Categorized | Living, People, Weddings

All in The Family

By AML Publisher
Photos courtesy of Joe Craig Photography

The groom-to-be Ryan Lockard Ryan proposed to Rhian during dawn on the beaches of Ocean City, NJ in June of 2007.

The groom-to-be Ryan Lockard
Ryan proposed to Rhian during dawn on the beaches of Ocean City, NJ in June of 2007.

Rhian White and Ryan Lockard first locked eyes in June of 2006 at a mutual friend’s house party. They were seated next to each other on a couch and, during a casual ‘get-to- know-you’ conversation, discovered they were both fans of a new series about dinosaurs on the Discovery Channel. Later that night at a local bar, Rhian, 26 and a native of Willow Grove and Ryan, 27 who hails from Hatfield, started talking and laughing about their shared interests in physics, philosophy and history. The next time Ryan saw the certified life coach and freelance writer out (the brunette bombshell bares a striking resemblance to actress Catherine Zeta Jones), he asked Rhian for her number…and, as they say, the rest is history.

I’ve known Ryan Lockard my entire life, he is the second oldest son of my uncle John, my father’s younger brother. When I heard through the family grapevine that Ryan, a quality assurance analyst, had a new and very serious girlfriend, I suspected another Lockard wedding would shortly be in the works. Ryan and Rhian, (pronounced REE’-n), are a dynamic, fun-loving couple that both have close, large families. So, it came as no surprise they chose the biggest party night of the year, New Year’s Eve, as the ultimate celebration of their love. And, they could not have chosen a more breathtaking backdrop.

Rhian’s dramatic arrival to Cairnwood, where the wedding party met in the early afternoon to take advantage of the landscape and sensational setting with photographer Joe Craig and his staff. The bride’s stunning gold Victoriana dress was designed by Maggie Sottero.

Rhian’s dramatic arrival to Cairnwood, where the wedding party met in the early afternoon to take advantage of the landscape and sensational setting with photographer Joe Craig and his staff. The bride’s stunning gold Victoriana dress was designed by Maggie Sottero.

The couple’s December 31, 2008 reception took place at the Cairnwood mansion in Bryn Athyn, one of the most beautiful historic buildings I have ever had the pleasure to visit. Cairnwood is steeped in history—as the original country home for Joseph Pitcairn, the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass. Designed by the renowned architectural firm of Carrére and Hastings in the Beaux Arts style for the industrialist and his young family, Cairnwood’s majestic main house stood vacant for years until its deteriorating structure was restored in 1995. The mansion still evokes the grandeur of the Gilded Age and is now a popular venue for weddings, corporate entertaining, and social events. It was the most amazing setting for a celebration of a young couple’s new life together!

I know you will enjoy the love story of Rhian and Ryan below, as well as the images from their incredible day so captivatingly captured by their talented wedding photographer, Joe Craig. It was a magical evening I will treasure always as a great family memory.

Sarah Lockard
AML CEO and ePublisher

How they met

Rhian: We met at a party at a mutual friend’s house. Ryan was flipping the channels and started to go past the Discovery Channel’s show Walking With Dinosaurs. I said “Whoa, hold on! Don’t go past that, Walking With Dinosaurs is the best show!” We started talking about dinosaurs and the conversation led to our other mutual interests in physics and philosophy and things of that nature. A girl at the party then started making fun of Ryan and telling me that he was really into comic books and stuff of that nature. I thought it was funny and cute when he got embarrassed and tried to defend himself. The next time we ran into each other, Ryan asked for my phone number and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

The proposal at the Jersey shore

Rhian: It was June 30th two summers ago and we were going down the shore for the annual family trip to Ocean City with his extended family. Ryan and I decided we would get up at 5:30 in the morning and drive down there so we could get an early start. We arrived around 7:00 a.m. and Ryan asked me if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach. I was really excited and so we hopped out and walked down in the tide holding hands.

Younger members of the White family patiently wait through the pre-ceremony photo sessions.

Younger members of the White family patiently wait through the pre-ceremony photo sessions.

We passed this little inlet where the ocean was coming up farther and had created a small little cliff out of sand. It was an amazingly beautiful morning. I turned around to look at the gorgeous sun and sky again and I swear that I said, “Ryan really, it’s so amazingly beautiful this morning – it reminds me of engagement rings! Look at how beautiful the water and the sky are!” As I turned back around to look at him, he had dropped to his knees (both of them!) in the sand and was holding a ring out towards me. He told me that he loved me more than he ever knew was possible and that he would love it if I would marry him. Of course, I said yes! We looked down and saw a little plastic seahorse that was there, too. We picked it up and carried it with us as a souvenir. Ryan said that he wasn’t sure when he was going to propose; just that he knew it was going to be on that trip and hopefully sometime that day. When he heard me say the sky looked like engagement rings, he figured the universe was sending him a message so he took his cue and did it right then and there. It was the absolute perfect and most beautiful proposal ever. I couldn’t have imagined anything better and I was totally surprised.

When was the moment you fell in love?

Rhian: From the moment Ryan and I exchanged phone numbers until today, we haven’t ever gone more than a few hours without speaking. In a way, our love was easy to fall into, like a dance we’d always known the steps to…we just eased instantly into our rhythm and have never gotten out of it. It’s as if we’ve always been in love, there’s never been a question in my mind that we are simply meant for each other. We match. Being with Ryan is like taking a deep breath; it’s like the peace of relaxation at the end of the day when you fall into bed. I feel like we’ve always been in love. We always sought each other out.

The wedding party letting loose on the sprawling grounds of Cairnwood, built in 1895.  The property is the original country estate of John Pitcairn, founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass and business associate of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie.

The wedding party letting loose on the sprawling grounds of Cairnwood, built in 1895. The property is the original country estate of John Pitcairn, founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass and business associate of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie.

Ryan: I fell in love with Rhian immediately. She’s just this whirlwind of excitement and happiness, and I had to be around her. We went from talking all the time to trying to hang out all the time to living together, 1-2-3. It’s been a wonderful journey that started the day we met. I’ve been swept up in the loving emotion of Rhian since day one and I couldn’t be happier.

What was going through your head, Rhian, as you were coming down the aisle?

I was so nervous that I almost forgot to smile! My dad had to tell me to slow down and take it all in, savor the moment. When I saw my husband waiting for me, it became a reality and I thought to myself, oh my gosh, this is it, this is really, really it! After all the planning and work, our day was finally here and it was an incredible rush.

Ryan, what were you thinking when you saw your bride walking down the aisle?

I was ridiculously nervous – and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked so beautiful in her dress. I seriously thought time had slowed to a complete stop, it was surreal.

Rhian and Ryan, you choose some varied cultural wedding traditions in your ceremony. Explain the meaning behind those specific parts of your ceremony.

The ceremony, held at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, featured unique wedding ceremony traditions from various cultures—including an Apache wedding blessing.

The ceremony, held at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, featured unique wedding ceremony traditions from various cultures—including an Apache wedding blessing.

Rhian: We first discussed when we first got engaged that we wanted to incorporate our spirituality into the wedding. We decided to get married because it was right for us, at this time in our lives. We wrote our own ceremony and vows and included tributes to different cultures around the world. That was really important to us.

Ryan: The Tree of Life was a symbol that we really wanted to have incorporated into our wedding. Trees have come up in meaningful, unexpected ways throughout our relationship. Rhian gave her bridesmaids gold necklaces to wear with that symbol and we decided to have it as a theme throughout the ceremony.

Rhian: Our unity ceremony was what we began calling a “soil ceremony”. We took soil from our childhood homes and combined it into a pot with a small tree that we chose together before the wedding. The idea is that the soil of our pasts will intermingle to cultivate and enrich the life of this new tree which represents our new family and our unity together. Then we walked in a circle together after planting the tree. This is a tradition borrowed from Hinduism and Judaism. It is symbolic of the steps we will take together through life.

Joe Craig (www.joecraigphoto.com), an award winning wedding photographer based in Reading, PA, captured the grandeur of Cairnwood with his spectacular images.

Joe Craig (www.joecraigphoto.com), an award winning wedding photographer based in Reading, PA, captured the grandeur of Cairnwood with his spectacular images.

We are not super traditional people in a religious sense, so we approached the wedding in that way. We also incorporated an African blanket exchange. This comes from tribal Africa and it is a ceremony where the groom gives the bride a blanket, therefore signifying his protection of her. Ryan loved this tradition and wanted to incorporate it into the ceremony so he chose a blanket on his own, and I didn’t see it until the ceremony. It was gorgeous and had the image of the Tree of Life on it.

And, we wanted to take photos with Joe (Craig) at Cairnwood the afternoon leading up to our evening ceremony, because we love our wedding venue and wanted to make sure we could capture the beauty of the grounds and building. So, Ryan and I first saw each other that afternoon on the landing of the grand staircase at Cairnwood.

L to R: Parents of the groom John and Marty Lockard of Hatfield accompanies by parents of the bride Lee and Dermott White of Willow Grove.

Meet the Parents
L to R: Parents of the groom John and Marty Lockard of Hatfield accompanied by parents of the bride Lee and Dermott White of Willow Grove.

The Wedding Party

Maids of Honor: Jessica Malone and Cindy Klausner, Rhian’s two best friends

Bridesmaids: Heather White, Amber White, Eunice Schiavinato, Joanie White, Liz Lockard, Jacqueline Paranzino

Best Man: Frank MacPherson was Ryan’s best friend in high school. The two have stayed in touch ever since.

Groomsmen: Jack Lockard, Pat Lockard & Kevin Lockard (brothers of the groom), Dermott White (brother of the bride), Dennis Zimmerman, Matt Ruble, Dan Bridy

Flower Girl & Ring Bearer: Elizabeth Schivinato, CJ Eslinger

The Dress

Rhian: It took me forever to pick a dress, I literally tried on hundreds. I finally found my dress when a bride I was interacting with online mentioned that it was her dress for her wedding. Until then, I had been looking for a totally different silhouette. I didn’t think I wanted the big, traditional ball gown. But, after I realized how much I loved that dress (and that I looked at it online every day) I had to try it on. The second I put it on I knew.

My gold ball gown dress was designed by Maggie Sottero and is called Victoriana. I picked it because it is absolutely the most gorgeous dress in the world, it went with our venue, it made me feel like a bride and most importantly, I loved it. It made me happy every single time I thought of it. I ordered it from Baranette’s Bridal in Willow Grove. They are so nice and never made me feel pressured, it was just a fantastic experience to work with them!

Chestnut Hill's famous Bredenbeck's Bakery provided the  breathtaking wedding cake to match the regal reception

Chestnut Hill's famous Bredenbeck's Bakery provided the breathtaking wedding cake to match the regal reception.

Something Old

To honor both heritages, the bride carried a handkerchief belonging to one of Ryan’s great aunts who coincidentally shared the same name as her maternal grandmother, Eunice.

Something New

The brides dress and accessories were considered her ‘something new.’

Something Borrowed

Rhian wore a blue topaz and diamond bracelet, on loan from her mother Lee White.

Something Blue

Besides the blue gemstones in her bracelet, the bride sported blue rhinestones on the bottoms of her shoes that spelled out “I Do.”

Fashion Forward

The bride chose purple and gold as the regal wedding colors. And, Rhian adorned a feathered headpiece for the reception. Feather accents are one of the hottest bridal and floral trends in the wedding industry for 2009.

In 50 words or less describe your new husband and wife:

Rhian: My husband is the most gorgeous, creative, intelligent, funny, romantic, thoughtful, handsome, rugged, hilarious, clever, insightful, loving man in the world. He takes care of me; he loves me and has taught me so much. In short, he is a blessing and everything I could ever imagine wanting in this world.

Ryan: My wife is beautiful and full of insight. She’s the most tender, loving person I’ve ever met. We’ve shared so many unique experiences together and she’s shown me a side to life that I didn’t even know was out there. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else ever.

Now that we are married, I am looking forward to…

Rhian: I honestly look forward to every single day with Ryan. He is amazing; being with him is my greatest dream come true. I am so excited for our future.

Ryan: Just living life with Rhian. She’s so great and wonderful. I’m glad that we’re best friends as well as husband and wife.

The rambunctious reception culminated with a festive ringing in of 2009 and a toast to the newlyweds.

The rambunctious reception culminated with a festive ringing in of 2009 and a toast to the newlyweds.

Wedding Vendors

Wedding Consultant: Perfect Weddings, Conshohocken, PA
Sheryl A. Garman, President www.perfectweddings.tv

Ceremony Venue: Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Huntingdon Valley, PA www.hvccpa.org

Officiant: Linda Noonan, Journeys of the Heart
Philadelphia, PA

Reception Venue: Cairnwood Mansion
Bryn Athyn, PA www.cairnwood.org

Caterer: Robert Fair Catering
Exton, PA www.faircatering.com

Wedding Cake: Bredenbeck’s Bakery
Chestnut Hill, PA www.bredenbecks.com

Reception DJ: A Sharp Production
Huntingdon Valley, PA www.asharpproduction.com

Videographer: Pat Taggart Videography
Philadelphia, PA www.pattaggartvideo.com

Florist: Penny’s Flowers
Glenside, PA www.pennysflowers.com

Wedding Dress Boutique: Baranette Bridal
Willow Grove, PA www.baranettebridal.com

Wedding Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero
www.maggiesottero.com

Tuxedos: Country Bride and Gent
West Point, PA www.countrybrideandgent.com

Bridesmaids Dresses: Impression Bridal
www.impressionbridal.com

Flower Girl Dress: Ladybug
www.ladybugcollection.com

Hair Stylist: Calista Brides
calistabrides@aol.com

Make-Up Artist: Jane Doe Makeup
Philadelphia, PA www.janedoemakeup.com

Wedding photos courtesy of Joe Craig Photography (www.joecraigphoto.com). Joe Craig is an award-winning WPJA photographer wedding photographer based in the Lehigh Valley. His wedding photography captures real moments, intimate connections, and insightful details. Always providing full day coverage and a personal touch, Joe blends fine art photography with a photojournalistic style to make intimate pictures that tell the complete story of your unique wedding day. Joe is available throughout the tri-state region as well as nationally and internationally. If you are interested in contacting Joe Craig for your upcoming wedding, kindly contact him directly at: 610-823-5758 or via email: joe@joecraigphoto.com.

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Rhian Says:

    This is such a beautiful article! Thank you so much Sarah! I really appreciate you featuring us, it’s so great to get to relive that amazing day =)

  2. Sarah Says:

    This is amazing. What a beautiful article! :)

  3. Joe Says:

    This turned out awesome. What a great couple and really nice to hear more about their story!

  4. Jenni Says:

    I was almost in tears with this whole thing! It’s absolutely amazing! What an honor!

  5. Marty Says:

    This is amazing! Lovely interview!

  6. Sara Says:

    I am now in tears because of this article. I’ve heard the stories, I’ve seen the pictures before, and still — you can just feel the love. Even through the texts that they write. That’s how powerful it is.

    Congratulations Rhian and Ryan! There is no need to wish you a happy life together — for you will have much more than wishes — you will have truth.

    This was a beautiful article! Thank you.

  7. Sheryl Garman, President of Perfect Weddings Says:

    I am so happy to have been a part of this wedding. Rhian and Ryan are both amazing people – kind and considerate, as were their families and bridal party members. Here’s wishing them a happy future as husband and wife. Sheryl

  8. Maria Says:

    Absolutly Beautiful !
    Please could you let me know, which designer made Rhian’s stunning Bridal Coat,..I will be getting married in 10 months time and have been searching for this dream coat everywhere, but with no success,….please help.
    Regards,
    Maria

  9. Josephine Says:

    What a beautiful story. I have come accross this as i have been researching the Victoriana dress in gold. I knew it was my front runner but when i saw you i was speachless, you are the most beautiful bride i have ever seen!!! Now i cant have my wedding without this dress, so thank you for helping me to make up my mind. Please can i just ask one question, where did you get your cape from, its stunning?

  10. Nicky Says:

    Hi
    i never knew a wedding could be so wonderful. you looked like a princess. if ever you want to sell the dress or cape please let me know. I’m in South Africa. i wasn’t planning on having a formal wedding but now i cant imagine just going to the magistrate to get married.
    thx
    Nicky

  11. Sarah Says:

    WOW!! So romantic <3 I absolutely love the Victoriana dress and LOVE the coat Rhian is wearing. Where can you buy a coat/cape like that from as I absolutely have to have one for my wedding :D

    Thank you

    Sarah

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