By Lauren Fair Photography

The Blog

I’m Jill, a wedding photographer based in New Jersey — and I’m so excited that you’re here! Follow along with the blog to get a glimpse into the heart behind my work.

Historic Mansion Wedding at David’s Country Inn

Hackettstown, New Jersey


An absolutely beautiful spring wedding day for sweet souls, Maria and Michael, at David’s Country Inn! These two are actually from the same town and went to the same high school, but never knew each other. Funny enough, Maria did know Michael’s siblings — and his mother! Mrs. Benanti oversaw the cheer program, which Maria was coaching at the time. One day, Maria was venting to her assistant coach about boy problems. Michael’s mom overheard and mentioned that she would like Maria to meet her son. Maria assumed she meant her son, Anthony, who Maria already knew, but she was actually talking about Michael! As soon as they met it was like they had known each other for years, and the rest was history.

Fast forward a few years to Michael’s proposal! They had looked at rings together at the beginning of the summer, and Michael worked with their family friend and ring designer, Gary, to create Maria’s. Unfortunately, the week before Michael planned to propose Gary very unexpectedly passed away.

As Maria tells it, “Michael will tell you it set his plans off because he wanted Gary to be there. The day came and I was at work, and didn’t think anything unusual. I left work and went by his parents. When I got there, his dad said he had made a memorial in the backyard for all of us to see, but he wanted it to be a surprise so we had to all be blindfolded. I put my blindfold on, and Michael took his off and ran to the backyard as his siblings escorted me out. When we got to the backyard and took our blindfolds off, I saw Michael standing in a gorgeous tent with greenery, flowers, and lights everywhere — and as soon as Luke Combs “Better Together” started playing in the background, he got down on one knee. It was perfect, and I cried like a baby.”

As soon as I chatted with Maria and Michael on the phone, I instantly got along with them. From our first call through their engagement session, Maria’s bridal shower, and wedding planning along the way, these two have been so incredible to work with and I couldn’t be happier that they had such a perfect celebration of their love.

Maria and Michael knew David’s Country Inn was exactly what they were looking for right away. Upon visiting the venue for the first time with family, they were not only greeted by the remarkable staff but by a few good omens as well. The couple getting married that day were named Annette and Joseph, which coincidentally were the names of Michael’s late grandparents on his father side. There was also a painting of rams (their hometown mascot is the Lodi Ram) and a painting of an Old Harley Davidson, which reminded them of Gary. It was the perfect combination of rustic and modern elegance that they both were looking for, and they couldn’t have beeen happier with their decision to pick David’s.

I feel so lucky to have been able to document this special day for Maria and Michael. Congratulations to the Benantis, so much love for you both!



Photography: Jill Sahner Photography
Venue: David’s Country Inn
Videography: Varsalona Videography
Florals: Calico Country Flowers
Hair & Makeup: Lauren Berlingeri Makeup
DJ/Entertainment: Elite Rhythms
Gown: Martina Liana, I Do I Do
Cake: Palermo Bakery
Live Painter: Adelle Marcero

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