A Spring wedding complete with colorful blossoms, April showers and plenty of fairy tale moments for these two high school sweethearts…
Cory & Darren have followed my work since they were in Middle School!
They live in the same small town as I do, Shippensburg, PA. Cory messaged me on Facebook back in 2014 saying, “I want you to know that I absolutely adore your photography! I was showing my mom your pictures the other day, and I told her that when I get engaged (some day) I would even be willing to move my dates around so that you can take my pictures! I love all of them so much!” They did eventually contact me for their wedding photography and checked to see what I had open in Spring of 2017!
Darren’s mom also contacted me prior to their engagement writing, “Every wedding-story I see on your blog, I think, ‘How can she keep coming up with such beautiful images?’, and each time you do! There’s something about your photos that is different… the colors, the depth of field, the unique poses. I enjoy getting to know all the families and couples you’ve photographed. I have to admit that I am hooked on your blog! I would love to gift Cory and Darren with an engagement session from you once he pops the question!”
Darren did pop the question, and I did photograph their engagement at Dykeman Pond in Shippensburg. It was adorable on many levels, but especially because Darren kept the note that Cory passed him in high school, when she said that she “liked him” haha! He tied that into the proposal, to hear the full story just click the link above.
Cory and Darren’s Carlisle wedding was held at the Letort View Community Center. It was classic and elegant and had a sweet, Spring, fairy tale feel. I’ll open this blog post with a few of the details from their wedding day. I really tried to bring out the overall feeling of their wedding through these images:
The florals were created by Sarah’s Floral Designs in Carlisle, and she did a simply beautiful job! I have several different photos that show off Cory’s bouquet but the vibrant colors and dramatic shadows really give the image above an elegant, classic, dramatic, fairy tale look.
Cory was so excited about wearing her wedding dress! She had purchased it at Tamzen’s Bridal in Carlisle with her mom and bridesmaids. Cory shared, “I was in the fitting room when I put it on and exclaimed “IT’S A CINDERELLA DRESS!” loud enough that my entourage heard me. I walked out of the fitting room and we all knew it was The One.”
There is something so soft, sweet and dramatic about this next image. I wanted all of the attention to be on Cory as she was getting her veil on, framing her in the mirror and allowing the rest of the scene to slip into shadow…
Cory shared, “We wanted a wedding venue that had both an outside and inside ceremony location that we loved. We also wanted a place that meant something to one (or both) of us. Darren has worked on Army Base since college graduation and it has come to mean a lot to him in that way.”
I have several bridal portraits of Cory, but I really like this one as it shows the elegance of the space and emphasizes Cory’s stunning gown.
Cory & Darren had planned on exchanging vows in the gazebo outside, that was important to both of them but particularly Darren.
Here Cory looks out the window at the Spring rain. At that point everyone was unsure of what would happen…
Meanwhile, Darren was with his groomsmen. They were looking extremely dapper in their tuxes, also provided by Tamzen’s Bridal. Darren chose to have his brother & Cory’s brother by his side for the day of the wedding.
Darren & his brother…
Cory shared, “I first fell for Darren at the beginning of our senior year in high school. He was the quiet, nerdy kid that everyone knew. I made the first move with the “note that started it all” and the rest is history. I think I fell for him first. We argue about who said the ‘L’ word first, I still hold my ground that it was him. I fell for his quiet ways, his passion for his film making and his love for computers. I love how we can talk about everything and nothing at all.”
Here is a classic portrait of Darren…
Time for their first look! It was raining outside so we used a covered walkway so that they could still be outside. Cory stated, “We decided to do a first look so that we could spend more time with our guests and get to see them during cocktail hour. We also wanted a natural reaction to seeing each other without an audience of 100 people.”
Cory explained, “I was so nervous and excited. Would he like my dress? Will he cry? Is he excited to see me? But all those nerves vanished when I saw him. He smiled and I was so happy. Afterwards, I was so glad we had a first look so that I could see and talk to him beforehand.”
Darren shared, “When I saw her in her “princess” dress I was speechless! Not only did she look stunning, but was so happy for her because I knew that the dress was exactly what she had hoped and dreamed about!”
It was still raining, so Cory and Darren grabbed an umbrella and headed outside. I think it shows a lot about their personalities, character and attitude that they were going to still take a stroll around the property and really enjoy the moment (all smiles) regardless of the weather. As you can already begin to see the blossoms were stunning!
Once we arrived at the spot that I wanted to capture their traditional portrait, surrounded by pink blossoms, the rain stopped!!!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have seen this happen with rain and wedding ceremonies, I have seen it slow or stop so many times just at the right time!!!
It was kind of a surreal moment! Again I really wanted to show the stone wall and blossoms, just that romantic feel…
Darren’s sound wave bowtie was a gift from Cory and a nod to his passion for doing sound work in films.
Cory explained, “We were shopping in Gettysburg and we saw this display of bowties with various designs (D20 dice, film reels, etc.) I asked Darren which one he liked best (I liked the movie reels). He pulled out the sound waves bowtie. He’s worked on a few feature films and in most of them he has done the sound work. We left the store without buying anything. I went back a few days later and bought it for him. That was the longest time I had a gift in my possession that I didn’t spoil early! He opened it Christmas morning and promptly put it on.”
Darren shared, “I fell for Cory because when I got to know her I found her to be a kind, intelligent person with a great sense of humor and attitude for adventure like mine. We both like traveling and exploring, and we hope and expect to do plenty of traveling as a married couple!”
Cory shared, “I’m looking forward to all of our adventures to come. Both the big adventures (like buying a house, having kids, etc.) and the small (like going for late night ice cream). I’m excited to have him there for all of it, the good and the bad.”
She continued, “I love that I still catch him looking at me with that grin on his face!”
The rain cooperated again with us for a couple of minutes of bridal party photos:
After I snapped a few shots it started to rain again. Darren made sure Cory was covered by an umbrella and held her dress. Cory’s brother held her flowers for her and mumbled something about them probably liking the water, haha! Cory admitted, “My brother is a goober, it’s just his personality!” He laughed.
Cory shared, “We’d all been caught in rain before so we pretty much took it in stride.”
I thought this photo was cute and like the vibrant colors, flowering trees, temple university umbrella and that you can see rain droplets in the background. It also shows Darren taking the rain in stride and Cory’s maid of honor (whose hair and make-up was complete) sacrificing her umbrella spot. Her expression is priceless!
The bridal party waited out the rain inside of Letort View Community Center as their wedding guests arrived. Darren made the final call to have the ceremony outside and Stephanie (the Letort View wedding coordinator) and her team made sure that all of the guests chairs were dry and ready to go.
Darren passed out wedding programs that were designed in the form of a movie call-sheet. Darren explained, “One evening I was looking at a call sheet for the film Cory and I are currently doing production assistant work on (Kevin Boon’s ‘A Host of Sparrows’)… That’s when I decided to make a wedding call sheet with info about the order of ‘scenes’ and the location for each ‘scene’, as well as the most important ‘characters’ (like ‘bride’) and corresponding ‘actors’ (Corene). It was a fun way to slip in my love of filmmaking into the wedding in a small way.”
His immediate family especially got a kick out of it!
Cory’s father escorted her to meet Darren who was waiting at the gazebo, formally known as Wheelock Band Stand…
Darren watching his bride walk towards him:
The grass was so lush and green, I really wanted to capture that as well as the many guests who had come from all over the United States (some from Maine, Florida, etc.) to be present on Cory and Darren’s wedding day.
Cory shared, “My favorite part of our wedding day was standing in front of Darren, with our nearest and dearest watching, while we vowed to love one another until death do us part. (Yes, that was roughly the point where I began tearing up).”
Emotion is beautiful! I believe emotion is almost tangible in black and white…
Darren’s mom Janine was teary as well. She stated, “I was proud, happy and just in awe of Darren growing up! Whether it was by design or just a happy accident, the seating for the ceremony had me sitting on the left side though Darren was on the right. This gave me the unique perspective of being able to see my son’s face, rather than seeing the back of his head, during the ceremony. I really couldn’t take my eyes off this handsome man who used to be my little boy.”
She continued, “I could see how happy he was and I could hear how clearly and confidently he recited his vows to Cory. My mind went back to my own wedding to his Dad, and I thought about how lucky Darren was to have similarly found the love of his life at a young age, and how much he and Cory would have to look forward to in their lives.”
Another emotional moment captured best in black and white– Darren squeezing Cory’s hand as they are about to exchange wedding bands. It may look like I was standing a few inches from the bride and groom to capture this shot, but in reality I was several feet away crouching with my 200mm lens.
I have many photos of the end of the ceremony, but I think this one captures their personalities and excitement the best:
Cory shared, “Our families mean a lot to us. Both sides have watched us grow up and our relationship grow over the past six and a half years. They were all beyond thrilled when Darren proposed and looked forward to being here with us. Our parents especially were looking forward to this day.”
She went on explaining, “They cried seeing us dressed in our wedding best and seeing us in such a grown up way, their oldest babies (both of us are the oldest sibling) officially starting their own family.”
Darren and his father…
Guests moved inside of the Letort View Community and Confrence Center and were greeted by simple, elegant centerpieces that reminded me of lillies in a water droplet. Sarah Klunk was the florist and did a beautiful job!
Cory explained the concept, “The centerpiece is simply a lily wrapped around the interior of a fishbowl. I wanted a simple centerpiece that played on our bouquets but allowed the guests to talk across the table to one another without leaning around a tall middle piece.”
Guests also sang songs with the word “love” in them instead of clicking on glasses to get the couple to kiss…
One of the attributes of Letort View that attracted Cory was the chandeliers in their ballroom. I wanted to really play those up and had a wide angle lens on hand that allowed me to do so!
The DJ, Mr B, was great and had an “emulator” console that Darren particularly liked. Wedding guests enjoyed the music. I have so many photos of guests dancing, but I had to make sure to post a shot of my long-time blog follower, Tina, clapping along to the music (I have several others of you, Tina ;)).
Mr B’s Entertainment passed out glow sticks and other props for the dance floor. They were enjoyed by all, but in particular this young girl. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the energy and movement along with all of the glow sticks!
Guests also enjoyed the photobooth provided by Mr B. I noticed Cory’s maid of honor had left her bouquet and photo-strip on the table as she hit the dance floor:
Cory and Darren headed outside for a moment alone. I captured several shots, but to me, this one feels the most magical, in a romantic fairy tale sort of way… and they lived happily ever after :).
Cory shared, “Looking back I wouldn’t change a single thing. Our wedding day was everything I dreamed it would be and everyone I wished to be there was there. And now I get to spend the rest of forever with my favorite person in the universe!”
Cory and Darren, thank you for giving me the opportunity to photograph such an incredible day for you and blog your unique wedding story. I hope that these images capture the all of the incredible people, emotions and details of your wedding day in a creative way. I am so excited to design your wedding album!
I’d love to hear what you and any other readers think! Please leave comments below 🙂