My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images

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Washington, Pennsylvania Elks Wedding Photos

Hello and Happy Wednesday!  Well, we made it.  We did it.  We survived the 2020 wedding season…and I finished it sliding in sideways.  Just imagine those really funny GIFs of the most uncoordinated runner sliding into home ALLLLL wrong.  Yep, that’s how I felt sliding into the end of wedding season.  Goodness gracious.  You know, clients often ask me in pre-booking consults what would happen if I couldn’t come to a wedding.  My answer has always been, “Listen…I’ve shot weddings where I didn’t think I was going to make it.  I’d have to be laying in a hospital bed to miss it…but yes…I do have backups in place, just in case.”  I truly never thought I’d have to use those backups though.  Well, I guess I now need to add “quarantined due to a global pandemic” to that statement when people ask because that’s exactly what happened to me.  I found myself quarantined Friday night less than 12 hours before I was supposed to show for this wedding…and I had to call in the backups and thankfully it all worked out, as promised…but it was awful living the whole thing.  You all know me…so, you can imagine!  Add to the fact that this was a Barlow wedding and it was family?! GAHHHHHHH!!! It was supposed to my first wedding “as a guest” since 2015 too…and now I just have to keep waiting.  Oy!  So, this is gonna be a long one because I have all the words and I wasn’t even there.  Are you ready?!  Get ready!  Libby and Isaac are now Mr. and Mrs. Holtzer and their Washington, Pennsylvania Elks Wedding is on the blog right now!  That’s right!  Enjoy!

So, I bet a lot of you who are just now hearing about this have A LOT of questions.  Well, I’m going to try and answer them!  So, who was my backup?  Ryan Nolan of R. Nolan Photography!  Here’s the thing, you all know I use and LOVE flash.  So, I needed someone who could do the same or the photos just wouldn’t look like mine.  Lacey was already on board to second shoot and Sam was coming in for the reception (because remember…I was going to partttttyyyy with the rest of the Barlows).  So, I called up Ryan in a true Hannah panic and he said, “Yep!  I’m free!  Give me the details.”  He’s always so calm…the total opposite of me on a normal day!  And while I’m at it, let me tell you a little backstory.  Ryan has been a photographer way longer than me!  When I was a brand new photographer, I called myself a “natural light photographer” which was really just code for….”I have no idea how to use flash”.  I’m just being honest here.  Well, Ryan did my cousin’s senior photos.  I’d never heard of him before, didn’t know him, but you better believe when I saw those photos I looked him up.  His photos were stunning.  So, I commented, of course, and said something to the effect of “Holy crap…this photographer’s use of light is incredible”.  Well, he commented back and kind of hinted that he knew who I was somehow and had seen my work….cue the nervous sweating.  I was proud of my work at that point but it was nothing compared to what it is today…and that’s why I’m telling you this story.  He probably doesn’t even remember this but you know…I like to talk in my blogs!  So, we commented back and forth and then one day my phone rang.  Ryan was calling me and I was like, “ooooOooo no.  What did I do?!  Why is this guy I’ve never even met calling me?!”  He just called to chat and introduce himself.  Honestly, I can’t even remember exactly why he called me but he boosted my self esteem a new photographer (he is probably reading this now…and I’ve never even told him all this).  He gave me a hard time about not using flash and encouraged me to break away from the “norm” and stop listening to what other people tell me…and just do it.  Learn it.  Be better…and THAT is how I started using flash so much more and now I use it 90% of the time for almost all of my photos.  So yea…Ryan was the first guy I called and he was available.  He’s the same guy who years ago told me there were a lot of photographers around…but he saw something in me and encouraged me to set myself apart!  And let me tell you, I now know what a huge compliment this was because he doesn’t just go around calling random new photographers up to chat! HA! Full circle, I tell ya.  It’s crazy how these things happen, right?!

Alright!  NOW, let’s talk about this wedding!  So, Lacey and Ryan (and his assistant) met up at the Elks in Washington, PA to photograph the reception details.  I’m ALL about my timelines, as you all know…so I made MULTIPLE copies for everyone.  HA!  Names on the top…the works!  I may not have been there…but I was there!  Lacey was keeping me updated every step of the way…including letting me know she arrived to the Elks! HA! Come on, you all know I’m a control freak…you KNOW I was still going to control what I could from afar!

GAH! I’d never been to the Elks so my fear of missing out was off the charts!  Look how beautiful!  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whiskey bottle theme and had no idea what to expect and they absolutely nailed this theme and decor! EEEKK!

Alright, so this was a VERY VERY tight timeline and Libby had a detail list that wins her the award for longest shot list request of the year! HA!  I knew we could do it….IF….we stayed on time…and by “we” I mean, Ryan, Lacey, Sam and Ryan’s assistant…and me from my quarantined home!  This comes into play later.  So, Libby texted me about check in and I texted Lacey and let her know to get started on details so they didn’t fall behind!  Lacey later told me she was setting things up (so they still looked “Hannah”) while Ryan snapped the photos.  Lacey said at one point Ryan showed her the back of the camera and said, “Is this Hannah worthy?”  Lacey confirmed and off they went with these beautiful details!!! AHHHHHHH!!! OOOO MMMMM G!  So pretty!  Yes! Yes! Yes!! Definitely Hannah worthy!

These dress shots?!  They are even better than what I would have done.  I never love my dress shots for some reason…but I do love these!

Alright.  Remember how I mentioned the timeline would come into play later?  Well, here we are.  SO, the plan was for details to be done by 12:30 PM so Libby could get into her dress as 12:30 PM and then “we” (again…I was there in spirit) could be at the church to do Isaac’s details at 1:00 PM so he could be getting ready by 1:30 PM (I told you…the timeline was crazy).  Welllllllll…that’s not really how it played out AT ALL!  Beside this bed, there was a clock.  Lacey had told me the girls had run late and then I saw the clock in the photos later…and I started to sweat.  If you’ve seen me nervous sweating at a wedding, yea…that’s what I was doing while editing these just thinking about it! HA!

Hair and makeup ran behind.  That’s right.  Not just a little behind…an hour…which meant the whole timeline that was supposed to start up at 12:00 PM really started at 1:00 PM!  Read it again…1:00 PM.  The girls were about an hour late and what’s so hilarious about this now is that Ashleigh told me it was because of her hair and makeup.  Oooo yea…you all know Ashleigh.  You know…one of the girls who shot most of the weddings with me this year who we also give a hard time about because she is notoriously late.  That’s the one!  I even told her I was going to put this in the blog! HA!  I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!  I SHOULD…HAVE…KNOWN.  HA!  So, Lacey and Ryan had to scramble to try and make up some time!  Somehow…they still managed to get everything and I was all kinds of sweating from my living room when I was hearing this story later!  Here are all the beautiful ladies putting on the finishing touches!

…but they managed and got so many good getting ready shots.  Also, meet Estelle!  She was the flower girl and looks like a mini model for this shot!  It’s important to note, I don’t know who took what at this point so just keep in mind half are Ryan’s shots and half are Lacey’s!  Isn’t she beautiful?!  It’s crazy to me that Libby was this age when I first met her!

Alright!  Time to get this bride ready.  I can only imagine I probably would have had my nervous T-Rex hands up at this point! HA!  But ooOOOooo my goodness me.  These were the first photos to pop up when I got my cards on Sunday.  As soon as I saw them, I squealed because they look just like photos I would have taken!!! WOOOOOOOO!!  Remember, control freak here…it doesn’t matter how many weddings Lacey has done with me or that Ashleigh was there or that Ryan has done this so much longer than me…I still worried!  You know, I would have worried if I was there in person so being literally quarantined and forced to stay away was killing me.  My husband was standing by me as these started to pop up and he was all smug saying, “Seeeeeeee….?”  Yes.  These are beautiful!  SO beautiful!

They caught Libby touching up her makeup!

…and then (cue dramatic music) someone (and I don’t know if it was Ryan or Lacey) took Libby back to the window for some true Hannah window shots! GAH!  I’m just so happy right now!! Libby, you are even more gorgeous than I dreamed…and I’ve been dreaming all these months as I pictured you as a bride!

Mother daughter moments…AHHH!  Awwwww, Connie!  I so wanted to be there for all of this!

It’s so “strange” seeing Ashleigh all dressed up on this side of the camera.  Also, notice the height difference on these sisters…I love it!

I may not have been there in person, but I must have been there somehow in spirit because someone took MORE window shots! YES…YES…1000 times…YESSSS!

More mother daughter moments…

Then, they were off to the church to get Isaac’s shots.  I should have known…I should have known! GAH! I knew he’d take a great photo.  Also, Libby had sent me a photo from the car and I (in true Hannah fashion) looked at the time she sent it…which was NOT a time she should have been in the car.  I looked right at my husband (because I was a nut case all day and driving him mad) and said, “SURELY…she’s not really in the car, right?  RIGHT?! RIGHTTTTTTT?!”  Well, turns out she was and I’m so glad Lacey kept me in the dark at the time because these photos below were taken right before the ceremony.  I would have had a heart attack…heck, it’s probably better I wasn’t there because Lacey said they rolled into the church at 1:45 PM…that’s right.  45 minutes behind schedule….and only 45 minutes before the ceremony! RUN RUN RUNNNNN!  Somehow…someway…they got through the shot list I gave them anyway!  I mean…it DID have extra notes…extra bullet points…and lots of exclamation points I had put on there to make sure everyone understood! HA!  I also told them to make sure they took lots of pictures of Isaac!  He’s not one to shy away from the camera!  They nailed it!

Totally random…but this may have been one of my favorite shots of the day! HA!  I mean…it’s genius!

I love when we get to do groom details!  I also love custom anything…so, thank you, Isaac!

Alright, cue the tears.  Sit back…I’ve got another long story for you.  Ok, so I’m a Barlow, right?  Libby’s a Barlow, right?  Here is how we’re all related.  So, my husband is a Barlow, of course.  His dad and Libby’s dad are cousins.  Let’s go back even farther…Libby’s grandfather and my husband’s grandfather (who my son is named after) were brothers.  Helen Barlow was Libby’s grandmother.  I remember a lot about Helen.  She also had the initials “H.B”…which also happens to be mine.  Well, Helen wrote this letter to Libby 20 years ago.  Read that again…she wrote this letter to Libby 20 (TWENTY)…that’s right…TWENTY years ago.  She was a woman who liked to be prepared…just like me!  Maybe there is something to these initials.  So, she wrote letters when she was alive to her grandchildren for their wedding day with a gift.  Yep.  You’re reading it right.  She’s no longer with us but Libby was able to read a letter from her in her handwriting with a gift from her.  I mean, I mean…I MEAN!!!  The rest of the photos (below) will tell the story.  Also, meet TJ!  That’s Libby’s dad, our cousin, and Helen’s son!

More stories!  And you all probably thought you’d get out of a long blog since I wasn’t there, right?…Pfffffftttttt.  So, many many many people were not able to attend this wedding because of the pandemic so the couple opted to do a live stream of it.  Guess who was logged in and watching at 2:20
PM (early, of course).  That’s right!! THIS GIRL!  ME!  You know it!  So, I was all logged in.  I saw Ryan standing there and even though I already knew he was there…I sighed and was so relieved.  I was much like a mom watching a nanny cam of her kids at a daycare.  I watched.  I critiqued.  My husband told me I needed to STOP! HA!  But anyway, 2:20 PM I was logged in…2:25 PM…still watching…2:30 PM…2:35 PM.  JUST WAIT ONE SECOND.  Cue the tire screaching halt.  BACK IT UP.  I grabbed my timeline (yes, I had one at home) and I checked…double checked…Ryan started to walk away…WHERE IS RYAN GOING?!  The ceremony was supposed to start at 2:30 PM and you all know how I feel about that.  Turns out…they had one more photo they wanted to add to the list before they got started and the videographers needed to mic up.  Lacey said she was nervous sweating.  I hear I need to give Ash a hard time about this too because she added it to the list! HA!  But they got it…and Libby was ALL smiles!  I love the one of her laughing, in particular ANDDDD I always take a close up of the hands! WOOOOOO!  Whoever took these nailed it!

So, from my living room, I saw them get the aisle runner ready and I knew we were good to go and about to start.  And then I had a “ooOo no” moment (who knows Tik Tok and what I’m talking about)?!  I told my husband it wasn’t going to go well.  Aisle runners in 2020…well, they have kept on with the trend of the year and I’ll make sure to put this in the end of year blog too!  Aisle runners have not had a good track record this year, that’s for sure.  They had all kinds of struggles with this thing and I had to start laughing because Ash has a thing about aisle runners being perfect and I knew…if she could see this…and if she hadn’t been a bridesmaid, she would have had a lot to say about this.  I also got to see her later fix it and my husband and I couldn’t stop laughing because I totally called it!  I know her!

Here comes the bride! AHHHHHH!! Just look at his reaction!! I’m also super surprised TJ (Libby’s Dad) held it together as much as he did.  TJ, I expected red face and lots of tears!  You did good!  I love these moments!

I love that Isaac stopped when she got up there to check out her dress!! AHHHH!

I got to watch it live and you can too right HERE! It was so beautiful!

Now, I got to see it live, of course, but I asked Libby for more details!  Isaac’s grandparents will celebrate 60 years of marriage this year so he carried and presented the rings.  Lacey caught this angle (below) and just look at Ash and Libby’s faces…GAH!  Lacey was so excited about this too.  She told me all about it (for blog purposes, of course) when she called me at one point during the day.

Grandparent goals, I tell ya!  They got all the angles.  I hope to be this loved when I grow old and have grandbabies and I will love my grandchildren right back in return…just like this!

Then, rings were exchanged after the vows and the unity candle was lit!

Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Holtzer, everyone!  I can’t even believe it! Libby was FOUR when I came around in this family!

Look at this joy! AHHHHH!

Then, they went right into family formals!  Lacey also called me at this point (seriously…maybe I need to go talk to someone about my control freakishness.  To be clear, I did NOT ask her to call me but she knew it would make me feel better).  Girl, you’re one of the BEST!  She assured me she set up all my lights just how I like them and Ryan even used my camera and they nailed it.  You would NEVER know I didn’t take these!! WOOOOO!  The Barlow and Holtzer families combined!  They even centered everyone…because you know I’m CRAZY about being centered!

Then, they neaded back to their original spot in Washington, Pennsylvania to take some amazing bride and groom formal wedding photos!  Years ago, I took engagement photos at the court house and always wanted to do wedding photos there…and guess where they did them…Ughhhhhhh.  I am having such fear of missing out (FOMO). Look how pretty!

If you know Isaac and LIbby…you know this photo is very much “them”!  It’s perfect!

Also, can we talk about how amazing Shop N Save did with these flowers?!

Ryan and Lacey tag teamed bridal party shots!  That stairs one is going to have to go on the Hannah Barlow Photography list of “must haves” when we have stairs available!  I love it!

I also love that Lacey found the few flowers that were left THAT MATCHED PERFECTLY and included them in this photo (below).

All the pretty ladies!  WEEEE!!  I love love love stone!

I love these two ladies so much!  I love seeing them all dressed up too…and it’s another Hannah Barlow Photography assistant who gets to be in front of my camera!

I told Lacey the night before, “If you’re going to split off…let Ryan do the guys.  Issac will want his photos since he asked for the GQ and 90s boy band shots”…and they did it!  Check some more off the list!  The gentlemen, everyone!

OoooOOoo Libby.  LIBBY!  I have no words!

Yep.  I knew Ryan would take these kinds of photos…so pumped about these!! Website worthy!  Get ready, Isaac!

Libby told me she wanted to do some photos inside the George Washington.  Honestly, I probably would have talked her out of it so it’s a good thing Ryan was there!  Heck, I had even suggested we go to Washington Park so we wouldn’t have even been here if it was up to me!  Again, “we”…HA!  I always try to take these kinds of photos when I’m inside…and they never turn out.  I’ve called Ryan multiple times to get some flash advice.  Lacey said she took notes and told me how they did it so now we can do this more!! WEEE!  This will be super helpful when it rains and we’re trapped inside too!

With the Whiskey theme of this wedding and Isaac’s jacket, these are perfection!  They fit perfectly!

Then, Libby asked Lacey for veil shots.  I laughed when Lacey told me because that was the one thing that wasn’t on the list!  And Lacey nailed it!

AND GUESS WHO WAS THROWING!  I died laughing when I saw this.  You all know “Ashleigh throwing the veil” photos became big requests this year…and even when she was maid of honor and it was her sister, she couldn’t get out of it! HA!  I LOVE THIS!

My favorites!!! WEEEEEE!  You’re just so beautiful, Lib!

Wait…maybe this one is my favorite!

Nope.  Definitely this one!

For the last formal shots of the night, Ryan and Lacey nailed it!  I’m so grateful!  Two angles!

Then, it was off to the reception!  In true “Hannah fashion”, Lacey and Sam raced around and re-took some detail shots before the couple was announced!

For the second time, Mr. & Mrs. Holtzer, everyone!

They went right into cake cutting!

…and they stuck with the good, old “cake in the face”! Love it!  Also, Ash should be so proud.  Either Sam or Lacey caught a photo of the cake right after it was cut!  You know, that’s Ashleigh’s signature shot!  Heck, maybe she even took it (kidding)!

This one makes me sad.  For MONTHS, Ash and I rode around in the car between wedding locations, to and from weddings…talking about her speech!  I didn’t even get to hear it!  Ugh! I hope we get to see in on the video because I joked I was going to grade it since we’ve heard A LOOTTTTTTTT of speeches in the last five years!

The best man made a speech too… as well as TJ and Isaac’s mom!  Then, it was first dance time and the emotions in these black and whites gets me!

All the other traditional stuff was done and then it was time to party!

I’m not sure why he’s on a chair…but he’s on a chair!  HA!  It’s got to be a cultural tradition!

…and that’s how Ryan, his assistant, Lacey and Sam left the wedding…with a rocking party behind them!

AHHHH!  I can’t believe this is the end of 2020 wedding season.  I mean…I CAN believe it.  It’s so “2020” the way I went out of this wedding season.  I’m forever indebted to the crew for taking over for me!  Lacey said it was interesting being in my shoes and the more she told me the more I was a proud mama wedding photographer!  I’m definitely a creature of habit and looking at these photos, I think it showed me more than ever just how much I like things a certain way…because Lacey was able to make it happen throughout the day with the help of the others!  THANK YOU, all!  Seriously, you’re all the best of friends and I am so grateful for all of you!

Now, Isaac and Libby!  It broke my heart not to be there.  I said from the beginning it would take a lot for me to miss any wedding and who would have ever thought a global pandemic would have been the reason.  If you would have told me this in 2019, I would have told you you were crazy!  Your wedding was absolutely gorgeous!  I’m so happy for you both!  Your wedding will definitely go down as one of the most “famous” Hannah Barlow Photography weddings, that’s for sure!  I can just hear myself telling this story for years and at every pre-booking consultation I have!  You both did it!  You made this wedding happen when so many things were stacked against you.  You both deserve a whole lifetime of happiness.  Here’s to hoping you make it to 60 years and more just like Isaac’s grandparents!  I bet they are just so proud to pieces!  One last time, congrats to the Holtzers!

Thanks for reading this year!  End of year blogs coming soon!  Happy Wednesday!

Vendor ShoutOuts

Bride’s Gown – Essence of Australia from Sorelle Bridal Salon

Bridesmaids’ Gowns – David’s Bridal

Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse

Shoes – Torrid (Bride), Johnston & Murphy (Groom)

Jewelry/Rings – Robert Currens (Bride), Manly Bands (Groom)

Hair/Makeup – Studio Seven

Florist – Shop N Save

Videographer – Mark Finfrock, TyMad Productions, LLC

DJ – Thompson DJ & MC Services

Catering – Elks

Favors/Gifts – Kate Aspen Coasters

Other: Masks from Charlene May

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My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images





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