Hello! Happy Tuesday! OOoO my goodness ME! Stop what you’re doing right now…and if you don’t have time for a long blog with lots of squeals and adjectives, I suggest you save this right now and come back later because this one is going to warm your wedding lover heart to the tenth power. Molly and Mike are now Mr. and Mrs. Small. They honeymooned last week and I sooOOo wanted to get this blog up a few days ago but also didn’t want to rush this amazingly perfect wedding at Armstrong Farms in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. It was “run through the parking lot screaming with excitement” kind of amazing…and I quite literally did just that at one point in the night. More on that later though. You’ll see. For now, give them all your Hannah Barlow Photography love. I can’t say enough good things about this wedding, the people present…the venue…you name it. It was outstanding! Enjoy!
I mean…when the VERY first photo you take is litearlly just a sign and the venue details but it’s SO good…it’s going ot be a great day!
Even the sky showed up for us!
If you remember, I’d been to Armstrong Farms before (but their other location) for Sam’s wedding. So, Sam, of course, called this wedding as soon as I booked it. I picked her up early Saturday morning and off we went! When we pulled up, I was having all kinds of nostalgia and it just felt great. It was almost eerie too. Molly wore Keds (pictures coming below). Sam also wore Keds back in 2018. This Saturday a few weekends ago was heavily overcast…and so was Sam’s wedding. It risked a chance of rain this day and it poured the night before Sam’s wedding. I don’t know how to explain it but it just felt “similar’. De ja vu…if you will. I can also say that Sam’s wedding was one of my all time favorites (and not just because she’s a dear friend and second shooter now). I can tell you this. Mike and Molly’s wedding is RIGHT up there on the top of the list too now and you know that’s saying something because I’ve done A LOT of weddings. This day though…it was seriously perfect. Just perfect. There wasn’t any point in the day I felt stressed (except for ONE moment later in the night and I’ll tell you about that later). Looking back? Those seconds of stress were all worth it…trust me! But anyway, I’m getting SO off topic. I must focus. So…this Saturday morning, after driving up to Armstrong Farms…we found Molly and the ladies! Wedding photographers and vendors know this but there’s just a “vibe” you get when you first meet people at any wedding. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I can usually gauge how an entire day is going to go based off those first few moments introducing myself. Well, I walked up and confirmed I was in the right place and met some of the bridesmaids and the vibe was GOOD…so good!
They were SO helpful too even though I kept reminding them they aren’t required to help me. We had good conversations. Both Mike and Molly’s mom’s were there too (Hi, Shelia and Barb). I just felt relaxed…and excited…but calm…just a good, good, GOOD…atmosphere! Molly was calm as a cucumber too getting her hair and makeup done!
So, bridal details…here we GO!
Also, HUGE shoutout to Pisarcik Flower Farms for giving me a “scrap bag” of flowers. It’s makes ALL the difference, I tell ya! Feast your eyes on some bridal detail GREATNESS. GAH! I’m in love! SoOooo in love!
Then, we got some getting ready shots of the ladies in their robes. Even the robe photos are perfection! And Sam finished up some detail shots while I went over the the barn to get some reception shots.
Then, I headed over to find Mike and meet his dad and the groomsmen. Sometimes it’s weird entering a cabin full of testosterone and being the new person…and the girl with the camera (which most men hate). Not with this group! They immediately welcomed me and we got some great getting ready photos! Mike was FULL of anticipation to see Molly so after we got these photos, I took off and then he was right behind me!
Time for the first look!
Mike even got a little emotional and then took a peek at ALL the details on Molly!
Then, time for formal photo goodness. Cue the sappy love songs. I just can’t with these two! They look like bride and groom models for an Armstrong Farms wedding magazine!
They gave me an impeccable timeline! And you know what happens when a couple gives me gobs of time? They get gobs of amazing photos! I can NOT pick favorites so I’m just going to flood you with lots and lots! Many of these will be on my website VERY soon! EKKK!
Then, it was bridal party time. This bridal party rocked it!
Lookin’ good, Mike!
I could spend EVERY wedding with this bridal party!
Molly! GIRL! I just can’t with all this beauty!
COWS! I don’t know the story…but the cows were fan favorites with this group!
…and because Molly’s a country gal like me, we needed some fences in her bride and groom formal photos. Yep! We did.
Time for the ceremony! Listen, I’m not an overly emotional person. I actually can’t tell you the last time I cried at a wedding (…but ironically…I know I cried at Sam’s in 2018 at Armstrong Farms…maybe it is something about this place that brings out all the feels?). Well, we were just hanging at the back (Sam and I) waiting for the ceremony to start and I was looking at the back of my camera and back through the photos I had just taken and I legit just started to tear up. I don’t know exactly why but I was having alllllllllllll the feels inside and I needed to just let it out. Sam laughed at me. I was ok with it.
Here comes the bride!
Outdoor ceremonies have become some of my favorites over the years!
After they were pronounced Mr. & Mrs. Small, it was time for family formals. Also, can we talk about Gwen and how she’s the most perfect little flower girl I’ve ever seen! The sweetness just oozes out of her AND she was so patient with me and so well behaved.
I’m telling you. Those cows were popular! More requests for cow photos!
AND just like that…it was time for the reception and time to introduce the couple again. They went right into first dance as man and wife!
Then, there were some heartfelt speeches happening. Molly was holding back all the emotion!
The Pittsburgh cookie table was a HIT at this wedding. I can’t tell you how many times the table was restocked. There are many weddings when there are so many cookies left over…not this one! Heck, at one point Aly and I were rearranging everything to fill it up again!
Medure’s catered this wedding and their food is always outstanding and so good! I don’t know how they do it (even with traveling) but I highly recommend. I even remembered to take a photo of it this time!
Then, cake was cut and Sam remembered to take a “post cake cutting” photo. I totally forgot! This is why the HBP team is the best…but I’m biased, of course! They think for me when I’m not thinking at the moment!
Time to get this party started! George was killing it at the DJ booth!
Alright. You know that ONE stressful part of the day I talked about at the beginning of this blog? Well, here’s the story. So, about a week before the wedding, Molly reached out and said she wanted to amend the timeline we’d planned to include a sunset. I LOVE a good sunset so I was definitely on board. She also wanted to make sure I was still there in the morning for hair/makeup photos. Alright! Let’s make this happen. With the official time of sunset at 8:36 PM on May 22nd, 2021 (yes…seconds matter…you’ll see here in a minute), the couple opted to add an extra hour to their package just for the hopes of a sunset…THE PRESSURE, I tell ya. Well, I’ve been doing this long enough to know I just need a LITTLE bit of sunset color to make it happen. We’ve got this. Well, it was heavily overcast all day. ALL DAY. At this point in the night (starting around 8:00 PM), I started going outside…and checking. Going out again…and checking. I wasn’t hopeful for a full blown sunset but I needed just that little bit of color…JUST a little bit. At this point, guests had noticed me pacing. I explained what I was looking for…and what I was waiting for! I got this (below) and thought, “Is this enough? Should I take them now? Will I regret it?” I know from the past that taking the couple outside early is a gamble…we could miss the post sunset color. But not taking them outside early could mean…we miss ANY and all color. THE PRESSSUUUURRRREEE. So, I went out and took this. It’s pretty…it’s not perfect.
Yes. I can totally work with this even though it’s not a true, colorful sunset over Armstrong Farms like I’d dreamed about when Molly mentioned a sunset. Mike’s ears must have been burning because no sooner did I come back in after taking that photo did he come over and say, “Well. Doesn’t look like we’re going to get a sunset, huh? And that’s ok.” No, Mike…it’s not ok…the ONE thing this easy going couple mentioned in over a year of planning was wanting a sunset…GAH! I showed him the photo I had took and told him I was going to give it a few more minutes because SOMETIMES…we get lucky and even on an overcast day, the color will pop once the sun gets low enough below the clouds. AND GUESS WHAT?! I literally watched Mike walk five steps from me and I saw pink in the sky through the windows. I whipped around and looked west and there was COLOR. Not just any color…ALLLLLLLL the sunset colors. At that point, I’m surprised the place didn’t evacuate as I started yelling for the couple and yelling, “RUN!” It’s true. Ask anyone that was there or on the deck. I was literally running through the parking lot with Molly behind me holding that big dress up and Mike on her heels and Sam with the gear….running. I knew…I KNEW…it was only going to last a few minutes. And we got it. Someone play some sappy music. I’m a mess of happy emotions over these!
I was hollering posing prompts at them (more like yelling, I’m sure). We needed to move through this fast. Just look at the vibrance difference from this photo above to this one below. It was changing quickly!
Isn’t it just PERFECT?! Perfect sunset for this perfect wedding!
The color was fading! Dance in the field in front of the sunset, you two! AHHHHHHHH!!!!
…and literally, just like that…it was over. And my wedding photographer heart was full…full to the top! I had told Sam at the beginning of the reception what a perfect wedding this was for everyone…and she confirmed. I then told her that a sunset would just be the cherry on top…and we got it!
…and just so you can see a side by side comparison. The first photo to the last photo were taken 4 minutes and 7 seconds apart (I checked the time stamps on my photos). Crazy, right?! WE DID IT!
So, back to the barn we went! The people on the deck probably thought, “This photographer has lost her dang mind.” They were the ones who saw me sprinting.
That wasn’t the last photo we took though! Nope! We had more partying to do before we ended the night!
AND that’s it, folks! OooO my goodness. I just can’t get over this day and night. We left at 9:15 am and didn’t get home until 11:30 PM. Yep. It’s a long day but I’d do it again and again and again. Aside from me self stressing about the pressure of getting those sunset photos (I wanted it SO badly for this couple), this was a stress free day and I just can’t get over it. Molly and Mike attended some of my workshops so I got to know them. I met Mike, Molly and her mom back in February before COVID hit last year and then again at their engagement session. They’ve never been a couple who asked for much. They’ve never demanded anything. They’ve always been so sweet and easy to get along with and I wanted BIG things for their wedding…selfishly for myself too. My goodness me (how many times can I say that?). This day was just perfect. These photos are just as perfect. This was the BEST wedding a wedding photographer like me can ask. Armstrong Farms does it again! I don’t know what it is about this place but it’s just simply magical…everything about it. Huge shoutout to Aly (coordinator at Armstrong Farms) for being amazing too. Huge “thank yous” and digital hugs to EVERYONE in attendance! What an amazing day!
One more time…CONGRATS TO THE NEW MR. & MRS. SMALL!
Bride’s Gown – Allure Couture from One Enchanted Evening
Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Vera Wang – David’s Bridal
Shoes – Keds Sneakers
Jewelry – Sieger’s Jewelers
Hair – IG thestudio_hairbysarah (Sarah McCarrison)
Makeup – Pittsburgh Stylist (Tamie Konzier)
Venue – Armstrong Farms in Saxonburg, PA
Venue Coordinator – Aly Weifenbaugh
Florist – Pisarcik Flower Farm
Cake/Desserts – Sweet Lotus Desserts
DJ – DJ Arion (George Yamalis)
Catering – Medures
Invitations – Minted
Officiant – Jamie Kendrew
Favors – Bride/Groom Cake Pops by Sweet Lotus Deserts