Megan & Sean: Butler Country Club Wedding Photos

Comment

Megan & Sean: Butler Country Club Wedding Photos

I knew I was in for a treat from the moment I met Megan and Sean for their Historic Harmony engagement session this past winter! (Click here to check it out!) Kind, gracious, generous are just a few of the words I would use to describe this pair, and let me tell you - their friends and family fall right into that same category!

Megan and Sean's wedding day began with the ladies getting ready at Megan's parents' house - which just so happens to sit right on the edge of the Butler Country Club golf course! Her parents' house made the perfect backdrop for her gorgeous and classic bridal details - ranging from a dress bought at Kleinfeld's to the most beautiful jewelry and accessories! Though the threat of rain loomed throughout the day, it only sprinkled for all of five minutes on their day - regardless, Megan's parents have the most BEAUTIFUL front porch that we used from practically every angle for photos!

The ceremony took place at First United Methodist Church in the heart of Butler, which included a few personal touches, including a song sung by the bride's brother. It was beautiful!

After their formal exit, we headed back to the Butler Country Club for photos around the property, followed by a reception in the grand ballroom. The room was decked out in beautiful florals (by Julie James) and The Elite Show Band brought so much life to the party! There's nothing quite like a live band at a wedding!

Congratulations on your wedding day, and more importantly, on your marriage, Megan and Sean! Praying all the best for you two as you move forward into this next adventure!

Vendors:

Bride's Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal

Church: First United Methodist Church

Florist: Julie James

Cake: Pennies Bakery

Band/Entertainment: The Elite Show Band

Hair & Makeup: Salon Vivace

Reception: Butler Country Club

Videography: Nathan Kesneck Wedding Videography

Second Shooter: Ashley McLaughlin

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography

Comment

Frequently Asked Questions in the Bridal Getting Ready Suite

Comment

Frequently Asked Questions in the Bridal Getting Ready Suite

There are a few questions that are asked during almost EVERY bride/bridesmaid getting ready session. But why should you care about these questions? If you're a bride-to-be, a bridesmaid-to-be, a mother-in-law or a mother of the bride, knowing what could come up in advance could make you the most prepared person in the room for these questions that will most likely be asked!

Does anyone have any scissors?

Yes, this is probably the number one most frequently asked question in the bridal prep room! Tags and loose threads show up in large numbers on a wedding day in the bridal prep room. I recommend packing a little “bridal emergency” bag with scissors, thread & needle, hairspray, bobby pins, gum, tape, and any other items you think you might need!

Which leg does the garter go on?

The wedding garter is (traditionally) worn on the left leg, and the toss-away garter is worn on the right, both about 3 to 6 inches above the knee. But you can wear both on the same leg, if you’d like! But to be honest - it doesn't really matter that much! I actually took my garter off part of the way through my wedding day because it was so dang itchy!

When should my bridesmaids get dressed?

It’s best for bridesmaids to get dressed before the bride, along with the mother of the bride and anyone else helping the bride get into her dress. Why? For photo’s sake, having everyone out of their lounge clothes and into their formal attire to match the bride helps make the photos much more cohesive! Sweatpants and a wedding dress don't really go together ;)

Has anyone seen the rings?!

Just kidding about this one – but when this question is asked, it is scary! I’ve only been a part of one wedding where the rings were misplaced (i.e., left at the bride’s house) before the ceremony. But no worries – decoy rings were used, and the crowd didn’t even notice! The bride was thrown off a bit, though, as she had no idea they were missing until her husband went to slip the band on her finger! I would recommend having one person who is in charge of the rings to make sure they make it to the ceremony - just in case!

2017-06-20_0114.jpg

Comment

Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh: Favorite Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

2 Comments

Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh: Favorite Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

Alright friends, it's time for another installment of my favorite Pittsburgh wedding venues! Today, I’m excited to introduce you to another one of my favorites, located right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh: the Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh! MUCH, much different from my previous favorite wedding venues (Lingrow Farms, Shady Elms Farm), this hotel is a top favorite of mine for so many reasons!

In these venue highlights, I want to share some of my favorite attributes of each venue when it comes specifically to photos – mainly, why I love shooting there, how picturesque the venue is from a photographer’s point of view, and how rain could affect your wedding photos at each venue. My hope is to help viewers see the potential of each wedding venue I highlight specifically from a photography perspective so you can ensure that your photos will be gorgeous!

Picturesque:

My favorite thing about this venue: it used to be a BANK. That's right, a legitimate, functioning BANK. And they left all of the most beautiful parts for guests to enjoy, including a vault (which looks epic in photos) and tons of art deco, black and gold design all throughout the lobby. It's truly classic meets modern, and there are SO many options for bridal party, bride & groom, AND detail photos!

2017-10-26_0058.jpg

In addition to having a beautiful interior space, the Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh is one walk across the street away from Mellon Park, Strawberry Way, and only a few short blocks from other gorgeous and iconic downtown Pittsburgh locations!

This hotel also has a gorgeous and modern cocktail hour and ballroom space, and if you're feeling adventurous, Mellon Park lights up BEAUTIFULLY at night, making for some truly epic night time portraits!

Rain Plan:

This venue is definitely on your side in the case of rain. With BEAUTIFUL interior decoration, there are more than enough spaces to work with (though you might have a little trouble fitting everyone in if you have a huge bridal party!). I think I could have an entire bride & groom portrait session in the lobby and not even get bored! And don't even get me started on the elevators - most certainly the most gorgeous elevator doors I've ever seen!

Other Mentionables:

I feel like the photos speak for themselves with this one! You HAVE to check them out!!!

If you are a bride who is looking into Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh as a potential wedding venue, I would love to chat with you more! Feel free to email me directly at jhidingerphotography@gmail.com with any questions you might have!

2 Comments

What I've Learned Working at Home Full Time for Almost a Year

Comment

What I've Learned Working at Home Full Time for Almost a Year

For my entire life, I’ve dreamed of working from home. I envisioned working from bed in my PJ’s, powering through my work with no interruptions, and feeling oh-so fulfilled by my lack of daily human interaction.

How wrong I was.

Even with my more introverted tendencies, I learned quickly after my first few weeks of working from home full time that there are certain things that need to be added, avoided, and pursued in order to maintain a proper work-life balance. Within the first couple of months, I found myself irritable, angry, annoyed, and isolated – all because I hadn’t set up boundaries or any sort of schedule for myself when it came to work. I slowly learned that there are certain things I need to be intentional about when it comes to working from home.

1. I need to be intentional with my relationships.

Definitely one of my toughest challenges – because I’m such a home body! I love being at home, but working from home by myself means much less human interaction than when I worked in an office with other people – it’s actually much lonelier than I anticipated. I find that I have to work a little bit harder to build relationships because I’m not constantly around people. Setting up lunch dates, coffee breaks, and working with other freelancers or self-employed folks has helped me find ways to build relationships and leads me to my next point…

2. I need to be intentional about getting out of the house.

Being a homebody and an introvert can be a deadly combo. During a period of time last summer when I was working from home and had a break from photo sessions and weddings, I didn’t leave my house for a straight 56 hours. And by not leaving my house – I mean not even setting a foot outside of it. I was going insane by the end of those 56 hours and FINALLY decided that I needed to be intentional about actually leaving my house. Working from my favorite local coffee shop (Wunderbar Café), working with friends, and watching my parents dogs on the occasion have all given me good reasons to get out of the house!

3. I need to be intentional about setting specific work hours.

This is a tough one when you work from home. The wonderful thing about leaving an office is that you close the door and go home – so it’s easier for your brain to say hey, you’re done working for the day! (I know from experience that that’s not always as easy as it sounds, though!). But there’s something about working from home that, instead, makes your brain say hmmmm… I should be doing something right now. I answer emails on this couch during the day, maybe I should do it while I’m hanging out with my husband… And there goes the work-life balance, flying out the window. When I decided to set specific hours for when I work each day of the week, I had a much easier time shutting down my laptop (and my brain) and breaking that association of home equaling work (at least, breaking that constant connection of needing to work all the time!)

4. I need to be intentional about where I work in my home.

I used to work from my couch every SINGLE day. No desk. No chair. (I had both of those, though). I was just so much more comfortable on the couch than I was in my little office! But something strange started happening – when I was sitting on my couch and I wasn’t editing or answering emails, I felt panicked. It took every ounce of self control inside of me to NOT open my laptop at 11PM at night to get some extra work done – even though I knew in my brain that it wasn’t healthy. And to be honest, I failed a LOT at that.

With the help of some friends, I realized that my brain had made an association: sitting on the couch = work time. Not rest time. So every time I would try to simply sit on my couch and rest, all I could think about was work. Soon after realizing this, I knew I needed to be intentional about working in my office as often as I possibly could, and oh my goodness, has it made the biggest difference!

Do you have dreams of working from home? Or are you someone who works from home full time, too? If so, I'd love to connect! Drop a comment below or use the contact tab (above) to get in touch!

Comment

Kristin & Brian: Antonelli's Event Center Wedding Photos

2 Comments

Kristin & Brian: Antonelli's Event Center Wedding Photos

Kristin and Brian's colorful, bird-detailed wedding day was absolutely beautiful from start to finish! I had the pleasure of photographing these two about a month before their wedding day at Allegheny Commons Park (see their engagement photos here!) and as SOON as I started photographing them I could tell how oh-so-in-love they were!

The story of how they met is pretty much something you would see in a movie: Brian was a teller at a bank, and Kristin was a server at Eat'n Park (a little over three years ago). Kristin would come into the bank to deposit her tips, which is how she met Brian. After she met him, she tried to purposely make sure she would end up going to his counter - and soon after that, they had their first date. The rest is history, as they say!

If you don't happen to know it, Kristin is an insanely talented wedding and portrait photographer - which made her wedding even more of an honor to photograph!! When someone in the industry trusts you with their day, it's truly such an honor. Kristin also happens to be an avid bird watcher, and is something her and Brian now love to do together - which is why you'll see some bird themed detailed incorporated throughout her wedding day! There is even a huge bird MURAL in their church parking lot, which, of course, we had to incorporate into their photos! The mural even matched their wedding colors, which is so stinking amazing!

Kristin and Brian, it was truly such an incredible honor to be a part of your wedding day. I can't thank you enough for truly being two of the kindest souls to work with! So excited for you as you start their marriage journey!

Vendors

Church: Good Shepherd Church - Braddock, PA

Reception: Antonelli's Event Center

Invitations: Missy Hubans

Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridal Beginnings

Bride's Dress: Sorelle Bridal

Makeup Artist: Bailey Rae Beauty

DJ: 2nd II None Productions

Cake: Patti's Patisserie

Florist: Karen's Floral

Second Shooter: Sara Dinwiddie, Sara Lynn Photography

2 Comments

Megan A: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

Comment

Megan A: Hartwood Acres Senior Photos

Megan was such a joy to photograph for her senior photos!! She was incredibly easy to get along with and SUCH a natural in front of the camera - as a former basketball player, travel enthusiast, soon-to-be student of business, and incredibly kind person, I know Megan is going to do amazing things with her life. Thank you SO much for the honor of taking your senior portraits, Megan! So excited for you for this next adventure! 

Comment

What's More Important Than Choosing the Right College

Comment

What's More Important Than Choosing the Right College

I had a plan for my life, and photography and working for myself wasn't a part of it for a LONG time. When I graduated high school, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to go to school for graphic design and web design. I had this grand plan that I had made for myself: I'd graduate, get a job at a magazine or marketing agency and work in the corporate world. Nothing sounded better to me - getting to use my degree and my chosen career path to help businesses build better ways of connecting with their target customer?! Totally right up my alley!

Right after I started college, I began photographing people - portraits, weddings, families - and fell in love. I found myself answering business emails during class, editing during lectures, and putting literally ALL of my free time into hustling hard towards something I wasn't even going to college for.

By the time I graduated college, my business had gone from a side hobby to an (almost) full-time time commitment that was bringing in a decent chunk of change. Even after I graduated college, I still couldn't believe people were actually paying me to take their photo. It felt too surreal to actually get paid to do something I loved so much! But to be honest - I had never thought that photography was something I could actually do full time. I kind of thought that photography would remain a side hobby, or a way to make a little extra money alongside my "career" as a graphic & web designer. But goodness... was I wrong!!

After graduating college, I landed a part time job as a graphic, web, & digital designer for a small start up company right outside of Pittsburgh. Why part time, you might be wondering? Because I was literally putting SO many hours into my business that, at this point, it was basically like having a full time job. In some ways, I felt caught between two passions. On one hand, I LOVED graphic and web design. I had fallen in love with it during my college years and could fully see myself working as a graphic artist. But on the other hand - I loved photography so stinking much, and I finally recognized that this business had grown to a place where it could potentially turn into a way to support my husband and I.

I worked at the start up company for almost two years before I realized that there was no way in heck I could manage both anymore. I was working SO MANY hours every single week with barely any time for friends, family, or even my husband. Sad to move on, but excited to see what photography could turn into, I put in my two weeks at the agency and started making the transition to working for myself full time. And you know what's amazing? That's not something that I would've ever been able to do in my own strength, and it wasn't even something I had envisioned for myself. God's hand was all over those decisions, leading and guiding every single step of the way. And if I hadn't been following his leading, I probably would've missed out on all of the gifts and benefits that have come with working for myself. Sure, like anything, being self employed has its challenges, but when God is at the forefront driving the ship, I am free to live in the knowledge and peace that it's HIM who is leading me every step of the way.

Your career might change, but a kind, generous, loving heart will stick with you wherever you go

So now, to the high school senior, trying to decide what to do: make the best choice you can when you're trying to figure out what to do with your life. Be responsible. Find where your passion intersects with where you can make money, and go there. But know that that decision can change - anything can change! I thought I had a good plan, but God had a better one, and I'm sure He will keep leading me in different directions that I never ever could have planned for myself.

As a friend once said, "choosing which college you'll attend is not the most important decision you'll ever make in your life." And, really, you know what's way MORE important? Choosing to love people. Being kind. Serving others. Making the conscious decision to do THOSE things every single day are some of the MOST important decisions you will ever make. Your career might change, but a kind, generous, loving heart will stick with you wherever you go. People matter so much more than work. They matter more than any career or job you might pursue. And as you start pursuing those things - remember to make time for people.

Comment

Shady Elms Farm: Favorite Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

Comment

Shady Elms Farm: Favorite Pittsburgh Wedding Venues

I’m excited to introduce you to another one of my favorite Pittsburgh wedding venues: Shady Elms Farm! This eclectic, whimsical farm is full of drop-dead gorgeous details and sweeping Western Pennsylvania views that leave this little photographer's heart oh-so-happy! 

In these venue highlights, I want to share some of my favorite attributes of each venue when it comes specifically to photos – mainly, why I love shooting there, how picturesque the venue is from a photographer’s point of view, and how rain could affect your wedding photos at each venue. My hope is to help viewers see the potential of each wedding venue I highlight specifically from a photography perspective so you can ensure that your photos will be gorgeous!

Picturesque:

Like I mentioned in the intro, if you're looking for a picturesque spot to have your wedding - this is it. Shady Elms Farm not only has a beautiful farmhouse and barns that can be incorporated into your photos, but also has fields, lines of trees, a pond (if you're brave, a canoe!), and sweeping mountain views. Really, what more could you need?! I feel like you have to see the photos to believe it!

In addition to being all-around beautiful, sunset is extra magical up on the hill above the farm. It's definitely worth sneaking away from your reception for a few minutes for some epic golden hour photos!

Rain Plan:

Though I've never photographed a rainy day wedding at Shady Elms, there are lots of spots that could be used in the case of rain! There is a deck on the front of the farmhouse, as well as a covered pavillion in the back! In past years, the inside of farmhouse has also been open for use in the case of inclement weather and is adorable inside!

Other Mentionables:

Aside from being stunning from pretty much every angle, Shady Elms Farm also has the kindest, most pleasant people you would hope to work with on your wedding day. Who doesn't want to work with amazing people on their wedding day?!

Shady Elms Farm also does ALL of the florals for the weddings they host - which totally blows my mind, because they are some of the most beautiful bouquets I've ever seen!

If you are a bride who is looking into Shady Elms Farm as a potential wedding venue, I would love to chat with you more! Feel free to email me directly at jhidingerphotography@gmail.com with any questions you might have!

Comment

5 Unexpected Things to Factor Into Your Wedding Timeline

Comment

5 Unexpected Things to Factor Into Your Wedding Timeline

Have you ever planned a wedding day timeline?! The task can seem daunting to say the very least! How long does hair and makeup take? How long will it take to get enough bride and groom photos? When will you have time to go to the bathroom?!

While all vendor related questions can be answered specifically by your wedding vendor (and I highly recommend reaching out to vendors to get a time estimate for how long each part of the day could potentially take!), I’d love to share five unexpected events I frequently come across on wedding days that are sometimes not given enough time in the “official” wedding timeline (causing day-of events to run behind), or just not accounted for at all. The key to an awesome timeline is to be prepared in advance – so here are my top tips for you, bride-to-be! Don’t forget to factor in:

1. TRAVEL TIME

This is a big one, but can sometimes be overlooked even by even the most detailed planners! Travel time from the getting ready location to the ceremony, from the ceremony to the photo location, and from the photo location to the reception can sometimes eat up a significant amount of time on a wedding day. On top of that, party busses, limos, and trolleys are required by law to drive below the speed limit – which means longer travel time.

Tip: If you plan on renting a party bus, add an extra ten to fifteen minutes onto any travel time during the wedding day.

2. A RECEIVING LINE

Receiving lines can be great for getting to greet each guest, but before you decide on a receiving line, think about this: you’ll probably want to talk to at least each of your guests for a minute or so (trust me, I was a bride once!), because many of them you won’t have seen in months or even years. If you have 150 guests, your receiving line could take up to 150 minutes, or over two hours.

Tip: Check in with all of your guests during dinner! During the reception, typically the timeline is a bit more relaxed and you’ll actually have an hour to an hour and a half during dinner to greet everyone individually (plus, everyone will be happy because they’ll be getting fed, too!)

3. THE BUSTLING OF THE DRESS

Bustling a dress can be a LOT harder than you would think! Some bustles can have up to 20 different hooks and/or buttons, so if you have a dress with an intricate bustle, make sure you leave some time to bustle up!

Tip: Leave an extra 10 to 15 minutes before your reception begins for your bridesmaids to bustle you!

4. LINING UP TO ENTER THE RECEPTION

This is one area where I see a lot of disconnect. The DJ typically likes to have 10 minutes or so to set up each couple for their grand entrance – making sure they have name pronunciation right and the entrance order correct.

Tip: Ask your DJ how much time he/she needs to set up for the grand entrance, and allot that into your timeline. This way, you’ll keep your guests happy (who are expecting to be fed at a certain time!)

5. SOME SORT OF MISHAP

Anything can happen on a wedding day, from a bridesmaid running behind to makeup/hair taking longer than expected – whatever the case, I highly recommend leaving a few “buffers” in your timeline, just in case something unexpected and out of your control happens. That way, you can rest assured that you have more than enough time and leeway in your timeline to keep the day on pace!

Former brides, bridesmaids, grooms, and family members: is there anything you would add to the list? Leave your best timeline tips in the comments below!

Comment