Deerfield Golf Club Wedding | Melissa and Kevin
Where the heck do I even START with these two?!
I first had the pleasure of meeting Melissa & Kevin when Kevin proposed to her under a red covered bridge in Delaware during the fall of 2020. Kevin called me on a Monday saying he was planning on proposing THAT WEDNESDAY and asked if I would be able to photograph his proposal. Luckily I was available so I said “Heck yes!!!” and we got to planning!!! The moment was perfect and Melissa said yes and I took beautiful photos of them and it was lovely 🙂
I had my fingers and toes crossed hoping that Melissa & Kevin would ask me to photograph their wedding because I loved working with them so much and — guess what — they did!!!!! I SQUEALED for joy when I got the email and I honestly remember getting up from my desk and jumping around hahaha. I get to work with this lovely couple again!!!!!
Melissa was the most prepared bride I had ever worked with. Planning seemed effortless to her and I was in awe at how PRETTY all of her planning document were!! Everything was super organized and branded with the colors/vibe of their wedding and I am so grateful for all of the work she put into getting ready for her big day. I was even able to go on a tour of the venue with Melissa months before the wedding to see the space and start dreaming about photo ideas for the wedding!! I didn’t think it was possible to get more excited about their wedding, but here I was, even more excited 🤣
The big day finally arrived and I showed up at the venue before Melissa or Kevin, buzzing with excitement. I talked to the coordinator about the plan for the day — the wedding was supposed to be outside but there was a strong chance of storms during the day so they had moved the ceremony inside to be safe. I checked the setup out and it was beautiful as ever — I couldn’t wait to get these two love bugs married!!!
Once Melissa and the girls arrived looking GORGEOUS all done up with their hair and makeup, I started getting to work with photographs. Melissa had put together an entire bag of details for me to photograph with ribbons and props and I got SO excited to get creative with her flat lays (it’s still one of my favorites to date!). I found a spot in a beautiful greenhouse-esque hallway and immediately started photographing her details. I also hung up her (stunning) dress in front of this hallway and am SO happy with how these details turned out.
Once I was finished with the details, I let Melissa get dressed and headed down to the pub where Kevin was hanging with his boys. I was getting some super nice portraits outside with him when all of the sudden Melissa’s sister arrived with a gift for Kevin from Melissa!! I had him open the gift on camera and was touched at how thoughtful Melissa was with her gifts. I had asked Kevin earlier if he had a special watch he wanted me to photograph (common for grooms on their wedding day) and he said his watch JUST broke so he didn’t have one. I be you’ll never guess what Melissa got him — a WATCH!!!! Along with a little bottle of Fireball and a flask to put it in, of course. I also got a nice detail shot of Melissa’s letter to Kevin that she included in the gift bag. Goodness gracious I wasn’t ready to cry already!!!
I went back up to the girls and WOW Melissa looked so beautiful in her wedding dress!!!!! It fit her so perfectly and she looked like a legitimate princess. GoooooodNESS!! I snapped a few photos before getting ready for the first look with her dad. We had planned earlier for the moment to happen in that beautiful hallway where I photographed the details and I was so excited for it to finally be happening! I directed her dad to the spot, told him to hold tight, then grabbed Melissa and walked her around to the opposite way he was facing. Their first look moment was so incredibly sweet — he kept saying how beautiful she was and the smiles on both of their faces were just so big and joyful!!! One of my favorite pictures from their wedding day is the picture of Melissa’s dad hugging her during this first look — the joy in his face, the beauty of her dress, the emotion of the tight embrace and the gorgeous scenery of the hallway … yes, please!!!
Then for the next first look — Melissa’s soon-to-be husband. We had also planned out the spot for this first look and it seemed like we would just be able to fit it in before the rain was predicted to begin!!! I grabbed Kevin and we were carted down to this beautiful white house with green shutters in the middle of the golf course — what an awesome spot for a first look!!! I knew immediately I wanted a wide shot of this moment to capture the beauty of their surroundings while also emphasizing the quietness of their first moment together on their wedding day. I chatted it up with Kevin while our MVP golf cart driver went back up to the venue to drive Melissa down to our spot. I made sure he was positioned in such a way that there was no chance he’d see Melissa before he should. When Melissa arrived, I carefully placed them where I needed them to be and confirmed that my framing was perfect before giving Melissa the go-ahead.
Andddddd just like I knew it would be, their first look is one of my favorites to have photographed so far in my career. It was straight out of a movie, y’all. Melissa walked up to Kevin with so much poise and grace. When Kevin turned around to see her (a man who normally doesn’t showcase a lot of emotion, mind you), his reaction was priceless. The shock and joy on his face seeing his bride in her magnificent white dress … my GOODNESS I was so honored to have witnessed and documented this moment. He twirled her around (something they do often, swing dancing is very special to them as a couple!) to see the full extent of the dress and I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time. Wowza. First look for the books!!!
Bride and Groom Portraits
After giving them a moment to soak it all in, we moved into bride and groom portraits. We got some stunning shots in front of the beautiful white and green house, and I made sure to get some bridal portraits of Melissa while we still had this great background. Our MVP golf cart driver took us back up to the venue for some more photos around the gorgeous backyard area. On the drive up I of COURSE had to sneak some photos of them kissing in the back of the golf cart because ~duh~!! We arrived at the gazebo that Melissa really wanted to include in their portraits. We got some awesome shots there and I photographed them walking from the gazebo to the fountain on the back patio of the venue (stay tuned for another appearance of this fountain in their wedding gallery … hint hint wink wink 😉🙊) which are some of my favorite portraits of them. I actually made a cool reel of these photos which I will also include here in their blog post!!!
Back inside, I said can we PLEASE do some portraits in my favorite hallway, and of course they were both so down!! I had them slow dance together, cheek to cheek (anybody know that song???), and I made some super intimate portraits of them being all cute and in love. You know, casually incredibly romantic and stuff. Before hiding away for the ceremony, Melissa and Kevin were able to see the room where they were about to get married and admire the cross arbor that they MADE (!!!!!!)!! Like, come on. How freaking cool is that?! They’re the best!!! (Side note — the coordinator and I kept gushing all day about how fantastic Melissa and Kevin are & how sad we were that this day was almost over and we wouldn’t get to work with them anymore. True story.)
While we were waiting for guests arrive to the ceremony, Melissa gave gifts to her mother and soon-to-be mother-in-law to show her appreciation to both of them for everything leading up to her union with Kevin. There were lots of tears to be had and it really showed how much of a joyous occasion this wedding was to everyone involved. I then got some fun champagne photos with the bridesmaids and may or may not have laid on the ground to get some cool angles (oops 🤣) of them toasting to Melissa. When it was time for Melissa to truly hide away, she donned her veil and we did some more portraits of her in the bridal suite to document how lovely she looked in preparation to be wedded to the love of her life.
It was go time.
The second photographer arrived JUST in time with my flashes (thank you, Jesus) and we did some test shots to prepare for the big moment. There were smiles all around as the wedding party walked down the (very) long hallway to get to their positions around the homemade cross arbor. When it was time for Melissa to walk down the aisle with her father, I flipped back and forth between Melissa and Kevin to make sure I got her walking down with a smile on her face as well as Kevin’s reaction to seeing his beautiful bride. I flipped to him just in time to get a photo of him wiping tears from his eyes!!!! As Melissa & her dad finished walking down the aisle, I got an awesome shot of her mother looking on with Melissa & her dad in the foreground as well as a tearful embrace between Melissa & her dad with Kevin looking on in the foreground. I love when I’m able to tell stories like that in single pictures, and I’m so happy I was able to capture those moments for them!!!
The ceremony was awesome. I had my second photographer focus on getting more artistic shots while I grabbed the main photos of the event. The officiant, Abby Ecker, was INCREDIBLE. She kept the audience attentive and truly captured the essence of Melissa & Kevin’s beautiful relationship and soon-to-be union. There was not a dry eye to be had as Melissa & Kevin read their vows to each other — the simultaneous joy and seriousness of the moment were both tangible in the room. Before we knew it, the love bugs were sliding rings onto each others hands after committing to forever with each other and they sealed the deal with an emotional kiss in front of their handmade cross arbor!!!! The room erupted in applause — they were finally married!!!!!! Yeeeeeehawwww 🙂 As they walked down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs., Kevin twirled his WIFE and brought her into a romantic dip kiss, the perfect way to conclude their ceremony!!!
Formal Photos & Cocktail Hour
After getting a super fun shot of the two of them cheesing with their marriage license, it was time to move into family photos. I had my second photographer call out names from the impressive flashcards Melissa made for us (that included photos of the family members!!!) as I directed family members under a covered porch for their formal picture with the Mr. & Mrs. After finishing these up as quickly as possible so the family could head back inside and enjoy cocktail hour, I gathered the wedding party together for some fun photos in front of the venue!! Melissa & Kevin had such a solid crew with them and they were down for all of my ideas even though I knew everyone wanted to get inside and enjoy cocktail hour ASAP Rocky!!
The setup for cocktail hour was super pretty – great job, Deerfield!! The food looked delicious and the decor was super nice. Before guests were ushered into the reception, Melissa & Kevin got the opportunity to preview the setup with all the table settings as well as their cake!!! Melissa put her hand to her heart when she entered the room, overjoyed at how well everything had come together. I had to agree with her — it was lovely!! She squealed when she saw the cake which was so fun to witness 🙂 Before leaving, Mr. & Mrs. Nolan of COURSE had to get a few swing dance moves in to test out the dance floor before their grand entrances, which included a twirl into a MASSIVE dip that honestly looked scary to do but showed how much trust they had in each other!!!
Entrances & First Dances
Then it was time for the entrances and the first dances. I knew Melissa & Kevin would tear up the dance floor with their incredible swing dancing skills, but BOY did they blow my already high expectations out of the water!!! They twirled around the dance floor like they were born to dance with each other and captivated their guests with their incredibly impressive dips and twists. The parent dances that followed were also extremely sweet — an emotional slow dance with Melissa & her father and some Texas footwork with Kevin & his mother. After a spectacular reception entrance, everyone made their way into the back room for dinner.
While Melissa’s dad blessed the food, I looked over to Melissa & Kevin just in time to find them leaning against each other and holding hands, head bowed and eyes closed in prayer. What a special moment!!! I couldn’t help but smile because I knew they would love that picture 🙂 Then Melissa’s sister gave a heartwarming toast to the married couple, touching on how awesome Melissa is, and Kevin’s best man gave a short but sweet speech about how incredible Kevin is and how good he and Melissa are together. Finally, it was time to dig in!!!
I followed Melissa & Kevin around the reception hall as they greeted their guests while salads were being served. I like doing this to capture candids of newlyweds with important people in their lives that might not make it into formal portraits. It was cool to see all of the reunions between Melissa & Kevin and their friends — Kevin is from Texas so there were guests from all over attending their wedding!! Soon enough, plates were served and I took a break to eat my own dinner (which was ~delicious~) with the second photographer, the DJ and the Photo Booth worker! We had plenty of time to eat our meal (a rare occurrence for a wedding day) and were ushered out just in time for the cake cutting!!!!
The parent dances kicked off the reception dance party with an emotional slow dance by Melissa & her father and some Texas footwork by Kevin & his mother.
I bopped around the reception as usual, focusing on the dance floor but also snapping some candids of conversations happening on the side. My second photographer was focused on the details and the photo booth. I even hopped in and busted a few moves during the wobble (bc, duh!) before capturing Melissa & her bridesmaids fanTASTIC wobble moves.
My favorite part of the reception, however, was when Melissa ran up to me and told me the fountain was lit up outside and it wasn’t raining!!! I immediately made my way out back with her and, sure enough, the fountain was lit up and looking MAGICAL in the moonlight!! I knew immediately that I needed Melissa & Kevin to do a super romantic dip kiss in front of the fountain to embrace the magic of the moment, and boy, did they understand the assignment (okay I’m sorry I’m cringing too but I had to write that)!!!!! The result is one of my all-time favorite wedding portraits to-date. Wowza, what a beautiful and freaking romantic couple they are!!!
Mr. & Mrs. Nolan, if you’re reading this, thank you for being such a lovely couple and such incredible humans!! I am so honored to have documented your love story from engagement to wedding rings and I wish you two endless love and joy in all the years to come!!!! 🙂
Vendors who made this day as special as it was:
Venue: Deerfield Golf Club
Dress: David’s Bridal
Men’s Wear: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair: Parlour Wilmington
Makeup: Make Up by Kim
Florals: Twisted Vine Wedding & Event Florals
Photo Booth: Complete Weddings & Events
Officiant: Abby Ecker of The Journey
Philadelphia Wedding Photographer: Gabriella Marie Photography