The Waterfall Delaware Wedding | Erica and Jake
Wowowow what a sweet love Erica & Jake share!! Erica booked me for her October wedding quite some time ago and it wasn’t until their engagement session this summer that I was really able to get to know the two of them (you can see those pics riiiiiight HERE!). Their wedding venue was beautiful and I was so excited to finally meet their kiddos!!
I started the day off at Erica’s parents’ house where she was getting ready with her bridesmaids. I could tell as soon as I arrived that this was a close-knit bunch. Everybody was super comfortable around each other and the vibes were chill yet exciting as the girls prepped for the day ahead. I photographed detail shots right away as Erica was getting her makeup done in the other room. Her dress was GORGEOUS — her dad helped me carry it outside for some sick detail shots — and she had a beautiful wooden “his/hers” ring box that I incorporated into the photos. After details, I brought the bridesmaids out back in their silky black robes and fuzzy slippers for some fun group shots. The sky looked preeeeeetty ominous while we were out there; I crossed my fingers and toes that the rain would hold off for their Erica & Jake’s look. Back inside, Erica had one photo request: a picture of her daughter holding up her wedding dress and looking in the mirror. Adorable!!!!!
It was getting to be time to meet the boys at Bellevue State Park for their photos, but Jake was running a few minutes behind so I was able to stay with the girls long enough for Erica to put on her dress and do first looks with her parents and future parents-in-law!! I am SO glad I got to capture those sweet moments on camera for Erica to look back on years from now. After those first looks, it was time to head to Bellevue to capture TWO more first looks!!!
But first, it was bro time. I did some formal and fun photos with Jake and his groomsmen. I always have so much fun with the groomsmen because there’s always one jokester in the group to mess with. For example, pretty much as soon as I pulled out my camera to start taking pictures, we had to wait for one groomsman to finish, uh, using the restroom by a tree a few yards away before we began 🤣 Jake notified me that he was the “problem child” … so I had a blast referring to him with that nickname the rest of the day 🤣🤣
Before we knew it, the ladies had arrived and it was time for the first look(s). What Jake didn’t know was that one of his groomsmen, the person that actually introduced him and Erica, would be putting on a fake wedding dress and pretending to be Erica for the FIRST first look. It was HILARIOUS. I apologized to Jake for showing him the wrong bride (lol) and then I put him back in position to see his TRUE bride for the first time in her dress!! Erica was looking like an absolute QUEEN in her tiara and gorgeous dress … and Jake’s face showed it! They had such a sweet moment together. All of the sudden, their daughter Ella saw both of her parents together and decided to BEELINE it to them with a rush of joy! Jake caught her mid run, threw her up into the air and gave her a kiss in one of those moments that dads do so well. I got a SUPER cute family candid of that moment (minus their son Holden!) which made me very happy 🙂
Then it was time for full wedding party and family photos!! The rain had miraculously held off up to this point but a stormy darkness was starting to creep its way in so we hustled through the formal photos as fast as we could. Somehow, someway, we got them all done right as the first raindrop fell down! Thank you, Jesus!!!
We got to the venue with plenty of time to spare. I bounced back and forth between the bridal suite and the ceremony room downstairs to capture the ”pre-wedding” moments. I got a lot of cute shots of the kids playing on their parents’ phones together and of the wedding party prepping for their reception entrances. The ceremony was moved inside because of the unpredictable stormy weather, but the setup was beautiful nonetheless. Before I knew it, it was time to get in position for these lovebirds to tie the knot!!
Jake’s uncle was the officiant for their wedding, which was super sweet. It’s always a nice treat to have someone the couple knows to officiate their wedding! His uncle started off the ceremony promising to keep it short and sweet by starting off with a slideshow from his recent vacation to South America 🤣 The crowd chuckled at the well-placed joke and it was time to get on with the ceremony. (Oh, I almost forgot to mention — Jake walked into the ceremony holding his son’s hand and it was the cutest thing ever. Okay back to the story!) The officiant asked Jake to repeat the vows after him, and halfway through, he was met with silence — Jake was too busy staring at his beautiful bride that he got completely tongue-tied!! Erica and the rest of the guests started cracking up. It was so funny in such a sweet way. Then the officiant moved to Erica … and she got tongue-tied on the EXACT SAME VOW!!!! The crowd erupted in laughter. What a fun memory for them to look back on! After a few tries of saying their vows, Erica and Jake slipped their wedding bands on each others fingers and sealed their union with a kiss!!! Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Ryan!!!!!
I met the newlyweds in a beautiful back hallway as the guests filed into the cocktail hour. Jake really wanted a dip kiss shot in the hallway, and I didn’t blame him — with the golden chandeliers and stunning archways, it was the perfect spot for a romantic portrait!! I also managed to get a super cute picture of their daughter spinning around in her pink dress in the hallway before Erica & Jake mingled with family & friends at the cocktail hour 🙂
Y’all, this cocktail hour was INSANE. There was so much food!!!! Like, if you told me that this was dinner, I would have believed you. Pasta station, taco station, burger station, JAMAICAN station … name a food and it was there!!! The setup was also beautifully put together and was fantastic for their guests. I grabbed some detail pictures of the food and some candids of the guests before taking a few minutes to rest so I could prepare for the reception.
Once the reception room was flipped and ready to go, I walked through before the guests entered to get detail shots of the table set ups and the cake. I instantly noticed that Erica & Jake had photos from their engagement session with me earlier this summer as decor for the tables – I almost shed a tear!!!! It’s so freaking cool to me that the service I provide for my couples gets to be used over and over again for years down the road. Wow. And the cake!!!!! A beautiful, white, massive wedding cake with a personalized cake topper that looked just like Erica & Jake … and Ella and Holden, their two kids!!! It was a beauuuuutiful set up and I couldn’t wait for the party to get started.
I need to give credit to their wedding party. They CRUSHED their entrances. We had a bridesmaid giving a groomsman a piggy back ride, we had a fishing line, we had chugging of drinks, we had drinks poured into mouths, we had ALCOHOL BELTS of miller light and fireball which were tossed into the crowd like it was a sporting event (I got a GREAT shot of a guy going all out trying to catch a beer)!!! So much fun, great job y’all. Then the couple of the day walked in to a roaring crowd and were greeted with sparklers and red roses from the venue staff!! It was such a cool entrance and made for some awesome photos (especially with the flower girls twirling around through it all!).
Their first dances were so sweet!! Erica and Jake had the BIGGEST smiles on their faces the whole time. And right at the end, their daughter Ella just couldn’t take seeing her parents have fun without her another second longer and decided to run up and dance with them!!! It was freaking adorable and it was easy to tell that Erica & Jake loved every second of it. Erica kept that massive smile on her face while dancing with her dad, another few minutes of absolute joy!!! They shared quite a few laughs while they were dancing around which made me very happy to see. Then Jake wheeled his mom out onto the dance floor for a first dance; she was in a wheelchair so it wasn’t a traditional mother-son dance. The mood was quiet as he wheeled her out, but she raised her arms like “come on, people!!” and got a massive round of applause from the crowd! Then Jake’s son, Holden, decided he wanted to help his dad wheel his grandma around the dance floor so he ran up and took control of the wheelchair which was so freaking cute (except the fact that he’s tiny and couldn’t see that he almost ran her into a table of guests! 🤣)!!!
After a few very sweet toasts by the maid of honor, matron of honor and best man, it was time for the entrees. Or so we thought. The venue seemed to be super backed up from other events/weddings going on that day and took a LONG time getting the food on people’s plates. I was super frustrated on behalf of Erica & Jake – this was their wedding day, a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the venue was slacking on service. In the meantime, the kids at the wedding had a field day on the dance floor, twirling and leaping and dancing their hearts out. Eventually, when it was obvious the food wasn’t coming out anytime soon, Jake & Erica approached me to do some bride & groom portraits outside since the rain had prevented us from doing them earlier. I said of COURSE!!! and we went out back to a gorgeous garden/waterfall/fountain area. We got a few quality shots in a relatively short time span — I am very pleased with how these portraits came out!!! And I’m glad we were able to make good use of the extra time spent waiting for dinner to be ready!
Soon after we got back inside, we set up the cake cutting for the newlyweds. Y’all, Erica & Jake were SO stinkin’ cute cutting the cake!!!! Jake mustered all of his effort and Erica was thoroughly enjoying the process lol. I got some super duper cute shots of them, and they nicely fed each other a bite of cake! The entrees were finally served, and Jake had the DJ get the party started with some dancing tunes and disco lights. I grabbed a photo of all of Jake’s cousins, which they had been trying to get all night!! It was super rare for all the cousins to be in the same room at the same time so I’m very glad I was able to document that moment!! I snapped a few dancing shots and, before I knew it, it was time to leave.
Erica & Jake, MASSIVE congratulations on your marriage and I wish you the very best as you continue building a family together!!!!!
Vendors who made this day as special as it was:
Venue: The Waterfall (severely understaffed)
Makeup: Moondust Magic (Jamie Bailie)
Florals: Kirk’s Flowers
Cake: Desserts by Dana
DJ: DJ Lerone
Philadelphia Wedding Photographer: Gabriella Marie Photography