The Cork Factory Hotel
Before we get into Hillary & Kurtis’ Wedding we must talk about this venue, The Cork Factory Hotel. On our first zoom call when they told me they were getting married an old Cork Factory I was obviously very intrigued. We then we had a phone call with the Venue Coordinator, Jennifer Noel and the DJ, DJ Jimmy (All Party Starz), and I got even more excited. The Venue was down in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is a place I had never been to and a culture I’ve never been exposed to. I passed a farmer with a plow being pulled by horses! I arrived at the venue and it was as beautiful as I hoped it would be. Jen met me immediately and gave me a quick tour showing me where couples often take photos, super helpful! She then led me up to the grooms suite. This room was essentially a man cave with the focal point being the pool table. There were some couches, awesome antiques and the ceiling was all unfinished lumber. Very cool room and plenty of nice light. I then went to say hello to Hilary and her mother and sister in the bridal suite. I always love bridal suites in this one was no exception. Very open, very bright, with such a graceful beautiful feel to it. Big Hollywood mirrors, big windows, a big changing room, this was a really nice room for a bride and her girls to get ready in.
All in all this venue held true to an interesting aesthetic of rustic/modern/industrial, inside and out, room to room, it was a lot of fun to take photos at.
Wedding Prep at The Cork Factory Hotel
I started in the grooms suite with Kurtis as I was without a 2nd shooter for this wedding. As I arrived Kurtis and his mom informed me they were waiting for someone very special. Kurtis made it very clear that his Pap meant a lot to him and it was important that he got some photos of the two of them together during prep. It was also his Paps 83rd birthday that same day! I love stuff like this so I was very excited. Taking photos of Kurtis and his Pap together, watching them interact, and listening to their banter it was beautifully obvious there was a special bond that had been lovingly formed throughout Kurtis’s life. Kurtis‘s twin brother also joined us which made for some fun photos. Because of this specific rooms ambience we got some very cool almost cinematic shots
In the bridal suite Hillary was joined by her mother and her sister and never having met them you could immediately tell they were related. Not just in the fact that they were almost identical but they very much had the same laid-back, smiley, relaxed vibe. I got to work shooting them in this gorgeous room and I think Hilary was pleasantly surprised as we were looking at the photos. I loved how helpful her sister was considering I had no second shooter. I was also told that Hilary sister Faith had a daughter named Raelyn and Raelyn would be meeting another Wraelynn on the other side of the family for the first time. I love kids and the fact that two soon-to-be-related cousins we’re going to meet for the first time had both regular me and Photographer me super excited!
Ceremony, Formals, Cocktail & Dinner at The Cork Factory Hotel
I moved over to the room where the rest of the day would be held; Wedding ceremony, cocktail, dinner and reception. Their ceremony was simple but heartfelt and elegant. As always there was a ton of love in the room. I was speaking with Kurtis pre-ceremony while he was waiting in the wings asking him how he felt. He said he felt fine, I asked him if he was a crier, he said “no not at all”, I said “well, we’ll see”. Afterwards I spoke to him again he said once he saw her crying he started to well up a bit, which I had noticed while shooting. He also told me he was surprised at how nervous he got as she was coming down the aisle, I assured him that was 100% normal. I say this because this is precisely why I love this job; pure human emotion on one of the biggest days of your lives, and even though you’ve known yourself your whole life, you never know how you’re going to act or what emotions are going to come up and when. It’s truly beautiful.
We banged out the family photos in front of the altar which I felt came out really nice although they took up most of cocktail hour. As this wasn’t a traditional set up and everything was in the same room that didn’t matter much to neither me nor the couple. Up next was a large sit down dinner with just a few speeches. I don’t take a lot of photos during dinner/eating so I just got to enjoy watching this group of friends and family enjoy their night. Update on the new cousins: they immediately became best friends, hung out the entire time and kept me smiling for the rest of the night. FYI, Cork Factory Hotel has amazing food!
And then there was an epic party….
….although with this group, on this night, I’m not sure epic would be the right word. Please don’t let that take away from how wonderful this night was. Everybody danced and sang, there was some football being played (which was a first) and while it wasn’t the typical all out rager reception, that’s not who these people were. Their reception perfectly fit them and was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody, including myself (cake). DJ Jimmy killed it and the night went off without a hitch! Pap even got his moment with the Happy Birthday song and his own personal cupcake! Everybody was happy and I hope I get to see this amazing couple again soon (Maternity?)
PS Kurtis thank you for the super thoughtful snippets of conversation that we got to have. It made me feel more than just a photographer. It really gave me an insight to what kind of dude you are and what kind of husband you will be. thank you Hillary and Kurtis for a great night
Thank you Kurtis & Hillary!
DJ: DJ Jimmy @allpartystarz