4 Quick Tips for Avoiding Glasses Glare in Photos

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4 Quick Tips for Avoiding Glasses Glare in Photos

Ever since I started wearing glasses daily a year and a half ago, I became much more conscious of how glasses photograph. The first pair of glasses I purchased had regular old lenses, which meant that they reflected everything around them – and the reflection was especially noticeable in photos (and made it so hard to drive at night!!). Glare on glasses has the ability to block the eyes (aka the windows to the soul ;) ), and when you’re getting your portrait taken… having clear, in focus eyes are definitely one of the most important pieces to the overall photo!

So, when it comes to your senior, engagement, wedding, and family photos, it’s important to be prepared in advance so the glare on your glasses can be reduced!

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WHAT CAUSES GLARE ON GLASSES?

The reflection (or glare) that often happens on lenses comes from the light that’s being used to light the subject reflecting off of the lens. It may come from the sun, or a reflective building or sidewalk, or from an artificial reflector (i.e., a big shiny circle disc used to “bounce” light back onto a person’s face!).

Personally, I always use a reflector during my portraits sessions (and sometimes during my engagement sessions and weddings, too!) because it helps 1) light the eyes, 2) make the skin extra creamy, and 3), further illuminate my subject, causing them to “pop” a bit more off of the background. Because of this, I like to try and let my clients know ahead of time what their options are when it comes to reducing the glare on their lenses so that I can use my reflector to achieve the style that my clients have come to know, love, and expect!

If you wear glasses and are hoping to reduce lens glare, below are a few of my top tips and tricks!

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WAYS TO AVOID THE GLARE

1.     Opt for non-reflective lenses

If you want to wear glasses in your photos, one of the best things you can do happens when you buy your new frames: opt for non-reflective lenses. Non-reflective lenses greatly diminish the amount of glare in your glasses that can be caught on camera on a bright, sunny day!

2.     Pop out the glass of an old pair of frames

If you have an old pair of frames that you still love and want that glasses-look in your photos, consider popping out a pair of lenses on some old frames. That way, you’ll be able to have the look without the reflection!

3.     Ask your frames provider to borrow a sample pair

This tip came straight from some very smart clients of mine! I once had a groom who wanted to wear his glasses for his wedding photos, but realized that he did not have non-reflective lenses – so he went to the store where he bought his frames and asked if he could borrow a sample pair of glasses for his wedding day (did you know that most sample frames have non-reflective lenses?). They let him, and the photos turned out amazing! Whether you’re having engagement, wedding, senior, or family photos taken, this is a great option if you want the look of your own frames in your photos without a reflection!

4.     Wear contacts

My very last tip that you might want to consider: completely removing your glasses. If glasses aren’t that important to you, opt for wearing contacts instead, or simply take your glasses off!

That’s it for now, friends! If you’d like to hear some additional tips on what to wear for your photo session, feel free to leave a comment below!

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Leah & Greg: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh Wedding Photos

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Leah & Greg: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh Wedding Photos

It’s hard to know where to start with these two, and hard to explain what an honor being a part of this day was for us. The first time I met Leah and Greg at their initial meeting over two years before their wedding date, I knew that I had stumbled upon a gem of a couple. We spent the evening - two and a half hours, to be exact - at a coffee shop, talking about all things wedding, marriage, and DISNEY related (for those of you who might not know, my husband and I are huge Disney fans!), only to learn that Leah used to live in California within easy driving distance of a Disney Land (not to be confused with Disney World in Florida!).

Of course, our mutual love of Disney, along with their incredible kindness and hospitality, built the foundation for not just an amazing business to client relationship, but a friendship! 💛 And I’m so thankful that showing up on their wedding day felt like showing up to photograph a friend’s day (as many of our wedding days tend to feel like with couples we get to know beforehand - it’s such a blessing!).

Leah and Greg’s entire wedding day took place, from start to finish, at the Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh, which has quickly become one of my favorite wedding venues in Pittsburgh! It’s fairly easy to get to, right across from Mellon Square, and in the heart of downtown.

As a true-blue (or should I say… black and gold?) Pittsburgh couple, Leah and Greg incorporated so many Pittsburgh-themed details into their wedding day, along with lots of details representative of the two of them! A few of my personal favorites included: Pittsburgh themed welcome bags for guests, mini Heinz Ketchup bottles as favors (big ketchup fan over here!!), a surprise visit from Iceburgh (the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot), Pittsburgh Popcorn at the reception, pierogies as a late night snack, and a mini remote control firetruck that acted as the “ring bearer” for the ceremony (totally adorable!).

Our evening with Leah and Greg ended with a walk to the Roberto Clemente bridge for some epic night photos in their most favorite city! And, truly - we couldn’t have asked for a better day! Leah and Greg, we are SO honored to know you both - it was such an honor to be a part of your day! We love you guys!

And without further ado - here are Leah and Greg’s wedding photos! 🎉

VENDORS:

Ceremony & Reception: Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh

Bride & Bridesmaid Bouquets: Sapphire and Lace

Floral Centerpieces & Cake Flowers: Alex’s Floral Shoppe

Cake: Bethel Bakery

DJ: John Wiggins

Hair & Makeup: Hannah Conrad Beauty

Bride’s Dress: MB Bride

Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie

Invitation: Minted

Photo Booth: Lux Photobooth

Harpist: Marissa Knaub Avon

Calligraphy: Victoria Fiaretti

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5 Things to Remember if it Rains on Your Wedding Day

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5 Things to Remember if it Rains on Your Wedding Day

Just typing the title of this blog post makes me FEEL uncomfortable! 🙈 Almost no one hopes for rain on their wedding day, and sometimes it’s even hard to think about rain being a possibility – but if you live somewhere with crazy weather patterns (like Pittsburgh!) sometimes there will be a chance of rain or inclement weather.

If you’re a bride who has rain in the weather forecast for her wedding day, or a bride who’s afraid of having rain in the forecast for her wedding day, know that this blog post is for you. Know that there’s nothing I hope for more for my own brides than for their day to be beautiful, warm, and sunny.

But also know that what matters more than the rain itself is what you do with it, and the lens through which you choose to view the rain (or potential rain) on your wedding day.

Here are five things to remember if it rains on your wedding day:

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 1.     You will still be married at the end of the day, even if it rains.

This might be the most cliché response to rain on a wedding day, but truly – this is the attitude you want to have if it rains on your wedding day. Even if it rains – you still get to marry your best friend. The rain doesn’t automatically nix the significance of that event – don’t let it steal the joy and anticipation that has been building over the months (or years) that you’ve spent waiting for this day to get here! You still have a lifetime of beautifully, sunny days ahead of you. So don’t let on rainy day ruin the significance of what’s taking place!

2.     You have the opportunity to get some really unique photos!

Couples are usually upset about the rain if they: 1) planned an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, and 2) were planning on having their photos taken outside. Which, trust me – I totally understand. I married my husband in an outdoor ceremony, so the thought of rain on our wedding day kind of made me want to cry. But when it came to my photos, I knew that we were in good hands. We hired a professional photographer who I knew could deliver… rain or shine. And I knew that she had tricks up her sleeve – and could deliver unique, beautiful photos, even in the case of rain, which was so important in keeping my peace of mind!

As a sort of side note, another way to have a little bit more peace of mind when it comes to weather on your wedding day is to hire a wedding planner or day of coordinator. That way, your wedding planner or coordinator can execute your rain plan without you having to worry about everything that needs to change!

3.     Umbrellas and rain boots will be your best friend, so make sure you have a ton on hand!

Don’t forget about the umbrellas! Your bridal party, family, and guests will be oh-so thankful if you have a bundle of umbrellas that can be used by everyone on the day of. And for you – don’t forget to bring a pair of rain boots, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your wedding shoes while running between locations!

4. You can always redo (or touch up) your hair and makeup.

Alright, for the ladies in the house, this one could be LIFE CHANGING. One of the main things us ladies worry about when it comes to our wedding day is paying money for hair and makeup, only to have it all wash off/out in the rain - right? Well, if it looks like it might rain on your wedding day.. bring some extra styling supplies with you! You can always touch up your hair or makeup if you’ve been out in the rain. I know it might not be the same as your hair stylist or makeup artist (those people are magicians!) but truly, it’s better than nothing. And chances are, even if you can’t replicate the same hair/makeup look yourself, you’ll have a bridesmaid with a talent for beauty!

5.     Your state of mind and attitude will set the tone for the rest of the wedding day.

This is a tough one to write, because I know that, as a bride, it’s a tough one to hear. You and your fiancé are the center of the celebration, so you set the tone for the wedding day, whether you realize it or not.

I learned this lesson early on in my wedding photography career, noting how the bride’s (and groom’s) words, actions, and reactions can shape the day not only for herself, but for the people around her. If the bride is having a major meltdown over something that went wrong, that reaction ripples throughout her wedding day – unless she can gain control of her emotions and remember what’s important. The same is true in the opposite way. If the bride is focused on what’s important and refuses to let anything diminish the significance of the day, others around her will pick up on her attitude and adopt the same.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from a wedding of mine in 2018. I worked with the sweetest couple who just had the worst luck when it came to weather. It rained for most of their engagement session. Then on the day of their bridal shower. And then, for the couple’s entire wedding day, it rained. There was barely even one moment where it stopped. I felt so terrible! And of course, there were moments of panic and tears – that is sometimes inevitable and unavoidable! But what I admire so much about this bride is how she and her new-husband made the very best out of it. They still had an amazing time, and even took advantage of the rain by going out in it for a few photos! I was totally in awe of their attitudes and unrelenting desire to move past the rain and remember what was really important: their marriage, each other, and their friends and family.

So if you’re thinking that rain might end up being a part of your wedding day… don’t let it dampen what’s truly important. The last thing you’ll want to do is look back on your wedding day and remember having a miserable time. This day is a day that happens once in a lifetime, so enjoy it, rain or shine!

And if you’re looking for more tips on how to deal with rain on your wedding day, check out this additional blog post for tips for how to manage rain when it comes to your photos!

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Lauren + Cody: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake Wedding Photos

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Lauren + Cody: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake Wedding Photos

The first time Cody saw Lauren was when she came in for an interview at Red Robin, where he works. After she left, he said to the manager: "hire her, she's gorgeous!" Not long after, they started dating, got engaged, and began building a family... and this May, on one of the most beautiful Pittsburgh spring days, they became husband and wife!

I was lucky enough to be introduced to these two through my mother-in-law, who babysat Lauren when she was a little girl - and even though we were there as photographers, we felt like part of the family throughout the entire day, celebrating right alongside them! 💛

I actually had the pleasure of working with Lauren and Cody not just once for their engagement photos before their wedding (click here to see their downtown Beaver engagement photos!), but also for some family photos just a few short years ago (click here to see their Moraine State Park family photos!). I always love being able to get people in front of the camera before their wedding day so they know what to expect!

I love how many personal details were included in Lauren and Cody’s wedding day, lovingly made possible by close friends and family! For one, Lauren’s invitations were custom designed by her Maid of Honor (and are GORGEOUS!), and her flowers were all put together by the Maid of Honor’s mother Denise Silvestri.

But even more than the personal details, gorgeous venue, and beautiful weather, what stood out most about Lauren and Cody’s wedding day was the bond these two share. Before even uttering their vows, it’s easy to see that they had long been living them out in their relationship - for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health. Lauren and Cody - here’s to many more years of love and laughter for you and your sweet family! Thank you so much for the honor of being a part of your day - congratulations on your marriage! 💛

Vendors:

Ceremony & Reception: The Gathering Place at Darlington Lake

Makeup: Bailey Rae Makeup

Hair: Ashley’s Mobile Studio

Bride’s Dress: M'Kaysha Bridal, made by Stella York

Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridal Boutique in Mt. Lebanon

Invitations: Designed by the Maid of Honor, Abbey Hlista

Florals: Maid of Honor’s Mom, Denise Silvestri

Officiant: Ceremony Offciants

Cake: Bella Christie & Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique

Catering: Medure’s Catering

DJ: Bruce Matteo

Videography: Dana Lynn

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer: Jenna Hidinger Photography

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Hartwood Acres Family Photos

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Hartwood Acres Family Photos

Family sessions don't necessarily have to be just immediate family - especially when Grandma asks for some photos of her three kids and two grandkids altogether as her birthday gift! It was an honor to take these photos for such a thoughtful gift. Happy birthday to Grandma! 🎉

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Communicating Style & Aesthetic to Your Wedding Photographer

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Communicating Style & Aesthetic to Your Wedding Photographer

When I first started photographing weddings, a seasoned wedding photographer told me: “All weddings are literally the same. The only thing that changes are the people – but besides that, everything is the same from weekend to weekend.”

While the wedding day might have a similar set up or timeline with getting ready photos, followed by a first look or ceremony, followed by portraits, then a reception, after photographing 100+ weddings, I would argue that so many things change from weekend to weekend, making each wedding completely unique. The general, skeletal framework may remain – but things are always changing.

For one, the couple changes, which changes the vibe of the day itself. I might have a quiet, romantic, love-to-be-close-to-each-other couple one weekend, then an outgoing, silly, fun, crazy couple the next – which, consequently, changes the way I photograph them, always keeping me on my toes! Likewise, I might have a laid back wedding on a farm one weekend, and an upscale, black tie wedding the next.

You might be wondering, “but why does this matter?”

Because the aesthetic of each wedding is so different – from the couple themselves, to the venue, to the theme, to the styling and décor – I’ve found that weddings can start to feel the same when I’m unaware of what makes each wedding unique.

Now, there are a few things I do in advance to get the general vibe of a wedding day. For example:

  • I always try and chat with the couple before they book to talk about their pending style and aesthetic (but I do know that a lot can change from when you start wedding planning to when the wedding actually happens!)

  • Which is why I send a follow up questionnaire a few months before the wedding day to get some of the more solid details, like the colors, theme, and other specific details.

  • I also check out the venues and photo locations beforehand. Most venues each have a personality all their own! A wedding that takes place on a farm in a barn has a much different feel than one that takes place in a historical hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.

When I know in advance what makes a wedding unique, I can plan. (And boy do I love planning! No, that’s not sarcasm! ;) ). From the portraits, to the details, to everything in between, knowing the vision, aesthetic, and style behind a wedding helps me come prepared from the get go. Your photographer can gather a lot of things from who you are and from the locations you choose, but there are some things that can only be communicated by you: like the theme, style, and aesthetic. And communicating these things in advance to your photographer can actually give you better images!

Let me share a few of my favorite examples:

FALL WEDDING AT SHADY ELMS FARM

This wedding is by far one of my favorite examples of communicating style and aesthetic beforehand, and how it can have a profound impact on your wedding day!

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When Lyndsay (the bride) first started the conversation with me about her wedding day, she had a true vision: bright, colorful, laid back, classy barn elegance. She painted a vision of colorful florals and eclectic details, which made it easy for me to make style based decisions on their wedding day.

PORTRAITS

While we had a few portrait locations planned for Lyndsay and Justin’s wedding day, and all of them were nature focused. But before this shot - none of them had a ton of bright, bold color, like she had talked about during our numerous emails, phone calls, and final planning meeting. When I showed up the day of the wedding, I knew that to create cohesion between the bridal details, reception details, and portraits, it would be helpful to include some portraits with bright color! The scene in the photo above stood out to me as THE perfect spot to bridge the style gap in their day, and to make some of their portraits cohesive with the bright, bold style of their details!

BRIDAL DETAILS

And - speaking of details - knowing the vision and style of the wedding before I showed up on their wedding day helped me make styling choices cohesive with the vision of the wedding. For example, you’ll notice that the invitation below is very simple (and gorgeous - designed by the bride!). I knew when I saw it that I wanted to bring something bright and colorful into the frame in order to really make the shot “pop” and match the style of the wedding. Lucky for me, Shady Elms Farm does all of the floral arrangements for their weddings, so I was able to simply ask them for a few extra flowers to frame the invitation with. I also chose a bright yellow ring box to compliment the vibrant color palette, creating a photo of the invitation that complimented the style of the rest of the wedding day!

Knowing that Lyndsay was planning on having lots of eclectic details at the wedding also gave me the understanding that I could fill my background a bit more with different textures and details. Also, when I think of a farm, I think of overgrowth, flowers, plants, etc., a vibe which I feel was matched through the way the details were photographed!

EARLY FALL WEDDING IN DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH

Now, we’ll contrast the farm wedding above with a classy black tie city wedding below! Next up: Janelle and Josh’s Embassy Suites Downtown Pittsburgh wedding!

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I had a clear understanding of Janelle and Josh’s wedding from the emails we exchanged and the questionnaires they filled out - when I saw their wedding venue, I saw it to be the perfect match of everything she had described to me: a classy, modern, black tie city wedding. And knowing some of the more specific style details in advance helped me make location choices for both the portraits and for the details that were consistent with the overall feel of the wedding!

PORTRAITS

We’ll start with the portraits! Choosing locations for Janelle and Josh’s wedding was quite easy, knowing that 1) they were having a classy affair, and 2) they wanted to showcase the city. So when it came to their portraits, you’ll notice in the slideshow below portraits that showcase the city (on the street, with buildings in the background, in the iconic Pittsburgh Strawberry Way), and, since their wedding was so perfectly colored to match their reception venue, photos in the venue that provide that classy, upscale feel!

BRIDAL DETAILS

Sometimes I struggle with finding the perfect spot to photograph bridal details, because I want the backgrounds (including colors) of each detail shot to compliment the photos from the rest of the wedding. With Janelle and Josh’s wedding… I knew as soon as I walked into the hotel that their details had to be shot in the lobby! And lucky for me, since I had enough information style and aesthetic wise to know what they were looking for in advance, I was able to choose specific locations in the lobby I would use for their details photos beforehand. Which was so helpful the day of the wedding! I was able to work faster on the details because I had already formulated a plan!

In addition to knowing that elements in the lobby of the hotel would make excellent backdrops for their details, I was able to bring a few extra elements with me on the wedding day to use for styling, because I had an idea of what would compliment the details. For example, in the invitation suite photo below, the only elements that were from the bride were the shoes, the invitation suite, and the purse. The lace, gold box, leaves, and small flowers were items I brought with me to enhance the set up!

WHY STYLE & AESTHETIC MATTERS TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

In summary, when a photographer knows the style and aesthetic of a wedding beforehand, they can…

  • Help recommend portrait locations that fit the style of the overall wedding, helping to create a cohesive gallery from the wedding day that tells the story of the day through each section of the day.

  • Be prepared to photograph bridal details by either choosing a location in advance, or bringing styling elements to help further compliment and tell the story of those details, and of the wedding as a whole.

  • Focus more on the couple, bridal party, and family members. At least, for me this is true! When I know more in advance, I prepare more in advance, which frees up some of my brain space to focus on the people immediately around me - rather than on trying to find the perfect spot to photograph the invitation suite!

WHAT TO COMMUNICATE

If you’re a bride reading this, you might be wondering: what would be helpful to communicate to my photographer about my style and aesthetic beforehand? Below are a few pieces of information that are personally helpful for me to know before going into a wedding day!

  • What the invitation suite looks like. Even better if you can send me one beforehand!

  • Your wedding colors.

  • What your dress looks like. The bride’s dress tends to set the tone and style for the wedding as a whole!

  • What type and color of florals you’ll be using in your bouquets and boutonnieres.

MORAL OF THE STORY

So, the more of the story: don’t forget to communicate your style and aesthetic to your wedding photographer! In fact, make it a priority! For any couples who book their wedding with me, I send out a questionnaire a few months before the wedding with a few questions about style to get a better idea of the aesthetic beforehand so I can come prepared. That, along with checking out the reception and ceremony venue beforehand, give me a better understanding into each couple’s day, and the best way I can go about approaching the day and preparing beforehand.

But to any of my couples who might be reading this: never hesitate to over communicate on style and aesthetic to me! As someone who’s invested in your day, I love to be prepared for each and every wedding I photograph to the very best of my ability.

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Ed & Meghan: Pittsburgh Station Square Proposal

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Ed & Meghan: Pittsburgh Station Square Proposal

Ed reached out to me almost two months before he was planning on proposing to his then girlfriend, now fiancé, Meghan. The plans changed throughout the months, but after dating for a year and a half, one thing remained the same: Ed was so ready to pop the question and ask Meghan to embark on a new adventure: marriage!

After a few different ideas, Ed landed on a plan: dinner at Texas de Brazil at Station Square, then a walk along the riverwalk, where he would pretend to be taking photos of Meghan, have her turn around towards the skyline, pull out the ring, then have her look back at the camera, where he would be waiting, down on one knee (which was the perfect cover plan, since Ed is a photographer as well!). For two Pittsburgh lovers, the spot was PERFECT!

The week of the proposal, though, Pittsburgh threw us a curveball: flooding, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes (oh my!). There were talks of potentially changing the date, but in the end, Ed was all in for keeping things as they were - regardless of the weather (like a true Pittsburgh champ!).

The day of the proposal came around, and Nick and I had made it to Station Square, even though 79 was partially shut down! Upon our arrival, we scoped out the scene, and then heard some loud beeping coming from our phones, signaling warnings for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes heading our way. We huddled under a covering and waited, wondering what the weather would look like when Ed and Meghan made their way out to the Station Square canopy overlooking the skyline!

It was raining rather hard when we first caught a glimpse of them. Thankfully, Nick was there to hold an umbrella for me, and we casually strolled around the fountain at Station Square, pretending to be tourists taking photos of the skyline (Meghan will have to tell us if we actually looked like tourists, though 😉). As soon as Ed turned Meghan towards the skyline, we ran over to catch the moment where she turned back around in utter shock and excitement! And then, not 30 seconds after Ed proposed, the sky completely cleared, and the sun came out. And it stayed that way for the remainder of the evening.

Ed and Meghan, it was an incredible honor to document this moment for you both. Congratulations on your engagement! 💛

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Racquel E: Hartwood Acres Mansion Senior Photos

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Racquel E: Hartwood Acres Mansion Senior Photos

Racquel is a senior whose week of high school was the week of her senior session! She is planning on attending WVU post-graduation for biology, with hopes of becoming an occupational therapist.

What better way to finish out the last week of senior year than with some senior photos? 💛 Congratulations on being finished with your senior year, Racquel! You are just the sweetest!

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Megan + Richard: Montour Heights Country Club Wedding Photos

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Megan + Richard: Montour Heights Country Club Wedding Photos

A girl (Megan) from Pennsylvania and a guy (Richard) from Wales meet in an online chat room for Paramore fans. They start talking, become friends, and then, years later, begin dating.

Mid-May, they celebrated their movie-like love story by exchanging rings and saying vows in the church where Megan's mom and Grandma both were married, years before. With so many details representing them both, along with their unique relationship, including: Disney music on the violin before the ceremony, the groomsmen walking in to the church to Lord of the Rings music, a small, white Bible with gold lettering carried down the aisle by Megan that was carried by her mother and grandmother before, lilies in the floral arrangements (the official flower of Whales), a sand ceremony utilizing sand from a beach and Whales and a park in Pennsylvania, and a cake topped with the word "cariad" (the Welsh word for "love") - their day was beautiful, romantic, and full of so much joy - and so incredibly personal to them!

Megan and Richard, it was an honor to be a part of your wedding day. Thank you for the incredible honor!

Vendors:

Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church (Beaver Falls)

Reception: Montour Heights Country Club

Florals: Patti’s Petals

Cake: Cakes by Brenda McGee

DJ: Steven Vance Entertainment

Makeup: Marie Miclot

Hair: Revelation Hair Designs

Bride’s Dress: Mary’s Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Invitation Suite: Blake Pawelec

Decorating: Vintage Alley Rentals

Calligraphy: Simply Stated Lettering

Cupcakes: Batter and Dough

Room Blocks: Courtyard Marriott

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography: Jenna Hidinger Photography

A huge thank you to Taylor Dymond for being an amazing second shooter on this wedding day!