Bride reads vows to groom privately by a stream

Michael & Christen

Fern Hill Weddings

fern hill wedding

petersburg, pa

When a couple is so intentional about the right things I just know we are meant to work together. Michael & Christen chose to read their handwritten vows to each other privately before their wedding ceremony at Fern Hill. 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.

Let’s also mention that Christen’s Cape veil was a gift to me! I mean to all of us! She was stunning and her gown perfectly elevated the woods and vibe of the Mc Cann School of Art. I could ramble on about this elegant and intentional wedding, instead, I’d like you to hear from Micheal and Christen and what the day felt like.

private wedding vows by a creek at Fern Hill

How did you meet? 

We met at a bar the night before our mutual friends’ wedding. I clocked Mike as a cutie right away. He then interrupted my conversation by asking “Who are you?”, The next day I sat next to him during the wedding (in front of my middle school teacher so I got very nervous all of the sudden). Our humor clicked right away. As a joke, we chose Tinder dates for each other on each others’ phones on the way to the wedding, then danced and talked all night.

Why did you choose Fern Hill weddings at the McCann School of Art for your wedding?

We love being in the forest. I grew up visiting those woods and Mike loves to mountain bike and hike there. Being surrounded by art and creativity really drew us to the venue. Practically, the venue had a lot of features that made hosting a wedding easier and there were plenty of backup options in case of rain for the ceremony.

Where did you purchase your wedding dress? What is the designers’ name?

The dress was purchased at Nordstrom, Tadashi Shoji.

Bride and Groom embrace near stream at Fern Hill Wedding Venue

What do you remember from the moments right before you walked down the aisle or waited for her to arrive?

We really loved that our friends were able to sing while Christen walked down the aisle, which made the ceremony feel more special and delightful. We both felt nervous and excited, but the weight of Claire’s words really hit, and having her there calmed us both.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Christen – I think my favorite part of the day was the moment after we left the ceremony. It was just us and I felt so grateful for everyone and so grateful for Mike. As I finally took a breath, all that was there was a pure and simple joy.

Michael – The day flew by, but I really enjoyed that our guests were able to celebrate and have fun, particularly after COVID had prevented so many gatherings, trips, and events over the past year and a half.

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

How did you feel at the end of the night?

It. went. so. fast. We both had enjoyed some libations and were high on the love of the day so we just felt joy. Christen missed the second to last song, but we danced for the last song, then just lived in the elation, before heading back to the cabin and getting in the stream.

wedding pavilion at McCann school of art

Now that the planning is over- what advice would you share with a couple currently planning? 

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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