West Point Wedding | Thayer Hotel Wedding Reception | Pentecostal Wedding Photographer
Though planned last-minute and with no time to spare, Liz & John’s Pentecostal wedding ceremony and Thayer Hotel wedding reception went off without a hitch
Photos by Hudson Valley wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings
A Pentecostal Wedding with Father+Daughter Pastors
What happens when a Pentecostal pastor meets someone special in her church? They get married AT that church by another Pentecostal pastor. And of course…the officiating pastor was her father. That’s one way to save on costs of an officiant, right?! This intimate wedding concluded at The Historic Thayer Hotel at West Point Military Academy, where family and friends partied into the night.
Liz is a Pentecostal pastor who grew up in a tight-knit household of devout worshippers. Her father, the head pastor at their church in rural New York, had led their small congregation for decades. Liz naturally followed in her family’s footsteps and became a pastor herself, preaching the word of the Lord with her emphatic words, huge smile, and love for all.
When they hired me, Liz warned that everything had come together rather last-minute, and that her family was DIYing quite a lot. No problem in the least! My phone meetings were with her whole family in the background, so to say it was a family affair was putting it mildly.
When I arrived at the small house-turned-church, I was welcomed warmly by groom John and his family. I grabbed some shots of all the decorations and John getting ready (he enjoyed more than the occasional pose for the camera), then got a few of Liz getting ready in…the choir room. There was no space for chairs to be moved or decorations to be sorted, so I just photographed it as it was, photojournalism style.
I then captured the ceremony as Liz walked down the aisle. They had their first communion together, shared a lot of song and dance, and captured the worship and laughs. Liz even sang at the altar!
In terms of wedding photography, capturing a Pentecostal wedding is very different from traditional church weddings. The music, motion, worship, and emotions are so unique and vibrant. People shout, sing, have their arms in the air, and may event faint if overcome by the Lord. Therefore, it was imperative that they get a photojournalistic view of what was happening (and this was something the couple had asked for). Because of this, these documentary wedding photos show a lot of tears, singing, and active worship in a way many folks are not used to seeing.
After they had walked down the aisle as wife and husband, more singing commenced (which some of the kids in attendance, below, were not fans of!), and John and Liz came back out, singing more with the whole family.
Once the ceremony concluded and they signed their marriage certificate, we headed to a local park for a few photos…until the rain came down.
Back in the car we went, off to The Thayer Hotel.
The Thayer Hotel at West Point Military Academy
The Historic Thayer Hotel at West Point Military Academy is a grand Hudson Valley wedding venue. For those who want a more old-school venue (quite unlike barn weddings or quirky wedding venues), The Thayer Hotel dates back to nearly 100 years ago. Housed just inside West Point, arguably the best military school in the USA, Thayer is home to over 150 rooms and suites, plus a whopping 10 different event venues.
A Thayer Hotel wedding is a stately affair, since your guests will have a doorman, and climb stairs up into the hotel’s historic lobby—complete with flags, old wooden decorations, a giant fireplace, patriotic carpeting, and the kind of warm setting that makes you feel you’re in a castle.
Rules for Having a Wedding at Thayer Hotel
You do not need to have military affiliation to get married at The Thayer Hotel. If you want to use the grounds, however, security usually needs information on you, your photographer, and your car information at least several days before your wedding.
IDing is strict, and you’ll have to go through a military gate and security to even enter the grounds. Once on, you should enjoy exploring, as the Gothic architecture and massive buildings (plus great Hudson Valley views!) are worth seeing. I grew up occasionally going to West Point, where we would see musicals, sports games, and more when I was a girl.
A Wedding Reception at West Point
I’ve photographed many weddings at The Thayer Hotel as a local wedding photographer, but you can certainly do your reception only at this Garrison wedding venue. Many couples opt to do their portraits at Trophy Point or The Shakespeare Garden, but due to the temporary rain, Liz and John just waited and decided to head into the lovely Thayer Hotel’s backyard, which overlooks the Hudson River.
After portraits, we headed inside the hotel, where folks did toasts, celebrated, and danced. Their friends—who are talented musicians at the church—set up the band and played well into the night.
Though the day was hectic and things ran late, John’ great style and Liz’s sense of humor and bright grin made their Thayer Hotel wedding awesome~