Over *three hundred* wedding guests out on the dance floor, a Phish doughnut cake piled sky high, an entire class of first graders and an unbelievable entrance– you won’t want to miss this amazing, romantic, Palace at Somerset Park wedding…
Nicole shared, “Choosing Rhinehart Photography was one of the easiest decisions we made! After looking at many photography websites, we were completely obsessed with Lisa’s photos. We set up our first meeting through video chat, and we booked the same night! She is so sweet and truly makes you feel so comfortable. It was super easy to work with her on our wedding day. She arrived early and began taking photos the second she unpacked.”
She continued, “We believe that what makes Lisa so different from other photographers is that she takes the times to get to know her couples. The engagement shoot allowed her to get to know us, and us to get to know her, so there were no surprises on our wedding day. We are hoping to see pictures that capture our wedding day. We were both in a haze and don’t remember things too clearly so we are hoping the pictures will tell the story of the evening!”
Let’s get that story started…
Nicole wanted a classic, romantic wedding with some sparkle, hehe. You can see the sparkle in the ring above, here I paired her invitation with a bouquet of roses that Stephen bought her…
I like to play with lines and perspectives! Here Nicole reads her letter from Stephen. I have a few close up shots of this same scene but this shot is my favorite…
Nicole’s dress fit her like a glove! Here Nicole’s sister used a crochet hook to close all the tiny button loops…
Nicole you are stunning!
I thought the steps would be a fun place for the bridal party reveal so I could get a creative perspective and show both Nicole’s train and all of the bridesmaids’ reactions!
Nicole shared, “My Mom is my best friend. We are extremely close. She was by my side through every single second of planning our wedding. She came to every dress fitting and never complained once. I am so thankful for her and all she does for me each and every day. I’d be lost without her!”
While I was photographing the ladies at Nicole’s parents’ home, my second photographer, Denis, was photographing the men at Stephen’s parents’ home. I like how having a second photographer allows us to be two places at once or offer two different perspectives on the same scene.
Stephen shared, “There is nobody like my mother. She has always been there for me even when it meant spending weeks in the hospital with me when I had cancer. Nothing I say or write can accurately describe how much I love her. I consider myself the luckiest man in the entire world because I get to call her my mother!”
Stephen said “Hahaha, Jeff and I are mastering the art of the pocket square!”
Nicole shared, “It meant a lot to ride in the car to church with my parents. It was bittersweet leaving my childhood home with both of them for the last time as a single girl. My parents mean everything to me and I am so thankful for both of them.”
I have many more traditional shots, but I love this one– the colors, the silhouetted guests, the way Nicole’s white dress is illuminated and really pops…
Stephen shared, “I was absolutely blown away when I saw Nicole for the first time with her father. She was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.”
Here he tries his best to hold back tears…
Nicole shared, “Exchanging vows in the childhood church where I received my first communion and confirmation was so special.”
I commented to her about how pretty the lilies were that were placed throughout the congregation.
She said, “Lilies were still in the church from Easter! Haha SCORE, free flowers!”
Nicole shared, “I really wanted my great Aunt and Uncle to attend my wedding and they did, too, but my Aunt was sick and couldn’t be there in person. It was so cool that they were able to see the wedding through FaceTime (thanks to her son and daughter-in-law). It meant so much to me, and I think her, too!”
Kiss the bride– I love stained glass, it is so colorful! I wanted to showcase the colors and windows for this shot and wanted it to be dramatic as well, so I silhouetted the couple…
I have many photos that are lit in a more traditional way of the kiss. Here this one of them processing down the aisle as husband and wife!
Nicole is a first grade teacher and said, “My students have been so excited about my wedding since they started first grade! A few months ago they threw me a bridal “bath” as one student mistakenly called it (haha). My wedding was during spring break so I was nervous they would have plans and not be able to make it. I was soooo happy to see so many of my students and their families there!” Here you can see her first grade fan club waving and shouting as she recesses down the aisle!
I asked her students to gather around her for a photo and cheer.
Nicole explained, “They tend to get shy the second they exit school. To get them to cheer I told them I would bring cupcakes on Monday… haha that did it! And my awesome co-teacher Lauren picked up the promised cupcakes for me.”
She continued, “I also had special bride and groom cake pops made for them, too. They were so sweet!”
Nicole explained how they chose their wedding venue, The Palace at Somerset Park. “We toured and spoke with so many venues before visiting The Palace. From the second we pulled up both of us and our Mothers were in awe of the charm and beauty of The Palace. We loved what they had to offer in terms in food and hospitality. We canceled all of our other appointments that week and booked the next day!”
Nicole shared about choosing Stephen, “I feel like I always knew that he was the one. We’ve have been through a lot together over the years. He is such a caring, loving, and laid back guy who would do anything for the people he loves and I truly value that. He’s not too bad looking either, haha!”
Nicole explained, “We had *nine* bridesmaids so I definitely wanted them to wear different colors and styles. I chose two colors that blended really well that were a blush pink sort of color, then my sister (the maid of honor) wore a third color. I think the style and colors of their dresses had the romantic-glam look I was hoping for and was so pleased with them!”
I really like to get an editorial shot of the bridal party if they are up for it, and wanted to include the columns and a bit of the softness of the garden– strike a pose, guys!
Stephen shared, “I proposed to Nicole on New Year’s Eve. Nicole’s parents were having their annual New Year’s Eve party with family and friends. I made sure to invite my family over and give Nicole’s friends a heads up to come over. I asked her to come outside to help carry some things inside the house that I had in my car. She grabbed something out of my car and when she turned around I was on one knee with the engagement ring. Luckily she said yes and we were able to celebrate our engagement with our family and friends while we rang in the New Year.”
I like to play with perspectives and looking through things, reflections– I love the intimate feel of this photograph…
Nicole shared, “We were so excited to have the entire venue to ourselves! It made the wedding feel that much more special to be the only couple on the property. Having the guests start in the West room for cocktail hour and head to the East room for the reception in the foyer for Viennese hour, it was such a cool experience for our guests!”
Here you can see one angle of the sprawling east ballroom. Tables surrounded the dance floor from each side. This shows where roughly 70 of their 300 guests enjoyed dinner.
Nicole had a huge surprise planned for Stephen!
She explained, “I detail that I was most excited about was the Federal Donuts Phish cake surprise for Steve! He is a huge Phish fan and went to a bunch of shows during their Baker’s Dozen tour. A lot of the wedding details were my choice, and he didn’t necessarily care about details (haha) so I wanted something at the reception that brought him into the decor. It was a huge hit and he was so surprised!”
Steve shares his perspective, “I see the band Phish a lot. Some people might call it obsessive, but I enjoy it, haha. This past summer Phish played thirteen shows at Madison Square Garden, which they dubbed ‘The Bakers Dozen.’ Each show had a donut flavor theme and a corresponding donut they passed out as the first couple thousand people entered the building.
I attended eight of the thirteen shows (would have been thirteen of thirteen, but we were in San Francisco for five of them) and never entered the show early enough to receive a donut. The day after the thirteenth show, Federal Donuts released some of the Bakers dozen flavors in their Philadelphia shops. Nicole and I took a trip to get a couple dozen. The donuts were delicious and left a favorable impression on us.
To say that I was surprised when I saw the donut “cake” would be an understatement. The thing that didn’t surprise me was that Nicole would pull off something like that because she is the most thoughtful person I know.”
Nicole and Steve practiced their first dance while their guests finished up cocktail hour. They actually were the first couple to dance on this floor as it was brand new!
I wanted to capture all of the colors and light in the room. The pink up-lighting, the blue twilight, the tables and dance floor! I wanted to capture it from an interesting vantage point to pull in the chandeliers and waited for Stephen to spin her just enough that her dress would flair at the ends…
A romantic moment as night fell… I like the colors, silhouette and reflections in this photograph– look closely and you’ll see Nicole & Steve!
Nicole shared about her decor choices, “We worked with Laura at A Touch of Elegance to bring my vision to life. They were amazing and really helped me stay within our budget while making the decor absolutely beautiful. She had great ideas that I had never seen before. Her excitement towards our wedding made me feel so special and excited, too!”
Wow– this was such a cool moment!!! They entered like rock stars with two giant puffs from co2 blasters!
Their first dance– guests surrounded them, cheering…
Nicole shared, “Steve and I have been together since high school, twelve years, we’ve been through so much together! It all came together today!”
He continued, “She has always been there for me whether it was something simple or spending weeks in the hospital with me when I had cancer. Nothing I say or write can accurately describe how much I love her. I consider myself the luckiest man in the entire world because I get to call her my mother.”
Here she wipes a tear as I’m guessing she will be doing again and she reads Stephen’s words…
Nicole shared, “I think all the speeches at our wedding were amazing! It’s nice to hear how much your family loves the person you love. Steve is like the son my dad never had, and the brother my sister never had. He’s been part of our family for a long time, now it’s just official.”
I caught a rainbow during Stephen’s dad’s speech!
The dance floor opened and was on fire, thanks to Jay G and his team from Elite Sound Entertainment.
Nicole shared, “The wedding definitely would not have been the same without Jay G. He had the party going from the second people walked in until The Palace was basically kicking us out!”
Steve shared, “Everything went so perfectly– I can’t even imagine our wedding being any more incredible than it already was! I’m extremely grateful to Nicole for planning everything.”
Steve shared, “Most of the reception was a blur. There were so many family and friends there that it was a little overwhelming at times. However, I had a lot of fun dancing and celebrating with everyone.”
I took this shot to show it as a literal blur, using a slow shutter speed on my camera and some pretty cool settings! I love how it turned out! It’s my creative take on capturing all of the energy and movement out on the floor!
Nicole laughed, “With over three hundred wedding guests, greeting everyone was nearly impossible. We tried our best to see everyone at cocktail hour or on the dance floor!”
I wanted to capture the lights, the people, just the atmosphere of the room so that Steve and Nicole can experience it again and again through their wedding album.
Steve shared, “As husband and wife I’m looking forward to making more memories together and seeing where our travels take us next!”
Lol! This close up encounter with a sparkler was a little dangerous, but made super cool sparkling bokeh in the foreground! I love the yellow of the sparklers and the blue of the night!
It was such a treat to photograph you two and your incredible friends, family and wedding guests!
To see more of Nicole and Steve and hear the backstory of how they met and fell in love click here!