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St. Alphonsus and Glessner Auditorium Wheeling Wedding

Well now, I must say I had a delightfully amazing and relaxing vacation BUT I still couldn’t get enough beach time and rum runners to make me quit thinking about getting home and finishing this wedding and writing this blog.  If you remember, I had quite the start with this couple with all kinds of coincidences coming up here and there that had me ALL kinds of excited…from my husband and Brandon having worked together on an Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio and then straight down to us all being in Charleston, South Carolina the SAME random weekend in 2019 to do their engagement session…things just kept coming together.  I highly recommend reading all about our history as wedding photographer and client (and now friends) HERE in the blog for their engagement session.  This is usually the point in the blog that I say I heard from Kourtney every week and knew all the details leading up to the wedding from that point on but that, in fact, was not the case.  She was a super easy bride and asked nothing of me…to the point sometimes I worried I wasn’t doing enough or missing something because I wouldn’t hear from her.  Every once in a while she’d reach out…then I’d reach out.  We always had easy conversation and I was looking forward to their wedding.  Then, COVID happened and their July 2020 wedding was postponed.  So, it had now been over TWO years since I saw this couple so the anticipation for this wedding was even HIGHER.  Kourtney and I did spend the last couple of months emailing back and forth (and even chatting on the phone a time or two) so I started to know more and more about this wedding.  That got me SO excited (and anxious) because I had been waiting so long to photograph them as bride and groom.  So, at that point I talked it up and up and up to the HBP team and didn’t even let the DREADED (and I mean dreaded) forecast get me down.  Nope! Nothing was going to dampen my mood for this wedding and I vowed I would do ANYTHING for this couple…and we did!  Pouring, sideways rain and thunderstorms didn’t stop us.  Lacey and I had a grand plan…a car packed full of rain gear…and a beautiful, sweet, loving couple.  Then, we got there and added in their amazing bridal party and families and it was a dream come true for a wedding photographer like me.

So, now that I’ve rambled and gave a lengthy (and necessary, in my mind) introduction, everyone, please give Kourtney and Brandon all your Hannah Barlow Photography love.  They are the new Mr.& Mrs. Wish and it was everything I wanted it to be and MORE…even with that rain.  That’s right.  I know this blog was highly anticipated by a lot of wedding attendees (they told me so), so I also hope it is everything YOU wanted this blog to be and more.  Enjoy!

So, I got up that morning.  No nerves…and looking at the dreaded weather on my phone.  I packed up and stopped at Oglebay to grab Lacey and we were on our way to the salon!  Leading up to this wedding, Kourtney and I went back and forth…and back and forth…with timelines trying to figure out how to make it all work.  I could tell she wanted salon photos and she kept saying, “if it doesn’t work…that’s fine”.  Nope.  I wanted her to have it ALL so we planned to arrive at the salon just 15 minutes before they were to be picked up and taken to the church.  Catholic weddings start early, ya know!  Cirque de Cheveux was BEAUTIFUL.  It reminded me so much of my own studio with all the greys and whites.  I said I wanted to pick it right up and put it next to my studio.  Just look!  Also, I rolled into this place like a crazy Hannah lunatic with all my pent up wedding energy so I’m greatly appreciative to the staff for just embracing it.  Just like that…we were off to the church for a 1:00 ceremony!

St. Alphonsus church in Wheeling, WV is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking.  You’d never know it on the outside because it’s a more plain beautiful, tasteful, red brick so it’s a great feeling to walk in and see this and go, “just wowwww!”.

BRANDON!  AHHH!! I was so happy to see him!  It’s already been almost two weeks since this wedding and I’m still feeling all the excitement all over again.  Again, it had been over TWO years since I saw this couple!  So, I clicked some photos of the gentleman who were waiting at the back of the church and then I got to photograph Brandon’s mom, Beth, with her ONLY son (she’s got four girls…and one boy).  I met Beth back at the salon too and got all the good vibes from the moms!

Details.  Just like Kourtney, they were beautiful and classic and did anything I needed them to do for sake of good photos.  Yes…even the rings and bracelets stood right up for me!  No wedding photographer tricks needed.

If you saw my IG story, this was the photo I was squealing about.  Seems so simple but it can be a real chore getting rings to stand up like this!  Not with this wedding!

Then, it was finally time to get Kourtney all dolled up for the big ceremony.  That’s her mom, Lisa!  She needs her blog, grand debut, as well!  Everyone needs their time to shine because we couldn’t have had such an amazing day without everyone involved!

Time for the ceremony!  And something happened that’s never happened before in Hannah Barlow Photography history!  They’ll be talking about this story to all their friends and family for years and years!  It’s the only thing (rain aside) that went “wrong”.

So, the grandparents and mothers were seated.  Lisa and Beth lit the unity candle and took their spots in the front row.  The men came out and took their places, as well.  And then…nothing.  Nothing happened.  No bridesmaids and no bride.  NOW, let me preface this story by saying that I knew there was no chance Kourtney had taken off.  NO chance.  I’d spent a whole evening with these two back in 2019.  Their love is that legit love…genuine, not forced, respectful, you can pick any adjective.  I knew they were getting married BUT we were missing all the ladies and the bride…and Lacey.  Picture it.  I’m at the front of the church standing right in front of the Priest.  The mothers have already lit the unity candles.  The groom is waiting.  We have no ladies.  All the guests are looking around and waiting.  Then, I look over and see Lacey literally waving her arms at me from the doorway.  Many of you have met Lacey.  She’s the calmest one of the group, I think…Kari may be the only one calmer.  She’s my level head when I’m in a full blown Hannah wedding day panic…but she was waving her arms from the side of the church and the look on her face was all “we’ve got a problem”.  And I’m stuck at the front of the church literally front and center in the middle of a ceremony that already started.  I can’t leave! I have no idea what to do.  At some point, I finally chanced it and went over and she said “it’s pouring outside…there’s no way to get them to the back of the church”.  Next thing I knew…Kourtney’s dad was heading down the aisle…sans bride…to talk to the Priest.  I’m laughing at this point in the ceremony.  What do you do though?  Lisa, Kourtney’s mom, is laughing.  Brandon’s laughing.  I even joked, “Well, this is it.  She’s not coming.”  He laughed and said it took all the nerves away.

Even the Priests got in on the laughs.

Lacey was NOT laughing.  Lacey also hates being the center of attention so she bolted out of there real fast!

So, all the bridesmaids made their way through the church, in front of everyone, and sneaked back to make their way up the aisles.  The only other way would have been to go outside, around the building, and get drenched.  Next thing I knew, I see Lacey coming in the back of the church, out of the rain, WITH the bride…and used my giant reflector to block her from being seen by everyone else.  I didn’t take any photos of it.  I was too stunned by everything happening.  HA!  I actually haven’t even gotten Lacey’s play by play on the whole thing but I’m here to admit I just parked it in the front and let her handle it.  I was NOT leaving my spot and missing anything.  Nope.  No way!  So, everyone give Lacey and Kourtney a hand for somehow managing to get from point A to point B in the pouring rain and STILL look this fabulous for the grand entrance.

You’d think we’d all be stressed after that.  Nope.  Not at this wedding!  It’s just the “thing” that went wrong and we all laughed.  It was a beautiful ceremony too.  Lacey and I had a great laugh later about one other particular moment.  If you’re a loyal blog reader, you know we worry about that Catholic ceremony first kiss.  We usually don’t know when it’s going to happen, IF it’s even going to happen.  During the Passing of Peace, Kourtney and Brandon went to hug and we BOTH panicked (unbeknownst to one another because we were clear across the church) and had an “AHHHH! First kiss!” moment.  We both snagged it somehow…only to realize they were just going to hug.  Whewww!  But we got it! HA!

NOW, it was time to pronounce them Mr. & Mrs. Wish and Brandon got to kiss his bride for real!  We got that too, of course!

This day was an emotional weather roller coaster.  One minute it was overcast and threatening thunderstorms.  Another hour it was bright and humid and sunny!  But this couple got to do their bubble send off before their family formal photos and that’s ALL that matters!  Look at their joy!  I really do love these two!  You can’t fake those kinds of smiles!

At this point, it was pouring.  I still don’t understand it…but I wasn’t stressed or worried.  I’m usually super  worked up about rain but for whatever reason…I wasn’t.  Maybe the Wedding Gods really had my back but I just KNEW these two would be fine and I mean…they take an amazing photo so no matter what, weather was going to be the ONLY thing I had to worry about…so why worry at all?!  So, we went right into family formals.  I got to spend even more time with their parents and siblings and the rest of their family and just felt wrapped up in one big, giant, happy hug!  Let’s add the dads in too!  They’re just as great!

We finished up family formals.  At this point, the rain had started again and it was blowing sideways.  We were originally going to do all the photos at Oglebay’s mansion but I was super concerned the rain would come in under the small area and we would struggle.  So, we headed to my favorite rain place for photos to get the big groups.

We had some good laughs taking these photos.  I could picture the photos I wanted of Brandon as a groom in my head.  So, I was definitely going to make sure we got them but his bridal party had other plans – roasting the groom and making us ALL laugh.  Brandon got right in there and gave me some of the best groom photos!

I remember taking photos of Kourtney at their engagement session and thinking, “She is going to be a stunner!”  I also do believe I said this out loud at their engagement session too.  I have a memory being unlocked here because I remember Brandon saying, “You don’t know it but you’re making her whole day”.  I KNEW IT THOUGH!  Just look at her! Gah! Lacey and I took SO many photos! SO MANY!

I can tell you Brandon is probably going to get a lot of attention in this family (he probably already does).  He’s the ONLY boy in his family and Kourtney’s parents have all girls.  It’s not very often the parents come with us.  If I’m being honest, sometimes it’s been stressful as parents like to make sure everything is just perfect (understandably).  NOT these groups though.  Nope.  They were a joy to have along for the ride!  Kourtney and Brandon’s parents are one of a kind…unique personalities a piece but also veyr much the same.  You’d have to meet them.  I could not have felt ANY stress with this group.  They are warm and welcoming and FUN and happy and funny and all those adjectives again.  We added them in for some more photos…”sibling rivarly photos” for a fun framed photo in the future AND a kissing photo of them all together!

THEN, after the large groupings were done, we got down to it for the bride and groom formal photos or what we call “wall hangers”.  They wanted mansion photos.  We’d talked long and hard about it so I knew specifically where to take them so I could match Kourtney’s vision.  Kourtney wanted ALLLLLLLL those wall hanger photos plus some more…and more…and I was going to deliver.  She also gave me an obnoxiously GREAT amount of time which is, I think, the #1 reason I was so calm.  I think I had more time than EVER with this couple.  We had time to maneuver around the rain.  We had time to galavant around to our spots without being rushed.  And just look.  LOOOK!!! Cue all the sappy love longs and Hannah squeals.  Their wedding photos were everything I wanted and more for them!

All couples want lots and lots of photos.  We always give full galleries no matter our time limits because both my second shooter and I tag team and take photos at the same time at every wedding.  Well, Kourtney gave me gobs of time, right?!  She’s definitely not an “extra” bride in my mind either.  Again, she was SO easy with her few requests…lots and lots and LOTs of photos.  I know she loves photos.  I knew that from her engagement session.  I knew talking to her but she also didn’t control anything and said “I trust you” and “you’ve got this” and “you do you”.  So, while I’d usually stress with that kind of trust and high expectations, I didn’t stress at all.  They take an amazing photos.  We had all the time and the rain had taken a break.  I vowed in my own head that I would give her a GIANT “extra” gallery.  So, I present to you.  MORE.  AND MORE!

…and some more while we changed locations.

…and some more while they walked down to where we needed to be.  And you know what I like about Brandon?  He’s ALL in for these photos.  I remember thinking at their engagement session that he’d do just about anything for great photos for Kourtney.  He did not disappoint then or now.  He even “coached” them both while he did this channeling ALLLLLL the bossy, Hannah prompts from over two years ago.  “Step down, pause, look at each other, no dead arm…”  We were dying laughing but he was 100% serious to get these photos for all of us justtttttt right!  That’s why Kourtney’s laughing.  She was getting the play by play of what to do without ME even saying a word!

Oooo my goodness!  Aren’t they just great?!  They rolled with the posing.  They moved through it.  They’re being genuine.  We didn’t have to fake anything! AHHHH!  Alllll the Hannah squealing…then…now…in the future!  GAH!  I was (and am currently) in wedding photographer heaven.

Back up we go!

I’ve actually never done photos here at this fountain that I can recall.  The light was JUST right as we headed back to Oglebay’s trolley.  I mean, these are now some of my absolute favorites!  Look at Lacey catching the dress details from the back! AHHH!!

We were just about to the trolley and Kourtney saw this gate.  We did gate photos in Charleston too.  OF COURSE, we can take more!  YESSS! YES! YES!  And there was hair blowing and I asked Brandon to fix it for her and he didn’t just fix it…he made it a whole other set of photos! 100% obsessed with these two!

Then, it was time for the reception.  Off they went!  Huge shoutout to the bridal party and the parents for being so patient with us!  These photos were worth it, right?!

Inside we went.  Lacey played get away driver while I rushed for details.  Oglebay’s Glessner Auditorium looked beautiful, as always!

Then, they got to make their grand entrance and they did it just like I expected.  Brandon came in, had his moment to celebrate, and then he let his wife have her moment.  These two love, care, and respect each other so much.  You can always see it!

We had a delicious dinner.  Speeches were said and then they cut the cake.  A little cake on the nose wasn’t going to stop these two from enjoying every last minute or their wedding day!

First dance as husband and wife!

These two beautiful people have been married for 62 (SIXTY TWO!) years! Life goals!

Time for the fun stuff!

Brandon did NOT disappoint in the garter removal department.

After all the mandatory stuff was over, DJ Daner opened up the dance floor.  Lacey and I kept side eyeing for a sunset or golden hour or something.  The rainy clouds blocked everything for us but that’s A OK in my book.  My wedding photographer heart was already so full!

…and you know why it was ok?  Because weddings aren’t perfect.  The weather very rarely is perfect but when you have amazing people who just LOVE genuinely and continuously, you do not need the very perfect wedding day.  Aside from the rain?  It most certainly WAS perfect.  Heck, WITH the rain…it was still perfect in my mind.  I need some synonyms, I think…but you get the picture.  I’m checking this one off as a huge success.  I don’t think anything could have gotten this couple down.  Their family and friends embraced everything wonderful about this day.  I told these two over and over how much I loved them as a couple and how I would do ANYTHING to make their wedding gallery complete and I 100% meant it.  I wish I could pinpoint exactly why I was so calm this day.  I’m never calm.  Lacey and I had gotten in the car afgter the ceremony earlier in the day and after I had walked the bridal party, under umbrellas, to the trolley to keep them dry.  I was drenched and she had already had to change her wet shoes and we just smiled and laughed.  I looked like a wet dog, I’m sure.  She looked at me and I looked at her and we said (with the biggest smiles on our faces), “This could have been a disaster of a day”…but it wasn’t.  It’s all about the people you’re surrounded with…and not just at weddings but in life.  I have absolutely no doubt Kourtney and Brandon are going to have a long and happy life together.  They’re now a fellow military married couple like me and my husband…like Lacey and her husband.  There’s a common bond too with couples like us that has nothing to do with weddings or photographers or anything else.  So, what did we do to seal the deal on the night?  Well first, I HAD to find both the moms (Beth and Lisa) and tell them how much I appreciated everything they did for us this day.  For the life of me, I couldn’t find the dads!  I’m sorry I missed you two!  Then, we found Brandon and said goodbye – hugs and all.  THEN, we needed one last photo (photo bomber and all) with this beautiful bride!

We did it!  I’d take the rain any day and do this day over…and over…and over again.  This is a couple I’m most certainly going to try and snag for some photos any time they come home.  We just have entirely too much fun together and the photos…well…the photos speak for themselves, right?  This 2021 wedding season has definitely reminded me that the little things in life are so much more important than the bigger things in life.  The people you surround yourself with can shape your mood and how you view this crazy world.  Kourtney and Brandon, thank you for everything.  Talk about one of my most laid back, selfless couples who I wanted to do more…and more…and MORE for.  Just wow!  Let’s do it again.  Every year, shall we?!  I need more time with the Frohnapfel and Wish families and all their family and friends!

I have to end this somewhere.  So, here we are…CONGRATS TO THE NEW MR. & MRS. WISH!

I have more words…but I’ll stop here!  I must!!  Happy Thursday!


Vendors

Bride’s Gown – Justin Alexander, New York Bride & Groom in Columbia, SC

Bridesmaids’ Attire – Sorella Vita, Sorelle Bridal Salon in Washington, PA

Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse

Hair/Makeup – Cirque de Cheveux

Florist – Hometown Floral

Cake – Oglebay

Cookies – Mothers of Bride and Groom

DJ – DJ Daner

Invitations/Programs – Zazzle, Etsy

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i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a s n will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

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