Bride reads vows to groom privately by a stream

Michael & Christen

Fern Hill Weddings

fern hill wedding

petersburg, pa

private wedding vows by a creek at Fern Hill

We have all heard the phrase, “weddings bring people together” and that was especially true for Michael and Christen. These two met at a bar the night before their friends’ wedding. Christen noticed Michael right away, thinking he was such a cutie. Shortly after, Michael interrupted Christen in a conversation and asked, “who are you?” I’d say there were divine forces working in their favor for sure. The next day, the two sat together at the wedding and their senses of humor clicked instantly. As a joke, they picked Tinder dates for one other (which clearly never came to fruition) then danced and talked all night. Next thing you know, Michael and Christen are bringing people together for a wedding of their own.

Christen and Michael’s Fern Hill wedding was absolutely perfect for them. Christen grew up visiting those woods and Mike loves to go mountain biking and hiking there. The chance to be surrounded by art and creativity on their wedding day is what drew them to the venue. Also, Fern Hill has so many features that make hosting a wedding easier including backup options for the ceremony in case of rain.

When a couple is so intentional about the right things I just know we are meant to work together.

Bride and Groom embrace near stream at Fern Hill Wedding Venue

Michael & Christen chose to read their handwritten vows to each other privately before their wedding ceremony and it was incredibly moving and beautiful. It’s always been one of my favorite things to photograph. The promises made for the future unknown seem to hold more weight with the intimacy of just each other. In photographing them, not able to hear a word because of the distance and rushing stream, I was moved to tears. Observing the connection my couples have is a privilege and a gift.

Christen’s Tadashi Shoji dress was purchased at Nordstrom and let’s be honest, that cape veil was a gift to all of us! She looked stunning and her gown perfectly elevated the woods and vibe of the McCann School of Art.

In the moments right before the ceremony, Christen and Michael both felt nervous and excited. Their lovely friends sang as Christen walked down the aisle, making the ceremony feel more special and delightful. Their friend, Claire, was there at the alter to officiate the wedding.

“The weight of Claire’s words really hit, and having her there calmed us both.”

Yellow and blue flowers in a wedding bouquet leaning against a wooded door

Over the last year and a half, the pandemic prevented so many gatherings, trips, and events. The fact that their guests were able to celebrate with them at Fern Hill and have fun together was Michael’s favorite part of the whole day. Reflecting on her wedding day, Christen’s favorite part was the moments just after the ceremony. It was just her and her new husband together and there was an overwhelming presence of gratitude for all the love in the air. 

As many married couples can attest, Michael and Christen felt like their wedding day went by incredibly fast. They were absolutely riding the wedding day high as they danced together for the final song of the night. When the party came to an end they headed back to their cabin and hopped in the stream for a romantic end to the most joyous day.  

As I finally took a breath, all that was there was a pure and simple joy.”

wedding pavilion at McCann school of art

Advice from Christen to future brides:

Worry less – everything will work out. Delegate and let things go and know that it will be more perfect than you could have ever dreamed. Mainly because you have a good partner to go through it all with. The people you have there, vendors like Jana, will make the events just as special in some ways as your families and friends.

You should know all the amazing people that made this petite wedding a beautiful experience:

Ceremony Location: Sculpture Garden at McCann School of Art 

Reception Venue: Fern Hill Estate

Planner/Coordinator: Dana Swab – Weddings by Dana 

Officiant: Friend

Caterer: Nittany Catering 

Florist: Avant Garden 

DJ: Mint Dj Events 

Desserts: Iads Bakery 

Hair & MU: A.Leigh Beauty, Hanna Kapinus (Hanna Hair Doodles) 

Rentals: Best Event / Sandpiper events 

Band: Hops and Vine  

Bar: J Rose

More Weddings in State College, Pennsylvania…

GEOFFREY & CATHERINE’s Fern Hill Wedding

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PO Box 753, Lemont, PA 16851
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