Carly and Alexxa met me out on a late September afternoon with their beautiful baby Coby. For me, it was an hour that went by too quickly. It had been a few years since I had seen Carly.
Quite honestly, I’ve been avoiding writing this blog for the same reason I delayed writing about my friend Nicole’s wedding. I don’t want to sound like a creeper. But a superficially written blog won’t due for these two. So at the risk of sounding like a super fangirl, here it goes.
I met Carly working at a local production house here in Columbus over 5 years ago? I don’t know- time is more of a theoretical thing for me anymore. She was fresh out of college and super young, however, I’m at the age where I feel like most people are super young. What struck me about her right off the bat is how mature and true to herself she was. Those are two qualities it took me years and becoming a parent to accomplish. On her first day of work, Alexxa had sent her a huge bouquet of flowers. I remember everyone was pretty impressed by that. She had told me the story of how they met online very randomly and ever since had been inseparable. When I met Alexxa for the first time, I was struck by how similar these two are. They have a similar frame, same length and color of hair… same soft way of giggling at each other. They “look” like a couple. One time my husband and I did a face-swap and you couldn’t tell the difference (freaky to say the least). There’s a photo of my parents when they were in their 20s. They looked alike as well. You get it- sometimes you look like your spouse.
Fast forward maybe a year after meeting these two. Carly and Alexxa adopted their beautiful fur-baby Coby. We always bonded over our love of our dogs. My boy Rugby was my fur baby until I had human babies. Now sometimes I struggle to remember his name, LOL. I can say with 100% certainty that there has never been a more beloved puppers than Coby. I love when their Insata stories pop up- I always get to see some ridiculously cute photos or videos of Coby. * Rugby earmuffs for what I’m about to say* Coby might be the cutest dog I’ve ever seen.
Throughout the rest of my time working alongside Carly, I found her to be an incredibly talented graphic designer, patient with all kinds of personalities, laid back and super funny. It’s hard not to respect and admire her. So when she and Alexxa asked if I’d be their wedding photographer, I was beyond-words excited. I am so happy for these two as they tie the knot later this year. Until then, check out their engagement shoot. Their love for each other is palpable and extremely easy to photograph!
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
Hey guys! Jess here, straight off my triple-header weekend. Between Friday and Sunday, I took well over 10,000 photos. I’d say I have some homework cut out for myself!
Today I want to share Jackie and Terry’s engagement shoot! The moment Jackie stepped out of the car she took my breath away in her stunning flowy purple dress and fantastic red lipstick! I love women who aren’t afraid of a little color, especially on photo day!
Terry has lived all over the country and moved a lot in his life. I asked him how he liked Columbus, and his answer was just perfect. He said something to the effect of, “Of course I love it- I met the love of my life here.” AWE!!!
We did most of the shoot in German Village, a very eclectic part of town. During our shoot, we met a guy who couldn’t find where he parked his car the night before (no comment). We also met an older lady who made Terry try and fix her flower box because he was tall enough to reach it. People in Columbus are so like that- there just aren’t any strangers, LOL. Needless to say, we were making memories all over the place but one this is for sure: The weather was amazing and these two worked that camera to no end! I just love their bright and colorful collection. I can’t wait for their beach themed wedding!
My job often has twists and turns. Sometimes I’m not even sure where I’m going to be the next weekend. Karen and Jay booked me less than a week out from their wedding. I was excited, to say the least, but I also had no idea how much fun I was about to have at this wedding. When I walked in, Karen and Jay were in the same room putting together bouquets for their wedding day. After a few minutes of this, Karen rushed Jay out the door to go get ready. As I photographed her dress, different family members came in to visit her and see how she was. Her daughter carried her dress into the bathroom and helped her get dressed. Weddings are such a whirlwind. Karen had been dealing with so many little details from the day, it didn’t leave her much time to get ready, but Karen was nothing but jokes, laughs and smiles as everyone rushed about. Finally, with her dress on, she was flawless and it was time to tie the knot.
On a sunny and hot July evening, Jay and Karen exchanged vows in the outdoor courtyard of the Granville Inn. I have been to over 250 weddings, and I had never seen this before: the minister allowed for people to individually stand up and “bless” them with something, such as patience, peace, etc. It was so special and meaningful.
From the ceremony, just the three of us walked a bit around Granville. That day there happened to be an outdoor carnival. Karen and Jay immediately lit up and decided we had to stop there for some fun photos. I totally felt like a little kid again. These two are incredible in every way. At the reception, I asked Jay about Karen and how they met. He said he was tired of the dating scene because it was usually very superficial. When he met Karen, he was immediately drawn to how spiritual she was. It was her authenticity and devotion to God and him that he fell in love with. I can see why. She has an electric personality and I wish these two endless years of carnivals, dancing in the street together, and an unending love that grows with time.
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
Elaine, Marcus and their adorable mini Goldendoodle, Lola, met me out on a hot summer day last month for a seriously fun engagement shoot. We started the session at the Topiary Park in downtown Columbus and wound our way around the city to all sorts of cool hidden little spots. Lola was with us every step of the way. She got so many hugs and snuggles in the photos. When she wasn’t in the photos, she was supervising from the sidelines making sure mom and dad looked perfect.
I left this shoot with a natural high, and not just because it was 90 degrees and I was becoming dizzy. These two are SO MUCH FUN to be around. They are both laid back and have great senses of humor. They are so goofy and don’t take themselves too seriously, which honestly makes for such refreshing photos. Elaine’s pink flowy skirt matched the well-manicured gardens of the topiary park and some of the late-blooming trees in the area. Lola’s tongue matched the skirt perfectly as well, so you can just see how great the color compositions were!
From the park, they changed outfits and we went and had some fun in downtown Columbus at the new-ish “COLUMBUS” mural. They brought out their sunglasses and we all had so much fun sweating our asses off in the direct sun. My favorite is the jumping photo. I usually don’t have people jump for photos, but this year I’ve done it twice. It’s pretty great when they work out. Elaine and Marcus look like they could be in a Mentos commercial from the 90s! Thank you guys for braving the heat with me! I seriously can’t wait for your wedding. Until then, I hope you love these photos as much as I did taking them! 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
This wedding was everything to me. By the end of the night, I was so star struck with both Justin and Mike. Today I’m super excited to announce that their wedding was published earlier this year on Gay Weddings and Mariage Magazine! Check it out!