12.6.10

Ryan and Melissa (Stronghold Mansion Wedding Photography)

"The stars smiled down on me,
God answered in silent reverie."
pricsilla ahn - dream
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Last November I took engagement pictures for Ryan and Melissa.  You should probably click here to refresh your mind before you read on.  No, seriously.  Really click here and look at them.  I know you're trying to breeze through a blog post fast, but trust me.  I'm not bragging about any photog skills, trying to get more hits on different pages or anything.  Their engagement shoot almost scared me.  It went SO well and they looked SO beautiful, I was like "Oh goodness, I hope their wedding turns out as wonderful as that shoot just was."  It seemed hard to beat, to me.

Their wedding CRUSHED their engagement shoot.  And ate it for dinner. 
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Somehow their venue was more perfect, Melissa looked more beautiful and Ryan's genuine head-over-heels sweetness doubled.


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Hidden inside spindling country roads, atop the gentle giant of a "mountain", Stronghold Mansion is a glorious masterpiece of history, character and romance.
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Melissa's wedding was brought to you by Etsy, excellent taste and darling people.  Every detail, every "Hello! It's nice to see you!", every moment of the day was almost scripted it was so perfect.
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While Melissa sat crossed-legged in her tank and sweats, applying her make-up, we talked about the day.  "Kristen, I threw up this morning." "Ohhh! Are you sick?" "No, no, no... I was just nervous.  I hope everyone has fun. I'm ready for the ceremony to be over.  I don't like being the center of attention, you know?"
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She's so down to earth she's almost under the earth.  Melissa, besides her obvious physical beauty, is just a beautiful woman.  I'm not sure how she keeps such a sincere, sweet genuine dynamic. 
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But she does. 
And Ryan is going to forever benefit from that loveable character she has.
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Pretttty hahnds :D
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Melissa was very low-maintenance getting ready, and actually spent a lot of timing helping her girls with touch-up questions and letting them now how beautiful their hair/make-up/dress looked. 
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She wore gorgeous jewelry from Etsy, her great-grandmother and her fiancee' ;)
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Melissa's mom brought it in to help her put it on.
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At the same time, Ryan's mom came in.  The two mom's talked about their dresses, raved about how wonderful each other looked and really giggled like school girls.  I guess when you have two delightful women, you end up with delightful children?  Or at least in this case.  They have amazing children. 
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Melissa quietly smirked and smiled listening to them.  She loved that everyone was enjoying her day so much. 
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While I was busy with the ladies,  my best friend and favorite second-shooter Lydia Jane nailed these shots of the boys:
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Aren't they cool?  Cigars, vintage carriage doors, black suits.  Oh my it's delicious.
ps.  Ryan was so happy.  I kept passing him as he got ready, and the anticipation on his face and friendliness in his eyes was radically noticeable.  He was a happy, happy man.
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The rain kindly cooled the radiant summer heat for us, but in doing so left little time for pictures.  
PhotobucketThe girls were sweethearts and ran their dainty heels through warm, wet grass to take these pictures.  Isn't Stronghold beautiful?  Aren't the girls beautiful?  My job issss beeeeautifuuuul.
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Finally preparations were done, guests were seated and music sang through the trees.  Wedding time was here.  Marriage time was here.
Mr. Father of the bride took a deep breath.  Miss Bride closed her eyes and twitched her shoulders.
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I just smiled at them.  This always is my favorite moment.
"Are you guys ready?" I asked.  "Everything looks so beautiful."
He smiled a proud daddy smile.  What a moment.
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With Temper Trap serenading the those in attendance, and water droplets escaping the leaves, Melissa entered in grand, emotional fashion.
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Their was not a dry eye.  Or un-chilled spine.
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The moment was In.Sane. And completely perfect.
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Poor Ryan sobbed.  Not a gentle tear, but an explosion of emotion.  Under his breath he repeated "I can't believe she's marrying me.  I can't believe it."
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The following thirty minutes included laughter...
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..vow-declaration and promise-making...
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... sunshine abundant and rainbow lens flare...
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... beautiful music and glorious praise to the One who brought this day to be...
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...hand holding and thumb-rubbing...
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...pond-side joy and sickeningly surroundings...
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... a kiss that Audrey Hepburn would be jealous of...
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... and rousing, uproarious cheer and excitement from family and friends.
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What a wonderful thing.
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And, now folks.  Now.  Oh my. 
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We ran down the hill on the side of the mansion, to the gardens. 
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We took a breather while the guests chatted some-yards away.  Glasses clinked, laughter echoed and birds darted around, like the animal-version of Sabrina Fairchild, hiding in the trees waiting for their moment to join the party.
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But these two were on another planet.  Alone and infatuated.
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Remember when you had a crush on that senior in highschool, Melissa? Yeah. He's your husband.
Remember dancing that one night with the gorgeous, humble girl, Ryan?  Um.  You married her.
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Now this is it.  This is YOUR life.  She's the woman, he's the man and this is the beginning of your forever together. 
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I'm through the roof for you both.
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And I have to give you serious props for your venue choice!
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Elizabeth Bennet and that dark, and mysterious Darcy would have been lucky to wander an estate such as this.  And I know they were not as attractive ;)
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You two have a detailed love.  You really pay attention to each other - I hope you keep doing that, because it's very sweet.
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You also laugh hard to together - life seems much more enjoyable.
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I'm praying you two enjoy detailed, sacrificial, hysterical love until your very last breath. 
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(This is my favorite from the day.  It reminds me of Phyllis Lane :D And everything that is sweet and happy.)
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I could post gobs more, but we must conclude sometime.
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The reception was best described as European Countryside.
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I adored their name-cards - each bottle contained an ounce of Ryan's blood.  Because he would give his life for Melissa.
Just kidding :D
It's filled with his favorite hot-sauce and each guest got to take theirs home for their next summer barbecue.  CUTE, huh?
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They ran in through a tunnel - like any good sports fan should ;D
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Smiles just never stopped.  I loved it.
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As they sat down and the prayer for dinner was being said, I caught them whispering and giggling together.  Adorable much?
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Then they danced and kissed to live music (guitar, violin and cello.  Brillllliant!!!)
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And the parrrrrty got started!
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Ryan and Melissa, I was un-done with how wonderful your wedding was.  Spectacular!  And I am so so so happy for you :D
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Congratulations + enjoy the slideshow!




33 comments:

  1. They're beautiful Kristen- I love them!

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  2. took.my.breath.away. literally. these are amazing! so good. I still can't get over how gorgeous she looked. oh my gosh you did SUCH a fantastic job, I got emotional all over again looking through them:)

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  3. ps not that you need my advice, but you really should submit them to a blog or magazine:) maybe I'm also a little biased because it's my brother and sister in law:)

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  4. can we say most amazing location EVER! wow

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  5. These are gorgeous! <3 I love her dress, the amazing location, their moms' dresses, the bridesmaid dresses. Everything is so perfect <3

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  6. Wow!! Wow, wow, wow!! Those are stunning, and what a gorgeous looking couple! You are one talented photographer, Kristen :)

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  7. Such a beautiful venue. Great job Kristen! Your work is so inspiring!

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  8. Heather12.6.10

    These are gorgeous! I feel bad that I can't give you such a stunning venue for our wedding. <3 this though

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  9. That's my FAVORITE wedding venue, besides where I got married : ) SO many good memories there, and at sugarloaf. I imagine it's a memorable spot for you too- you posted some pictures a while back from your first try photographing a family friends wedding there, right?

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  10. Oh my gosh, Kristen! This wedding is just STUNNING!!! I absolutely love all the detail shots, and the location is so dreamy and romantic and perfect. =) And you captured the love and cuteness, which I love. =) =)

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  11. HOLY SMOKES!!!! Lydia was not kidding ... this is crazy ammmmazing Kristen, I'm still picking my jaw up off the ground ... after having read the blog twice over already ... sigh ... You're work continues to always amazes me love and gosh this wedding is to die for!!! brava!!

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  12. Wow! Amazing wedding. The location is gorgeous!

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  13. ahh my favorite wedding you ever shot by far. everything about these pictures is so lovely, stunning and perfect!! the location is breaktaking. fabulous work!

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  14. HOLY CRAP. holy crap. amazing.

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  15. These are amazing!!! Awesome job! And I did go back and look at their engagement session too :) What a beautiful couple and wedding day!

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  16. Oh my, love that first picture and the one of them centered between the stairs!

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  17. Laurie13.6.10

    kristen these are great. took me back to our day....i love this place.

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  18. i love love love this wedding!
    you completely captured it. i felt like i knew them by the end of your post.

    (their engagement pictures rocked, too :) i clicked on it. only because you mentioned it twice)

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  19. oh. my. gosh. this is STUNNING. i can only hope that my own wedding will be half as wonderful as this one.

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  20. lovelovelove. one of my favorites of yours for sure :) thanks for letting me shoot with youuu.

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  21. Oh.my.goodness!!!!!!
    What a CUTE couple, and what a gorgeous location!!! Beautiful pictures!!!!!

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  22. ohmygoodness. First off, thank you for making me look at their engagement session! But you should've suggested kleenex! So much emotion in these images and your telling of their love story...swoon...spectacular.

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  23. Melissa14.6.10

    We just got in from Jamaica and we've been dying to see the pictures...they are AMAZING!! You did such an awesome job! They made me cry :) Thank you so much for the pictures and all the wonderful things you said. And I love the song! You're the best!!!

    Also thanks to everyone for all the sweet comments!

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  24. Can I get married again at this location? Wow!
    As always, beautiful images :)

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  25. that location is a dream!! very pride & prejudice!! so beautiful!!! & your photography is stunning!!! :)

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  26. Really beautiful, I loved these!

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  27. Wow! what a beautiful wedding to shoot for a photographer. It's really a stunning couple. All pictures are spectacularly awesome.. great job Kristen keep it up.

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  28. Beautiful wedding! I loved every photo :)

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  29. well, i cried! gorgeous shots and girl and venue! every last bit of it is gorgeous!

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  30. That has to be one of the most beautiful locations I've ever seen for a wedding! Great job, Kristen!!

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  31. where oh where did she get that fabulous wedding dress?!? Stunning pictures!!

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  32. This is SOOOOO beautiful!!! What a stunning couple!! And the photos Kristen... woah!! :) Amazing! Thanks for posting!!

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