Unique Michigan Barn Wedding ~ Wren Photography

There’s something about a wedding in the Great Outdoors that gets me every time. Lately, this nuptial setting is very much the trend – but you don’t always run across an event that just seems to fit with its surroundings while still being unique. Luckily, we have just such a wedding for you today!

Its An Olive Or Nothing Engagement Session Chris Malpass Photography

Did you know that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month?  In honor of this, we’re featuring some lovely couples in engagement and wedding photos throughout the month – alongside their best animal buds, of course! 

To round-out our features of animals in engagements and weddings this month, we present couple Lindsey and Ian…and their Boston Terrier, Olive!

Chris Malpass Photography was there to frame all the moments of the day: funny, sweet, and everything in between.  The session took place on a warm day in early 2014 around Lindsey’s old stomping grounds of Yorktown, Virginia.  Photographer Chris noted, Ian and Lindsey are so in love…[it’s] obvious in this session.  With a love like that, the companionship of the faithful Olive, and a 2015 wedding, there’s so much to celebrate!

Local Vendor Spotlight Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema

Memories.  They’re probably the best gift you’ll have from your wedding (sorry, industrial KitchenAid mixer!).  Based on my own experience and that of others I’ve talked with, I’m pretty sure that time warps on a wedding day.  One minute, you’re waking up to the fact that it’s your day to tie the knot…and the next, you’re running through rows of sparklers on the way to your getaway car.

One way to capture those special moments during one of the fastest days in existence is to hire a fabulous photographer (shout-out to mine: David Eaton Photography!).  However, if you really want to re-experience things as they happen – complete with sounds and expressions – video is the way to go.  I didn’t hire a videographer for my wedding, but looking back, I wish I had.  That’s why I was really excited to talk shop with Rachel of Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema!

Seriously, folks, can you believe that the video above is one of the first wedding videos she ever created?  It’s true! I’m in awe.

Here’s a little more from Rachel on herself, her work, and how she can capture memories for you on your wedding day:

When did you become involved in wedding videography, and what inspired you to do so?

I started editing wedding photos for a neighbor, photographer Joe Appel, while I was still in college. I was inspired by his natural, photo-journalistic style; he’s great at capturing emotion, and I found a lot of his photos very moving. When I gave wedding videography a try, my senior year of college, I strive to capture the emotion and spontaneous moments in that way. I think I did a pretty good job! Now it’s one year later, and I’m regularly interacting with clients and learning things on the business end. My business is called Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema, and you can Like it on Facebook!

How does wedding videography differ from wedding photography?

I’ve watched the reactions of my clients when they see their wedding video for the first time, and I’ve seen how strongly the video connects them to the memories of the day. Videos can show subtle and beautiful shifts in facial expression, and moving gestures like that first kiss, long hugs, grandma’s signature laugh, or dad’s dance move at the reception. Not to mention the sound recordings of the vows, and the heartfelt speeches. A videographer can also capture moments that the bride and groom may have missed, giving them more memories to cherish.

Why should couples consider hiring a professional videographer on their wedding day (compared with using some of the recent wedding video apps and companies, like Vyclone, Switchcam, and WeddingMix)?

This question reminds me that nowadays, wedding guests sometimes use Instagram to record and share the day. This is a fun way for family and friends to combine photo perspectives but is not a valuable replacement for a professional photographer. A professional video is going to be of higher quality than a phone or tablet video, in more ways than one. The expertise and equipment that the videographer brings will result in a video that is well worth the money. As a professional, I will be keenly aware of where the important moments are happening, shooting video in the right place at the right time. I pay special attention to image composition, light exposure, and depth of field, and I mount my camera on a monopod to minimize camera shake. Additionally, in post-production, I fine-tune the audio and color-correct the video until the final product is perfect.

Do you offer different service packages (for example, for those couples on a limited budget who still would like to have a video of their wedding day)?

Yes, definitely. Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema’s modestly priced highlight videos edit all of the best moments in music and are perfect for sharing with friends. You can watch the highlight videos that I have made at www.pittsburgh-wedding-cinema.com/highlight-videos/. How modest is modest? If I am booked before March, highlight videos are priced at under $1400. I also do a really special deal for those who want a full-length video and a highlight video. Contact me at rew4258@gmail.com if you are interested!

Just in case you’re craving more delicious wedding videos (I know I am!), here’s another treat from Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema. Enjoy!

One Purr-fect Engagement ~ Hilary Cam Photography

You’ve probably guessed by now that I love cats (well, all animals, really).  It’s not too often that you spot a cat or two pictured in any engagement or wedding scenes – so when I do, I definitely take note!

Such is the case with the engagement session of May and Kelvin, captured by Hilary Cam Photography.  Taking place in Sydney, Australia, this shoot has tons of purr-sonality!

May & Kelvin’s Sydney engagement shoot in Cat Alley

Trendy Thursday Hair DOs

In this Trendy Thursday post, I’m saying yes to the tress (hair, that is)!

I like to think of a wedding-day hairstyle as one of your accessories – and an important one, at that.  It should express your personal style, complement your attire, and be able to support your veil/headpiece/etc.

                                                                             Bad wedding hair day?
Photo Credit: VK-red via Compfight cc

My own journey down bridal hairstyle lane took a while (months, to be exact).  I think we all know what we want in some areas and not so much in others.  Well, my wedding hair was my not-so-much area.  Every time I would go to the salon, I’d pour over their hairstyle books and take pictures of the styles I liked with my phone.  I spent hours surfing the Web for hair inspiration.  I bought magazines and analyzed the styles in them.  Heck, I even did a pros and cons list of wearing my hair up versus down!  After all that effort, I wasn’t any closer to making a wedding hairstyle decision.  I had everything: the dresses, the veil, the headpiece…but mama ain’t got no ‘do.

Then, one day, salvation came in the form of someone’s wedding hair inspiration board.  I don’t recall where I even found it (although I still have it on my phone – along with all the other hairstyle photos :))…but if I ever unearth that info, you can bet I’ll be giving that person a virtual hug.  In the bottom-right corner of the board was an updo, composed of softer-looking pin curls bunched at the nape of the neck.  I looked at it, and just like that moment when you try on the right gown, I knew: this was my wedding hairstyle!  Hallelujah!

The next bridge to cross was the salon selection.  Because I was getting married out-of-town, I didn’t have a particular go-to spot.  However, I had gone through school in the area, so I was somewhat familiar with a few salons.  I ended up choosing the Portfolio Salon in Boalsburg, PA based on their designation as an Aveda concept salon and their consistently positive online reviews.  I opted not to do a trial hairstyle run (which is odd when considering my borderline-obsessive hairstyle selection process) and just showed up the morning of my wedding with my headpiece and phone photo in hand.  A little while later, I left the salon with this bit o’ hair heaven:

                                      Wowza, check out this hair handiwork (post-veil removal and everything)!
Photo Credit: David Eaton Photography

The point of my novella is this: your wedding hairstyle can be a seek-and-ye-shall-find type of experience (like mine), or you may know right away what look you’d like to achieve.  As with everything else, there are trends and classics.  DO pick what you’re drawn to  – trust that intuition – and you won’t go wrong.  And remember that inspiration is all around – absorb it and make it your own!

Three Generations, One Pittsburgh Wedding Dress

I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a soft spot for traditions.  Don’t get me wrong – I love keeping up with the latest trends, whether in weddings, everyday fashion, or home decor.  But doing something based on the meaning it holds really gets me every time.

Which is how one lovely Pittsburgh wedding dress came into the lives of three women.

Photo Credit: David Eaton Photography


It All Started Circa June 1947…

This special dress came to be post-World War II.  At that time, materials – including fabrics – became less affected by rationing, and ladies headed for the altar were looking forward to a more indulgent shopping experience than what they would have had during the war.

This was true for my grandma, Helene.  Skilled in sewing, she hand-made many of her garments.  For her wedding in June 1947, though, she sought out a gown from the Kaufmann’s department store in downtown Pittsburgh.  The one that ended up catching her eye was made of slipper satin, complete with long sleeves, a basque waist, and an illusion sweetheart neckline accented by lace appliqués.  Candlelight in color, it also boasted a dramatic train.

I recently asked my grandma how she felt when wearing this dress on her wedding day.  She summed it all up in one powerful word: Happy!

…and Continued on to June 1975…

The dress reappeared when my mom, Cindy, became engaged.  I was really curious what she initially was looking for in a wedding dress and how she eventually came to choose this 1940s gown – especially given the option of other styles on the market at the time.  Here’s what she said:

Even though I married young (by today’s standards), I knew that my parents’ budget was very limited. I wanted a train on the dress, and I remember looking at dresses that had a floral motif. I went dress shopping with my mom – she said that I could wear her gown, or she would buy me the one I had my eye on. After making several trips back to the store, I decided to wear my mom’s gown.  It had the long train I desired and the lace. Bonus: it was made from antique candlelight satin. You don’t see that around – even when I was getting married! Plus, white was very much the color of the times – too bad it didn’t do much for me!

The main reason [I chose this dress] was a cost-saver for my parents. As I said, I knew they couldn’t afford much, and I wasn’t about to demand. I realized that:
  • I actually liked the gown;
  • I knew it was unique and quite beautiful;
  • My mom was proud that I chose it;
  • She custom-designed my veil to match the gown;
  • I knew this would be the talk of the town!

It’s while reading my mom’s comments that I realize a shared appreciation for sentimental things – and also for unique clothes! When asked how she felt when wearing this dress on her wedding day, she replied:

I felt special! I swear my mother-in-law passed the word down throughout the church before I even walked down the aisle! You could see all the women’s heads turn, then whisper to the ladies around them, as I floated down the aisle. I knew it was the perfect decision whenever the priest told me afterward, “I looked down the aisle, and I saw prisms of light reflecting off your dress. I have never seen anything like that before – it was a beautiful sight!”   To sum it up: the decision was initially a means to save money; however, it turned out to be the crown jewel of the wedding.

(Personal Photo)

…then Made Its Way to May 2010!

2009 arrived – and with it, my very own engagement.  Looking for my 2010 wedding, I began dreaming and scheming right from the start.  Unlike all the other details bouncing around in my head, though, one was lacking: the dress.  I don’t think I considered why at the time, but looking back, I realize why I wasn’t laboring over this decision: it was because, on some subconscious level, I already had made up my mind.  What dress I would wear for my wedding wasn’t a question, but rather a fact: it would the same one my grandma, and my mother, wore on their wedding days.

I wanted to wear this dress because of its history.  Growing up, I heard tales of this magical gown – how it moved, how it shimmered, how everyone couldn’t stop talking about its beauty (later, I realized that, although this dress indeed is spectacular, it was the women in the gown who made it that way).  Because it was stored in a cedar chest after my mom’s wedding, I didn’t see it in person until I was engaged.  What a day it was when I finally tried it on at my grandma’s house!

I remember being worried that this dress might be too fragile to wear, being 63 years old.  But it wasn’t.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t fit – but it somehow did (how’s that for magical – after 63 years and two weddings!).  Yes, the dress was very heavy, and I needed some serious help from my Maid of Honor when walking around in it…but it was completely worth it.  Did I think about re-styling it to make it more modern?  No.  Call me superstitious, but I didn’t want to alter a gown that has ushered in two happy, long-lasting marriages.

                                                                                           (Personal Photo)

I was, and still am, so proud to be a third-generation bride who wore that Pittsburgh dress.  To that dress, and to all those things in our lives that connect us and make us feel special: Thank You.

                                                                                            (Personal Photo)