I drove on a dirt and rock road for a few miles after several miles of pretty much nothing. 3 miles takes a while when you can't go more than 15 mph or so. Roughly 15 minutes later you come around the bend and all of the sudden it opens up and you find yourself nestled in the hills of West Virginia at Capon Springs. Its a pretty cool place ... a time capsule so-to-speak reminding you of life decades ago. Its quiet, the water is super clean, there's a nice breeze that blows constantly through the resort. This is where Julia + Ryan chose to get married although they live just an hour or so north of me in PA. Julia has sentimental ties to the location. She would the resort every year at the same time since she was a child. The family owned site shut down the whole venue to the public and allowed only wedding guests to stay there. It was a pretty awesome experience - different than the standard "stay at hotel" experience I'm used to traveling for weddings. It was also wonderful having my daughter and wife tag along. Its a family friendly place and I figured bringing them would get us all away from the rhythms of normal life at home. We all had a great time, the wedding was amazing, and its an experience I will easily remember.
Congratulations Julia & Ryan and thank you for inviting me to photograph such a special moment in your lives!
When I arrived to the wedding venue it was an overcast day in Philadelphia. The forecast was 30% chance of rain all day .. typical for a late spring wedding in the area. Pretty much every day is like that. The event coordinator for the venue asked Ashley (the bride) early on about setting the ceremony up indoors (under a tent in the back of the building) or outdoors (on the front steps of the mansion). Without hesitation Ashley consulted me. I told her to keep it on for outside ... we'd be ok since we still had a couple hours until ceremony time and I'm a weather nerd so I had my radar up and running on my phone. A short time later a light rain fell outside ... but only for a few minutes. Not too long after that I received word from a friend in the bridal party (who happens to be a photographer as well) that the coordinator was setting up chairs under the tent.
This is the point where I stepped in rather then backing of and I spoke up.
"A 30% chance of rain only means there's a 70% chance it won't. That's pretty darn good odds." And whats the worst that could happen - people get a little wet? Thats just something they'll talk about after the wedding ... no big deal. I told Ashley I think she should have the ceremony outside. She trusted me completely and had a bridesmaid inform the coordinator of our decision. The chairs go outside. And I'll be honest, I checked the radar and looked outside obsessively from that point.
30 minutes before the ceremony the clouds start breaking.
15 minutes before the ceremony the sun makes its presence known.
Ceremony time. Sun is out. All is good. The ceremony is incredible. Admittedly, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Sarah + Bill booked me last minute.
Seriously, super last minute. Just 5 weeks out from their wedding date. And it wasn't an elopement or intimate wedding - it was a full event. A hundred + people, bridal party, and full ceremony and reception. At the time they booked me they only had the venue so there was a lot of work to be done. But man, they pulled it off. It ended up being spectacular! They scored an amazing day and Friedman Farms is one of my favorite wedding venues in Eastern PA. So if anyone that thinks you can't plan a wedding in a month or so show them this:
When I photographed Kim + John's engagement session on a super hot day last summer I knew their wedding was going to be amazing. Not because of the venue, details or location of pictures ... but because of how they were together as a couple. Kim + John wanted to get married ... hard. As a documentary photographer (for the most part) your goal is to freeze a moment in time that you think other people would deem as important and emotional. So when your clients offer up those moments to you with ease, you get excited to be there to witness and capture it.
Congratulations Kim + John!