Happy Friday! This is the last blog for the week and one heck of a way to go out with a bang! I have entirely too many words, Hannah squeals, Hannah-isms, stories to tell…I’ve got it ALL and this couple most certainly deserves it! Please give Mr. & Mrs. Ritz all your Hannah Barlow Photography love! Their wedding will most definitely go down in the HBP vault as “one-of-a-kind, you had to be there to really understand the amazingness”! It was absolutely perfect in ALL the wedding ways and I’m here to tell you ALL about it! Enjoy!
This was my second wedding for my double header weekend last Saturday. Both wedding ceremonies were at the West Spa Patio but Marissa and Kyle’s reception was going to be held at the Pine Room. I was FULL of anticipatory excitement despite the fact that my body was tired from the wedding the day before. This couple had been so laid back going into their wedding and I knew from talking to others that all the people at this event were gems. So, I got up that morning, had my coffee, read their engagement blog (see it HERE), and got myself all kinds of worked up and anxious – in a good way. So, I double checked the weather (it looked perfect), hopped in the shower and got all dolled up. I knew it was going to be a fancier affair so I made sure to dress the part. I even had a great hair day…which seems funny to mention…but it was already coming together and I hadn’t even left my house yet. So, I triple checked my lists for my gear and off I went…45 minute early. Yep. I needed some extra time to get all my nerves straight. I wanted big things for this wedding…BIG…HUGE. So, I stopped in the Pine Room and got my bearings straight and then headed off to one of Oglebay’s cottages to find the gals. Jay met me there and we went RIGHT into all the getting ready parts and details of the day! Looking at these photos then and now…I had no doubts or worries.
You all know those “vibes” I always talk about? Well, I was getting allllll the good vibes and more while doing these details. Marissa and her mom (Hi, Jennifer!) came in the room with Jay and I, shut the door, and just sat with us while we did these details. Small talk. Getting to know one another. Talking photographer and videography things. Telling other wedding stories. A little of this…a little of that. You get the picture. We just chatted like we’d all known each other for YEARS! It was so laid back and I felt like I was spending a casual day with friends. No stress in the air. Lots of good laughs. And as I was squealing with delight over these bridal details, Ashleigh texted (and had already called three times) and I realized I completely forgot to tell her where to meet me. Whoops! HA! Of all the things I checked off my list, I was too excited anxious and literally forgot to text my second shooter where to meet me. And that, my loyal blog reader friends, is literally the only thing that went “wrong” the entire day. For real. THAT is the kind of wedding day you’re about to read about! Let’s do it!
After we got all those bridal details done, we left the ladies to get dressed and I met up with Kyle and the other men. Eli rocked the best man shots. I told him to “brush that dust off those shoulders” and he went ALL in! Good vibes…allllllll the good vibes. Jay Morris is probably already counting the exclamation points for this blog and I’m not even four paragraphs in yet. Oy!
Kyle opened his gift from Marissa!
Then, we took the men out for their formal photo moments!
Fun socks! My new camera was looking for a face to track for focus. We found some familiar face’s on Kyle’s socks! HA!
Then, we headed back to Marissa’s cabin to do all the finishing touches for getting her ready! Mom helped!
Then, she got to open her gift from Kyle.
Then, it was time for the ladies to shine and shine they definitely did!
OooOoo Marissa! MARISSA! You are gorgeous on the inside and out. After meeting all of Marissa and Kyle’s family and friends, it all made sense.
I took SO many photos! I did! I won’t apologize either! Nope! Isn’t she gorgeous?!
SO quickly (more quickly than I would have liked because I wanted to triple the time with these wonderful people), it was time for the ceremony on Oglebay’s West Spa Patio!
I hadn’t met Kyle’s mom yet but just seeing her walk down the aisle with her son and seeing the guest’s reaction and HER reaction to seeing them, more vibes. More great vibes! It just kept getting better and better and better!
Then, she gave him a big hug and started to tear up and I had ALLLL the Hannah smiles and feelings!
Then, Jennifer came down the aisle and people’s reaction were much the same. I even heard someone say, “OoOo Jennifer! Wow!”. GAH! More Hannah energy was building! It didn’t matter how you knew the bride’s family or groom’s family. You could tell everyone who was present was invested in this couple and their families.
Then, the processional started with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I don’t usually photograph more than just a shot of them coming down the aisle and then I realized….each guy was hugging Kyle. THE LOVE AT THIS WEDDING…everyone had love to share! Gah! If I could have jumped up and down at that point…I totally would have. But we must keep it together at ceremonies, yes!
Everyone was getting out their tissues. Tears were forming. There was NO holding back.
Nope. There was no way tears were not going to be shed.
…because look at the joy and happiness and LOVE radiating from this bride and her dad!
It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony with so many kind words and love and laughter and heartfelt moments.
Marissa and Kyle became Mr. & Mrs. Ritz and even I was clapping!
Listen up, everyone. It’s NO secret that us wedding photographers loathe the stress of family formals. We KNOW we have to have these photos, of course. Yep. They’re extremely important. It’s the most extremely stressful part of the day for us though because it’s a lot of people to photograph in a short amount of time. To top it all off? Everyone is excited and everyone is so happy to see one another and give hugs and say “hello”…especially post COVID and the year we had last year. So, I always tell my couples “it’s going to be stressful but we’ll get it done”. WELL, guess what?! You’re probably all wondering where I’m going with this too. These family formals were NOT stressful. Nope. Aside from Marissa’s brother trying to take off (Nice try, Logan…HA!), we literally flew right through these. Every single person was ready to go. Every single person smiled. It was amazingly NOT stressful and this group (below) got to go first! It was our biggest group photo and our first one out of the gates and not only was everyone present and ready…they lined up JUST right! WOOO! I mean…it was a PERFECT day!
So, we finished up the rest of family formals and raced over to a location with lots of green. The couple requested it. We did bridal party and then…wait for it – Bride and groom formals!
These two are beautiful humans who take amazing photos both apart…and together!
We had them walk to another little location.
…and proceeded to take lots and lots of wedding photos for these two to hang on their wall. I was having the same feelings I’d had all day. It was just easy to be with these two. We laughed. We joked. We had an amazing time!
Can you feel it? Pure joy!
…and big, bear hugs because this was a fan favorite from their engagement session. Yep. They nailed it as bride and groom too!
Ash and I tag teamed these angles for allllll the photos!
But all good things have to come to and end, right? So, this couple walked back to the trolley so we could get them to their Pine Room Reception. Have no fear, I have so much to say about their reception too! That’s right! The amazingness did NOT stop here! Nope!
To the Pine Room! Let’s do this!
We got reception details! We hardly EVER get to get reception details when they are finished in ALL Their glory BEFORE the guests get there. Well, we pulled right in and I saw that everyone was still outside the Pine Room for cocktail hour so I literally dropped everything, ran, and left Ashleigh to play get away driver. LOOOKKK!! So pretty!
I got so many of the bridal party and couple coming into their reception while being announced. I took care of the door and Ash covered the dance floor. I’m sharing this photo below because I had ran to “hide” at Brian’s DJ booth so Jay and Ash could take care of the happenings on the dance floor. But I ran RIGHT to Brian and he ran right to me and at the same time our eyes got REAL big and we looked at each other and said “OMG! It’s going to be a GREAT night!” Just from the introductions, we just KNEW…we were about to take a wild, wedding reception ride, that’s for sure! Look at my face (to the left in the photo below in the background). Yep. You can’t fake that kind of excitement!
THE SPEECHES! Even the speeches were heartfelt. And not just one…ALL of them! Marissa’s dad welcomed and thanked EVERYONE…right down to us wedding vendors.
We ALL laughed. We ALL teared up!
Again, I can’t make this up. Even the blessing was unique and heartfelt and sincere. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
After dinner, people mingled and then Kyle got to dance with his mom. And yes. That’s right. I’m a broken record here. It was perfect. I looked around. Remember how I said all the guests were invested at the wedding ceremony back at the West Spa Patio? Well, that didn’t stop at the reception. Everyone pulled their phones out and we were thrown back in time to the rock concert days where people waved lighters back and forth. When Kyle and his mom noticed, the crowd went even wilder! I turned around and looked at Brian with my big, excited, wedding photographer eyes and just squealed!
Father/daughter dance…more happy tears!
Then, first dance magic!
Brian opened up the dance floor. It was about twenty minutes after 8 and still daylight outside and the dance floor EXPLODED. If you saw my Instagram video, I had all the “OOO MMMMMY GOSH!” energy.
This is, by far, the most packed dance floor I’ve EVER photographed. Honestly? It was a great thing we were there all night because this was actually an extremely hard dance floor to photograph and film. There were SO many people so there was no where to go for a good shot and no way to really get people’s faces. People were accidentally bumping in to us too. Heck, at one point, I went and found Marissa’s mom and asked her if it was ok for Ash and I to move the head table back to the wall so people had more room to dance…and sure enough…no sooner did we move it…MORE people came to the dance floor! This was the happiest group of reception goers too. I honestly can’t even begin to explain it to you but if you were there…you know! The energy was insane!
Almost three hours of continuous dancing and Brian ended the night with Country Roads! Ash was tired of fighting for space and I’m so thankful she got right in there to get some close ups!
10:45 at night and people were STILL giving the couple all their love and hoots and hollering!
So, we got everyone set and ended on a high note…a sparkler send off!
BUT WAIT…there is one more. Ash and I packed everything up. We had literally torn down everything and put the gear in the car. I gave hugs. We laughed…and smiled. I saw Brian and said my “goodbyes” and then to Jay. I was literally driving out of Oglebay when I thought, “WAIT! The list!” The night was so intensely crazy I had never double checked my list. That’s right. Hannah (that’s me) was so distracted by all the festivities…I never went back and double checked my list. So, I stopped my car…reached back…grabbed it and went “Ooo NO!”. I put it in reverse and back I went. I hasn’t done an outside photo Marissa had requested. Of course, this sweet couple was all “OoO my goodness. No, Hannah. We don’t need it. It was an amazing day” and I was like “Nope. We MUST finish the list!” So, at a little past 11:00 PM, I grabbed my camera, put the lens back on…found some fresh cards…we got this beauty. That’s it! Mic drop. My perfect wedding day for this couple was complete!
It’s just crazy how you meet two people and click with them. Marissa and Kyle very much stole the show for their engagement session. Then, I met their family and friends this past Saturday and just felt like I’d met my people. My goodness…June has been such an amazing month. It’s filling up my wedding photographer gas tank after a very crappy 2020 where almost ten of my weddings were cancelled. Life’s feeling normal again and weddings like this remind me how lucky I am to spend weekend after weekend with amazing people who just make you feel like this crazy world is actually an amazingly, loving place! To the Ritz family and the Tucker family and EVERYONE present this day (and those not present), thank you for making this day for this sweet couple exactly what it was…just PERFECT.
I have no other way to end this blog becuase there’s no other adjectives to use – just amazingly perfect. Congrats to the new Mr. & Mrs. Ritz!
Bride’s Gown – Bridal Beginning
Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Birdey Grey
Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse
Hair/Makeup – Forever Young Salon
Venue/Coordinator – Oglebay (West Spa Patio and Pine Room), Lauren Mitchell
Florist – Terry Bonar (Making Magic)
Videographer – Jay Morris Video Productions
DJ – DJ Brian Oliver
Cake – Masterpieces of Old Town
Officiant – Eric Tucker (Uncle of the Bride…who I kept calling Uncle Mike for some reason…Oy…I’m not good with names.)
Transportation – Oglebay Trolley