all set up for detail shots (because she’s amazing) and just looookkk!! Also, we “stole” some of that greenery from the reception. I would say “don’t tell”…but…you know…I ALWAYS tell! HA! Doesn’t it make ALL the difference though?! I LOVE that blue! But, you know me, I love the deep bold blues! I love deep bold colors, in general! Also, shoutout to Naz, one of the videographers, who is tall enough to hang that dress for us! It was my first time meeting him and his wife, Elisabeth, and we had a BLAST!
Alright. I’m about to introduce you to someone – Emily’s Dad, Jim. I had met the Bucon family at Marissa and Chris’ September wedding last year. I had briefly said hello to them at the church and then the reception and I wasn’t even sure Emily’s dad would remember me (I mean…most dads aren’t really that involved…nor do they really care). I’d heard a lot about Emily’s dad from her leading up to this wedding. He was doing EVERYTHING (and I mean…everything) to make his only daughter’s wedding happen. I’d also heard the guys in the Oglebay cabin basement cheering him on. I heard someone call him “Big Jim Bucon” followed by your typical sports’ guy “cheer”…that is NOT what you’d call it. You know what I mean…picture a bunch of sports’ fanatics (basketball specifically) cheering someone on in the locker room while jumping up and down. Yea. That’s what they were doing for Jim. I’ve also run into some hard headed dads at weddings in the past so I walked into the basement treading lightly. You just never know. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found Jim ironing Michale’s shirt AND he did remember me! That’s right! You’ve got basketball stadium volume going on…and the bride’s dad ironing the groom’s shirt. So, I had one of two thoughts “He’s either THAT particular about what the guys are going to look like” OR “he’s just the best dad EVER and wants to help”. Turns out…he’s both…and so much more!! The parents at this wedding are one of a kind amazing. If I didn’t already have an amazing dad, I told Emily I’d want hers. I also told Jim later that him and my dad would have A LOT to talk about!! They remind me of each other so much! So, here is the first photo I took of Jim…and he’s probably going to kill me BUT it’ll go down as one of my favorite (AND most random) memories of the day! And you’ll be seeing more of Jim here later!
After that shirt was ironed, Patrick, Michael’s best man, helped him get ready. The fact that I can even remember everyone’s names should tell you something. I’m THE WORST with names but there was no way NOT to remember at this wedding!
…and while I was doing that, Lacey was upstairs getting a photo of the girls in Emily’s shoes. These flower girls rocked their roles and I owe them lots and lots of photos!
Again, it was a tight timeline. So, while Lacey was doing those, I took the guys outside. I’m used to rowdy groomsmen. I figured with what I’d already witnessed from these men I’d probably have my hands full. Nope. Wrong again! They went from hooting and hollering in the basement while jumping up and down complete with hilarious outtake photos and all the jokes to, “Ok. Where do you want us and do you need us to carry anything?” TOTAL.GENTLEMAN. It was so easy and we laughed…A LOT!
Where are my Bachelor nation fans?! Do you all remember Emily’s Brother, Chris? (third one in from the left in the photo below). Yea. Everyone thought he looked just like Pilot Pete last fall when I photographed him at Chris and Marissa’s wedding. There’s a few other men in there who look like they were on the show, as well! Can you name them? HA! They are probably eye rolling right now but it’s cracking me up!
I knew it. Their personality shots did NOT disappoint!
One more without the ushers! Thank you, gentleman, for making this part of the day easy…until two of them didn’t have their socks on…that put us about 10 minutes behind and I started sweating! HA! It added to the memories though. You’ll see!
Lacey was inside waiting on me so we could get Emily ready and she found this! I never even saw it! THAT is why I love my assistants…they have eyes where I don’t! WOOO!
Then, it was time to get Emily ready. HUGE shoutout to Lacey for having the area ready for me! She’s the best and ALWAYS (and I mean..ALWAYS) one or two steps ahead of me! OooO my goodness ME!! EMILY! You.are.stunning! You too, mom!
Even the flower girls got in on the action! They helped Emily put her shoes on! Isn’t this sweet!! This is Lacey’s angle and I LOVE IT!
We had already planned for Emily and her dad to have their moment and “first look”. BUT…her dad told me earlier in the day he had a surprise for her too. Huge shoutout to the bridesmaids for helping me clear the room so they could have a quiet moment together. I wanted them to have this moment privately because I knew they wouldn’t get the opportunity for the rest of the day. It was one of the sweetest moments of the day and when I realized how emotional the Bucon family could be. Thanks to the “sock mishap” earlier, we were already a wee bit behind. Then, I saw Emily’s tears and just kept thinking “Chill, Hannah. It’ll be fine. We’ll figure this out…but we gotta fix her makeup!” AHHHHHHH! 100% WORTH IT! He gave her a bracelet so we took time to get some shots of that too.
We can’t forget Emily’s mom, Lisa! I’d also met her at the wedding last year AND she attended one of my workshops! She was standing off to the side but she was still very much a part of this moment!
Off we go! Alright. So, a little back story. Emily was emailing me the last month about last minute details. I kept giving her my advice but reminding her that the decision was HERS. I always tell my brides that I can give them advice until they are sick of hearing it but I’m ONLY here to guide. Whatever they decide is their choice and I’ll make anything happen. At one point, I busted out laughing in my office when she emailed me a response that said, “You’re the expert. Honesty, you could tell me to jump off a bridge at my wedding and I’d say, Ok, Hannah!” …or something like that. I loved it. So, I almost reminded her of that email when I convinced her to ride with me in my car and not on the trolley. It sucked that I had to do this. I wanted her to be on the trolley with the girls but I also was seeing our “bubble” of extra time diminish and I wanted to be SURE we would have enough time for photos. I was dying in side timing the trolley having to go BACK and get the girls and then come BACK for the first look. I just couldn’t see how we’d make it. So, I convinced her to let the full bridal party go in the trolley and then ride in the car with me (we were heading to her first look so she couldn’t see Michael yet). So, here we are stuffing her in my car. I saw some doubt for a second and almost said, “Remember how you’d jump off a bridge for me?…alright…hop in my car!” HA! Honestly, I was getting frazzled with the time crunch so I just jumped in and off we went! It was 100% worth it. You just wait and see what we captured in that hour after this! Again, WORTH IT!
Off to the first look! We had planned to make a last minute change to the first look location if we arrived and there were lots of visitors walking through the park. And…sure enough..there were A LOT of people. I like my first looks to be clean and private. So, we took a little walk to another location very close so they could have a moment…just the two of them! Lacey was shooting Michael’s angle and I was shooting Emily’s. I was also seeing stars as I had just ran to this spot and back…to get Emily…and then back again WITH Emily. I have asthma…I was just trying to BREATH and the struggle was REAL!
…their reactions did NOT disappoint though. How many times do I have to say “WORTH IT?!” I’ll see hypoxic stars any day for a couple like this!
Not gonna lie, I was STILL seeing spots at this point and trying to catch my breath. It was also pretty warm too! I was so afraid that I had missed these moments that I had them do it again…JUST in case. I totally wasn’t going to tell them but you know I always tell my secrets here. We didn’t need those extra photos though…WHY am I so paranoid? WHYYYYY?! I’m always so worried but it usually always works out like this…perfection! Just look at these sweet moments. AHHHH!! I feel like I was there again!
Time was a ticking and we had no time to waste! While we were waiting on the bridal party to get situated, we took full advantage of EVERY second we had. Remember…the ceremony hadn’t even happened yet! We needed to move…move…move! And Oooo my goodness me. I was vibing off Emily’s “greenery theme” and loving this grass!! AHHHH! Michael is one of West Liberty University’s basketball coaches. I wish there was an MVP award for grooms…he’d get it! He would…he totallllly would! AHHHHH!
So, we moved them down to the shade for the rest of the bridal party photos and we just kept snapping away! Seriously, no time to waste!
Is there an award too for best dressed, most outstanding bridal party? This bridal party would win! Also, please note the dresses…unique, love them!! Also, notice the ombre shoes on the men. Is that what you call them? I think! HA!
If you follow me on IG (you can do that HERE), you know I raved about these two little beauties. It was hot and we were all getting tired (or maybe it was just me trying to get the oxygen back in my body). They rocked it. And later I promised if they would give me just a few more smiles for their family photos, I would mail them their own copies. So, if you’re seeing this moms…I’m going to need some addresses. Email me!
We hadn’t gotten to do the ladies’ photos earlier like I had originally planned (hence me stuffing Emily into my car) so they finally got their time to shine. AHHHHHH!! I love these dresses so much. My daughter has been telling me she wants “white but not white” bridesmaid dresses for her wedding (she’s only 7….). I never understood but she saw me editing this wedding and said “THOSE. That’s the color I want!”
They didn’t let the guys beat them with the personality shots! Nope!
I was doing Emily’s shots by herself and Lacey caught Michael watching her. I kind of loved it so much!
Emily wanted to hold their parents’ family photos for a photo of them together. Their parents were off to the side watching. OF COURSE, I needed them to come over and get a photo, as well!! It was their wedding photos, after all. I felt like they needed their moment to shine!
Honestly? I didn’t even know the bridal party was above us watching. They’re THAT amazing. They were having fun and watching things happen but just letting it happen so we could get everything done. I can’t say it enough, THANK YOU.
…and now…we REALLY dug deep into bride and groom formals!
…and while I do love a good black and white, I kept picturing their wedding reception with nothing but greenery bliss and I wanted their formal photos to have that same “feel”. I love these…like…to the tenth power!
Can you feel their joy?! They weren’t even married yet!
I ALMOST forgot to do these. I did…EEEKKKK! And when Emily said “Ooo these are my favorite”…I was so glad I remembered. Veil shots are becoming “the thing” my brides ask for (and sunset photos). If they have a long veil, I do my best to get them! So again, I can’t figure out if long veils are “the thing” right now or if my brides do it for me! HA! Someone tell me! It seems like almost all my weddings this year have had long veils. Maybe it’s just the trend right now but I love it so much!
…still taking advantage of EVERY moment! It was definitely time for us to get to the reception. It was 4:00 PM…ceremony started at 4:30 PM. Any of you do Tik Tok? You know those “Run….*cue dramatic music*” videos? Yea…that was me at this point!
BECAUSE…I still had to try and get those reception shots since it was fully lit and decorated now! Lacey and I flew into the Pine Room…and it.WAS.worth.it! Ooo my! AHHHH!! Isn’t it JUST beautiful?!
Ok. Then, it was time for the ceremony! This was my first outdoor ceremony at the Pine Room. I was supposed to have one last November but the weather didn’t cooperate!
Lacey caught this moment and I love it. You can see me and Naz there on the left tag teaming the space when the flower girls came down the aisle.
Then, it was Emily’s turn. AHHHH!! I love this part!
It’s always crazy nerve racking at this point and Lacey and I got all the angles! YAY!
It wasn’t long before Emily started getting emotional again and it didn’t take Michael one second to help out his VERY soon-to-be wife!
They said their own vows. I can tell you they were PERFECT! They wrote them themselves and I learned A LOT about these two as they read them to one another. Then, rings were exchanged and they were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Lamberti!
Guests went to cocktail hour and we completed lots of family formals. DJ Brian Oliver welcomed everyone and then the parents and bridal party were announced. I was taking “test shots” to make sure my lighting was perfect right before the bride and groom were announced into the reception and I caught this very sincere and organic moment between the two of them (photos on the left below). I could come up with SO many captions for those beauties! I just love the emotions that pour out of them! Then, they RAN into their reception with all the energy I would expect (they were both basketball players, after all).
After a welcome, some speeches, and dinner…they got to share special dances with Michael’s mom and Emily’s dad and then together as man and wife!
Then, DJ Brian Oliver opened the dance floor…And Oooo hey, there! I see two other Hannah Barlow Photography couples on that dance floor! Here is Marissa and Chris below! Their wedding was the wedding I got to meet Emily’s family. Chris’ sister was also in the bridal party. I got to say hello to his parents too!! I LOVE seeing familiar faces! Later, I caught up with Sam and Nate!
Here they are!! They are getting married in October…I’ll probably have the nervous sweats then too!
Everyone was just so happy to be here!! There was so much dancing and lots and lots of dance offs! Emily’s dad did NOT disappoint. He danced with his daughter and his wife and then Brian called for the groom and got Emily and Michael to dance!
So much dancing! It felt so good to be back!
…and Brian Oliver did his thing. Emily had an idea he was going to do something fun for the garter removal but Michael didn’t. Right before this happened I turned around and looked at Brian and screamed, “Ooo my goodness, I am just SO excited!!!!” This may be my favorite part of Brian’s receptions!
Emily had specifically requested a photo at night outside the Pine Room. So, we waited until the important stuff at the reception was done and then invited them out for a few photos!
I had chatted with the videographers about “sunset” and explained that it’s impossible at the Pine Room with the way the building sits down in the hills. BUT…that doesn’t mean you can’t get a blue sky silhouette, right?!
OooO yea…remember my story about Jim earlier? He kept joking about getting a photo together. So, I grabbed him up for one! He also made me promise to do a shot at the end of the night. I told him I never…ever…drink at weddings. He asked if I’d make an exception so I told him it would only be after I was done shooting at the end of the night (I’m a lightweight to begin with and I shouldn’t be operating my camera under the influence…it’s expensive after all…HA!). He did catch me when I was packing up and even had the bartender start getting those shots ready. Lucky me, he was pulled aside by someone who wanted to say “hello” and I bolted. HA! I’m 100% certain he’s going to get me back somehow…someday…at another wedding. I’ll blog about it when it happens! He’s a GREAT guy and dad!
They delivered this guy back to the stage…RIGHT in front of all of Brian’s equipment. I was SO afraid we were going to have a major fail and he’d go tumbling forward in to the DJ equipment but nope…they kept on being the gentleman that they were…having fun..being responsible…having a blast!
…DEFINITELY having a blast! Brian lets couples “DJ” for a second! That hair…it’s cracking me up!
Can you just tell how happy they were to have made it to this point?! Brian hasn’t kicked me out of his booth yet! WOOO!
…and right before we left, Emily surprised Michael with his favorite pizza from his favorite pizza place in Pittsburgh! It was the perfect way for me to end the night with them! AHHHH!! Is it REALLY over?!?!
Well, that’s it. Jeesh. Ending a blog like this is hard. I had such high expectations for this wedding even before COVID happened. It broke my heart that it might not happen. Heck, Emily even had a date for next year picked out at one point. It was supposed to be in the Catholic Church too and they had to move it outside. Then, with WV’s mandates a few months ago, they were going to move it to a cabin at Oglebay. Then, WV opened back up and we finally got the “go ahead” for a “normal wedding”. I had Lacey so amped up for this wedding too. I think every.single.person there was just SO excited to have made it! There was no lack of smiles or joy. Emily and Michael’s parents were so kind and welcoming. Their family and friends were an absolute BLAST and so so so easy to photograph. Honestly, I can’t think of one thing about this wedding that I could say wasn’t a huge win. I sure hope it was everything this couple wanted it to be and more. Before I took that photo with Jim, I asked him how it was going and he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Hannah…I can’t say anything except it’s perfect. Everything is just perfect”. I saw the absolute truth in his eyes. He was also watching Emily and Michael dance their hearts out on the dance floor and it is moments like that that I just know…know it…deep in my bones…that this is what I was always meant to do. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t follow your dreams. I was a nurse with a bachelor’s degree prior to this. I loved people then just as much as I love them now. I was helping people then and I’d like to think I’m still making a difference in people’s lives now…just in a very different way. Congrats to these two and their family and friends!! WE MADE IT! 2020 is finally starting to feel “normal again”. Wedding season took a while to get here this year but it’s here and you’ve got many more weddings to come!
Congrats to the Lamberti’s! Give them all your HBP love…and Emily, please keep texting me ALL the time!
…also…here are those photos of us from Cinco de Mayo! HA! I seriously love when my couples include me in their lives. I may be a hired vendor…but I hope they all know how many long term memories I have of all of them! AHHHHHHH!! Now, I’m getting ALL sappy! My couples are THE BEST!
Vendor Dream Team Shoutouts
Bride’s Dress – Suzanne’s
Bridesmaids – Anthropologie
Shoes – Nordstroms
Groom/Groomsmen – Generation Tux
Hair/Makeup – Heather Hohman-Fedorke & Lorry Crow
Florist – Bride’s Godmother – Yvonne Jacobs
Coordinators – Oglebay and Elegant Event Solutions
DJ – DJ Brian Oliver
Venue – Oglebay Pine Room
Cake – Bethel Bakery
Videographer – Dorosh Documentaries
Catering – Generations
Transportation – Oglebay Trolley
Invitations & Programs- Rich & Shirley’s Quickprint
Officiant – Ron Retzer
Favors (Shot Glasses) – Barproducts.com