Historic Acres of Hershey Wedding Photographers: Lauren & Cary

This romantic, fairy tale wedding united high school sweethearts, Lauren & Cary, while incorporating their strong faith (with a home-made outdoor chapel & heartfelt visit) and their football/cheer-leading backgrounds (with a tailgate-themed cocktail hour and more!) at Historic Acres of Hershey
I first met Cary several years ago when I was photographing his senior portraits involving football and VW busses!  Since then he went on to play college football and earn a pre-med degree at Bucknell and propose to his high school sweetheart, Penn State grad, Lauren.
Cary and Lauren reached out to me looking for vibrant wedding and engagement photography that would be creative and personalized to tell their unique story.  They were looking for an eclectic mix of photos the captured their relationship in a personal, thoughtful, artistic way.
Lauren and Cary shared,“We really appreciate is your ability to photograph the individuality of each couple, you allow each couple to be different and unique. We love when your photos highlight the environment and capture the energy and emotion in the moment.  We are so thankful for your creativity and are very excited to relive our day over again through your eyes!”
I wanted to start by capturing their unique style– the romantic, rustic, natural aesthetic of their wedding day…  I photographed Lauren’s dress against the wooden interior of the barn and her shoes among the ivy and stone and her flowers on a weathered bench…
I really like the mystery of this next photograph– I used a low perspective and focused sharply on a wisp of lace detailing and bead work on Lauren’s dress and veil while allowing the rest be subtly fade into the background as she makes final adjustments in the mirror…
Here is another photograph taken within seconds of the first, this time I changed my focus to be on Lauren’s reflection in the mirror…
Lauren’s faith is very important to her.  Here she prays on the morning of her wedding day…
Beautiful bridesmaids…  I wanted to use the weeping willow as the backdrop for Lauren’s photos with her bridesmaids because the soft, airy, romantic look would perfectly compliment her bridesmaids’ gowns.
Lauren allowed each bridesmaid to choose their own elegant gown in the gold, rose-gold or blush pink tone.
Here I placed Cary’s ring on Lauren’s grandfather’s Bible– I wanted to signify the two families joining and the important role that faith plays in their marriage.
I also wanted to incorporate Lauren’s grandfather, a life-long pastor who had intended to marry them, but passed away a few months before the wedding…
historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-2Lauren shared a few of the attributes that drew her to Cary, “He is a handsome, ambitious, intelligent, and has a genuine heart filled with compassion for others. His strong-willed, all or nothing mindset, mixed with morals that keep him grounded, has always attracted me to him.”
Lauren continued, “Cary’s gentle, kind heart made it easy for me to entrust giving all of my heart for him to protect and keep.”historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-8
Cary loves football through and through and played both in high school and college.  I suggested that Kris set up a shot with Cary as quarterback– Cary loved it!
Cary bought each of his groomsmen super hero t’s to wear under their tuxedos– something a little quirky, playful and well, Cary….
Kris also captured more traditional photos, too– all buttoned up and dapper 😉
One of the most touching moments of the day was when Lauren visited her grandfather’s church and grave site before exchanging vows with Cary.  She really wanted to honor him on her wedding day.
Lauren shared, “I always thought about how special it would be when the day came for my Papa to marry Cary and I.  Unfortunately he passed before he was able to.   I wanted to comfort that void by visiting a place he held near and dear to his heart – his church.”
She continued, “I could feel his presence seeing his little, bricked church – I could hear him preaching to the congregation, telling the church what page to turn to in the hymnal and joyfully singing.”
In this photograph I captured her grandfather’s little brick church, his grave site and the moody sky and wind that blew as she walked:
Lauren continued, “My walk with God has been largely influenced by my papa and his exemplary love for his wife, his church and family.”
Lauren kneeled down and touched the letters of his name, the wind blew her hair.   I used a slow shutter to capture the beauty and intimacy of this simple moment…
We returned to Historic Acres of Hershey, and shortly after the men began processing into the outdoor chapel.
I love this photo, it reminds me a little of the Beatles cover on Abby road, haha!
Cary explained, “When I first saw Lauren on our wedding day my breath was taken away, literally.”
Here Cary closes his eyes for a moment as Lauren’s father kisses her cheek and places her hand in Cary’s…
Lauren shared, “When I got my first glimpse of Cary on our wedding day, I saw him for the first time as my husband– I was just in awe!”
Cary continued, “Lauren will tell you that when she took my hand the first thing she noticed was how pale my hands were and I had to remind myself to breathe!”historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-19
Lauren explained, “Since our ceremony was outdoors, our hope was to create an outdoor church space with the doors and cross at either end of the aisle and string quartet placed off to the side playing hymnal songs such as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Cary shared, “I was really excited to build the cross, with the help of my family, for the ceremony. I think it is a great representation of our faith and how it is the foundation of our relationship.”
historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-23Here is my photograph captured during nearly the same moment– it is interesting how two perspectives on one moment in time can look so different.
I love how they both come together to tell a more unified story and capture the environment and aesthetic that were important to Lauren & Cary.
Lauren shared, “Both Cary’s and my parents have been married for over 25 years.  They have both been examples for us as we have watched them take on life together, endure difficult times and celebrate the good times. ”
She continued, “They have set an example for us and the type of spouses we can be for each other and the type of parents we hope to be one day.”  Here Lauren’s parents watch as she and Cary exchange vows.
While I make sure to capture all of those key moments of the ceremony: the ring exchange, vows etc in a more traditional way, I also keep an eye out for any special intimate moments as well.  Lauren’s father had the sweetest smile on his face as they exchanged vows and I captured that here:
Unity candles can be tricky with wind, lol…
Lauren’s brother stood in her Papa’s place as the wedding officiant, I love that he is smiling in the background as they kiss, hehe:
Husband and wife!  I photographed this moment through the “chapel doors” capturing the wreaths as well as the happy couple and cheering guests (with pom-poms, a little nod to Lauren’s cheer-leading background)…historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-26
Three cheers for the Mr & Mrs 😉
They wanted an eclectic mix of photos, so here is a more traditional photo of the bridal party…
And also something more modern– strike a pose, guys!historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-29
Lauren and Cary spent some time alone, taking it all in as I snapped away– I love their laughter here:
Here I focused on some wildflowers to give them a little privacy, haha…historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-33
Cary shared, “I am looking forward spending each day with her, something that we weren’t able to do when we were dating, and seeing our family grow one day.”
Cary shared, “I first fell for my *wife* way back in high school.” 🙂
He continued, “Lauren is strong, driven and resilient, she’s always able to handle anything that comes her way. If she said she was going to do something or achieve something, she just went out and did it without questioning the ‘what-ifs.’ And even if something happened that would change her path she easily adapted to it and changed her plan so that she would still achieve success.”
He went on, “I wanted to make her my partner for life because of how she supports me and eases my anxiety even if it is over something silly. I hope that I can return the support she gives me every day.”
I liked how Cary encouraged and really lifted up Lauren and her personality and character– I thought this photo would really capture that attribute of their marriage well…
I love to get creative and have fun playing with some more artistic elements on the wedding day.  Here I captured their reflections in the pond.
I really like the emotional, surreal look and love how Cary is such a gentleman, here he carries her wedding gown as she walks…
Lauren shared, “I loved spending time alone with Cary, exploring Historic Acres of Hershey.  One of my favorite moments was when Cary and I were standing out on the farmhouse on the balcony – we seemed like a fairy tale king and queen up there, with my cathedral length veil overhanging the balcony in the wind.”
I love the lines and layers in this photo– it has so much depth.  It is definitely a unique, fairy tale moment…
Lauren shared, “I’m looking forward to everything. From day-to-day life and Sunday morning church services, to watching Cary evolve into becoming a father and growing in life and love.”
I loved the timeless, classic, romantic feeling of this black and photograph– I wanted to capture this intimate moment and Lauren’s beautiful gown, which she found at Tamzen’s Bridal in Carlisle.
Tailgating!!!  Football played an important role in their story, that you can read more about in their football engagement blog post.
Lauren shared, “We wanted to incorporate football and cheer-leading since it was the kickoff to football season, as well as a throwback to our high school and college days. The background football theme also added a fun element for our guests with a tailgate themed cocktail hour.”
Lauren continued, “We strayed from the traditional photo booth idea and went with a less common vintage face cut-out board for our guests to recreate a photo we already had of Cary holding me in his football uniform.”
Both Penn State and Bucknell were represented by their unique tailgating yard games.  Here is their Penn State Football themed bean bag toss–  it is such a fun detail that they will be able to re-use in the future when tailgating as a married couple ;)…historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-40
I love how they incorporated their engagement photos throughout the reception as well…
Here they had wedding guests sign gold “Hess” Jerseys with their wedding date in lieu of a guestbook…
Lauren shared, “Historic Acres of Hershey was the perfect venue for our wedding because it had rustic elements with the barn, corn-crib and farmhouse, but also a touch of elegance with their elaborate chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows wrapping around the entire reception area.”
She continued, “We loved that our guests were able to stay in one location and grab a drink to hit the dance floor, or the lawn for yard games, or even have a quiet moment walking around the lawn by the pond.”
Guests thoroughly enjoyed tailgating and the more traditional elements of cocktail hour as well…
The decor elegant and romantic, provided by Pencil Me In by the amazing Colton Staver…
Heidi Fittery of I Do Details coordinated Lauren & Cary’s wedding.  She was awesome!!!  I found her to be dedicated, friendly and professional.
She allowed each member of Lauren & Cary’s wedding team to shine and play their roles while taking care of any little glitches behind the scenes before they came to light.
Cary wipes a tear during one of his toasts…
Lauren shared, “We wanted to keep the first dance timeless and classic, which is why we chose the song “At Last” by Etta James.
She continued, “Cary and I ‘You-tubed’ ideas for a lift to add a fun element to the dance, and take advantage of our height difference, found one that worked, and ran through the dance a few times before the big day.”
Lauren shared, “We surprised some of our guests when we did the cake smash! It was a great way for us to let go, have a little fun, and make an incredible memory.”
They incorporated the football theme again, this time by attaching the garter to one and making a pass…
I love her joyful reaction to catching the bouquet…
Josh from Klock Entertainment really got the party started!  Everyone was out on the dancefloor…hershey-best-wedding-photographers-dancing-reception-fun-3
The pom poms were a huge hit 🙂hershey-best-wedding-photographers-dancing-reception-fun-4
Rock on, mama!hershey-best-wedding-photographers-dancing-reception-fun-1
Group photo!
It was the end of the night and the dancing was still going strong, so were those pom-poms– I totally recommend bringing props onto your dance floor 🙂
Cary and Lauren stepped out for a minute at the end of the night and shared a few moments underneath the branches of the weeping willow together in the moonlight 🙂historic-acres-of-hershey-pa-best-wedding-photographers-creative-unique-personal-56
Cary and Lauren, Thanks so much for choosing to have Rhinehart Photography capture so many awesome moments– from your senior portraits to your engagement and now wedding!  It has been such a pleasure to get to know you two and share your story!  Please feel free to like, comment below and share with your friends and family!
If you want to see more photos of Lauren and Cary, you can check out their two part engagement session here:
Part 1: The Lake, Part 2: Football Stadium.

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