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A Classic St. Michael Church and Oglebay Wheeling, WV Wedding

Well, Well, Well…I came out of this past wedding weekend with all the smiles and all the feels!  Last Friday’s wedding started off that marvelous, full wedding weekend and it was just a beautiful in all the things – people, details, vendors, weather, location…you name it!  That’s right!  One week ago today, my vendor friends and I got together to celebrate Elissa and Bill‘s wedding day. So, please give them your warm, Hannah Barlow Photography welcome and all your love because their wedding blog is live right now.  Enjoy and Happy Holiday Weekend!

I started out this day super duper early. I had such high expectations for myself for this wedding and for this sweet couple (visions..I had all the visions).  I most definitely wanted to help them to have the most perfect day. So, I arrived almost an hour early so I could run off some of my Hannah nervous, anticipatory energy and if you think I’m kidding, you should’ve seen my Instagram story where I quite literally ran around Oglebay confirming all the spots I promised the couple were, in fact, still there as if they were going to be picked up and moved overnight.  Call me crazy but it just makes me feel better to see and visualize things.

After I got that all out of my system, I found one of my favorite videographer friends (JT Penderville of Penderville Wedding Films) while he was doing drone footage in the parking lot.  I hadn’t seen or worked with him since a fall wedding in 2020 (pandemic-monia) so I was super duper excited all over again!  We talked all the details of the day and confirmed our plan and off we went to find the ladies. If you know that vibe I always talk about when we enter a room (the vibe that allows us to predict what the day is going to be like), THIS room had ALL the vibes in a great way.  These ladies were the perfect hype squad and ready to celebrate Elissa and her big day.

These details were absolutely beautiful and classy and sweet and just like this wedding and this couple and this beautiful bride.  I wouldn’t have expected anything else from Elissa!

So, after details, we got Elissa ready!  I’m not sure where her skin texture went but I need ALL the details.  I swear, I didn’t do on once of any kind of retouching on these portraits.  It’s just CRAZY!  Just goes to show she’s a beauty..inside and out!  She looked like a princess!

Then, we had to do a bridesmaid first look.

At that time, we were in a bit of a time crunch, and THAT is where I shine! HA!  All that energy I have?  Well, it comes in REAL handy when we need to pick up a timeline.  So, we came up with a plan. Elissa talked to the florist.  JT and I then meandered through Oglebay to find Billy and the men.  I gave them my game plan too and JT and Billy took off for the first look.  I ran down to Glessner to grab the flowers and met up with Rachel (of Julie James Floral).  I instantly connected with her in the midst of wedding magic and chaos…she was SO sweet.  She passed me the flowers and I raced back through the maze that is Oglebay to find Elissa and grab her for her first look while the rest of the bridal party headed for the shuttle.

Oglebay‘s iron gates are where Elissa requested to do their first book.  I let JT take the reins because I knew just KNEW he’d do this moment better justice in film than I would in still photo.  I told him later and I’ll tell you now, working with a videographer side by side is no easy feat and this was only our third time together ever.  I felt like we moved through this day like a well oiled machine.  But also…just look at this pure joy!

Then, Sam (being the best assistant that she is) went to get the bridal party.  So, while we were waiting, we started off with some forest, fairytale magic (my favorite) bride and groom portraits!

Once the bridal party arrived we got right down to it.  Look at these beautiful ladies!  I couldn’t choose just a few so I’m going to flood this blog with a whole bunch!

Then, we got right down to business with full bridal party portraits.  I was watching my watch like a mad woman making sure we utilized all the time we had before we had to take off for the ceremony.  Group hug!

Then, it was time for the men to have their time to shine.

Elissa had mentioned she really liked the photo I had taken previously at another wedding by the rock wall!  So, off we went!

MORE bride and groom photos!! I’m telling you, when I have a vision, I go crazy (more crazy than normal).

For the ceremony, we went at Saint Michael Catholic Parish in Wheeling, West Virginia. That Catholic music just gets me and I’m always grateful when the priests give me room to photograph. So, big shout out to Father Carlos for sharing his space and allowing me to photograph this beautiful ceremony.

Then, after the ceremony, I did something I haven’t done in a really long time (and I usually caution against).  We packed up without doing family formals at the church and headed back to Oglebay.  I was feeling such good vibes from this group and I thought, “why not”?!  Elissa had originally mentioned she wanted to do photos at Oglebay for family photos.  I didn’t think it would be a good idea when we first had our conversation.  It honestly doesn’t usually work out.  It’s a lot of people and chaos to begin with.  Put everyone in vehicles and scatter?  Well, it’s a recipe for disaster (usually).  NOT at this wedding! Nope!  The day continued to get better and better and we actually had some more time than I expected so I said, “Hey! What the heck?! Let’s go back to Oglebay”!  Even Elissa was a little nervous (but I had those VISIONS).  I knew we were going to make it work (WE WERE) and sure enough, everyone arrived for family formals.  Everyone was there and on time and it all worked out.  YAY!  I looked at these photos later and just smiled..and smiled…they’re perfect!  One of Elissa’s sisters said, “We like options” when I told them I was taking SO many and kept apologizing (I wasn’t REALLLLLYYY sorry…I wanted ALL the photos). HA!  So, here’s just a small sample of the tons of family formal options they have in their gallery!

It’s a lot.  I know!  Don’t you all go zooming in and screenshotting those!  I’ll find you!  HA!  I promise to send you a copy (with the couple’s permission).  Email me at hannah@hannahbarlowphoto.com so you can get the beautiful high res version!  I even took individual family photos and parent couple photos.  I WAS FEELING THIS WEDDING!  At one point, I looked at Sam (who had total confusion on her face while she was holding the list) and I said, “Sorry.  These aren’t on the list.  I’m just making stuff up now!”  And if you know me well and you know my lists, that’s telling.  We ALWAYS stick to the lists!  I was totally freestyling this family formal list in a great way!  A photo for you…a photo for you….Oprah style!

Ok, back on track!  Because this couple is not from Wheeling and they decided to have their wedding in Oglebay, I needed to do the quintessential Oglebay shot! So, where did we go?!  You guessed it!  You all know at the Oglebay mansion.  MORE bride and groom portraits! HA!  Looking back, someone probably should have dialed me down.

Then, we raced off to Glessner to meet up with DJ Jonathan Mihellis (And Ted!) to get all the little reception details photographed while he lined the bridal party up.  Glessner was all dolled up for this wedding!

Mr. & Mrs. Saunders, everyone!

Introductions were met with all kinds of love and happiness!  Then, they cut their cake!

First dance as husband and wife! AHHHH!!

…and after all the formal things were complete, Jonathan opened the dance floor.  And in true Finest Events fashion, it was a PARTY!!!  I never…ever…get enough of the wedding club feel he dishes out.  As you can tell, guests love it too!

AND before I forget and close this blog up, go over to Penderville Wedding Films and see this wedding magic play out in film.  You will NOT regret it…promise!

Ok.  SO!  This was one of those weddings where the couple is so sweet and so humble and so in love with each other I just can’t stand not to squeal all my Hannah excitement loud and proud.  I know many of you reading this are probably thinking, “this is a lot of words”…and it is.  I’m a romance novel lover…wedding obsessed…and a hopeless romantic.  I also talk a lot.  So, when I get to photograph a wedding like this?  I can’t hold back.  There’s no rules for me!  All of Elissa and Bill’s family and friends who showed up came to celebrate this amazing couple and that allowed these two to just glide through the day enjoying every single minute with huge smiles on their faces. As a wedding vendor, we get to experience a lot of different weddings and I am telling you there is nothing better than a wedding like this one where everyone is so joyous (including the vendors).  I know Elissa and Billy had a ton of options for wedding photographers and it really humbled me they chose me. It was also so amazing to have an amazing vendor team backing us so that we could make this day perfect.  What more can I say?  This wedding was perfect…because the couple was perfect.  And now I’m repeating the intro to this blog ALL over again.  WHERE DO I END?!  I guess here…because all great things DO come to an end…kind of.  I bet this couple wins the anniversary dance one day!  Thanks for reading!

ONE MORE TIME…CONGRATS TO THE SAUNDERS!

——

Vendors

Bride’s Gown – Bridal Beginning

Bridesmaids’ Attire – Revelry

Men’s Attire – Frank the Tailor

Jewelry/Rings – Henne Jewelers

Hair – EnV Hair Studio

Makeup – LMG Makeup

Florist – Julie James Floral

Videographer – Penderville Wedding Films

Cake – Masterpieces of Old Town

DJ – Finest Events

Ceremony – St. Michael’s Catholic Church Wheeling, WV

Reception Venue – Oglebay Glessner

Catering – Oglebay

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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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