Hannah & Alex’s rustic fall wedding takes place on a beautiful afternoon in Virginia. Autumn was in full swing so the scenery was absolutely captivating with the changing leaves & rolling hills surrounded by an evening fog. Simple details with DIY elements supported the rustic theme, their flowers were sourced from a local flower farm to help support local businesses!
Like pretty much all couples, Hannah and Alex rescheduled their wedding due to COVID. You will love these two! Truly. I have never photographed a more in-love couple, and Alex started tearing up LONG before Hannah walked down the aisle – as soon as the church bells rang. Their small wedding party made it a joy to work with them all! -Beth Seliga of 3 Cats Photo
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We met during freshman orientation at the University of Pennsylvania – we were both Chemical Engineering students in the same orientation group! Our first interaction was not exactly the romantic, love at-first-sight impression you might think it was. I (Hannah) was pretty competitive back then, so I remembered Alex as the kid who skipped to Calculus II while I was only in Calculus I. Alex, true to his less competitive nature, remembered me as the girl with the really long hair. From there, we ended up as study buddies during the fall semester, and eventually ended up getting together in the spring of our freshman year.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
Seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle. We chose not to do a first look, and the anticipation of seeing each other for the first time that day added to the excitement and nervousness of walking down the aisle. I (Hannah) was really worried about not remembering the look on Alex’s face, so I only looked him the whole time walking down! Finally reaching him at the end of the aisle, and being there together was the highlight of the day.
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
I’m (Alex) an avid skier and was a ski instructor growing up. When I learned after a few months of dating Hannah that she had never skied before, naturally, I knew he had to do something! When Hannah visited my family in Boston one winter, I convinced her to let me teach her how to ski. I gave her a full boot camp, making her walk around on the flat ground in ski boots, then putting only one ski on, then both skis. All in all, Hannah was running around in the snow for over two hours! It’s a miracle she stayed with me. Luckily, my entire family has been skiers for years and we had lots of extra gear for her to use! Unluckily, all of that gear was for boys ages 8-10, but it fit her great! All that hand-me-down gear made Hannah look a little too much like a 10-year-old boy. The next day, I was stopped on the ski slope watching Hannah practicing her turns when I started a conversation with a dad skiing with his daughters. The guy, seeing Hannah, asked me if she was my son! “No…” I said, “that’s my girlfriend”. And, after thinking about it more, “and how old do you think I am??”
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
My (Hannah’s) grandmother and grandfather were married for 54 years, and unfortunately right before the wedding, my grandmother fell ill and was unable to travel for the wedding. At my bridal shower, she surprised me with her and my grandfather’s original wedding cake knife, which they had used over the many years to cut birthday cakes and to celebrate special occasions. Alex and I used it to cut our cake – even though my grandparents weren’t there with us, we felt honored to get to incorporate a part of their wedding day into ours. Shortly after our wedding, my grandmother passed away, so we feel even more grateful and lucky now to have made those memories.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
After graduating college, I (Alex) moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and Hannah lived in New Jersey. For a year, Hannah and I drove 5 hours each way to see each other on a 3 week rotation. One week, I would drive; the next week, Hannah would drive, and the third week we would spend apart. Since we spent so little time together, we used those precious weekends to develop a new love for the outdoors. In Virginia, we would check out new hikes in George Washington National Forest, Shenandoah National Park, and other areas in the Shenandoah Valley. In New Jersey, we would check out the Pine Barrens and many of the trails around Hannah’s home. However, no matter how much fun we had exploring our new hobby, both of us dreaded saying goodbye on Sunday afternoons. I used to walk to the end of the street, following Hannah’s departing car, and wave to her until she drove out of sight. After a year, Hannah finally moved down to Virginia and the cadence of five hour drives came to an end! For the first few months both Hannah and I had nerves and felt sad on Sundays, even though we no longer left each other to drive home. Luckily, we haven’t had to worry about that for a while!
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Alex: Hannah is the kindest and most principled person I know. Loving her has taught me to be more considered in my approach to life’s challenges. She helps me put life in perspective and not get caught up in the little things. She’s made me more empathetic and considerate, and inspires me every day to be a better man.
Hannah: Alex keeps me grounded. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, he can still crack a joke about it and make me laugh. He is one of the most positive, upbeat, unflappable people that I know, and he always challenges me to see the bright side of things.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Love, although constant, doesn’t always feel the same. It has its ups and downs, and it isn’t always the sparks flying, early romance kind of love. Some days loving is easy, and other days it’s a conscious choice. The best part of loving someone after years together is knowing that even though there are those ups and downs, that rainbow and butterfly-feeling love is always right around the corner. Sometimes it hits out of the blue, whether it’s a reminder of the past, a sweet gesture, or shared reminiscing.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Never lose focus on your relationship. Each year will bring new challenges, whether with career, family, hobbies, or any of the other many facets of life. As you tackle those parts of life together and chase your ambitions, be sure to set energy aside for each other and grow the foundational romance on which you’re building your lives. We’re only human, and have certainly lost that relationship focus every now and then. However, usually one of us stays vigilant and reminds the other that it’s time for a date night! It is not hyperbole to say that Hannah and I fall more in love each day, even on the bad ones.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Alex: Hannah always supports me in everything I do. I’m the kind of person who is always trying new hobbies and Hannah goes out of her way to ask me to explain the things I’m doing, learn about the hobby, and encourage my creativity. She’s a great listener to all of the music I’m producing, a great taster for my home-brewed beer even when it’s crap, and, above all, an inspiration I can learn from! After all, if she can grow some great hot peppers, maybe she can help me grow some hops…
Hannah: Alex is always there for me no matter what. When things go wrong, the greatest comfort I have is knowing he’s there to lean on. This includes everything from family emergencies, work-related stress, or even random car troubles. Once when I was stranded after a work shift with a dead car battery, he drove over at 2 AM and jumped my car! He never hesitates to be a comforter, a shoulder to cry on, a handyman, or an amazing pep talker, and I’m so grateful for it.
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Planning out all of the decor! We both love to thrift shop and go to antique stores, so in the years leading up to the wedding, we slowly began to collect mismatched vases, bottles, votives, and cake stands to use for the tables. While wedding planning, we were living in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and it was really important to us to support the local businesses there. We ended up getting DIY buckets of flowers from a beautiful local flower farm, and we arranged them with help from our families into the vases and bottles we collected. My sister is a jeweler, and she actually hand-made brass table numbers to tie around the vases. It was so much fun to have the experience with our families and to see everything come together!
Photographer: 3 Cats Photo – Elizabeth Seliga & Erik Hultgren
Venue: The Inn at Court Square – Holy Comforter Catholic Church – The Barn at Turkey Ridge
Stylist / Planner / Designer: One Sweet Day in May
Floral Designer: Blue Heron Farm
Dress Boutique: BHLDN
Dress Designer: BHLDN
Cake Designer: Bittersweet Bakery
Makeup Artist: Gohar Makeup
Hair Stylist: Top Knot Studio
Men\’s Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Rentals: MS Events
Accessories / Decor: MS Events
Bridesmaids Gown – Revelry – Provas Couture Bridal & Tailor
DJ – DJ RAN HENRY