Crystal Springs Resort Wedding at Grand Cascades Lodge: Dana & Joel

Waterfalls, rainbows and a National Park wedding theme– you won’t want to miss this Grand Cascades Lodge couple…

Dana shared, “We first noticed Lisa’s work on Fearless Photographers.  We immediately noticed her crisp, vibrant photos and her eye for unique angles.  We checked out her blog and loved reading other couple’s stories and seeing first-hand how well she really gets to know each individual couple.”

She continued, “Lisa didn’t disappoint!  On the wedding day she had this crazy idea to capture the entire wedding location in my dress photo.  She literally climbed stairs, walked long halls, and coordinated everything to make her vision a reality.  I was totally game, it’s one of my most eagerly anticipated photos!”

Dana shared, “The rustic tree drawing and seal combined with the dark brown wood grain pocket fold of our wedding invitations set the tone for our National Parks themed wedding day. ”

Dana explained, “We incorporated similar flowers throughout our wedding day.  We had patient garden roses, bella star, astromelia, pink lizzianthus, terra copit gerbera, blue delphinium, mini rosa, astilbe, white snap dragon, calendula, orange rose, billy bottoms, queen anns lace, bluperum, and a lot of greenery.  Angela from Floriography Designs was absolutely amazing with everything.”

Dana shared, “Another reason that we chose Rhinehart Photography for our wedding day is because we love a mix of photos and really love the unique ones that are different angles, but also wanted traditional and candid photos, too.”

Here I caught a candid moment of Dana’s maid of honor, Julie joking around with Dana’s mom.  I like how you can see all of the wedding details present– dresses hanging breakfast, smiles and laughter all around…

Dana shared, “Morning Mimosas are a tradition for my mom’s side of the family.  My mom and I knew we wanted to have them and to toast to the big day in the bridal suite.  I thought it would be fun for everyone to have their own champagne glasses with their name on it as a little memento/token of the morning.”

Dana shared, “Looking at myself in the mirror for the first time after getting all dolled up was one of the times where it really was finally real!”

I captured her reflection in the mirror along with the ornate armoire design and you can see how well the dress hugs her body in the foreground too, framing her.

Dana shared, “Every time we were outdoors, we were blessed with blue skies.  Every time we didn’t need it to be nice out, it poured down rain.  I know some people may not see it this way,  but to me, it was my Gram.  There were really two times the entire day I got emotional – one was at the first look and the other was when it wasn’t raining on us and I knew Gram was there.  She was a very special part of the day and I was happy she was there in spirit.”

Wow, and the blue skies she got were just incredible!!!

Dana explained, “I wanted the dress colors to be different shades of green to go with our concept of the outdoors.  We chose to have my maid of honor in yellow, then the colors went from yellow green to mint to deep green.”

She continued, “While we selected to colors, the bridesmaids could select whichever style they liked best.  I wanted to do this because not everyone’s body is the same and I wanted everyone to feel amazing wearing them and be comfortable.  All the girls also had different shoes all along the lines of tan, champagne color again just filling into the comfort part.”

Dana shared, “I thought the ‘circle spot’ would be an ideal spot to have the first look because the circle symbolizes eternity– without beginning or end.  I thought it would be symbolic for me to walk and join him in the circle.   I had been thinking about the moment Joel was going to see me for a long time!”

While I hid on the ground level beneath the shade of a tree, I had my assistant, Kris, in the upper level bridal suite and framed up this ‘bird’s eye view’ for him to capture from the top, tweaking settings to bring out the mountains sky and circles…

Joel shared, “My relationship with Dana has been nothing short of a fairy tale.  She is open, understanding, patient, supportive, thoughtful and kind.  I still am in disbelief that I have found a person who truly and whole-heartedly completes me the way that she does!”

He continued, “I was absolutely blown away during our first look!  Dana looked absolutely stunning!!!  I was absolutely speechless.  She was glowing and absolutely radiant! I don’t believe I have ever cried such tears of complete happiness and joy!”

Dana smiled, “I wanted him to watch me walk towards him rather than tap him on the shoulder because I wanted him to see the entire effect.  I wanted him to see me walking, see the way the dress moves with my body, see the full effect of the train, see the beading sparkle, see my hair pins sparkle, and then as I get closer see everything up close.  I think it added anticipation.”

She continued, “The first look was by far my favorite part of the day.  I really liked being able to talk to him about how we looked and just be happy and take a moment to ourselves before the hype and craziness of the day kicked in.  He told me I looked beautiful.”

I climbed into the shrubbery for this photograph, haha!  I knew how much they love the outdoors, greenery and mountains, so I created a visual Dana and Joel sandwich with the mountains and greenery as the bread, lol…

Dana shared, “Joel and I share so many interests and that’s what originally attracted us to each other.  Joel is also very hardworking, caring, and loving and always has our best interest at heart.  He tries very hard at everything he does and sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. When things don’t work out as planned we support each other.  We genuinely just like to make each other happy. ”

I wanted this photo to showcase the tall grass, water and even a bit of the waterfall, as well as Dana and Joel.  I feel like this imagery fits will with their sentiments of how they support each other and make each other happy as they seem to be doing that literally here:

Dana continued, “She continued, “Overall, we fill in each others weak areas and together make a very strong couple. I fell in love with him because of how caring he is and how well we just simply work together. He cares about me so deeply and I know we both will spend our entire lives finding new ways to make the other one happy.”

As a storm approached, of course it was perfect timing and we were able to move inside– I love the vibrant colors in the background of this silhouette:

Dana shared, “We were aware of the summer heat and wanted the groomsmen to be comfortable, we also liked the more rustic look with the men in vests with sleeves that were rolled up.”

Note that “Gram blue sky” again 😉

Dana shared, “The church was my home church.  My parents actually live a block from it and I have had all my sacraments there – baptism, penance, communion, confirmation – and thought it would be really meaningful to continue my sacraments there.  I noticed you up in the balcony at points and can’t wait to see what you captured!”

In this case, it was Dana’s gorgeous train as her father walked her down the aisle, the pews of her home church and her reflection in the clock on the wall– if you look closely you can even see the time she started to process down the aisle. 😉

I liked the high arching ceilings and accentuated them with a super-wide angle lens…

The entire ceremony was so joyful…

Dana shared, “The priest also knows my late grandpa, so he knows our family well and has been friends with the Butler family for a very long time, so it was special to have him.”

I love to play with colors and reflection and found ample opportunities during the homily 😉

For me, this recessional was almost foreshadowing of the rainbow to come, haha! Pink tones in the front then yellow, green and the blues and purples of the altar…

Dana shared, “The national park theme was important to us – Joel and I have a goal of going to every national park in our lifetime (there are 59 of them).  Our first vacation together was camping in Shenandoah National Park and every year we go back to Shenandoah.  I have been to about 20 parks in my lifetime and now Joel has been to eight!”

Dana explained, “We engraved the little wooden place markers featuring National Park table names with the help of Joel’s dad.  They bring out our National Parks theme and double as Christmas ornaments that people can hang on their trees to remember the day.  We also tried to put people who have been to national parks at tables they have been to.”

Dana shared, “The concept of miniature trees with wildflowers at the base for the centerpieces was also an idea that came out of talking with one of my aunts while vacationing in Yosemite!  I thought this worked perfect with the overall woodsy idea we were going for.”

She continued, “Angela and her team went above and beyond creating the most amazing forest/woodland wedding. She really turned our dreams into a reality incorporating so much greenery, flowers, moss, trees, lanterns, and candles absolutely everywhere.”

Dana continued, “The wood wall in front of our head table was something out of a fairy tale. My aunt and uncle actually cut a tree down for us that was in their yard and cut it to the perfect size pieces so that we could make the wall.  The florist put all the flowers, candles, and lanterns on it and it transformed into amazing-ness.  When Joel and I walked into the ballroom it was one of the first things we saw and it was just unbelievable.  It was so much more beautiful than we ever could have imagined.”

Dana smiled, “Giving our guests saplings as their wedding favor was a part of our great outdoors theme that we loved.  It was really a group effort to make all of those moving parts come together!”

Dana shared, “The cocktail hour room alone was the exact feel we were looking for.  I loved the wood beams and the cobblestone looking floor.  There was soooo much incredible food throughout the evening.”

Here is a tiny peek at the space and most basic starters during cocktails…

Dana smiled, “Our first dance was choreographed, something that was a surprise to the vast majority of our wedding guests, including my maid of honor!!   We chose the song ‘Better Together’ because we wanted something that fit our relationship and we really are better together.”

Awww I love how happy they are here!!!

Joel shared, “Everyone was kind of holding their breath when it came to Brian’s speech, haha!  He’s not the most refined or sentimental guy, but he spoke from the heart and it really made the moment special.”

Dana shared, “The rainbow outside was another fantastic happening!  After it only rained when it didn’t matter it started pouring during the speeches which then caused a rainbow a little later.  I don’t think many people have rainbows on their wedding and it was another thing that we think was the people who were there with us in spirit showing us they were there.”

Warm sunlight streamed in the window silhouetting wedding guests and illuminating drink glasses and flowers on the centerpieces…

Guests had a blast and totally got out on the dance floor!  There are so many photos of people dancing, but I chose this one as I highlight because of its layers– you have the groomsman with his colorful socks and Air Jordans and several dancing guests as well as Dana cutting a rug, perfectly framed in the background.

Joel shared, “The sunset was a beautiful end to the best day of our lives.”

Dana and Joel, I hope you enjoyed seeing a few highlights from your wedding day!  It was such a pleasure to capture this very important time for you and your friends and family!  If you want to see more photos of Dana and Joel, definitely check out their outdoor engagement session here— it featured a tent under the stars, their pups in a boat and more!!!


Vendor list:

Venue – Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort

Florist – Floriography Designs

DJ – DJ Sully

Transportation – Broadway Elite

Dress and Alterations – Kleinfeld Bridal

Hair and Makeup – Reflections Spa from Grand Cascades Lodge

Favors – Evergreen Memories

Guest Bench – Poverty Gulch Rustics

Invitations – Impress Ink

Cake – Palermo Bakery 

Dance Lessons – Fred Astaire

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