Mandy & Byron — The Maryland Zoo — Baltimore wedding photography

My 30th and final wedding of 2011 was a fantastic one. Mandy and Byron chose the Mansion House at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore as the venue for both their ceremony and reception. One of the first things that Mandy told me about their plans for a Zoo wedding was that a penguin and a giant Flemish rabbit would attend the cocktail hour. (In my head, I always imagined the penguin wearing a bowtie and carrying a silver platter the way penguins always seem to be depicted in cartoons. Winnie the penguin, however, was not in his formal wear or waiter mode but was no less delightful to photograph because of it!) On the other hand, I had no idea what a Flemish rabbit looked like until I googled the species and wow, Flanders was one big bunny! The four-legged guests were, of course, a nice addition to the day. But it was Mandy and Byron — and their friends and family — that really made their wedding such a joy to photograph. I suspected that would be the case from the afternoon we spent together for their engagement session. The little glances that Mandy and Byron exchanged throughout their wedding day. The amusing and moving toasts that their closest friends and parents offered. The beautiful vows, the personal ceremony readings, the packed dance floor, their adorable nieces and nephew, the pie pops. (Lots of my clients last year had cake pops. But Mandy and Byron had both cake pops and pie pops — little miniature pies baked on a nifty little lollipop stick for easy munching!) All of it made for a gorgeous wedding. Here are some of my favorites from their big day:

Mandy ordered a custom hanger for her dress with her and her fiance’s names intertwined.

Getting ready.

Since Mandy and Byron were married in December, we started shooting early so that we could squeeze in a few photos of them before the sun went down at the non-wedding friendly hour of 4.29 p.m. We maximized those last few golden rays of light.

Although these photos do hint at the wintry feel of the day, they don’t quite adequately convey just how freezing Mandy must have been in her strapless gown. We tried to move as quickly as possible while also ensuring they’d get some gorgeous images.

I love this next image.

Mandy and Byron attracted a flurry of attention from the few zoo visitors finishing up their trips and zipping by on the tram.

They’re so wonderful together, both when serious and when laughing.

Mandy’s nephew Ezra made for the cutest ring bearer. Here, he peeks to see what’s happening outside.

And finally, it was time to get married!

Ezra was a wee bit nervous walking down the aisle by himself. I always love shooting the processional a little wide and showing the reactions of the guests to the little ones’ entrances.

My assistant, Lucas, and I managed to snap photos at the very same moment from opposite ends of the aisle, giving Mandy a beautiful little rim light in this next image that Lucas shot.

I love love this next series of expressions from the bride and groom.

This next photo is also from Lucas.

A few details. (Photo on the left by Lucas.)

I always enjoy watching for parents’ reactions as their children say their marriage vows.

Breaking the glass (photo by Lucas). And a first kiss.


Immediately following the ceremony, Mandy and Byron exchanged cards that they had written for each other.

And now, without further ado, the animal ambassadors — Winnie the penguin and Flanders the Flemish rabbit.

The next three photos were shot by Lucas while I was photographing the newlyweds.

The colors for the wedding were purple and silver and the dining area of the Mansion House could not have looked lovelier. A few reception details, including gorgeous table linens and those previously mentioned pie pops from Chef’s Expressions caterers. Everything was pulled together by Mandy’s day-of coordinator, Briana Dixon of Nouvelle  Weddings and Events.

The newlyweds make their grand entrance.

A first dance.

A burn-off-some-energy-before-dinner dance.

Photo booth offerings.

A pair of parent dances.

A handful of toasts, including one from Mandy’s older sister Hillary who recounted a few embarrassing stories about her oldest daughter. Jocelyn’s reactions were fantastic, especially when her mom recounted her long-ago inquiry as to whether she could start calling her Aunt Mandy’s then-boyfriend ‘Uncle Byron.’ She threw her hands in the air in celebration when Hillary assured her daughter that she could now do so for forever and ever.

Yes, the dance floor was pretty much this packed for the entire night.

Some sweet dance moves from Mandy’s brother.

Mandy had one of the more fabulous reactions to being hoisted in their air during the hora that I’ve ever seen!

I always get excited when I catch a whiff of cigar smoke wafting in from outside because I love shooting timeless, black-and-white images of cigar smokers.

A few cake details.

A final dance with Jocelyn and Erin’s Aunt Mandy and Uncle Byron. (I love that you can see Jocelyn’s smooshed little face peeking through the newlyweds in the image on the right.)

Congratulations, Mandy and Byron. It was an absolute joy to work with the both of you and your families!


Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony and reception: The Mansion House at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Officiant: Sandra Bearden

Catering: Chef’s Expressions

Day-of event coordinator: Briana Dixon of Nouvelle Weddings and Events

Lighting designers: Superlative Events

Bridal attire: David’s Bridal

Groom’s attire: His own tuxedo

Florist: Flowers and Fancies

Cake: SugarBakers

Band/DJ: Anthony Simpson of My Deejay

Invitations: Cat’s Hallmark

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