From Neil serenading Anna on bended knee to experiencing an incredible sunset on the stunning grounds of The Hotel Hershey with the scent of chocolate in the air– Anna & Neil’s wedding day was straight out of a fairy tale!
Anna shared a little about why they chose Rhinehart Photography, “Your photos are so beautiful and unique. I love the creativity and attention to detail they put into every picture.”
Neil added, “You were recommended by friends and your name popped up time and time again. We can be rather picky, but loved all of the photos we saw on your site– they were so professionally executed and creative. I could see a lot of personality from the couples coming through in the photographs!”
Anna shared, “I’m really anxious to see photos of our family and friends and some of those artistic shots!” Well, here you go Anna, this was a really tricky photo I captured in camera with Anna and her wedding gown… I love that it also ties in the plum color that her bridal party wore.
Anna explained the style of her wedding, “We wanted a romantic, wintery feel with plenty of sparkle.” Her wedding gown and jewelry started off the morning with some sparkle!
I bring several lenses with me and use them accordingly– the lens I used for this photo is specifically made for photos taken at extremely close range. I wanted her sparkling jewelry to pop and chose a dark background in shade while allowing light to skim and sparkle. I arranged them to draw your eye in and fill the frame. 😉
Anna smiled when I asked about her brides-man, John. “It’s 2018, bridal parties aren’t just for girls anymore!”
She continued, “John has been one of my closest friends since High School. He is absolutely hilarious and he needed to be a part of the bridal party. He was super excited to wear his robe and be with the girls. He even wore a beautiful long green wig at the bachelorette!”
Here he pops the champagne…
Cheers to Anna & Neil!
Anna shared, “The bridal suite at the Hershey Lodge was more than I could have hoped for! The rooms were huge and it was the perfect place to hang with the bridal party and family while getting ready for the big day! The night before the wedding my sister and I stayed in the room together and I wrote my letter to Neil.”
Here two of her bridesmaids admire the dress and take it down so that Anna can get dressed. I love to use different elements in the room to add a little artistry and pop, there was so much for me to work with in the Hershey Lodge bridal suite! Here is her beautiful wedding gown from White Swan Bridal Boutique.
Anna shared, “One of my family-friends gave me blue initials of my Pop-pop’s name to use for ‘something blue’ to sew into my dress. This was very special to me because my relationship with my Pop-pop was extremely close and it has been very hard for me to not have him here. I am glad he was able to a part of our special day!”
Khara Williams Make Up puts on a few final touches. I silhouetted them together in the window and I love the contrast of Khara’s hair down, standing with the make-up in hand and Anna’s hair up, sitting, as her lipstick is applied.
Neil shared about falling for Anna, “Anna is just awesome, in every way. She was a good friend of mine for several years before we started dating. I really grew to enjoy being around her more and more (and I’m glad she felt the same way about me!).”
Neil shared, “Every time she’s met friends or family of mine for the first time I always hear about how much they like the atmosphere she brings everywhere she goes, and that smile…”
Anna shared about her incredible bouquet from Splints and Daisies, “I absolutely loved my cascading bouquet with the mostly white, some plum and calla lily flowers. It looked so romantic!”
Anna’s dad walked in the room and saw his daughter as a bride for the first time.
Anna shared, “It was so special to have that moment with my dad before walking down the aisle. He told me how proud he was of me and that Neil was definitely the right person for me. I could tell my dad was truly happy for us.”
Anna shared about her relationship with Neil, “I think we really complement each other well. We have a lot of similarities when it comes to our interests, sense of humor and careers, but we also have differences that complement each other well. When I’m stressed he’s calming, when he’s upset I try to make him smile.”
Anna requested a Vogue-inspired bridal party photo after seeing some on my blog. I’d say that they definitely rocked it…
Anna stated, “We are so thankful for all the help from our family and friends for putting all of the aspects of this wedding and the journey together. We are especially thankful to my mom, who worked tirelessly on every detail to make sure everything was perfect for us. We are so lucky!”
Here is one of their more traditional family photos:
Neil’s brother asked Neil when he knew he wanted to marry Anna and his answer caught him off-guard…
Neil said, “I always knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, but it was a moment that we were watching TV after a long day of work and she laughed at some joke or something. I had this feeling that it was time. I was at my mom’s the next day and we were alone so I said it out loud for the first time, ‘Mom, I’m going to ask Anna to marry me.’ The rest is history.”
Neil shared, “The wedding day was so emotional for me and I have no problem saying that! I wrote my note during some down time and was able to channel my thoughts. I told her that my promise to her is to be the type of husband she deserves and every day I will work every day to make sure she feels how much I love her.”
Anna shared, “Neil and I were close friends before we started dating. I fell in love with his smile and his out-going personality and funny sense of humor. He is always making me laugh and I always have so much fun and laugh so hard when I am with him.”
She went on, “I am never afraid to be myself when I’m with him and he has always been very supportive of everything I have ever wanted to do. Neil is the perfect partner for me.”
Whenever I asked Anna & Neil what they were looking forward to most about their wedding day it was always the people– friends and family.
The line-up of men by his side dressed to the nines and ready to go on the morning of his wedding really said to me that they feel the same way about him!
Neil shared about the gentleman at his side, “My best man, Connor, is my older brother and best friend. We’ve gone through a lot in our home life which has really brought home my motto of “family is everything.” My brothers are the ones I always know are there for me. Throughout the years and struggles, he’s always been there for me and vice versa. I know he would do anything for me.”
The couple was wed at the “Holy Name of Jesus church” in Paxtonia, just outside of Harrisburg Pennsylvania. I loved working there!
Anna recalled, “My favorite part of the wedding day was when I saw him at the end of the aisle in the church. The way he looked at me was a moment I will never forget!”
Neil shared, “I’ll admit I cried when I first saw Anna in her wedding gown. I didn’t realize I could see her through the back windows when she walked up with her dad and before everyone turned around. I was stunned. I knew I would cry but I could never have anticipated the range of emotions that washed over me.”
He went on, “Those 30 seconds from when I first saw her and when the crowd stood and turned around left me in this surreal world that I relive every day. It was just me and her and no one else. I started laughing while also holding back tears! I couldn’t believe that we made it to this point. That euphoria stayed with me through the rest of the day, and still remains.”
So I have this thing for symmetry and I have to say I really liked working in this church :). The priest was also super friendly.
The funniest moment of the ceremony: when Neil tried to kiss Anna before the appointed time and the priest had to stop him!!!!
Wow– this is it– they are all smiles you could tell that they were in the moment and soaking it all in! This is probably my biggest piece of advice for my couples is to enjoy their day and take in every moment…
More balance, and framing…
The bridal party stood outside of the church waiving streamers and welcoming the newlyweds, they may or may not have been chanting “booze and snacks” haaaaaa….
So happy together! Neil said, “I’m just pumped that I can finally have her to myself!!! Anna, you are so beautiful!!!”
Neil went on, “The Hershey Hotel was a perfect place for us, it was gorgeous and the lighting was great. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather.”
Anna shared, “Our time at the Hershey Hotel was the most ‘alone-time’ we had all day and we really enjoyed it!”
Anna continued, “It felt like we were on castle grounds in the back of the hotel with the white stairs, topiary and fountains. I felt like a princess.”
There was a quiet moment and Neil looked down at his hand, and noticed the wedding band and got a little emotional…
Neil shared, “I think we both bring optimism to our home. Being with her is always the cure to a long day at work or any other struggles I may have.”
He continued, “We spend most of our time together– laughing. It’s just what we do!”
Gorgeous cake by the Couture Cakery— I’m obsessed with this cake topper!
Anna shared, “I loved using our engagement photos from Lisa for the table numbers. I think it really tied everything together well. It was a personal touch that was artistic, romantic and added a little sparkle too!”
Neil shared, “My mom is my #1. After college I had some very difficult times and it was really ‘us against the world.’ I viewed our dance as a big life moment. It was more than a dance in my mind – it was much more of a statement that we made it through those tough times together and came out on the other side.”
He went on, “She’s an inspiration to me and it meant the world to have that dance. We also changed our song choice so we wouldn’t cry too much…”
Anna shared, “My dad and my sister’s speech were so perfect to me. They made me laugh and cry! They did such a great job and I could not ask for a better family!”
I love to get creative, here I used the bubbles from the champagne glasses to bring some extra visual interest into the best man’s speech! (Yes it looked like this in camera, it wasn’t layered on in photo shop after the fact). 😉
Neil explained, “James Madison University is where it all began for Anna & I! We met at school, I proposed on the quad, our friends that we made there are still are good friends now…”
Anna added, “Including the JMU Duke Dog was a must for us!”
Anna shared, “The dance floor was electric. Everyone was having a great time. At one point we had a large conga line for the song ” I would walk 500 miles” and we played a big range of songs. Neil even sang “I think I love you”. DJs were great!” She is referring to the team at Klock Entertainment.
Anna laughed, “At the end of the night, Neil picked up the mic got down on one knee and sang the Partridge Family song “I think I love you!”
She went on, “Neil was so funny and brave when he sang that song! Maybe had a few too many cocktails, haha!”
They agreed, “At the end of the night, we thought about how lucky we are to have each other and such great friends and family in our life. We would not have changed a thing!”
Anna and Neil, thanks so much for trusting me to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments for you and your families and friends! I hope that they are as creative, beautiful and unique as you had hoped and truly capture the story and spirit of your day!!! I can’t wait to hear what you think!