The Palace at Somerset Park Wedding Photographers: Donna & Nick

High school sweethearts, cloud-dancing and *lots* of sparkle…
A wedding at The Palace in Somerset Park is bound to have lots of sparkle with its dozens of Chrystal chandeliers.  Donna loves “bling” and I wanted the photos of their wedding rings to include not only the sparkle of the diamonds themselves, but also surround them with shimmering orbs of light, too.  I added some drama with modern, shadowy lines in the foreground.  🙂the-palace-at-somerset-park-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-emotional-1
Donna and Nick contacted me looking for creative, unique photos that would capture the emotion of the wedding day as well as traditional photography of their friends and family.  They wanted their wedding photography to allow them to experience the day for years to come.
I captured this photograph when Donna was opening her wedding gift from Nick.  She got teary opening his cards and gifts, yes he wrote *three* cards and he bought her all of the jewelry for her wedding day and a few other pieces as well.  She shared that he is always finding ways to surprise her and put a smile on her face and tears of joy in her eyes.  He really went way above and beyond!
Creatively speaking, I like the dramatic lighting capturing Donna’s genuine emotion and how you can sense the most feeling by looking at her reflection in the mirror.  I chose my camera lens and angle for this shot so that I could capture those elements as well as her cards, gifts & dog laying on the bed, her childhood bedroom complete with mirrored heart wall decals, old photos of her and nick tucked in the mirror, her zebra striped PJ bottoms & her sweet “I do” pillow.
You can tell a lot about Donna and what is important to her in this photo:
Nick shared that he loves and appreciates so many qualities about Donna– she is smart, outgoing, kind, and so much fun to be around.
She is his best friend and they do everything together.  He can always count on her and she always pushes him to do his very best in every way.
Not only is Donna Nick’s rock, but she is also remarkably beautiful…
Donna is surrounded by her bridesmaids as they help her with her veil, this finishing touch for her wedding day.  Everyone was in awe.
If this stunning chandelier looks familiar, it is because I photographed Donna’s sister, Christina’s wedding earlier this year.  Christina also spent the morning of her wedding day in her parent’s home.
Though the wedding was in late November, and Donna expected that there wouldn’t be much fall color left, I found this beautifully lit space in her parents yard with the prettiest orange leaves remaining.
The color was a perfect compliment to the ladies dresses!  (Yes that is Christina in the Navy dress, she was Donna’s maid of honor and Donna was hers in her wedding!)
Christina & Donna are only a year apart and have been very close ever since they were babies.   They have always shared the same group of friends, so most of Donna’s bridal party was made up of familiar faces!
Getting several traditional portraits was important to Donna and capturing one with her and Christina was of utmost importance:
Also included as a top priority was a photo of Danger, Nick & Donna’s dog.  I photographed a few more traditional images of Donna & Danger, but like this one best, because it is full of emotion:
Now it is time to meet Nick!  Donna shared that he is honest, caring, loving and always makers her feel safe.  He is her best friend and the one person that she wants to have by her side through everything in life.
They have so much fun together, no matter what they are doing and he is always her number one support.  She feels incredibly lucky to have found him and to have him commit to be by her side for the rest of their lives.
Nick with his parents and two of their horses:
Too cool for school!  Love the shades, groomsmen!!!
Nick says that Pete (groomsman to the far right) has always been like a brother to him, and the wedding officially made them brothers!!!  Yes, you read that correctly…
Donna and Christina are sisters, so now that Christina married Pete and Donna is marrying Nick, they will officially be brother-in-laws!!!
I love the colors and light of this photo, but Pete and Nick’s expressions as well as those of the groomsmen are really what make this photograph work so well:
Friends and family gathered together at Donna’s church for the wedding ceremony.  The most memorable part of the bridal party processional was when the ring bearer and flower girl were walking down the aisle.
I like capturing candid moments like this, they really give you a feel for everything that is going on…
The most memorable moment by far for Nick was seeing Donna walk towards him.
Nick rarely shows emotion, but when he saw Donna’s processional with her father, he couldn’t hold back.  Here he is looking away for a moment, getting his composure…
These are definitely tears of joy!
He couldn’t be more proud to have her by his side.  Throughout the ceremony there were several points when I’d catch him looking over at her like this:
“Go big or go home” is a motto of Donna & Nick’s.  With a bridal party of 22 they definitely couldn’t get a standard wedding limo.  Check out their ride:
Cheers, guys!
When we arrived at The Palace in Somerset Park, we literally had ten minutes of daylight left.
I captured a few naturally lit portraits of the couple and few more candid photos showing their emotion and the architecture surrounding the Palace.
When Visiting The Palace for the first time, Nick was immediately drawn to the exterior of the venue.  It reminded him of the White House.  More about his love of all things American and patriotic here ;).
I love the deep blue of the early evening sky and captured the stark contrast of it against the white exterior.  The sky almost matched the color of the bridesmaids gowns!
It is hard to tell how awesome everyone looks here on the blog, but this is a great photo to enlarge for a canvas, etc.  😉
While Nick was sold on the White House aesthetic of The Palace, Donna fell in love with  the chandeliers and detailed architecture on the interior.
I set out to capture a few of those elements here.
While it was very dark outside, I was able to use that to my creative advantage, capturing this beautiful couple under the vibrant fall leaves.
Donna and Nick stood under the tree as I had asked, but being that it was totally dark, really didn’t have any idea what I was planning for this photograph.
They were so surprised when I showed them this image on the back of my camera!
I was  also inspired by all of the different color temperatures of light present in that one space.
I know they like my creativity and vibrant use of color, so I amped-up my camera’s sensitivity and silhouetted them against the pillars of The Palace.
If you look closely, you should be able to see Donna & Nick in the image below.
Donna & Nick headed inside the Palace to enjoy champagne, hors d’oeuvres and all of the other elements of their cocktail hour.
I continued photographing the ballroom before the guests arrived inside.
This is one of my favorite photographs of The Palace because it gives you a sense of the for the grand scale of the room (though this is only roughly a quarter of the East Ballroom) as well as the color and room design.
Nick and Donna entered the ballroom via a floral archway created by their bridal party.
Dancing on clouds, literally!!!  Donna and Nick had dry ice added to their dance floor to create clouds for their first dance.
What an incredible fairy-tale moment!  I like how their guests are all watching them dance, Donna’s mother and father are watching in the background.
Nick’s dance with his mom was emotionally charged and incredibly sweet.
I caught them as they danced in front of the sweetheart table.
I  like all of the sparkle that decor brought into this photograph:
Their wedding cake and cake-topper were amazing!  The cake was among the tallest I have ever photographed and was incredibly detailed as well.
It was created in house at the Palace’s bakery and Donna brought in her own rhinestone ribbon and broaches to use to decorate the layers.
They said their motto was “go big or go home” 🙂
The cake topper was handmade by an artist and completely unique and custom-tailored to fit them!
The sculpture was incredibly detailed and incorporated everything– from Nick in his uniform to Donna’s tiara and wedding gown design, even to their dog, danger!
The party was incredible and everyone was out on the dance floor.  Here you can see the guests dancing to the Tarantella and Donna and Nick hopping up on the percussion set.
the-palace-at-somerset-park-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-emotional-31Haaaaa, this photo is to be taken with a grain of salt.  😉  They wanted to do something fun with their bridal party at the bar.
There have been a few occasions when Donna has out-drank the boys, so this was a fun photo to poke fun at that and to give everyone something to laugh about.  the-palace-at-somerset-park-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-emotional-35
At the end of the night, Donna and Nick felt so blessed and lucky to have such an amazing wedding.  Everything was even better than they could have ever imagined!
Donna and Nick, It was such a pleasure to work with you and your family and friends again on your wedding day!
I know you were looking for photos that would allow you to relive the day for years to come and I hope that these do just that for you :).
If you are still hungry for more photos of this lovely couple, check out their Baltimore engagement photos here.  If you woudl like to see more of my weddings at The Palace at Somerset Park, you can see them here.

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