A wedding day rainbow is highly unusual and unexpected, yet luckily it happened for my bride and groom at Cairnwood Estate.


Cairnwood Estate in Bryn Athyn is not only a National Historic Landmark, it is a gorgeous wedding venue located only 16 miles from the heart of Philadelphia. Built by the Pitcairn family, this exquisite estate evokes the charm, romance and splendor of the Gilded Age. It was once a private residence, built with the stateliness and opulence of yesteryear. Cairnwood is stunning in its attention to detail and charm, and will impress guests with its sweeping vistas, romantic gardens, and architectural elements such as arches, columns and balconies.

The magnificent grounds and impressive mansion offer the perfect setting for a wedding. Large windows and a light color palette contribute to gorgeous light for wedding photography. Add in striking architecture and luxurious details with a historical feel, and you have a backdrop for stunning wedding photographs.

Cairnwood offers a large bridal suite for the bride and her attendants and also a very large room for the groom and his groomsmen to get ready. The side garden of Cairnwood with its antique fountain and overflowing gardens filled with summer flowers was the perfect location for their first look. I also photographed Mila and George on the front balcony of the estate, as well as using the wonderful columns of the side portico. I love these wedding photos! And let’s not forget that staircase! After photos of Mila and George I photographed the bridal party and family inside the great hall of Cairnwood, where a gorgeous historic fireplace made a perfect backdrop for these group photographs.

Mila and George had their ceremony at Christ Church in Philadelphia, whose historic significance was the perfect match for their reception at Cairnwood. After the ceremony in this beautiful church where the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin worshiped, we did the iconic stop on Broad Street for the photo of the two of them and City Hall. In the pouring rain! Mila was such a trooper and the two of them got drenched in the middle of Broad Street, but we left with some awesome wedding photographs.

And the best wedding picture was yet to be created!

After a stately entrance down the Cairnwood great hall stairs and their ballroom style first dance, a rainbow appeared over the great lawn of Cairnwood! How many brides and grooms are fortunate enough to have a rainbow on their wedding day? Not many! We raced out onto the lawn to capture some stunning images of Mila and George dancing underneath their special wedding day rainbow!

Here are some photos from Mila and George’s Enchanted Day at Cairnwood:


Sunlight filters through one of the bridal suite windows as Mila prepares to put on her wedding gown.

Mila opted for stone-encrusted high heels in a blush tone.

I thought the silver metal of this antique table would be a great backdrop for the wedding rings.

Mila dressed and ready for her wedding day, seems to be thinking about her upcoming first look with George.

Detail shot of the groom’s cuff links.

George’s Best Man Daniel helps him tackle the cuff links.

One of the large open rooms reserved for the Groom and Groomsmen to get ready in at Cairnwood.

One last look to make sure!

Almost ready for the first look with Mila.

Ready!! Ready to see his bride and to be married.

The summer gardens are exquisite at Cairnwood. Here, Mila approaches George from the terrace.

Framed by Hydrangea and Cairnwood Estate’s antique fountain, Mila looks so excited as she approaches her groom for their first look.

A view of the first look framed with one of the portico arches. A pictorial look at a picturesque setting.

The first tap of the first look. George actually closed his eyes in anticipation when he felt Mila’s touch

George turns and sees his bride.

He covers his face, overcome with emotion as Mila starts to both laugh and cry!

George seeing Mila for the first time in her wedding gown. This groom looks absolutely stunned at his bride’s beauty, unable to speak.

Mila laughs and cries, reaching out to hold her groom.

A quiet moment between this bride and groom. I like to give my couples a few quiet moments together.

I love the groom’s smile in this shot.

I like to mix in some black and white for my clients, and I think this bridal portrait is perfect for that.

George spins Mila around to get the full effect of her flowy wedding gown.

One more walk around Cairnwood’s beautifully landscaped side garden.

I’m loving the sun-washed tones of this bridal portrait. The open terrace acted as a big reflector by adding a lot of indirect sunlight to the image.

This wedding photo looks as though it could have been taken in a charming sun-washed village in France. In fact, Cairnwood incorporates French Renaissance details in its architecture, giving this Estate the effect of a stately French chateau.

One little Flower Girl was very interested in the antique mirror located in the bridal suite.

Mila and George embrace out on the front balcony of Cairnwood, where some of the decorative elements blending classical Greek and Roman architecture can be seen.

Bridal portrait using only window light.

The grand staircase of Cairnwood.

Mila and her attendants, with the historic fireplace in the great room.

Another angle of part of the grand staircase, and a perfect spot for a large bridal party.

Mila’s processional at Christ Church in Philadelphia. This historic church was the perfect complement to their reception venue.

Overall scene taken from the balcony at Christ Church. I find the black and white especially fitting for this beautiful image.

Many historical figures have sat in these pews, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross.

I love this detail shot from above of them holding hands during their wedding ceremony.

On being pronounced husband and wife, George raises his hand in celebration.

Mila and George are ecstatic as they are pronounced husband and wife and celebrate during their recessional.

Walking outside the side gardens of Christ Church to the limo.

The sudden rain did not stop a side trip to Broad Street for an iconic shot in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall. This spot is a favorite of brides and grooms getting married in Philadelphia.

You can see how totally drenched this couple is, and they don’t care! It sure makes for some interesting and unusual wedding photographs!

A dip in the rain? Why not! Mila and George’s sense of humor shines through, even in this downpour!

Back at Cairnwood, the dining rooms are set with lovely soft colors of pinks and gold. This is the sweetheart table for the couple, set in front of a fireplace adorned with candles.

Mrs. and Mr. signs adorn their chairs.

A spring of lavender and the menu tucked into a gold napkin sits at each place setting.

The sweet heart table set with china.

An overall of the beautiful dining room at Cairnwood, set with gold chargers, gold napkins, and tall vases filled with blooms of hydrangea and roses.

The cake, topped with lavender and white flowers of icing.

A second dining room bedecked with china and floral arrangements.

Mila and George are announced down the grand staircase to cheering guests.

A rainbow on your wedding day is probably every bride’s dream. And it happened at this wedding! I worked quickly to capture this wonderful and unusual scene, as rainbows can vanish so quickly. I first asked George and Mila to walk towards the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, so I could capture its lovely spires in the image. It also served to set the scene.

This highly unusual wedding photograph is one of my favorites from photographing Mila and George’s wedding. I had an off-camera flash behind them to make them stand out from the background. I love how the rainbow seems to come down from the sky and point to them kissing on the grounds of Cairnwood.

Love this image in black and white!

A little time with this couple on the front lawn of Cairnwood gave me a chance to create more beautiful images for this couple!

Mila and George walk back to their reception, with castle-like Cairnwood in the background.

Ready to start their new life together….

Lavender lemonade mojitos were offered on the terrace.