As I listen to what I believe to be a thundersnow going on outside, I am wishing I could travel back in time to a much warmer day of the year. I am reminded of the warmest of my weddings this year which took place on July 26th between Nicole, an English Lit/French/Latin (anything Shakespeare) grad and Harry, a broadcast journalism grad. Both attended Northwestern University together in the fall of 2010. But their story started much earlier in their lives as they grew up as childhood friends and eventually became high school sweet hearts. Being together for so long meant Harry had the difficult task of surprising Nicole with the proposal of the ages. Harry, keeping in mind his girl’s love for Shakespeare, decided it was in his best interest to tailor the proposal to incorporate a series of 10 Shakespearean sonnets. Each sonnet was a clue in a scavenger hunt that pointed to a significant place in their relationship. The sonnets lead Nicole all around the Philadelphia area until he made the big proposal.
They set their big day for July 26, 2014 and boy was it a hot summer day.
Photograph by Margaret Hubacz
Photograph by Margaret Hubacz
The cuff links are a family heirloom passed down to Harry for his big day.
The intimate outdoor ceremony took place on the back patio of his parent’s property. They wrote their own vows but they delivered them in a more unique fashion. When they began I felt like I was suddenly in the middle of a Shakespearean play. Each responded to the others line that ultimately ended with them both saying the same line. “I’ll always be with you.” I thought it quite fitting for the two of them to profess their love in the way that they did. I witness a lot of weddings seeing as it’s my job to document them but it is always awesome when a couple can make it theirs, especially the ceremony. They were kind enough to share their vows with me and now I have them to share with all of you:
HARRY: Nicole, which words feel like a kiss? I could talk for days and still not encircle you with language as tight as a hug. We work in words, written and spoken, but we say I love you best when we say nothing at all.
NICOLE: I don’t believe in soul mates, or love at first sight. I don’t believe in true love, or happily ever after. I don’t believe that promises can make me love you, cherish you, honor you always. But I do believe in you. Love is an action;
HARRY: words are not enough.
NICOLE: You know I have always loved the way you climb furniture like a cat and make home wherever you are.
HARRY: You know I have always loved the way you dance around the house to music playing in your head.
NICOLE: Always wanted to deserve your respect, your trust, and your affection, as you earned mine.
HARRY: Always admired the conviction you have when you really care about something.
NICOLE: Always cherished the small moments of exploring life with all the childlike wonder of two kids hand-in-hand.
HARRY: Always delighted in your willingness to try new things as long as I try them with you.
NICOLE: Always found solace, forgiveness, hope, and warmth in your perfectly snug hugs.
HARRY: Always found understanding, patience, and intelligence behind your kaleidoscope eyes.
NICOLE: You know I have always shared each little adventure with you, even when you were miles away, and I know I always will.
HARRY: And you know I have always looked forward for tomorrow, knowing it would bring me one day closer to you, and I know I always will.
NICOLE: If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together,
HARRY: there is something you must always remember.
NICOLE: You are braver than you believe
HARRY: Stronger than you seem,
NICOLE: And smarter than you think.
HARRY: But the most important thing is,
NICOLE: even if we’re apart
BOTH: I’ll always be with you.
Photograph by Second Photographer, Maggie Hubacz
Photograph by Second Shooter, Margaret Hubacz
Following the ceremony we hopped in a van and drove about 5 min away to a little trail that led down to a pond. I love images of brides and grooms in natural settings. I also love when they get a couple minutes to take in all the days events. Weddings are super stressful and those 15-20 minutes they get to escape make for some awesome moments. We happened upon a weeping willow tree which is my all time favorite tree. I couldn’t resist playing with the depth of field to get a close up of Harry about to whisper into Nicole’s ear.
The reception, no ordinary backyard get together, was around the corner in a tent at the side of their house. As any of my wedding couples do, Nicole and Harry really put themselves all into this wedding. They provided all the popular lawn games like ladder ball, corn-hole, and Frisbee to entertain their guests during cocktail hour. They collected old lanterns to use as their center pieces as well as one for their unity candle lighting. They put together an elaborate scavenger hunt with aspects that relate to both their personalities as part of the events during the reception. Photographing this part of the day was really fun. Their wedding wasn’t at some big fancy venue but in the words of Dave Matthews, “It isn’t where, but who you are with, that really matters.” I would add to Matthew’s quote though that if the location of the event is in your families back yard that it can have more meaning and significance because it’s likely that no one on earth will have the same looking wedding photos.
I enjoy shooting the “non traditional wedding location” as much, or even more so, than a traditional style. I gravitate toward it because on the 24th day of May back in 2008 my husband and I got married on my Aunt Martha’s estate in Lancaster County, PA. We had an outdoor ceremony and a tented reception just like Harry and Nicole. My friends and family still talk about my wedding as one of the most fun weddings they have ever attended. It really is the friends and family who make the day extra special. Nicole’s extended family from Canada as well as Harry’s 99 1/2 year old great Aunt Jeanne were among the special guests to make the trip to West Chester for their special day. I was lucky enough to get a quick portrait of Aunt Jeanne before the ceremony began.
There were so many favorite moments it was hard to pick a small portion of over 1,000 photos that my second shooter, Maggie, and I were able to preserve for their future generations. Here are highlights from their reception.
Photograph by Second Photographer, Maggie Hubacz
Nicole’s parents presented Harry with a Canadian hockey sport coat as a welcome into their Canadian family.
…and the scavenger hunt has commenced…tables compete against one another to score points in the ultimate showdown!
two shoes tied together…
anyone have a Kleenex?
The table’s best artist at work rendering a drawing of the lantern centerpiece.
The table’s best builders were hard at work utilizing Legos to build anything that had to do with Nicole and Harry’s wedding.
the winner…a lego sculpture of a table lantern
Best selfie time!
Time to show off their dance moves!
Pretty sure this dance was to Footloose 🙂 “Kick off your sunday shoes!”
save the last dance…
A huge thank you to my great friend Margaret Jones, or Maggie as I call her, for her excellent supplemental coverage of Nicole and Harry’s day. The coverage is only as good as the person I have standing beside me. Photographing weddings is a team effort and without you Maggie, moments would be missed.
Thank you to all the wedding professionals that helped make Nicole and Harry’s day complete including the following:
Florist: Halladay Florist
Caterer: Hickory House Catering
Cake: Cakes and Candies by Maryellen
DJ: DJ Paul Parrinello
Videographer: John Breznicky
I couldn’t end it without my thank you to my audience for taking the time to read the story of Nicole and Harry’s wedding day. I look forward to sharing many more weddings as long as you, my audience, is happy to listen. If you get a moment give a little love to my clients in a comment below. My team and I do our jobs well but the images wouldn’t be as great without having such amazing clients.
P.S. Side note on some background on these two crazy kids…Nicole loves to model pajamas so if you have any recommendations for cool PJ’s leave them below…Harry loves movies so recommend your favorite movie to him…maybe it matches up with his all time top 5 (Princess Mononoke, Slumdog Millionaire, Citizen Kane, Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back and Wall-E)
All the best,
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