By: Steve Groves
As some of you may know, Melanie and I are parents to two amazing kids who keep us on our toes. Evan and Maddy (@abandonedevan & @abandonedmaddy on Instagram) have fantastic grandparents who step in at a moment's notice to watch them, and this particular day was no exception.
Jess and her bridesmaids were getting hair and makeup done at Salon MD in Harmony, PA. So, I dropped Melanie off at the salon to get photos of all of that as it was being finalized, while I made my way to drop off the kids with my parents and head the rest of the way to the White Barn, where the rest of the day's events would occur. (Yes, it can be a real exercise in planning sometimes!)
So I show up at the barn and the weather did NOT look like it was going to cooperate. Flat gray skies, fine mist, and occasional light rain had not left a lot of hope for the outdoor ceremony Jess and Connor had planned.
The venue is astonishingly beautiful—rolling hills, a pond, a gazebo—you name it, they have it. But, even if the weather was going to be prohibitive, the White Barn had equally beautiful interior spaces. It was here that Jess completed arguably one of the most important tasks of the day—a first look with her puppy, Beau. Oh yeah, she did a first look with the bridesmaids, too... :)
After all the pre-ceremony activities were done, it still didn't look like the weather was getting any better. But Jess was determined not to resort to the backup plan to move the ceremony indoors. Perhaps it was that determination, or perhaps it was her grandparents who were watching from Heaven having a little say in the matter, but the second she stepped out to walk down the aisle, the clouds started to break and the gloom of the morning began to make way for the kind of day every couple wants for their wedding.
I'm not going to lie and say that it didn't get a little windy, but that wind kept blowing away all the dreariness of the morning, leaving behind one of the most spectacular sunsets you could ask for.
It was then that we saw the opportunity to do one of our favorite things at a reception—we stole the couple away from their guests to give them a brief moment to be together—just them... Well, we're there too, but you get the point...This is where we get to spend time getting photos of the couple being themselves, enjoying each other without the pressures inherent in wedding receptions. This is also where Melanie and I got some of the most epic images we've captured at a wedding to date.
Jess had asked us to capture a couple of specific photos that would mean a great deal if we could pull them off. First, she wanted a shot of her immediate family watching Connor's dance with his mom—no problem. Second, she wanted a group photo of everyone in attendance at the wedding (nearly 200 people!) Hooooboy! I'm sure I have a wide enough lens to do that, but how do you organize 200 people?
The answer? The DJ. An experienced pro, Joseph Costa got on mic after dinner, called everyone to the dance floor for a group shot that we would take from the barn's loft. Brilliant! And not only did that help us get the shot that Jess wanted, but it got everyone on the dance floor as he kicked off an amazing night of dancing and partying.
At the end of the night, Jess and Connor once again proved that they know how to party in style. In fact, they showed that they even know how to LEAVE a party in style. They had organized a sparkler send-off, and despite the hours of dancing just prior, the couple looked just as put together as they did when they had arrived at the barn earlier that afternoon.
Congratulations and best wishes to Jess and Connor!