‘Weddings’ Category


The Lodge at Liberty Forge Wedding Photographer Mechanicsburg PA The Altland House Psycho Cupcakes Blooms by Vickrey Chelsea Nolan Salt Salon Men’s Wearhouse {Lauren & Mark}

08.24.18 Weddings

Lauren & Mark

How they met:

Mark & Lauren knew each other for years before they fell in love. They both worked at Pizza Hut where Lauren was a server and he was a delivery driver. At first, they were just friends. Since Mark was 5 years older than her, there was no love interest at first. As Lauren and Mark made their way through college, they realized that their relationship could be more than “Just friends.” Mark offered to take Lauren out to lunch, and soon after they started dating. Just a few months into dating, Mark and Lauren both knew that they were meant to be together. He actually introduced Lauren to his Mom by saying “This is the girl I’m going to marry, as long as she lets me!” (What he didn’t know was she already knew she was going to say yes) After about a year of dating, they decided to buy a house and move in together.


How he Asked, The Proposal:

At this point, they had already talked about getting married, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when he proposed. One day, Mark took Lauren to the Senator’s game (telling her that his company invited them). She suspected that he might propose, but she wasn’t positive. When the kiss cam came on during the middle of the game, there was a camera right in front of them. He got down on one knee and proposed in front of the entire crowd. He then said, “Let’s take a walk.” They got up walked around a corner, and there was all of her family and friends who watched the proposal on the big screen. Lauren couldn’t help but shed a few tears of joy.


Wedding Planning:

It took them about a year to plan their wedding. About a week after the proposal Lauren and her mom started looking for at venues. She immediately fell in love with The Lodge at Liberty Forge. She really enjoyed working with Tad from Liberty Forge. She knew that she wanted Bri from Salt Salon to do her hair.  When she met with Elaine, she recommended Chelsea Nolan for makeup. Chelsea and Bri did an amazing job! Mark’s brother is a DJ, so he was an obvious choice. Tad also recommended Caleb Stelle and his string trio to play for the ceremony! They were an amazing addition to her wedding. As for the wedding cake, she decided to go with Psycho Cupcakes.  All of her guests were raving about how tasty the cake and cupcakes were! For the flowers, she used Blooms by Vickry and they did a fantastic job. She used Zola and Wedding Wire to help her stay organized throughout the planning.


Advice for a new bride:

The main piece of advice she would give a new bride is don’t sweat the little things. Hair, makeup, cake, music, food, etc. All of this stuff really doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone you love. Lauren remembers when she went to do her hair trial a few weeks before the wedding. Her hair stylist asked her if she was nervous. She replied, “I don’t really care about all that stuff, the only thing I care about is that my fiancée shows up!” Lauren’s mom would get annoyed with her because she didn’t care about pleasing anyone. She was as far away from a bridezilla as you can get! So with that being said, don’t worry about every little thing that comes along with planning a wedding. Just have fun and enjoy your day!



The wedding was perfect. Everything went as planned and she couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. She is loving married life! The thing Lauren loves most about Mark is that he is very supportive. She is now starting her own business which is a huge risk, but Mark is 100% on board. Lauren says he will also do absolutely anything for her, and she would do the same for him. She asked Mark what he loves most about her, and he said “Well, obviously your gorgeous!”. She laughed and told him to dig deeper. He said that he loves her personality because they are so similar and always on the same page.


Cheers Lauren & Mark. Wishing you years of happiness and love!!

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: The Lodge at Liberty Forge

Ceremony Site: The Lodge at Liberty Forge

Wedding Coordinator: Tad Cruise

Ceremony Music: Caleb Stelle

Caterer: The Altland House

Officiant: Lindsey Melnick

Cake: Psycho Cupcakes

Florist: Blooms by Vickrey

DJ/Band: MacGyver Frank

Stationary/Invitations: Etsy / CCPrints by Tabitha

Makeup: Chelsea Nolan

Hair: Salt Salon (Brianna England)

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Kay Jewelers


A Mixed Gendered Wedding Party: Most Common Questions Answered

08.15.18 Weddings

Recently, one of the largest trends in weddings, I have noticed is having both genders on one or both sides of the wedding party. A lot of people still have a lot of question about this trend and the logistics behind it. Below are some of the most common questions as well as answers!


What is the title you would give someone who is taking the role traditionally held by someone of the other gender?

It’s easy, anything you want to! You can keep the title the same or you can change it up. Groomsmaids, bridesman, best woman, man of honor, or really anything works! Just make they are comfortable with it.


What do they wear?

You can have them wear anything you want to! In recent years, it has become more and more trendy to mix and match what the bridal and groom’s party attire looks like. A lot of brides choose to have all the bridesmaids wear the same color but all wear different dresses. This can be incorporated in when you have a male supporting the bride as well. They can wear either the same or a similar suit as the groomsman. Instead, he could wear the bridal color for the accessories instead of the groom’s color. The same philosophy can be applied to having a female stand up on the groom side. Instead of her wearing a suit, she can wear a dress similar to what the bridal party is wearing, except her dress could match the groom’s colors.


How would they walk in?

This is completely up to you. Some people will have everyone walk in individually instead of in groups. Otherwise, you could have a few people from each party walk in together instead of the opposite party. You could also just do it the traditional way!


Will people think this is awkward?

No! Society has moved away from defining what strictly men and women can do. It would be more strange for you to think that this was weird! Girls and guys can have friends of the opposite gender. It’s your wedding! Do what makes your happy!


Peter Allen House Wedding Photographer Dauphin PA JDK Amanda Shofford Honeybee Floral Design Chelsea Nolan Candy Laughman Gowns by Design Men’s Wearhouse Pronovias Leitzel’s Jewelry {Kristen & Scott}

08.15.18 Weddings

Kristen and Scott planned their wedding to be held at the Peter Allen House in Dauphin which is the perfect location that includes the charm of a historic home and property with all the modern amenities and details. Their wedding was on May 6, 2018. The trees were in perfect bloom and lucky for the couple, the rain which was forecasted held off so they were able to have their ceremony outside. They planned a gourmet brunch menu, catered by The JDK Group. They were surrounded by their family and friends and it was a wonderful celebration of their love.

Kristen & Scott, Wishing you many years of love and happiness!

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: Peter Allen House

Ceremony Site: Peter Allen House

Ceremony Music: Malaysia Billman (Cellist)

Caterer: JDK

Officiant: Brock Kerchner & Judge Curcillo

Cake: Amanda Shofford

Florist: Honeybee Floral Designs (Melissa Klippa)

Makeup: Chelsea Nolan

Hair: Candy Laughman

Bridal Gown: Gowns by Design

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridal Gown Designer: Pronovias

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Leitzel’s Jewelry

Harmony Forge Inn Wedding Photographer Bellefonte PA Dutch Haven Restaurant Reverend Bruce Wallace Karen Bitner Sweeney’s Floral Shop Event Excellence Evolve Studio David’s Bridal Men’s Wearhouse {Carly & Dillon}

08.13.18 Weddings

Carly & Dillon met their sophomore year in college after a mutual friend got them both in the same place at the same time (on his birthday). They love adventuring together and have already moved cross-country twice. Carly says, “I think the fact that we survived a cross country trek in a U-haul together proved that we could get married. “:)  When asked to tell me more about them, Carly also mentioned that she loves that they continuously push each other both in their personal and professional lives. She said Dillon continues to make her laugh and smile every day and that he’s her rock and she doesn’t know where she’d be without him.

Carly and Dillon currently live in Maryland but planned their wedding near her hometown in Bellefonte, PA. They had their wedding at the Harmony Forge Inn where their ceremony was in the front lawn of the beautiful farmhouse and reception was in the barn on the property. Carly’s bridesmaids were in purple short dresses and groomsmen in gray suits with purple ties. You could really see how comfortable Carly and Dillon were in front of the camera. One of my favorite things at their reception was Carly’s maid of honor put together a video of well wishes from people who loved them. So sweet!

I asked Carly the following questions which I thought would be helpful to planning brides!

What resources did you use when planning your wedding?

I used the Knot’s wedding checklist; it was really helpful for organizing what needed done at what times!

Wedding wire has an amazing tool for seating charts that lets you enter the exact dimensions of the room and the size of the tables so you can see how the room would plan out.

If you could tell a new bride who is planning their big day a piece of advice or word of wisdom, or even something you wish you had known…what would it be?

It’s okay to consider eloping, we did 500 times.
Amazon and Etsy has been my best friend through this whole process! You can find unique/custom made items at really reasonable prices! Physical stores helped for inspiration, but then I always ended up on Amazon or Etsy!

It’s your day and the small things you were thinking about won’t even matter because the day of is so magical and fun.

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: Harmony Forge Inn

Ceremony Site: Harmony Forge Inn

Caterer: Dutch Haven Restaurant

Officiant: Reverend Bruce Wallace

Cake: Karen Bitner

Florist: Sweeney’s Floral Shop

Lighting/AV: Event Excellence

Makeup: Evolve Studio

Hair: Evolve Studio

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

What is and Why you should have an unplugged wedding?

08.08.18 Weddings


Imagine this: Today is your wedding day. Everything has been planned for months and your guests are sitting waiting for you to walk down the aisle. The music starts playing and now it’s your time to go. Then you see it; people are on their phones! To walk down the aisle, you will need to avoid 10 phones, a few iPads, and even some child’s gaming device. Not only are people taking pictures but multiple people are texting and someone’s tacky ringtone goes off.


Believe it or not, this problem is becoming more and more common at wedding ceremonies in recent years. Luckily, unplugged weddings are becoming popular and actually trending among 2018 weddings! An “unplugged wedding” is a return to more traditional times: the couple will request from the guests that no phones are to be used during the ceremony and even sometimes this is even requested during the reception. With this request, there are to be no exceptions. Guests are not to take pictures, FaceTime a family member, text updates on the wedding, live stream the ceremony on Facebook, or anything else! All the guests have to do is sit back and enjoy the ceremony.


With an unplugged wedding, the couple receives far more benefits than simply removing extra noise. One major problem that has been noticed in weddings is that people are not connecting to the ceremonies. Couples truly spend lots of time writing out their vows and planning out the ceremony to make it memorable and also meaningful for them as well as their guest. By removing the phones, it encourages the audience to get more involved not only with the what is being said by the couple and the officiant but also with the people around them. People are more willing to interact when they do not have the distraction of a phone in front of them. Another wonderful benefit is that your guest will not feel the need to be your photographer. We all know who these people are in our close group. These are the people who will follow the wedding party around to take their pictures (especially when the pictures are not wanted). By unplugging your wedding, this problem is removed.


I understand that unplugged weddings are not for everyone, I do believe that in 2018 they will continue to climb to the largest wedding trend.


Happy wedding season to all of the happy couples out there and best of wishes!

Two Harts Barn Wedding Photographer Spring Grove PA pink gray Moore Music Boneyard BBQ Steph King Cakes Top Notch Studios Twice Upscale Resale Jos. A. Banks Alfred Angelo David’s Bridal Farley Jewelry {MaryKate & Gary}

08.06.18 Weddings

MaryKate & Gary met at Temple University where they lived across the hall from each other. They met the second weekend of freshman year and have been together ever since! After MaryKate graduated she moved back to Hanover, PA and got her first teaching job and Gary stayed in Philadelphia and worked at Temple. After two years of long distance, Gary got a new job at Johns Hopkins University and moved to Hanover where they bought their first house. Finally, we were settled and ready to get married!

MaryKate & Gary were married on June 9 at Two Harts Barn in Spring Grove PA.

MaryKate had planned an outdoor ceremony and lucky for her, she had one of the only rain free weekends in central pa this past spring. Her color scheme was light pink and gray and she tied these colors throughout the wedding in all of her details.  She decided to have antique doors in the front of her ceremony with pink flowers and lots and lots of baby’s breath. They chose to do a first look which we did in front of the barn. They were super sweet and ended seeing each other for the first time with a high five. Love when couples keep it real! Gary is of Jewish faith and at the end of the ceremony he chose to break the glass and at the reception they did the Horah which is where they were lifted in the air on chairs by their guests.

Many of the people in the bridal party also attended Temple where they fell in love! Gary also chose to include his sister in the wedding by having her on his side. Loved this! They ordered wood flowers from Etsy which were a perfect touch and had a wood bark inspired wedding cake as well as lots and lots of delicious cupcakes.

MaryKate comes from a blended family and one of my favorite things she did was honor her step parents by having her stepmother and stepfather walk her half way up and then her mother and father walked her down the aisle.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out their adorable pup who made an appearance to get a few pictures with her mom and dad!

MaryKate’s advice for brides: For any new brides planning their weddings, I recommend choosing a venue that you absolutely love and creating an atmosphere where everyone can be relaxed and have fun! Also, enjoy the day because it really does go by so quickly!

Congrats MaryKate & Gary! Wishing you lots of love and happiness!

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: Two Harts Barn

Ceremony Site: Two Harts Barn

Ceremony Music: Moore Music

Caterer: Boneyard BBQ

Officiant: Jan Lucht-Baer

Cake: Steph King Cakes

Florist: Etsy

DJ/Band: Moore Music

Stationary/Invitations: Shutterfly

Makeup: Top Notch Studios

Hair: Top Notch Studios

Bridal Gown: Twice Upscale Resale

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Joseph A. Banks

Bridal Gown Designer: Alfred Angelo

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Farley Jewelers


Liberty Forge Wedding Photographer Mechanicsburg PA Complete Weddings & Events Altland House The Flour Child Lincolnway Flower Shop Extreme Beauty Make-up Renaissance Bridal H&M Mountz {Kelly & Anthony}

08.01.18 Weddings

I don’t know about you but one of my favorite things to find out about my wedding and engagement couples is how they met, and then how he proposed. Take a peek at how Anthony proposed to Kelly and you will fall in love with this couple as much as I did!


Being with someone for 6 years, there are little-to-no secrets. The idea that we both wanted to get married was, in fact, one of those “non-secrets.” We’ve talked about it countless times before and nearly 3 years of long distance dating post-college & months of having an apartment together only solidified the notion. Unfortunately for me…that only made the proposal that much more difficult to figure out.

It had to be perfect. It had to be a surprise and the ring had to be unique. After months of trying to design the perfect ring and attempting to crack the code of a perfect proposal, I settled on the only thing that made sense; a proposal at Penn State, the place that led to us meeting and the one similarity and passion that we will always share. The only question was when should I do it?

I’m not usually one to say “hey let’s randomly go here” so I needed a good excuse to get Kelly to Penn State without her being suspicious. Luckily for me, her birthday and the Christmas holiday season were right around the corner, so I had options. At the expense of Kelly’s preference to not have a proposal on a birthday or major holiday, I decided to pull the trigger on her birthday, November 30th, 2016.

Despite the intermittent rain showers, we still decided to take the day off of work and head up to Penn State. We began the day at Mount Nittany Winery, sampling some wine, snacking on meat & cheese, and of course…buying a few bottles to take home. We then drove to downtown State College, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and proceeded to do some early Christmas shopping. It was around 3pm when the butterflies started and a nervous vomit feeling hit me. At this point, it was impossible for me to continue shopping, but I had to keep it together for a few more minutes.

The time was coming. We decided to walk back to the car around 4pm. Little did Kelly know I had been texting a long-time family friend of mine for weeks, Kaylee Blasiak, who still went to Penn State. We agreed for her to “bump into us” in front of the Christmas tree at the intersection of Allen Street and College Avenue. Despite the subpar weather and Kelly’s last ditch effort to unintentionally ruin my proposal plan (aka she realllllllly wanted to go to Chipotle), we had made it to the tree.

Earlier in the day, I had mentioned to Kelly that I wanted a picture in front of the tree for Christmas and that we would simply find someone to take it. Coming across the street we happened to see a “random student” and asked her to take a picture. As planned, it was Kaylee! At this point, Kelly thought it was just pure coincidence that we bumped into our only friend that was still attending Penn State. Of course, she eventually realized it wasn’t :).

Naturally, Kelly’s phone ran out of picture memory, so after scrambling to swap phones with Kaylee it was happening…I was doing it. After getting down on my knee, fumbling to get the ring out, unsure if I was actually saying words, grabbing the wrong hand, and being shaky enough to nearly put the ring on the wrong finger, I asked Kelly to marry me. Thankfully…she said yes! (though not 100% confirmed, as it all turned into a blur).

Once we got back to Harrisburg, we celebrated the only way we knew how….Chipotle.

Okay back to their wedding. They planned their ceremony and reception at Liberty Forge in Mechanicsburg PA, which is a favorite location of mine. My husband Matthew and I actually were married there ourselves in 2003. Their colors were light purple. They had fill your own bags with lavender as their favors. You totally have to check out how beautiful her bridesmaids were… Stunning! Their day was full of sunshine, smiles, tears of joy, laughter and one of the best dance parties I have been to in awhile!

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: Lodge at Liberty Forge

Ceremony Site: Lodge at Liberty Forge

Wedding Coordinator: Tad Cruise

Ceremony Music: Complete Weddings & Events

Caterer: Altland House

Officiant: Kait Verkest

Cake: The Flour Child

Florist: Lincolnway Flower Shop

DJ/Band: Complete Weddings & Events

Makeup: Extreme Beauty Make-up

Hair: Extreme Beauty Make-up

Bridal Gown: Renaissance Bridal

Tuxedos / Men Suits: H&M

Bridesmaids Dresses: Renaissance Bridal

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Mountz

Wedding Photographer Gettysburg PA Simply Events Inc. All Party Starz Entertainment Altland House Gateau Monique The Flowershop Koons Florsit Minted Bombshell Brides David’s Bridal Jos. A Banks Robbins Brothers Event Central PA {Katie & Michael}

07.27.18 Weddings

Katie and Michael planned their special day from over 2500 miles away in Michaels hometown of Gettysburg. They envisioned a laid back affair in the backyard and property of Michael’s family home with lots of laughter and a relaxed vibe. Katie and Michael were very interested in capturing the day as it unfolded. They didn’t want moments staged. They opted to see each other before the ceremony but without a formal first look in hopes to complete their wedding portraits all before the ceremony so they could spend their cocktail hour mingling and spending time with their guests, many of which flew in to central pa from California. Their bridal party was filled with their closest friends and family and you couldn’t help smiling when you saw them see each other for their first time. Family was super important to them and they sat both sets of parents and siblings art their head table with them. One of my favorite things I learned was they both have PhDs from Stanford and spent their first date doing an equation together.

Best Wishes Mr. & Mrs. Barako!


Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: Private Residence

Ceremony Site: Private Residence

Wedding Coordinator: Deb Erb, Simply Events Inc.

Ceremony Music: All Party Starz Entertainment

Caterer: Altland House

Officiant: Buz Meyers

Cake: Gateau Monique

Florist: The Flowershop Koons Florist

Lighting/AV: All Party Starz Entertainment

DJ/Band: All Party Starz Entertainment

Stationary/Invitations: Minted

Makeup: Bombshell Brides

Hair: Bombshell Brides

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Jos. A Banks

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Robbins Brothers

Biggest Wedding Trends of 2018

07.11.18 Weddings

Weddings are arguably one of the most important days in a couple’s life. Traditions are followed, however every couple’s celebration is a little different. Every year, there are new and growing trends in weddings. Here are 2018’s biggest wedding trends.


Fun Invitations:

Right off the bat, guests are noticing one of the largest trends this year in weddings: bold wedding invitations. These invites are moving away from the classic white paper and moving towards cursive print with floral designs that are full of color. They generally are a hint to the mood of the upcoming wedding.


Warming of the Rings:

One of the newest things Elaine has been seeing at weddings has been warming of the rings. This is where the couple passes the rings around in a bag and asks all guests to hold them and say a prayer over them during the ceremony.


Return to Formality:

According to Wedding Wire, more couples are hosting “uber-elegant” events with clean florals, classic tuxedos, and a little bit of sparkle. However, with this trend, it does not bring a stuffy feeling with it. It is still to remain fun and full of life.


Asking for Cash:

While this was once a major taboo thing to even bring up, asking for cash is becoming more and more common. Couples will ask for cash through experiences and their guests can purchase the experience (travel, towards the mortgage on a new house, or towards the wedding itself) online through many different websites.


Brunch Weddings:

What a fun trend! This is a great trend for those looking to have a wedding on a weekend, yet achieve a lavish event at a lower price point. Plus, who doesn’t want to dance with delicious breakfast food and mimosas in hand?


Personalized Elements:

This trend comes in many different forms. Some couples place their monogram on various items during the reception, some create a Snapchat filter or Instagram hashtag for guests to use, or even make a special drink just for their big day.


Unplugged Ceremony:

I think this trend is genius. An unplugged ceremony is one where the couple asks their guests not to use their phones during the ceremony for any reason. This even includes pictures! The idea is to get people to actually listen to the ceremony and enjoy themselves. Don’t worry the photographer will definitely take tons of amazing pictures that can be cherished for years to come (especially if you go with Elaine Gates)!


Everything Donuts:

Donut cakes, donut walls, donut towers, I love it all. This new trend is being used for a variety of reasons, but guests are loving it! Not only are they delicious, they are also being used as a fun decoration. But really, who doesn’t like donuts?


To all engaged couples, I wish you completely and eternal happiness. Congratulations!


~Morgan Cunningham

Marketing & Social Media


The Barn at Silverstone Wedding Photographer Lancaster PA Allie Wagner Mixed Up Productions John Serock Catering Whimsical Poppy Men’s Wearhouse David’s Bridal Mountz Jewelers {Krissy & Tyler}

07.06.18 Weddings

Thanks to all the fabulous vendors who helped make this wedding so amazing!

Photographer: Elaine Gates Photography

Reception: The Barn at Silverstone

Ceremony Site: The Barn at Silverstone

Wedding Coordinator: Allie Wagner

Ceremony Music: Mixed Up Productions

Caterer: John Serock Catering

Officiant: Pastor Brand Eaton

Cake: John Serock Catering

Florist: Whimsical Poppy

Lighting/AV: Mixed Up Productions

DJ/Band: Mixed Up Productions

Makeup: Nancy Fazio

Tuxedos / Men Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Engagement / Wedding Rings: Mountz Jewelers