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
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
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
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!
Here is the post I’ve waited all of 2017 to write!!! Along with featuring photos from my 25 couples whose weddings I was lucky enough to photograph this year, I also wanted to share some business side goals that I had for 2017 and where I want to go for 2018!
2017 was my 9th season as a professional wedding photographer. I used it as a rebuilding year in that I updated a ton of gear including my computer. I worked on streamlining operational flow and reassessing products, brand, and imagery. I have always cherished my network of other local photographers, but this past year we all banded together in monthly meetings to critique, evaluate and lift up each other’s businesses. The experiences I’ve drawn from these meetings have been invaluable. There is so much talent in the greater Columbus area!
I had a few goals this year- one was to become the blogging overlord of Columbus. I would say I still have a ways to go in attaining that title, but I did smash all of my previous years’ blogging numbers. Why was this important to me? I firmly believe that every shoot I take deserves to be showcased. While I fell short of this goal by a few shoots, I truly love all the people who I get to meet, even if I’m just spending an hour with them. I absolutely love writing about the little nuances and experiences that made each shoot uniquely them.
in 2018, I want to share not only my shoots and photography but a little more about myself as well. This means being more vulnerable on a public platform and sharing more of my WHY – WHY I’m in photography, WHY I shoot the way I do, WHY I’m so excited about this business.
So without further ado, I’m so excited to share these incredible moments with you today. I always try to make my blog posts short enough so it doesn’t feel like you’re scrolling through endless photos, but today no such luck. There were far too many to narrow down! Thank you to all of these couples, the photographers who second shot for me, the vendors who kept the days running smoothly and to the network of family and friends I’ve been able to grow year after year through this magical journey. XO Jess
I have been excited about this wedding all year long. Not only was it the one that I consider the last of my regular fall wedding season, but it was also the most personal to me and my family. My husband Scott and I have been so blessed to get to know Alyssa, Jeff and her family over the past two years. They have truly become an extension of our little family- through thick and thin. I couldn’t think of any couple more special in our life and I’m so honored to have been here on this day as they started a new chapter in their lives together.
The day started relaxing and getting ready in separate homes. I was with Alyssa and my second shooter Katie was with Jeff. Over on our side of the process, there were so many laughs, doggie hugs, and even some pretty awesome dance moves!
Next, it was time to go to their church, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. Alyssa and Jeff privately said their hand-written vows to each other as they held hands around a corner before the ceremony. Very rarely does this happen, but they made me quietly cry behind my camera. It was such a personal and intimate moment, that as a photographer I am lucky enough to witness. It’s in those moments that love between two people sings its loudest on wedding days, whether it’s between parent and child, siblings, or the future Mr. and Mrs.
The church itself was a stunning backdrop for the traditional Catholic ceremony. It had an old-world romantic feel that almost felt like it was from an older era. After the nuptials, we utilized the church grounds for some photos before we went downtown for some more portraits with the wedding party. It was then time for the real party to start!
Their venue was The Loft side of Dock 580 and the dining room was decorated in such a romantic and sophisticated way. Moroccan lanterns were hung over each table, and linens of blue were accented with gold and maroon. Stunning florals pouring out of centerpieces made for the perfect exclamation point on an already beautiful setting. As the guests dined, laughter from the perfect speeches filled the room. Everything felt so warm and alive.
The party ramped up with the first dances, including a fun coreographed dance by Alyssa and her father. Once open dancing started, it didn’t end until the lights were turned on. It was such a joyous blur! Their wedding day also fell on our son Caddie’s second birthday and they were nice enough to have him come to the reception for some dancing and cake! Needless to say, he loved every minute of it! Thank you again to this amazing family! I’m so thankful to have been a part of it all! XO Jess