Gorgeous woodland scenery that overlooks an action-packed outdoor dance floor and the sweetest log cabin chapel, I love being an Oak Lodge Wedding Photographer!
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Lindsey shares, “I’ve been following Rhinehart Photography for many years, starting back in high school when some of my friends were having their senior pictures taken. I’ve always enjoyed looking at wedding photos that Lisa has taken because of the way she captures emotion! I love the creative angles and the way that Lisa plays with light, reflection, and other surrounding elements.”
She continues, “Even before Alex and I were engaged, I dreamed that maybe someday we would be the ones in her photos. It is true that as soon as we got engaged, we booked Lisa as our first wedding vendor, even before our venue. I knew having Lisa as my wedding photographer was my very top priority! We will forever be thankful for Lisa’s flexibility because the original date that we picked was not available at our dream venue. We made our own stars align because Lisa was available for a different weekend that the Oak Lodge did have available!”
Lindsey adds, “It was so easy to work with Lisa on our wedding day. Not only was she our photographer, but she was also a great hype woman! Lisa makes it easy to feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. I also can’t forget to mention when she fearlessly stepped in to remove a rather large spider from in between layers of my dress!”
Lindsey, thank you so much for your very kind words and for entrusting me with capturing these moments! I am so glad you made the stars align and loved everything about it– I had forgotten about the spider, haha! I definitely have your back, even with spiders!
Bridesmaids First Look
Lindsey smiles, “As hard as it was, I did not show any of my bridesmaids my dress so I thought that doing a first look with them would be perfect. We got ready together that morning but when it was time to put on my dress, it was just my mom and I. I’m really glad that we decided to share that moment together. I’m also really glad that I got to surprise them when they saw me in my dress for the first time. They all know how hard it was for me to keep it a secret for so long.”
She continues, “We had a pretty relaxed morning filled with mimosas, makeup, snacks, and Taylor Swift of course. After my bridesmaids and I did our first look, things were getting REAL. We decided to gather for a shot of liquid courage to celebrate that we were living in the moment I had been dreaming of and talking about for months. Then we hopped on our chariot (golf cart, haha!) to head to the ceremony. I met three of my four bridesmaids in the Pitt Band so there was no more fitting way to ride than singing the Pitt Victory Song!”
Oak Lodge Wedding Ceremony
Lindsey shares, “Even if I had the opportunity to do so, there is nothing that I would change about our wedding ceremony. It took place in the gorgeous log chapel in the village at Oak Lodge. Everything about the space is enchanting (of course it was fitting that I walked down the aisle to an orchestral version of Taylor Swift’s Enchanted). This is one of the many areas of the venue that we felt spoke for itself and chose to do minimal decorations.
She smiles, “Alex and I are the proud Uncle and Aunt to two nephews and one niece. Our oldest nephew, Teddy, served as our “Ring Security”. We honestly weren’t sure how he would feel about his duties but he ended up taking his job very seriously and he was so proud! He also got to walk his grandma down the aisle. My mom told us that he was so excited that she had to keep telling him to slow down! Teddy ended up having the time of his life, especially when he hit the dance floor!”
Lindsey continues, “Alex and I had decided that we didn’t want to do a first look with each other because we wanted to wait for the walk down the aisle. We also decided to have a relatively short but meaningful ceremony, including the exchange of the vows that we had written to each other. In the opening of my vows, I acknowledged that my stress leading up to the wedding caused just as much stress for Alex. I even admitted that he was right because being in that moment nothing else mattered because we were surrounded by the people that love us the most.”
She shares, “You may notice a special seat in the front row of the chapel. We saved the perfect seat for my dad who passed away two months before the wedding. It is really hard for me to express how much he would’ve loved Alex and I am proud of the ways that we were able to honor him that day. In addition to one of his favorite Pitt hats, I had a piece of one of his Stafford (my maiden name) ties sewn into my dress so a part of him was with me for the entire day. I also had a beautiful bouquet charm with his picture on it that was given to me by my mom. I know how proud he would’ve been to be there.
Lindsey says, “You may have recognized our officiant and friend, Keith, as they were also the officiant for another wedding that Lisa photographed, our friends Tom and Erin!”
Wedding Party Connections
Alex laughs, “Although their names are spelled differently, both the best man and the maid of honor are pronounced hAY-lee. We had the running joke that their official titles are Best Haley and Hailee of Honor. It’s a long story but Haley and Hailee actually play a part in how Lindsey and I met. They are childhood best friends and grew up just down the street from one another. I first met Haley and Hailee during high school, they were part of a neighboring school district. Fast-forward a couple of years and Haley has become my closest friend. Coincidentally, Hailee and Lindsey met in college and also became very close friends. While Lindsey and I technically met on Tinder, my first message to her was asking if it was Hailee in one of her photos. Haley and Hailee have often remarked about how it is such a small world that their best friends ended up meeting each other and getting married.”
Forests, the View, and Falling in Love
As an Oak Lodge Wedding Photographer, I knew capturing the scenery would be of utmost importance.
Lindsey says, “As cheesy as it may sound, I believe that Alex is the one who I am meant to be with for the rest of my life. He is intelligent, selfless, and kind. He is the world’s number one “dog dad” and I can’t wait to see what our future holds. As much as I enjoyed calling him my fiancé, calling him my husband is even better. I experienced just about every emotion possible on our wedding day. I was overwhelmed with excitement and blissful joy. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also nervous about trying to make sure that everything was perfect. Any nervous feelings quickly faded away as soon as I saw Alex standing at the end of the aisle. Alex would like me to clarify that my tears were tears of joy, not dread, lol!”
Alex smiles, “In Lindsey, I found a kind and caring woman, who is willing to endure a lifetime of my companionship. I look forward to a journey through life together with my best friend. As for our wedding day, the morning was stressful as I workshopped my vows with the groomsmen the morning of the wedding, the deadline looming. After overcoming my procrastination, the rest of the wedding day was just a joyful party.”
Why Oak Lodge?
Lindsey laughs, “Wedding planning is quite a daunting task. Perhaps the most daunting is finding the perfect venue. We live just east of Pittsburgh but I grew up in Shippensburg so we were open to casting a large net in our hunt for the right spot. One day when we were actually in Shippensburg, Alex found a venue called the Oak Lodge. My first impressions of seeing it online made it seem almost too good to be true. Something unique that really caught our attention was that we could host a wedding weekend there. A week or so had passed and we just kept revisiting it to look at pictures so we decided we needed to go visit and take a tour. It was a rainy October day when we had our first visit to Oak Lodge. I remember it so well because as soon as we drove onto the property I knew this was where I wanted to get married. Even on the rainiest day, beautiful and charming aren’t enough to describe Oak Lodge.”
She continues, “The Jimberg Village is modeled after an 18th-century village and it features a stunning log chapel and our guests would get to travel around the village for each part of the wedding. Tally Ho Tavern held cocktail hour and then we moved to Mercantile Hall for our dinner. Anyone who stayed on site for the weekend also got to visit Penn Place, the location of breakfast each morning. We loved that there were endless opportunities to add personal touches to each area of the venue but we also loved how it was just as beautiful with no decorations.”
Lindsey shares, “We can’t talk about Oak Lodge without mentioning the food. Our wedding dinner was served family style so each guest got to try everything on the menu. Not only was the food delicious, but many of our guests told us how much they enjoyed the serving style and intricate presentation. Chef Anthony is very talented and you can tell how much he cares about making the meal special. Our go-to guy at Oak Lodge was Matt Hegan. Matt was our wedding coordinator and he made sure that everything ran seamlessly on the big day. The chapel in the village was actually built for his own wedding. From our first tour of the venue to checking out after our weekend away, Matt was helpful and willing to answer any questions that we might’ve had.”
She adds, “I think it is really hard to pick one thing that we were most excited about in regard to the venue. I would say that we were most excited about our wedding weekend as a whole. As I had briefly mentioned earlier, the Oak Lodge offers couples the experience of a wedding weekend. 19 luxurious cabins and a huge, 6-suite main lodge allowed many of our family and friends to spend the weekend away with us. From the time we checked in on Friday to Sunday morning, the property was closed to the public. This really provided an exclusive getaway feeling. It was like a destination wedding without traveling more than an hour from our own house. We lined the back porch of the main lodge with coolers and everyone was welcome to come hang out with us around the campfire each night.”
The couple smiles, “We may be biased, but the Oak Lodge is truly unlike any other wedding venue that we’ve ever been to.”
Lindsey jokes, “I hope that one of my friends chooses Oak Lodge as their wedding venue so we can attend a wedding on the other side of things!”
Oak Lodge Wedding Reception
So pretty! If you look closely you can see that their cookie table, a Pittsburgh tradition, includes Pittsburgh itself with a yellow bridge ;). There is also a clothesline with photos throughout their relationship, and a sweet, topiary-style backdrop, with a neon sign of her new last name!
Lindsey laughs, “You can’t have a Pittsburgh wedding without a cookie table! All of the cookies were baked by our family and friends. It is said that the Pittsburgh Cookie Table became popular during the Great Depression when couples were not able to afford a wedding cake. Instead, the family and friends baked a variety of cookies for the wedding. The tradition stuck around and if you go to a wedding in Western Pennsylvania or surrounding areas you can almost guarantee that there will be a cookie table.”
She adds, “Our wedding cake and cupcakes were made by Tasty Bakery in Murrysville, PA. It was perfect and even featured a handmade clay figurine of our dog, Belle!”
Lindsey shares, “We wanted to come up with some ways to add a personal touch to the reception hall. With the help of our moms, we picked out a bunch of photos of each of us growing up as well as some of our favorite photos that we’ve taken together. We strung the photos along the wall for all of our guests to see as they walked around the hall. I think my favorite personal touch was the backdrop that we chose for the sweetheart table. We chose to have a wall of greenery featuring a neon sign of our new last name, “The Vallos”. We really loved how it looked and love that the neon sign now hanging in our game room will always remind us of our wedding day.”
She adds, “Remember our favorite beer that we toasted in our engagement photos? Well, that wasn’t weirdly colored champagne in our glasses. We actually toasted with I.C. Light Mango at our wedding! It was so fun to look around after the toasts to see everyone notice that the “champagne” was not what they expected!”
Most of my current packages include two wedding photographers. This is incredibly helpful because we can be at two different places at the same time. Here my second photographer captures a hug which I can crop myself out of lol, while I capture Alex watching his wife and mother-in-law, getting emotional during their mother-daughter dance.
Lindsey says, “We were fortunate to have two photographers on our wedding team. This came in handy especially when we were getting ready. Lisa was with us to capture the first look with the bridesmaids and Sean was able to be with the guys while they finished getting ready. I am also excited to see photographs from our ceremony since we had the ability to capture different angles of the same moment.”
This was also helpful when I (Lisa) woke up without a voice! Sean was amazing and jumped in, helping with details and prep while I recovered it, and even spoke for me at certain times of the day when I couldn’t quite be loud enough (like family photos).
Oak Lodge Outdoor Dance Floor
Lindsey smiles, “I can’t think of a better way to put this–We had one heck of a party. Another unique thing about the Oak Lodge is that even though all of our other wedding events were indoors, we took the party outside for dancing. We had absolutely perfect weather on our wedding day and the cool mountain air was so refreshing for the rest of the evening. The area between Mercantile Hall and the chapel became our dance floor. It is decorated with lights and it was the perfect setting for a party. The area is quite spacious, allowing plenty of room to bust a move, which as you can see, many moves were indeed busted! If our guests were looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy the evening there was also a large fire pit and tables with plenty of seating.”
Lindsey says, “Our final song of the evening was What Dreams Are Made Of by Hilary Duff and we had the time of our lives. Even though the formal reception was over, the party didn’t stop. All of our friends and family staying on-site joined us for a campfire at the main lodge and we managed to keep the party going until 2 AM.”
Oak Lodge Wedding Photographer Dancing
Having a great space, of course, is important to get that party started, and so is the DJ! DJ Crush is incredibly talented and such a pleasure to work with! I was really impressed by his ability to move his setup from inside for the first dance to outside for the parent dances. Such a smooth transition and so couple-focused!
Lindsey shares, “We have to give a massive shout-out to our DJ, Tony Griffith (DJ Crush). We received so many compliments about how incredible Tony was. He masterfully transitioned from song to song and there was not a single dull moment on the dance floor which I think is probably well-reflected in our photos! The very last thing that we purchased leading up to the big day was the foam light-up sticks. I had NO idea how big of a hit they would be. Alex jokes that it was the best thing we bought for the wedding!”
At the End of the Night
Lindsey concludes, “We are so excited to relive our wedding day when we look at our photos. We had an emotional ceremony and I hope that we will be able to feel that again when we see our photos. In addition to the ceremony, we escaped to different areas of the property to take the most dreamy, romantic photos. We are also incredibly excited to see the photos of the party that followed. Our friends tore up the dance floor all night long and you being our Oak Lodge Wedding Photographer were right in there to capture it all!”
More photos, set to music, this should really give you the full vibe of their day!
- Venue: Oak Lodge
- Florist: Rosebud Floral & Giftware
- Entertainment: Tony Griffith (DJ Crush)
- Hair/Make-up: Maddie Kuhn
- Dress: J&B Bridals
- Bakery: Tasty Bakery
Hungry for More?
- Lindsey & Alex’s Engagement
- Erin & Tom’s Wedding (where I first photographed Lindsey & Alex)
- Recent Weddings
Are you or someone you know looking for a photographer for their weddings, portraits, business branding, etc? I’m your girl! Contact me here, I’d love to hear all about it!