Happy Thursday! I’m SO excited! SOOOOOOOOO excited! But, you could all probably already tell from the sneak peek. You see, Becca and Michael are special. Not just special to me…but to everyone that knows them. I’m the lucky one that got to photograph them multiple times (and a huge shoutout to Kayla Frye of Frye Fotos for sending them my way). So, these two volunteered to be my test models back in 2021 when I got my new cameras and upgraded equipment (which was totally terrifying because I hadn’t even done their official engagement session yet and I was so nervous that my fumbling around would scare them off – it didn’t). Then, I got to photograph them again for their official engagement session this summer. They even stopped by for my yard sale AND I got to Facetime them over and over leading up to this wedding and we’d laugh (even when Becca probably wanted to cry…HA!). At one point, I told Michael to blink twice if he needed help. So, yea…that was the friendship level we’d made it to through the last 1.5+ years and I had put high expectations on myself for this one and wanted them to have it ALL. So, before I get too crazy and continue on with the rambling and typos, please give the new Mr. & Mrs. Carroll ALL your Hannah Barlow Photography love! Their wedding blog and Fall Weirton, WV Wedding is live on the blog RIGHT now! Read this in your best Hannah voice. Trust me. It’ll help you get through all the squealing! ENJOY!
It was a true testament to how this day was going to go when the VERY FIRST photo I took was Becca getting all excited over seeing her bouquet for the first time! And that’s Hiedi! I went to high school with her. She’s done many of my weddings. She’s done my daughter’s hair…AND now she was at Becca’s wedding. I was bursting with excitement over all these people and that was after I found out they’d watched me test the light. That’s right…I ended up RIGHT outside their hotel room window (without knowing it) as I walked around, walking in circles and really coordinated my brain and game plan with the position of the sun. Good grief.
While the ladies were finishing up getting ready, Ashleigh and I (along with Justin Geery of Geery Media) took care of the details! This was the first time I’d gotten to work with Justin at a wedding. It was a long time coming too! I’d briefly “met” him on IG when he introduced himself and then I ran into him at Oglebay but this was the first time we’d gotten to work side by side (which is always exciting and scary all at the same time. Sometimes you just click with people…sometimes…well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Spoiler alert…we had a BLAST!)
I had warned Becca (and Michael) that the morning and afternoon would feel a little chaotic and that was before Becca threw a whole wrench in the timeline with a full blown rewrite of the whole day (true story). It was at this point that Becca said “Jeez, I really didn’t understand how stressful a timeline would be…” I tried to be all “It’ll be finnnnnnnneeeee” Hannah. Well, I, of all people, know that weddings done wait and I was trying my best to keep my poker face. Even Justin was in my ear kindly and gently reminding me that we were running a weeeeeeeeeeeeeee bit behind (a little…ok, a lot behind). BUT…keep calm, Hannah! We’ll make this happen! He probably thought I was ignoring him…nope. I was just checking off all the things I needed to get done in a very very little amount of time! WE CAN DO THIS!
Becca’s mom grew up with my mom (Hi, Faith)! There’s history there too (love it). She helped Becca get ready and then they added some of her late father’s details to her bouquet.
Gotta make sure Michael’s mom gets in on the photos too!
As I hinted above, Becca lost her dad earlier this year. They were very close so we opted for a sibling first look instead of a father/daughter first look.
Then, it was time for the beautiful ladies! This bridal party was SO easy. They were ready. They smiled. They rolled with my nonchalant but maybe not so much RUSHINGGGG. The thing is…I usually have to spend more time with the ladies. The men never ask for anything…they rarely want photos taken. NOT THE MEN AT THIS WEDDING. We had a whole list…and I don’t leave lists incomplete.
So, we crossed everything off with the women and sent them to the ceremony. I had asked Michael in one of our previous meetings what time he wanted to get ready. He joked and gave me a very specific time – 1:57:30 (yes…and 30 seconds). So, I set two timers on my watch so it would go off (and it did while I was doing the ladies’ photos) and then Justin reminded me (you have 50 seconds left…and at that moment…I loved him even more and knew we were a compatible photo/video pair) so I TOOK OFF RUNNING and knocked on that door right on time! Woooo hooooo! These men are so fun!
So, let’s start off with the very traditional, formal photos.
Then, the Avenger themed details started to come out!
…and some more! It was Ashleigh’s idea to have little man hold all the figurines! LOVED IT! I always know when my assistant’s are totally digging the bridal parties because they get vocal…and that’s rare for them! Ash had all kinds of good ideas and I was snap snap snapping away!
Then, Michael had ONE request of a photo he really really really wanted and I was bound and determined to make it happen (…and also a little nervous). If you saw my IG story, you saw Justin and I got real up close and personal laying on the ground for these ones! HA!
So, after that photo above (which took more time than I’d planned because those figurines would NOT stay standing)…we were REALLY starting to run behind and the ceremony was about to start in 30 minutes. Justin had run off even faster than us because he has so much more to do. SO, we excused the men and ran to the cars and made it to the ceremony JUST FOR ME TO REALIZE I DIDN’T PHOTOGRAPH THE RECEPTION HALL. I had gone in there earlier in the day and for the first time ever, I didn’t take my “insurance shots”. WHYYYYYYYY, HANNNAHHHH…WHYYYYY. Insurance shots (for those of you who don’t know) are those shots I take early in the day when things aren’t quite ready but “just in case” I don’t get them later. Well, Jonathan (DJ of Finest Events) has the BEST uplighting and he wasn’t there yet to turn it on so I didn’t take those shots…only to realize before the ceremony I had…NOTHING. I stood in the church parking lot and had a half second of “Well, I ran out of time…” and another half second of “…but I won’t be able to get back to the hotel before guests get in there…” SO…I left. That’s right! I left the ceremony. I told Ashleigh, “Don’t you dare let them start without me…” and I drove like Cruella Deville back to the Holiday Inn in Weirton, WV. When I arrived, Jonathan was all “Hi, Hannah..How are you?!” And I”m like “Listen, the ceremony starts in 10 minutes…and I’m not there and the couple doesn’t even know I’m not there. No time for chatting!”. And he’s doing his normal thing “Let me turn everyone on for you…” I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS JONATHANNNNNN. Bless him. He just laughed and called me crazy (I am). I’m sure…if you know me…you can just picture the pure chaos. BUT…once I made it back to the church, I checked the time stamps. From the time I took the first photo to the last…less than 2.5 minutes…HA!
AND I did make it back. That’s what’s matters. My heart was pounding. I wasn’t necessarily speeding BUTTTTT it did cross my mind that if a cop pulled up behind me, I was going to put my flashers on and keep on driving right to that church…invite them to the ceremony…and explain later.
Here comes the bride! I’m going to show you both black and white and color! We got the best of both worlds!
The ceremony was short and sweet and right to the amazingly lovey point! I loved when the officiant said, “No one else is going to get this shot”…and he took a photo!
Mr. & Mrs. Carroll! They’re married! Look at that pure JOY!
After formal photos, Ashleigh caught this moment AND managed to get their initials and date in the photo and I’m always so impressed with how much effort my assistant’s put into the detail of their photos!
I told Becca she was just going to have to trust me on the “dead stuff”. We had a good laugh and she did trust me…I knew it…but I did see a little glimmer of doubt on her face when I put them in this gravel parking lot while the sun beat down on us! She nervously said, “Hannah…I’m trusting you.” I got this…I promise!
Bridal Party fun!
It’s been a hot second since I took photos and was truly in LOVE with the result…like can’t stop thinking about them. I was SO into these photos! Allllllll the dead stuff FOR THE WIN! Justin was rolling with my crazy ideas and Ashleigh was killing it with the side angle! I want to do this wedding alllllll over again!
…and Becca really wanted fall foliage. I’d drove by this spot so many times in the last couple of weeks checking it out and making sure someone didn’t chop down that tree (seriously…the paranoia gets to me during wedding season). Weirton is really so limited on photo locations. So, “you’re just going to have to trust me” kept continuing to be a theme. We let the bridal party go and we put ourselves right on the side of the road and made it happen! Cue the sappy, love songs…just check out how these two really “LOOK” at each other. It’s not fake…it’s not posed…it’s genuine and I’m here for it!
Shout out to Ashleigh for making this veil FLY!
…allll the veil shots for these two! If you look real closely at that left photo Ashleigh took…you can see the road! HA! Random spots are the best spots…throw in some dead stuff and I’m in Hannah wedding photographer heaven!
Then, as we were packing up to go…Becca saw this red tree and wanted a few photos there too! Ask and you shall receive!
Alright! We’re back at the Weirton Holiday Inn and I was able to get some more of those details without having a full blown asthma attack this time! AND I was able to properly greet Jonathan and my favorite DJ assistant ever, Ted! Peep Spider Man over there!
I’m telling you (if you can’t already see it). These two radiate pure joy and happiness!
And this was the point Michael ended up with cake up his nose!
Becca’s dad was truly there in spirt. While his favorite song was played, everyone gathered around his chair and toasted to him…his life…and his newly married daughter.
First dance magic! Jonathan’s uplighting is seriously THE BEST uplighting!
…and add a little…SPICE!
The party got started…without Jonathan even having to ask or encourage people. Justin and laughed at one point when he used his “dad voice” on the mic to get this crowd organized again for the money dance. I was also on cloud nine at this wedding and reminiscing with Jonathan about all the things he used to do 5-6 years ago when I was a new photographer.
So, imagine my absolutely pure Hannah excitement (and panic) when he threw back to years ago when he’d take a conga line and turn it into a tunnel! AHHHHHHHH!!!! Love love love! It brought back so many great memories and this was the perfect couple and wedding to bring it back. THANK YOU, Mr. Mihellis! I needed this in my wedding reception life!
…and you better believe we didn’t take off before taking some selfies. Again, this is something I ALWAYS used to do and I just don’t do it that often anymore…and I should. There’s just something about spending a year (sometimes more) helping a couple plan their wedding and then spending the whole day with them making memories…capturing memories…and remembering that it’s team work that makes days SUCH a success! Becca and Michael definitely knew what they were doing when picking vendors (if I’m allowed to say that)! Jonathan is already on my preferred vendor list and Justin will be there as soon as I send the new ones to print! Michael even asked to get a photo with Ash and I and my heart almost burst!
…and before we took off. I wanted ONE more photo of them dancing the night away!
My goodness…this was the day I needed to hit that final recharge and boost of energy for the my last two weddings of the year. I feel energized. I feel ready for whatever is coming at me. I’m often reminded why I love this job so much but Becca and Michael REALLY reminded me. We had fun. We laughed. We cried. We played with action figurines. I channeled my Disney villain and drove like a nut job to make sure this couple had EVERY photo they wanted on their list. You name it…we did it and it was 10/10 AMAZING! I gotta stop somewhere so pump those brakes and give the newlyweds all your Hannah Barlow Photography ONE MORE TIME! Thanks for reading!
Bride’s Dress – Sorelle
Men’s Attire – Liberty Men’s Formals
Hair – Hiedi Wood
Makeup – Samantha Harris
Venue – Holiday Inn Weirton, WV
Catering – Undo’s Weirton
DJ/Uplighting – Finest Events
Video – Geery Media (Justin Geery)