Hello! Hello! HELLO! It’s sure been dry and HOT and sunny this past few days…but I can NOT say the same for Maria and Jake’s wedding last Saturday – especially the beginning of the day. Does it seem odd I’m starting this blog off on such a “down” note? Well, one would think…but that’s not how this wedding day panned out. It was a happily ever after ending. Jake and Maria are probably two of my calmest couples ever…to the point their tent wedding was under 2 inches of water at one point that morning (no joke…they didn’t exaccctttlllyyyy know how bad it was at the time though) and they were calm, cool and collected. Guests were texting saying, “We will be there…with water shoes and ready to dance…” The couple was very much “it is what it is…we’re getting married…” and us vendors were like “holy crap…what are we going to do..how is this all going to work…what is happening right now………”. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. So, now what if I told you their Levinson Shelter wedding at Oglebay ended up being so beautiful, and warm, and dry(ish) just hours after my feet were fully submerged in water and mud? You’d think there’s no way, right?! I get it! It’s really so hard to believe still days later even with photos and video (Penderville Wedding Films) to prove it so I’m very excited to show you how having the BEST attitude going into your wedding day and just trusting the Wedding Gods can make for an outstanding, magical and memorable day. Please give Mr. & Mrs. Blatt all your Hannah Barlow Photography love! Their wedding blog is live! ENJOY!
So, let’s start off for anyone new here. I always tell my couples NOT to stress about the weather…until the night before or even morning of the day. It really can change constantly and create unnecessary stress leading up to the wedding. Well, I didn’t follow my own advice. You see, this was a tent wedding…and not just any tent wedding. It was a really elegant tent wedding with no rain plan (aside from the tent, of course). The ground…was…well, the ground…grass and dirt and all the outdoor things. So, yea…I was watching the weather and wouldn’t you know it…out of ten days…SATURDAY WAS THE ONLY ONE CALLING FOR RAIN. Cue Maria and I texting back and forth all week and panic ordering clear umbrellas. So, that morning I left one hour early in an attempt to curate a plan and get my nerves out of the way. Ironic I had just told my husband recently, “I don’t get nervous for weddings anymore…”. Well, this day was different because the wedding was different and Oglebay had at least four weddings going on already (so I knew the traditional covered, rain locations would likely be taken). So, there I found myself at 11:30 am, standing in the middle of the “dance floor”, with soaked feet, inside the tent staring at one of the coordinators (Hi, Sam!) thinking, “This is a first…and I actually don’t know what I’m going to do”… When I tell you my feet were covered in water, I’m not exaggerating. The wind was whipping…it was POURING. I truly pictured us running from the rain all day long. Remember though…happy ending…
Stay with me, it’s a GREAT wedding story. So, I met up with Lacey and then Buddy and Aaron (Buck) of Penderville Wedding Films and we drove around…and came up with a plan-ish. If it kept raining, we were going to keep the couple near their cabin and just run in and out for photos as much as we could. Was it a great plan? No. Was it the only one I could see working in a windy downpour? Yes! So, we got right down to details and this was right when I saw an immediate shift in the weather that set the stage for the rest of the day and night! Pisarcik is one of my ultimate favorite florists. I’ve only actually done one other wedding with them. I was in love then and I’m still in love now!
My favorite color is purple. I’ve been in wedding heaven lately!
We even got to do groom details which is always totally fun AND Jake set the clock AND DATE to exactly the date (May 20th, of course) and time of 5:00 o’clock PM… which is when they would be getting married. If you know me, you know I LOVE that stuff!
Then, we made haste and got this bride and groom ready! Talk about your ultimate hype crowd…this bridal party was EVERYTHING and you could very clearly see how much they loved their friends, the bride and groom! ALSO, I knew many of them and/or had photographed them in other weddings which was totally fun!
…and when I say “hype crowd”…that included the parents too!
The energy this couple was throwing at me really contrasted their “calm-ness’ at their engagement session (HERE). NOT in a bad way, I was just NOT expecting the absolute hype, vibe, and “let’s do this” mentality complete with dancing and all the Hannah energy things. I was thriving off this energy especially during their first look (where I was told by JT, Penderville Wedding films, in the NICEST way…to keep my mouth shut during their first look). HA! It’s HARD when I’m excited…but I did a GOOD job!
They said “Hello”…complimented one another, read notes, exchanged rings and I even had Maria pin Jake’s flower for him! I never used to be 100% pro first look…but times are changing and I’m recently REALLY…really really…loving these moments with my couples! We went RIGHT into bride/groom portraits.
Then, while the bridal party were on their way and getting situated, we continued to do our thing. While most couples would be having a meltdown (me included) over the overcast look and fog, I can’t tell you how many times they commented on how much they loved it which pumped me right up! We were creating unique memories…yes we were!
The bridal party has arrived…time to have some FUN!
So, let’s get down to business! Throughout our whole week of back and forth texts, Maria mentioned she really wanted the “green” and I told her my husband had assured me the green would pop for her wedding – a perk of all this rain. AND…it happened! OOoo my goodness these look like June greens! My wedding photographer heart is SO happy! SOOOOO HAPPY! Add in the color palette and those gorgeous flowers?! Good grief! 2023 wedding season is amazing!
The other angle…because there were ALWAYS angles and moments!
It’s just all so beautiful, isn’t it?!
It wasn’t until this wedding that I realized Lacey almost ALWAYS gets this angle (below). I’m a creature of habit, ya know…and apparently she’s REALLY paying attention to my system of portraits. At some point, I always have the groom look away from me and she’s always creepin’ and getting shots like this!
She’s also stealing the good angles and I’m ok with it! This wedding had all the color so let’s so it down with some black and white photos!
Then, speed it up for some walking…and running!
More colorful variety!
…and some more! BECAUSE…why not?! Complete that with a dip and the formal portrait session part of the day is ALMOST complete!
Then, after we finished off bride and groom formals, we were just in time to head on over to Oglebay’s lodge and get family formals. If you know me well, you KNOW I’m stickler for not attempting family formals prior to the ceremony. I can only remember a time or two it actually worked. WELL, add Maria and Jake’s wedding and family to that list and give them a HUGE round of applause because they were standing there and ready for me and it all worked out. Maria and Jake were right…their family has done this before and they were READY!
Then, we drove fast over to the Levinson shelter to the complete opposite of what I’d seen that morning…it was now dry-ish, absolutely packed with beauty and uniqueness, no wind…I could go on and on and on…but WHAT A CONTRAST! I can’t…It’s just so beautiful in ALL the ways! Also, that frame? Jake made that! I kid you NOT!
Time for the ceremony! If you didn’t click that engagement blog link above, stop what you’re doing and click it HERE. There’s a reason for this! Promise! And that wedding that was mentioned in the engagement blog…well, the bride from that wedding (and Jake’s cousin) was the one who officiated their wedding and my wedding photographer sappy heart CAN NOT handle all of this. It’s so perfect! Also, her ceremony and “speeches”…what would you call them? I don’t know…but you know…the words she said during the ceremony were one of a kind, sweet, thoughtful, sincere AND funny..she even mentioned Mussolini and Jimmy Buffet…among other people and quoted them! That’s right! If you can make all that go together WELL, I think she should rent out her officiant services!
They even did a little dance once they got down the aisle!
They also buried (last month)…and dug up this day…a bottle of whiskey! Let’s take a left turn for a second though because I just burst out laughing and cackled in my office. I JUST now (while typing this) Googled “tradition of burying a bottle of Whiskey” and apparently if you do that…one month before your wedding (which they did)…it won’t rain. COME ONNNNNN! THE IRONY! But it made for amazing memories! I had another couple considering it and now they’re thinking mayyyybeeee not.
At this point, it was time to get the official wedding reception started. We had dinner and multiple speeches (which confirmed everything I already thought about this couple when their family and friends could not stop gushing about what amazing people they are both separate and together as a couple). I probably could have added to it all with my experiences but no one wants that!
Then, the couple cut their cake and Jake’s attempt to feed Maria cake ended up with a great blooper…complete with both angles thanks to Lacey. That cake fell off the fork before it made it to her and I love that we caught it in action! HA! You can see it falling by her elbow (middle photo left).
SEE!! THIS is why we get the inside of the cake! It’s confetti cake! Also compliments of Lacey…doesn’t really seem like I did anything this wedding, huh? HA!
Jake danced with his mom at the same time Maria danced with her Dad which I LOVED and then the couple shared a fast paced first dance.
Then, it was time to get the party started and holllyyyy crap did the party get started. The moment…and I mean the MOMENT…the DJ announced the dance floor was open, people RAN. I’m not exaggerating ONE bit…they RAN! And it didn’t matter who you were, your age, your dance skill level…I swear almost every single person at this wedding was out there. It was a “wrap your camera strap around your wrist” kind of reception because there were people busting moves EVERYWHERE!
That’s just a very small part of what we caught and if you want to see it in action you should go on over to Penderville Wedding Films and watch the teaser for this wedding.
Before we took off, Maria and Jake invited their bridal party to come help with a mock sparkler send off…you know…for photo purposes. I don’t normally love my sparkler send off photos but their energy just kept on coming at me..literally! So, yes…these are some of my favorites to date!
…and because I like all galleries and blogs to have an ending that’s tied up like a nice, little bow…I had them run away one last time and I LOVE IT!
You know, I’ve had three weddings this year and every one has been amazing in its own way and left me ending these blogs with more words and smiles than I care to admit. I’m such a sap! Jake and Maria were SUCH an easy going couple to work with and a joy to photograph. There was nothing complicated about planning wedding photography with this couple. Who would have thought the weather would be so complicated in the morning but turn out so wonderfully mid day until the end?! It’s just crazy to me! I got to see so many familiar faces (many of whom were the reason I was asked to photograph their wedding) and I can’t stop feeling so grateful my heart could burst! One last time…give this couple ALL your love and congrats! To Mr. & Mrs. Blatt…it sure was amazing and so many memories were made on May 20th 2023! Happy Thursday, everyone! Have an amazing long weekend!
Venue – Levinson Shelter at Oglebay in Wheeling, WV
Coordinator – Wanderlust Events
Bride’s Gown – Bridal Beginning
Bridesmaids’ Attire – David’s Bridal
Men’s Attire – Joseph Orlando’s Clothiers
Hair/Makeup – Gypsy Soul Salon
Florist – Pisarcik Flower Farm
Videographer – Penderville Wedding Films (Assistant Team Buddy and Aaron)
Cake – Whisk Bakery
DJ – Bailey Productions
Catering – Sarah’s on Main (Dinner), Table 304(Grazing Table/Appetizers)
Wait Staff – 3Rivers Events Staffing
Transportation Antique Coach Excursions (Guest Transport),
Stationary – The Knot
Officiant – Jake’s Cousin Melissa Peters