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Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 9.38.42 PMAfter four years here, I’ve just launched my shiny new blog on my even shinier new web site. You can find all of my work here: www.jennifermcmenamin.com 

Enjoy!

 

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Margaret described herself as the anti-bride. A horse veterinarian, she spends most of her days in scrubs or kakis. She initially contemplated getting married at City Hall in Ohio, where she and Ian, an ER nurse, live. And when they were first engaged and Ian asked what her wedding colors would be, “I said, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll wear white,'” Margaret told me the first time we talked. Instead, with the help of her parents, Margaret and Ian threw a gorgeous spring wedding at the Evergreen Museum and Library full of personal touches, many of which traced back to her family’s long involvement with thoroughbred racing. “My father turned out to be the master wedding planner,” Margaret said. “And Mum took over when he had finished the things that he cared about.” There was a bugler to play Call to Post before the bride walked down the aisle. There were caterers from Pimlico and Laurel racetracks, where Margaret’s father works with the Maryland Jockey Club. And there was wedding wine that he began buying 27 years ago — when, as Margaret put it, “I wasn’t dating anyone and had no intention of getting married. But Dad was ready, just in case. Actually, this is probably the third batch of wedding wine as friends and family drank the bottles as they aged. This is a running joke with my family.” We were graced with a gorgeous, if a bit chilly, spring day. A breeze occasionally played with Margaret’s veil. And despite a stated aversion to having her photograph taken, Margaret and Ian appeared comfortable and oh so happy in front of the camera. Here are some of my favorites from their beautiful day:

We started at the Hotel Monaco, where Margaret and Ian got ready together before we arrived and then took some quick portraits with us.

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The bride, looking lovely.

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We found spectacular light downtown before heading out to the Evergreen. Margaret has a magnificent laughing smile. I was thrilled that Ian kept her laughing all day long.

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I love this next image of them as the wind was whipping around her veil.

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In addition to photos of the wine, Margaret asked for images of a couple of specific things — the bugle player trilling out Call to Post to start the processional, her dad and his cigars, her parents dancing, her cousin playing the sax during cocktail hour and the Motown band that her father had hired many months before the wedding. In addition to being important to her, these ended up being some of the most fun parts of the wedding to photograph!

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After a brief transportation snafu, it was time to get married!

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I love this next photo, shot by my assistant Lucas, from the patio overlooking the formal gardens where the ceremony was held.

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After a lovely and brief ceremony — just seven minutes elapsed between the bugler announcing the start of the bride’s long walk across the Evergreen’s lawn and the end of the ceremony — the newlyweds and their guests headed to the magnificent patio for cocktails.

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Margaret’s cousin, Daniel Weidlein, is an accomplished saxophonist and composer. It was a pleasure to hear him play.

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The reception was held in the lovely Carriage House — especially appropriate for a horse-owning family. Here are a few reception details.

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The famous wedding wine.

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The band Midnight Movers thrilled the dancing enthusiasts in the crowd all night long. (I am a huge fan of a good brass section, so I was pretty happy, too!)

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Margaret’s cousin Daniel joined the band for a couple of songs during the evening.

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A first dance.

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A parent dance.

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The rings on the old, weathered floors of the stables in the Carriage House.

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A cake cutting.

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And one last perfect cigar shot.

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Congratulations, Margaret & Ian. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you both and your families for your wedding!

Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony: The Evergreen Museum & Library

Officiant: Michael Neighbor, a newly ordained-for-this-occasion friend of the groom

Reception: The Evergreen Carriage House

Catering: Maryland Turf Caterers

Bridal attire: eBay

Band: Midnight Movers

Cake: Carrot cake

Invitations: Crane & Co. 

01-JenniferMcMenaminPhotography-BaltimoreWeddingPhotography-RoyalSonestaHarborCourtBaltimore-TheBelvedere__0024Aaron is an Army ranger. He’s very serious and very intense when you first meet him. And yet, he is a tremendous softie when it comes to Jenn. On more than one occasion on their wedding day, he was moved to tears. It is a thrill to photograph love like that. That is what I adore most about my job — capturing and freezing in a beautifully composed photograph emotional little moments like that. A groom collecting himself before his soon-to-be-wife walks down the aisle. A trio of ring bearers, one more nervous than the others, haltingly entering the church. A sweet flower girl twirling in her own little world with her mother’s purse before the start of the ceremony. The joy of a beaming bride as she catches a glimpse of her reflection for the first time with her hair and make-up done. The excitement of a mother helping her daughter into her wedding gown. A tough-guy groom blinking back tears during his brother’s toast. A bride gazing at her new husband with unabashed love and admiration as he addresses their wedding guests. These are the photos that I love most from Jenn and Aaron’s wedding. It’s what makes my job different — and tons of fun! — every single week. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite images from Jenn & Aaron’s wonderful wedding day.

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I love this next image — the hands of Jenn’s mother and stepmother, together, helping her into her gown.

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The bride, looking gorgeous.

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Since we were short on daylight for their winter wedding, Jenn and Aaron chose to see each other before their ceremony for photos. They could not have been more excited together.

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This next photo is one of my favorites from the day. We were about to head upstairs for family photos when I caught a glimpse of Jenn and Aaron in a mirror way across the staircase. It was a beautiful moment — and resulted in an image that I love.

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The ultra darling littlest members of the wedding party.

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I love how wintry these next photos feel — Jenn’s sweet little sweater, the bare trees, the gray chill of February.

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Then, it was time to get married.

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Jenn and Aaron love the blue stained glass windows in the church where they were married, Christ Lutheran Church, and they love the view from the balcony at the back of the church. So I asked my wonderful assistant, Lucas, to spend most of the ceremony up in the balcony. We had no idea that Jenn and her father would be hanging out in the balcony before the processional. I love this next image that Lucas shot of the bride and her dad looking on as the ceremony starts. The rest of the photos from this same balcony vantage point were also shot by Lucas, including the darling shot of the flower girls entering and Jenn’s magnificent entrance during the processional.

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A great trio of images from Lucas.

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The pastor, Gary Roth, is from the Pennsylvania church that Jenn’s family attends in her hometown. His connection with them was obvious and wonderful.

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Celebratory fist bumps.

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And twirls.

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The companion photo to the pre-ceremony ‘Almost Married’ image.

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A few reception details. Jenn did an extraordinary job setting the tone for her red, white and black winter wedding. Christine from Fleur de Lis florist and the staff at Truffles Catering at the Belvedere did a magnificent job executing her vision. Everything was so elegant and beautiful.

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A first dance.

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A few emotional toasts.

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A pair of parent dances.

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A tribute from the groom.

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A little cake.

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And lots of dancing and fun.

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Congratulations, Jenn & Aaron. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you and your families for your wedding!

Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony: Christ Lutheran Church

Officiant: Pastor Gary Roth

Reception: The Belvedere

Catering: Truffles Catering at The Belvedere

Bridal attire: Casablanca from The Bridal Boutique

Hair and Make-up: Amie Decker Beauty

Groom’s attire: Military uniform

Florist: Fleur de Lis florist

Cake: The Baltimore Cakery

Band/DJ: My Deejay

Transportation: 1962 Rolls Royce from Baltimore’s Best Limos

Invitations & papergoods: DIY by the bride

01-JenniferMcMenaminPhotography-HotelMonacoBaltimore-TheBelvedere-BaltimoreWeddingPhotography__0016Lynn & Adam have one of the most lovely love stories I’ve ever heard. She is a nurse. He was her patient. Their vows included promises that they will take good enough care of *themselves* to ensure long happy lives together. There is almost nothing I love more about my job than capturing all the emotion and joy of a good set of vows or personal, touching and funny toasts. Lynn and Adam had both in spades — including a toast from the groom himself. They planned a beautiful wintery wedding with tiny pine cones scattered across the tables and hilarious photos of their dog Auggie in lieu of traditional table numbers. (They photographed Auggie around town with different “found numbers” — on mailboxes and dog toys, for example — but then also with a chalkboard that they toted around for the photo shoots!) Lynn told me that instead of choosing a ‘wedding theme,’ per se, she simply picked things that she loved and that made her happy. And so it was that she ended up with a glamorous gold jacket for her outdoor photos with Adam, a stunning pair of turquoise and gold shoes, many shades of purple in her bouquet and big bunches of baby’s breath and purple flowers for her attendants. I also loved that Lynn and Adam chose their attendants based on who they wanted standing up there with them — their sisters and their best friends — rather than gender. So Lynn had a matron of honor and a ‘bridesman’ while Adam had a best man and a ‘groomslady.’ It was a marvelous day! Here are some of my favorites:

We started at the gorgeous Hotel Monaco, where Auggie — as well as Lynn’s parents, sister and friends — helped her get ready.

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Since the sun sets early in the winter, Lynn and Adam chose to see each other before the ceremony so we would have time for some fun outdoor photos. They could not have been more thrilled to see each other. It was nothing but joy to photograph!

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I love expressive eyebrows. Adam had these. Yay Adam!

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I love the style of this wedding party. Especially groomslady Ashley’s fabulous shoes.

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One of my favorites ever.

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Lovely winter light.

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And then it was time to get married!

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Married!

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We ducked outside in the dark for a few nighttime photos with The Belvedere’s iconic marquee. 

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A few reception details.

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I loved everything about these tablecards and their holders — photos of Auggie, backed by glittery gold paper (that bore a striking resemblance to Lynn’s awesome shoes!) and propped up in little stands with an Andy Warhol-esque image of their pup. So wonderful!

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Another creative touch that I have never seen before. In lieu of a guest book, Lynn and Adam created a Jenga tower and asked their guests to sign a block. They presumably will see and enjoy the messages every time they play Jenga together!

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A first dance.

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A quad of magnificent toasts.

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A pair of parent dances.

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A hilarious cake cutting.

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And lots of fun and merriment to follow.

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It’s always so much fun to see past clients and their families at the weddings of new clients to whom they recommend me. It was wonderful to catch up with Anne (pictured below) and Adrian, whose daughter’s wedding I photographed a couple of years ago. As was the case at his own daughter’s wedding, Adrian did not disappoint on the dance floor!

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Congratulations, Lynn & Adam. It was an absolute joy to work with you two for your wonderful wedding!

Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony & Reception: The Belvedere

Officiant: The Rev. Laura C. Cannon

Catering:  Truffles Catering at The Belvedere

Bridal attire: Casablanca Couture from Castle Couture

Make-up: Arika Casebolt from Chop Shop

Hair: Lisa Hawks from Chop Shop

Groom’s attire: Tommy Hilfiger

Florist: Wicked Willow

DJ: John Paul Berry with Absolute Entertainment

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

Papergoods: Made by the bride

Carolyn sent me one of my most favorite photography inquiries ever. “I’m having my wedding at the Castle at Maryvale,” she wrote in her very first e-mail. “Every time I share photos of the venue with friends, I always end up forwarding along your link with the wedding you shot there — so I thought that’s as good a sign as any that I should contact you!” (For the record, that would be Casey & Jeremy‘s gorgeous wedding, which ended up in The Knot magazine!) She went on to write, “I’m more interested in capturing the energy and feel of the wedding and guests, as opposed to focusing on posed photos. I also think that there is something stately and magical about Maryvale, and I’d like to capture that feel.” Magical, indeed. Carolyn and Tom planned one of the most stylish weddings that I have ever had the pleasure of photographing. The menu cards, depicting drippy black and cream chandeliers, echoed the actual chandeliers brought in to add a little glittery elegance to the terrace where dinner was served. A photo from their engagement session in Paris — yes, that Paris! — graced the cover of their wedding program. A custom logo was used in not only their invitations, placecards and programs but also on pillows that were tossed on the lawn furniture during cocktail hour. A gorgeous mix of tall and short floral arrangements as well as luxe cream linens, terrariums and mercury glass candles bedecked dinner tables that were round, square and rectangular, making for a simply stunning dining area. There were lawn games. Signature French cocktails. Homemade apple pies and French macarons. And a ceremonial torching of crème brulee by the newlyweds — rather than a cake cutting — as guests raised small ceramic spoons filled with crème brulee in a sweet, non-traditional toast.

Lest I focus only on the things at their wedding, I should also mention that Carolyn and Tom have just as sweet of a love story. They have known each other for more than 15 years — the groom is the older brother of the bride’s best friend. They met during Carolyn’s freshman year in high school, just after Tom’s family had returned to the US after spending four years in Paris. “He was always just the older brother,” Carolyn told me during our initial consultation. “He was just Tommy.” Years later, after college, she was working at the Corcoran Gallery in DC and he at the White House — close enough to have lunch together — when they really hit it off. They dated for five years before planning their wedding, which they contemplated holding at a chateau in France before deciding to turn the grand European-style Castle at Maryvale into their French chateau for the day. Tom’s sister Katie, of course, served as Carolyn’s maid of honor. I positively love the images of her getting all emotional during the ceremony and Carolyn reaching back to comfort her. Without further ado, here are some of my favorites from Carolyn & Tom’s gorgeous wedding.

A few getting ready details.

The bride, looking gorgeous.

Carolyn & Tom chose to see each other before the ceremony and we made the most of some spectacular light for their photos.

A few groom details.

After a little lemonade, it was time to get married.

This next photo was shot by my assistant, Lucas.

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Lucas shot this great photo of their program during the ceremony, too.

Married!

Carolyn & Katie!

After family photos, we were off to cocktail hour, where guests were invited to write a note to the newlyweds on tiny little historical maps of Paris!

The signature drinks. Leaving no detail unfinished, Carolyn found a font based on Cezanne’s actual handwriting and used it in creating the bar signs.

A few reception details. And more gorgeous food by Linwoods Catering.

As a nod to an inside joke with the groom, one of Tom’s friends arranged for the caterers to serve him a HotPocket alongside his fancy dinner.

The castle at dusk.

A few toasts.

I absolutely love this next photo: the emotion on Carolyn’s face, the way Tom is looking at his wife. Just a wonderful moment.

The creme brulee!

A first dance.

In this next photo, I love the expression not only on Tom’s face but also on his mother’s face in the background as she looks on. So wonderful!

And lots of merriment.

Capping the gorgeous affair, Carolyn and Tom left amidst a shower of bubbles and hopped into a waiting 1962 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce. What a night! 

Congratulations, Carolyn & Tom. It was an absolute joy to work with you and your families!

Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony & reception location: The Castle at Maryvale

Event planner: Kerrine “Kay” Fraser of Prestigious Occasions

Officiant: The Rev. Susan LaMer

Ceremony musicians: St. Charles String Quartet

 Florist: Spot Floral Design

Caterer: Linwoods

Bridal attire: BHLDN

Hair & makeup: Behind the Veil

Groom attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Wedding programs: Betsy White

Invitations and menus: Minted

Ceremonial creme brulee for torching: Linwoods

Lighting and decor: Event Dynamics

Wedding transportation: A 1962 Rolls Royce from Her Majesty’s Service

Miniature apple pies: Made by a friend of the bride from his grandmother’s closely guarded recipe

Macarons: Tout de Sweet bakery

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This is how much fun I had working with Steph and Chris: They added overtime coverage onto the end of their wedding and I didn’t even remember. She had to e-mail *me* about an invoice for the extra time. They were such wonderful clients that it didn’t even seem like work! Steph and Chris, on the other hand, put *so* much work into their wedding. Every little detail, it seemed, had special meaning for them, from the cathedral where they exchanged vows (the site of her father’s ordination as a deacon) and the prayer they said to the Virgin Mary (the same one his parents prayed at their own wedding) to the veil she borrowed from a friend and the craft beer brewed by the groom’s brother just for their wedding. I was thrilled to be shooting in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen for the first time, a gorgeous imposing church full of dark stone and stained glass windows that cast a lovely blue glow upon the place. And I was delighted to have so much time with Steph and Chris and their marvelously fun wedding party for photos between the ceremony and reception. We hit some wonderful spots and were graced with some terrific light — and an uber-gracious host in the staff at Woodberry Kitchen, who brought Steph & Chris’s entire crew pots of French press coffee while we were shooting outside in the chilly November evening. The Mansion at Valley Country Club looked as lovely as ever, especially with the trail of luminary bags that lined the sidewalks. Without further ado, here are some of my favorites from Steph & Chris’s wonderful day.

We started with the bride and her bridesmaids at the hotel where they were getting ready — and mapping out the plan for the day.

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I love that you can tell that she’s smiling in the photo on the left, even though her mouth is not visible.

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The bride, looking gorgeous.

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Soon, it was time to get married.

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What an entrance!

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I knew Steph’s dad, a prosecutor, from my previous career as a newspaper reporter covering crime and the courts. It was a complete joy to see him so happy and emotional on his daughter’s wedding day.

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The next photo was shot by my assistant, Lucas.

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I was enamored with the reflections of Steph and Chris on the long, shiny marble aisle of the Cathedral.

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Married!

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A few quick portraits of the newlyweds on our way outside to shoot a few with the wedding party on the steps.

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This actually happened: As I was wishing out loud for a bit of breeze to come lift Steph’s veil, my assistant responded, ‘Well, here it comes.’ And it did. It was just that kind of day!

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A toast on the party bus.

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The staff at Woodberry Kitchen — one of Chris and Steph’s favorite spots in Baltimore (and mine as well!) — graciously allowed us to pop in to shoot a little after the ceremony. It was just a few minutes before their dinner service began and they could not have been kinder to us!

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And then we were off to the Valley Country Club for the reception! (Have I mentioned how crazy I was for these luminaries?)

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A few reception details.

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A first dance.

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Some of the most wonderful wedding toasts I’ve ever heard accompanied by one of the most entertaining props I’ve ever seen — a giant poster-sized print of an amusing childhood photo of the groom.

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The next image is one of my most favorite toast photos of all time.

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And there was lots of fun and merriment! Mike Bell from MyDeejay kept the dance floor packed with lots of happy revelers.

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Late in the evening, we ducked outside to shoot a few quick nighttime portraits with Steph & Chris and their luminaries. If you look very closely, you can even see stars in the dark night sky.

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Congratulations, Steph & Chris. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you and your families for your wedding!

Credits:

Photography: Jennifer McMenamin Photography

Ceremony: The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen

Officiants: Friar Matthew Foley and Deacon Steve Roscher, the father of the bride

Reception & Catering: The Mansion at Valley Country Club

Bridal attire: Jon’s Bridal by Suzanne

Hair & Make-up: Soiree Salon

Groom’s attire: Joseph Abboud

Florist: Fleur de Lis

Cake: SugarBakers

DJ: MyDeejay

Transportation: American Limousine

Invitations: Minted

Papergoods:DIY by the bride, her mother & her aunt

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