Hello, everyone! You’re going to need some dedicated time to get through this one! So, stop what you’re doing or close out and come back later…because this wedding is everything! EVERYTHING! It’s the wedding Ashleigh and I were excited about back in January. That’s right! When the Hannah Barlow Photography team sits down and goes through the schedule for the year, I let the girls decide which weddings they want and Ashleigh snagged this one up like it was a million dollars and she wasn’t about to give it up! Nope! There are SO many reasons for this too AND it even had a groom who absolutely hates having his photo taken…and a best man who also hates having his photo taken…I could go on and on…and that may surprise you because those weddings can be difficult. BUT you know what made this day grand? The people…yep, the people. Those guys who hate having their photo taken? They are total gentleman…deep down good men who will do anything for the bride and their wives and the photographer who is taking the photos. The word “family” is strong with these groups and they love unconditionally…whether they know you or not. It doesn’t matter to them. You throw in a wedding gown and a get together in 2020 that may not have even happened thanks to COVID? Well, now we’ve got even more to celebrate, right? And the bride….OOoO my goodness…Candice is a beauty on the inside and out. Her laugh and love for life is contagious. Goodness gracious, I haven’t even shown you one photo yet in this wedding blog and I’m already rambling because I have ALLLLLLLLLLL the words…too many words. Definitely too many for what my wedding blog coaches used to tell me BUT…that’s ok. This couple deserves it. Whether Dan wants the attention or not, he’s getting it because he deserves it! They all deserve it! AHHHHH!! Deep breaths, Hannah! So….everyone…please enjoy this End of September Oglebay Wedding. It’s a good one. Candice and Dan are now the Raabs and I’m going to tell you ALL about it!
Like I said, Ash and I were REAL pumped up for this one. I just knew…I KNEW…deep in my wedding photography soul it was going to be a good day. Do you remember their engagement session? You can see it HERE. If you remember, I photographed the groom’s brother’s wedding three years ago (Hey, Tom and Amanda!) so I know the groom’s family pretty well. Heck, I photographed both Dan and Tom’s engagement session on their family farm (where Candice and Dan now built their home). I’d also photographed engagement and proposal AND wedding photos at Tom and Amanda’s now home. So yea, I had some good history with most of this group. ALSO, Ashleigh went to high school with like half the people in attendance! HA! And while I’d normally be getting nervous sweaty leading up to a wedding with this much history, I had a strange kind of calm…that is until Candice kept saying, “Whatever you want. I know the photos will be beautiful…” and THAT kind of trust both warms me to the bone AND stresses me out because the bar has already been set HIGH and when my couples trust me like this…I know I have to deliver 110%! So, into the Oglebay lodge we went to find the gals getting ready!
Then, we shot some delicate wedding detail shots!
Then, we got this beautiful bride ready! Those of you who know Candice are going to know what I’m talking about…Candice is always high on life. She’s a “party girl” but not in the usual sense…she’s just always pumped up and excited and amping up the energy in the room. Basically, her and I are a lot alike in that department. I can make a party out of any situation – alcohol or dry event…doesn’t matter. So, Candice can get me real pumped up real fast! Her laugh is contagious and I had even said at their engagement session that she just has this infectious giggle about her. Add in the fact that she’s been one of my most laid back brides? Yea…there wasn’t much that could go wrong…even if it went wrong…I knew we’d be ok! Exhibit A below…HA!
Where are my fellow Friends watchers?! Check out these stickers! Also, I had asked Candice If I could snag a hand sanitizer (which also had this sticker). She said yes…and then I never grabbed one…WAAAHHHHH!!! I NEED ONE, girl!!
Isn’t she just beautiful?! Her mom and sister helped her get ready!
…and I wanted to be very respectful of Dan’s wishes not to have a ton of photos. I want my grooms enjoying the day and not worrying about me! And let me be clear in saying that not once did he tell me I couldn’t take a photo…nope. He was willing to do whatever I asked of him but I also knew he’s a lot like my own husband…and doesn’t enjoy the attention being on him and especially not in front of the camera. So, yea…I wanted to be sure he could enjoy the day without an annoying photographer in his face 24/7. I also knew with the group of ladies I’d met, we’d still have SOOOO many photos! Yep! I had a plan! Then, I did find them in the parking lot before the first look. I was dying laughing. Dan’s brother Tom had this “look” on his face like, “OoOO boy. Here she comes”. Remember, I did Tom’s wedding. He knows. And Dan kind of just avoided eye contact which made me giggle. You know what though? I was right at home with these men. They’re so much like my own male friends and while they were dreading the idea of photos, they were prepared to let me take them. I also encouraged coolers…and snapped some photos 007 style. Ok…they knew I was doing this…they were just acting like it wasn’t happening! HA!
I did not want to fall behind so we led the trolley over to the first look location. I got out with the guys to get their photos done and sent Ashleigh back with the girls and boy Oooo boy am I glad I did THAT! EEKKK! You just wait and see! But first, I wanted to go as fast as I could to get most of Dan’s photos out of the way!
You all know I usually do a formal shot…and a personality shot. I gave Dan the option and he opted to just do the formal shots. That didn’t stop some of his friends from trying to sneak one in there though! I sent a sneak peek to Candice and she asked, “What’s with the stick?”…and no one really knows!
We blew through those photos just in time for the trolley to arrive with the ladies! I had told Ashleigh my plan and where I would have Dan standing. I told her to make sure Candice didn’t peek or look to the right. All was going well and a huge shoutout to Ashleigh for riding on the trolley with them and getting these shots!
Apparently, Candice just couldn’t resist and took a peek at her groom waiting for her and just LOOK at her face!
I mean, can you not just feel the anticipation?! AHHHH!!!
Candice did say she was a little nervous. But you’d never know it! And Dan’s a quiet guy…but his excitement was written ALL over his face! You just wait and see!
There’s Candice being Candice and spewing all her positive energy in all of our directions! Ok, maybe at just Dan…but I was feeling it too from afar!
She teared up a lot this day. So, she used Dan’s card to dry those tears!
Let the gift giving commence!
I’d love to bottle all her happiness RIGHT up!
…and I mean…when you know your groom…you KNOW your groom. All of this attention is definitely outside the norm for these two so Candice came prepared…with beer…in the pockets of her wedding gown. HA! I loved it SO much!
Cheers to almost being married!
Then, we went right into formals and we took an obnoxious amount of photos of Candice!
Dan is the man…for real. I’m married to a man who hates photos too. It’s not that my husband hates the photos on our wall..he just doesn’t like the attention and I’d guess Dan is the same. Nonetheless, he rocked it and they’re going to have the most amazing gallery to choose from for their wall!
They had fall engagement photos (his parents have some of the best fall foliage on their farm.) I found this one “volunteer tree” as I call them and it was just beautiful and perfect! I also looooovvveeeee some color!
I won’t let a short veil stop me!
Then, we called the bridal party back over and got their shots!
…and had so much fun taking them too!
“Candice…what are you doing?” She replies…”…airing out my arm pits…” and we all died laughing. This is Candice…and I love her dearly!
These ladies were amazing. The colors were amazing. The flowers were amazing. I think we took four times the amount of photos with them!
Remember what I said about these guys being gentleman? Well, here they are…delivering drinks to the ladies!
Then, more photos of the bride…because we can! Because we needed more photos! That dress detail was astounding!
Did someone say “dip”?! SOMEONE DID SAY DIP! Let’s dip! I’ve learned a lot about people, their personalities, and their approach to a good dip. Dan’s my very favorite kind! He’s the guy who could care less about this type of photo but goes into it confident. There’s no coaching required. These are usually the country boys who are confident in themselves and love their ladies. I even looked at Candice and said, “Ok…your most important job is to trust he won’t drop you because it’ll be written all over your face…” and you know what she said before I could even finish my statement? She said, “oOo he won’t drop me” and there was 100% trust in her statement and my wedding photographer heart and lover of a good, old fashioned love stories could have just run for the hills like you see in the movies when there’s a very good mic drop moment and the story has ended. I know it sounds crazy…but when statements like those are made…I just know a couple is destined for a good life together! Call me crazy…go ahead…but I get to see couples in their RAW moments and behind the scenes. This dip was epic perfect…amazing…nailed it! He even had a little smirk like, “Pffft. No problem!”
Off we went to the ceremony and Candice took a moment to thank all her friends and family!
BUT WAIT…there’s more! Those other photos were very “Hannah” and very elegant (at least I think so) but I know these two. They are country people and I may not know what their house looks like…but it’s on a farm. SO, with that in mind, I wanted to give them just a few more photos that felt more rural. I picked this random spot outside Wilson Lodge at Oglebay. I did try to get Dan to leave his hat and glasses on for a few but he knew Candice would want it off so off it went! I’m telling ya..he’s a keeper!
Ashleigh nailed it creeping through the foliage once again! And I was happy now and felt like I had a completed gallery so off they went and we headed to the ceremony to get ready!
Here’s another blog I want all my people who are nervous about a first look to read. READ THIS. For whatever reason, and after all these years I can’t figure it out, but my couples get MORE emotional during the processional if they’ve had a first look. I can only guess it’s because all the nerves are gone now. I can tell you with good certainty that Dan is probably not an emotional guy, for the most part, but there was a moment…a TINY moment I had my eye (and camera) on him and I thought it was going to happen. THESE are my very very very favorite moments! AHHHHHHH!
Just look at that joy on his face!! AND REMEMBER…he’d already seen her and talked to her and had a few hours with her but it never fails…first looks lead to some of THE BEST emotions at the ceremony.
Candice got emotional too so the officiant passed her a hankie (I’m a country girl, ok…that’s what we call them)!
The end of September always has the best scenery, light, leaves…you name it!! Oglebay’s West Spa patio is one of my favorites!
…and just like that…another set of Raabs, everyone! This is the second Raab brother I photographed!! Brady…I’m coming for you one day! He’s Dan and Tom’s brother…and Lisa…I’ll snag her too! HA! They’re all going to hide now!
I haven’t had a family formal session go this smoothly in a long long long long time. “Family” is everything for this group and I consider myself sooooo lucky they trusted me for round two of weddings in the Raab family!
OooO hey!!! There’s Amanda and Tom! You remember them, right?! I got some formal shots of them but kind of loved Ashleigh’s candid shot. Yep! Their family is growing..and growing!
Off to cocktail hour we went to get shots of Glessner ballroom. This was my THIRD wedding in a row on the West Spa Patio and then Glessner. Crazy, right?!
After cocktail hour, they were announced Mr. & Mrs. Raab for the second time. They went right into cake cutting and then their first dance. Then, we moved on to dinner. Candice had mentioned in one of my IG posts that she would like a silhouette photo, if possible. Ask and you shall receive with me BUT I almost forgot, if I’m being honest. The sky doesn’t always turn every night. Again, there’s always color but it’s not always vivid to our naked eye. That means there is a very very very small window that you can trick your camera into seeing it and I ALMOST missed it! Wheww! I had looked up sunset time earlier in the day and told Ash to remind me. We were sitting there eating dinner when I flew out of my chair and outside like the building was on fire and it was JUST in time. So, I ran and got the couple and made it happen!
After that, I wanted to swing them around to the other side because the sky had a wee bit more variety in color (even though it wasn’t as bright). This is what it really looked like outside…photo compliments of Ash!
This is what I looked like (below). Again, photo credit to Ash for the most unflattering photo of me in 2020. We could not stop laughing about this one…and you know I have NO shame! AND THIS is why I wear shorts until my dresses! HA! I also pulled a muscle in my back getting up…Oy! People were definitely staring…so much staring!
…and this is what we managed to get! WOOOOO!! I still think I like the silhouette photo BUT I like to give a good variety…because I’m a crazy person!
Back inside we went to get the party started! Remember what I had said about “family”? Yep! Even cousins who couldn’t attend got to dance with the brie AND get their photo taken…via Facetime!
I think James (Dan’s nephew) likes the attention and dancing just as much as his dad and uncle! HA! “You can’t make me dance, Uncle Brady…NO YOU CAN’T!”
Dan’s mom couldn’t get out of dancing either! If she wasn’t coming on the dance floor, they were going to her!
My goodness it was a party! And that’s how we left them…dancing the night away! Of course, I had to get my selfies with some of my other favorite people! Ash even requested a photo with the bride! Ash told me at the reception that Candice was and I quote, “THE nicest cheerleader at our school growing up”…Yep, I can TOTALLY see that!
…and I wasn’t leaving without a selfie with TWO Hannah Barlow Photography brides now! I seriously have THE BEST job EVER!
Gosh. Blogs like this are hard to end. I have all the words and no words all at the same time. Again, these are my kind of people. Their family and friends are extremely important to them and they love fully while being 100% genuine and themselves. They know how to have fun while still keeping it classy. I looked around at one point and saw dads rocking sleepy babies while the moms danced on the dance floor. I saw friends visiting with their friends’ parents and kids making friends and having the time of their lives. I’m a goofball and always have “weird” thoughts but there was a point that I thought “Man, if the world was ending…these would be the kind of people I’d want behind me.” And that’s because they are so much like my own family and friends, as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. At one point when we were done with sunset pictures and I told Dan he’d finally be done with me, he turned around and looked right at me and said, “No. Seriously, it was my pleasure.” THAT is the kind of people I got to spend my entire Saturday with and they’re just the best…seriously. I’d do it over and over and over again. I gotta stop somewhere though so I don’t get any more sappy. So, I’m going to just say…THAT’S IT! That’s a wrap on this wedding and Congrats one more time to Mr. & Mrs. Raab! AHHHHH!! I’m so sad it’s over!! Totally bittersweet for me!
Bride’s Gown – Morilee Bella Sposa
Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Birdy Grey
Men’s Attire – Dee’s Country Bridal
Jewelry/Rings – Kay’s Jewelers
Hair/Makeup – Cloud 9
Wedding Planner/Coordinator – Oglebay, Ashley Dunlap
Florist – L and M Flower Shop
Cake/Other Desserts – Oglebay (cake), Cookies (Family)
DJ/Band – Nick Arno
Catering – Oglebay
Transportation/Limo – Oglebay Trolley
Save the Dates/Invitations/Programs –
Ceremony Venue – Oglebay West Spa Patio
Officiant – Pastor Robert Grewe
Reception Venue – Oglebay Glessner Hall