At long last, it was Brigette’s wedding day! Brigette and I had first talked about photographing her wedding about eighteen months ago, and after a minor date change and some location swapping, the plans were set.

Justin’s family made the trip from Ohio to Brigette’s hometown for the wedding.

The photography began with the groom and groomsmen at the hotel, then continued over at Brigette’s mom’s house, where Brigette, her sister (and maid-of-honor), her two brothers, and her mom all got ready.

I love this moment Brigette and her mom shared as they hurried towards the car to get to the ceremony!

Then it was off to the ceremony at St. Mark’s Parish in Liberty Boro. I don’t typically feature a lot of ceremony photographs here on my blog, but the lighting in this church was phenomenal! Many churches can be dark, but this church was filled with natural light, just making the warm wood background glow. If you are looking for a church in the South/East Pittsburgh suburbs, I highly recommend this one for weddings, and I couldn’t help but feature several photographs here on my blog of the ceremony.

Bride’s Hairstyling: The groom’s sister did a fabulous job!
Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Parish-Liberty Boro Site
Officiant: Bride’s uncle
Reception Venue: Holiday Inn in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Catering: Woody’s Catering in McKeesport, Pennsylvania
Photography: Kristen Wynn Photography of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Palm Bay, Florida

After the ceremony, we headed to Renziehausen Park in McKeesport for some bride and groom portraits, and then it was off to the reception at the Holiday Inn in West Mifflin.

As the sun set, we ducked outside for some final bride and groom portraits around the hotel. There was even a fair of some sort going on that day and some of the guests gathered outside to watch the fireworks.

Brigette and Justin have a honeymoon planned later on, but they took a few days to go camping after the wedding and enjoy some time together as newlyweds. I actually saw them on the highway the next morning, with their “Just Married” sign still emblazoning the car’s window!

Everyone formed a circle around the bride and Justin had to try to break through to get to Brigette!

Congratulations, you two, and thank you so much for having me as part of your special day. You were truly a delight to work with and I wish you so much happiness!

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I frequently get requests from engaged couples and friends for other types of wedding professionals and vendors in the industry, since I am pretty much attending weddings every weekend. It can be hard to find vendors in certain categories, especially if you have only been to a few weddings in your lifetime or are the first of your friends and family to get married!

I can’t always respond to those referral requests as soon as I’d like due to my schedule, so I decided to put together a few blog posts about some wedding professionals with whom I have loved working. You can still always email me for help though 😉

(Standard boring disclaimer: I only recommend based on my personal experience and out of a desire to help brides. So nope, I don’t make any money from these vendors for the recommendation. As always, do your own homework and shop around of course for the right fit for your big day!)

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Nicole from Penelope Poppy on three different weddings:

Ashley and Ryan’s Wedding in Plum Borough, Pennsylvania
Rachael and Mark’s Wedding in Winter Park, Florida
Katie and Brandon’s Wedding in the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Garden Tent

Nicole is a designer and illustrator based in the Pittsburgh suburbs, and she works with both local and long-distance brides.

I went to the same high school as Nicole, and I am so thrilled when I get to work with another young female business owner! She does fabulous, custom, unique work to go with your wedding theme, and so I wanted to put together a little collection of images to show some of her designs.

If you are needing paper goods for your wedding, you can contact Penelope Poppy here on their Minted page, here on Facebook, or here on the website.

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Please enjoy more images from Dana and Brad’s wedding. As always, music is used with permission.

Family, friends, and invited guests, please check out their gallery here or click “View and Order Prints” on the menu to the left. The password is the date of the wedding as MMDDYYYY-please contact the bride and groom if you have any questions!

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I recently accompanied my sister Kristen as her assistant on Dana and Brad’s wedding in Hopewell Township and Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. One thing that really struck me was how wonderfully nice the Hopewell Township area is-this is a beautiful, quaint part of the Pittsburgh area and everyone was so friendly.

Wedding Professionals that made the day a huge success:

Hairstyling-Tina’s Hair Design in Oakdale, PA

Gown Designer-Casablanca Bridal

Ceremony Venue-Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Hopewell Township, PA

Reception Venue-The Timberhouse at Rolling Acres Golf Course in Beaver Falls, PA

Floral Design-All Occasion Silk Creations

Entertainment-DJ Donna Music Express

Cake Design-Carol’s Cakes in Aliquippa, PA

I know that Kristen just adored working with Dana and her family, especially her sister Jessica, who was a classmate of Kristen’s back at Robert Morris University for graduate school.

Dana’s mother did all the flower arrangements for the wedding day and they were beautiful. There was a lot of attention to detail down to the tiny flowers on the bubble and program baskets. She doesn’t just service the Pittsburgh area-she does destination weddings and ships all over, so definitely check out her work! Everything looked gorgeous.

Dana and Brad were so easygoing and the wedding was an absolute pleasure to work with no stress whatsoever. Dana’s mom really welcomed us into her family.

Dana and Brad chose to do a first look and see each other before the ceremony. This is definitely a personal decision that each couple has to make for themselves, but it is a nice time saver on the wedding day and also allows for a private moment between the bride and groom.

This image was captured by Kristen as Dana’s dad gave the bride away.

Dana’s gown was unique in that it was light gold/champagne in color instead of the typical white or ivory-it really sparkled. Dana was pretty much willing to do anything for a photograph, and Kristen’s favorite is this one of the couple in purple flowers on the side of the road-being willing to go off the beaten path results in wonderfully unique images.

Congratulations to Dana and Brad–I hope you enjoyed your Orlando honeymoon! I know they really enjoy Walt Disney World and working for the airlines, I hope you get a chance to take many more trips there over the course of a long, long marriage and happy life together!

Thanks so much for having Kristen Wynn Photography!

-Allison Wynn on behalf of Kristen Wynn Photography


3 People have left comments on this post

Rebecca Jeanne said: | May 29, 2012 - 04:05:39 |

Kristen, you did such a LOVELY job!!!! Gorgeous!!

Kimberly said: | May 29, 2012 - 04:05:58 |

These are stunning, each and every one of them. Kristen, your attention to detail is spot-on. Both of the images with the Father-of-the-bride brought tears to my eyes. I can feel the love and raw emotion. The bride’s gown is gorgeous. I love the images of the couple with the purple flowers and the last one needs to be on a magazine cover! Fantastic work Kristen!

Susan Harman said: | May 29, 2012 - 07:05:47 |

Kristen, you are amazing! Thank you for all your hard work spent photographing Dana and Brad’s wedding! We cannot express how much we appreciate the time and energy you put toward capturing their special day. Every image is so beautiful; it’s hard to pick a favorite. There are so many sweet moments that we were not even aware were photographed at the time.

We very much enjoyed working with you and greatly appreciate the kind words regarding the flowers.

We have received so many compliments from wedding guests on your work and professionalism. Again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for going above and beyond anything we could have imagined! 🙂

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This little one is my second cousin and she is so darn cute!

As long as I can remember, my cousin Hilary has always been very motherly. I even remember one summer when I was about seven, so we’re going back like twenty years here, she played house with us younger kids and we had real food that she prepared…I think it was cereal? Anyway, that was a big deal to have real food while playing and my cousin made a great pretend mom.

And now, she’s a real life mom. And I can tell she’s very, very good at it. We talked while posing her new little girl, S, about her easy pregnancy, delivery, and newborn. Some woman are just born to do this, motherhood is truly their calling. And it is amazing and wonderful to grow up with a little girl and then watch her become an awesome mother to her little girl.

I love this Shrek hat that her Aunt Coleen made! (Photographer friends and blog readers, Coleen has a business of her own and can make all kinds of knit hats for your needs, so check her out: Fare Feathers)

Samera was fourteen days when we photographed her due to my travel schedule, which is right at the edge for newborn photography, since the babies start to become more active and less sleepy. But S. was a great poser!

And she LOVED being swaddled. So adorable.

Hilary, enjoy this first holiday season with your little girl! 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me photograph her first days!

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Jenifer Mitchell said: | Dec 5, 2010 - 08:12:54 |

Absolutley love these shots, Kristen! I can't wait to get preggers so that we can do another photoshoot with you!!! Great Job!!!

Jaidean said: | Dec 8, 2010 - 10:12:32 |

So sweet! Love the little baby smile you captured!

Heidi said: | Dec 8, 2010 - 07:12:34 |

I have the privilege of knowing baby samera & her mommy, & grandma. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful baby!

Anonymous said: | Dec 9, 2010 - 12:12:18 |

Kristan thanks for spreading the word about farefeathers! The photos are awesome!

Andrea said: | Dec 9, 2010 - 02:12:01 |

What a stunning little Lovebug! These are so precious!

Lindsey Gasque said: | Jan 13, 2011 - 09:01:02 |

These are AMAZING photos… wow!

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Kim and Mike met through Kim’s sister. There *may* have been some karaoke involved, I hear. 🙂

They share a love of music, as Mike is in a band and Kim still enjoys honing her craft, as she’s been singing since she was in high school. I knew Kim would rock this session out with different emotions and a wide range of looks since she always had a great stage presence during her high school and college acting days.

Photography has allowed me to reconnect with so many good friends. Years ago, way back in 2001, Kim was one of my earliest models for photography. I remember I posed her holding up a rose, and it was truly cringe-worthy on my part. I hope she won’t be cringing at my work now. I’ve luckily come a long way since my first Kodak 35mm when we were HS juniors, but I still have a long way to go.

Kim mentioned that she wanted to do something maybe music related, or maybe something in a field, and of course, we wanted to incorporate their guitars and Mike’s truck. I no longer live in the Pittsburgh suburb where we all grew up (always home in my heart), so I drove out scouting. And I was amazed to find an overgrown area between a car wash and an auto body shop. I called the owner of the lot and, in true Pittsburgh neighborly fashion, he agreed to let me use it.

I think Mike was skeptical as I directed him to just drive the truck in, mowing down anything in the way. But he was a good sport and went along with our crazy idea.

Kim and I used to drive past this lot all the time in her first car, a light blue temperamental Ford Taurus, ten years ago, sometimes speeding to make it home before our 11pm curfews. And as I checked my settings and she changed outfits hidden from the road, I asked “You don’t still have the Taurus, do you?”

She sadly told me she didn’t. She upgraded, being a college graduate and working adult now. 🙂

The night was cold, and we finished up in the field and headed towards a second location. We were in Mike’s neighborhood now. The light started to fade, but I was determined to use this weather-stained wall. It is the back of an old bowling alley, and the way the grass grew unevenly, you could still see where the lanes had been years ago.

And as Mike picked Kim up for the final shot, they radiated happiness and young love. I’m so happy you two found each other! 2012 will be wonderful year for your wedding! I wish you all the best! 🙂

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Goldie is one of eleven kids, every single one of them so sweet, kind, and welcoming. When I first sat down with her and her sisters in their historic home, I felt like family. The house was abuzz with activity, as the wedding was just a few days away!

Goldie sat down with me and we looked at her older sisters’ beautiful wedding photos as I familiarized myself with the customs and traditions of an Orthodox Jewish ceremony. I noticed that Goldie wasn’t wearing an engagement ring, but rather a beautiful bracelet. She explained that another piece of jewelry is given when you get engaged, but you receive both your typical engagement ring and a plain wedding band on the big day.

Goldie and Dovid were introduced to each other at the Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh, a historic hotel downtown. On the day of the wedding, we actually took a few images in the very spot that they met, incorporating some of their history as a couple.

The day started with Goldie and all the ladies getting ready in the large bridal suite. There was so much activity, everyone was busy! Goldie was praying while getting ready from a special prayer book.

With a huge smile on her face, she told me it had been a special surprise gift from Dovid. I think it is awesome when a groom surprises the bride with a gift that morning!

I see that one of Goldie’s little brothers placed a sticker on a prayer book!

Goldie’s sweet sisters (especially Chani, Chaya, Chassi, Nahama, and little Shira) guided me through the order of events you will see here.

Then, there are typically portrait sessions for each side of the family. We started with the Kallah’s (bride’s) extended family portraits, then moved on to the Chosson’s (groom’s) family portraits. The Kallah and Chosson haven’t seen each other yet, but they soon will.

The style of photography should reflect the style of the wedding in my opinion, so for this wedding, I decided to spread my wings and do more traditional portraiture, as Goldie pointed out photos she liked that were more along those lines. While posing her for this shot, she said to me “I don’t want to have a lot of attitude in my shots.”

Don’t worry, I don’t think she could ever, ever possibly have an attitude as she is just such a sweet, joyful girl. 🙂

This one is especially for Sara, Goldie’s mom. 🙂

All the ladies gather for a reception, Kabosas ponim.

This is a receiving line, and the Kallah greets her female guests here. The Chosson and the men gather in a separate room for the signing and reading of the ketuba.

After this, the Kallah’s mom and the Chosson’s mom break a plate together.

Then, Dovid is escorted by both fathers to the bride for the bedeken while songs are being sung and a saxophone played.

It is at this point that the veil is placed on the bride’s head by the groom.

After the bedeken, the Chosson is escorted to a room where he dresses for the ceremony and removes any knots, such as on the laces of his shoes or on his necktie. This is to symbolize that he is coming to the marriage free of anything holding him back, free of binds.

Goldie and Dovid were escorted to the chuppah. Goldie’s little brother had a place of honor holding the chuppah.

The ceremony is always done outside, as close as possible to the stars. There are seven blessings performed, and then the Kallah has a ring placed on her right index finger by the Chosson. There is very limited space under the chuppah, but it is important to capture this moment.

When the cup is broken under the Chosson’s foot, the cry of “MAZEL TOV!” goes up amongst all the guests.

After the chuppah, the bride and groom retire to the Yichud room to break their fast and spend time alone. After another family portrait session, Goldie, Dovid, Bob from
All Pro Video (they’re FABULOUS!)
and I all headed to a little park across the street for some photos.

In Orthodox culture, men and women do not show outward physical affection in public, so many of the photos you see from Christian weddings, such as kissing photos, aren’t done. Instead, we got creative. Love the smile!

Then the bride and groom are announced and dance with their respective genders in the ballroom. The bride dances with her mother, her new mother-in-law, her grandmas, then her married sisters, then her sisters-in-law, and then her single sisters. The men do a lot of fun dances too, climbing up on tables, hoisting each other into the air, and jump roping!

At one point, Chassi called out to me on the dance floor and I came over with my camera, thinking there was a special moment to capture. But she just wanted to dance with me! It was so sweet, and then I danced with Goldie too. I never dance at weddings when I’m working (no time!), but for these amazing young women, I just had to make an exception. We whirled around and around in a circle and I was laughing and out of breath and felt SO, SO happy for Goldie and Dovid. The joy of all the whirling, twirling, jumping, leaping guests just overtakes you.

After a final blessing and prayers, called the Benching, it was time to say goodnight to the new couple and the wonderful, sweet Weinstein girls.

Mazel Tov, Goldie and Dovid!

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They grew up on opposite sides of Pittsburgh. The possibility for a meeting was there, and they were already destined to be together, but for over twenty years, their paths never crossed.

Ryan was on one side of the city, while Ashley was growing up in my neck of the woods.

We became fast friends. While Ryan was playing baseball and doing other boy things, Ashley (among many other activities) agreed to act as my very first model for my photography.

The summer when we were sixteen was the summer that I started to get an interest in photography. I wanted to do a little shoot. I had a Kodak 35mm camera purchased from Walmart for about $30, two prop hats from my mom’s closet, three willing friends, and absolutely NO clue what I was doing. Like every photographer, I sometimes still feel like I have no clue what I’m doing, but I know so, so, so much more than I did in July 2001.

For example, I always shot with film (yes, we only had film cameras back then, believe it or not) that was ISO 800. Why? Because the package advertised that it was good for “fast action.” I wasn’t shooting NFL football games- I was shooting simple snapshots of friends, so I have no clue why I would always get 800 speed film!

But Ashley and two other friends (Kaitlin and Kimmy J, if you are reading this, do you remember this day?) came with me one summer evening. We went to a local park by my parents’ house and did some silly poses.

I’m embarrassed to show my work from way back then, but I scanned my capture of Ashley from that day:

I know I was terrible. But Ashley supported my silly idea back when we were just kids. And I know she will support all of Ryan’s dreams through their years together, because that’s the kind of person she is, a dreamer who envisions what can be.

Ashley moved on from being my photography model. It was understandably a one-time thing! She went off to college, graduated, and started working. She met Ryan there. It would be her last first date.

I knew I would soon be saying goodbye to “single girl Ash” after I first met Ryan myself. He was it for her. We all felt it. We all knew.

He is just such a nice guy, so genuine, a perfect gentleman, and funny.

Over time, they got together.

They got serious.
He got a house.
She got a guinea pig.
They got a dog.

Then…he got a ring.

He got down on one knee in their kitchen.
She got to say yes.
They got engaged.
And in that moment, they both got everything they ever wanted.

Two weeks ago, we started out at their home and traveled to Pittsburgh for some engagement photos. As we wound into town through Oakland, Ashley was reminiscing in the car. She stopped her story about some funny/wild antics at one point and said to both Ryan and I, a little sheepishly, “I’m SO different than I was back then. It’s like I’m not even the same person. I’ve changed so much.”

In the backseat, I looked out the window and thought about that statement. I’ve always loved her for who she is. I absolutely adore the woman that she’s become. That little girl grew up, her experiences shaped her, and she fell in love with a super great guy.

You two are perfect for each other! 🙂 I am so overjoyed that you found each other! Can’t wait until the I Do’s!

5 People have left comments on this post

Anonymous said: | Aug 28, 2010 - 10:08:59 |

Very nice pictures Kristen Wynn! You do a great job and you have very good ideas for locations. I know Ashley said she had a great time doing the shoot. Can't wait until the wedding! Good luck with all your photography!
Bobbi Dunn

Ash said: | Aug 28, 2010 - 05:08:33 |

I LOVE them, KWynn! Love you! Thanks!

Kaitlin Keefe said: | Aug 28, 2010 - 07:08:35 |

Love the pics of Ash and Ryan… hate the pic of me and ash lol. And this makes me realize that you have been in Pittsburgh sometime when I was. Are you still here?

Candice said: | Aug 29, 2010 - 09:08:37 |

Kristen, Your photography is getting so good! I can see you evolving and each photoshoot is better than the last. Great work!

Kristen Wynn said: | Aug 29, 2010 - 10:08:17 |

Thanks for all the great feedback! 🙂

Kait, I was in Pittsburgh for a few days earlier this month for work. (There were five shoots in five days!) I'd love to meet up with you when I'm in town next and not so swamped with work! 🙂

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Mike, representing the 724! 🙂

If you watch the news today, or go to a local mall, or your neighborhood public school, you might hear complaints about today’s teenagers.

You may have heard that this latest generation is lazy, addicted to texting, wild, irresponsible, entitled, the list goes on and on.

I don’t know where these lazy or spoiled teens are living, but it isn’t in central Florida and, as I learned during my most recent session, it isn’t in Pittsburgh. And they’re certainly not coming to Kristen Wynn Photography for their senior photos.

That’s just fine with me; I’ll work with a good, all-American kid like Mike any day! So if those other “bad news” teens are out there, they can go to another photog!

Honestly, I LOVE shooting high school seniors. Every single one of my seniors this year has been driven, focused, goal-oriented, sweet, hard-working, pleasant, fun, polite, and funny. Every single one. Mike is no exception.

Here’s a few reasons why:

1. He’s into music and he’s really good. He modeled for his senior photos with no fewer than three instruments, drums, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. He’s even self-taught on the drums.

2. Mike put up with my goofy backdrop stretched up in his garage of all places. His yearbook photo wasn’t taken at your traditional studio, but right in his garage, with me standing on a step stool. I am really thrilled with the results.

3. Only a super sweet young man would bring his dog in for a shot, which we were sure to do!

4. He washed and waxed his car for the photos in the hot sun. That’s dedication to good photography.

5. Mike smiled a lot during his senior session. Smiled! Do you know how hard it is to get a young guy to smile for a shot? A lot of teen guys like to pose as though they are getting a mug shot taken or being featured on the cover of a gangster rap album.

6. He’s on the track team. You hear a lot about American kids being out of shape, playing video games all day. Not Mike, whose involved with athletics. He lifted these super heavy fiberglass poles all over the Norwin stadium for me.

7. When chit chatting with me a bit between set-ups, he told me about his goal of going into ministry in some way and his involvement with the Lord. This is a young man who has sincere goals for his future, goals beyond just making money and accumulating material things.

Mike, thanks so much for working with me. You are truly a wonderful kid; I know your parents are so proud of you! Have a great senior year and much success to you in the future!

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