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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Oglebay Lakeside Banquet Fall Purple Wedding

Hello, everyone!  We’re coming down from the wedding season high with just three weddings left after this one.  Can you believe it?!   GAH!  On one hand, it feels like I was JUST posting “wedding season is starting” and on another hand….it feels like 2021 was way longer than it should have been.  You know what makes it A OK?!  Weddings like this.  Melanie and James’ wedding is live on the wedding blog right now and it’s super duper special because I got to meet them both and their kiddos back in 2019 when Melanie’s sister (Hey, Marissa!) and Chris got married.  I KNOW you remember Marissa and Chris because I just did their maternity photos a few months back.  You’ll remember Melanie and James’ too after you see their engagement session (HERE).  NOW, it’s time for their wedding to be at the top of my blog so let’s celebrate their recent marriage last Saturday!

Give them all your Hannah Barlow Photography love! Enjoy!

I was full of excitement for this wedding AND Kari was back with me (bonus).  It’s not only been a while since I’ve seen Kari and had her by my side but she was also my wedding second shooter for Marissa and Chris’ wedding so she knew many people who would be present last Saturday.  I rolled into Oglebay REAL early.  Like early early because I wanted to just relax and soak it all in before I went to the lodge to meet everyone.  Of course, once I did see everyone…I wasn’t relaxed.  I was full of all that Hannah energy and said “hello” to all the familiar faces but then introduced myself to the new people.  There’s just something so sweet and special about doing a wedding when you’ve spent time with the people present.  I LOVE it!  Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, I tell ya!  So, first…we had to do those detail shots!  Deep purples (and pumpkins later) for a gentle Halloween theme!  I’m here for it!

All the gals were getting all dolled up and we did some catching up since there were some new babies added to the family since the the last wedding!

When the 14 month old flower girl gets ready and smiles for your shot, you’re winning…and you just know it’s going to be a stress-free amazing day!  Flannel shots before we got the ladies in their dresses!

Ooo Michelle.  She’s Melanie and Marissa’s mom!  I got some photos of her tearing up a few years back and it’s still one of my favorite moments ever.  She told me she didn’t cry when her kids went to school when they were little but she’s making up for it now with her daughters at their weddings!  She helped Melanie get ready and then Marissa jumped in there to secure the veil. Oglebay’s West Spa Patio is windy and we wanted to make sure the veil didn’t go flying!

I said it in the sneak peek but one of my very favorite things about Melanie is when she giggles.  The joy shows ALL over her face in a great way!

We had a little bit of help from everyone!

The morning went SOOO smooth…like eerily smooth considering the multitude of disasters we’ve had at Hannah Barlow Photography weddings lately.  That’s Nathan and his little one coming down the aisle.  He’s Melanie and Marissa’s brother and was ready to help Evelyn toss those petals!  Random side note….the gentleman in the back in the blue?  He and I had a moment.  I had grabbed the extra rose petals from Melanie’s room and promised to sprinkle them down the aisle right before the ceremony.  I was also racing to eat my granola bar before the ceremony because my stomach was growling.  He’d apparently watched me inhale the granola bar while also multitasking and scattering rose petals so when I got to him, he asked me where his snack was….and I quickly presented my extra granola bar…so he took it…and ate it.  HA!  I love love love when guests get involved and I love it even more when they make jokes and I can show up with a response!  I’m a people person through and through so I thrive on random little moments like this!  Call me crazy!  But anyway…Nathan, everyone!

Here comes the bride!  It was originally supposed to rain at this point in the day…so they’d moved the ceremony inside.  Then, they moved it back outside.  I was in contact with Ashley (Oglebay coordinator) the whole time to make sure I was in the right place at the right time.  It wasn’t even that windy or cold which was AMAZING for the West Spa Patio.  It continued to be a wedding day win!

Whoever made the decision to cut down the tree that used to be the backdrop for the West Spa Patio…I’m high fiving you from my office!

It’s a view to die for now!

Melanie and James included the children in their sand ceremony!

Somehow, the ring part of the ceremony was missed so they did that BEFORE kissing and everyone chuckled!

After the rings were successfully exchanged, they kissed as Mr. & Mrs.!

They’ve got those “just married” vibes!

Then, after family formals, we ran off for bridal party formals!  I’m really digging the purple combined with fall…and Halloween!

OOoo Melanie!! AHHHHH!! Those were my words exactly when taking these.  Also, Marissa pointed out in my IG DM’s that when I start screaming “AHHHH!”  that actually means I have it JUST right and NOT TO MOVE.  I never thought of it that way or put two and two together but she is 100% correct!

I needed a wedding day like this.  Even the little ones were happy to have their photo taken and this is positively one of my favorites!  Even little Evelyn got involved in the “personality shots”.

Fun bridal party shots!

Then, the men got their time to shine!

Then, Kari and I threw back to when we always shot together (Kari was my first official second shooter and used to shoot all weddings with me).

Bride and Groom formals!

We utilized every tree we could find that had fall, colorful leaves!

Then, Kari started suggesting locations and poses and I can’t tell her “no” because she’s been doing this the longest and just knows sometimes!  SEE! I DO let my Type A control freak-ness go…sometimes!  I’ve got to be in the right head space.  I wasn’t rushing at this wedding.  I wasn’t stressed AT ALL.  We had an amazing timeline…no rain and it honestly wasn’t THAT cold.

Don’t let all those classy, romantic-al (Yes…that’s a word I made up) photos fool you.  We were having a ton of fun too!

Kari suggested a twist on the snuggle and it was JUST what we needed to seal the deal on formal photos!

Off to the reception we go!

We got all those last minute details!  I’m still crazy and went around and asked if the icing was cream cheese.  I’m back on the low carb bandwagon to battle my headaches (migraine sufferers…it works…promise) BUT I’m willing to let it go if it’s cream cheese icing.  It wasn’t and I was relieved.  I can’t NOT have a piece if it’s Brad’s (Masterpieces of Old Town) cream cheese icing.  So, I went home headache free! HA!

The new Mr. & Mrs. Wade!  CHEERS!

Then, Melanie said some heartfelt words to the kids.  I won’t point fingers but there were a few men sitting up there taking some REALLY deep breaths to keep it together.  I kept giving Kari the side eye because I was loving all the emotions.

After that, we had some funny words being said!

Then, Marissa got her moment to give her speech.  I told her she had to rival Melanie (Melanie’s speech at her wedding was epic good)…she didn’t disappoint!  I’m not surprised either.  These families are amazing people!

Then, the father of the bride said a few words!

Cake was cut and Melanie about dropped the cake down James’ tux.  No kidding!  Those of us who saw it laughed…a lot!

First dance as husband and wife!

They shared their father/daughter dance.  Michelle doesn’t want crying photos…I took them anyway (she was sitting over to my right filming on her phone) BUT I promised not to put them all over the blog.  I’m telling you…people were shedding all the happy tears at this wedding.

The DJ welcomed all married couples out to the dance floor and I couldn’t NOT take this one!  Remember all these people?! oOo heyyyyyy!  That’s Chris’ parents!

Ok.  So, Melanie had mentioned earlier in the week that she’d love some outside/rain photos.  She said, “you know…after everything is done and I don’t care about hair, makeup, or my dress…let’s take some rain photos”.  No problem!  I packed alllll the rain gear I currently own.  The thing is…most brides SAY they want these photos but when it actually comes to the moment and they see the amount of rain falling from the sky, they decide against it.  NOT Melanie!  Nope.  James was along for the ride.  I handed him my umbrella.  I put a poncho on.  Kari put a poncho on.  We put ponchos over our gear. Off we went!

Who saw my IG story?!  I was cackling like a crazy person (like CACKLING…loud…).  Melanie threw her head back laughing…James was holding on so tight not to drop her…Kari’s laughing…I’m attempting to coach them.  Ooo man.  It was a hot mess express and all while we tried to stay dry.  THESE are the moments I live for as a wedding photographer.  My couple didn’t care at all they were getting wet.  I’ve got my gear covered by insurance…so yes….let’s go for this.  And the fact that we just laughed and laughed and laughed makes it so sweet!  For real, it’s like hanging out with friends and doing wild dares!

…in the end, all that laughing and yelling made for some amazing photos.  I’m also pumped my rose petals from earlier stayed!

One last one as we run back inside!  I’d call it a win!

Then, they opened up the dance floor and partied the rest of the night away!  We didn’t close down for the night until every last person hit the dance floor AND I got my selfie with the couple!

I’m like a broken record here but seriously…there is something SO SO SO special when a couple asks me to shoot their wedding when I’ve done a sibling’s wedding.  It makes the wedding day experience on my end so different in a great way.  It’s not showing up to a job anymore.  It’s showing up to photograph a friend’s wedding.  We know the people.  They know us.  We know their personalities.  They know I’m crazy.  We thrive on those relationships and it makes my job EASY.  It doesn’t matter what goes wrong…we know we’e got this because we’ve developed trust.  Melanie and James were so laid back from a photography standpoint.  Heck, I didn’t hardly hear from them at all except for planning the engagement session and then a few things here and there for the wedding.  I told them we needed to find someone else to get married in their group because this just CAN NOT be the end of me photographing their family and friends.  No way!  I refuse to think that!  So, who is up next?!

Melanie and James, many people already said it in their speeches.  You two are really perfect for one another and I’m so happy for your whole family!  Thanks for letting Kari and I come back and do this all over again…but with you both as the bride and groom this time!

One more time…Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Wade!!!!!!


Bride’s Gown – Suzanne’s

Bridesmaids’ Dresses – Suzanne’s

Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse

Jewelry – Howard’s Diamond Center

Hair – Honeycomb Salon

Makeup – Samantha Harris

Venue – Oglebay (Ceremony – West Spa Patio and Reception – Banquet View Rooms)

Coordinator – Ashley Dunlap (Oglebay)

Florist – Rosie Day Floral

Cake – Masterpieces of Old Town

DJ – Party Time Productions

Catering – Oglebay

Officiant – Ken Means

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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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