Gettysburg Wedding Photographer: Lodges at Gettysburg: Dana & Morgan

A couple who met in *preschool* tied the knot among stunning landscapes at the Lodges at Gettysburg…
Having known each other almost their entire life has certainly added depth to their relationship– Dana & Morgan have been best friends since 5th grade, and have always been the one that they both turned to.
They have not forgotten their roots and continue to maintain that friendship, always having fun together and knowing the worst and best in each other accepted each other fully.  Could there be a more perfect ring plate for two people who have known eachother forever?
Florist – Dana knew from the beginning that she wanted succulents present in her wedding bouquet–  Marla Bixler aka “The Sunflower Lady”  has her own greenhouse and years of experience and was able to mix traditional roses and hydrangeas with succulents.  You can see the results here:    
They chose to wed at The Lodges at Gettysburg in the fall because of the beautiful views, rolling hills and mountains and breathtaking view that reminded them of their home, Mansfield, PA.  They also fell in love with the ceremony space which had the backdrop of a serene pond nestled among trees.
The lodges at Gettysburg also drew them in because of the lodges themselves, a sweet experience and perfect for their guests who primarily came from out of town.  Dana’s bridal suite was in the main lodge over looking that same view, which I really wanted to make sure to showcase in this image.  It’s almost time to get dressed, here she is reaching for her wedding gown:
Cousins– Maren and Dana have always been very close.  Neither of them have sisters of their own, so they have always viewed each other as sisters.   When they were little they used to cry when it was time to say goodbye, as they were older they made sure to keep in touch and be there for each other whether it was mailing each other freshly baked cookies or making a trip out to college graduation.  It was very clear how much they cherished the time they spent together on the wedding day…
The wind seemed to pick up at just the right time to keep Dana’s veil flowing.   Dana is probably one of the kindest, most thoughtful and appreciative people you will meet.  She managed to be completely relaxed and down to earth, even on such a busy day!
What a stunning bride and joyful, gorgeous bridesmaids!!!   All the bridal attire was from J&B bridals.  Dana shared that she was very impressed with their kindness, enthusiasm, quality, attention to detail, and how much pride they take in the work that they do.
Morgan is an incredible young man and the perfect match for Dana.  He is confident, yet completely humble and positive.  He is a great listener and cares deeply about everything in his life.  He is passionate about his career as a middle school teacher and is very loyal.  What an awesome team he and Dana make!
I love the image above because it showcases both the scenery and the contrast of the gold and purple, which really makes the men stand out in the photo.  The men’s photos were taken by my husband and second photographer, Kris.  He focused on the men in the morning while I focused on the ladies 🙂
It interesting, since Dana & Morgan have known eachother since preschool and have attended high school and college together, everyone seems to be their friends rather than her friends and his friends, which is really nice.  What a great group– they are supportive and caring and are also able to let loose and have a good time, too!
more succulents, what sweet boutonnieres!!!
Time for the first look…
Morgan said he wasn’t feeling nervous like he had expected, he was just feeling a huge sense of anticipation and excitement.  Seeing her was an incredible experience– he felt like the wedding day truly began and he couldn’t get over how gorgeous she was. 🙂
Dana said the first look felt surreal after planning for so long that the day was finally there.  She couldn’t get over how handsome and happy he was to see her.  They both loved having that special time together.
While I photographed Dana and Morgan on this side of the pond, Kris was on the other side (literally), getting an epic shot of the entire scene.
Others had shared that the bride and groom don’t spend enough time alone on the wedding day, but by scheduling the first look, and spending that hour together before the ceremony alone, Dana felt that they really did get to soak it all in and enjoy it together.
I talk to my clients about their goals and listen to their priorities and help those to become a reality by partnering with them to create a custom wedding photography timeline to meet their needs.
I like how this blue-green background really brings out their eyes…
Bringing out their inner model– for one of the bridal party photos, we moved a picnic table and I arranged the bridal party “Annie Leibovitz” style.  They are each doing their own thing.   I think they rocked it.  😉
Tee hee, some fun with the ringbearer… this little man is adorable.   He really looks up to Morgan and plays with a lot of Morgan’s toys from when he was a kid.   He loved wearing the tie so much his mom said he wore it the next day.
Another key player of the day was Kelly Kurtyka from Tre Chic weddings, Dana & Morgan’s wedding coordinator, she was a rockstar and went above and beyond all of their expectations.  She made sure everything went smoothly and took care of any issues during the day behind the scenes, which made their day worry-free and smooth.
Time for Dana’s father to escort her down the aisle…
I really like the blue of the sky and the sense of being surrounded by the forest and all of their closest friends and family.   The sunlight is highlighting Dana’s veil and there is a sense of mystery.  I have others close up that show faces, but this is the one that packs the most emotional punch for me…
Dana & Morgan’s wedding officiant, Judith Guasch, told the couple to make sure to take the time to smell the roses.  They both did, literally, which was adorable.  The entire ceremony was very personalized and meaningful and uniquely suited to them.
The tree of life was a important symbol that was woven through the wedding ceremony.  Their first act as husband and wife was to water the bonsai tree together.  It is similar concept to lighting a unity candle,  but with a natural element, which suited nature-lovers, Dana & Morgan so well.
Their vows were completely heartfelt and personal, here are a few excerpts…
Dana: Morgan, I am so grateful that today I am marrying my very best friend – and I promise that as your wife, I will always love you not only as my husband, and the amazing father I know you will be someday, but also as your very best friend. I also promise to appreciate the love you offer me every single day.
Morgan: Dana Marie, you are with out a doubt my best friend and the perfect person for me. I love you with all of my heart and I promise to show you how much I love you for the rest of my life.
They sealed the deal with a kiss, well actually a couple kisses which made the bridal party laugh and cheer.   We had such an awesome blue-sky day and the vibrant sky was reflected in the pond below, so pretty!
Since the formal photos were all captured prior to the ceremony, they were able to relax and enjoy cocktail hour with their guests.
Dana’s love for succulents didn’t stop at the bridal bouquet, they were included on the cake and were sent home with each wedding guest, who was encouraged to watch their love grow :).   The cake was exquisite and created by Karen Rodkey Cakes.
The guests chair surrounded Dana and Morgan during the ceremony and the guests surrounded them during their first dance.  The entire feeling of the start of the reception was one of supportive, loving, positive interactions.  You could just feel how happy everyone was for Dana & Morgan…
Dana and Morgan invested a lot of time searching for the perfect team of vendors, I shared about many of the other team members, but a key member for them was having great music and an incredible party atmosphere.  Jen at Phantom Shadow totally exceeded all of their expectations and kept every one out on the dance floor all night.  Jen was even dancing behind the DJ booth & played all of their favorite songs.
At one point the grala dollars made and appearance.  Morgan (Mr Grala) gives out Grala dollars as rewards to his middle school students– people were throwing them up in the air like it was a Greek wedding, haha so funny.  Also, since Dana was joining him as Mrs Gralla he had special Gralla dollars printed for her with her face on them.  She was beyond tickled.
By the end of the night, Dana & Morgan’s high school friends and college friends who had just met that day, united into one massive group.  This is both figurative and literal, as the groups started to merge even during cocktail hour, when Morgan and Dana were surprised to see them mingling and even taking photos together.  Morgan and Dana couldn’t be happier as their friends have always been so important to them.
And Dana & Morgan lived happily ever after 🙂  These almost have a big sky, desert feel like Dana’s favorite flowers, succulents …
gettysburg-wedding-photographer-231Dana and Morgan, thank you for choosing me to be at your side with all of these other awesome vendors and your incredible family and friends.  I wish you all the very best in the years to come.  I hope to see you both again very soon!!!

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