Claire & Earl’s joyful, vibrant, Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda wedding will knock your socks off! From the cloud walk on the dance floor to the incredible wedding ceremony backdrop, to the vibrant colors in the dresses and skies, it was nothing short of spectacular!
Here a breeze rises from the Walnut Street Bridge in Downtown Harrisburg as Claire & Earl are silhouetted against the bright blue sky.
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Earl smiles, “Lisa’s entire catalog was filled with vibrant and dynamic colors with unique perspectives. Working with Lisa and her assistant on our wedding day – three words “Netflix and chill” lol. Seriously, they both were calm, composed, and prepared to deal with any unforeseen changes. I’m a portrait and automotive photographer and I know at any given time a situation can change and how you respond to the changes will reflect to your clients; Lisa and her assistant were fully composed all day long!”
He adds, “I believe what Rhinehart Photography does best is, connecting personally with her clients and allow them to be themselves. What I’m hoping to see and know I will see is real love, joy, excitement, and celebration!”
How about this for love/joy/excitement?
Claire smiles, “When Lisa got to the bridal suite, I trusted her fully and let her lead. I didn’t need to worry about the shots I wanted, Lisa encouraged me to be present for my wedding day and I stayed present *for the entire occasion*. I was on cloud 10 and never worried about photographs the whole day! Lisa and her photography timeline totally kept us on track, in a relaxed, enjoyable way!”
Claire adds, “What Rhinehart Photography does better than anyone else creates a mood for the entire day – they feed off the energy of the group and let that lead them. What I am hoping to see when I look at the photos is joy, vibrant color, and love. I am hoping to see that the mood of the day – pure joy – was captured!”
Of course, Claire!! I have your back!!
Yes to the Dress!!
Claire shares, “For attire for me, I knew I wanted it to be form-fitting, sparkly and white! I like a pure white on my skin versus a cream, so that was important.”
She continues, “I loved that my dress came with detachable straps, and my incredible tailor, Nancy, who I worked with prior to pandemic before she retired, added a jeweled strip on the plain straps to take it to another level. I am so thankful for that because the dress came with simple, satin straps to start and I never thought to bedazzle them, that was her idea and it worked perfectly and they were just leftover from her other fabrics. Nice touch!”
I love to play with reflections, here I used a TV in the suite at the Harrisburg Hilton to create a reflection of Claire’s mom prepping the wedding gown for her daughter:
I enjoy layering stories. Here I’ve backlit Claire and the hands and brush of her make-up artist, while capturing her mom examining the detailing of Claire’s gown while also showing the intricate detailing on her mother’s dress.
Prepping with the Girls
Claire says, “Prepping with the girls, moms and my nieces was amazing. We kept the vibes very relaxed and chill. I was thankful everyone was there and in great spirits. I felt beautiful, and my hair and makeup stayed put all night! Incredible job!”
She shares, “I chose green earrings because I wanted to match the green of my mother’s gown and my father and officiant’s ties.”
Claire, you are stunning!
First Look with Dad
Claire shares, “I am a daddy’s girl, so it was important to me to see my dad for my very first look.”
For me, emotion is everything. I want photos that don’t just show what it looked like but also what it felt like.
In this case, using the low light in the room and capturing their expressions is what I wanted to do!
She continues, “He was giving me away in a traditional sense and raised me to be the woman I am, the woman who gets to marry Earl! So doing the father-daughter first look was sweet and perfect!”
Claire says, ” I chose shades of purple, green, gold, and bright white for the color scheme because I knew my bridesmaids would stun in those colors and purple is such a lovely color.”
“I knew I wanted different shades for each of the bridesmaid dresses – and we all collaborated for who would wear which hue of purple.”
Claire smiles, “I did want some uniformity, so requested that they all wear the same style dress, and they were so beautiful. I love the bridesmaids’ shots – the ladies looked radiant in purple.”
Earl shares, “Everyone in the wedding party loves the photos, especially my mom. She told me that she can’t stop looking at the photos and that they look as if they should be in a magazine.”
Men’s Preparations Inside the Harrisburg Hilton
Earl shares, “I was unaware that I would be prepping all of the groomsmen’s pocket squares, but it was an enjoyable moment. Kelly was super easy to work with while we got dressed. She did not hesitate to get in the mix for the detail shots for pocket square folding, boutonniere pinning, tie adjustments, and matching covid masks, haha.”
My second photographer, Kelly, photographed the men’s preparations while I photographed the women. I love being able to be in two places at once and really appreciated her use of camera angles in these shots!
Choosing the Perfect Tie
Earl says, “I wanted a steel grey/gunmetal grey tux and we both like the color purple so my job was fairly simple; just pick the shade of purple for the tie. For a while, I wanted the “Joker purple” which is the eggplant shade referenced in the Dark Knight movie, but changed it a bit to compliment the overall color scheme.”
Tying it all Together
Earl continues, “I purchased an eggplant and a lilac tie both in ceremony paisley from The Tie Bar and drove to the local Men’s Wearhouse for a true representation of what it would look like. Immediately, I knew the lilac was the one. The added pop of green from the leaf of the white rose boutonniere was just enough to tie everything together and spoke true to my personality: calm, cool, and collected.”
Claire smiles, “I love the solo shot of Earl from our sneak peek- he is so so very handsome!”
First Look at the Harrisburg Hilton
Earl shares, “Our first look location changed at the last minute which in my honest opinion was for the better.”
The Stairway Set-up
I thought this gorgeous, naturally-lit stairway at the Harrisburg Hilton provided the perfect location for their first look. I shared the idea with the couple and they were on board.
Earl Smiled, “Claire’s dress, the stairway setup, me waiting in anticipation, and the natural light; created a whole vibe!!! Great Job Lisa!”
His Reaction– the Sweetest!
Earl smiles, “If you remember the classic Looney Toons cartoons where the jaw drops, eyes stretch, and heartbeats out of the chest; that was me when I saw her, she was stunning!!!
Earl’s expression reminded me of a kid on Christmas!! It looks like she literally took his breath away:
Favorite Part of the Day
Earl shares, “My favorite part of the wedding day was seeing Claire in her wedding dress. A few of my family and friends asked me before and after the wedding if I was nervous. . . I was not!”
He continues, “The reason being is that I approached our relationship with marriage in mind from the beginning so when the big day came, I was without a doubt ready and the vows felt natural.”
Falling for Claire
Earl smiles, “What made me fall for Claire, simply put, is our perfect blend of differences. Our offsets are so intriguing I’m like a moth to a flame, haha!”
He continues, “She’s a beautiful person inside and out, her captivating smile, big bright eyes, free spirit, loving heart, and brilliant mind is all I can ask for. What I really like about Claire is she keeps me smiling and laughing and very supportive and always pushing me to excel and try new things.”
I love this photo of Earl touching Claire’s veil. Claire was wearing her mother’s veil from the 1970s, and her sisters also wore the same veil on their wedding days!
Falling for Earl
Claire shares, “He is an incredible human being – very highly evolved! His thought process is awesome to watch. He is also very quietly funny. I crack up at him. He is so smart too, he has that rare combo of book and street smarts. He also truly lives by the golden rule: he treats others how he wants to be treated.”
She continues, “He understands and knows himself deeply, but is willing to adjust as he grows ever more mature. He is also an artist! He takes beautiful photographs and maintains his own blog and website, plays guitar, bass, and drums, and in a way, is an artist behind the wheel of a car. I could go on and on. He has also served his country and is a Marine. He is the most honest, caring, and thoughtful person I know. He’s incredible. I’m lucky.”
Throughout the first look and couples portraits, we were just using this simple stairwell in their hotel. By changing my camera settings and angles, and their interactions and placement in the light, we were able to get a great variety of photographs!
I love playing with natural light here, and in this case, this sliver of sunshine was beaming through the window. I love the intense contrast it created and the leading lines from the railing!
V-O-G-U-E. Strike a pose.
Claire shares, “What first caught our attention were the “Vogue” shots we saw on Lisa’s blog – specifically her award-winning library “Vogue” shot. I loved it and knew someone who would pose people like that knew what they were doing!”
What an amazing compliment from both of them!
Wedding Party Looks
Earl shares, “Our wedding color conversation was fairly easy and quick, we both wanted a colorful, joyous, and classic look. I wanted my wife and her bridesmaids to really pop so I took the supporting role in choosing the look for myself and the groomsmen.”
Earl compliments, “The photos of the wedding party at the capitol fountain are outstanding, Lisa. You gave us the scene and allowed us to be ourselves; great job.”
Getting the Shot!
Earl shares, “Lisa, with my photography I have a mindset of “whatever it takes to get the shot” and I know you have that same mindset to climb into the fountain to get the perfect vantage point.”
I stood *in* a fountain for the wedding party photos! Thankful to my second photographer for catching me giving them direction, haha!
Totally worth it to see their reactions!!
What Makes Us Work
Claire shares, “Earl and I work well together because we are so different, so there is always something to learn from each other. I’m a true extrovert to his true introvert. We challenge each other regularly by helping each other work on our strengths and weaknesses.”
I love this photo by the Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda wedding fountain, so romantic!
Drawn to Differences
Earl echos, “What makes Claire and I work so well- we are different and we are both drawn to our differences. Differences allow us to see others’ viewpoints and ideas, which in turn allows us to grow individually and as a whole. We challenge each other by supporting, helping, and learning from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Claire shares, “Earl and I are both musicians and play about six instruments between us. Live music was very important to me and Two Rivers Chamber Music did a wonderful job. They even learned the piece I walked down the steps too!”
Why a Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda Wedding?
Claire says, “What I liked most about the space was that the history and beauty of the building spoke for itself. No additional decorations were needed, all we had to do was show up.”
She smiles, “What I was most excited to experience was coming down those beautiful marble steps with my dad. It was a special time!”
Capturing the Full Scene
Showing off all the architecture during this Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda wedding ceremony while having the bridge and groom “pop” was so important to me. I arrived early and set up lighting that would draw attention to them on the capitol steps.
Claire smiles, “My dear friend Jojo (Dr. Joseph “Jojo” Langham) sang ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ which was my grandmother’s favorite song. I’m sure she watched the wedding from heaven.”
The way his voice echoed through the halls was just breathtaking.
Claire says, “I loved when Dr. Matt Helm, our officiant, colleague, and friend, did the “these hands” section as we held hands. Essentially he said these are the hands that will wipe tears of joy and sorrow, these are the hands that will hold each other close over the years. How true and how lovely.”
While Kelly, my second photographer was stationed front and center, photographing the straightforward perspective of the ceremony, I moved around quite a bit. I was on the ground floor with a wide-angle lens getting the full scene, switched to telephoto to get the singer, and then began climbing to the second floor as the officiant spoke.
She used a telephoto lens capturing ceremony moments “up close” like this:
Claire shares, “Making our vows to marry one another came very naturally to me, and I was not nervous, I was happy. I wanted to say them with a gentle and clear voice and I was thrilled to show our family and friends my love for Earl. It was pure joy.”
With my second getting the “safe shots,” I’m there to take “creative risks” and swing for the fences. In this case, something that will capture a unique vantage point.
Here I climb so that I’m nearly above the wedding ceremony. The statues on either side of the staircase are my favorite features of the Harrisburg Capitol rotunda wedding staircase. Here I feature them and the bridal party as I shoot from above.
Choosing the Capitol
Claire says, “We chose the state Capitol because of its grandeur and beauty. During an online search for venues in the Harrisburg area, I came across a picture linked to an article titled “How to have a ridiculously cheap but beautiful wedding ceremony at the capitol“. To that my answer was, umm yes please! It was the Rotunda, and I was sold – and this was before we were even engaged!”
Earl shares, “The capitol rotunda: what can I say about it besides, it speaks for itself!”
So true! The interior is absolutely stunning and makes for a perfect ceremony location!
An Intimate Affair
Claire shares, “We had such a hard choice to narrow down the guest list to comply with the requirements of the state capitol – only 25 total guests between the bride and groom! But we made it work and we’re so thankful for everyone’s grace and understanding – whether live in person or virtually!”
Earl continues, “A small intimate group of family and close friends really made the space feel extra special.”
Here I shoot through the miniature marble pillars in the banister at the Harrisburg capitol rotunda wedding creating a feeling of intimacy in such a large space.
Finally Husband & Wife
Earl shares, “We waited so very long to finally get married. It was just a wonderful moment.”
This is probably my favorite photograph of the ceremony. I used a slow shutter speed and zoomed my lens a bit as I wanted to capture the color, energy, and excitement of the final announcement of husband and wife at this Harrisburg capitol rotunda wedding!!
I love this emotional photo of the bride embracing guests following the ceremony at the Harrisburg capitol rotunda wedding!
The Gang’s All Here
Earl shares, “Anytime my family has a chance to dress up they are going all out. I like that everyone was considerate to our request for a black-tie dress code, and I really felt everyone presented themselves very well.”
Claire adds, “We encouraged colors in line with our color scheme – purples, greens, golds – and encouraged them to experiment with their take. We wanted pastels to rich jewel tones – and our guests delivered! They looked amazing.”
I love the vibrant colors worn by even wedding guests. I used my lighting equipment and camera settings to make sure everyone (even the folks in the back) were well lit and that the golden glow of the ambient light was shining, showing off the beautiful space.
Capturing simple moments like this of the flower girl and ring bearer passing the Harrisburg Capitol rotunda wedding security are some of my favorites.
Claire shares, “When we were downtown, there were all sorts of people out there that day and every single one of them were kind and so happy for us. It was really fun to see passersby give us best wishes.”
Earl says, “The Walnut Street Bridge photo that you shared during our sneak peek was perfect. We really couldn’t have asked for a better blue-sky day!”
An Amazing Venue Experience
Claire shares, “I cannot say enough great things about our experience with everyone at The Hilton Harrisburg.”
She continues, “They moved our wedding without question when we had to because of the pandemic, they worked with us every step of the way, they upgraded our rooms, met with us many times to square away all the details, and were consummate professionals from start to finish. I would recommend the Hilton Harrisburg for any event.”
Awww the *pure joy* as they were welcomed into the reception as husband and wife! Here the motion blur and clapping hands convey the energy and excitement:
Hearing all the kind words said during speeches is such a touching moment, especially from the father of the bride. The dude was impressive, and on-point all day long.
Here I silhouetted him against the vibrant indigo uplighting:
He’s all smiles with happy words for the newlyweds!
Claire wiping away a tear during her sister’s speech. When I framed this up, I wanted to make sure to show her sister in the background, giving the tears context.
On Cloud 9, Literally!!
Dry ice on the dance floor, yes, please!!
Earl shares, “My “little lady” (nickname for Claire) really wanted to have us “dance on the clouds” and in the end, it turned out to be magical.”
I love this photo of Claire & Earl sharing a kiss while the clouds drift away. It’s like they’re in another world. 🙂
Lit Father-Daughter Dance 😉
I love playing with light and color, and in this case, the colorful uplighting. Here I timed the shot just to get each of them framed in their colors.
I think uplighting was a perfect way to show off their vibrant wedding colors! I love this sweet photo of Claire hugging her father after their dance.
Mama’s Dance Off
Earl smiles, “An important fact about the mother and son dance- we did not practice at all. For months leading up to it we talked about getting together and planning something out (she lives in South Carolina) but it never happened. So right before the music started I said to her, I will follow your lead and the rest was left on the dance floor.”
Claire & Earl weren’t kidding when they said all their family members loved to dance! I was able to take so many fun dancing photos during the reception!
Epic Dance Floor Lighting
Claire shares, “For lighting, we met with DJ Ethan prior to the event and deferred to his expertise. He was 100% correct. It was a perfect mood to dance to as the night went on.”
I Can See Your Halo!
Claire busting a move :). I love to include context, smiling guests, drinks in hand, her halo (yaaaas Beyonce played)!
Dance off Part 2
Earl’s mom wasn’t the only one to start a dance off!!
Earl says, “Mr. Brown has always been a dancer and holds his own in any crowd.”
A Dance Showcase
Earl shares, “Claire and I have a lot of dancers in our family so we knew before the wedding that the reception was going to be a showcase.”
They share, “We had a blast on the dance floor, especially once the glow sticks were handed out! Glow sticks say “PARTY TIME” no matter what!
This tiny dancer *brought it*– her dance moves, radiant smile, and hairstyle was stunning!
Baby Got Back!
I love this photo of Claire dancing while saying to Earl “Please, don’t lose your good looks!” while getting down to “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot :). These two had a blast on the dance floor!
Claire smiles, “Our guests know how to dance!”
So true!! Seriously this was such a fun crowd to photograph on the dance floor!
Don’t I Know You??
It was such a treat to see my college friend, Damien, and his wife as wedding guests! We sat on student government together back in our glory days, haha!
Claire shares, “We cut the cake to Mary J. Blige’s “Sweet Thing”. One of my favorite memories was walking back to cut the cake and seeing my cousin crooning Sweet Thing to herself, eyes closed and loving it, clearly bringing back 1990s memories and appreciating knowing the song title was a nod to our sweets table. She got what we did!”
Playing Our Song
Claire & Earl singing to each other was such a sweet moment to photograph!
I always love the chance for an artistic shot and the lighting here was perfect for it!
Congrats Claire & Earl on your big day at Hilton Harrisburg! I was honored to be able to capture all the beautiful memories you made on your wedding day.
Claire & Earl’s Wedding Slideshow
See even more photos from Claire & Earl’s Harrisburg wedding set to music in the slideshow below!
Hungry for More?
- See Claire & Earl’s engagement session here
- View other Harrisburg weddings here
- Check out my most recent weddings here
Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda Wedding Vendors
They smile, “We did have to move our wedding due to COVID, but every single vendor worked with us, without any hassle. For that we are eternally grateful.”
- Ceremony Venue: Harrisburg Capitol: We loved working with Walt, who was in charge of events at The Capitol Complex – he was wonderful and kind and understanding with all the changes to our wedding because of the pandemic.
- Reception Venue: The Hilton Harrisburg: The team there, lead by Lindsay Smith, was incredible.
- DJ, Photo Booth, Lighting, Cloud Effect: Soundwaves Entertainment
- Florist: Lace and Peonies: Greta B. with Lace & Peonies over delivered (joyfully). She was INCREDIBLE!
- Hair & Makeup: Ego Trip Hair Salon: I loved the energy the Ego Trip team brought with hair and makeup. Tamara and her team were so good and made us look like queens.
- Dress Shop: Suite Bridal
- Bride’s Shoes: Bella Belle
- Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
- Ties: The Tie Bar
- Alterations: Tastefully Sew
- Planner: Abbie Griffith
- Wedding Cake: Whole Foods: It was one of the best wedding cakes; keep up the great work Whole Foods!
- Donut Wall: Duck Donuts
- Livestream: JP Lilley
- Party Bus: Premier 1 Limousines
- Ceremony Music: Two Rivers Chamber Music