Blog


Kristina & Patrick — The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit — Central Pennsylvania Wedding Photography

In the five years that I have been photographing weddings, I’ve often wondered what a wedding would look like for someone who plans them on a regular basis. What would an event planner — someone who’s seen everything, heard everything and had dozens of events to contemplate her own perfect celebration — put together? What would that look like. The answer: Unbelievably gorgeous. Kristina and Patrick live in Costa Rica, where Kristina works as a coordinator for a wedding-planning company. Though they live near the beach — and apparently spend a good chunk of their free time on surf boards — they went woodsy for their wedding and chose to get married at the beautiful Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit. There were so many fun elements for me to photograph, from the hand-painted wooden signs that directed guests at the Lodge and lanterns lining the path to the ceremony in the woods to an antique car that held citrus water at the ceremony site and the Converse sneakers that the groom, his attendants and even the pastor wore. Kristina did an amazing job of combining homemade projects — her necklace, the map in their invitations, the table arrangements and river rock placecards — with a few select purchases from Etsy.

 

But in addition to the tangible aspects of the wedding, I loved the feel of Kristina and Patrick’s celebration. Everything was designed to not only look spectacular but also to make the entire day as enjoyable as possible for their guests. There was, for instance, a kids’ table — brimming with games, stuffed animals and toys — so that the parents of the littlest guests could also relax and enjoy themselves. There was blueberry lemonade at the bar, a photo station with a backdrop that Kristina painted herself and a fabulous band that had traveled all the way from Virginia Beach. And when Kristina and Patrick discovered that their guests had already gone into the dining room rather than lingering in the main hall where they had planned to be introduced and have their first dance, the newlyweds didn’t hesitate. Rather than asking their guests get up and return to the foyer, they shrugged their shoulders and decided to dance in the doorway between the two rooms. The wedding had that kind of vibe all day long.

Here are some of my favorites from their day:

Kristina made the map for the invitations herself, using watercolors and ink.

The bride and groom and their families got ready at the historic Gettysburg Hotel.

A few bridal details, including the necklace that Kristina made herself for her wedding. It was beautiful.

Patrick and Kristina decided to see each other before the ceremony and I have to say, it was one of my all-time most favorite pre-ceremony meetings. In the hotel, Kristina was talking about how she was certain she wouldn’t cry. But as soon as she and Patrick saw each other, they both were so overcome with emotion. It was really something.

Showing off their special footwear to each other.

The parents look on through the window.

There are many wonderful, quaint locations in Gettysburg for photos. But on this particular day, there was a festival that left the town crawling with tourists and a band playing music in the main square. I found this blank cement wall with cool light fixtures in an alley behind the hotel. It was the perfect spot for some quick portraits that would have a different feel from the woodsy rustic locations where we would shoot later at the Lodge.

We then ducked into the pub to cool off and make a few more images.

Then, it was off to the Lodge.

Finally, it was time to get married!

Despite forcasted thunderstorms, we were graced with gorgeous light streaming through the trees in the clearing where Kristina and Patrick exchanged vows. They were married by the same pastor who performed her parents’ wedding ceremony years ago.

Married!

Just down the hill from the ceremony site was a winding road lined by trees and an unmowed field drenched in golden, late-afternoon light. The wedding party did not complain once when I asked if they’d mind hiking down the hill in their wedding finery for photos. It was, by the way, totally worth it.

A few in the woods.

And a quick stop at that antique car.

There was so much to admire about the reception decor. I was even more impressed to learn that Kristina, Patrick and their families had made much of it. From Kristina: “I’m also super happy about the table arrangements. Those were changed at the last second, because we had purchased cylinders that didn’t work with the origional design. So my dad [who works in forestry services] cut the wood disks, we purchased wooden numbers and spray painted them, and we combined them with my favorite flowers in the world, Bells of Ireland and Peonies, from the florist.

A first dance.

The Polaroid photo booth.

Some emotional toasts.

The father of the bride had taken off his jacket for his toast. (He told me earlier in the day that he wore his favorite suspenders — emblazoned with the name of a tractor company — as a joke for Kristina, who had always despised them when she was growing up. So I snapped a detail shot of them in all their navy and orange glory while he was speaking.)

After his toast, a weepy Kristina ran up to the microphone and looked as if she was about to respond with something really emotional. Instead, she announced that she wanted everyone to know that she had not approved of those suspenders for the wedding.

A little cake-cutting.

A little lounging.

Even a rainbow appeared after a rain storm swept through late into the evening.


Since Kristina has planned and run so many other people’s weddings, I was curious to know what she thought of the experience of planning her own affair. She graciously offered a bit of advice. From Kristina: “There were certain things I was super picky about — what the cushions by the fireplace, carpet and curtains looked like, things that could not be changed. I found that on the day of the wedding, these things were the least of my worries. So for the brides, I just want to say that they should let go a little and figure out the big things, but you CANNOT sweat the little things.

 

“Being a wedding coordinator the last few years and then doing our own REALLY HELPED! We realized what was important to US.  I know this doesn’t go for everyone, but for us we felt the following: Cake must taste good, but as for design, not so important. No one remembers it. Music is huge, people remember music. Photography, EVEN ‘HUGE-ER.’ We looked and looked…and well…found YOU! Food wasn’t super important. We felt that people don’t remember their steak or their chicken, so we should go with more budget options, which was fine. Guests still loved the food! For us, it was important to realize where we wanted to spend money and where we could save. I think we did well!

 

I couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Kristina and Patrick. I couldn’t have had any more fun working with you. I wish you a marriage filled with as much love and happiness as you obviously felt together on your wedding day!

 

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony, reception and catering: The Inn & Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit

Officiant: Pastor Charles Mackley from St. Paul’s Church in Clear Spring, Md.

Ceremony musicians: Robert Hanson classical guitarist

Bridal attire: Madeline Gardner from J&B Bridal in Chambersburg, Pa.

Hair and Make-up: Grace Kelly Salon in Gettysburg, Pa.

Groom’s attire: Banana Republic (From Kristina: “We wanted something quality, and something that they guys wouldn’t spend $150 on and then return the next day. So we went to the Banana Republic Outlet Store and found just what they wanted. It helped save some money, the guys could call the store, pay, and BR ships for like $5. Super easy. The ties were Ben Sherman, shirts were Express and shoes were Chuck Taylors — not that they need explaining. 🙂)

Florist: Ben’s Flower Shop in Hagerstown, Md.

Cake: Cindy’s Sweets from Hagerstown, MD.

Band/DJ: 10 Spot from Virginia Beach

Invitations: Paper Divas

 

Comments

  1. Leo Ryan

    Simply. Amazing.

    Reply
  2. Robyn Hagadorn + Ramsey Batmangelich

    Amazing pics! I LOVE the car shot! Congrats to you both! We love you guys! R+R

    Reply
  3. Betsey Lillard

    As parents of the bride- we could NOT be happier, or more impressed, by
    the photos. Jennifer was just wonderful! Thank you SO much!! Made us
    tear up all over again. (P.S. The food IS important- not WHAT, but just the memory that the food was good. And it was!)

    Reply
  4. Harriett Dinmore Allen

    Tina, Patrick, Betts & Rick…I feel like I attended the wedding & am so sorry I wasn’t there. These pictures are lovely & show what a great job the “planners” & the photographer accomplished. I want to save this & look at it again & again. Beth described it somewhat but there is nothing like photographs to tell the story. So beautiful.
    Aunt Chip

    Reply
  5. bathsheba

    Hey Kristina and Patrick, amazing pictures, congratulations to you both, looks like it was an incredible day!!
    And I agree with your mum, food is important…ha! ha!

    Reply
  6. Michael and Liza Garrity

    Patrick and Kristina,

    I just viewed these wonderful photographs of your glorious wedding.
    I was blown away and can’t wait to show them to Liza.
    I am sorry that Mom, Liza, and I were not able to be there because we would have loved to share this wonderful time with you.
    All of the photos were phenomenal! I especially like the two of you up against the concrete wall that Jennifer described. It truly has potential for a great Album cover! Maybe I’m dating myself, but this is something I can invision The Stones or Fleetwood Mac having as there front for an Album called: “Happy!”
    Anyway, thanks for sharing and we hope to see you in Raliegh.
    Love,
    Uncle Mike and Liza

    Reply
  7. Susan Curtis

    Thank you so much for sharing your photos and the blog. After reading all the details and pouring over the amazing photos I feel like I was there!!
    Love,
    Susan Curtis

    Reply
  8. Uncle Dave

    Kristina and Patrick,

    Absotlutely wonderful photography. Jennifer McMenamin knows how to photograph an event and you guys hit one out of the ball park with her.

    Beth, Ross, Patrick, Chrissy, Aunt Debbie and I all enjoyed your wedding very much. From our view point no detail was over looked. But most of all, you both made your quests feel so welcomed, so apart of your wedding. We love you guys so much, look forward to when we can be all together again.

    Love, Uncle Dave

    Reply
  9. Graeme

    The first look is priceless! Great work Jen!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *