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Raystown Lake Wedding: Erin & Tom

Real moments and beautiful views took center stage at this Raystown Lake wedding.  From the most impressive view, charcuterie board & cookie table I’ve seen, to the heartfelt toasts, “butterfly surprise”, sunset, and cigars by firelight, this wedding was so perfectly suited for Erin & Tom!  I thoroughly enjoyed photographing this intimate gathering.

Bella vista raystown lake intimate wedding photographer wedding ceremony under handmade arch with lake view

Why Rhinehart Photography?

Tom shares, “What we loved most about Lisa’s photos was that she made everyone look and feel comfortable and that she was able to capture candid moments in her photography. We were able to be our natural selves and no part of it ever felt like we were being forced into poses or fake smiles for the sake of taking pictures.”

Erin adds, “After talking with Lisa in our consultation, we knew right away that she was the perfect photographer for us. Lisa really seemed to understand the vibe we were going for even when we weren’t completely sure how best to explain it!”

She continues, “Lisa’s work stood out because the photos seemed to capture emotions and real experiences genuinely, while also taking advantage of any beautiful scenery nearby.”

creative artistic vibrant couple kissing with sunset in background at raystown lake

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Raystown Lake Wedding Ceremony

Tom shares, “One of our best friends married us, and they were able to give us the most personal wedding ceremony I could ask for.”

Tom continues, “My brother and I built the archway that we were married under.  All that anyone asked all day was what they could do to help, and for that I’m appreciative. We really do have the best group of friends that anyone could ever ask for.”

I love how involved all of Erin & Tom’s family and friends were on their wedding day! It sure made everything that much more intimate.  Here Tom waits for Erin, then her parents watch her walk down the stairs.  

black and white photo of groom and officiant waiting under ceremony arch for bride with guests looking on

parents waiting at bottom of stairs for bride to come down for first look

bride hugging dad holding flower bouquet before wedding ceremony

raystown lake wedding photographer dad walking bride down aisle while guests smile

black and white photo of dad giving away bride at wedding ceremony

Raystown Lake Wedding Music Mishap

Erin shares, “As my dad gave me away, he tearfully told Tom to take care of me, leading to all three of us up there (me, Tom, and the officiant Keith) to be on the verge of tears, so it was a well-timed laugh when the music mishap occurred! Tom’s brother, Spencer, had to leap from his seat to run and shut it off. The wedding itself was perfect to me!”

I love that despite small mishaps like music unexpectedly playing, Erin & Tom’s wedding day was absolutely perfect for them. 🙂

raystown lake joyful wedding photographer bride laughing

bride and groom holding hands while officiant reads through ceremony

emotional authentic candid lake raystown wedding photographer guests wiping tears away during ceremony

raystown lake wedding photographer bride putting ring on grooms hand with lake view in background

Handfasting (and my chance to capture this view)

Seriously, how stunning is this view?!  There was a deck above the ceremony space, and being a solo photographer for the event, I knew running up there would be a challenge.  I talked to the officiant prior to the ceremony to find the best time.  They knew the ceremony would be short, but the longest part would be the handfasting.  They got out the Celtic rope and I knew that was my cue, I dashed up the staircases so that I could get this unbelievable view.

Keep reading to learn why Erin & Tom decided on Bella Vista.

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bride and groom holding hands during wedding ceremony intimate detail

black and white photo of bride and groom hugging with guests cheering and clapping behind them

Sealed with a Kiss & “Butterflies”

Erin shares, “The wedding day was really intense emotionally for me. I was incredibly stressed out, then ecstatic, then frantic, then excited, then nostalgic, then happy-crying, and on and on. Thankfully, the positive emotions far outweighed the negative and it was an incredible day! I have Tom as well as our amazing friends and family to thank for that.”  

Keep reading to see their playful “butterfly release,” (a surprise from the maid of honor), following the first kiss!

wedding party cheers as bride and groom share first kiss at Bella vista raystown lake wedding ceremony

black and white photo of bride and groom first kiss at lake raystown pa wedding photographer

creative unique artistic bride and groom cheering after wedding ceremony guests clap raystown lake wedding

black and white photo of bride opening box of butterflies to release after ceremony

raystown lake wedding photographer bride opening box of butterflies while guests smile

father and daughter hugging after ceremony emotional wedding photographer

Raystown Lake Wedding Photographers

As you can probably tell, as a photographer, I enjoy capturing candid moments and vibrant colors.  I’m willing to take risks, even if it means scrambling up a few flights of stairs to get a cool shot.  It’s also important for me to get portraits, too.  I don’t usually post those on my blog since it’s more about storytelling, but I did include a couple of family photos in this section.

Guests passed around polaroids, so fun!  Small world!!  The couple below was actually at a wedding I photographed a few months prior to this (Jessica & Chris).

black and white photo of guest taking picture

traditional family portrait father and daughter at lake raystown

bride smiling with maid of honor on wedding day

Raystown Lake Wedding Party

All the personality!! Such a fun bunch to photograph!  They do not stay serious for long…

black and white photo of bride and groom surrounded by wedding party making faces authentic candid wedding photographer

bride and groom posing with wedding party in front of fire pit at raystown lake

black and white photo of bride and groom with wedding party laughing

Catching Beers!

Yes, this is the staircase I climbed up for the view :).

guest throwing down can of beer from balcony

guest talking holding can of beer at wedding reception

wedding guests laughing and taking pictures during reception

Joyful Lake Raystown Newlyweds

Tom shares, “My only real worries on the wedding day were making sure that everything went well. It’s a lot of stress when you’re setting up, hosting, and catering your wedding. What got me through the day was knowing that Erin was waiting for me on the other side of it all, and when I remembered that, nothing else mattered.”

emotional candid authentic lake raystown wedding photographer bride and groom smiling and laughing

sunset portrait bride and groom smiling and holding each other at raystown lake

raystown lake wedding photographer traditional bride and groom portraits

sunset portrait groom giving bride kiss on cheek while she laughs

Venue with a View

Tom shares, “What did we like most about the space? The view, the view, the view! We were looking for a house big enough for all of our family and friends on Vrbo, when we saw the Bella Vista at Raystown Lake and immediately fell in love!”

He continues, “I think we booked the whole weekend within 30 minutes of finding it. It was the perfect size for almost everyone (my family stayed in another house right down the road) that allowed us to spend the entire weekend together and enjoy our time there.”

Erin shares, “As Tom said, we saw the view and booked it immediately! I’m the kind of person that tends to make pretty important decisions based on a gut feeling, and as soon as we saw the profile for Bella Vista, I had that feeling and went with it. I’m really glad I did because the cabin was perfect. We loved the idea of our friends and family getting to stay there and spend the weekend with us to celebrate instead of having to squeeze all of that into one evening.”

Bella Vista at Raystown Lake was such a beautiful venue for their intimate wedding. If you’re not planning an intimate wedding, close to here is Lake Raystown Resort which hosts lots of big weddings!

artistic colorful vibrant bride and groom standing on balcony smiling with raystown lake in background sunset

raystown lake wedding photographer bride and groom share a kiss silhouetted against vibrant blue sky

black and white photo of groom giving bride a kiss on the Hand standing on balcony with raystown lake in background

Sunset & Sweetness

Tom shares, “We first met at Pitt through the marching band and the co-ed fraternity that we were both in when I was a sophomore and she was a freshman. We didn’t start dating until our last year at Pitt (even though I had a crush on her for the longest time), but it’s been the best thing in my life ever since.”

He continues, “She’s my best friend and I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. What I love about her most is that she allows me to be myself every moment of every day. Nothing with Erin ever feels fake or forced, and that’s why I love being with her so much.”

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groom tying necklace around bride's neck intimate moment

He’s My Rock

Erin shares, “As I got to know Tom, I started seeing more glimpses of his personality. Things like his sense of humor, gentleness, dedication. I fell for him pretty hard and fast after that. He’s so dependable and smart but doesn’t take life too seriously.”

She continues, “As cliche as it sounds, he is my rock. We’re opposites in a lot of ways, so while I’m often in outer space, he’s grounded, so we end up meeting in the middle in a way that balances us both. We’re a good team and best friends.”

Bella vista raystown lake wedding photographer bride and groom smiling

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The Wedding Feast!!

Tom shares, “My brother built the most massive charcuterie slab I’ve ever seen. We asked two friends to put together the charcuterie spread, and what they did was one of the most beautiful displays you could ask for (and I’m still thinking about some of those cheeses).”

He continues, “My mom and sister went all out on the cookie table, which everyone wanted to help with too, so we had extra cookies for weeks.”

I have never seen a more impressive charcuterie or cookie spread, and this is just the start of it– Wowza, the board had to be 4 feet across!

charcuterie board wedding feast

wedding guests sitting on couch in front of food displays during wedding after party

wedding guests sitting at Bella vista raystown lake

wedding guests talking and laughing together

black and white candid authentic emotional wedding guests laughing and talking

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Raytown Lake Wedding Toasts

Erin shares, “Tom and I knew we wanted to give a toast to everyone as a way to thank them and a shot of whiskey for that toast instead of a glass of champagne just felt right.”

Erin began by pouring shots for all of her wedding guests and giving a heartfelt speech. Others joined in with laughter, tears, hugs– what a beautiful intimate gathering.

bride pouring shots for wedding guests toast

bride and groom giving speech at wedding reception Bella vista raystown lake

wedding guest laughing during toasts

guests cheering during wedding toasts

Surprise Speeches

Tom shares, “Our original plan was to only toast with a shot and a beer, which is one of our favorite traditions (we actually did one at the bar right before we left on the night that I proposed). The speeches from the best man and maid of honor were a complete surprise, but I’m glad they did it.  At the end of it all, the night went perfectly and was a night that I’ll never forget.” 

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couple laughing and smiling during reception

Cigars and Firelight

Erin smiles, “Getting to relax by a fire with a cigar was perfect and definitely needed after such a long, high-energy day! One of my favorite things to do with Tom is to sit by a fire and smoke a cigar together. It was really nice that we got to include that.” 

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Raystown Lake Wedding Vendors

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