Laura & Will’s joyful Elizabeth Furnace wedding included artistic origami, a wedding cape, rain, and a first dance that literally had Laura walking on air!
You may remember these two from their martial arts rooftop engagement session in Philadelphia!
Both the engagement and wedding were photographed by my associate photographer, Jim. He is amazing and a dear friend of mine, I’m obsessed with his work and so happy to have him on my team. While he was there on the day of, I led them through everything behind the scenes–from editing their photos and their day of timeline and eventually designing their album.
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Will shares, “We chose Rhinehart Photography because we cared (most of all) about being able to capture authentic moments with the people sharing our day with us. Your/Jim’s photos were more candid than many of the photographers we looked at, and the editing made the shots feel vibrant and real, rather than the “dreamy” look many wedding photos take on with a softer focus and less saturated colors.”
He continues, “I told Jim on our wedding day, after catching him taking a candid before posing us with our friends, that I was pretty sure his process involved taking the awesome candid shots we chose him/you for, then taking a posed picture in case for some reason it didn’t come out. He laughed, and said, ‘Pretty much!” (<—that is so Jim)
Laura adds, “Agreed on all counts! After speaking with Jim, we weren’t nervous about booking him at all — he had an amazing portfolio full of exactly the kinds of candid/authentic shots we were looking for, and we loved his total focus on taking those perfect shots day-of while you covered all the other parts of the business that you also do so well.”
They summarize, “You and Jim seem to make a great team!” (<—Yaaas! couldn’t agree more!)
Elizabeth Furnace Wedding Preparations
Will smiles, “My ring was custom-made to match Laura’s ring, which was part of a set that belonged to my Aunt Lois, who passed away a few years ago. Aunt Lois wasn’t a blood relative, but she and my Uncle David were surrogate parents to my mom after her father passed away when she was a teen. My ring was designed to match the art deco style of Laura’s, with a gold exterior and a platinum center that echoes the shoulders of Laura’s ring.”
Embracing Color when Minimalism is in Fashion
Laura shares, “JDK did a wonderful job with the florals, and on working with me to incorporate them with my origami centerpieces and such. Rather than picking a few wedding colors, we told them to use the full fall color palette, plus blues (ranging from navy to slate) for contrast. Current wedding fashion seems to be for minimalism and limited color, but I say go all out!”
First Look: Elizabeth Furnace Wedding Photographer
Laura smiles, “We fell in love over the last 8 years of being together: We met doing American Jiu-Jitsu, we’re both robotics-adjacent engineers, we survived 5 years of long-distance until COVID allowed us to close the gap, and we just moved to Salt Lake City for our next adventure! (Which we hope will include lots of hiking and skiing).”
Will agrees, “We did in fact survive a long, long-distance relationship: June 2015–March 2020 we lived on opposite coasts. We’ve made three cross-country drives together: from Boston to San Francisco (September 2020), San Francisco to Philadelphia (November 2021), and from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City (November 2023). We push each other to do things we might not do alone— thanks to Laura, I got scuba certified, learned to ski, started backpacking, and hiked far more than I used to.”
He shares, “The rain didn’t dampen our first look, which was perfect! Maybe we had fewer shots than we could have had otherwise, but we both looked amazing if I do say so myself, haha!”
Why Elizabeth Furnace in Lititz?
Laura says, “When searching for a venue, we were looking for a place we could rent for the full day– many of our guests were from out of town, and we wanted to spend maximal time with them!– and a venue that was flexible/accommodating of nontraditional ideas for the day since we wanted to do a lot of customization. We also wanted to get married outdoors but wanted a non-disappointing rain plan given the fall date, which turned out to be important!”
She continues, “Elizabeth Furnace hit all of those marks! We ended up having the ceremony in their Charcoal Barn due to the rain, which was beautiful, and both the cocktail hour and reception in the Stiegel Stable, and the event management company, JDK, allowed us to go off-script on almost anything, and in particular, the meal service, which was a custom-designed tapas menu. As a bonus, we were able to spend the whole day on-site, as there were great getting-ready suites for both wedding parties, which meant less time lost in transit on the day. Also, although it was slightly farther from our home base of Philadelphia than we were initially looking, it was only 10 minutes from the adorable town of Lititz, which was a great home base for both lodging and the rest of the weekend’s events, and not far from the Lancaster train station, so out of town folks could fly or take the train to the area.”
Will shares, “I grew up on my parents’ farmhouse in South Jersey, and if it had been built for it we would have loved to have the wedding there– but it would have been too difficult to prepare as a venue. Elizabeth Furnace had a very similar vibe: colonial house, beautiful gardens, set in the woods– it was ideal.”
Rainy Lancaster Ceremony Preparations
Will smiles, “We were excited to have my nephews act as ring bearers. The first time I asked, the elder (Luke, my godson) said no! But he was ultimately shamed into it by his younger brother Nolan’s enthusiasm. It was a game-day decision to have them participate, and they did it perfectly despite missing the rehearsal.” Laura laughs, “I actually had a really cute moment with Luke and Nolan just before the ceremony. The rest of the wedding party had gone in, and they’d closed the doors at the back so I could approach and do a big reveal. I waved at Nolan and asked about the rings, and he gave me a cheeky smile and took both of them out of his pockets. I was a little afraid he’d lose them, but everything went flawlessly! Also, is there anything cuter than tiny formal wear?”
Rainy Day Elizabeth Furnace Wedding Ceremony
Will says, “We were a little sad to not be able to have our ceremony outdoors, but we were ready for it, and we’d planned to make sure we could have a wedding to remember even if it rained.”
Laura continues, “We knew the rain was coming, so we prepped for it, though I will say I was not prepared for the comical number of golf cart rides up and down the venue in my poofy dress. I have only two regrets: one, that my wedding party probably froze to death (though they were great sports about it and I hope our guests were ultimately able to stay warm as well, and two, that we weren’t able to have a fire pit during our reception. There were some amazing consolation prizes though, the barn where we had the ceremony had amazing acoustics! Hearing them play the Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition as I walked in with my parents was probably the emotional high point of the day for me.”
She shares, “I like the drama of a veil, but in practice, they felt a little silly and antiquated on me (which isn’t to knock anyone who loves them!). A cape veil seemed like a great alternative, and my wonderful tailor, Bianca DePietro at Toile in Philadelphia, used some of the extra lace I’d bought just in case to elevate it even more. My hair stylist, Sara K Beauty, who also did an amazing job, was also a big fan, as it meant I wasn’t immediately covering up all her hard work!
Personally Tailored Lititz Wedding Ceremony
Laura adds, “With the help of our good friend and officiant, Saul, we crafted a ceremony that was as tailored to us as everything else. We wrote our own vows– Saul read them behind the scenes and offered us some feedback to make them a bit more cohesive– and as we read them to each other, I could hear my sister and maid of honor, Deborah, behind me holding back tears.”
Will recalls, “My mom had promised a poem for her reading, but was reluctant to share what it was. When her turn came, she pretended as if she were going to read Robert Service’s ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’, a very long (and wholly wedding-inappropriate) poem about a shootout in a bar in Alaska that my dad read to me when I was growing up. It was a joke that only a few people got, but it made me smile (even more than I already was).”
Laura smiles, “It’s a great poem! Will can still recite most of it!”
Lancaster Wedding Ceremony Large Group Photo
Laura says, “I think the weather actually helped us here since everyone was a bit trapped in the indoor parts of the venue. All our photos seemed to run very smoothly! Which is also a testament to Jim and Lindsey’s professionalism. One of our younger attendees objected a bit loudly to the full group photo, so hopefully everyone is smiling as a result. At least he didn’t object during the ceremony! ;)”
Origami and Tapas
Laura shares, “We both brought our engineering mindsets to bear on our Elizabeth Furnace wedding planning to customize everything. It was a joint effort, where we each leaned into our strengths: in general, one of us would take ownership of an item we were excited about, and then the other would provide feedback until we were hyping each other up to borderline insane levels of creative customization. I designed and made much of the origami decor, signage, and invitations, while Will co-designed a completely custom tapas menu with JDK’s Chef Jay Varga.
Will says, “I worked with Chef Jay to design a tapas-style menu that paid homage both to my Spanish heritage, my grandfather Horatio was a first generation immigrant, and to Laura’s and my tendency to have serious life conversations over tapas. Many of the dishes were new inventions by the chef, and everything came out perfectly!”
He adds, “Laura’s origami has been a feature of our relationship since the very beginning. One of my earliest memories of our courtship, before either of us were seriously considering dating, involved Laura folding a ‘fat crane’ at a jiu-jitsu party. She’s folded me something for most holidays and special occasions ever since. The folded centerpieces, joint work between her and her good friend Rui, made the reception distinctively ‘ours’ in a way more standard florals couldn’t.”
Meow– Creative Cocktails!
Laura laughs, “I’m probably unhealthily obsessed with our cat, Violet, but she would very much NOT have enjoyed being a part of our day in person. We came up with lots of fun, punny Violet-related cocktail names, then had to think of drinks to match. After a good friend helped us test some truly awful purple creations, we came up with the Ultraviolet Catastrophe (a cool physics modeling problem– look it up!), a creme de Violette riff on a gin and tonic (which fluoresces under black light due to the tonic water), and the Violet Crown (a name for Austin, TX where I grew up), a hibiscus pisco sour (variations of which I had many times when interning abroad in Chile in college). We also had a lavender lemonade ‘mock-tail’ (poor Violet lost most of her tail at some point well before we ever adopted her). Lastly, we included ‘his and hers’ martinis— a nod to Will’s family’s Friday night martini tradition, though we skipped making these our primary cocktails since we didn’t want all our guests to be on the floor by the end of the night!”
Will shares, “My family has a tradition of Friday night drinks, rooted in the drinks my paternal grandparents would share in my father’s youth. When my grandma was in a nursing home, my dad and I would ‘sneak in’ drinks to share with her every Friday night, and when she passed away, the tradition became a way for me to stay in touch with my parents and one that Laura joined in with when we finally moved to the same coast. Laura takes her martini with olives, while I prefer a lemon twist; thus, his and hers. We made sure to have some slightly less high-proof cocktails at the bar so as not to overly debilitate our guests.”
Dramatic First Dance
Will shares, “We had dance lessons! We probably practiced 2-3 hours a week from May through October, so maybe a hundred or so hours of practice all told. We did a waltz to Ludovico Einaudi’s “I Giorni”; we danced at half-time because the song is really more of a Viennese waltz. The routine was semi-choreographed: we had four planned ‘moments’ in the dance, with the freedom to improvise in between.”
He continues, “The highlight was definitely the ‘ballerina spin’, where I turned Laura as she stands on one foot; that was probably the culmination of a few hundred practice runs. I was never really a dancer and had a bit of a reputation for sitting out the dances in college and at weddings. It was fun to stun friends by showing up to dance.”
Laura adds, “Will used to play ‘I Giorni’ for me on the piano when we first started dating, and I always tried to get him to record me a copy, so it felt like the perfect choice. I had done some social swing dancing before, but neither of us had ever tried waltz. We had some great instruction at Arthur Murray Philadelphia: our first instructor, Lora Ann, developed some crazy ambitious choreography, and our second instructor, Tomas Delgado, helped us workshop and perfect it with some pretty impressive pedagogy (andragogy!). We also learned some hustle and foxtrot, which has kept us more comfortable on wedding dance floors generally– we both like having steps to follow!”
Will laughs, “We enjoyed the contrast between my dad’s succinct and polished toast, and Laura’s dad’s, Gary’s, more comprehensive rejoinder– as well as the guest who chimed in to ask Gary to ‘Keep going!’ when he made a self-deprecating joke about how long his toast was.”
Laura recalls, “My dad did give an embarrassingly thorough history of my accomplishments, haha. Overall, I think we both felt so, so loved, even if my bridesmaids did out me for crashing a car when I was in grad school, haha!”
Laura shares, “The cake was gorgeous! We wanted everything to be colorful, and Rosie of Rosie’s Creative Cakes did an amazing job with the buttercream florals. She also let us customize the inside, which was her chocolate mocha chip cake with layers of caramel and pecan in addition to the buttercream. Basically, a caramel pecan turtle, or longhorn, if you’re from ATX, cake– one of our shared favorite flavors!”
She adds, “Modular origami is a long-time hobby of mine, so I was always going to make lots of origami decor. For the cake topper, I combined the traditional Rokoan ‘kissing cranes’ with Satoshi Kamiya’s rose crane. I also made up a little ‘violet’ crane variation so Violet could be on our cake too! :)”
Wedding Dancing at Elizabeth Furnace, Lititz, PA
Laura shares, “I actually danced way more than I thought I would; Jeff Krumrine at 3 West Productions did a great job keeping the party going and, in addition, managing all the acoustics and sound logistics throughout both the ceremony and reception. Dance lessons helped both Will and I feel like we had some moves to fall back on, and I did a lot of dancing with our good friends’ kids, Zeke and Aili, who had even more stamina than we did! We definitely sent the night off with a bang, and I can’t wait to see all the candids from that part of the evening.”
Elizabeth Furnace Wedding: End of the Night
Laura smiles, “In lots of ways, we were already married, so the Elizabeth Furnace wedding was just a great excuse to solemnize and celebrate our relationship with family and friends, many of whom traveled substantial distances at great logistical expense to be there. (For example, our officiant, who’s a friend of ours, came all the way from India, and one of my bridal attendants was supposed to be in Antarctica the day of the wedding)!”
She laughs, “Any anxiety I had was mostly from taking on lots of crazy last-minute wedding art projects, and most of that was over by the day of the wedding itself: the professionals took over, so it was actually the least chaotic day of the wedding weekend. In addition, my family and wedding party took wonderful care of me— I would not have survived the week without my wonderful maid of honor and sister, Deborah, and my bridesmaids Audrey, Laura, Kristen, and Kathryn. I mostly felt calm and happy, even if the sleep deprivation put me into a bit of a fugue state, haha.”
Will shares, “Laura told me the day after our Elizabeth Furnace wedding how it made her smile how ‘soft and gooey’ the wedding made me. Mostly, what I remember feeling is different shades of joy: the elation of the first look and our first moments together after the ceremony; happiness at seeing so many friends and family around us; the pleasure of seeing months of planning come together; affection for my wonderful groomsmen and the rest of the wedding party.”
- Venue: Elizabeth Furnace
- Event Production & Catering: JDK Group
- DJ: 3 West Productions
- Cake: Rosie’s Creative Cakes
- Hair: Sara K Beauty
- Makeup: Mashup Looks
- Groom’s Suit: Henry Davidsen
Hungry for More?
- Laura & Will’s Engagement Session
- More of Jim’s Amazing Work: Katelyn & Kyle, Myrissa & Chuck
- 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 want to hear all about it!