I cannot think of a better way to kick off Pride month than to feature this wonderful Nationwide Hotel LGBTQ Wedding! It was such an honor to capture Matt and Michael’s loving, genuine, and incredibly authentic celebration last year.
Eight years ago on June 26th, 2015, I was actually photographing a gay wedding. The couple didn’t know if their ceremony was going to be legal or not at the end of the day. It was announced at the reception that LGBTQ persons were now legally allowed to get married, and oh what a celebration that night was! People cheering, crying, and signing LEGAL documents! It’s become one of my favorite wedding-day core memories and a moment I’ll never forget.
It’s hard to believe up until that date and that moment, same-sex couples had been denied the right to legally marry. It goes without saying that for many reasons including this one, the LGBTQ community has felt excluded and marginalized. For that reason, any time an LGBTQ wedding happens, it’s also a celebration of equality and the right to marry and love whoever your heart loves, no matter what gender. These weddings are brave and make a statement to the world about love triumphing always. It’s one of the reasons LGBTQ weddings are some of my very favorites.
On this special day, Matt and Michael wore matching navy blue tuxedos with black accents. Everyone in their wedding party wore the same navy color and it was STUNNING. I adore monochromatic everything. Matt and Michael said their vows surrounded by their closest family and friends in the Edgewater Room at Nationwide Hotel. The sun beamed in on them as they made their marriage official.
Their reception was accented by a custom logo made from both of their initials. Elegant blue and white flowers decorated every table. My favorite part was the eye candy that OMG Sweets provided for the dessert table. As always, Nationwide knocked it out of the park with its incredible food.
After dinner, the couple was showered with love and some hilarious speeches. They then moved into the dancing room for their first dance where the love between them was simply palpable. Soon after, guests danced into the evening and celebrated and cheered Matt and Michael as they officially launched this new chapter of their lives together. Last month was their one-year anniversary and I’d like to wish them a very happy one year down!
There is no better day than Valentine’s Day to post about this absolutely incredible Columbus Ohio Surprise Proposal from last year.
Emily wrote me and told me she wanted to propose to her girlfriend Sherry. Little did I know I was going to walk into a work of art. Vessel Floral and Events knocked it absolutely out of the park with their rose and candle installation in Due Amici’s event room.
I always get a little nervous for surprise proposals. It feels like I’m waiting for a Jack-In-The-Box to spring out at me. It has to be perfect. And I’d say this ended up being as close to perfect as you can get.
Emily and Sherry were eating lunch right on the other side of the door. Near the end of lunch, Sherry was guided to that very special room and her reaction was just PRICELESS and gave me all the feels. Emily led her to the front of the room where she dropped to one knee and asked Sherry to spend the rest of her life with her. She couldn’t stop laughing and crying and I think the surprise rocked her to her core in the best possible way. There was so much happiness right there at that moment. It was so much fun to watch and document. I couldn’t be more excited for these two and I hope on this special day you’re feelin’ the love, too!
This backyard Columbus Ohio wedding was quite simply, a dream. I was hired to photograph Nicholas and Joseph’s wedding because their larger blow-out celebration that was set to be in Chicago was sadly canceled because of COVID last year. When I arrived at their house, I walked into the backyard and was met with the most stunning table set up under hanging bistro lights. The landscaping was to die for. There were lots of little places to sit around the yard, a fire was going, and so. many. candles. You would have thought that the florals had been done by a professional florist, but Joseph actually did them himself!
When I arrived, Nick and Joe were getting ready inside and everyone was bustling about their home. A Cake for Leroy was putting the final touches on their cake in the kitchen. Their best friends were in and out the back door setting everything up. There was such fun energy in the air.
Right before guests arrived, Joe and Nick joined me for a few portraits around their yard. The table setup was so stunning I had to make it part of some shots. These two have such a deep bond with each other and I could really feel how important this day was for both of them. Happy tears streamed from both of them. Their love was palpable.
Joseph’s brother officiated the ceremony amongst an intimate group of friends and family. Their vows were some of the best I had ever heard. They described what it really felt like to meet the love of your life. The vows were also very poetic and sincere. The space these two created at that moment was electric, and one that I’ll never forget.
After the vows were exchanged and the rings were placed, it was time to party and celebrate! Cameron Mitchell provided the most beautiful appetizers and food for the event. Everyone gave Nick and Joe a champagne toast to their new marriage! As the sun tucked below the horizon, guests were seated and the happy couple danced in each other’s arms under the glow of the twinkling lights. Dinner continued into the dark of night and laughing faces were illuminated by the glow of candlelight. It was such a beautiful moment in time. I can’t thank Joseph and Nicholas enough for trusting me with capturing their vision.
As we enter into the last few days of pride month, I am so excited to share this blog with you today from Carly and Alexxa’s wedding last September from WatersEdge Event and Conference Center in Hilliard, Ohio.
I met up with Carly and Alexxa at their hotel where they were getting ready in separate rooms. Their hair and makeup were being done by Always Elegant LLC when I arrived. It was so much fun to go back and forth from room to room and see all the little details that each of them had put together for the day. What was so striking, was how similar the cuts of their dresses were to each other. I don’t know if they planned it, but they were also wearing the same shirt to get ready in. There was nothing but ear-to-ear smiles in both rooms.
After they were both ready, we drove to WatersEdge to get the day started with a first look. Carly grabbed her Bloomtastic bouquet which was adorned with satin ribbons that gently blew in the breeze. It was just the perfect little detail that she planned to match the ribbon that was on the back of her dress. I was so excited as Alexxa approached because I knew this was going to be cute. But I can’t even explain in words how special it really was. They are truly soul mates. The way they interact is so genuine and sincere.
It was threatening rain all day. The clouds were rolling in, and the wind was picking up. But like so many other Ohio days, it didn’t rain and they were able to have the most beautiful outdoor ceremony. Signs, programs, invitations, and save-the-dates were all made and designed by Carly, who is also an extremely talented graphic designer. After they were married, we snuck out and took some more photos. If you can catch that moment when it’s about to rain and it doesn’t, the payoff can be huge. A slight wind, perfect overcast for photos, and the world can seem just a little more vibrant and saturated.
Now it was time to party! And I have to say, of all the hundreds of weddings I’ve been to, this wedding had the best speech hands down I’ve ever heard. Carly’s brother knocked it out of the park with his chart-enhanced story of him and Alexxa’s relationship over the years. The evening was perfectly rounded out with the most loving first dance with Carly and Alexxa, followed by some amazing dance moves from almost everyone at the wedding. D&M DJ Entertainment kept the dance floor alive all night. I think White Claw helped too lol. There was so much love in the room that night. The energy was electric and I feel so lucky to have been there to capture it all.
Ok, prepare yourself. This wedding is so special, so loving, and so uniquely Tyler and Thomas. These two decided to stray from the typical event formula and instead of having a rehearsal dinner, they had an intimate wedding the night before their big reception! To make it even more fun, we did their engagement shoot right before they said their vows. I’ve shot over 300 weddings and this is the first time I’ve ever done one like this. It had everything. The small intimate ceremony and the large no-holds-barred party. Just perfect if you ask me.
We started the weekend of festivities at Goodale Park where spring was vibrant with its saturated greens. This was the first time I had met either of them, but you would never know that. It felt like I was hanging out with old friends. Tyler is from Canada so he thanked me after every photo I took, which just gave me a natural high from days. These are two of the sweetest people you could ever meet. As we walked and took photos, we slowly made our way down High Street to Hubbard Grille, where their ceremony took place. Hubbard Grille has a second-floor event space that is just perfect for a smaller dinner or event like this. And if you go there, try the Brussel sprouts. I don’t even like Brussel sprouts and I think it’s quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
Thomas’ dad officiated the quick ceremony and before you knew it, Tyler and Thomas were married! Together with their family they ate a delicious meal and celebrated into the night with wine and laughter flowing.
The next day, my second shooter and I met Tyler and Thomas at the LeVeque Tower in Downtown Columbus for a quick portrait session before we went to the big event. A man in a tux is a special thing to see, but two men in tuxes just took my breath away. The LeVeque was the perfect backdrop for their wedding attire. That art deco vibe matched perfectly with their dapper and sophisticated look.
Off to the Franklin Park Conservatory, we went! It was so much fun just to walk around and take a few photos. Then, the rest of the night after family photos was pretty much just documentary photography. Throughout the night, they had live music, speeches galore, and even a swing band with a swing dance instructor. This weekend was pure magic and these photos are so much fun to look back on as they celebrate their one-year anniversary this week! Tyler and Thomas, I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with you both. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you both! XO Jess
What a stunning evening this was! I can’t get over how fun Bryan and Ryan are. Some of my past brides and grooms may recognize Bryan because he has been in the Columbus wedding and hospitality industry for years. When a fellow vendor chooses me to photograph their most important moments, it’s one of the highest compliments I can get.
One of the best parts of my engagement shoots is when pets are included! Bryan and Ryan have two adorable dogs who were very excited for their close-up. The sun was setting quickly, but wow the light did not disappoint. There were so many opportunities for golden hour lovey-photo goodness. Everything glowed like it was washed with golden honey. I especially liked some of the silhouettes we got against the dynamic Downtown Columbus sky.
We ended the engagement shoot at the Leveque Tower cheers-ing to the future in a big way! Little did we know late last year as we walked around the Scioto Mile talking and laughing, that this year would be so challenging. These two have unfortunately moved their wedding to 2021 because of this whole COVID-19 mess. I have now re-booked 8 of my weddings. My heart goes out to all those who are having their weddings delayed and rescheduled. Luckily, time moves so quickly and their wedding day will be here before we know it. Thank you so much, Bryan and Ryan and I cannot wait to get you back in front of my camera early next year! XO Jess
Liza and Terri LOVE visiting G. Michael’s in German Village, so that’s where they decided to hold their intimate ceremony and reception for their wedding day last fall. I didn’t know it, but G. Michael’s will rent out the whole restaurant for you and your guest for a VERY cool experience.
We started the day with some portraits on the same block as the restaurant. It was very hot outside so we wanted to stay close so no one would get overheated. We then took all the family portraits to free up the rest of the evening for a celebration! When guests started to arrive, they were greeted with a cocktail and escorted out to the back patio. Liza and Terri were married by Terri’s brother in one of the most moving ceremonies I’ve ever been to. Because this was at G.Michael’s the cocktail hour and dinner food was nothing short of spectacular. If you can’t rent the place out for an event, definitely go there on a date night- you won’t regret it. After dinner, Liza and Terri did their first dance in the same room as dinner. They seemed to be in their own beautiful love-filled world. You could tell just by looking at them that they have a special love that is deeper than most. It was an honor to be there to not only photograph it but just be in the same room. Dancing slowly moved into the same room as the bar and continued into the night. As I left, I could see everyone laughing, embracing and soaking up those moments inside. I felt a natural high as I walked to my car. Thank you so much, Terri and Liza. You’ll never know how much it meant to me to be able to capture these moments.
One of the things I love most about being around Terri and Liza is they act like a new couple even though they’ve been together for years. Both of their faces just light up when they see each other. To have such a palpable love I think is pretty rare. It also made photographing them extremely easy.
We shot their engagement session at the Community Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory on the most beautiful September evening when the golden sun was low in the sky. The warm glow of the universe only made Terri and Liza that much more beautiful together. A couple of weeks later, these two tied the knot in an intimate German Village ceremony which I will blog about in the weeks to come. Until then, I hope you enjoy these as much as I did taking them! XO Jess
I think the single biggest gift being a wedding photographer has given me has been reconnecting with people from my past on such a loving an important day as their wedding. I have photographed the weddings and special moments for people I’ve gone to high school with, people that I’ve gone to college with, people I’ve gone to graduate school with and people that I’ve met in while living in other cities. 17 years ago I was lucky enough to find myself working at ACCAD as a summer counselor for a women in technology program. Little did I know that program would change my life probably more than it changed any of the other girls attending the week-long camp. The other counselors became lifelong mentors to me and women that I continue to look up to and aspire to be. One of those women is Samantha. When she contacted me about her wedding day, to say I was honored would be an understatement. We FaceTimed together where I got to both meet her fiancé Lisa and start the ball rolling on planning their romantic Via Vecchia wedding.
Fast forward to their wedding day. It’s not often I get choked up on a wedding day, but when Samantha walked into the room with a blue sequined dress, I kinda lost it a little. She was so radiant. A little later, I was able to meet Lisa in-person for the first time in her suite down the hallway at the downtown Westin. It had felt like I had known her for years. Her brother and best friend were hanging out in the room with her and they had such great senses of humor, I immediately felt a connection with them all.
Lisa and Sam wanted so badly to get married in the alley at Via Vecchia, but the universe had other plans for them. It not only rained, but it down-poured to the point it was testing the capacity of the gutters. The entire ceremony setup was moved indoors at the last minute thanks to Via Vecchia owner, Michael, and Lisa and Sam’s friends and family. Let me tell you- it looked so amazing. I couldn’t get enough of the hot-pink uplighting. It ended up being the ceremony with the biggest visual cool-factor of the year. I know it wasn’t what they had envisioned, but it was just perfect.
My favorite parts of the reception were the speeches, as always, the shoe game where we got to see a little insight on Sam and Lisa’s relationship, and the sibling dance-off which was judged by Sam and Lisa’s parents. I’m not sure I’ve laughed that hard in years. Later that night, the rain stopped and so we snuck out and did a few evening shots under the Via Vecchia bistro alley lights. I can’t thank Samantha and Lisa enough for having me photograph their wedding. I hope you all love these as much as I loved taking them! XO Jess
When I think back to this wedding, I still think it was a wonderful dream. Everything from start to finish was so beautiful, laid-back, and genuine. Kaila and Brittany started their day getting their hair and make-up done in the same room. They then separated into two different rooms to put on their dresses for their first look. We did their first look in the heart of German Village on hot but beautiful June day. Both of their dresses were a pale blush color and very similar as far as the cut. The details, however, were very different and so striking on each of them. Their two dresses together were so breathtaking and all my second shooter and I could say was, “two dresses are so much better than one!” After a few shots on the streets of German Village, we headed over to Schiller Park. The beautiful park mixed with these two gorgeous ladies made for some seriously romantic photos.
Now it was time to go get married! The outdoor ceremony took place in Frank Fetch Park in the heart of German Village. The park had a small fountain that provided a warm ambient background noise. Each bride was escorted in by their immediate family up to a central arbor. They had their neighbor perform the ceremony and she read one of my favorite readings, “on marriage” by Kahlil Gibran. Vows were shared, tears were shed, and before you knew it, Kaila and Brittany were wife and wife!
From Frank Fetch Park we headed over to Dock 580 where we were able to get some of my favorite portraits from the day! After that, the real fun began and the night was filled with some seriously funny speeches, lots of laughs and two radiant souls surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Kaila and Brittany, for having me as your wedding photographer. This was truly one of the highlights of my year! XO Jess