katy + jake: vintage travel themed oakbourne mansion wedding, west chester pa
On the morning of September 12th, the forecast called for an 80-100% chance of thunderstorms for Katy and Jake's entire wedding. That certainly upped the nerves on an already intense double-wedding weekend. But I have known Katy for years and I was certain of one thing: anything that happened, she would take in stride and turn into the best fun we've all had.
Katy has been one of my girl crushes for a long time. And I'm a tough sell -- beauty and style aren't enough. Anyone can manage simply looking good. Katy has that je ne sais quois, that special blend of beauty, humor, confidence, strength and softness, independence and open-heartedness, and a hearty sense of adventure. Since I've known her, she's taken tap lessons, coordinated clothing swap parties for her friends, and traveled around the world, always reporting back with great stories and photographs. I knew from stalking her and Jake as a couple over the past few years that he was the perfect complement to Katy's special blend of awesome.
Wedding day was the first time I met Jake, who was, endearingly, a bundle of nerves. Because the couple had booked 4 hours coverage in lieu of a full day, we had to dive right in to the First Look, which happened at Oakbourne Mansion. And it's a good thing: I don't think Jake could've waited to see his bride another minute longer.
Their pup Sadie joined in on the fun.
From the very first planning meeting we had, Katy and Jake had hoped to do some of their portraits in a sunflower field. When our local autumn fields started to grow, it looked like we might be out of luck: all the usual sunflower spots seemed to be full of corn. We made other arrangements, and almost immediately, wouldn't ya know, Liondale Farm in Kennett Square began to bloom. Two huge fields of gold. Of course by then, we had our timeline set, and the sunflowers were off the table.
But when the time came, I just couldn't accept it. Driving past these fields to get to the venue, I felt a super strong sense of regret and then resolve: we had to do this. Knowing most of the wedding day photos would take place indoors or under a tent, I really felt they needed this.
I've never been pushy with a couple, even when it meant missing an amazing shot. I approach wedding days for what they are: the most important day of my clients' lives. It's their day, not the Sarah Alderman Photography Hour. And yet... I had to push Katy and Jake to throw away their timeline and let me drive them to Kennett Square. And I'm so glad we went for it.
They seemed pretty glad, too.
Katy and Jake's wedding had a vintage travel theme, complete with maps and globes, vintage trunks and postcards, keys, travel books, and other travel tchotchkes. Their florals were designed by Mandy Stadtmiller, a friend of the bride and petal pusher at Kati Mac Floral Designs. Most of the decor was from Katy's personal collection, and styled by designer Cira James and good friend Leigh Green.
That awkward moment when the Father of the Bride gives you 'the eyes'....
Almost as soon as we started formal pictures with the bridal party, it started to pour. This is the face the bridal party makes when they wonder if you are gonna let their hair get wet.
The ceremony was moved from under a huge, gorgeous Oakbourne tree and into the tent. With two videographers and myself in the mix, it was a tight squeeze, but a beautifully intimate and joyful ceremony. Jake's mom was the Flower Girl, tossing petals from her vintage clutch. Can't handle it.
cocktail hour meant fun photo ops and a few good toasts, which meant more teary bridesmaids. I love a good teary bridesmaid, and Katy's were the best sort:
the four of them have been best friends for over 20 years.
le party time.
The day was so incredibly fun and light-hearted. But there was more going on beneath the surface, which I'd like to take a moment to honor and acknowledge. Jake's father has been critically ill, so much that he could not attend the wedding. Since then, his illness has grown even more serious.
I know you will join me in holding the Ferry family in the light as they face this together. Sending all my family's best prayers and love rays.