I have recently developed a love affair with harsh, dramatic sunlight, something most wedding photographers shy away from in favor of open shade.  Shade is softer, and easier to photograph, but also can be flat and uninteresting. Often in the course of a wedding, you’re shooting at a country club or city street, where there is no option to shield your clients from the light, and it’s important to know how to harness that light.  Learning to photograph harsh light in the most flattering way possible is crucial to avoid harsh shadows under the eyes while creating a higher contrast image, full of mood and drama. Katie and Clayton’s bridal portraits on a country club tree line at the sun’s harshest time of day was a perfect time to hone my lighting skills.

Their romantic, rustic wedding in Clark’s Summit was a perfect mix of family traditions, and casual elegance.  Bustling pre-ceremony preparations in the family home, surrounded by Katie’s beautiful bridemaids, with hand painted wine glasses for each girl made by Katie, and 3 generations of wedding dresses hanging by the fireplace. Home made details were everywhere, including garter belt and ring pillow and slices of personalized tree trunks as place settings.  Themes of pale pinks and crisp greens created a timeless, vintage feel to the day. It was important to the couple that the first time Clayton saw his bride on their wedding day would be as she walked down the aisle at The Church of Saint Gregory, a stunningly beautiful church filled with the greenery where Katie’s parents also wed.  Then on to Glen Oak Country Club, where Katie worked as a teenager for a beautiful evening surrounded by friends and family.

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Sean and Phil have a joy for living life that is absolutely palpable.  We knew after shooting their fun engagement session around Philly that their wedding was going to be a truly special event to be part of.  The men chose U Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for their venue.  Upon arriving at the space, we were allowed to photograph the gentlemen in the Egypt Lower Gallery, under the shadow of the 15 ton sphinx of Ramses II.  Sean and Phil were married in an outdoor ceremony in the Warden Garden by  Jill Magerman of Meaningful Milestones.  Some of my favorite moments included everyone present singing “What a Wonderful World” and the groomsmen draping rainbow ribbons around the couples hands in a lovely twist on the hand fasting ceremony.  After an elegant cocktail hour, guests were invited into the famed Chinese Rotunda where they enjoyed a truly spectacular meal by CxRA  beneath a 90 foot domed ceiling and surrounded by ancient Chinese art. Gabriella Nemati of Nature’s Florist provided the beautiful flower arrangements and some of the most beautifully unique boutonnieres I’ve ever seen. The real party began amongst pharaohs and mummies of ancient Egypt where guests danced the night away to the music of DJ Joe Philly Star of Philly Star DJs and fabulous lighting by Anthony Cistulli.  A stunning cake by Ann’s Cake Pan looked almost too beautiful to eat. Sean and Phil, we can’t possibly thank you enough for allowing us to be even a small part of your journey.  The love and joy of your day was one we will truly never forget.