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Rachael and Joe – Connecticut Wedding Photographer:

Bride and groom smile at one another as they sit on a stone wall in Watertown Connecticut

Sometimes it’s funny how things work out. The internet offers such a wide variety of choices and ideas that you just never know how people find what they’re looking for. Lets see if I can remember how it came about that Rachael got in touch with me about photographing her wedding in Connecticut last summer. Rachael contacted me to say that she had been searching online for someone who worked in a photojournalistic style to photograph her wedding. She was in school in New Jersey finishing up her masters degree, and in the time she wasn’t working on her degree she was planning her wedding. She was taken by the photos that were on the front page of my website at the time and loved how they told the story of the couple in a natural, honest way. It wasn’t too long before she realized that the bride in the photos was a former teammate of hers and Joe’s on the University of Connecticut track team.

Small world, right? I absolutely LOVE this sort of stuff:)

Anyway, while looking around for someone close to home whose work was similar, Rachael found that she kept on coming back to my photos. So finally Joe suggested that she contact me to see if I’d be available to photograph their wedding in her home town of Watertown, CT. I was extremely flattered and delighted to work with them. Destination weddings are a great way to see things with fresh eyes. I do several a year – New York (twice), Washington D.C., and West Virginia were the other places I traveled to photograph weddings last year.

After an easy trip I arrived in plenty of time to scout locations the day before the wedding. Which I did after visiting Dottie’s Diner, the best donut place in Connecticut. I do my research, folks 😉

While we’d talked on the phone a few times, we hadn’t met in person. I really didn’t know what either Rachael or Joe looked like. So I was a little bit nervous while waiting at the chapel for the wedding rehearsal to begin when I saw this very tall, fit young couple walking towards me. The woman was absolutely stunning in a short white dress and high heels. The guy with her looked like he could crush bricks with his bare hands. I guess my camera gave me away because they strode right up to me and introduced themselves. My nervousness immediately melted away when they both gave me a big hug and told me how excited they were for the weekend. I was welcomed by both of their families and made to feel like an old friend.

Joining me for this wedding was my dear friend Sherry Pickerell. Sherry is so talented, hard-working, and unfailingly cheerful. I’m very grateful to her for sharing her considerable skills with me once again.

So here are some of my favorite photos from Rachael and Joe’s wedding day:

Rachel had her hair done at Angela’s Hair Depot:

a beautiful young woman smiles as a stylist sprays her hair

Before getting dressed, Joe read a letter that Rachael sent him (Photo by Sherry):

a groom smiles as he reads a letter from his bride to be

After their hair was done, the ladies moved over to Pinup Hair & Makeup Studio:

a bride is reflected three times in makeup mirrors at a salon

The guys helped each other get their formal wear on (Photo by Sherry):

a group of young men help each other get their formal wear on before a wedding

Rachael’s mom Cathy was so taken by the beauty of her daughter:

a bride

It was a lovely moment:

a bride smiles as she cries while standing on the front porch of her family home

The ceremony took place just a couple of blocks from Rachael’s parent’s home at the historic Woodward Chapel (Photo by Sherry):

Exterior photo of the historic Woodward Chapel in Watertown Connecticut

Joe and the guys kept the mood light as they waited for the guests to arrive (Photo by Sherry):

a groom makes a goofy face as he waits for guests to arrive for his wedding

Rachael heads down the stairs after getting her dress on:

a bride walks down the stairs at her parent

Rachael’s sister Paige helps her with her shoes while their dog Tilly crowded in:

a bride pets her old labrador retriever as her sister helps her to put on her shoes in the doorway of their family home

Rachael sticks her tongue out at Joe as her father Jeff joins their hands together:

bride sticks her tongue out at her groom as her father presents her at the front of the church

Photo by Sherry:

wide angle photo of the interior of the Woodward Chapel at the Taft School in Watertown Connecticutgroom smiles at his bride during their wedding ceremony

Rachael blows a kiss to their guests. Wanda Chiles was the officiant and she was wonderful to work with:

bride blows a kiss to her guests during her wedding ceremony

bride and groom hold hands as they say their vows at the front of the Woodward Chapel in Watertown ConnecticutBride and groom smile as they walk out of the church after their wedding in Watertown Connecticut

The reception was held at The Taft School, which is a lovely venue. The grounds were beautiful and the dining hall looked like something out of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts:

Black eyed susan flowers bloom in the foreground as a bride and groom embrace outside of the Taft School in Watertown Connecticutbride and groom walk down a path together at the Taft School in Watertown Connecticut

First dance:

bride and groom dance together at the Taft School in Watertown CT

I love the look on Jeff’s face as he danced with his daughter:

father smiles as he dances with his daughter during her wedding reception

Joe danced with his mother, Danette:

groom and his mother dance together

Joe and Rachael were so moved by the toast of Paige, the maid of honor, and Chris, the best man:

bride and groom cry as they listen to toasts from their best man and maid of honor

The dance floor was filled the entire evening (Photo by Sherry):

guests dance during a Connecticut Wedding

Rachel and her father-in-law Joe (Photo by Sherry):

Bride and her father-in-law dance together during her wedding reception

These guys had a great time:

wedding guests dance and sing during a wedding reception in connecticut

Photo by Sherry:

bride and groom dance during their wedding reception in Connecticut

Rachael and Joe’s friends picked them up on their shoulders. A great end to the evening!

Bride and groom raise their hands high in the air as they are lifted up on the shoulders of their guestsWhat a wonderful adventure! I’m so grateful to Rachael and Joe for having us photograph their wedding. I can’t wait to see them this summer!

 

 

  • Wanda Chiles - March 24, 2015 - 12:45 pm

    Your photos are fantastic and I know Rachael & Joe are thrilled with them! Thank You, Joe, for mentioning me in your blog !

  • Barbara Ann Janis - March 24, 2015 - 8:46 pm

    Loved the pictures! They were fantastic. Our Grandson Joey and his new bride Rachael had a wonderful wedding and
    Grampy and I were honored to attend. Love to you both!

Kristin and Mark’s Lingrow Farm Wedding:

bride and groom face each other as they stand in a farmer

This was probably the most beautiful weekend of last summer: Jes and David‘s wedding was on Saturday followed by Kristin and Mark’s on Sunday, and they both had perfect weather for their outdoor weddings.

Kristin put a huge amount of effort into planning the wedding day. It’s rare to see this level of attention to detail. Lingrow Farm is already a beautiful venue, but Kristin turned it up a couple of notches. Even with all of that careful planning, it was a day filled with spontaneity and joy. Here are some of my favorite images from the day:

A grasshopper hangs on to the screened porch where Kristin and the bridesmaids had their hair and makeup done:

a grasshopper perches on a screened porch window as a bride has her hair and makeup donea bride looks at her makeup in a hand held mirror as her bridesmaids get ready for her wedding

Mark and Kristin’s brother Matt share a laugh over drinks at Mark and Kristin’s house (Lisa’s photo):

two men share a laugh as they drink from red solo cups

Kristin and her mom Sis embrace as Kristin gets dressed:

a bride smiles as she embraces her tearful mother while getting ready for her wedding

Mark kisses Kristin’s hand as they have their first look:

a groom kisses his bride

Mark and the guys:

groom punches his best man on the shoulder as he and his side walk to the ceremony

Kristin and her girls walk towards the barn for the ceremony:

bride leads her bridesmaids to the wedding ceremony

Mark holds Kristin’s bouquet for her (Lisa’s photo):

groom yells as he holds the bride

Kristin and the girls get ready to walk down to the ceremony site from the basement of the barn:

bride laughs with her bridesmaids as they stand in a room waiting to walk to the ceremony

Kristin and her dad Dave watch the bridesmaids walk to the ceremony:

bride rests her head on her father

Then it was their turn. What a beautiful scene:

bride and her father walk across a vast lawn on a beautiful summer day on their way to her wedding ceremony

Sis watches with pride as Kristin and Dave approach:

bride

The handoff:

smiles all around as the father of the bride hands his daughter off to her husband to be

The couple exchange vows:

bride and groom hold hands and smile during their wedding ceremony

Married! I love their expressions:

bride and groom hold their hands up in celebration at the end of their wedding ceremonybride and groom kiss as they walk away from their wedding ceremony

The rings:

wedding and engagement rings are artfully arranged on wooden letters saying mr & mrs

Some details:

details from a wedding day including tables, decorations, candy, dress, shoes

Mark cracks Kristin up as they’re announced into the reception:

groom makes his bride laugh before they walk into their wedding reception

I think everyone knew that this was going to happen:

bride and groom smash cake on each other

Getting cleaned up before their first dance:

bride and groom wash cake off of their faces

All cleaned up (Lisa’s photo):

bride and groom touch foreheads as they share their first dance

During dinner we ran back outside to catch the last of the day’s sunlight:

bride laughs as her husband whispers in her ear

So cute!

cute baby girl and her mother walk down a path wearing dresses and cowboy boots

Kristin and her dad share a dance (Lisa’s photo):

bride dances with her father

It was Mark and his mom, Eugenia’s turn next:

groom and his mother dance

Everybody dance!

a babywoman in green sticks her tongue out while dancing with her boyfriend

Lisa’s photo:

groom and his friends dance energetically at his wedding reception

There’s Rachel from Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema in the upper left corner. She’s so talented, I love working with her. Here’s a link to the highlight reel:

bride and groom dance with each other during their wedding receptionbride and her bridesmaids dance in a group

Lisa’s photo:

woman smiles and man holds his hands in the air as they dance

A fireworks display – the perfect way to cap off the day:

red fireworks explode above a bride and groom as they embrace at the end of their wedding reception

Jesica and David’s Succop Conservancy Wedding:

A newlywed couple stands in front of a large, red barn at sunset.

Talk about fate intervening: Jes and David went to the same university in North Carolina. They even rode the same bus most mornings, but never really met. A few years passed and they both ended up in Boston, where unbeknownst to either of them they were neighbors. One evening Jes showed up on David’s porch, uninvited, while he was getting ready for a barbecue. They immediately recognized one another and the rest, well, led them to Succop Conservancy last summer.

Like I said in my last post, I’m incredibly fortunate to work with people who are so open to sharing their love with each other, with their families, and friends. It’s a joy to be able to tell their story and to be included in their love and joy.

Jes shares a toast with her mom Jacque and her sister Alyssa:

A bride embraces her sister and mother as they drink a toast.

Jes and her dad Bob share a laugh in the old house at the Succop:

A bride throws up her arms as she greets her father.

Meanwhile, David wrote his vows (Lisa’s photo):

A groom quietly writes his wedding vows while seated next to a window.

Jes looked so beautiful in her gown from glitteR & gRit:

A bride is reflected in the glass of a picture hanging on the wall as she stands by a window.

Jes greets her grandfather Ed as Jacque looks on:

A bride greets her elderly grandfather as her mother looks on.

Little brothers! David’s niece and nephew Cora and Jude were the “Flower Kids” for the ceremony:

A little boy picks his nose while standing next to his big sister

Bob and Jes were cracking each other up the whole way down the aisle:

A bride and her father laugh as they walk down the aisle together at her wedding.

Jes and David exchange an emotional glance as she is presented by Bob and Jacque:

A bride looks at her groom as she stands with her parents.

Wide shot of an outdoor wedding taking place beneath a willow tree.

Jude holds his dad Jon’s hand as Charlene, the officiant, addresses the couple:

A little boy sucks his thumb as a bride and groom listen to the reverend during their wedding ceremony.

A lovely moment during the ceremony (Lisa’s photo):

A bride and groom hold hands and look at each other.

A tear falls down Jes’ cheek as she and David exchange vows:

A tear drop forms on the cheek of a bride as she recites her vows.

There was lots of laughter during the ceremony (Lisa’s photo):

A bride laughs as she puts the ring on her groom.A bride and groom walk through a field after their wedding ceremony.

One of my favorite portraits from just after the ceremony:

A bride and groom embrace after their wedding ceremony.

I guess this is why they call it a sweetheart table (Lisa’s photo):

A bride kisses her husband

First dance:

A bride and groom laugh as they have their first dance.

High-five! (Lisa’s photo):

A bride and groom exchange high-fives after their first dance.

Jes and Bob dance to “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook. It was a song that they’d listen to and sing together as Bob would drive Jes to school when she was a young girl.

A bride and her father share a dance during her wedding reception.A father embraces his daughter during her wedding reception.

Keeping with the picnic feeling of the reception, there were games available for the guests to play:

Wedding guests play a game of cornhole as the sun sets behind them.

(Next two photos by Lisa):

The pavilion at The Succop Conservancy in Butler County, Pennsylvania is filled with dancers at sunset.

And lots of dancing:

Female wedding guests dance together as one of them holds her hands in the air.An older couple laugh heartily as they share a dance during a wedding reception.A groom sings along with a song during his wedding reception.

As the dance circle formed, Jacque busted out her favorite moves:

The mother of the bride dances in the middle of a circle during her daughter

The worm!

A man does the worm as he dances in the middle of a circle at a wedding reception.

David learned that there are risks involved if you’re going to break dance:

A groom holds his knee in pain after attempting to break dance during his wedding reception.

It didn’t take him long to recover. He and his brother Chris must have been big fans of “House Party” when they were kids:

A groom and his brother kick their legs together as they dance during a wedding reception.A bride and groom, sweaty and unkempt after a night of dancing, embrace at the end of their wedding reception.

Details can tell an important part of the story. This stained glass window was from the church that Jes’ parents and grandparents were married in. The family acquired it when the church was torn down. They used it as the backdrop for their ceremony, but I thought it might make an interesting picture once the evening drew to a close. It was the last photo of the evening:

Silhouette of a couple in front of a stained glass window.

  • Kate McElwee - March 4, 2015 - 9:02 pm

    These are such gorgeous photos Joe! What a cute couple too!

  • […] was probably the most beautiful weekend of last summer: Jes and David‘s wedding was on Saturday followed by Kristin and Mark’s on Sunday, and they both had […]

Susie and Guido’s Pittsburgh Athletic Association Wedding:

A bride and groom embrace in front of the grand fireplace in the lobby of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association

Asking me to pick my favorite weddings is kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. Every wedding is different and I love them for different reasons. Susie and Guido’s wedding was pretty special for me, though. You see, back when I started to get serious about taking on wedding commissions I was fortunate enough to be hired by Susie’s big sister Leah and her husband Ben. I always do my best, but their wedding was the one where it all sort of clicked for me and I felt like I had found my voice as a documentary wedding photographer. It helped that Leah and Ben and their families are some of the kindest, most open, and loving people you’ll ever meet.

So I was quite excited when Susie contacted me to tell me that she was getting married and she wanted me to photograph her wedding. She said it was already a done deal. She and Guido weren’t considering anyone else because they wanted the best photographer they could get and I was that guy. No pressure, right?!?

Anyway, we met up for an engagement session and I got a sense of who they are as a couple. A golden retriever and a snowball fight will make any portrait session fun:)

Here are some of my favorite photos from their wedding day:

Susie looks at herself in a full-length mirror held by her bridesmaids. Such a simple and beautiful dress:

A bride looks at herself in a full-length mirror held by a bridesmaid

Guido waits for the first look with his groomsmen (Lisa’s photo):

A groom looks for his bride while standing near the Cathedral of Learning

Susie and the girls walk over to the Cathedral of Learning for the first look:

A bride holds her arms out as she walks along Fifth Avenue in Oakland

Lisa’s photo:

A groom stands with his eyes closed as his bride approaches for their first look

a bride and groom embrace while their bridal party looks on

We were very lucky to have caught a break in the rain for the first look and portraits prior to the wedding ceremony. The light was soft and beautiful:

a bride and groom walk hand in hand beneath the trees outside of the Cathedral of LearningA groom kisses his bride

Leah’s son Weston is a cutie:

A cute little boy looks up at the camera with his fingers in his mouth

Ring bearers Weston and Lucas burst into the wedding. The ceremony was originally scheduled to be held outside in the sculpture garden in Mellon Park, but rain caused Susie and Guido to go to their Plan B inside of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. You’ve always got to have a Plan B when you have an outdoor wedding (Lisa’s photo):

two young ring bearers burst into the wedding

Compositionally this is not the greatest photo that I’ve ever taken, but it never fails to move me when I look at it. In this moment Guido’s affection for Leah and Ben’s son Wyatt says so much to me about the quality of his heart:

a groom kisses the forehead of a ring bearer in a wheelchair

Lisa’s photo below:

A bride and groom say their vows as they are photographed from above

The ceremony was so joyful. It really captured Susie and Guido’s spirit:

A bride laughs as she looks at her guests

Lisa’s photo below:

a bride and groom raise their champagne glasses as they toast their guests

Leaving the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts:

A groom laughs as he and his bride walk under the shelter of an umbrella

On to the reception! Weston and Lucas were still running, with Leah and Ben behind them this time:

The ring bearers run into the wedding reception

What an entrance!

bride and groom leap and run into the reception as they are introduced

Susie and Guido react to Leah and best man Anthony’s speeches:

matron of honor and best man toast the bride and groom

Parent’s dances (next 4 are Lisa’s photos):

parenttwin sisters dancea bridesmaid raises her hands on the dancefloor

These two know how to dance:

bride and groom stretch their arms out towards each other as they dance

Guido stole the show with his signature moves to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean:

groom dances with his tie swinging

Guido and his fraternity brothers gathered in a circle to serenade Susie:

a bride is surrounded by the groom and his friends as they sing to herbride and groom play air guitar

Guido’s dad Larry and Susie’s dad Dale shared a dance to the delight of the bride:

father of the bride and father of the groom share a dance as the bride laughs

Guido and his brother Gabe:

groom picks his younger brother up and swings him around on the dance floor

The after party was held in the bowling alley in the basement of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. A very fun way to end a great day:

bowlers in the basement of the PAA

Thanks very much. I just wish that there was a third sister!

Bride and groom are reflected in a puddle outside of the Cathedral of Learning

  • Rebecca Kiger - February 6, 2015 - 10:15 pm

    Awesome work, as always.

  • Stephanie Gurrera Vellente - February 7, 2015 - 1:06 am

    A night to remember ❤️

  • Karen Miller - February 7, 2015 - 2:50 am

    Absolutely stunning!

Laura and Carson’s Pittsburgh Children’s Museum Wedding:

A newlywed couple stands near the old Carnegie Library on the North Side on a summer day

Laura and Carson came back to Laura’s hometown of Pittsburgh for their wedding celebration. They’re a loving, gentle, humorous, and generous couple. Their also very detail-oriented people whose biggest concern was that their guests have a terrific time at their wedding. They totally succeeded in that, as you can see in the photos below.

I loved Laura’s reaction as makeup artist showed her the results:

a bride reacts with joy when she sees her face after the makeup artist finished her job

Carson and his brother got ready in a different room at the Hyatt on the North Shore (Lisa’s photo below):

a groom and his brother look at themselves in the mirror as they get ready for the weddinga bride reaches for her dress hanging in the window of a hotel room

Laura’s mom Maureen and her sister help her get her dress on:

a bride smiles as her mom and sister help her get her dress onsoft light wraps around the face and arms of a bride as she puts her earrings in.

Laura’s niece helped her with her dress as she headed for the first look:

bride looks back at the flower girl who carries the train of her dress as she leaves the hotel for her wedding.

Carson waited for Laura on the bridge over the water steps near PNC Park on the North Shore:

a bride taps her groom on the shoulder as they have their first look on a bridge at North Shore Park

Molly, their Welsh Corgi was waiting for her turn to see Laura:

a bride and groom with their pet corgi at North Shore Park

Laura’s dad did his best to keep a smile on his face – he was pretty emotional before walking Laura down the aisle:

A father tries to keep from crying as his daughter, the bride, as they talk before walking down the aisle.

a bride and her father walk through a portico with twinkling lights on the ceiling during her wedding ceremony at the Pittsburgh Children

The ceremony was filled with laughter:

a bride leans back and laughs while holding hands with her groom during their wedding ceremonygroom raises his fist in triumph as the bride laughs at the end of their wedding ceremony

First dance. The big red room at the Children’s Museum is a great place for dinner and dancing. It’s very elegant and the huge Chinese lantern chandeliers are very cool:

a bride and groom dance beneath giant Chinese lanterns in the big red room of the pittsburgh children

Laura and Carson’s guests rushed the dance floor to join them after the first dance:

reflections of guests rushing to the dance floor to join a bride and groom at their wedding

Lisa’s photo below:

bride and groom dance and smile during their receptionbride caresses the cheeks of her husband as they dance

There was a sort of selfie machine at the Children’s Museum that would automatically project a grid of photos on the wall above the dance floor. I love to photograph expressive people. Everybody at this wedding was very expressive:)

bride and groom make funny faces into a screenwedding guests dance energeticallygiant Chinese lanterns with tiny guests dancing beneath thema woman dances with a man as he makes a crazy face during a wedding reception

Carson’s brother plays a mean air guitar:

a man slides to the floor while playing air guitar during a wedding reception

There are so many different spots around the museum that offer interesting possibilities for portraits that I feel like I’ll never run out of ideas photographing there:

bright colored lights lead down a dark hallway where a couple embraces at the end of it

Thanks to my friend Jenna at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum for working hard to ensure that everything and everybody was well taken care of. Thanks to Rania’s catering for a great meal and to the fantastic Allison McGeary for making the space more beautiful with her floral creations. Frank Shepard from DJ Rockin’ Bob’s kept the guests dancing while All Occasions and Lendable Linens did a great job in transforming the space into an elegant dining and dancing hall. Finally, thanks to the late, great Andy Schick for providing the tasteful, classy lighting in the big red room. His gentle personality and talent are missed.

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  • Rebecca Kiger - January 20, 2015 - 1:48 am

    Awesome job, once again!

  • Wendy Crise Cosentino - January 20, 2015 - 5:50 pm

    Beautiful photos!! So sorry we missed this wonderful event!