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Duquesne University Chapel and Grand Concourse Wedding

Looking back on April and Jamie’s wedding always brings a smile to my face.  You’d be hard pressed to find two people who are as funny, kind and sincere as they are.  We had a great time photographing the wedding and reception – the day flew past.

Weddings in February are a crapshoot in terms of weather, but we got lucky.  I wasn’t too worried, though.  Even if the weather had been horrible the Grand Concourse is a beautiful place for photos.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

Duquesne University Chapel Wedding 001

April and her girls got ready at the Sheraton Station Square, so we started out there:

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The big windows on the river side of the hotel provide some beautiful light for portraits.  April looked fantastic:

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April’s dad helps tie a half windsor knot.  It’s a handy thing to know how to do:

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When we got to the chapel we found out that the florist hadn’t yet arrived with the bouquets.  No bueno, florist:(

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Yay!  She arrived!

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Duquesne University Chapel Wedding 009

You’ve got some explaining to do, Miss Florist!

This situation provides a really great lesson. Weddings are complicated, emotional events involving human beings – who are by nature fallible.  Kudos to April for being able to keep things in perspective and focus on what was important – two people deeply in love standing in front of their friends and loved ones while they made a promise to each other.  Really, once it was over it was left in the past.  I don’t think another thought was wasted on the flowers arriving late, and everybody went on to enjoy the day.

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Duquesne University Chapel Wedding 011

Waiting to walk down the aisle:

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Father McCool has a great sense of humor – April and Jamie thought so, too:)

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Wedding rings, or as Father McCool referred to them “The most expensive set of handcuffs you’ll ever see!”  Father James Murphy (right) co-celebrated the ceremony

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I love this shot by my second photographer Lisa Eggleston of April and Jamie lighting the unity candle.

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A little wink from April:

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Jamie gets a hug from his aunt after the ceremony:

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It was pleasant outside, so we walked around the Duquesne University campus as we took some portraits:

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I told you these two are funny:

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Cristal for everyone!  Or Crystal. Whatever:P

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Annie O’Neill was with us and she shot this image of April and Jamie practicing their first dance on the Smithfield Street Bridge before the reception:

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The happy couple is announced into their reception:

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Cake cutting:

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Jamie’s niece hit the dance floor with his parents:

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Jamie and his mom share a dance:

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Last dance:

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I loved everything about this wedding and feel so grateful to have been a part of the day.

Rachel from Pittsburgh Wedding Cinema was on hand to document the day.  We work together in the same unobtrusive, story-telling manner to provide documentary coverage.  Let me know if you’re interested in adding video to your wedding coverage.  Here’s a short piece that she put together from this Duquesne University Chapel and Grand Concourse Wedding:

April & Jaime from Rachel Wagner on Vimeo.


Grand Concourse - Pittsburgh - November 30, 2013 - 11:52 pm

Great couple to work with. Awesome photos. Great job.

[…] It’s a photo made at a stressful moment during a long day filled with joy, beauty and love. Check out the rest of their images from Duquesne University Chapel and The Grand Concourse here. […]

Award Winning Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer | Fearless Photographers Award

Any time contest results are announced I get a funny feeling.  It’s kind of a mixture of excitement and anxiety.  Relief is the best way to describe how it feels when I win a contest.

This is a tough contest.  Out of 13,500 entries only 350 images were given a Fearless Award!

The results for collection 18 of the Fearless Photographers contest were announced this morning and after diving in I found this image from Kate and Drew’s wedding at St. Paul Cathedral had won an award!

Fearless Award

This photo is from when the wedding party lined up to begin their procession down the aisle.  Kate was standing next to the outside door to the church so she’s got light on her while the wedding party was in shadow.  I saw the look of concentration on her face and focused on her using her bridesmaids and groomsmen to frame her.

I’m really glad that the judges chose this quiet moment because I think it tells an important part of the story of Kate and Drew’s wedding day.  More important than being named an award winning Pittsburgh wedding photographer is that Kate and Drew love the image, too.

[…] Kate waits in the narthex of the cathedral as the wedding party begins their walk down the aisle.  I won an award for this one […]

Omni William Penn Wedding | Andrea and Michael

I absolutely love Jewish weddings.  There is such a marvelous energy – you can feel it in the atmosphere.  Following suit, Andrea and Michael’s Omni William Penn wedding was a wonderful whirlwind of a day.  From the bedeken and signing of the ketubah on through the ceremony and reception it was non-stop action.  The landmark art deco Urban Room at the Omni William Penn provided an elegant and timeless atmosphere.

My friend Annie O’Neill joined me again and made some amazing pictures.  I’m so grateful to be able to work with such a talented friend – it pushes me even harder to be as good of a photographer as I can be.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

Andrea’s mom and Michael’s mom escort Andrea to the bedeken:



Michael shares a laugh with the rabbi while signing the ketubah:


Andrea’s sister wishes her well:


Michael arrives escorted by his dad (left) and Andrea’s dad:


Andrea’s dad gives her a kiss.  What a lovely, emotion-filled moment:



Michael puts the veil over Andrea’s head:


Michael is a really smart guy.  He works with artificial intelligence, so the greeter outside of the ceremony was computer generated.  Nice bow tie:



Andrea joins Michael beneath the chupah:



The glass is broken – Mazel Tov!




Being a winter wedding, it was cold and snowy outside.  So we went down to the beautiful hotel lobby for some portraits:



Andrea and Michael join the reception:



The Horah is my favorite part of the reception.  I love the expressions on the folks being lifted in the chairs:





The couple sits as their friends dance around them:


Andrea’s niece made a jump rope out of napkins and showed off her skills!


First dance:


Towards the end, their parents joined in:



Andrea dances with her dad while Michael and his parents look on:


Michael dances with his mom:








So there you have it.  Another great winter wedding in Pittsburgh!


Longue Vue Club Wedding | Cari and Sims

portrait of a bride and groom on the hill high above the allegheny river

In many ways Cari and Sims’ Longue Vue Club wedding was the perfect way to begin what was a busy winter season.  I’ve said before that I love winter weddings – it just seems that there is a wonderful celebratory feeling to having a wedding outside of the traditional busy season.  That said, Longue Vue Club is a very lovely place to have a wedding at any time of the year.  Everything was coordinated to perfection by my friend Theresa Kaufman – a great event planner.

Cari and Sims are very busy professionals who live in Chicago, so I know that they relied heavily upon Theresa working with Cari’s lovely mom Linda to make the event come to life.  I relied on my buddy James Knox to help me photograph the wedding and, as always, it was wonderful to work with him.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

The historic stone clubhouse at Longue Vue Club

a bride has her makeup done in the ladie

a groom shares a laugh with his brother before his wedding

Linda helps Cari with her wedding gown:

A bride

Sims and his brother put their ties on as their dad looks on:

groom gets dressed in the men

a bride holds her dress as she walks up a flight of stairs

A groom and his best man cast long shadows as they walk to the over to the ceremony at Longue Vue Club

Cari fights back tears:

a bride fights back tears before her wedding at Longue Vue Club

Cari’s dad Tony keeps her laughing before they head down the aisle:

a bride and her father share a laugh just before her wedding ceremony

a bride and her father walk down the aisle during a wedding in the grand ballroom at longue vue club

a groom whispers to his bride during their wedding ceremony

a bride and groom laugh during their wedding ceremony

It gets dark early in the winter, so we took advantage of the remaining twilight to get a few outdoor portraits.

portrait of a bride and groom outside during a winter wedding

portrait of a bride and groom beneath one of the arches at Longue Vue Club

First dance:

a bride and groom during their first dance

Tony welcomed Sims into the family:

a groom is toasted by the bride

Cari cracks up as Sims makes a speech thanking their guests:

a bride and groom make a speech during their wedding

Parents dances:

a groom dances with his mother while a bride dances with her father during their wedding

Don’t worry, no cake was harmed as a result of their arm wrestling:)

a bride and groom arm wrestle before cutting their cake

a bride and groom dance in the grand ballroom of Longue Vue Club

Tony sat in on drums with the band:

a bride

guests dance during a wedding

Cari and her mom Linda:

a bride and her mother dance during her wedding

a bride and groom dance during their wedding

Theresa and her crew set out luminara candles on the drive in front of the club house.  Beautiful:

luminaria on the drive outside of Longue Vue Club

We had a busy winter, so check back soon for some fresh photos!

Wedding Photography at Lingrow Farm | Noelle and Bryan

beautiful bride reacting with surprise to something her husband saidIt was a beautiful Friday night when Noelle and Bryan had their wedding last fall.  They came all the way from Los Angeles for the wedding and the weather didn’t disappoint.

Wedding photography at Lingrow Farm is always a treat, but this one was unlike any other wedding I’ve done there.

I’ll tell you straight up that despite months of effort sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  I am a photographer who works in a documentary style for my clients to tell the story of their wedding day.  So whether an event is pitch perfect or it goes off of the rails, I’m going to photograph it.  Within reason, of course, while I want to tell your story I certainly don’t want to embarrass anyone.  I really struggled with whether or not to even put this post on my website because things went wrong with the electrical power at the venue that night.  I don’t want to embarrass the folks at Lingrow Farm and I trust that they’ve since corrected whatever problem caused the power to go out.  I will say that the staff handled things well and the Gilpin Township VFD were nothing short of awesome.

In the end, the evening turned out to be one of the most intense, energetic dance parties that I’ve ever been to!  I guess all of the pent up emotion of having a delay in the party and doubt as to whether it would be able to continue had to come out.  I was blown away by the energy that Noelle and Bryan showed along with their friends and families!

My dear friend Annie O’Neill worked with me that evening and I am so glad to have had her steady hand and fantastic eye to rely on when things got crazy.  In fact, Annie took all of the good pictures in this post:)

Enough with the reading and writing!  Let’s look at some photos:

Bryan and the guys on their way to the church:

a groom clowns around with his groomsmen on their way to a wedding near Pittsburgh

Noelle got ready at the farmhouse at Lingrow:

a bride gets her hair and makeup done prior to a wedding near pittsburgh in the fall

Bryan’s niece Isabel looked like a little ballerina in her flower girl dress:

a cute flower girl dances before a wedding near pittsburgh

Noelle’s mom zips her wedding gown back at the house:

a brideBryan and his brother waited at the church while Noelle got ready.  These guys crack me up!

a groom looks at his watch because his bride is late to their wedding near pittsburghAlmost ready:

a bride gets ready for her wedding at a farm near pittsburgh

This is too much!

a groom and his best man goof around before his wedding in Pittsburgha bride fixes her hair in a mirror before her wedding near Pittsburgh

Noelle’s cousin was her maid of honor.  I guess the hairband was to keep her bangs from flying up:

a bride walks with her maid of honor

Bryan has a way with words, which brought Noelle to tears when she read a card that he left for her at the back of the church:

a bride cries as she reads a letter her groom wrote hera bride shares a laugh with her father before her wedding near Pittsburgha groom watches his bride walk towards him during their wedding near Pittsburgha bride walks with her parents down the aisle at her wedding near Pittsburgha bride and groom walk down the aisle together near Pittsburgh

Personally, I’m glad we started a little late.  The light coming through the window was perfect!

perfectly sunlit bride and groom during their wedding near Pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom shown from behind as they are illuminated by the sun during a wedding near Pittsburgha bride is lit by sunlight during a wedding near Pittsburgha couple kisses as the priest looks on with amusement during a wedding in western pennsylvaniaa happy bride and groom after their first kiss during their wedding near Pittsburgha bride gives the sign of peace during a catholic mass near Pittsburgh Pennsylvaniaa bride and groom smile as they are announced as husband and wife at a wedding near Pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony near Pittsburgh as the best man and maid of honor applaud.

Showing off the ring:

a bride shows off her wedding ring to her bridesmaids at a wedding near Pittsburgh.

The light was truly spectacular that evening.  We worked really hard for just a few minutes and came away with some pretty amazing portraits:

a bride and groom stare into each othersilhouette of a bride and groom at sunset in a field near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Bryan knows what a lucky guy he is:

A groom knows how lucky he is as he looks at his beautiful bride near pittsburgh in the fall.a bride and groom hold hands as they walk through a field at sunset near Pittsburghan exceptionally beautiful bride in a flowing gown and long veil stands in a field at sunset.

Just as they were to be announced, the electrical box blew:(

sparking electrical box, an angry bride and groom, a fire engine outside of a wedding hall in Western Pennsylvania

The barn had to be evacuated.  The guests were in good spirits and Noelle and Bryan decided that the party had to go on…

a grandmother keeps her granddaughter warm under a blanket outside

…so the guys from the Gilpin Township VFD set up a generator and loaned their gear to the groomsmen!

groomsmen wearing firefighting gear as they drink beer and laugh.

An entrance like no other I’ve ever seen:

a bride and groom cheer as they enter their wedding reception with him wearing firefighting gear.a groom wearing firefighters gear dips his bride as they kissa bride and groom share their first dance together during their wedding reception.a bride embraces her groom during their first dance as seen from behind the groom with only her hands visible.a groom kisses his bride during a champagne toast at their wedding reception

Bryan and his mom:

a groom and his mother share a moment on the dance floor at his wedding reception.

Couples often ask me how they can ensure that their guests have a good time at their wedding.  See my answer below:

a bride and groom dance their hearts out at their wedding reception.

Guests are going to be where the couple is.  If you’re both on the dance floor, then this is what you get:

a maid of honor smiles and dances with her arms up at a weddinga bride and her friends sing and dance together at her weddinga bride tosses her bouquet to single women guests at her wedding who then fight over the flowersa bride and groom share an embrace on the dance floor of their wedding while the guests gather around themclose up photo of an engagement ring on a monogrammed matchbox

What a night!


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