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Destination Wedding…at the Murder Mansion?

10 Aug 2016, Posted by P.J. Oswald in Weddings
A bride stands near the window light into her bedroom.

I awoke that morning to light spilling through unfamiliar lace curtains. I hadn’t noticed them the night before. I’m not sure I noticed much of anything after arriving late to this rural Pennsylvania town the preceding night. But a good night’s sleep later and I was ready to photograph this destination wedding…at the Murder Mansion.

Okay, okay. So it’s actually called the Harry Packer Mansion, but visit www.murdermansion.com and you’ll learn all about the not-so-sordid history of this place. It was built in 1874, there on a lush hillside in Jim Thorpe, PA, though I don’t think there has been a legitimate murder there ever since. However, the owners host murder mystery weekends at this grand, opulent mansion almost every weekend of the year. This weekend excepted.

This was the weekend that a long-time friend (and groomsman!) of mine would marry his beloved, right there in the mansion.

Now Justin hails from just outside of Sacramento (He and I attended junior high, high school and college together). Gretchen comes from Pennsylvania herself, just a stone’s throw from this very town. The two met and fell in love in Sacramento, but when it came time to pick the place to share their vows, they decided that this mansion nestled in the Pocono Mountains was just the place.

The generous couple invited a houseful of their family and closest friends to join them for the destination wedding weekend, with rooms for everyone. I would join them as both friend and wedding photographer, excited for my first destination wedding. From lazy breakfasts, to trips into town, to political conversations, to the wedding itself, to waltzing lessons and champagne toasts, everyone was in on the whole weekend. That extended time with this duo allowed me not only to become friends with graceful, intelligent, and passionate Gretchen, but to recognize just how perfect these two are as a couple. Justin, sure you’re witty, discerning, and hilarious. But brother, you’ve met your match!

You’ll see just a slice of what I saw over the course of a this wonderful wedding weekend in the images below…with not a single murder to report.

Destination Wedding Photography

The sun rises over the tree-covered Pocono Mountains. So does the humidity.

 

Brick house on the outside, Downton Abbey on the inside.

Brick house on the outside, Downton Abbey on the inside. This was the room where they’d be wed.

 

Old world charm at every turn.

Old world charm at every turn.

 

More of that charm, prepped and ready for later toasts.

More of that charm, prepped and ready for later toasts.

 

Family and friends gathered for breakfast together.

Family and friends gathered for breakfast together. Gretchen was already aglow.

 

A quiet moment with the rings in a bustling house.

A quiet moment with the travel rings outside a bustling house.

 

When the dress comes out, the bride must be getting ready.

The dress shows up–the bride must be nearly ready.

 

Gretchen turned to her mom and sister when it was time to get her hair in order.

Gretchen rightly turned to her mom and sister when it was time to get her hair in order.

 

After slipping into her mother's wedding dress, it was time to put on the veil.

After slipping into her mother’s wedding dress it was time to put on the veil.

 

Wearing a veil isn't exactly an everyday affair...

Wearing a veil isn’t exactly an everyday affair.

 

...But I think she got it just right.

Last-minute adjustments.

 

Gretchen looked stunning. And I felt as if I'd stepped back in time.

Gretchen looked stunning. I felt like I’d stepped back in time.

 

And then the groom arrived...

And then the groom arrived…

 

Love it when I don't have to pose the couple myself.

I love it when I don’t have to pose the couple myself.

 

Seeing my old friend Justin so in love was a wonderful sight.

Seeing my old friend Justin so in love was a wonderful sight.

 

Just minutes to spare before the ceremony was to begin.

Just minutes to spare before the ceremony was to begin.

 

A toast (and a roast) from Justin's brother.

A toast (and a roast) from Justin’s brother after the ceremony.

 

Stories, poetry and the best of wishes from Justin's father.

Stories, poetry and the best of wishes from Justin’s father.

 

...Until the bride and groom had their fill.

When the bride and groom had their fill of portraits…

 

The string quartet sprang to life as the couple returned...just in time for waltz lessons.

The string quartet sprang to life as the couple returned…just in time for waltz lessons.

 

They danced to one of Justin's favorite tunes.

The two of them danced to one of Justin’s favorite tunes.

 

They weren't the only ones dancing on that veranda.

They weren’t the only ones dancing on that veranda.

 

When the house itself is a presence at the wedding, it had better make it into photos.

 

The new married couple about town. Or at least about stairs.

 

We had hoped to capture some trademark Pennsylvania fireflies when the sun went down. They were cooperating, so instead, we made out own fireflies.

We had hoped to capture some fireflies at nightfall. They weren’t cooperating, so instead we made our own fireflies.

 

...These ones were much more cooperative.

…These ones were much more cooperative. Ratherly conveniently, they spelled out the couples’ initials!

 

A day full of joy came to a close right back where it started.

A day full of joy came to a close right back where it started.

Congratulations, Gretchen and Justin. May each year together be better than the last!


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  • Deborah

    Mansion is a perfect setting for a wedding. It complimented the bride and groom.
    The bride and her groom looked beautiful and in turn they complimented the beautiful setting that the Manison had to offer.
    The bride’s dress was beautiful and it was the look of innocence .
    Which you don’t see anymore on young brides.
    My compliments to everyone

    Reply
    • P.J. Oswald

      I couldn’t agree more, Deborah! Thanks for reading.

      Reply

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