Happy Friday! This is a wedding blog you’re NOT going to want to miss. It’s nothing like you’ve EVER seen on the Hannah Barlow Photography blog…and that’s saying something, you know. I write A LOT of blogs. So, sit back and relax and let yourself live those royal wedding dreams. Kaitlyn and Vince’s George Washington Hotel Royal Gold Wedding is on the blog RIGHT NOW! I can NOT even begin to contain my excitement and for ALL the reasons. Sometimes you meet people and you just “click” and you feel like you’ve known them all your life. That’s how I felt with Kaitlyn and Vince. We first met last winter for their engagement session. It was BARELY 20 degrees and we just laughed and froze and prayed for our fingers like we’d been doing crazy stuff like this together our whole lives (you can see it HERE). And honestly, I didn’t hear a whole lot from Kaitlyn leading up to the wedding…at least not as much as I usually do from brides! So, when we really started chatting a month before this wedding, I got more and more and MORE excited. I mean, I knew she was also a Duchess of Cambridge fan (her IG name even has “duchess” in it). I am also shamelessly addicted to that royal couple’s love story. So, you throw the two of us together with Vince…and you’ve got one BEAUTIFULLY amazing wedding. I’m done rambling in this introduction now. Enjoy!
Emily and I met up at the Pytlak residence in Glen Dale, WV to get started. I said all my “hellos” and then we started off the day with DETAILS! The portrait you see below is a photo of Kaitlyn’s beloved, late grandmother. The handkerchief you see there was made from that wedding dress.
While doing details, lots and lots of things were going on around the Pytlak home! It didn’t feel like a wedding to me yet and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Everyone was so calm and just moving about the Pytlak home like it was an everyday thing. Kaitlyn, being the BRIDE, even put together a whole basket of snacks and a whole case of water for Emily and I! I can only hope my daughter’s wedding one day will be this laid back and relaxed and enjoyable!
If you know me, you know I love something different. With as many weddings as I photograph, sometimes I am photographing the same shoes, or invitation…you name it. GOLD is different as most people have silver, white gold, platinum or even rose gold these days. Not Kaitlyn. Nope! The girl does not give in to trends. So, rings shots…and more ring shots…and MORE!
Then, it got down to crunch time. Kaitlyn’s grandmother may not have been with us in person…but she was in the room with us in spirit so I made sure to include all the women of this immediate family in getting ready time. Fun Fact…we wanted to do a first look with dad and get Kaitlyn on the her family’s stairs. So, she got dressed. We had those moments (you’ll see them below here in a second) and then she got undressed so her dress didn’t wrinkle on the drive to the church. THAT is dedication.
Kaitlyn always dreamed of coming down her family’s stairs and having this moment. So, we did a first look with dad.
…and got ourselves amped up for some beautiful photos in black and white!
The beautiful bride has arrived to her ceremony! She actually got dressed in that van! HA!
And while that was happening outside, the Morra siblings were having a candid moment inside! Vince was keeping his eyes closed so he didn’t see Kaitlyn sneak in those back doors!
Let’s get these two married. Emily played it 007 style on the floor to the right at the back of the church and caught Vince trying to hide those emotions! I caught it too but loved her angle more!
I’d never been to this church! St. Mary’s Church is RIGHT down the road from where I used to work when I was a nurse! I actually giggled on my drive there because I drove that many many MANY times for work…now it’s for an even more exciting reason!
You know I don’t normally share family photos BUT…these two families deserve some attention! The Morras and the Pytlaks!
Man Ooo man. I was feeling ALL the Hannah feels for this wedding. Kaitlyn’s parents (and her late grandparents) were married at this church. Of course, I got one of the newly married couple and THEN I asked Kaitlyn’s parents to go over and recreate their wedding photo and got many different versions too. I mean…it’s like I’m writing a book here! You can’t make this stuff up! When I’m an old, retired lady one day, I should write a book of my most memorable moments and experiences.
The night before this wedding (ok the week before…if I’m being honest) I started doing some 2011 royal wedding research. If you didn’t see The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, do a quick Google search. These next few photos will make a LOT more sense, I promise! Vince was a total trooper. I mean…not only did he have his wife to deal with but now he had a photographer who was JUST as excited to recreate some royal wedding moments!
Do you remember that iconic photo of Pippa Middleton carrying Kate’s dress? Well, Kaitlyn’s sister, Hannah, NAILED IT!
Then, off to the George Washington Hotel we went! Washington, PA is about 40 minutes from the ceremony location so I had lots and lots of time to dream of the royal wedding like photos we were going to create! Let’s do this! The men were ready (and more ready than most of my male bridal party members at my weddings). Yes, that’ a cardboard cutout of Vince’s head…HA!
I’ve never had a traditional, black tie wedding. Let me repeat that…I’VE NEVER HAD A TRADITIONAL, BLACK TIE WEDDING. AND…that’s always been my very favorite kind of wedding. I’ve ALWAYS been obsessed with the royal weddings. I love class and elegance. THIS…right here…is the very perfect wedding for me!
To say I was enjoying myself with this group is an understatement!
Then, Emily let me know that we had permission to use the chairs from the lobby. I’d never worked a wedding at the George Washington Hotel (I’d attended weddings there and attended the Sorelle Bridal runway show though). The staff are AMAZING and I already can’t wait to go back. So, Emily and some of the men hauled these chairs in. I had VISIONS. This bridal party was happy to entertain my ideas and I’m positively DYING over these!
This photo (below) is my favorite because it doesn’t matter where you look…there’s someone’s personality to see! I did NOT tell them what to do…to be clear. I said “do something fun” and …BAM! Here you go!
It was organized chaos in this room! The best part about this group is that even though I had excused the men to go to cocktail hour after I was done with their photos…they stayed.
…and they positively hyped the ladies up! If you saw my IG story, you heard the hooting and hollering!
You want to see a bride who is living her best wedding day life? HERE YOU GO.
I’ll never forget what Emily said to me after I’d posted the sneak peek on Monday. She said, “I could never have imagined what the finished photos were going to be like in that big room! They’re so beautiful!” I could not have imagined either! They are even better than I could have EVER imagined!
The Duchess Kait in all her glory!
You know…I couldn’t pick favorites. Emily and I tag teamed these angles and it was impossible. So, here are a whole BUNCH!
I don’t really need the words, right?! Kind of just speechless still…and I took these!
Then, little Vivienne woke up from her nap and that nap did a girl’s body good!! She was all smiles and laughs and had all the energy!
We had time. I mean…WHY NOT?! More photos for everyone! Good grief! How will I EVER go back out in the green again?! White rooms for EVERYONE!
…but we actually DID go outside…because Vince likes the outside. Kaitlyn…does NOT! HA!
We rushed back inside for just a few more family photos and while we were at it…we did the royal wedding balcony shot! I told them to wave to the common people! HA! When I tell you I was living my best royal wedding life…I was not kidding! Also, I was so pumped when I saw Emily was creeping from the back and getting her own shot too! My assistants are the BEST!
Check out how GORGEOUS the George Washington Hotel ballroom looked! ALSO, take a look at their guest seating chart.
Do you Tik Tok-ers remember that recent trend where people said, “I practiced my calm smiling face for my wedding…” and then they show all the ones of the bride totally and positively radiating with joy?! Well, we could do that Tik Tok with Kaitlyn. Vince, on the other hand, never EVER stopped smiling big the entire day. I even giggled during the ceremony because for an entire hour and whole Catholic mass…he was ear to ear smiling! His cheeks HAD to have hurt!
First dance magic in black and white WITH sparklers!
They had a live painter too! It’s been a few years. This is always so neat to watch!
It was an early night for us which meant I was a weeeee bit nervous I wouldn’t get enough informal reception coverage. Well, that was NOT a problem. As soon as that dance floor opened, it was PACKED. And I mean it was “hold your camera strap tight because people might be knocking into you” PACKED! There was hardly any room for us to get photos (you can see we even stood behind the tables sometimes) and I’m A OK with that.
Gosh…this wedding was a DREAM for us. So many people have messaged me and texted me and commented on it so I hope you all enjoyed it. This is very bittersweet for me too. I don’t want this one to be over. I actually told Vince (he’s a physician) that if he EVER moves this way…I want to be his office assistant and manager. He’s such a kind and happy person. I’ve worked with a lot of doctors…and you don’t run across ones like him very often. Kaitlyn on the other hand is as Type A and organized as they come (like me) and that makes sense given she’s an attorney. That’s right…I just photographed an attorney/doctor wedding and could not have been treated more like a close friend. These two are genuine and amazing and I want to do their wedding ALLLLLLL over again. I’m already sad it’s all coming to an end. I want to go back to last weekend and do it again. BUT…just like anything in life, all things must come to an end and I’m glad this is most certainly a happily ever after ending…and I got to be a part of it. Dreams do come true! Cue the music!
ONE MORE TIME…CONGRATS TO DR. VINCENT MORRA AND MS. KAITLYN PYTLAK-MORRA!
Reception Venue – The George Washington Hotel
Bride’s Gown – David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ Attire – Macy’s
Men’s Attire – Men’s Wearhouse
Shoes – David’s Bridal
Makeup – Heather Martin (West Alexander, PA)
Hair – Gypsy Hair Salon (Wheeling, WV)
Florist – I Do by Gina Hedrick
Videographer – Rouse Program Entertainment, LLC
Cake 0 Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop
Cookies – Kaitlyn’s Family
DJ – Soundwaves Event Group
Catering – The George Washington Hotel in Washington, PA
Transportation/Limo – Ron’s Party Bus
Invitations – Minted
Live Wedding Painter – Sofa Marraffa (Leesburg, VA)