One Secret Service officer, two Volkswagen buses and a huge group of friends and family who were overjoyed to see this couple’s dreams come true…
Kristen and Shane reached out to me looking for a photographer that has unique photography and a creative eye who would bring an artful, eclectic perspective to their wedding photos. What I like to do is capture not just what people and places look like on a wedding day, but who they are and how they feel, the story of it all.
Kristen shared, “I saw your work on social media and was amazed, your level of creativity was unlike any other photographer I had seen. During our first meeting we clicked and there was no doubt that you would be the one to capture our wedding day.”
She continued, “You are very easy going and always made us feel comfortable and we could always relax and have fun with you even though the heat was insane! I am hoping to relive our wedding day all over again through your photos and even get to see moments that we didn’t see on our wedding day.”
Kristen and Shane chose DuCar Farm as their wedding venue. It is actually owned by one of her friends that she has known since *elementary* school. It was located only 5 miles from the home where she grew up. Kristen was drawn to the property for many reasons, a few of those being the historic barn, open field and willow tree that can all be seen in this photograph:
I wanted a unique place to photograph Kristen’s dress, a place that would really bring in the country wedding aesthetic and saw a very large nail right in the center of this structure and went on a mission to find a super-tall ladder. Luckily Mandy & Matt of Peachy Keen were decorating the reception space and were happy to oblige.
I checked to make sure the dress woudl hang well from it, not fall or get dirty and quickly took it on as my mission. Kris is actually way taller than me, 6′ 1′ so I held the ladder as he climbed with the dress. The teamwork was worth it!
As far as the photograph itself, I wanted the dress to pop against the background and also to capture some of the grass and sky as well. This shot definitely says country wedding!
Kristen shared, “The overall look that we were going for was country elegance. I wanted elegant elements as well as a barn feel.”
I placed Kristen’s sparkly Kate Spade heels on a simple rope swing that hung from a mature tree on the property to really capture that aesthetic for her.
Kristen shared, “A real highlight of my day was having 10 of my closet friends with me at the farm all morning. We were able to reminisce and enjoy the time together, it was so special for me!”
Kristen shared, “I am absolutely obsessed with my wedding gown! I purchased it at J &B Bridals and it was selected for me by Jamie, the dress gal extraordinaire. It was her first choice for me and while I tried on a few others, as soon as I tried it on I just knew it was the one. I bought it straight off the rack and it fit me perfectly!”
Kristen’s dress was amazing! The detailed embroidery and bead work on the corset back was super sexy and dramatic while also being incredibly elegant. Here I photographed as the back of her dress was adjusted.
For this photograph I used a shallow depth of field, focusing sharply on the droplets of perfume in the air and allowing other elements to soften. It really gives you a feel for Kristen’s overall look, her soft blonde curls, dramatic lashes and beaded wedding gown.
Shane shared, “When I first saw Kristen I loved her sparkling eyes and bright smile. Her personality is very strong and grounded. She is the sort of person that, when times get hard, she doesn’t have an excuse, but a solution. She is dedicated and committed.”
I like to play with reflections and captured a subtle one her during Kristen’s bridal portrait– what a beauty! I really think this portrait captures both the sparkling eyes and smile that attracted Shane and her strong grounded, can-do personality ;).
The farm house at DuCar Farm is just lovely and I used the intense sunlight to capture the vibrant colors of the grass and sky along with Kristen.
The bridesmaids filed out of the bridal suite walking down the winding path as a single bird watched…
Kristen shared, “My bridesmaids are friends that have held a significant importance in my life from birth to nursing school. Though all of our lives are busy, no matter what, each and every one of those girls would be there in a heart beat if I needed them. They are all so special to me and I am so thankful to have had them all by my side!”
Shane’s uniform was hanging in the men’s preparations area. I knew he works as an officer in the Secret Service, so I wasn’t surprised to see his dress blues or marksman pin, but none the less I was super impressed! Thank you for your service, Shane!
While it may have been Shane’s military haircut, smile, Chevy truck and love of country music that first caught her interest, it was his kindness that really stole her heart.
Kristen shared, “I will never forget our first date. As I was walking to meet him, I saw him standing at the ticket booth to buy our movie tickets, and something just told me, ‘I am going to marry him.’ From day one, Shane has been a complete gentleman, a kind soul, dedicated, loving, and just plain amazing.”
She continued, “Shane has supported me and been right by my side for the past three years prior to our wedding and I know without a doubt that he will stand beside me for the next fifty years.”
She went on, “I admire his drive and determination in everything he does. Being a Marine in the past has definitely molded his future and I couldn’t be more proud to be married to a veteran. He is so skilled in everything he does, and I am so honored to have him as my husband. God has certainly spoiled me with this man who I’ve been praying to meet!”
While Shane is incredibly strong and focused (think: the few, the proud, the Marines) he is also incredibly thoughtful, kind and loyal.
Kristen shared, “His personality is so uplifting and happy, and no matter what, he always smiles.”
Here Shane walks in the DuCar Farm field with his groomsmen. I like how Kris captured the vibrant colors similarly to the way I did earlier with Kristen’s photo.
Kristen and Shane wanted a “first touch” instead of a “first look” prior to their wedding ceremony.
Kristen explained, “I was so nervous, but it made the anticipation that much greater!!”
Shane added, “I already couldn’t wait to see her in her dress, now the excitement was just overwhelming! Hearing her voice without looking definitely added to the rush of it all.”
Guests arrived at the farm and congregated in the shade of the barn. It was an outdoor wedding in July, so the shade was welcomed by all :).
Peachy Keen did a fantastic job decorating the ceremony space!
Kristen’s bridal party arrived in two VW busses, here is one speeding over the bridge on the way to the farm. I used a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of the bus and add some extra visual interest to the photograph…
Kristen shared, “My dad may not talk much, but get him started on VWs and he won’t stop! My dad shared that love with me at a young age. I was always in the garage helping him work on cars or going to car shows with him. It was something we often shared together.”
She continued, “Because of that, I thought it would be a neat touch for us to come to the aisle in a VW beetle. What cooler way to make a grand entrance than bridesmaids in buses and us in a beetle?!”
She concluded, “I knew this would be special for my dad, a nice sentimental touch that would remind us of those early years together.”
I think he really appreciated it…
Shane earnestly shared, “The first time I saw Kristen on our wedding day was incredible! It was like God opening the gates of heaven and allowing a beautiful angel to appear.”
He continued, “We have dated for three years, but I had never seen her in the light that I did on that moment of our wedding day.”
I agree Shane, with the white gates, blue sky with white fluffy clouds, she is also absolutely radiant, just glowing…
Kristen shared her perspective, “When the doors finally opened, and I saw him for the first time, I just couldn’t help but smile. (I knew that I won every bet because he was already crying, haha). It was so sweet to see his emotion and knowing how genuine his love is for me.”
The minister actually reached his hand on Shane’s shoulder. Here Shane keeps a strong demeanor as his eyes well with tears…
His tears turned quickly to a beaming smile…
Kristen shared, “I had always envisioned myself being outside and surrounded by trees for my wedding ceremony, so the creek and the main tree behind us was just perfect.”
Kristen has the most adorable laugh and smile. Here Shane admires the ring after putting it on her finger and she laughs out loud!
I liked the photo to be in black and white, I think it really draws attention to the emotion and contrast in the frame.
Kristen shared, “Lindsay’s solo was also very special to me. She has always had an amazing voice, and I knew I wanted her to be involved in our wedding. I couldn’t have imagined her not singing. She sang the song ‘From This Moment On.'”
She continued, “Shane and I had been through so many obstacles in our dating relationship that it seemed like we would never make it to that moment when we said, ‘I do.’ But, we did!!! And ‘from this moment on’ I know I will have Shane by my side through whatever life throws our way.”
Kristen shared, “I am just so thankful that we finally made it to the rest of our lives!”
I knew Kristen loved this stream and wanted to incorporate it into a photo.
It was ninety degrees, sunny and humid, yes I totally stood in the spring for this shot.
It gave me a cool perspective and cooled me off win-win ;).
Some VW love…
I used a tilt shift technique here. It was a little tricky but I wanted the car, bridal suite and tree to be in focus and the rest to be out.
Kristen shared, “I am looking forward to sharing more of life with him. Eating dinner together at night, traveling together, starting a family of our own… I love him every day of my life. He deserves it all.”
This has to be one of my favorite shots of the day. It is so simple, but so beautiful, I love how you can see those clouds, too!
Shane felt similarly saying, “I’m looking forward to Kristen and I having more time together to enjoy each other, cherishing our moments with friends and family. We have so much of life ahead of us!”
I like to play with color, framing and shadow. In this photograph, I framed the silhouette of Kristen and Shane in the boughs of a tree against the blue sky.
Seeing double– I really like to get creative and work outside of the box whenever I can.
I think this surreal image captures the excitement of the wedding day, you are present but also looking back and forward in so many ways.
It is a feeling you almost have to experience first-hand to understand, but this visual may help…
Shane shared, “Kristen is incredibly caring and always putting others before herself. I’m a type one diabetic so she is always on top of my well-being, and the fact that she is a RN is an added bonus, haha!”
Ah the golden light of sunset, nothing quite like it. Kristen shared, “The sunset was amazing! It was really the perfect end to the perfect day!”
Here is one of the sunset shots, I will wrap up the full set with another…
While Kristen and Shane were out and about exploring DuCar Farm, the guests were enjoying cocktail hour. Here is their guestbook (created by yours truly) using the engagement photos that I captured of them over the winter. There is space surrounding them for guests to sign.
Kristen shared, “I LOVED the guestbook! What a special touch for a wedding, to have engagement photos as a guestbook and to leave space for everyone to sign! Many people never get to see the engagement photos, so this was awesome for guests also, they really enjoyed it!”
They seriously thought of every detail!
Kristen shared, “The flowers were where the color came into play. Most of my decor was strictly navy and gold, but I am full of life and color, so I went crazy with the flowers and allowed the florist to put in as much color as possible to make everything pop.”
And pop it does… what about those gold chargers and the gorgeous farm tables and table numbers…
Hot stuff!!! Kristen shared, “Shane and I really consume hot sauce! Every year when we go to Tennessee, we hit up our favorite hot sauce store and stock up for the entire year! We thought this would be a fun touch to go along with our wedding being in July & being HOT, haha. My goal was to incorporate “our favorite things” as a couple as much as we could throughout the wedding.”
The text reads, “Thanks for spicing up our special day!”
More vibrant flowers and cuteness– a drink stand labeled: “Sip, Sip Hooray!”
Such a clever summer wedding idea– programs that also double as fans!
The cocktail menu was picnic inspired and perfect for a barn wedding! Pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob.
The fabric draped across the ceiling of the barn and the antique chandeliers really added to the space…
The first dance…
Shane shared, “My mom and my dance together was very special. I remember what she wished for me years ago, long before my wedding day. The song ‘My Wish’ basically spoke the words that she had wanted for me.”
He continued, “I asked her when we were dancing, ‘Do you remember when this song?’ she said ‘Yes.’ I have to thank my mom for all she has done for me through the years.”
I think his face says it all…
I see you!!! haha 🙂
Ice cream truck!!!
Kristen shared, “A date night for us was to go out for ice cream at Antietam Dairy. They have sugar free black raspberry, which was perfect for Shane, we also figured that it would be hot during a July wedding so the guests would enjoy it.”
Boy did they!
Hahaha! I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen this reaction to catching the bouquet before!!!
I’d love to caption this, but maybe you can come up with your own…
Having a wedding on the Fourth of July weekend gave Kristen a perfect opportunity to showcase her love of sparklers…
I bet you can guess the Beyonce song played here:
DJ, Ryan Smetzer, got everyone in the party mood!
It was the end of the night and Kristen’s bridesmaids were still out on the dance floor in full force!
They created a circle around Kristen and Shane…
The sweetest thing happened, Shane sang to her!
At the beginning of their relationship there was a point when it was just the two of them alone on the dance floor, but they didn’t even notice and they were singing to each other!
Kristen shared, ” He would always sing to me and I loved listening to him belt out the next country song on the radio! 😉 It also goes along with our love for country concerts, he also sings to me and dances with me when we go to them too 🙂 When I am in his arms, nothing else seems to matter.”
When he did it on their wedding day I was there to capture the moment…
Now *this* is a sunset! I think it was so epic because of the threatening and stormy weather we experienced throughout the day… It has to be one of the most dramatic skies I have photographed.
Kristen and Shane, I hope that these photos are just the creative, colorful, unique mix that you were hoping for and that they help you to re-live your wedding day and all those amazing moments with your family and friends for years to come!
If you haven’t seen enough of Kristen and Shane, you can check out their snowy engagement session on my blog here.