It is 2020 and the corona virus has many weddings being postponed or even cancelled. It’s a tough time for everyone in Pennsylvania but especially for couples planning and expecting to tie the knot this spring and summer. As the weather gets warmer I just wanted to reflect on all the things that make weddings in Pennsylvania and this region so incredible.
Classic Wedding Venues
There are two kinds of venues that are popular now in the Central Pennsylvania region, the first is barn and farm weddings and the second is renovated urban venues. Barn weddings have long been popular in the Susquehanna Valley, and the rolling hills and thousands of small, family farms make it a perfect and picturesque setting for a wedding. Small farms are spread over hills, hidden in small valleys by little creeks, and sprawling up against the Appalachian Mountains
This land was farmed by Lenape, Susquehannock, Conestoga and Delware Native Americans for centuries before Europeans came in seventeenth century. Since then, and up until even today horsedrawn plows have tilled the land and cows have grazed in their pastures. Agriculture today is a mix of old and new, with many farms still worked by hand, while others have all the modern advancements. Corn, wheat, hay, and vegetable farms are very common, as are dairy and tobacco. You can tell how late in the summer it is by how high the corn is growing, and how large and yellow the tobacco. In spring there is the distintive smell of fertilizer, in fall you can watch the harvesting of crops and see the tobacco harvested by hand and hung to dry through slats in wood barns. Many barns, mills, farmhouses and estates have been repurposed for event venues.
Country Wedding Vibes
Who knows how many weddings and celebrations have been held in these places, and today they continue to see use in what is becoming a standard for this region of the East Coast of the United States. As the Eagles said these weddings are permeated by a peaceful easy feeling. The quiet of the countryside on a hot summer day, and the slow, relaxed pace of life are the perfect way to start a morning. These venues are a great atmosphere because it gives couples complete control over their day. They are secluded and private venues, with plenty of space for parking, space to get ready and multiple indoor and outdoor locations for the ceremony, reception, and space to relax and celebrate.
All Inclusive Venues
This all inclusive set up is great, many venues even include overnight accomadations. Couples can get ready, have the ceremoy and reception all in one location. These farms and country venues in Pennsylvania can sometimes be working farms, others are more akin to luxurious gardens or vineyards with excellent landscaping and well thought out spaces for events. Farms and barn venues often have cows, horses, or other livestock, they also can have water features, ponds, fountains, rivers and streams. One of my favorite benefit of these types of wedding venues is the great views and vistas of the countryside.
Ceremonies can be indoor or outdoor. Outdoor settings are beautiful, either in wooded spots, overlooks, fields or gardens. I recommend checking for shade for yourselves and your guests if possible. Weddings in the countryside usually occur in spring, summer, or fall. Weddings in the spring and summer have a very green look to them. The Mid Atlantic area has lush, verdant foliage, lots of trees and plants and the humidity can make the air thicker and give a green-blue haze to the air. Cool breezes blow through the fields and the shade feels very nice. Short rainstorms may blow through but usually don’t last long and give a very nice sunset. It’s a great time of year for guests to pour out of the reception barn and enjoy the sunset with a drink and visit on quiet grounds of the farm. Sunsets in this area are incredible in summertime.
Fall Barn Wedding
Late summer weddings into fall weddings can still be hot but the light has more of a tan yellow color. The corn is ripening and turning yellow, tobacco is turning yellow and getting stacked for harvest. Some fields may be bare and dusty. These weddings can still be great choices for having an outdoor aspect but the weather is more questionable. The colors, sunsets, and fresh food choices make fall a great choice for Pennsylvania weddings. Winter weddings can be beautiful but should be careful planning any outdoor parts due to the cold. Indoor ceremonies can be in barns or large farm buildings.
Receptions are often indoor-outdoor affairs when possible, many venues have barns or reception halls with outdoor patios with fireplaces, fire pits, so guests can be inside at the dancefloor or enjoying the quiet outdoors. Regardless the countryside ensures a nice private event. Being outside for a wedding can help ground peoples minds and focus in on the ceremony and reception because of everything the senses are taking in from the surroundings.
Urban Wedding Venues
Central Pennsylvania and it’s many small colonial era cities have a wealth of gorgeous buildings that have been renovated for use as event venues. These industrial rustic style wedding venues are often refurbished and include all the modern ammenities in a location that is oozing with character and depth. They have multiple floors of spaces and plenty of different size rooms for wedding usage. These small cities have buildings that are centuries old, some have passed through many uses in their lifetimes and show the beauty of their industrial past.
Industrial Rustic Style
There is something special about having a wedding surrounded by such history and character. It helps amplify the authentic stories of each individual and couple. Even humble warehouses and factories have been renovated into great all inclusive wedding venues where you can have a ceremony and reception in one location. Lancaster, Harrisburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, York, Hanover, West Chester, Reading, Lebanon, Shippensburg, Coatesville, Dowiningtown, Gettysburg, Hershey, all these cities have excellent urban wedding venues.
Craft Brews & Drinks
With a rich agricultural and culinary scene in the Central Pennsylvania region, couples get to spoil their guests with some the best food and drinks available. Pennsylvania has some wacky liquor laws but one of the upsides is that it has fostered a great craft beer and winery scene. Many couples have cases of their favorite microbrews or tap kegs for their guests. There is also a great coffee scene, some wedding receptions feature a coffee bar. Fresh food can depend on what is seasonally available.
Affordable Wedding Videographer
Elm AV wedding videography is an affordable wedding videographer based in Lancaster, PA. We have low overhead and can arrange a package with fewer hours of coverage or deliverables if you want a professionial, experienced, high quality videographer for the most important parts of your ceremony and reception but don’t need a full day of coverage. For every client we deliver the raw video in additon to whatever options they choose. The raw video can be great to look back on and see so many important and candid moments, but may not necessarily be in order, may have some shakey moments.
I think hiring a wedding videographer is a great option if you want to fully record and save your wedding day. A wedding videographer or wedding cinematographer means much more today than it used to. In the past wedding videos were recorded onto a few tapes or discs and put on a shelf. Wedding videos and films still have that aspect to them, they still save everything that happened so it can be watched and relived over and over again. It is great to see your family and friends all together having a good time celebrating and as time goes by you can rewatch it and remember. Wedding films and wedding videos are no longer tied to format or style. They can be one minute long up to hours long full film wedding videos.
Wedding Film Styles
Elm AV wedding videography produces two main styles of wedding videos. The first is the full film, that is shot in an event style and is the whole ceremony and reception. The other style is very fun and relevant today is highlight videos. Facebook and Youtube were founded in the mid 2000s and since then social media, a whole new format has come into being. Having a quality cinematic highlight to share soon after the wedding is nice because you and your guests can see and comment on your wedding day and anyone that wasn’t able to make it can see a short and beautiful highlight of the best moments from your wedding day. This new format of highlight wedding films allows a wedding videographer or wedding cinematographer to be so much more creative and piece together something incredible.
Preparing For Wedding Film
There are some things you can do to make your wedding video or wedding film better but it’s important not to focus on a wedding videographer. Each wedding is unique and special to each couple and should fully reflect who you are as a couple so take this advice with a grain of salt. This will help but not necessarily be the most critical thing to worry about. If you want to have a unique wedding film that tells your story there are two things you can do that will make the film more personal. The first thing that will make the wedding film more personal is to write and read your own vows, which will be recorded and can be used in the editing to give it more meaning. Although if you feel that it is not who you are as a couple to write your own vows or opt for traditional vows that is also totally fine! This is about you.
Another thing that can make a wedding video have more meaning is to write cards or letters to each other for the morning of the wedding. It’s best if these letters or cards include some of your story and the great qualities of the other person. These letters are read by the person who wrote it and recorded before the ceremony of the wedding. This moment can give some meaning to the wedding video but again, it is important to plan a wedding day for whatever the couple wants to do and for whatever they feel represents them.
Family and Friends
As a wedding videographer I’ll be around and recording various moments of prep, I’ll go all in with multiple cameras for the ceremony and reception. For the rest of the time it is great to be able to get the couple and their interactions with family and friends. It can also be good to capture certain moments such as the first look with the bride and groom, the first look with the father or mother after getting dressed. The ‘zip up’ moment and getting the mother of the bride and her bridal parties immediate reaction and hugs! Hugs are great for video, they tell the story of connection between individuals.
A wedding video can include the guests but it helps to be focused on the couple. At some point when the couple is together it is great to get just the couple to shoot some staged video shots, similar to the photographer taking staged photos but geared more towards video. This can be walking or gazing into each others eyes and creates a beautiful record of that moment in time. 2020 and 2021 are going to be an interesting time for weddings and couples. Social gatherings are an important part of our culture and weddings are perhaps one of the most enduring and critical events.
Professional Film Style
I prefer to not use video lights during the ceremony or reception if possible. They do get a better, higher quality image out of the camera with more light information coming in, but they can be obtrusive and overly bright to get a good effect. I prefer to use natural light if at all possbile, even in a darker reception hall at night it can be great to take advantage of the DJ or venue lights. I am close to the action in order to get the best possible shots, but I don’t need to get too in the way. It’s good when couples are comfortable telling me when they need specific things recorded or if they are doing anything special or particular. Otherwise I’m just around trying to get the best moments.
Micro Weddings & Elopements
Micro-wedding and elopment videos are a new feature for Elm AV wedding videography. We are so excited about this new intimate development for weddings. We are also excited and interested in private wedding vows said before the official ceremony, or immediately after. We have experience with smaller ceremonies and they can be so special and intimate.
The Cumberland Valley, Susquehanna Valley Chesapeake Bay, Appalachians, Delaware Valley, Lehigh Valley, Wyoming Valley, this part of the country has unique locations and people, but it is also very intertwined. Weddings across this region are grounded in tradition, with a focus on family and friends, but many couples are also breaking the mold and choosing to celebrate in new and exciting ways. The wonderful thing about weddings today is how couples choose to craft their own unique event, that shows who they are and tells their story.
Every couple has a special story that is worth sharing and telling. A wedding is a beautiful symbol, a fun party, and family and community celebration. Pennsylvania, Penn’s Woods is a melting pot of people, tradition, ethnicity, religions, and cultures. Traditionally the state is influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch, Amish, Mennonite, Anabaptist, Scotch Irish, Lutheran, Jewish, Quakers, Greek and Russian Orthodox, as well as Polish Irish or Italian Catholic. These form the traditional background for weddings here. For couples getting married today, a wedding is a blank canvas, they can make it what they want. Many pull from some of the meaningful traditions, while creating an event that is also totally unique to them.
Pittsburgh Cookie Table
A wonderful tradition that is fully entrenched in Western Pennyslvania but is slowly spreading across the mountains into the east is the cookie table. Cookie tables are a defining tradition in Pittsburgh, families know when someone is getting married that they will be expected to make a wide variety of cookies for the reception. Guests will also expect to be leaving the wedding with a box or container overflowing with cookies. A cookie table is a large table with a huge spread of of cookies arranged beautifully and sits to the side of the reception. Guests can eat the cookie at the reception or take them home as an extra favor. This is all in addition to the regular wedding cake. The cookies are homemade by the couple’s extended family. The origin of cookie tables is unkown but thought to originate from Italian and Polish Catholic weddings, now though it is a universal tradition in the area. The record for cookies at a cookie table was 88,425 in 2019 outside of Pittsburgh.
Many are curious about some of the traditions of weddings in Pennsylvania. The most familiar and peculiar style of weddings in this area is the Amish weddings. Amish are spread across the state and country and range drastically in how strictly they adhere to tradition. Amish weddings are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays late in fall after the harvest is over. The bride and groom must have been baptized into the amish church. The man proposes but doesn’t give an engagement ring, but gives a gift instead. Amish families respect privacy and they keep their engagement a secret until a few months before the ceremony. They spend the day before preparing, and the family wakes up early to take care of any farm chores, then the community arrives to help out. The ceremony is in the bride’s family home and can be hours long and they also have receptions afterwards with food, singing, and visiting. No rings are exchanged and they traditionally wear a new blue dress. Instead of vows, the couple are questioned about marriage. Celery is used instead of flowers in vases. The new couple spends the first night at the bride’s parents house and for a honeymoon they travel and visit family and friends.
Lancaster Wedding Videography
I think I said many times but I’ll just note again that weddings should represent the couple and who they are. Each one is so incredibly unique and special. Hiring an affordable wedding videographer like Elm AV is great because your day will be expertly captured and saved for the future, as well as being able to share the most incredbile moments from the wedding day. Central Pennsylvania is a great place to host a wedding with many beautiful venues, filled with character, and an excellent environment and climate. The traditions and history of this area give weddings a deeper meaning, while couples now are not tied to having the event in any particular way they still are participating in an event that has been occuring here for centuries, and are creating a new and beautiful future that is as unique as each individual.