A fun, athletic couple & breathtaking sunset at beautiful Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle PA….
Rachel and Jason have a very sweet story that starts with being in the same *kindergarten* class, and continues through that “happily ever after” sunset moment above and certainly has a very bright future ahead. I’ll be sharing more about that momentarily, until then, here is one of those creative, detail photographs that they were hoping for, a photograph of their gorgeous wedding rings…
The day started with hair and make-up for the ladies at Sagittarius Salon & Spa for all of the ladies. It was a fun, bonding time for everyone and the staff did excellent work on everyone’s hair and make-up. Preparations continued at Green Grove Gardens where Rachel’s bridesmaids helped her into her wedding gown.
Jason may look like a big, tough football player, but he definitely has a very sweet, romantic side. I asked him what made him fall for Rachel, and he shared that it was her honesty, compassion, kindness & loving personality. He said he really appreciates her ability to compromise and be positive, encouraging and supportive.
They have known each other since kindergarten and were good friends throughout the years, especially in high school and college, but really hit it off when they were home in Shippensburg at a Memorial Day picnic several years ago. Jason said she was just as beautiful inside and out as she was as Homecoming & Prom Queen.
Rachel’s bridesmaids looked beautiful in their petal pink gowns. Rachel said that she chose the color and wanted each of the bridesmaids to be able to choose a dress that fit them and their unique personality and one that they felt looked great on them. She went along with each bridesmaid to choose their dresses which was a lot of fun!
Three of her bridesmaids met Rachel while working part-time jobs together. They asked me to take a photo of the three of them together and I took a traditional “smile and look at the camera” portrait of them, but then wanted a shot that woudl be a little more unique and capture their playful personalities.
They posed to the phrase “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”! Ashley is in the center and the most reserved of the bunch as “see no evil.” Lori is very independent and always up for a good time and chose “hear no evil.” Melissa chose to be “speak no evil,” but as you can tell by her expression she’s totally joking as she is the most outspoken of the bunch.
Now it’s Jason’s turn to be in the spotlight! Rachel said that she first fell in love with his kind heart and unbreakable spirit. She loves the way he is passionate about so many things and wholeheartedly dedicates himself to everything he does. He is so funny and has a genuine desire to help and motivate others. He is honest, hardworking and has a very sweet, romantic side.
All of the groomsmen were letter winners in sports– 3 lettered in football with Jason while several lettered in basketball, baseball, track, swimming soccer and wrestling. Rachel and Jason have known these guys forever and they have all been very encouraging of their relationship.
Their tuxes were from J&B Bridals and Formals— looking good, guys!
Personalizing my photography coverage to bring in people’s interests and their backstory is something that I really enjoy doing. Jason coaches high school football, so having him play QB with his buddies was a perfect fit!
Rachel and Jason knew that they wanted a First Look from the very beginning. They wanted to have that private moment alone before the ceremony and to be able to enjoy all of cocktail hour with their guests rather than spending it taking photos. They were both very happy with the decision. 🙂
They met under a tree in the lawn of Green Grove Gardens. Jason said all morning while he was getting ready he couldn’t stop thinking about seeing Rachel for the first time. You can see Jason’s expression when he uncovered his eyes and saw her as his bride for the first time here:
While I enjoy capturing portraits, details and personalizing that coverage, I also like to show off the venue as well. There is so much that these two loved about their venue. From the beautiful gardens to the barn and fountains, they saw Green Grove Gardens as the perfect fit for their wedding day.
I like this photo because it shows off so many elements at once– The barn, the fountain, the gardens, the couples’ happiness and affection, even Rachel’s Jimmy Choos that she was so excited to wear for her wedding day…
This has to be one of my very favorite photographs from their day:
Rachel & Jason LOVE Philadelphia. It is where they have been living for years and the place they intend to stay. Incorporating Philly into their day was important for these two, and the iconic “Philly LOVE sculpture” seemed to be a great way to do it.
Thanks to Tammy & Eric, a couple I photographed a few years ago, I had the perfect replica of the sign and brought it along for these two in order to bring a bit of Philly to Greencastle, Pennsylvania.
Jason & Rachel’s wedding attire was from J&B Bridals and Formals in Chambersburg (the same place I bought my wedding gown).
It was time for the ceremony to start and Rachel’s mother escorted her down the aisle. Rachel’s father had passed away when she was a teenager, so it was hard to not have him there but she tried her best to honor him in every way that she could, from his photo that she pinned to her bouquet to making a donation to the America Heart Association in his honor.
Rachel’s mom is truly Rachel’s best friend. She is a strong woman who has been Rachel’s biggest support in life. She has always loved Jason, even when she knew him as a smiley kid in Rachel’s class. Here her mom is escorting her to meet Jason as her husband– she looks so happy and proud:
Their ceremony vows were custom tailored to their beliefs and their relationship. They both vowed to continue to trust, compromise and be honest. They also affirmed each other. Rachel said, “You respect my independence, yet always know when to take care of me.” Jason said, “You know me better than anyone else and still manage to love me” which made everyone including their officiant laugh.
They had so much fun with the ceremony, laughing at times, but always taking everything they said to heart. They were so excited to slide the wedding bands on each other’s fingers and here is a photo from that moment:
Nate was their wedding officiant. He was a friend of theirs from Philadelphia and did an outstanding job– he was kind, relaxed, professional and created a very individualized ceremony! What a moment– the kiss, surrounded by their closest friends and family, the maid of honor in the background with the stunning Green Grove Gardens grounds and pavilion in the background…
Husband and wife 🙂
Jason shared that he really wanted a photo that would capture all of their wedding guests who were at their wedding. He couldn’t think of another time that they would have all of their loved ones together in one place.
It took a bit of creativity and brain storming, but it seemed like the best way to do it would be as soon as they had finished walking down the aisle as husband and wife.
I climbed a 12 foot ladder and was able to take this panoramic photo of everyone celebrating…
Their wedding florals were lovely and as Rachel described the process it sounded just as amazing. Their florist was Darlanna from Hope Valley Gardens. She invited them to the garden to hand select their wedding flowers 2 weeks before their wedding by walking through the garden with her. She wrote down every flower and even made Jason’s boutonniere right there!
Also key to thier decorating was Shannon or Syzygy Events International out of the DC area who did all of thier draping & lighting. You can see a little of the draping on the area behind the DJ booth as well as the string lights below. You can also see guests mingling during cocktail hour and the charming hardwood floors from Green Grove Gardens below.
This gives you a better view of the bare bulb lighting and you can see the Mr & Mrs Willis mirrored sign attached to the drapery behind their sweetheart table. I also liked showing off the chandeliers of the venue during their first dance as husband and wife.
They chose to play“When Somebody Loves You Back”by Teddy Pendergrass, a local Philadelphia artist, for their first dance. Jason made Rachel a slideshow of their lives together (from age 5) as her 30th birthday present and set the slideshow to this music, so it was sentimental on a number of levels. Love how he’s looking at her here:
It was such a pleasure to see so many people that I knew at Rachel & Jason’s wedding! Two of those smiling faces were Tim and Alessia, whose wedding I photographed a few months ago.
Thanks for the referral guys and to all of those other couples who shared their photos and recommended me to Rachel & Jason :).
The weather was incredible all day and the night ended with the most unbelievable sunset. I love how you can still see the blue sky at the top of the sunset and the vibrant clouds closer to the happy couple. I also think this tree looked really interesting and almost exotic, as if they had traveled to Africa or something instead of Greencastle, Pennsylvania for their wedding!
Rachel and Jason, I wish you all the very best that life has to offer! I know that you two will go far with each other’s daily support and love. Thank you for choosing me as your wedding photographer. It was such a pleasure to get to know you two and to see your friends and family (some of whom were my friends and family, too– haaa #SmallTownLife).
If you’d like to see more of Rachel and Jason’s photos, they will have a link of the full set soon and until then, you might want to check out their engagement blog. 🙂