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Washington DC Wedding Photography:

a beautiful bride puts her arms around the shoulders of her groom as they sit together on a bench

Last summer I got a really detailed narrative through the inquiry form on my website. It was from Elizabeth who you see in these photos, and it was basically the whole beautiful story of who they are, how they met, started dating, fell in love, and decided to get married. I can’t resist a great love story, so I was instantly hooked. I remember it was a Sunday evening when the inquiry came in. The wedding date was September 20th and it was going to be in Washington, D.C.

Well, that’s my birthday and I love D.C. so I included that little bit of information when I replied to tell them that I had the date open. I invited Elizabeth and Joe to get in touch to discuss the details of their wedding. Within minutes Elizabeth replied saying that September 20th was also her birthday, and as it turns out her mother’s birthday, too!

It’s safe to say that we both had the feeling that the universe was kind of pushing us in the direction of working together. And so it came to be. In case you’re wondering, I did make the obvious joke about Joe being in big trouble if he forgets their anniversary 🙂 Here are some of my favorite photos from Elizabeth and Joe’s wedding day:

Elizabeth had her makeup done in her suite at the Washington Hilton in DuPont Circle:

a bride is reflected in the screen of a television as she has her makeup applied

Joe was 2 floors up in his own suite getting ready.

A groom looks into a mirror as he puts his tie onsilhouette of a bride having lipstick applied by a makeup artistgroom brushes his hair as he looks in a bathroom mirrordetail of the lace and stitching on the back of a bride

Joe and his buddies all served together in the United States Marine Corps. Their attention to detail in their tuxedos and planning was pretty fantastic. Most grooms aren’t as involved with things like wedding day logistics, but Joe had the plan down cold.

groom shares a laugh with his groomsmen as they get ready to leave for the churcha bride puts her shoes on in a hotel room before leaving for the churchportrait from above of a beautiful bride

Elizabeth and her dad arrived at the church in a 1952 Bentley.

a bride and her father stand by an antique Bentley as they wait to enter the churchBride and her father walk down the aisle togethera groom smiles as he sees his bride walk towards him

St. Matthew’s Cathedral is an incredibly beautiful church. This was a morning wedding, so the light coming through the windows filled interior with color as it reflected off of the marble and mosaics.

spectacular interior of St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington, D.C.bride and groom kiss during their wedding ceremony

Elizabeth and Joe paused for a quick hug and kiss at the back of the church immediately after the ceremony:

bride and groom embrace at the back of the church after their wedding ceremony

Their guests cheered them as they returned to the front of the church for pictures:

bride and groom hold their hands up in celebration as they walk through the church

After the ceremony I got in the front seat of the Bentley with the chauffeur while Elizabeth and Joe rode in the back. There was a limo bus in front of us carrying the bridal party and parents while Joe’s buddies from his veteran’s motorcycle club followed behind in a big, black Chevy Tahoe. Let me tell you, those guys were such a great escort. They blocked aggressive D.C. drivers from getting in between the vehicles as the motorcade made its way from the church to the Lincoln Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial, and to the reception at Cafe Milano in Georgetown.

bride and groom hold hands and look at each other as they sit in the back seat of an antique Bentley

Elizabeth and Joe embraced while we were on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s weird to think that with all of the tourists you’d need a permit to take wedding photos at these national parks, but you do. Thanks to Joe for making the proper arrangements. As it was, no Park Rangers ever approached us.

bride and groom embrace on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background

Elizabeth has a quiet moment before heading into the reception:

bride smells her flowers as she sits in the back of an antique Bentley

Not only were these guys great escorts, they provided the military pageantry as the couple entered Cafe Milano:

bride and groom arrive at their reception beneath an arc of swords held by veterans

Cutting the cake. Yes, those are Steelers and Eagles helmets on the topper:

Bride and groom cut their wedding cake with a sabrebride laughs as her groom dances towards herrag time band plays during a wedding

First dance:

bride and groom dance under the painted ceiling at Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Joe for having me photograph their wedding. It was a great way to spend my birthday!

Amy and Manuel’s outdoor wedding in Pittsburgh:

Late summer in Western Pennsylvania is a pretty special time. The weather starts to get a little bit cooler in the evenings and the afternoon sunlight is magical. Amy and Manuel took a hands-on approach to their wedding. In the very best sense of the phrase “Do It Yourself” they invested their aesthetic and taste into every aspect of their wedding day. Their goal was to have a day that was relaxed, fun, and personal – which was exactly how things turned out.

We started out a couple of evenings before the wedding in a field of flowers on the hillside above where their wedding ceremony was to be held at Simmons Farm.

a couple walks hand in hand through a field of flowers

Once the flowers were picked, family and friends pitched in to make the arrangements.

women and girls put together arrangements from fresh cut flowers

The guys turned the greenhouse into a reception hall. They tied cornstalks to the posts and strung fairy lights across the ceiling:

a man hangs corn stalks in a greenhouse to prepare it for a wedding reception

Fast forward to a couple of days later, Manuel laughs with a friend while getting ready for the wedding (photo by Lisa):

A groom smiles as he talks to a friend in a hotel room

The weather turned kind of unseasonably cold on the wedding day so Amy rocked her jean jacket over top of her wedding dress:

A bride puts on a blue jean jacket over top of her wedding gowna bride points to her choice of lipstick shade that a makeup artist painted on her hand

It was a little tense, but the rain held off:

a bride smiles and rolls her eyes as she talks with her future in-laws

Some details from the farm. It’s a lovely place on the edge of a heavily populated area that gives you an idea of what much of what Western PA used to be like.

detail photos from simmons farm in peters township, washington county, pennsylvania includes a sign and an enormous pig

Manuel helps Amy down from the hay wagon that delivered them to the ceremony site on the hillside above the pond:

a bride and groom arrive at their wedding ceremony site in a covered hay wagon

Amy’s dad walks around the fire pit with his grandkids:

a grandfather and his grandchildren walk around a fire pit on top of apple crates

The portrait session before the ceremony was a lot of fun!

a groom swings on a tire swing as his bride laughs

There’s a playground nearby where they’ve got an old fire truck:

a young boy leaps on top of a fire truck that has been turned into a playground implement

…and some big tractor tires. The kids had a great time:

a little girl crawls on top of giant tractor tires

Both sets of parents walked Amy and Manuel to the ceremony site:

a bride and groom link arms with their parents as they all walk together to the wedding ceremony

Amy’s brother and Manuel’s sister acted as officiants. As a result, both the English and Spanish speakers were able to follow along with the proceedings.

the bridedetails of the books that a couple uses to hold their wedding vows

An embrace after the ceremony:

a photo of a bride and groom embracing after their weddinga photo from behind the groom as his bride hugs him while holding a bouquet of sunflowers

Manuel’s dad had a few words for Amy after she boarded the tractor to head over to the reception:

the groom

One of my favorite photos from 2014:

a groom kisses his bride

Some more details. It’s incredible how Amy and Manuel, along with their friends and families, were able to turn a cement-floored greenhouse into a beautiful reception venue:

detail photos include table decorations, fireworks, seating tags

Amy’s dad gave a beautiful toast that was translated into Spanish by the gentleman standing behind him:

father of the bride gives a speech as a translator looks on

bride laughs while listening to her fatheroutside view of the greenhouse where a wedding reception is taking place at Simmons Farmdetail photos include beer, popcorn, cupcakes and s

Amy’s niece and her step-father performed a couple of songs before the dancing started. They’re very talented:

red lights shine on a man and a young woman playing guitar and singing at a wedding receptiona bride dances with her niece during her wedding reception

That was an awfully big fire for making s’mores 😀 (photo by Lisa):

a woman toasts a marshmallow in a huge bonfire

a woman dances with a little girl who makes a funny face

There were sparklers and fireworks. Guys love that kind of stuff! (photo by Lisa):

two men light sparklers in the dark during a wedding receptiona couple embraces as they make smen help little kids light sparklers during a wedding reception

Amy and Manuel met while taking Tango dance classes, so it was no surprise that there was a lot of dancing:

a husband and wife dance during their wedding reception

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:


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.

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  • 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 […]