Rita and Mike | Collingswood Grand Ballroom
Rita and Mike’s Collingswood Grand Ballroom Wedding
With details holding hints of Christmas, Rita and Mike’s Collingswood Grand Ballroom wedding was absolutely gorgeous! From Rita’s elegance to Mike’s elation, their day was perfect.
Located about 20 minutes from Philadelphia, the Collingswood Grand Ballroom is one of the more enjoyable venues to photograph a wedding at. Built in the early 1900’s, this building is rich in history and has amazing architecture. The building is actually two parts, the ballroom and a theatre above the ballroom. With Knight Park right around the corner, it served as the perfect wedding venue for Rita and Mike! I was definitely looking forward to photographing this wedding since their LBI Engagement session!
There’s been a slight hiccup
Wedding day timelines are always tricky. I always help my clients plan out their timeline and take travel time and standing around time into play. It’s those little idiosyncrasies that make or break a timeline. So when Rita said “there’s been a been a slight hiccup”, I kinda internally froze. Rita and Mike wanted to do a first look at a local park before heading to the church, but the churched asked Mike to be there earlier than anticipated. This meant that Mike would stop at Rita’s first, so it actually turned out to be no big deal and I was happy to roll with the punches.
When I got to Rita’s parent’s house, I immediately looked for a first look spot. With the house on the corner, I had to find a spot with good light and limited background distractions such as power lines, cars on the street and neighbor’s homes. Luckily, the light on the side was perfect and there were big evergreen trees to serve as a aesthetically appealing background. Score!
When I walked into the house I was overcome with peace and quiet, quite the opposite from most bridal party prep! When I spoke with Rita, I caught the sense of excitement, nervousness and anticipation. I spent the next hour capturing details, her gorgeous Christmas bouquet created by Medford, NJ florist, A Rose in December, candid shots and Rita’s parents, sister and future sister in law seeing her in her dress for the first time. As you can see from the photos Rita was a pure stunner!!!
As I wrapped up with Rita’s bridal portraits, I saw Mike walking up the driveway. I went down to meet him and he tried to come into the house! I said “whoa man! We have to do this outside!” He was buzzing with anticipation, I could tell this was going to be an epic first look. I moved off to the side to capture the moment as my second shooter, Jenna walked Rita out of the house. Rita got about ten feet from Mike and called his name. He turned around and you can feel how relieved they were to see each other! Mike walked up to Rita, hugged and kissed her and they shared a private conversation. Rita even wiped a tear away from Mike’s eye…although he’ll tell you it was fuzz on his eyebrow. Yeah ok 🙂
Rita and Mike’s held their ceremony at the gorgeous St. Mary of the Lakes in Medford, NJ. Guests filed in to watch Rita walk down the aisle so her and Mike can say their wedding vows. Happy tears, smiles and love for the newlyweds filled the church! Their beautiful church also served as the perfect backdrop for their family formals.
Knight Park Shenanigans
When planning Rita and Mike’s wedding, they asked my suggestion on outdoor photo spots. I knew Knight Park would be the perfect spot as it’s so close to the Collingswood Grand Ballroom. The lighting was perfect, the bridal party was beautiful and we captured some awesome photos for Rita and Mike! As I was taking these photos I recall trying to keep things fresh. I placed Rita and Mike on the locally famous red bridge and walked back to capture a wide angle shot. As I walked along the water, I happened to catch Rita and Mike’s reflection in the water. I quickly asked Jenna to point a flash at them and fired off a few shots to dial in my settings. This is a tricky shot because the couple has to be brighter than everything else, and you have to manually focus on them because the water tricks the autofocus. Nothing is worse that going home and finding a shot like this is out of focused and undeliverable. But I took my time to make sure I nailed it before leaving. Another cool shot is the sunsetting behind Rita, and the dramatic shot low-angle of Rita and Mike. This shot was taken right in front of a baseball outfield fence, which holds true to my mantra that with good angles and good lighting, any space makes a perfect backdrop. Well…almost.
Once portraits were done, we made our way over to the beautifully decorated Collingswood Grand Ballroom. I love how the Ballroom sets up the first dance. As the guests are enjoying cocktail hour in the upper tier, a curtain blocks their view of the dance floor below. Rita and Mike are escorted to the middle of the dance floor, the curtains open up and guests have a bird’s eye view of the newlywed’s first dance. They danced like they were the only ones in the building and enjoyed their moment. After some great speeches, guests enjoyed dinner provided by Summit Catering and drinks at the huge bar. Once the bellies were fill and spirits were loosened up, the dance floor opened and boy did guests flood it!!! This was definitely one of the liveliest weddings I’ve ever seen and as you can see by the photos, everyone had a great time! One of the most memorable moments is when Rita and Rose danced together. It was so well choreographed, it had to be something they practiced growing up in their living room!
JWP was beyond honored to capture memories for Rita and Mike! Coo-coo cachoo, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson!!!