Central PA Wedding Photographers: Meredith & Lawrence

*Twin white-tailed fawns* grazing outside of a home-made outdoor chapel, a forest carpeted in wildflowers, sparkling crystals that appear from a winding stream, hand-carved initials on a tree, a playful sunset and a clear blue-velvet starry night… this romantic woodland wedding is straight out of a fairy tale!!!

My commute to Lawrence’s family’s land was one of the shortest ever for me– while I spend a great deal of time photographing weddings in DC, Philadelphia, NYC etc Meredith and Lawrence live right near me in Central Pennsylvania, Chambersburg PA to be exact!

Meredith shared, “I was first introduced to your photography when two of my co-workers suggested that I check out Rhinehart Photography.  I instantly fell in love with your unique style and told Lawrence that I had found our wedding photographer!  You were the first vendor I booked because let’s face it, I totally would have changed our wedding date if you wouldn’t have been available!!!”

She continued, “You were a dream to work with on our wedding day. You were extremely prepared and kept us on track. You had so many great ideas and you kept me calm and smiling! You were truly a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend that others choose you as their wedding photographer! I’m hoping to be reminded of my wedding day every time I look at my photos.  I can’t wait to have beautiful, unique photos to display all over our house.”

I must echo that Meredith was a dream to work with as well and that I loved capturing beautiful photographs like the image above and truly unique photos like the image below of twin fawns visiting their chapel in the woods…

Meredith shared, “Lawrence and I both love the mountains.  His family spends nearly every weekend visiting their cabin in the woods and exploring the beautiful land surrounding it.  This land in particular is special to us on a number of levels, one being it is the place where Lawrence proposed!  Lawrence and I now have a cabin there as well and look forward to making tons of future family memories there, too!”

She continued, “Lawrence’s father, Larry, suggested that we wed on the land surrounding the cabin, and the four of us walked the fields trying to find the perfect spot.  I found a place at the top of the hill wrapped in a canopy of trees.  Larry created a rough sketch of arches that began our DIY journey of working together to create our ‘Chapel in the Woods.'”

More about that soon, but here is a little peek…

I began by photographing details of the wedding, front he chapel design to Meredith’s shoes and gown, everything came together to really tell the story of the day and capture the look and feel of Meredith and Lawrence’s wedding day…

There was a garden planted just outside of the cottage where Meredith was getting ready– I was captivated by the large trumpeting flowers and felt like they echoed the look of Meredith’s shoe’s perfectly while giving in a natural, organic look…

Meredith shared more about her romantic bridal bouquet…

Meredith beamed, “Darlanna from Hope Valley Gardens was amazing to work with. I love that she has her own garden and that I got to choose all of my own flowers from it. She does a garden walk with each of her brides and does a great job explaining all of the flowers, making a small bouquet during the garden tour. I felt like I was in capable hands and she certainly did not disappoint!”

Meredith shared, “I purchased my wedding gown at J&B Bridals in Chambersburg. It was a lot more sparkly than I had expected but I knew it was the one for me as soon as I tried it on. I knew I wanted a dress that had a lot of beautiful detail in the back and I wanted a higher neckline. I figured it added a flair of elegance to our wooded wedding.”

I photographed the dress in the wooded bedroom window of the cabin where Lawrence and Meredith plan to retire on weekends to get some much needed r&r (they are both attorneys).  I thought the location may have significance and also liked the exposed wood walls and the way the window light naturally passed through the dress illuminating all of that beautiful detail…

Meredith smiles as one of her bridesmaids fastens the tiny buttons on the back of her gown.   I captured her reflection in the mirror so that you would be able to clearly see both the buttoning and her expression simultaneously ;).

Here Meredith sits on a floral swing that she and Lawrence created together, holding her beautiful bouquet.  I have many beautiful images of Meredith, but this has to be one of my favorite.  It captures not only her beauty but also her work ethic and ability to work with Lawrence to create anything really…

Meredith explained, “The floral swing started as a picture on Pinterest, gravitated to a tutorial on YouTube, and turned into reality. I found a metal log holder on amazon and used that as the base. Lawrence secured a piece of wood as the seat and created a wooden box to go around the metal hook to hang the swing. We wrapped the whole thing in plastic netting to give the greenery and flowers something to adhere to. I picked out natural looking greenery and flowers and spent hours decorating it to my liking.”

Her hair and make-up was completed by Jessica Brown and Casey Lehman from Meraki Salon and Spa

We love to play with reflections!  This is actually Kris’ shot– I like how he played not only with two reflections, but also with framing and symmetry as Lawrence and his brother dress to prepare for the big day…

Meredith shared, “My husband’s sense of humor and ‘jack of all trades’ personality made me fall for him. He honestly can do anything- dressing up in a suit every weekday and taking care of his clients, to coming home changing into “dirtball” clothes and working on a rental. He can build anything I craft up in my mind and he does it willingly and with a ton of jokes.”

For me this photo shows a witty, dapper gentleman who is comfortable anywhere…

Lawrence’s mother, Patty, played a key role throughout the wedding day.  I arrived early to scout out the land and noticed her roaming the grounds on a UTV putting on finishing touches at various locations.  Here she pins on Lawrence’s boutonniere…  

Lawrence shared, “Having a first look was initially a tough choice for Meredith because she had pictured a traditional reveal, but it was the right decision for us. Even in the hour before getting dressed we were all rushing in preparation for our wedding, the first look gave us a private moment to see each other in the serenity of the chapel.”

Meredith agreed, “It was wonderful to have a few minutes of peace and quiet time before the big moment and spending that time alone with Lawrence was absolutely perfect.”

Lawrence shared, “Meredith was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!”

Meredith shared, “Lawrence could have not looked more handsome!  I kept thinking about how lucky I was to get to marry my best friend!”

I subtly ‘framed’ them in the chapel arches, but allowed the architecture to blur into the background and have all of the focus on Meredith & Lawrence…

Lawrence shared, “Seeing her in her wedding gown brought a sense of reality to what today was truly all about.  It confirmed all of those little choices that came together to make this one moment happen for us.”

Meredith shared, “I love the way that he believes in me– he saw potential in me even before I discovered it!”

She continued, “I truly feel like I can do anything with Lawrence by my side.”

Lawrence shared, “I fell for Meredith because she is my equal and because she has a good heart and head on her shoulders.”

He continued, “As we dated I admired her work ethic and motivation as she pursued her legal career and I am proud to have her alongside me in that today.”

While I enjoy helping my couples to feel comfortable and really soak in the moments of the wedding day, we also typically capture a few more traditional portraits as well.  Here is one of Meredith and Lawrence that I really like…

After the first look Meredith and Lawrence re-visited the proposal site, where white wild flowers carpeted the woods like a fairy tale…

Here I focused on the flowers and allowed Meredith and Lawrence a little more privacy, hehe…

Lawrence playfully got down on one knee which made Meredith laugh out loud…

Then he explained that the exact place where he proposed was beneath the bows of a specific tree.  We walked to it and they stood beside the location where they had carved their initials and proposal date in a tree…

Meredith shared, “After a solid rain, beautiful crystals literally appear in the stream.  Lawrence’s family has been collecting them for years and has a whole container full of them.  On the day of our proposal, Lawrence told me that we were going crystal hunting…”

Here is one of the crystals found in the stream… so pretty!!!

She continued, “Funny enough, we did find a pretty large crystal when we were down there, but eventually Lawrence got down on one knee revealing the best “crystal” of them all, haha…

They took one more moment alone to let it all soak in before heading back with their family and friends…

There was a blue butterfly fluttering about the brick wedding aisle as friends and family members began to gather there…

I pointed it out to Lawrence’s mother, Patty who mentioned that she thought of it as Lawrence’s grandmothers’ giving their blessings on the day and letting us know that they were there in spirit.  Both grandmothers had passed within the last few years.

It only stayed still for a moment but I was able to photograph it here.  Shortly after the adorable ring bearer and flower girl began processing down the aisle:

I discreetly move around quite a bit on the wedding day trying to capture unique vantage points and perspectives.  I have had several couples ask how I ever managed to get such varied shots, some that look so close up during the ceremony when they don’t remember seeing me at all, lol!

Here I walked far from the ceremony to show the canopy of tree branches that surrounded the outdoor chapel.  It is my goal for the couple to be able to re-live the day through their photos, and believe images like this really set the scene…

Here is a closer perspective of the same scene…

Meredith shared about their wedding officiants, “We chose Reverend Baker to be a part of our wedding ceremony because he’s such a well-respected gentleman in our community and a good family friend. We knew that he had stopped performing wedding ceremonies a few years back and we were thrilled when he agreed to be a part of ours. Judge Walker is also a good family friend and were honored to have such a well-respected member of the legal profession marry us.”

She summarized, “Lawrence and I are both lawyers so it was fitting to have our favorite Reverend and a well-respected Judge marry us.”

Meredith recounted the process of creating this incredible outdoor chapel…

She stated, “While it started small it became quite the project– we began in early spring and did not finish it until a few weeks prior to the wedding. Larry played a key role in leading this project- we certainly could not have completed this chapel without him, Patty (Lawrence’s mother), Justin (Lawrence’s brother), and Pap (Lawrence’s grandfather).  They truly are a ‘jack of all trades’ type of family!”

I used the beams creatively to frame the couple, officiant bridal party lanterns and cross– it was a little tricky to find the sweet spot…

Meredith continued, “We all spent countless hours clearing and flattening the earth, trimming trees, securing timbers for the arches, laying crushed stone, constructing the arches, finding a lumber mill to cut the benches and stumps, constructing windows, and laying the brick for the walkway, etc…”

The space is just incredible… I have no doubt future couples will inquire about using this space ;).

They explained, “It was surreal to be finally finished with the chapel and to be surrounded by our friends and family as we made some pretty big promises to one another.”

Another view of the chapel, this time with the sun peeking through the treetops… you can see so many of the details as well from the windows and crosses, even to the harpist who provided beautiful music throughout the ceremony…

Meredith shared, “I’m not a particularly emotional person and writing my vows took a lot of thought and preparation to perfect because I knew I only had one chance at them and I wanted them to reflect everything I felt for Lawrence on our wedding day.”

I wanted to under expose the next photo a bit to draw attention to the ring and show off the beautiful detailing of their wedding day attire… here she slides the wedding band on his finger and gives his hand a tight squeeze!

Husband and wife!!!

I met with Meredith and Lawrence prior to the ceremony to create a custom photography timeline that would allow them time to capture a few of their favorite details, people and locations together on their wedding day…

Here they took a few minutes before the ceremony to enjoy “golden hour” together.  It is the hour right before sunset that on a clear day lights the day up in a golden glow!  It couldn’t have hit at a more perfect time in the day!

Here they playfully spin as the sun sets into the mountain bringing out multiple, colorful hues.  I love the dramatic blue of the sky and the dense purple clouds and the orbs of hot sunlight moving in from the side of the frame…

Meredith laughed, “Golden hour was amazing- you had so many great ideas and that was really one of our favorite times! I loved spinning around and sitting on top of the hay bale. It was so much fun and so beautiful, too!”

Meredith shared, “I chose burgundy and navy as our wedding colors because I thought they were perfect fall colors that complimented each other nicely. I also thought that they were a nice rich color palette that would really stand out in the woods.”

Meredith liked the editorially inspired bridal party photos that she noticed in some of my other weddings, here is hers :).  Wow, what a stunning bridal party!

Now it was time for the wedding reception!!!

The hand painted wooden signs pointed to the large tent nestled at the base of the hill.  I moved to the perfect location halfway down the hill that allowed me to photograph it along with its surroundings to give some context to their story…

The sun perfectly illuminated the rolling hills and mountains, the hay bales pop against the vibrant grass and you can even see a dirt road and more fields in the distance…

Guests entered to the sound of a string quartet playing pop covers, even NIN and Korn were played, haha…

All of the flowers were stunning, but these colorful Dahlia’s whose petals reminded me of honey comb in the table arrangements really caught my eye!

Speaking of eye-catching, wow that cake!

Meredith explained, “I was really interested in using a lot of local, small business shops for our wedding vendors. I truly think we picked some of the best wedding vendors around. The cake was amazing and Karen Rodkey did an amazing job creating what I pictured in my mind. We will definitely be using her for future cakes!”

Cake cutting happiness…

Favors were apples and honey and super cute, fall themed and edible :).

Lawrence laughed, “I am notorious for not having a serious bone in my body (when not working) and I am notoriously not a dancer. In jest, I suggested the chicken dance as our dance and my mother felt it was appropriate to start with that before cutting to the more serious song of her selection. She was so excited for the fake out routine and I was happy to make that memory with her.

In the collage below you can see both the mother-son dance that Lawrence described as well as Meredith’s more traditional father-daughter dance…

Meredith shared, “I have no idea what my style for the wedding is called. I heard that guests walked into the reception tent and said “this is Meredith.”

She continued, “I would say that my style was a mix of fixer-upper, vintage, romantic, and farmhouse.  I really wanted a beautiful, unique wedding and I tried to show that through my decor. I chose bold florals and chose to incorporate eucalyptus as well.  I loved the color, shape, and the scent could not be beat!”

Here is one of the seating areas at the reception…

The reception traditions were followed by socializing and music.  Christopher Washabaugh of Club CJ provided music for those inclined to hit the dance floor ;)…

It was important to Lawrence that I captured his group of friends that he affectionately refers to as “the mountain view guys.”

He explained, “I don’t mean the literal mountain view we saw in the wedding, but the group that lived next to each other in school. I have many great memories of growing up with this group of friends.”

I love the flower chandelier overhead!  Cheers guys!

Meredith shared, “Now that we’re married, I’m looking forward to tackling everything life throws at us with my best friend.  Working, cooking, playing with our two Labradors and basically doing everything together.  I look forward to ‘crystal hunting’ together for the rest of our lives!”

There evening ended with an incredible starry night– a blue-velvet sky full of crystal clear stars!  If you look closely you can even see constellations!

Meredith and Lawrence, thank you for choosing Rhinehart Photography to capture your wedding story and memories!  I hope that you are seeing just the type of beautiful unique photos that you always wanted to display “all over your house.” 🙂  I’m excited so excited to hear your thoughts!

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