It was cool outside.
With rain tickling the windshield, I could hear the tiny squeaking of my wiper blades as they squeezed the droplets off of my windshield. As I was making my way down I-83, I was rolling over the rain plan in my head for Kelly and Tyler’s wedding celebration. It’s the one thing we can never change but also the one thing we photographers always prepare so hard for. I took a turn into the small town of Mt. Washington located in northern Baltimore. My wheels rumbled as they rolled across the old cobblestone road. I had arrived and it was time to grab my camera but more importantly my umbrella. My first stop was DK Salon where the Bridal Party was being prepped for their wedding day appearance. The salon was bigger than I had expected with white tile floors and bright studio lighting. I looked down the main aisle and there I saw my bride and longtime friend of roughly 15 years, Kelly Gorman. Beside her stood one of her bridesmaids, Megan, who is also another longtime friend of mine from about the same length of time. Our number one thing in common is that we grew up riding horses together. Who would have thought that through horses and then all these years later we would be brought together again in this way? Anything is possible.
The girls stood snacking on nutrigrains and sparkling water as Kelly was having her bridal makeup applied. I snapped away capturing the details of this smaller scale wedding preparation. While the girls waited, they had rain bonnets affixed to their heads, so to shield their up-do’s from the falling rain. As everybody was ready to return to the hotel, I caught a look out the window and the rain had appeared to slow down. This had me hopeful for the following photographs of the day. I hopped in the car and rolled down the street to the hotel where I would meet up with my videographer, Bo. We walked up the hill and in through the double doors to see Kelly and her family welcoming us aboard. We zipped into the elevator and with a ding the doors flew open in front of the Bridal Suite.
I began product placement of everything as Bo readied his video camera and lenses.
The hotel hallway had a gorgeous sense of natural light - I think I found our main stage for full-dress details. We leapt into action. I began product placement of everything as Bo readied his video camera and lenses. The girls casually mingled and then began getting into their wedding day garb. We took a break and headed downstairs to meet with Tyler and his groomsmen for some portraits by the bar. There was a ton of laughter and camaraderie that I froze with my lens and stored onto my memory card. This was certainly a fun bunch of guys posed with the dads - each flanking the group. Bo continued to roll detailed coverage of each interaction.
We rode the elevator back up to our ladies where we entered to the ringing sound of giggling laughter. Somebody’s zipper hook was’t latching properly but in time they thankfully got it attached. Kelly began prep to get into her dress with her maid of honor supporting her for each phase. She stepped into the long trained body, filing its feminine form with every bit of her beauty. I clicked away rapidly as the window light painted her pale skin with the most angelic and overcast glow. I sat her down on the bench by the window and we got rolling with her bridal portrait session - the girls stood circled around us in awe of Kelly’s radiance. Once finished, we made our way down to the cars and then hit the gas.
We had a wedding to get to!
Bo and I rolled up to the Mill, queue the rumbling tire sounds on the old cobblestone streets. The valet services greeted us at the entrance and we dashed inside with all of our bags and each piece of gear needed. Our groomsmen waited past the glass and inside the foyer entrance. They stood their greeting guests while flashing graphic print socks beneath the ankles of their grey dress pants. I turned around and saw Kelly’s ride roll up to the entrance. It was time to get ready for the first look. The Mt. Washington Mill and Dye House was an elegant yet rustic spot with ample amounts of brick, stone and wooden textures. My eyes found the best spot out of the drizzle and bathed in natural light just beneath the barn opening. I kept Tyler close to me smiling in my direction as I caught Kelly waking up behind him with her parents Lynn and Bob escorting the train of her dress behind her. Kelly paused as Tyler turned around and all my lens saw was nothing short of smiles and happy tears. We caught them in their moments together and then with Kelly’s parents just as it grew time for the ceremony to get started.
Guests wandered to their seats down a short aisle flanked with antique wooden chairs adorned in elegant, floral arrangements. Each side to the aisle had illuminated lanterns flickering in the warm, overhead lighting. Live music began from a guitarist sitting in the far back of the room. Each member of the wedding party trotted down the aisle and separated at the altar to their respective positions. And then, Tyler’s eyes lifted and the music changed. Kelly, guided by her father, walked into the room and made her way down the aisle. Everyone’s attention was directly in the middle as her dress train floated behind her. They made it to the front and Kelly’s father passed her on to Tyler. They joined hands and then embarked on their wedding ceremony moments together.
The officiant began the ceremony with the story of a girl and a boy at State College. And how, well, this girl and this boy met at school and well they liked each other. And then, well, this girl and boy started a life together after school as two young adults in the world. THEN they were still together for years and others thought “are they ever going to get married?”… And finally, Tyler asked Kelly for forever. This silly love story was soon followed by words of wisdom and quickly rolled into life promises to each other. And there they were. FINALLY getting married after what I think was mentioned as 10 years later? The music rolled and these two Nittany Lions said there biggest We Are in front of everyone in the room. Forever together and forever a PSU Family. This particularly hit home for me as I was navigating around capturing every angle of this moment. Just months before, I had the privilege of both capturing and taking part in another We Are Married proclamation. I myself also stem from a PSU Family and of course didn’t hesitate at all for Kelly and Tyler’s PSU union.
Cocktail hour came upon us like a steaming train. The doors to the wedding hall flew open as the wedding party and then guests poured out in excitement. It was finally time to capture my wedding group together, now that they were freshly connected for forever. Up against the big brick wall in the main courtyard, we arranged everybody for group shots first and then ventured on to model each member on a large metal staircase out front. We steamed through our bridesmaids and then groomsmen with nothing but laughter for our cameras, and then, guess what? Did I mention the rain had ceased just as cocktail hour got started!? We had lovely soft lighting with not a single raindrop in sight! Queue the new Mr. and Mrs. for their closeups. First, I focused heavily on Kelly’s lovely eyes behind her stunning bridal bouquet. Then resting her head on his chest, I encapsulated hers and Tyler’s newly married passion in such a tender time together. We worked our way outward to start to encompass the surrounding environment of the venue with its beautiful, rustic details. My favorite snap came along with Kelly and Tyler between the two lion statues out in front of the Mill - they were also decorated as a bride and groom with the proper attire.
I scurried around to get the dining and dance halls dressed with my lighting equipment. I wanted to be perfectly ready for the paparazzi entrance of our wedding reception. The DJ rang the music as all the members walked in. Flash by flash we caught every joyous entrance in the silliest freeze-frames. All gravitated to their seats for dinnertime toasts to celebrate our very happy newlyweds. There was a point in time where horses were of course brought up as a topic of discussion. To be honest, If it weren’t for the Listrani Family’s Walnut Pond Farm and their successful riding program, this opportunity here would would have very unlikely happened for me. As special toasts were made to honor Kara, Allie, Eileen and Richard Listrani - I thanked them all silently from the back of the room. I closed my eyes and remembered the days that Kelly, Megan and I would be at the farm riding and having the times of our lives. I love those days and miss them dearly. I will never forget any bit of it.
It was soon time for small plates to be passed around and then dinner to be served. I gave everybody’s eyes a break from the paparazzi as I departed with Bo for our vendor meal time. The food was delicious - thank you so much, Kelly and Tyler and of course, Copper Kitchen!
And then, the dance party emerged. Wild music and bodies rang around the room - we had so much fun! Some of the best dance moves were captured - there might have even been someone holding a chair in the air! What did I say, these are Nittany Lions and we knew how to throw down. No worries as it was all in good fun. The tunes were paused for the formal cake cutting and then coffee and sweets were made available for those in need of an energy boost. Our dance floor was never found empty. People literally danced their hearts out for every possible moment.
This wedding rang out with dancing in the dark and loved ones in each other’s arms. There wasn’t a single point where no-one wasn’t seen smiling. This made me think to myself about how important it is to always keep smiling. Always keep smiling even if its been a long time and others are wondering if you’ll get married, because guess what - it’s coming. Always keep smiling to be thankful for the past that has brought you to your present - without it, you wouldn’t be where you are. And lastly, always keep smiling because even when its raining, the sun always comes back out. Here’s to Kelly and Tyler who always kept smiling to remain patient and positive just like ‘We Are.’