Chambersburg Wedding Photographer: Natalie & Alex

An elegant, touching, *camouflage inspired* wedding with 20+ law enforcement officers on the dance floor…

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When I was first approached by Natalie & Alex, avid hunters, who chose camouflage as their inspiration for their elegant winter wedding, I wasn’t able to totally wrap my head around the idea.  But as you’ll be able to see in these photos, it came together beautifully!!!

Traditional “Army camo” was not their inspiration, but rather “realtree” hunting camouflage, which incorporates natural elements like tree branches and pinecones in a neutral color palette.  This made for a perfectly elegant winter wedding aesthetic!  Wedding preparations for the bridal party took place at the beautiful Ragged Edge Inn, which provided both the elegance of a historic mansion and natural, wintery woodlands.

This wedding was incredibly touching due to the close family relationships and tight-knit friendships present on Natalie & Alex’s wedding day.    I love this image of Natalie’s brother Luke, and their cousin, Lydia, watching Natalie reaching for her wedding dress.  The three of them were more like siblings than cousins as they spent a lot of time together growing up, they shared that this moment was almost surreal for them…

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Alex said that a few of the qualities that he admires most about Natalie are her sincerity and strong will and that over time she has become his rock.  I captured several pretty images of Natalie, but this is my favorite as her strength and determination shines through as well as her beauty– timeless & elegant.

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Natalie’s Maggie Sottero gown was purchased at J&B Bridals, actually the same boutique where I found my wedding gown several years ago!

Natalie’s bouquet incorporated pine, eucalyptus, cotton and white roses with touches of gold and lace.  Ellie Clough created the floral design based on a photo that Natalie gave her for inspiration.  It’s interesting, because while it doesn’t read as “camo inspired” to an outside observer, when you look at hunting camo, the colors as well as pine cones, branches are completely spot-on!

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The men gathered in Shippensburg at the Shippen Place Hotel at the University Grille for pre-wedding festivities.  The location was significant because it is where Natalie and Alex first met!  They were invited by mutual friends and when he found out she was a hunter, it was all over, haha.  They stayed out until the bar closed and he asked for her number and the rest is history :).

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Natalie & Alex were married a few blocks away from the University Grille, in the Shippensburg Church of the Brethren, Natalie’s home church.  Everything about the ceremony was extremely personal and very touching.  Here among the stained glass, Natalie’s friend, Jessica is singing as people arrive for the ceremony…

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As Natalie walked towards Alex he did his best to hold back tears, then looked her father straight in the eye and shook his hand.  You could tell that he plans to take care of Natalie wholeheartedly and that her father completely trusts him to do so.  Here Natalie’s dad kisses her on the cheek as he “gives her away”.

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The ceremony itself was touching, sweet, and very personal.  The minister took the time to get to know Alex and Natalie and understand their relationship.  He worked in parts of their personal story into the ceremony and shared about how Alex slowly realized that Natalie had become his rock which brought tears to her eyes…

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The minister advised that even though these two think that they will never miss hunting season, as they both love hunting and even planned their wedding date around it, that life seldom goes according to plan and once children are in the mix etc. Alex might come to realize that “his hunting days are over”.  This resulted in laughter from everyone, but especially Natalie’s parents…

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Following the ceremony, The bridal party stopped at the Ragged Edge B&B for some photos before heading to The Orchards Restaurant in Chambersburg for dinner and dancing.  (The Orchards is also where Kris and I had our wedding reception, fantastic food).  Here is a sweet photo of the new Mr & Mrs…

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I photographed several beautiful image of Natalie and Alex but this next one is one of my favorite because Alex it captures the way he makes her laugh and how Natalie is able to let go of any concerns while Alex supports her:

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Here they are looking at their wedding bands and letting it all sink in, they are finally husband and wife!

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There is something almost ethereal about this next moment–  a window lit kiss as the sun begins to set on the wooded landscape… Here are Natalie & Alex, married, feeling the warmth of the sunlight as the cold air fogs the window pane, just beautiful!

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The Gala Event decorated the restaurant using Natalie’s camo inspiration, they even created an antler chandelier for the event!  Accents of gold and hunter green were incorporated into the draperies as well as pine branches, antler and pinecones– everything surpassed Natalie’s vision for the day…

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The Perfect Cake in Chambersburg brought their simple, elegant outdoor theme to life.  Natalie’s cake stand was made out of pine and used fresh evergreens and pinecones as decoration.  Thier guest favors were pine tree seedlings…

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Natalie’s father means the world to her. She was born on Father’s Day, so it is a running joke that she was “Daddy’s little girl” from day one!  He has always been gentle and compassionate but stern when he needed to be.  They danced to the lyrics “He was a rock when I needed one, he gave me good advice when I needed some… too much heart is the only fault I see”  it is a song called “For My Dad” by Nancy Sinatra.

She chose the song because she wanted to tell everyone what a great man he is.  Natalie shared that when she was little she couldn’t wait to go hunting with him and that when she was finally able to go, her father was completely selfless, he would go many years trying to help Natalie and her brother, Luke, learn to hunt and giving them the first shot, rather than taking anything for himself.  It is just one way that he showed his character, and that meant so much to Natalie.

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Alex is a state trooper — Natalie shared that in todays world that can be tough for many reasons, but that she realizes how she will need to support him and his work.  She added that all of the officers are such a tight knit group that it is really like a family.  It is amazing to know that you have a huge support system backing you up (and that includes the police wives as well).  Here is a group photo of all the officers out on the dance floor…

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Mike from Mix-95, and Mixed-up productions was their DJ and did a fantastic job getting everyone out on the dance floor.  He even surprised Natalie & Alex by letting them mix…

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The Polish Wedding Dance is a popular tradition in southwestern PA and Natalie & Alex’s wedding guests had a lot of fun with it!  First the wedding guests dance with the bride one by one, each taking a shot when they are done, then they circle around her and block her from the groom who is outside of the circle.

It is the grooms job to break through the mass of friends and family and carry the bride out of the circle.  Here you can see Alex in action…

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Alex & Natalie realized their wedding day would be the only time all of their closest friends and family would be under one roof– the people in their lives are incredibly important to them, so one of their main priorities for me was to capture those people.  Here are a few photos from the dance floor that show just that…

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The garter and bouquet toss were hilarious!   The guy who was about to catch the bouquet was blocked and blinded, literally hahaha while the ladies literally ripped the bouquet in half.  It was entertaining to say the least.

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As a total side note here, one of my greatest pleasures at a wedding is seeing past clients who have referred me to the bride and groom which is often the case.  Here I am with Natalie & Alex as well as Roxy and Eric (their wedding and engagement photos are here).

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A real treat for me at this wedding in particular was seeing a few of my senior portrait clients as well– Natalie’s cousin, Morgan and her brother, Luke.   I already knew Natalie’s parents and brother going into the wedding because we all rode together to New York City for Luke’s senior portraits.

Natalie & Alex, thank you so much for choosing to spend your wedding day with me.  It was such a pleasure to see everything come together, from your hunting themed engagement session to your elegant camo wedding day– you pulled everything off beautifully!   I’m so excited to hear what you think of your wedding photography!!!

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