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. Which has been the best studio in town for years. Artemis Massage Studio 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 she 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 sooooo much more- he swept her off her feet and has continued to pursue her heart in so many thoughtful and dreamy ways. Thank you Michael for loving her so well.
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. So when Whitney called about an intimate picnic wedding idea I was thrilled that it was this year- when most everything I had booked 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.
Snippets from Whitney (top) & Michael (bottom)-
How did you meet?Michael and I were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend who thought we’d be great together. But after meeting, we weren’t convinced! It was almost two years later, when we unexpectedly met again at a housewarming party, that we locked eyes and knew immediately we needed to revisit the matter!
I mean, the above says it all. I’d add that we moved in together before our first date, and I shoulda ask her to marry me that first date, because we both knew we’d be together till the end.
Why did you choose your ceremony venue?Since we were planning a tiny wedding during a pandemic, we needed to be outside. And although we love to travel, we’ve always been blown away by the beauty of Central Pennsylvania. We knew this area would make the perfect backdrop. RE Farm is a gorgeous property in proximity to town with unbelievable views. And 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.
I mean, she’s an overachiever and that is one of many reasons I married her, how can I add anything to what she wrote!
Did families and friends travel to be with you for your wedding day?Although the original idea was to elope — we had decided to get married only five days before! — we decided at the last minute we wanted our family there. Michael’s parents came from Pittsburgh. My mother and sister came from Charlottesville. They dropped everything for the chance to be with us that day and it meant the world.
What do you remember from the moments right before you walked down the aisle or waited for her to arrive?Nine years ago for Michael’s first birthday together, I planned a little picnic in Talleyrand Park for him. As I put together a photo album of it afterward, I included a work of abstract expressionist art as a cover photo. It was splashes of paint with the words: “Meet me in the park… if you love me.”
Right before Michael walked down the aisle, he turned to me and handed me a print of the same work from all those years ago, inviting me to meet him under the tree if I 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.“ When I looked up with tears in my eyes he was already on his way to the tree. It was such a romantic gesture, so like Michael. I couldn’t wait to go meet him!
I just remember everything getting very very clear right before I walked out of the green room. I first saw her mom and had to give her a hug and tell her I’d take care of her little girl. We hugged and cried together for a bit.
Walking down was fun, passing the diners on my way down, far enough away to feel alone. My mom started crying the second we had eye contact, my dads smile kept me from doing the same.
But then I got to the tree, and noticed my mark moved. I still don’t know if I hit my mark, but Whitney did with her vows, she found a way to capture everything I’ve ever wanted or thought of in the privacy of my own head. It felt like she curled up with my soul, and found a way to tell me how much she loved every part of it. It was beautiful.
Where did you purchase your dress?With only five days to plan a wedding there aren’t many options or time to explore them! I ordered my dress two-day shipping from ASOS and it fit like a glove! It was easy and perfect!
Who gave toasts? What was a favorite memory from their toast?In lieu of traditional toasts following the ceremony, we incorporated them into our Quaker-style ceremony itself. Before saying our vows, each of our family members was invited to speak. Each person took a turn expressing how they felt about us and about our union. It was really touching.
Why did you choose your reception venue? What was your favorite part about it?Keeping it simple was key for us. After the ceremony under the tree, we were able to move directly to a cocktail hour and then to dinner, both outdoors. RE Farm did a fantastic job of providing us with a unique and private experience. My favorite part was the ability to effortlessly enjoy a seamless, gorgeous evening safely with our immediate family. We had so much space and freedom to move around the property. And of course, there was also the astounding sunset over the ridge line!
Everyone came together to make this wedding happen, there was not a single person at our reception that was not instrumental in making sure our day was the most memorable in our lives. Connecting with each person was so easy, it was a direct connection of joy, shared accomplishment, and love.
Even during the reception Paul was making drinks from a cooler he brought to chill our “signature cocktails”(we later brought that on the honeymoon) as Whitney requested a special recipe from our friend Brandon @ big spring spirits, he custom made the whole kit just for her.
My mother even stitched a “just married” quilt for us in less then a day!
Lastly, Whitney and I laugh together, blissed together and had our first bite as mr. & mrs.
Eric’s scat was a Big Bang to finish out the reception.
How did you feel at the end of the night?I don’t think I’ve ever felt more special or more loved.
I felt that last piece of the puzzle was finally put in place.
When I woke up I realized that it was actually a new puzzle, but this time I won’t have to solve it by myself.
What was your favorite part of the day?My favorite part of the day was reading my vows to Michael. I’ve never felt so vulnerable. But 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.
Looking at Whitney while she was telling me her vows. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so loved and understood at the same time.
Now that the planning is over- what advice would you share with a couple currently planning?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!
Just do it and enjoy the time with your soon to be partner for life.
Anything else you’d like to add?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!
Trust everyone, make it a collaboration it can be a connection point, and a memory for everyone involved, it only deepens the connection and adds meaning to the moments.
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
I'd love to hear about who you are and all the beautiful plans you have in mind!
Just share a few details about yourselves and your day, and I’ll get right back to you!
I am located in State College, PA, and would love to meet up with you at my studio if you’re nearby, or we can arrange a time to talk on the phone.
Looking forward to connecting soon!
If you need to reach me for anything else, or for all other inquiries, feel free to give me a ring at 814.769.3557. or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org