Winter Belhurst Castle Wedding | Erin & JP

Bride and groom walking hand in hand through the snow with the sun at their back

Welcome to the winter Belhurst Castle wedding blog post of Erin and JP!  You may have seen Erin and JP’s engagement blog post just a couple of weeks and that’s because Erin has just returned to the states after her assignment with the US Embassy!  So we fit everything into the month of December and when you do that, you’re bound to have snow here in Central NY and around the Finger Lakes!

Mom zips daughter's wedding dress up on her day

Erin and JP met in a ballroom dance class and she chose to wear her ballroom dancing shoes mainly because they are so comfortable!

The story behind their wedding bands is a special one.  They found someone that would help them actually forge their own wedding bands.  A small apartment based business in NYC is where they melted down the gold, casted it and perfected their wedding rings.

From the very beginning of my planning process with Erin, I could tell that their wedding day was going to be elegant and uncomplicated.  To begin with, Erin’s dress was elegant yet without distracting adornment.  It fit her perfectly.  Be sure to take note of the back of the dress with its swoop and buttons in pictures later on in the blog!

collage of bride geting ready in the Tower Suite of Belhurst Castle Geneva NY

Another thing that made Erin and JP’s day simple and uncomplicated was that they had no bridal party.  Erin did have some girl friends that got ready with her that morning and Erin’s brothers hung out with JP and helped him get ready as well.

Groom and his groomsmen together before wedding ceremony at Belhurst Castle

While the guys were outside taking picture and the girls were upstairs getting ready, Carmen, Sharon and their team were hard at work in the Meritage ballroom getting everything all set up and ready for the reception!  I always tell our Team Hawkins Couples that they’re in more capable hands if they’re getting married at the Belhurst… mainly because of Carmen, Sharon and their amazing team!

Because their wedding was held on the winter solstice, the first day of winter and the day that holds the least amount of light, I was so glad that Erin and JP decided they’d wanted to do a First Look.  That way we could get their photos in before the sun went down!

Collage of bride and groom's first look in snowy Belhurst Castle Geneva NY

Just as they were troopers for their engagement session, these two (especially Erin) were troopers in braving the winter cold in her dress!

groom kisses bride on the cheek as she holds her green bouquet beside Seneca Lake

Another aspect of their day that was simple, yet elegant, was Erin’s bouquet, arranged with ferns, greenery a white rose or two.

One of the things that JP admires about Erin is her determination and ambition.  I admire them both for the life that they have chosen together.  As I mentioned in their engagement blog post (which you can read here), Erin works for the US Embassy and will be going on a different assignment every 1-4 years.  This means that they’ll be moving from country to country often and JP will be right by her side, helping her navigate the new cities, culture, marketplaces and all the things that come with living in a different country.


I really loved that Erin had a warm stole to throw around her shoulders.

bride holds her fur stole around her shoulders to keep herself warm

Bride turns around to look at the camera for a picture

Once we had finished shooting outside the ballroom at the Belhurst, we ventured to the front of the castle where I knew there were some evergreen trees.  One of my favorite things to do in photography is take a place that may look less than ideal and make it look magical and epic.  You’d never know from looking at these pictures but we were shooting standing in a driveway with a parking lot behind us.  To see behind the scenes peeks on what this area looked like uncurated, be sure to follow me on Instagram and check my Instastories often!

Bride and groom kiss and love each other in front of evergreen trees at Belhurst Castle

For this photo, I had asked Erin if she’d hold the train of her dress and swish it back and forth.  I said, “you may feel ridiculous…” “I DO feel ridiculous” she broke in. “But”, I responded, “You look REGAL!”  Doesn’t she?

Bride holds the train of her wedding dress and swishes it back and forth

You can just see the respect and love JP has for her by the look in his eyes as he watches her.

Portrait of groom on wedding day

And then!… the sunshine came out!  So we changed our position and shot just a few steps from the evergreen trees!

collage of bride and groom standing in the snow during their winter belhurst castle wedding

This photo was taken by Andrew, the other half of Team Hawkins!  If you haven’t met us yet, be sure to come by and and do so on our Team Hawkins page!

bride looks over her shoulder as groom nuzzles in

Bride and groom walk towards the camera holding hands and laughing as the sunlight kisses the back of their heads

detail picture of bride and groom holding hands while she wears a white wedding dress and fur stole and he in his black suit

Portrait of groom standing in a snowy area with evergreen trees behind him

So whether its a summer or a winter Belhurst Castle wedding, there are amazing spots all over the property for great photos!

Portrait of bride standing in the snow with her green wedding bouquet

Bride looks down over her shoulder showing off her eyelashes

One of my VERY favorites of the whole day!

Bride and groom walking hand in hand through the snow with the sun at their back

Please note the swoop and buttons on the back of her dress!  So gorgeous!

Back of wedding dress with a swoop and buttons and fur stole

Seriously loved getting to know Erin and JP and wanted to make sure we got a couple of pictures with them!  Thanks to Erin’s brother for taking this one of us!

Syracuse wedding photographers with bride and groom

Erin and JP held their wedding ceremony in the Meritage Ballroom at the Belhurst Castle.  Erin’s two brothers escorted her mom down the aisle…

Mother of bride escorted by her two sons down the aisle

Groom waits at the end of the aisle for his bride

And the only other two people down the aisle were Erin and her dad while JP waited expectantly at the end!

Bride and her father walking down the aisle

Bride and Groom at the end of the aisle at their Belhurst Castle wedding in the Meritage Ballroom

I really loved the simple greenery in Erin’s updo.  I also think that between Erin’s classy wedding dress, her fur stole and the greenery in her hair, their day also contained a touch of vintage.  It wasn’t overt but it definitely reminded me of a 1940’s style.  So tasteful!

Back of the bride with greenery in her hair

Groom as he looks at his bride during wedding ceremony at Meritage Ballroom at Belhurst Castle

These two incorporated the Celtic handfasting tradition where the bride and groom clasped each other’s hands and the officiant  bound their hands together symbolizing their union.

Hand binding ceremony at wedding at Belhurst Castle

After more then a decade together, they were finally pronounced husband and wife!

Bride and Groom's first kiss married a the altar

During cocktail hour I made sure to round up Erin’s girlfriends and get a few fun photos of them all together!

Bride and her friends pose together

Bride and her girlfriends laugh together

We even ventured into the speakeasy style bar in Edgar’s at the Belhurst for a few photos!  I thought these were just so fun of the girls!

Bride and her girlfriends at Edgar's speakeasy bar in Belhurst Castle

Then it was on to the reception!  The greenery, again, was so simple and classy.

Collage of reception details including table settings, centerpieces, candles and table numbers

Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs.!  The music was provided by the Band Uptown Groove out of Rochester and they were so much fun!

Bride and groom at their grand entrance during their wedding reception

Erin’s dad gave a speech that was sweet, entertaining and moving.

Collage of speeches at a wedding reception given by Father of the Bride

Even though Erin and JP had been competitive ballroom dancers, they opted for the more simple, unchoreographed first dance.  Again, perfectly classy and elegant.

Collage of Bride and Groom's first dance

Bride spins across the dance floor with her groom

Erin and her dad shared their Father Daughter dance that I found entertaining! Turning their heads in opposite directions to the music had everyone laughing!

Complete with a dip at the end of the dance!

Father dips bride during their dance

The cupcakes were beautifully displayed… and the winter spice cupcake in particular was even more delicious than it looked!

Wedding Cupcakes displayed in a tiered fashion at Belhurst Castle

Collage of cupcakes at wedding reception

Once the formal dances were finished, the band began to play an upbeat tune and that’s when the ballroom dance moves began to come out!

Bride and guest ballroom dance

JP dancing with Julie, the mother of the bride!

When I saw this one that Andrew took I told him that I TOTALLY loved it!

Bride and groom stop and pose during their dancing at their wedding reception

One of Erin’s brothers seemed to be avoiding the dance floor.  We had a little back and forth when I encouraged him to get back out there to dance with his mom and he continued to hold back.  Well ya know, when I saw you back out on the floor with your sister, I knew right away I had to get you in the blog!  So there ya go!

Bride and her brother dance a

In prepping for this wedding, I knew I wanted to do a different kind of night time shot for Erin and JP’s winter Belhurst Castle wedding.  During the end of their reception, I donned my coat and went to experiment a bit. I settled on taking this photo with a long exposure in order to bring out the cozy lights of the castle and the stars in the winter night sky!  The perfect ending to a winter solstice wedding!

To Erin, JP and their families, it was so much fun getting to know you both and an honor to be able to be a part of your sweet, intimate wedding day.  Andrew and I wish you the best as you can now journey through life together and I look forward to keeping in touch with you as you continue on your adventures!

Belhurst Castle at night with bride and groom in front

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