Let's Go to the Poconos
15 years. Family. These two words echoed in my head all day because of the amazing couple and the people they've made family over their years together. From starting in the hotel room to get ready, to the ceremony, to the toasts and dances: both blood and not, this is an incredible, supportive and loving family.
It was a beautiful Spring day for Heather and Robert to renew their vows. Buffered by an intense thunderstorm the night before and rain the next afternoon, the day itself turned out perfectly. The sun dried everything fast and stayed up smiling all day long. And so when we got to the venue, we could see the view: and wow, why they chose Blue Mountain Resort for their special day. But let's back up.
In the Beginning
Heather and Robert met in the Army 15 years ago, and a month later were married. Can you say that is some true love, please? Because now 15 years and two fantastic children later, it was this sureness of love that brought them to renew their vows in front of everyone that they love. As Heather told me, "This is really that chance for us to get all the pictures and have the big party." Resounding success! They recently moved back to the east coast after 7 years in Alaska. This also fed into the venue choice: those mountains! Well, hills, as Robert pointed out compared to Alaska but still: pretty beautiful. I'll add one more neat aspect, then get back to the actual day: I met Heather through her dad, who I used to work with. And one night I was batting around the vow renewal plans with my parents, and my dad offered to be my second shooter and assistant for the day. Well, goodness: he first taught me about cameras and photography and he used to take on weddings. So another word that echoed in my head all day was Dads.
I've Got Sunshine
Have I mentioned it was a perfect day? Because it was. The weather, of course, helped in its own department but it was perfect because the closeness and deep support everyone present had for each other was so, so clear. From the moment I stepped into the room to capture the bride and bridesmaids getting ready, to dragging myself away from the rockin' dance floor.
It was definitely a fun Bridal Party: We first went to Heather's room and met their daughter Carmen, plus Amber, Janelle, and mom Marcy. Everyone was both excited and easy-going. Also efficient! I stepped out to snag the gentlemen for all of 10 minutes and came back to fully-dressed and nearly ready Heather. Robert, son Marcus, Stetson, and KC were in the lobby so we got a couple shots of them all together before they ran to the resort to prepare for the First Look. As the women began to coordinate getting everyone downstairs, I suggested we do a mini first look with dad Harry. My dad and I ran down to get ready and: the looks on both their faces! It was SO wonderful to witness.
Portraits and Ceremony
The wedding coordinator and I worked together to keep Heather and Robert separate until we were ready for their First Look. Seeing Robert's expression as he turned to see Heather in her gown for the first time. Wow. I spent a few minutes just snapping away at their reactions to each other. When we were most of the way through their portraits, Harry stuck his head out the door and yelled, "Hey, watch your hands! She's still my daughter!" which got a fabulous laugh from all 3 of them. This crew!
The ceremony space is stunning, looking right out on the mountains. It was a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony with two best friends re-committing themselves to each other, thrilled to be together and sharing many many more years. With a crystal and a watch, Marcus and Carmen's roles were woven into the ceremony and tied together this wonderful family. After some rockstar bridal party entrances, Heather and Robert started their first dance and Robert spoke of his total gratitude of everyone who was able to attend, before loving toasts by friends and family. Speeches ran from funny - including at least one dramatic re-enactment of meeting Robert - to kind and sweet. Like father of the bride saying "Today was the hardest thing I've done" and how he can see everyone here is family for life. He's right, it certainly is a close-knit group.
Sunset and Dancing
Just before the sun dipped below the horizon, we snuck Heather and Robert out to a beautiful mountain overlook. And it was. So. Worth. It! We caught beautiful colors as they looked into each other's eyes - what bliss. This quiet moment with them out on the grass, sun glowing around them. Just perfect.
Soon enough it was time for father-daughter and mother (in-law)-son dances and the cake cutting (too cute!) and getting everyone out on the dance floor to celebrate this absolutely lovely couple. Stay tuned for the full gallery!
Heather and Robert: I wish you many more 15s! It was a privilege to capture your special day and witness your extraordinary family in their love for you.
VENDORS, THANK YOU:
Wedding Coordinator: Alana Costenbader (Day-of: Mande), Blue Mountain Resort
Florist: Pondelek's Florist and Gifts
DJ: Mark Druckenmiller, Dream Weaver Entertainment
Caterer: Blue Mountain Resort
Cake Design: Catelyn Strohl, Blue Mountain Resort
Hair and Makeup Artist: Maddie Scott, Hair and There Salon
Bridal Dress Shop: Bella Bridal
Tux: Men's Wearhouse