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Valley Brook Country Club Wedding McMurray, PA

Good Morning and HAPPY MONDAY!  Cathy and Tom kicked off the official Hannah Barlow Photography wedding season for us two weekends ago on April 30th.  This wedding was all the things I want in a wedding and a little different too…because I hadn’t actually met these two (in person) UNTIL the wedding day!  That’s right!  I’m going to tell you all about it but, for now, give them all your Hannah Barlow Photography love and enjoy the new Mr. & Mrs. Martin’s spring wedding at Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray, PA!

I have photographed wedding nuptials at St. Peter Catholic Church in Steubenville, Ohio so I was SO excited when Cathy and I first chatted about her wedding and she told me this is where they would be married.  I mean, look how pretty!  You can’t go wrong AND spring means colors are back in my wedding photos and that makes me SO happy!

BIG, church details make me happy too!  This was the point in the day I met up with some of my favorite videographers, Ashleigh and Aaron of Off Center Production AND when I got to meet the groom, Tom!  He and I chatted for a bit and it was just very easy conversation.  You know I like to get to know my couples so I arrived early hoping this would happen..and it did!  It was setting up to be a GREAT day!

Then, Sam and I got to meet Cathy (in person, finally) and her siblings.  The only child in my was REALLY missing having a sibling while spending time with this group.  I could tell immediately how close they all were with one another and I couldn’t help but just stand by and soak it all in.  Sam was with me this day and she took many of these for me!

More family photos!

Cathy elected to spend the morning on a more chill note and I agreed!  She attended almost all of my workshops (maybe all of them) so I felt like I “knew” her even though we hadn’t met in person.  I thought spending the morning without a camera in her face was the perfect way to set the stage for this wedding day.  Cathy lost her dad this past February so her brother walked her down the aisle.

Isn’t it SO beautiful?!  Cathy and Tom had a very traditional Catholic wedding including mass.  You know me!  I’m big on traditional EVERYTHING in a wedding so this was just warming my wedding photographer heart RIGHT up!

…and after traditional wedding ceremonies you HAVE to get a traditional couple’s portrait in the church, right?!

THEN, after lots of family formals, it was time for bride and groom portraits!  I saw these dogwood trees when I pulled up that morning and thought “Thank you, wedding Gods…you really are treating me good in 2022, aren’t ya?!”  Cathy’s colors happened to be pink…and the tree was pink…and it was ALL coming together.  Tom, you get groom points and more!  I wish you could coach some of my other grooms.  He did just what I needed and stayed RIGHT there for photo time!  It was perfect and I’m SO appreciative!

Then, bridal party photos!  For having just met all of these people, I sure did feel right at home with them!

More sibling envy coming from this photographer!  Twins?!  Yep!  They sure are AND they are super close.  They even roomed together four years in college!

Bride and groom formals were a must with ALL those details!

Ooo yea…and to make it MORE perfect…there were white flowers too!!! ALLLLL the Hannah squeals.  And remember, they’d just met me…but I couldn’t hold back my excitement!

Then, Cathy and Tom decided to head home and relax.  There was a pretty large gap of time between the ceremony and reception.  That’s not what actually happened though and I’ll tell you that little (big) outtake toward the end of this blog.  BUT…at this time, I had taken all the photos I’d need for a complete gallery.  Cathy wanted to take some more at the country club which was totally fine with me.  I did laugh and tell her, “Cathy, you’ve attended my workshops…you know something could go wrong so I’m glad we got all the photos we’d need now…because you know…I’m paranoid…and you just NEVER know”… WELLLLLLL, that statement would come back to “haunt” us later!  But for now, we got them in the car and off to their home and Sam and I headed up to Valley Brook Country Club to get the reception details before guests got there.

We met up with Lisa (Elegant Events Solutions) who I am ALWAYS happy to see and then we got right down to the reception details!  Valley Brook Country Club looked AMAZING!

Well, the couple arrived quite a bit later and no…we didn’t get to take any photos.  When they got back to their home, they found they had gotten locked…no keys.  Oy.  A call to the local Mingo Junction Fire Dept. helped and those men helped them “break into “the home through a window! HA!  What’s even more ironic is that these firemen were the SAME firemen who helped us out at a wedding last fall.  The world is small and round, I tell ya!  Cathy and I had a great laugh too and I told her I’d now be telling her story to my brides in my workshops next year!  AND THIS…is why I’m paranoid and take ALL the photos I can when I have everyone.  I get heart palpitations just thinking about the disaster that would have been had we waited!

But anyway, Cathy and Tom arrived, were announced, and then wanted to thank not just their family, friends, and guests…but they included the planners, us photographers, and videographers too…by name.  I’m telling you.  I knew from just the few hours I’d already spent with them that they were those legit, one of a kind people that everyone and anyone wants to spend time with.  Then, they made their speech that just sealed the deal in my mind.

Cake cutting time!

Heartfelt speeches were made!

Cathy didn’t have me do a plethora of details…but I needed some, of course, and they did NOT disappoint in the beauty department!

…and piggybacking off what I said earlier about Cathy and Tom being gems…she asked me to make sure I got everyone at the reception and as many photos of her guests as possible.  That’s right.  She didn’t stress over the pictures of her and Tom…Nope…she wanted pictures of everyone else.  So, Sam and I got down to it with a LARGE reception gallery in our plans.  We were everywhere getting people in front of our camera.  I can honestly say not ONE of the guests even tried to shy away from us either (which can happen at many weddings as people don’t necessarily love having their photo taken and I get that).  Nope!  I even went out on the patio and made friends…had “photo shoots” with them…it was SO FUN!  And, if you’re one of those couples we did a little mini photoshoot with, get a hold of me or Cathy.  I’ve got copies for you!

So, here’s just a tiny group of the large reception gallery this couple will get today!

Say, “Hi” to Lisa (Elegant Event Solutions)!  Cathy mentioned she’d made a true friend after hiring Lisa and I totally saw the bond between these two…SO, what’s that mean?!  It means we HAVE to get a photo of them together!  That’s right!

…and before I close, I must give credit where credit is due.  We do a LOT of weddings, right?  I mean, that’s obvious.  So, we eat a LOT of wedding food, as a result.  Valley Brook Country Club had, by far, THE BEST wedding food I think I’ve ever eaten in the 8 weddings seasons of weddings.  That’s right!  From the salad to the main course (which was so tender the meat fell apart with my fork), I couldn’t stop raving about the food.  AND they even give the kiddos their own menu they can ORDER from…AND color on!  It’s the little things for me…and the big things for me, in this case…and it was pure perfection!

I just had to throw that out there.  Now, back to the couple and this wedding.  Looking back on this wedding, I’m just so happy it all worked out for this couple (getting locked out of their home aside).  They had SO many hurdles getting to this day.  Lisa kept me constantly updated during planning because there were times Cathy was so busy or buried in the own craziness that was her life that I was worried and stressed for her.  This wedding ended up being everything a couple wants and you could just stand in a corner and SEE and FEEL the love that surrounded Cathy and Tom.  I may not have met them until this day, but I felt like I had known them for a long time.  It’s people like these two who restore my sometimes waning faith in humanity.  We live in tough times but I’m a real lucky girl to get to be surrounded like people like these two who remind me life is great and it’s still full of great people who can laugh through tough times and embrace all the happiness as it comes at them.  Cathy and Tom…CONGRATULATIONS and thank you for not just hiring me to photograph your wedding but also treating me (and Sam and the rest of the vendors) like friends.  CONGRATS TO THE MARTINS!


Vendors

Church – St. Peter Catholic Church in Steubenville, Ohio

Reception – Valley Brook Country Club In McMurray, PA

Bride’s Gown – Sorelle Bridal Salon

Bridesmaids’ Dresses – Sorelle Bridal Salon

Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse

Hair/Makeup – John Vella Salon (Hair) and Legal Hair and Day spa (Makeup)

Wedding Planner/Coordinator – Elegant Event Solutions (Lisa)

Florist – McCauslen’s (Church/Bouquets), Danati’s Florist (Pittsburgh)

Videographer – Off Center Production

Cake – Bethel Bakery

Band – The Fantasies

Catering – Valley Brook Country Club

Favors – Sarris Candy

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