SHP met with Chelsea and Chris over two years ago when they first started planning their wedding. They had a lot going on in their careers and were in the midst of moving, among other crazy life adjustments. Sarah had the chance to hang with them in D.C. where they are making a new home for themselves. They showed Sarah around, fed her sugar shack donuts and had their engagement session. (More from their e-sesh here and also here)!
Chelsea revealed in her vows that her relationship with Chris has seen it’s share of adversity. So much so, the two have come to embrace The Chaos Theory to describe it. Chelsea and Chris quickly grew accustomed to proving their love could weather The Storm – the struggles of moving, sharing tiny living quarters, sacrificing for a better future, academic accomplishments, long distances – you name it! Let us tell you, however, their wedding day had one big test for them before they could enter the world as a united couple!
If you’re a central New Yorker, you definitely know this summer has not been kind to us. SHP lucked out for the first 3 weddings of the season, but Chelsea and Chris’ big day looked like it was going to be a wet one. Of course, we crossed all our fingers and toes as we drove out to Mandana Barn in Skaneateles, NY, but the skies were full of rainclouds, and we started documenting their big day in rain.
Chris and his guys got ready at the Barn, where they planned to do the nuptials outside. As the minutes passed and the rain kept falling, the decision was made to move the ceremony inside the barn – and the rumbles of chaos began. While Chelsea’s dad moved chairs from outside to in (he had some help, but what a hero!!), the wedding party was able to put the finishing touches on their ensembles. Just as Jenn was scouting for a nice spot indoors to do the first look, the rain stopped and the clouds parted. Sarah and Wesley arrived with Chelsea in tow, and we were able to stage them outside the barn by a beautiful tree so they could have an intimate first look together. The weather held just long enough for Sarah to get some formals of Chris and Chelsea together while Jenn took some formals of the groomsmen. The chaos at this point was at a happy level, typical for a wedding day with some rain issues, but then, everyone got set for the ceremony…
Moments before Chris was to take his place at the altar, the skies opened up and the wind started to whip! The whole barn was engulfed in a downpour. Guests rushed to close the breezeways so the rain would not get in. The DJ turned up the music and everyone’s attention drew to the end of the aisle, eagerly awaiting the processional when – poof – out goes the electricity! Guests immediately took out their cellphones to help and light up the barn, which was extremely sweet and looked really cool. The electricity came back on and went back out a couple of times, giving us all hope for a moment that the ceremony could wait out the storm, but one of Chelsea’s bridesmaids rushed up and whispered that the basement of the barn had begun to flood!
Chelsea decided the ceremony could not wait any longer, so Chris’ grandpa, with encouragement, sat down at the barn piano and began to play. At first he played anything he could think of and then he transitioned to “Here Comes the Bride”. Chelsea may have been walking down the aisle in the dark, but her smile beamed as she reached her soon-to-be husband. Little did Chelsea know at this time, but one of her guests had run out to his car in the middle of the crazy storm to get a flood light, and he arrived back just in time for one of the groomsmen to hold it for everyone reading. Chris’ best friend Nate took the honor of marrying them, and once they sealed their vows with a kiss, the rain disappeared.
For a moment, the chaos that they’ve embraced to define their love had welled up to what seemed an insurmountable level – but just for a moment. While chaos may follow them, Chelsea and Chris share a love that allows them to find the beauty in the chaos. Their family and friends kept spirits high, and despite hours without electricity, had lots of fun. They filled the air with merriment for Chelsea and Chris. The couple added to this as they greeted and thanked their loved ones and shared their first dance. They danced a sweet and playful first dance to “Queen Bee” by Taj Mahal.
The couple’s love allowed for the simple beauties in life – the dedication of a loving father and grandfather, the selflessness of a friend, the bravery and humor of a bestie, the joyful poise of bridesmaids – to all be extracted from the chaos, to come to the forefront, which formed a lovely tale that is their best day ever!
Here are some of our favorites from their day:
Other Featured Wedding Professionals || Wedding Dress Designer – Claire Pettibone | Wedding Dress Vendor – Hannelore (Alexandria, VA) | Cake, DJ, Hair, Makeup & Video – friends & family | Caterer – Mandana Inn