I may live in Philadelphia now at JPG Photography headquarters, but don’t let the skyscrapers fool you — I’m a small town girl at heart. If you’ve ever seen my vegetable garden crammed into a small city yard, you know what I’m talking about.
So, I was thrilled when Christa and Derrick told me they were getting married in our collective hometown of Selinsgrove! I had known Christa as a little girl, when I taught her music at Vacation Bible School. When Christa decided to attend Eastern University about a decade later, she reintroduced herself to me, and we struck up a friendship of laughter (and sometimes tears).
As small town relationships go, I discovered I was connected to Derrick as well. He’d had my dad as a math teacher at Selinsgrove High School and is now a math teacher himself in Philadelphia.
Their wedding day was the picture-perfect from the start. After getting hair done with her girls at Jody’s Hair Salon, we stopped by a beautiful red barn for some pre-wedding shots. Meanwhile, Joe met up with the guys at Derrick’s house, where an awesome bear skin rug kept their toes warm! (Yes, I told you we were in the country!)
The guys took their own pics at a separate barn, and Joe got some awesome groom portraits in front of tractor tires.
Then, we all met up at Christ Community United Methodist Church, my childhood faith community, and Christa’s too. Christa and Derrick didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony, but they did want to pray together, so they came up with a creative solution — Derrick was blindfolded and led into the prayer room where he met Christa and their mentors, Janice and John, for some quiet moments of reflection.
The ceremony was pastored by Eastern University’s chaplain Joe Modica, whom I have known for over a decade as well. He included his much-loved humor into a fabulous blessing for the couple, but the highlight of the ceremony was definitely the couple’s first kiss. Why, you might ask? Because Derrick and Christa waited almost a decade for that kiss, deciding to save that special moment for their wedding day.
After the now-happily-kissed couple exited to an array of bubbles, we headed to a nearby farm for some couple pics. One of our good friends, Russ, has had a family farm in the region since what seems like the beginning of time (in fact, one of the neighborhoods in our area, Hummel’s Wharf, is named for his relatives).
So Russ called up a bunch his local farmer friends and asked their permission for us to shoot some wedding photos on their property. No one can say “no” to Russ!
As Christa and Derrick shared some special moments alongside some old farming equipment, a farmer and his wife emerged from the nearby house to ask if we wanted a better background than that old rusty stuff. We explained to them that for Philadelphia photographers, rusty farm equipment is the jackpot!
The sun set, and we all headed to one of my favorite restaurants, Front Street Station, for the reception. There is actually a picture of my great-grandfather hanging on the wall, since he used to work on the railroad. We got some awesome pictures outside along the tracks, and Joe even did a ring shot on one of the old railroad ties.
Inside, guests boogied to Central Pennsylvania favorites like the Pennsylvania Polka, as well as some more mainstream tunes. Everyone was seated throughout the reception venue, but our favorite area consisted of two 1931 Pullman passenger cars, transformed into tables. We loved seeing kids peek through the car windows at the dancing and cake smashing below.
Christa and Derrick, whether you end up in the country or the city (or somewhere in Spain!), we wish you a lifetime of friendly neighbors, caring family, and love for each other. Thank you for including us in your special day!