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I'm Hannah B, wedding & portrait photographer based in New York State. I'm a lover of intricate details and story telling- both visually & through writing. Here you will find glimpses of my life as a photographer, wife, mama, dog-lover & Chick fil-A obsessed creative!

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October 14, 2023

A Celebration of Marriage: The Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala

This had been a dream of mine for so many years: to have an opportunity to gather all my favorite people in the same place- to reminisce all the incredible love stories I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. To honor the clients who have made my dreams a reality for over a decade. To eat, drink & celebrate marriage. The Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala officially came to life on July 14, 2023, & my goodness, it could not have been sweeter.

As bold as this statement is, I think it’s safe to say that this is now my all-time-favorite experience in the history of my career thus far. I joke constantly that, as a creative, I have about 1000 ideas pop into my head each day… and maybe 2 of them are actually good ones. The concept of throwing a party of this magnitude for all your past couples teeters on the brink of insanity, & I felt that very deeply in the weeks leading up to this event.

“HANNAH, what have you gotten yourself into?! WHY did you think you could pull this off?” I audibly yelled far too loud in the darkness of my living room.


I looked at the clock… it was 12:30 am the week before this event. And I was NO WHERE near ready. My to-do list still looked like the event was three months out, and I was on the brink of a panic attack. Thankfully, I had some really incredible people in my corner who talked me right off that ledge. And through the grace of God alone, we pulled everything together and made it happen!

My original plan was to copy and paste my speech from the gala directly on to the blog to be able to share my heart spelled out on paper with you all. Sadly, that was one task I never got around to finishing before July 14th rolled around. I would sit down & attempt to articulate the amount of gratitude and love I have for all these people, and words would fail me every single time. I walked into this party with absolutely nothing jotted down for what I’d say, and if you know me at all, that is about as uncharacteristic of Hannah B as humanly possible. (I never DON’T have a plan!) So I think I blacked out entirely for the duration of the time the mic was in my hand.

All this to say, I am convinced I will never find a way to accurately describe what an incredible honor it is being part of these people’s lives and love stories. To have documented some of their most precious memories, witness the covenant they made with one another, celebrate alongside them on the HAPPIEST day of their lives… and now be able to watch their families grow year after year? My heart feels like it could burst. Nothing will ever do justice to how much gratitude I feel for these couples and their unwavering trust in me.

It’s crazy to me how each & every wedding I’ve been a part of has altered the trajectory of my life in some way. There is nothing I cherish more than the people God has blessed me. From my couples, to their friends and family, to my vendor friends within the industry. As much as I love photography, I am TRULY not in this career for the pretty pictures. The people will always & forever be the heart and soul behind HBP. I have no idea how long I will be a wedding photographer, but one thing that is for sure: I will forever owe this career my life. It has blessed me with more joy, friendship, love, grace, and kindness than I ever dreamed possible.

Will this be the only gala I ever host?!

Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. I think deep down I know this isn’t the end- my soul longs for this community and continues to dream for new ways to prove how special my people are to me. (Remember when I said I had 1000 ideas a day? It’d be naive to think this dream would just stop here) But right now, I can’t fathom trying to replicate this mountain top experience. Could anything EVER top the best day of my career? I guess I’ll never know unless I try.

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
^I frantically ran inside to put on my dress at 5:59 (mind you, the gala started at 6) and walked out into the backyard with this look on my face. I don’t think it left my face all evening. I have never felt so much overwhelming joy. Every single couple who walked in brought tears to my eyes.

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
These flowers were grown, harvested, & designed by my incredible friend, Christy Muck, of Wild Blossom Hollow. She’s the funniest, most-talented, & deeply kind hearted human you will ever meet. I still can’t believe she agreed to help me bring my crazy vision to life. I gave her free reign to do whatever the heck she wanted for this event. (knowing full-well that anything she created was going to be INSANELY beautiful)! Colorful, fun, backyard summer party. That was how I described my vision. It’s safe to say she knocked it out of the park.

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaThe boxwood wall was built by one of my sweet 2023 HBP couples (Bethany & Jake, I love y’all!) I saw it at their wedding and knew the gala would never be complete without it. The acrylic words “all my love, always” were created by my friend Kyla from To Etch Their Own! I knew I had to have something personal to complete the look with all the flowers. “All my love, always” is how I sign off my final email to my couples upon the delivery of their wedding gallery.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaFood & decor– 1000% my sweet mama. Kathy Neckers is the queen of event hosting and this one SURELY never would have happened without her! I’m so thankful to have a mother who supported this idea from day one. No dream is too big and she has fought tirelessly her entire life to help make all of mine come true.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaA huge piece of my heart I wanted to be sure to include at the gala: less than one month before, one of my past grooms was tragically killed in the line of duty as a Pennsylvania State Trooper. My heart literally ached as I prepared to celebrate so many love stories, knowing that one of them was cut far too short. I designed a tribute for Jay & Chloe, and so many couples & vendors came together to donate & help support this past bride during her time of grief. People wonder why I call it this my “HBP Family”… but this right here is exactly it: the community we’ve created is unmatched.

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
My earrings for the event were made by Tess, a 2018 Hannah Bryerton bride, who quickly became my soul sister and closest friend. (s/o to Wild Card Design Co— go follow her on IG at @wildcarddesignco!) Turns out we all love us some Tessa Card originals, because MULTIPLE girlies were rocking her earrings that night. A picture was most definitely in order!

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaThis guy has my whole freaking heart. Last summer, he asked what I wanted for our anniversary… I told him “to relive our wedding day all over again, but this time with all my past couples.” This man didn’t question my crazy idea for one second! Exactly 5 years ago, on July 14, 2018, he vowed that he would help chase all my dreams until we’d caught them. This night was the truest testament to that. Jesse McKay Bryerton, you are by far the best thing this career has brought me.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Honest to goodness, I have very little recollection of this speech. I just remember laughing & crying my way through it, but strangely, not feeling nervous at all. It was like speaking to a room of my closest friends; nowhere could have made me feel safer or more at home. I owe this group of people my entire life (quite literally) and even 500 of these parties in their honor would never feel like enough.  Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaThe group photo was obviously a MUST. There were countless couples who couldn’t make it that evening, but I wasn’t about to pass up on the opportunity of a photo with all the ones who did! Sara Haines– you are a ROCKSTAR for putting up with all my chaos this evening. She documented this event and served me & my couples SO well. I will cherish these photographs & memories forever.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaDJ Alex, you are the absolute BEST in the game and I will never stop singing your praises. EVER. When I started dreaming up the idea for the gala, I said I would never do it unless he was part of it. It had to be the best and there is absolutely no substitution for Alex. Sure enough, this man drove all the way from State College to make it happen. Brides– do yourself a favor and just hire Alex Nepa. I don’t care where you’re getting married… fly this guy to your wedding on Mars. It will be the one part of wedding planning you’ll never regret.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaHannah Forrest: My soul sister and the greatest friend to ever come out of working in the wedding industry. If I could shoot EVERY wedding with her as the videographer, I would do it in a heartbeat. She filmed the gala for me and I know they will be memories I’ll cherish forever. Her encouragement and wisdom get me through every single day. This party never would have been complete without her!
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaSara & Claire Haines– the photo team of everyone’s dreams! Your hearts to love and serve others are so admirable. There is nothing more refreshing than finding like-minded, Jesus-loving, life-giving friendships in the photography world. To know I have friends I can refer to couples when I cannot be part of their day is the most wonderful feeling of all time. Thank you for being part of my gala and going above and beyond to document it all! I love y’all so much.
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaAnd this is the part where I get REALLY teary.

Lindsey, my assistant at HBP for the last THREE wedding seasons: She’s been beside me through the pandemic, pregnancy, my first year of motherhood, and the entire dreaming & planning process for this gala. She encouraged me harder than just about ANYONE to bring this to life. She believed in me far before I believed in myself. I cherish car rides & long wedding days together far more than any person should. I keep waiting for her to say “ALRIGHT, enough is enough. I’m done with this chaos.” But she keeps welcoming it with open arms. The overachieving, type-A, hilarious, loving, generous, sassy assistant of my dreams. God knew JUST what he was doing when he brought her to me.

Christy & Morgan: my Taylor Swift-screaming, vodka-cran-drinking, barefoot dancing, ridiculously selfless, best friends & diva girls. No one throws a party in the backyard quite like us! Alongside their husbands, they gave up their time, lives, and home for the sake of this party. (Seriously, Morgan’s house and backyard hosted the event and she never complained one second about the chaos I brought to her front door) They moved chairs and tables, cut fruit and vegetables, hung lights, and survived the excruciating group texts riddled with my anxiety and stress. Morgan even DID MY HAIR AND NAILS for the gala. I know… she could be a professional aesthetician at this point. They’ve both come alongside me on wedding days and assisted when I needed them most. I’d never survive this crazy life without these humans and I’m so thankful I get to call them mine!
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer GalaThese friggen cheesecake shooters, though. Yet ANOTHER dear friend and past bride, Sarah Buehler, made desserts and brought them all the way from Ridgway, PA. I’m not kidding– EVERYONE was asking who made them that night! Slice of Cake, by Sarah Buehler…. LOOK HER UP, Y’ALL! These desserts were just scratching the surface of her delicious creations.

And, of course, I had to make the Hannah B’s signature chocolate chip cookies and have hand-decorated almond vanilla sugar cookies present at this party. Morgan from Sweet Pete’s Design Studio makes the GREATEST, most beautiful sugar cookies I’ve ever laid eyes on. No party is complete without her artistry present. All these desserts were the perfect addition to our ice cream sundae bar. (Truly I just love any excuse to have all my favorite foods in one place! hahaha!)
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala
Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala

As I wrap up this post and reflect on one of my favorite nights ever, I just want to say thank you one last time:

-To my couples, who trusted me with some of the most important days of their lives & came to celebrate alongside Jesse & I on our anniversary. Who continue to love and support this little business with fierce loyalty, even as it grows and changes year after year.

– To my friendors, who worked tirelessly to bring this dream of mine and continue to serve the wedding industry with love and light every single day. You all are the reason I continue to do what I do; you make my world a better place.

-To my friends and family, who go along with all my crazy and sacrifice incessantly to make this career possible. Loving and supporting an artist and entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, that’s for dang sure.

-And to the perfect strangers, who follow along, read my blogs or share my little business without me even knowing it. I only WISH you could see the ripple effect your referrals, likes, shares, comments and DMs have made in my life. We’ve created the most incredible army of humans that I would never trade for the world! I’m so happy you’re here and part of it.

Hannah Bryerton Photography Summer Gala

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