I’ve known these two for the entirety of their relationship and Whitney just a little longer. 10 years ago, Whitney and I connected over my fine art rust series and we then started helping each other in every aspect of our blooming businesses. She helped me write website copy and I would take photos for her expanding massage studio, Artemis Massage Studio, which has been the best studio in town for years. We would exchange stories of the non-stop work we were putting in to see that our businesses thrived. Over casual lunches, we relished in the fact that we were our own bosses and traded ideas for marketing. I remember laughing with her once about not understanding how people could do anything less than excellent–no matter if it’s just cleaning the toilet–we just had to do it right.
When Whitney met Michael, I was immediately impressed with him. From the start he treated my incredibly beautiful, bright, and hilarious friend with all the care she deserved plus so much more. He swept her off her feet and has continued to pursue her heart in so many thoughtful and dreamy ways.
Being a wedding photographer means getting booked sometimes 2 years in advance. So when Michael proposed in 2017 I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend their wedding. As they flirted with dates for a few years, I was kept in the loop but nothing materialized. When Whitney called about an intimate picnic wedding idea I was thrilled that it was this year–when most everything I had booked was postponed. I could be there, help plan, and watch my dear friends become one.
There is so much more I could share about this incredible couple and what I love about them individually and together. For now- here are some of their words about their wedding day.
Michael and Whitney were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend who thought they would be great together. After their first meeting, they were not convinced! Almost two years later they unexpectedly met again at a housewarming party. The two locked eyes across the room and knew immediately they needed to revisit the matter!
Planning a tiny wedding during a pandemic meant that an outdoor ceremony venue was a must for Whitney and Michael. Although the couple loves to travel together, they have always been blown away by the beauty of Central Pennsylvania and felt that their home state would make the perfect backdrop for an intimate wedding. RE Farm Cafe, at Windswept Farm is a gorgeous property in proximity to town with unbelievable views. Whitney says, “when we stepped under the giant tree to test it out as a possible ceremony site, the surrounding branches felt like a giant hug. Framed against a blazing sunset, it was an incredible setting to affirm our love.”
Right before Michael walked down the aisle, he handed Whitney a print of abstract expressionist art inviting her to “meet him under the tree…if she loved him” and on the back, he had written “The longer the journey the more worthwhile the destination. Come join me in the rest of our life together.” The romantic gesture took her back nine years to Michael’s first birthday spent with Whitney. She had planned a picnic in Talleyrand Park and put together a photo album afterward. The same piece of art was on the cover of the book with the words: “Meet me in the park…if you love me.”
The original idea for this wedding was to elope but the couple decided last minute they really wanted their families to be there with them. Michael’s parents drove in from Pittsburgh and Whitney’s mom and sister dropped everything and traveled from Charlottesville to be there. On his way up the aisle, Michael stopped to hug Whitney’s mom and tell her he would take care of her little girl. They hugged and cried together. His own mother started crying the moment they made eye contact, and his father was smiling from ear to ear. It was abundantly clear they had made the right decision by including their closest family in the lovely union.
Whitney and Michael had a Quaker-style ceremony that involved the whole family. Before exchanging their vows, each family member was invited to speak. They each took a turn expressing how they felt about the couple and their union. It was incredibly touching to witness. Whitney’s vows moved Michael so deeply. He reflects on her words and says, “she found a way to capture everything I’ve ever wanted or thought of in the privacy of my own head. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved and understood at the same time.” Whitney shares that she never felt so vulnerable. “It was also liberating to voice aloud in front of witnesses how incredible his love has been, how much he means to me, and how committed I am to being his partner forever.”
After the ceremony under the tree, the newlyweds and their families enjoyed an outdoor cocktail hour and dinner right there at RE Farm. Whitney and Michael were so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate safely with their immediate family. They effortlessly enjoyed a seamless, gorgeous evening with all the space and freedom to move around the property. Perhaps everyone’s favorite part was the astounding sunset over the mountains. It was a picture-perfect moment that I was beyond honored to capture.
This wedding was beautifully composed with help from everyone in attendance. Whitney wanted a special recipe from their friend Brandon at Big Spring Spirits as her signature cocktail for the night. He custom-made the whole kit for the bride to enjoy. Michael’s mother stitched a sentimental “just married” quilt in less than one day for the occasion. Eric’s scat was a big bang to finish out the reception. Whitney and Michael laughed together, blissed together, and had their first bites as Mr. & Mrs. The entire day was a glorious patchwork of love and joy.
Keep it small. Keep it intimate. Somehow the potency of the moment is that much more intense when shared within a small circle of those you unconditionally love and trust. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. So look at your guest list and cross off anyone who isn’t a Ride or Die. Especially those second cousins you haven’t seen in ten years!
Whatever you do, hire the most talented photographer you can find, as we did! No matter what happens that day or how fast it flies by, the memories that they capture as images will be the ones that you carry with you in the years to come!
You should know all the amazing people I get to work with:
Venue Location: Re Farm Cafe
Planning: B Events
Rentals: Best Event Rental
Beauty: A.Leigh Beauty Co
Florist: Avant Garden
Cake: Dolce Vita
Music: Eric Ian Farmer
PO Box 753, Lemont, PA 16851
901 Pike Street, Lemont, PA 16851
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