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
So excited and honored to be featured on Deco Weddings today! I adored Becca and Rich’s downtown Columbus elopement, their personal style, and all the love that surrounded them throughout their insanely fun day. View their feature here:
When I arrived at Morgan’s room on her wedding day everything was abuzz. There was a kinetic energy in the air that was just so happy! Morgan herself was nothing but smiles. The dress was hanging on the windowsill and from everywhere in the room, it served as a beautiful focal point. When it was time to put on her dress, Morgan and her mother stood alone in front of the window as she buttoned up the back of the lacy silhouette. One of my favorite things to photograph is a mother’s hands as they fasten their daughter into their dress. It’s a quiet moment filled with a stillness and a deep love. Right after her dress was on, Morgan was embraced with hugs from family and friends. It was now time to go outside and see Brian.
The couple saw each other for the first time on the grounds of the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center. Morgan tapped Brian on his shoulder and as he turned around and saw her, his face was pure joy. He embraced her in a deep hug, spun her around and then it was time to go get married!
The ceremony took place at St. Brigid of Kildare. I think this is one of my favorite churches because it is so photogenic. So much so, we even utilized the grounds after the wedding for some of their portraits. From the church, we all piled onto the party bus and were whisked away to Highbanks Metro Park for some beautiful portraits in a more natural setting. We stumbled upon this old path that was grown over, yet perfect for dreamy wedding photos. After that, we got back on the bus and one of my favorite moments of the day happened. Brian started lip-syncing to Morgan on the bus. It was so adorable and you could just feel the love between them. After some photos around the NHCC grounds, it was time for their reception in the newly renovated Edgewater Room. Madison House Designs provided the stunning florals that accented every table. Speeches, happy-teared dances and an evening full of laughter and happiness followed. I feel so lucky to have been there to see and capture it all. Thank you, Morgan and Brian, for trusting me with your photographs! XO Jess
On the day of Griffin and Dan’s wedding, I met up with Griffin at her parent’s house. Griffin had told me that she wanted some of her portraits taken in her mother’s bathroom and of course, I said yes! But what I didn’t realize at the time, even though she explained it to me, was that her mother (being an artist) had transformed the entire bathroom space into the most stunning work of art. Everywhere the eye turned were the most beautiful mosaics made from broken tiles, beads and egg shells. I feel like you could spend hours in that room and only see a very small part of it. I loved the symbolism of taking Griffin’s portraits in this room. Her mother had started it as a tribute to her own mother, so in that bathroom was the warmth of multiple generations of women and an outpouring of creative love that only a mother can have, and only an artist can convey.
It was now time for the wedding so we headed a few streets over to Griffin and Dan’s place where they were to get married in their backyard. Everything was immaculate and perfectly groomed for the ceremony. Dan had tears of joy as he read a note from Griffin right before the ceremony. Griffin and her sister shared the sweetest moment in the garage right before the entrance music started. The flower girls had the best senses of humor. They walked down the aisle, stopped right in front of Dan and dumped out all of the petals in their baskets at his feet. The ceremony itself was probably no longer than 10 minutes, and before you knew it they were husband and wife and drove off in a white convertible!
I got to hitch a ride in their sweet ride and we rode around downtown Columbus for some portraits. When we made our way back to their backyard party, the food truck had arrived and was serving up hot bagel sandwiches. I always forget how ridiculously good a bagel sandwich is and the Short North Bagel Deli did NOT disappoint! My favorite part of their reception was Griffin’s dance with her Dad. In the middle, her Mom and sister joined them. A couple minutes later, all four of them turned to Dan, arms wide open, and welcomed him into their family hug-dance. His face as they did this was priceless. As the sun set, you could hear relaxed laughter, see amazing dance moves and feel the love in the air. I am beyond honored to have been with Griffin and Dan on this day. It was one of the highlights of my professional career! XO Jess
Olivia and Austin‘s wedding was one for the ages. It took place at the Irongate Equestrian Center in early May. The weather was a bit precarious, as it called for showers all day. It only rained when they were inside getting ready and they were able to have their wedding ceremony outdoors under a canopy of massive trees and a backdrop of horses grazing in the pasture. As I pulled up to the Irongate, some horses were poking their noses out of their stalls. I pulled my car over, got out and went over and talked to one of them and shot a few horse portraits. There’s something so enchanting about the eyes of horses. They’re so calm and carry with them so much emotion. It’s as if they know so much more than we do. Olivia is a long time horse and animal lover, as she owns a horse named Figaro ( who you might remember from their engagement pictures here) and just got her Ph.D. in veterinary science. Austin is a lover of everything outdoors and together they make the perfect couple who definitely hears the call of the wild. As Olivia and the girls were getting ready, Austin was outside helping set up the ceremony location. On the arbor they were decorating, there was a mounted deer head with a horseshoe attached to its center forehead. I asked Austin if that was one of his trophies from hunting, and he smiled really big and said, ” No, Olivia bagged that!” He went on to explain that the horseshoe that was affixed to the skull was found in his grandfather’s barn and used to ride on a working horse.
There was a nice breeze during their ceremony that brought Olivia’s veil to life. Olivia’s maid of honor also sang a song during the ceremony and she sounded like a professional singer! The whole experience was so hurtful and genuine. After the ceremony, we were able to take some fun photos with the bridal party and then some with just Olivia and Austin. I don’t think I could ever ask for a prettier location to shoot portraits.
Now it was time for the party to begin! And oh my god did this party not disappoint. I think this might win the best dancing of the year so far! My favorite moment was when the reception was over, all the people went outside for their sparkler send off, and Olivia and Austin had one last dance together in an empty room. It was one of the most romantic things I have ever seen and I highly suggest it to couples who want an extra special moment just by themselves at the end of their night.
I am over the moon to announce that John and Jennifer’s July wedding at Lightning Tree Barn is published this month on Oh, The Heart Wedding Blog which features weddings from Central Ohio vendors. I can’t even tell you how beautiful and expertly planned this wedding was. These two are now forever in my heart and I just love watching their lives evolve through social media (they live across the country). Thank you again Jenn and John for trusting me with your wedding images. That day was spectacular and I’m so excited for you all to see this today! XO Jess
I have a special treat to post today! My last post was about a small intimate wedding. And I mentioned that it really doesn’t get more intimate unless you get married at the courthouse. Welcome to kate and Jeff’s courthouse elopement! I am starting to be truly obsessed with courthouse elopements. They have an excitement that’s so different from the feelings of a big wedding! Only the closest-of-the close are invited. In fact, the last time I shot one it was just me and the couple. On this day, I arrived and was immediately struck with Kates warm and kind smile. She wore a short white wedding dress and her look was so classic. It reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her dress fit her like a glove and there was a good reason for that- she made it! Not only did she make it, but she made it using her mother’s old wedding dress. (Let the sentimental tears start flowing!) She even made pockets in the dress! As we waited, her mom stood next to her and just beamed from ear-to-ear. I know I ‘ll look just like her mom if my kids get married someday. At the courthouse, the hallway started to fill up with other families who were going to tie the knot. All cultures and all ethnicities were waiting for the judge to call them back for their turn to say “I do”. After a very long feeling few minutes, Jeff and Kate were finally called. We all went into a small room and the ceremony only lasted about 5 minutes. From there, the three of us drove around the city to find the cutest places we could find! I am so honored to have been with them both and can’t wait for the world to see how fun this day was! XO Jess
Kristy and John had a very small family-only ceremony earlier this year. It was probably the most intimate ceremony I’ve been to outside of a courthouse elopement. I was lucky enough to meet up with Kristy twice before her wedding and in that time frame I learned what a strong mother she was and we bonded over similar life experiences.
When I arrived Kristy was by herself in the church’s back hallway. She was getting ready in the same room they stored the choir robes and candelabras. Her mom and sister joined us shortly after and they helped her put her dress on. As I photographed her getting ready, I couldn’t stop staring, mostly because I was so excited for John to see her. Her getting ready photos ended up being some of my favorite from the shoot.
I had never met John before this day, so I went and introduced myself before the ceremony. I was met with the warmest smile, a laid back personality and an excitement that never gets old no matter how many grooms I photograph.
As guests arrived, they were met with a gift of a little succulent plant. Kristy and John’s two kids were both so dapper in their little tuxedos. Their older son held on to their wedding rings as he walked down the aisle. The rings were affixed to John’s family Bible. John’s eyes welled up when he saw Kristy walking towards him. It was the perfect moment in time.
After the ceremony, we were lucky enough to do outdoor family photos. The rain also held off long enough for me to grab a few portraits before the family went on to their private dinner celebration. As I was leaving Kristy handed me a small succulent plant which I’ve still managed to keep alive! Thank you both for having me with you on this incredible day! XO Jess