Today, on my 2-year anniversary, I can’t wait to share with you my own Mile Square Moments wedding. As a wedding photographer, you can only imagine how much I thought about my wedding before the day, and honestly, every moment was perfect. If you’ve ever wondered if I am really a romantic, it’s about to become crystal clear. I’m going to share a few (150) of my favorite wedding photos and stories as well as some tips I learned from being on the other side of the camera. If you ever want to talk love stories, be sure to get in touch by clicking the button below.
Want to Stay Present on your Wedding Day? Hire a Wedding Planner.
I knew how important it was to stay present on your wedding day, so I hired Veronica of Veronica Joy Events and honestly, she went above and beyond the entire day for me. Not only did I completely trust her to take care of all the details that I spent the last year choosing, she actually held my phone the entire day and snapped a ton of behind-the-scenes pictures and videos. I won’t admit how many times I flipped through this album of photos before I received the professional wedding gallery back.
I’ve always recommended couples leave their phone at home (or with someone they trust) so they can remain completely present on their wedding day. Being on the other side, I am even more passionate about staying present and hiring a wedding planner. I was able to have a fantastic, carefree morning on my wedding day because of Veronica and her team.
Getting Ready Photos
I woke up with butterflies in my stomach the morning of our wedding. There was SO much build up and I just couldn’t wait for it to all begin. When my wedding party showed up (in their matching robes!), I led everyone to the bridal suite at the Inn of Barley Sheaf Farm where we all had our hair and makeup done. I especially loved the extra chance to connect and bond with Matt’s sisters as they were getting done up. Everyone looked stunning.
My first look with my dad
I had a moment with my mom and sister before I did the first look with my dad. I have to be honest, these moments always make me emotional when I’m the wedding photographer! When my dad came into the bridal suite, he gave me a big hug and kiss, and told me I looked beautiful. He looked so handsome in his suit and tie. It was a really special moment.
A First Look with my Bridesmaids
After my first look with my dad, we had a “bridal reveal” where all of my bridesmaids turned around at the same moment to see me as a bride. I could have burst into tears right then! I truly believe no greater group of ladies exists in the entire world. Exactly how you should feel about your wedding party. One of my bridesmaids had been my best friend since preschool. Even our makeup artist commented, “This might be the second wedding I’ve worked where bridesmaids were friends from childhood — you don’t see that often.” These women have been through absolutely everything with me and I was so grateful to have them stand with me on my big day.
As I made my way outside, the girls heard my heels walking toward them, at which one of my bridesmaids shouted “Hi Devin!!” which made us all laugh. Then, my photographer said, “Whenever you’re ready, Devin!” So I told them they could all turn around, and they all freaked out! I did a little twirl so they could see the entire dress. It was a really sweet moment — I have the best girls ever.
Groom’s Getting Ready Photos
Although I don’t have the behind-the-scenes on this, looking at the photos I have no doubt that this is exactly what Matt would have wanted. As much as I love to gush about my girls, I feel equally grateful that Matt has such a great group of friends and such a wonderful family as well.
Our First Look Before the Wedding
When I told Matt about the wedding timeline, he joked that he was actually the “third look”. I like to think I saved the best for last. I was filled with excitement and anticipation — he was finally going to see me in my wedding dress! After I walked toward him, I gently tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and lost it. I felt tears well up in my eyes. I was a bride and he a groom. He looked so incredibly handsome in his tux with his boutonniere. We hugged, kissed, and freaked out. I’ve talked about how much I love first looks on the blog before, and this is why. It was such a sweet and intimate moment just between the two of us that will fill my heart up for the rest of my lifetime.
Outdoor Wedding Photos
As a wedding photographer, you can imagine how important having photos of just the two of us was to me. Once we got ourselves together after the first look, we made our way to the little forest and bridge by the cottage for couple portraits. After our couple portraits, we made our way inside the Inn to gather the wedding party for their photos. This was the first time I was seeing the groomsmen! I remember thinking they all looked so dapper. All 18 of us (it was a big wedding party!) made our way outside for bridal party portraits in front of the Inn. We did a mix of posed and candids, stills & walking, serious & laughing. It was actually a lot of fun. Another moment where I felt beyond grateful for the amazing squad we had with us on our day.
Although wedding family portraits are traditionally done after the ceremony, we chose to do them before so that by the time the ceremony started, we could relax a little more. I am so glad we did it this way, and if you need a little encouragement to switch up a traditional wedding day timeline to suit your wants and needs more, go for it! I loved taking photos with our immediate families and just spending more time with them before the ceremony started at 5 p.m.
The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm Wedding Venue
I have to be honest with you (if you have read this far!), I knew this was my dream wedding venue before I even met Matt. A former coworker posted her wedding photos on Facebook and I drooled over every single photo. I would love to say we got married there because Pennsylvania is my home state (which is true!) but our wedding venue was a 4-hour drive from my hometown. When Matt and I were getting serious and starting to talk about our wedding, I showed him the Inn and he fell in love with it, too!
Even better, it was only an hour and a half from Hoboken, so we could go back and forth for visits, meetings, tastings — all the good things. Ultimately, we also chose the Inn because we wanted an escape from the greater NYC area that our Hoboken/NYC/NJ friends could get to in a reasonable amount of time. I think this really just goes to show that the heart wants what the heart wants — and I could have found a thousand ways to justify it! In the end though, I couldn’t have been happier to get married at this gorgeous outdoor wedding venue though. I fell in love with planning every detail.
Our Wedding Ceremony
After the photos, I had some time to decompress in the bridal suite with my mom and sister before the ceremony. It felt like I blinked and Veronica came up to the bridal suite and told us it was time! We followed her downstairs and gathered in the lounge with everyone. Matt’s dad Vince was standing across from me and told me I looked beautiful, which was super special and helped calm my nerves. Then, we all lined up in our processional order. Since I was at the very end of the line, I could see everyone in front of me walk the processional — this was such a surreal moment. I linked arms with both my mom and dad and mentally prepared myself to walk down the aisle. I remember this moment SO clearly.
As soon as I started walking, I lost feeling in my hands and felt like I was going to drop my bouquet. I took a deep breath and kept looking forward. My aisle was a long one, and I liked it. It gave me time to take everything in — from the venue staff standing on the patio, smiling and congratulating me; to my guests, all standing and watching me make my way to my own ceremony; and to Matt, looking at me with his kind eyes and a smile.
We made our way to the front of the ceremony. My dad shook Matt’s hand and congratulated him and my mom hugged him before I took my place. Danelle, my sister and maid of honor, fluffed my dress and held my bouquet so I could hold Matt’s hands.
Writing Our Own Vows & Personalizing the Ceremony
Anthony, our officiant, started the ceremony by saying something like “Today, Devin & Matt will dance, celebrate, and sweat,” which got a laugh from our guests because we were all already sweating on this hot August day. It was really important to me that our ceremony be personal, and Anthony did a fantastic job sharing our story throughout.
When it was time for Matt and I to recite personal vows to each other, Anthony handed Matt his vow book and Matt began to read the most beautiful promises to me, telling me I’m the most beautiful person he’s met, both inside and out, and he can’t wait to continue telling me that every day for the rest of our lives. I still tear up thinking about it! Matt also shared that he wrote his vows shortly after our first date, which didn’t surprise me, but got a laugh from our guests.
Next, I took a deep breath and read the vows I wrote the day before in the bridal suite. My vows were a mix of serious and funny like “…I commit to building and enjoying a future together by finding ways to live in the moment while you plan for our retirement,” which got a laugh from our guests because it’s so true. I could see Matt’s parents and grandparents in my peripheral vision smiling and laughing.
After the vows, we exchanged rings and Anthony declared us husband and wife! We shared a big kiss as everyone clapped and cheered. It was the most incredible moment.
Our Cocktail Hour
After the ceremony, Matt and I enjoyed a private moment in the bridal suite before our cocktail hour. One of the many benefits of a first look is that you can actually attend your own cocktail hour! The other main benefit is that it cuts down the nerves, but as you can probably tell, I felt tingly right through the ceremony (in the most incredible way, of course!).
After a few private moments alone, we went to cocktail hour and were greeted with cheers as we entered the patio. We darted around, greeting guests and taking photos. It was so fun to go up to any group of people and have them be so excited to see us. It was also very cool to know everyone at our wedding — I recognized everyone no matter where I looked. Although it sounds simple, it was the most wonderful feeling.
Stonebank Barn Wedding Reception Details
It was really, really important to me to personalize everything on our wedding day. As a wedding photographer, I have seen hundreds of incredible wedding days. My favorite details though are always the ones that are unique to the couple. No amount of florals can overshadow true love (although I never say no to more florals). We had handwritten table numbers based on locations that were special to us as a couple and they were a huge hit. We also handed out mini jars of Hellmann’s mayo as wedding favors because Matt and I met working at Hellmann’s. They say Hellmann’s “brings out the best” and as you can see, we couldn’t agree more.
Our Wedding Reception
As the band played “Crazy in Love”, our MC first announced our parents, then our wedding party, and then finally “The new Mr. & Mrs. Matt & Devin McGurgan!” It’s hard to put what this felt like into words. This moment was unreal — everyone was on their feet, cheering and clapping as we entered the reception. I felt like a celebrity! We made our way to the center of the dance floor and began our first dance to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, which our band sang as a duet by a male and female singer. It was a beautiful rendition of the song. Matt and I smiled and laughed and kissed as we danced together for the first time as husband and wife.
After our first dance, the band broke into “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire and invited all of our guests to the dance floor. This is a moment I daydreamed about for months — the first dance set at our wedding starting with my mom’s favorite song. I danced with her and my dad and couldn’t stop smiling. It was one of my favorite moments of the day.
Golden Hour Sunset Photos
Before the speeches, our photographers pulled us outside for sunset portraits. I could have stayed at our reception forever, but we had a perfect sunset, and I knew I would regret not taking advantage of it for photos. The photos were incredible and I have absolutely no regrets. If you love the look of golden hour/sunset photos, ask your photographer about working it into your timeline. I promise that you won’t want to leave your wedding reception but it will be worth it.
When we returned, it was time for speeches. My dad compared the heat of our wedding day to the heat of the day he and mom brought me home from the hospital. He told the story of how mom and gram bundled me up in a knitted suit and hat on one of the hottest summer days. Then he said that if anyone was going to survive today, it’d be me because I’m “one tough kid.” It was such a sweet toast and he even referenced a moment when Matt went tobogganing earlier in our relationship (without the right clothing!) and said, “It was clear that this young gentleman would do anything for this young lady.” He finished by sharing how special family is and encouraged everyone to cherish their time with their families. His speech was moving and incredibly special to me.
Wedding Party Speeches
Everyone knocked their speeches out of the park. Matt’s best man talked about how Matt had always been there for him, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. My maid of honor started with a joke, commenting that I told her she only had five minutes to give a speech and then dropping an accordion-style paper saying “I’m not sure how long this is going to take”. Everyone howled. We had a few more toasts, and everyone shared stories of how they knew we were perfect for each other right from the start. My bridesmaid Britt remembered when Matt won her over with a round of tequila shots, and how she was glad I found someone who met my high standards. Two years in, I promise you, it was worth the wait.
One of Matt’s groomsmen, Ryan, gave the last speech. He told me to hold my left hand out over our table, then asked Matt to rest his right hand on top of mine, and said “Now, I want everyone to remember this touching moment…especially you, Matt…because this is the last time you’ll ever have the upper hand.” Laughter erupted around the room. After all of the speeches, Matt took the mic and thanked all of our guests for being with us on such a special day. Dinner was served shortly after. When we finished our dinner, we made our way around to the tables and said hi to all of our guests. I also finally made it to the bar and got our signature drink — a McGurgan Mule!
After that, we danced the night away. It was the most incredible day ever.
Our Real Wedding
If you made it this far, can I just extend another huge thank you? I hope you loved our real wedding love story as much as I enjoy celebrating each and every one of my couples. Being on the other side of the camera honestly just made me a better wedding photographer. I was always passionate about my work, but now I really feel like I am living my life’s purpose telling love stories around Hoboken, New Jersey, New York and beyond. THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have trusted me to capture your natural chemistry, I don’t take a second of it for granted.
Of course, if you are looking for a wedding photographer, I would love to hear from you. Click the button below and let’s get in touch and talk about your wedding day vision. I will work tirelessly with you to make it a reality.
The Incredible Vendor Team I Booked
As a wedding vendor myself, I have such a deep appreciation for each and every person who made my wedding vision a reality. I know that this team put as much hustle and love as I do into every single wedding and it was incredible being on the other side of it. THANK YOU.
Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: Miss Musique
Bridesmaid Dresses: Brideside