Tag archive for : Pennsylvania
I first met Sam and Shelby when they were a groomsman and bridesmaid in Glen and Liz’s wedding party. In fact, Shelby had just picked up her engagement ring. The ring design was a collaborative process, and she was just getting used to the feeling of the ring on her finger at the salon where all the ladies were getting ready. There was absolutely none of the jealousy or “It’s MY day!” pettiness that Hollywood filmmakers creating atrocities like “Bride Wars” would have you believe. In fact, that seldom exists amongst my clients, and definitely not in this group of friends. This is my third wedding with this crew. (Love y’all; thanks for the referrals! -OX, Angie’s bills)
In fact, Shelby did all of the flowers for Glen and Liz, and I could just see the wheels turning in her head as the process of being a bridesmaid inspired her. I knew her wedding to Sam would really be something special, and I was so excited when they picked me last summer.
I don’t want to make it sound like this was all Shelby, though, because even though she is the one who rocks a well-appointed craft corner and wields a glue gun like nobody’s business, the wedding was absolutely a reflection of the two of them. They have been together for five years already, and they already share so much. In this era of name portmanteaux for super couples (I blame Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez for “Bennifer,” which started it all), they are “Samby.” This wedding was, well, the Samby-est.
What does that mean? Well, their invitation is a good place to start.
Retro gaming systems were everywhere, from the centerpieces to the music to the Mario Kart video-gaming station in an adjacent room at the reception. (We’ll get to that.) Shelby wore Legend of Zelda-inspired earrings.
Although both Shelby and Sam both had awesome attendants helping them get ready, and everyone was excited to watch them get married, I will *always* maintain that it’s your flower girls who are most excited to be a part of wedding traditions. When it came to joyfully wearing dresses I chose for them, primping at a day spa, watching me unwrap wedding presents at my shower, hitting the dance floor, etc., my bridesmaids were game; they were supportive. But my flower girls? MY FIVE-YEAR-OLD FLOWER GIRLS WERE ALL IN. Like them, Penny and Evie were here for it, all the way.
Shelby gave Sam gaming-inspired cufflinks as well.
The reason I started this entry talking about Shelby getting her engagement ring the morning of Glen and Liz’s wedding and how happy they were for her was because this group of friends is, in its own way, a forged and chosen family. They get ordained on the internet for each other, show up newly postpartum, and make their six-week-old baby a part of the day. It’s loving. It’s unconditional.
There was a moment, which happens at almost every wedding, actually, where no one knows how to put on a boutonniere. This is something that I know how to do. Along with bustling a wedding gown, ballet-wrapping a bouquet and using dental wax to artfully balance wedding rings on each other, it’s just something that wedding vendors tend to pick up. I gave a quick demo, but there’s always the tricky part, where technically, it’s better for me to take pictures of everyone getting ready as opposed to putting everyone’s flowers on for them. I’ve totally done it and faked the photos after, but in general, it’s better for someone else to do it.
“You know who knows how to do this?” Sam volunteered. “Shelby.”
“Yeah, Shelby did it at my wedding,” replied the best man.
WE NEEDED THE BRIDE.
(The bride was waiting for the “first look,” the big moment when the groom sees her in her dress, and everyone wanted them to have that, so… No.)
Julie to the rescue!
It is my fervent hope that someone keeps this photo of Leo getting his boutonniere pinned on and gives it to him on his wedding day.
Shelby made sure Sam was wearing a special Peter Gabriel pin they had chosen next to his flower (“A FLOWAH?”). Then they started practicing their first dance for a minute and I got overwhelmed by The Adorableness.
Leo is not technically a ring-bearer. He is a dice-bearer. His job was to bring multi-sided role-playing dice to the ceremony to see who would say their vows first, and he was taking that responsibility very seriously, so seriously that the box gets to be in every photo.
We shot lots of family photos, swapping step-parents and grandparents and siblings around in seventeen (yup, I counted) different configurations while I was PRAY-ING the rain would hold off. (It held off, just enough.)
The thing about wedding and engagement posing? The instructions can seem odd and unnatural. There’s, like, no other time in our lives when we hold hands and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes in attractive locations wearing formalwear in a garden on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily, I am full of helpful instructions like, “Wrap your arms around him with your wrists up by his neck. Then, when I count to three, Sam, give her a big bear hug, while Shelby, you kick your feet up and try to kick your own butt. Ready? Three, two, one… KICK YOUR BUTT.” I kid you not; that’s how you get this shot.
As I encouraged Sam to take off his jacket and sling it over his shoulder, I could tell he was WAY outside his comfort zone. “I know; I’m sorry this is making you feel like a total douche,” I said. He cracked up, and there you have it- Sam’s real smile.
The best man had his own methods.
Listen, a little light-hearted vulgarity (by me) or forcibly re-arranging of facial features (by Glen)? WHATEVER IT TAKES, I SAY.
The truth is, they are never happier than they are when they are together, so we got through the rest of the photo session super-fast, and soon enough the guests were arriving.
I spirited the wedding rings away for some artful shots on autumn gourds, and then it was time to hand them back for the ceremony.
Sam and Shelby walked in together at the start of the ceremony. I love this. I’ve only ever seen this once before, and it was 14 years ago. There was no “giving away,” no presentation, just two people who love each other very much beginning and ending their wedding ceremony the same way: united.
Everywhere you looked- at the couple themselves, in the audience, at the wedding party- there were either huge smiles, happy tears, or laughter. So great.
They exited as they entered- together- and then it was “hug everyone you love” time in the receiving line.
Sam’s grandmother was still crying happy tears as she hugged the bride. “I loved your vows,” she said. “And I know you’ll do what you said you will.” It was so nice.
A big circle of wedding party and guests gathered together during cocktail hour to play Pokemon GO.
So, look, in my personal life, I am a huge nerd. I started this Columbus Day weekend where I shot three events (Samby’s wedding being #2) in a row, by going to ComicCon in New York with my husband on Thursday in full Fallout gear. I color-corrected these photos while watching the latest Dr Who premiere On Demand. I can out-Potter even the most devoted nine-year-old Quidditch fan, but I’m not familiar enough with Pokemon GO lingo to type this next bit with confidence. Humor me, but I THINK they formed a raid group to catch a legendary Pokemon.
VICTORY! So fun.
As cocktail hour wound down, I got a change to really admire and photograph the reception details, like the centerpieces Shelby made herself, combining autumn colors and gaming systems with trendy wood slice chargers.
Sweet Baby L was along for the ride as the wedding party got announced to cheers and applause for the newlyweds, who walked into “Guile’s Theme” from the video game Street Fighter 2. (What can I say? Guile’s Theme goes with everything.)
Their first dance was even better than the preview in the garden hinted at.
Twirling, a big dip… they nailed it.
There were four toasts, from Sam’s dad’s story of how they met (spoiler: Sam “emerges victorious”) to Shelby’s mom’s poem, and then kind words from the best man and maid of honor.
Aw, the chair decorations!
Guests alternated between playing Mario Kart in the next room and hitting the dance floor.
They opted for a donut tower instead of a traditional wedding cake.
Rave-style dancing with light poi happened.
So did bride vs. groom Mario Kart races…
And all-sibling Mario Kart races….
And then it was over…
With the bride and groom blissed out in each other’s arms as the final song of the ended and everyone surrounded them on the dance floor.
There’s no way you ever forget that feeling, but I hope having the pictures brings in all back for you whenever you need to remember. Congrats, Samby! Keep on loving each other and music and friends and family, and remember to play together and laugh together a little every day.
Filled Under : Wedding
Angelique and Scot got married at the rustic Settlers Inn in the Poconos on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Their wedding was so nice, not only because it united two people who really love each other, but also because it brought together a new blended family.
Angelique adores the children in her life. She loves her nephews, her friends’ kids, but most especially, she loves her stepchildren. It was so beautiful to see all the ways that Scot and Angelique involved Scot’s children. From getting ready together to uniting them in a lovely sand ritual during the ceremony to special dances at the reception, the wedding wasn’t just about the union of two people and their love for each other. It was also about two people and their love for their children.
I’m so pleased to show you your sneak peek! Enjoy!
Filled Under : Wedding
This wedding. This wedding, you guys. Where do I start with Glen and Liz? Well, they were set up by a friend who, and I quote the bride verbatim here, “thought we were the same kind of socially awkward.” She resisted at first. She didn’t want to be set up. But then Liz said something while she was getting her makeup done that really struck a chord with me, because it’s true in my life, too. She said something like, “The things I’ve been most resistant to in my life- like doing theater, choosing where I went to college, going on a blind date with Glen- they all turned out to be the best things for me.” Resistance, and then flow.
I thought that was really profound, and it resonated with me, as I think it would resonate with anyone who, like me, is headstrong, and who maybe, just maybe, wasn’t sure where he or she belonged at first. I’ve always been told that I’m just a little too much- I’m a little too loud, a little too big. I talk too much, and I talk too fast. It took me a while to find my tribe, but when I finally found my husband (who, like the bride and groom, introduced me to his love of gaming and D&D and cosplay and all things geeky), he sent me a bouquet on my wedding day with this Dr. Seuss quote: “We are all a little weird, and life’s a little weird, and we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
The bride and groom chose a reading from Dr. Seuss for their ceremony, and I think they’ll like this quote, too, because they have fallen in mutual weirdness and it IS love. It just so happens that their wedding vows included the bride telling the groom, “I will tell you when you are talking too loud,” as he swore, “I will tell you when you are talking too fast.” Uh huh. I see you guys. I get you. I’m right there with you. I appreciate your love of storytelling, and this is my interpretation of your greatest love story yet, the story of your wedding day.
I keep coming back to what Liz said about resistance, and then flow. We think we know what’s best for us, but then it’s the thing we resisted most that takes us the farthest in life, and that really formed the family and community around Liz and Glen that made their wedding day so beautiful. The college you didn’t want to visit that becomes your second home where you meet your soul sister/sorority sister/maid of honor. That time you furrowed your brow at your roommate when he instructed you to let “a cute pink-haired girl” (a.k.a. a random person from Reddit that he gave an extra concert ticket to) into the apartment who then becomes your bridesmaid who lovingly spent weeks crafting your custom centerpieces and wedding flowers even in the excitement and Pinterest-flurry of her own engagement. These lovely friends, and a few more, started out getting ready at the salon with Liz.
Meanwhile, the groom was at an old-timey barbershop getting straight-razored shaves (and an impressive waxed mustache for the officiant, all to complete his perfect cosplay of Rucks from the video game Bastion. You’ll see more of that soon).
The groomsmen (and a bridesman) wore 20-sided dice cufflinks in keeping with the gaming theme, which was fully realized all throughout the wedding.
I am not 100% sure what’s happening here since this photo was one that Tom, my second, shot of the groom getting ready, but I believe Glen and his best man are fencing with combs, which is HILARIOUS.
We headed over to the venue to get the bride into her dress (and her Something Blue sparkly Converse sneakers!) and then she was ready to go see the groom.
A few last-minute details, and it was time for the best part of the day. I love “first looks” when couples see each other for the first time on the wedding day. Everything gets so much easier when you finally get to be with your beloved.
Glen’s reaction was priceless.
We had absolutely perfect light for formal pictures. Thank you, weather gods.
I’m an absolute sucker for endearing moments between a groom and his mom….
….and even more so when they’re between a bride and her grandfather.
“Oh,” Glen said. “We forgot to tell you after the engagement session. More silly poses please.”
You got it! Silly poses for the win!
Note the Super Mario Brothers Fire and Ice flowers in the ladies’ bouquets…
A near-dropping moment (NEAR dropping, not actual dropping) started to get the bride nervous about her fate during the horah later…
I’ll be honest; the photo session portion of the day, with all the people who need to be there in various configurations (when there is so much else going on and details to check on) can sometimes be the most hectic part of the day. For that reason, I like to start with the largest number of people and dismiss down until I end with just the bride and groom.
99% of the time, the romantic poses give the couple a chance to connect and calm each other before the ceremony. Liz just melted into Glen’s arms. Yes! My secret master plan is unfolding exactly as foreseen.
So, Glen and Liz are theater people. They love, among other musicals, Johnathan Larson’s “Rent.” There is a song in this musical called, “I’ll Cover You.” The lyrics go, “Live in my house/ I’ll be your shelter/ Just pay me back/ With one thousand kisses.” Some time last summer, Glen started tallying the number of times he kissed his bride-to-be with the goal of the 1000th kiss being the one when they said “I do.” As we finished all the smooching poses, Glen knew he wouldn’t be kissing Liz again until the end of the ceremony, so he planted the 997th, 998th and 999th kisses on her hand and wrist before we finished taking photos. This is so sweet. Liz, you lucky, lucky girl.
So the dress code for the wedding was “‘Cosplay’ (short for “costume play”) optional.” Cosplay is what you see people doing when they go to ComicCon or Star Trek conventions, and it’s a HUGE trend that’s become very popular in recent years. People dress up in their own interpretation of characters from movies, TV shows, video games, comic books and pretty much any other form of pop culture you can think of. So, yes, that wedding guest is green. It’s not your monitor.
Cosplay communities tend to be very accepting, very supportive, and very creative. That’s exactly the vibe that the bride and groom wanted for their ceremony. They wanted to be openly, unapologetically themselves- in all their gamer-geek glory- as they pledged their love to each other. The guests showing their support by dressing up accentuated that beautifully.
After a traditional processional, the fun really began. I’ve documented more than 100 weddings at this point, and I’ve never seen a ceremony quite like this one. The bride and groom fell in love playing table-top, role-playing games. The most famous one is Dungeons and Dragons. Essentially, everyone in the wedding party took on the role of a different character in a imaginary, D&D style adventure through the vows and ring exchange, complete with rolling of dice, the officiant serving as dungeon master, or lead storyteller. It was delightful, so completely and wonderfully fitting for this couple at this time in their lives.
This is, in fact, their 1000th kiss since Glen started counting last summer.
Their smiles as they made their way back down the aisle are everything.
One guest brought his A-game to the details of his Starlord costume, complete with scale-accurate, dancing baby Groot.
Cocktail hour is the BEST, especially when all the posed photos have already have been taken, and the signature cocktail is a mana potion, a.k.a. “a mysterious elixir of magical energy.” That’s a League of Legends reference, for those of you playing along at home.
The newlyweds bounded into their reception and went right into their first dance to “Anything For You” by Ludo. It was whimsical and upbeat and gentle and funny.
The bride danced with her dad to the “Jurassic Park” theme, which is an inside joke, I think, but who doesn’t love some orchestral John Williams music?
Then, it was time for the groom’s surprise, which was one of the most romantic moments of the entire day.
He arranged an acapella piece, with accompaniment from his sister and members of the wedding party, and sang to his bride.
This is the look of a woman, brimming with happy tears, at the moment she feels most loved, deeply moved, and completely and totally cherished. Glen? Nailed it.
Laughter through tears flowed through the rest of the toasts. This is the groom laughing at a Star Trek joke in the best man’s speech, followed by loving words from the maid of honor and the father of the bride.
After dinner, everyone hit the dance floor, visited the photo booth or played board games. Like I said, the gaming theme was fully realized, right up through special tables featuring “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” and “Hungry, Hungry Hippos,” among others.
I would like to point out that no one fell during the horah. Hooray!
The cake display was a lovingly hand-crafted tier of cupcakes, LED lights, and custom fondant Weighted Companion Cubes (From the video game Portal). I know this was made by either a cousin or a friend, I didn’t quite catch which, but woman, you are amazing! Making a wedding cake of any kind is a huge undertaking. The fact that this one involved the need to be near an electrical outlet is just, pardon the pun, icing on the cake. Well done, cousin-friend-person.
What do the horah, the Cha Cha Slide, the Twist, the Gangham Style dance and choreography from Footloose have in common? They were all danced with gleeful abandon at this wedding.
Congratulations, you two. Be well. Love each other well, and keep falling in mutual weirdness more and more every year for the rest of your lives. Thank you for letting us tell your love story. Have the best honeymoon, and enjoy some Doug’s Fish Fry for me!
Filled Under : Wedding