It was just one month before they were to be married when James and Melissa contacted me about photographing their wedding. Despite my busy summer schedule, I happened to have their date free! I’m so glad I was available to capture this amazing couple’s special day! Besides their previous photographer canceling, their hotel also closed, and they had to shorten their guest list by over half of the original expected attendees. They had already changed their wedding date because of COVID, now they had to scramble to get everything re-planned. They were overwhelmed. The tears, discussions, frustrations, and fears, felt at times, unsurmountable. Melissa was starting her first year as a principal and could not imagine postponing her wedding for a whole year. Who knew if next year’s situation would be any different? They took a risk to move forward with their plan, and are so glad they did. With Ben Reeder Photography providing a live stream experience for their guests watching from home, James and Melissa felt like they could go on with their planned festivities. I’m so glad they did… it was an incredible day!
We had a great time doing their engagement session at Overlook Park in Lancaster, Pa. Michaela and Kyle are so fun to be with, and so obviously in love. Their Spring 2021 wedding will be at Stoltzfus Homestead and Gardens. It’s the first and only venue they visited. They fell in love with this amazing location immediately. It’s perfect for the relaxed, yet classy party they have planned after they say “I do”. Yard games and string lights make it a fun and beautiful place to celebrate. I know it will be an incredible wedding and I’m so excited to capture their special day!
Our world had been full of so much uncertainty over the summer and it seemed as if some of it was settling down a bit. Everyone was definitely ready to celebrate something wonderful, and that’s exactly what Gabi and Roy’s wedding was. The day was filled with so much joy and laughter. Stone Mill Inn had done a superb job to calm any fears they had and everything was planned to perfection.
The day had finally come. After nearly a year of planning, re-planning and planning again, Anya would finally be Mrs Joel Gatchell. They had met when they were pre-teens, and were high school sweethearts. After college, Anya began working as a nurse while Joel finished his senior year at Cedarville University. When COVID hit, Joel’s last semester of college, along with his last season of track was cut short, and he headed home to finish up. It was still months until their wedding, and they both thought that by June everything would be back to normal. I think we all thought (or hoped) that. Their venue and guest count changed so many times in the few months before their wedding, they were almost ready to just head to the courthouse, if they had to. Thankfully they didn’t have to that. Only a month before their wedding they booked the most beautiful location they could have dreamed of. The Barn at Artemis is a hidden gem, in the small community of Brogue. It over looks the Susquehanna River and has beautiful views from every direction. With it’s relaxing, natural and woodsy vibe, It was Anya’s dream come true.
Brittany wasn’t looking for love. She was just out having a good time with her friends when she met Eric at Tellus 360, an Irish pub in Lancaster, Pa known for it’s live music and rooftop views. A few days after meeting him, she sent him a friend request on Facebook and a spark was ignited. Brittany’s first impression of Eric was that he spoke genuinely and cares about the same values she does. She really liked his sense of humor and knew she wanted to get to know him better. When Eric first met Brittany, he immediately loved her personality and found her so easy to talk to. That first night their conversation came naturally, and they both knew they wanted to get to know each other better.
When Michael first saw Lauren, it was as if the room lit up around her…He knew it was love at first sight. She thought he was really handsome but was too nervous to talk to him. That was over four years ago, on a trip to Philadelphia to see Christmas lights with mutual friends…those lights led to a date, which led to an engagement, which will lead to an October wedding this year!
It was all she had dreamed it would be. Even though she had worked in the wedding photography business and seen the best of the best, Kylie didn’t really want the elegant venue, designer dress or gourmet dinner. All she really wanted was Michael… and to be surrounded by the people she loved most. And that’s what she got. Beautiful simplicity. I’m so thankful I could be part of her day.
One of the things I like to ask my couples is what they love most about each other. Ashley and Sean’s answers are some of my favorite ever. *Warning* You will get goosebumps while reading this. Sean’s answer to my question: “What I love most about Ashley is her love for other people, especially her family and friends. I love her hard work, determination, and drive to be the best person she can be. I love that she doesn’t let her deafness define her and knows that she can overcome anything. Lastly, I love that she’s my best friend who I can joke with, care for, and love more than anything.” Isn’t that so sweet? Ashley’s answer is also beautiful: “What I love most about Sean is his heart. He cares very deeply for me, for his family, and for his friends. Sean has worked very hard to be the person that he is today, and I’m SO proud of him and of everything he has accomplished. Along with his heart of gold, is his sense of humor. As Sean said, he loves to joke around with me, and we spend a lot of our time together laughing. I love that I get to be one of the people in his inner circle, that he opens up and shows his true self to.” The part about Ashley being happy that she “gets” to be part of his inner circle is the true evidence of a selfless love. When we see love this way, as a gift to us, we can enjoy it so much more. I love that.
They were friends in high school, and then became college sweethearts. In 2014, Roy took Gabi to Lake Redman in York, Pa and asked her to be his girlfriend. Since that seemed to work for him, he decided to try the same place to ask her to be his wife. So, this past year, on a rainy day, they went back there for a picnic, and Roy popped the question. Gabi was so happy to say yes! Ironically, on the day of their engagement shoot, it also rained! (On a positive note, in some cultures, this a symbol of good luck) The rain actually worked in our favor, and the photos turned out beautifully.
Since Lauren and Dan got engaged at the beautiful Longwood Gardens at Kennett Square, we had to return there for their engagement shoot! The gardens and architecture make it one of the most stunning places to take photographs. With a gorgeous backdrop in every direction, it truly is a photographer’s dream.
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