RF Wedding of the Week: A Day in Bartram’s Garden by Shannon Collins

December 4, 2013

By Laura Brauer

Located in Philadelphia, PA, Bartram’s Garden is the oldest surviving botanical garden in North America. The lush greenery provided for a perfect backdrop for the wedding of Amy and Eriach, and an inspiring photographic playground for their Philadelphia-based wedding photographer, Shannon Collins. Collins captured the couple in the verdant landscape as well as all of the DIY wedding details that gave this day such a personal touch.

“Our inspiration for our wedding was to really bring our everyday life to a gorgeous, natural and whimsical environment in a romantic and meaningful way, ” says Amy of planning the wedding. “Choosing Bartram’s Garden as our venue was a no-brainer—it was the first and only venue visited. The venue is a wonderful combination of textures with the trees and flowers framing the city skyline in the background and old gardens, stone buildings, secret paths and a river trail all in between.”


The wedding was full of DIY elements—signs, centerpieces, favors—which the couple made themselves to carry the earthy feeling of the location throughout.


One such element was an unplugged wedding sign. “I really look forward to ‘unplugged’ ceremonies like Amy and Eriach’s because they put more of an emphasis on really experiencing the wedding together with the couple instead of viewing the special moments behind a smartphone,” the photographer says. “Plus, it’s always nice not to have to dodge guests who have their arms stretched out with iPads in the aisle.”

She goes on to say, “From the start, Amy and Eriach made it clear that they really wanted to capture Eriach’s reaction to seeing Amy walk down the aisle for the first time. As much as I love a good ‘first look’ like the rest of them, nothing really replaces the raw reaction when it happens during the ceremony. My glasses totally fogged up with tears behind the viewfinder when I photographed Eriach’s reaction to seeing Amy in her dress. It was just so real and beautiful and it’s one of those moments that makes me really thankful that this is my life.”

Collins, who left a full-time job in April to pursue wedding photography, shot this wedding with her husband Pete Schuster.

“I used a Canon 5D Mark II and shot mostly with my favorite prime lenses: a 35mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.2. I almost never take the 35mm off my camera because I love the organic, genuine feel when shooting something so personal,” she says. “My husband uses a Canon 7D and the same lenses. He tends to shoot more with the 50mm, especially during the ceremony. I love being surprised by the artistic shots he’s getting with the 50 during the ceremony because he’s a total ninja about it. When I’m culling the photos, I’m always like, ‘I had no idea you were back there behind that bush!’ We also use the Fujifilm Instax 210 film camera these days so the couple can take some shots home that night.”

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See more of this wedding here.

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