Just a couple of months before this international pandemic reached our shores, Kati and Charles had already decided that they wanted to get married by eloping. You could say they did it before it was cool! WOW! What a perfect April day it was for their small intimate wedding. The sun was beaming down and all the spring blooms were bursting with life, color, and fragrance. When I arrived, I could see them walking towards the Schiller Park stage in the distance. Ever since I was little, my heart has always skipped a beat when I’ve seen a bride. And that day was no exception. Kati looked stunning in her cream lace dress. The only people there were Kati, Charles, Charles’ brother who was also the officiant and Charles’ parents. They set up a zoom call in the middle of the park so Kati’s parents could be there as well. The couple chose to get married in front of the Schiller Statue in the park, where the formal promenade comes to an intersection with the park walkways. The two of them exchanged handwritten vows and before you knew it, they were husband and wife!
Right after the intimate ceremony, we just strolled the park and took some beautiful spring photos. And keeping in true Schiller Park fashion, you never know what you’re going to get. As we were taking some portraits, a man nearby started to blast Nickleback over his radio. Kati and Charles had a very intimate Nickleback concert during their elopement photos. I’m sure it was the moment they’d always dreamed of.
This wedding was a perfect example of how love is stronger than any adversity. There is beauty and love even in the toughest of times. I can’t fully express how thankful I am to have been there to document this elopement. Thank you, Kati and Charles!
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.
I love elopements! They are so wildly romantic! I met Kelley and Jorge under the arch in the arena district where they were joined by an officiant and married with only the traffic as spectators. They didn’t even tell anyone they were getting married! It was pure electric excitement afterward, as only we knew their secret! After their intimate ceremony, a crowd of people exiting Nationwide Arena started to cheer for them and that made Kelley laugh and cry! From the Arch, we casually walked around downtown and took some super lovely photos of the two of them. Like all elopements, I felt super lucky to be there to witness the magic go down. But I also felt very grateful after I spent the afternoon with these two. They are so down to earth, in love, and I seriously couldn’t think of a better way to tie the knot!
Kristen and David were married on a perfect fall day at the Derby house last year. Everything was green and the sun was shining! Kristen looked flawless in her dress and I was so excited for David to see her at their first look out on the back patio. This was actually the first time I had ever shot at the Darby house, and I hope to add this venue to my frequently shot list because it is super stunning and the grounds provide a perfect romantic backdrop. What struck me about these two that I didn’t really realize beforehand was how goofy and funny they are! It is seriously fun to hang out around them. They don’t take themselves too seriously which brought a whole new element of authentic joy to the day. Some of the photos taken at their wedding were actually some of my favorites from 2018. Especially the one where David is clicking his heels together as they walk off into marital bliss.
Their ceremony took place as the sun was low and golden in the sky. Immediately following, guests were treated to a cocktail hour on the patio overlooking a beautiful waterway that runs behind the property. Bistro lights started to glow as evening set in, and everyone soon gathered in the reception hall. Speeches, toasts, cake and delicious food were shared with everyone. After which, the party really got started with a live band playing! Live bands can really turn the party up to the next level, and this was no exception. People packed the dance floor the entire night. By the time I left, Kristen and David were blissfully wrapped in each other’s arms. Congratulations to you two and I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did taking them! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you both!
Chelsey and Michael’s wedding was spectacular in every sense of the word, complete with a vibrant fuschia sunset the evening of their wedding at the Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, about an hours drive from Columbus, OH. During the day, the sky had a thick layer of clouds, just perfect for shooting an outdoor wedding. The clouds turned the entire setting a giant softbox, lit to perfection.
I met up with Chelsey and the girls at a quaint little Airbnb not too far from the gardens. The multiple rooms were just buzzing when I arrived. Each bridesmaid had been given their own super cute robe to wear and personalized thermos to drink from. We traveled to Kingwood for Chelsey to put her dress on in a small private room with just her mom. The back of her dress was showstopping with lots of delicate buttons- perfect for photographing.
Chelsey and Michael did their “first look” out on the back steps of the estate. Never was there a more romantic first look location. Just the site of her walking out the door towards him pretty much took my breath away. I’m not going to lie, holding an outdoor wedding in Ohio can be a little stress-inducing. But if the weather shows up as it did on this late September day, it will bowl you over with beauty. Look at their ceremony pictures, guys! That’s real! That’s not a movie set. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to shoot all the Kingwood Garden weddings, with one caveat. The couple has to be as cool and laid back as these two.
After their ceremony, we slowly walked over to their reception and shot some more heart-achingly gorgeous photos of them both together, freshly married. As we made our way over, the sky decided to treat us with the most magnificent sunset I’ve ever seen!
I’m finally into my fall weddings! I am so excited to share Susan and Michael’s wedding today! This beautiful outdoor ceremony took place at Brookshire in the fall. The grounds at Brookshire did not disappoint! It was a fall extravaganza everywhere you looked.
I couldn’t get enough of how Susan’s Wendy’s Bridal dress looked on the figure bust in the bridal suite. It was such a focal point and everyone that walked in the room immediately went and stared at it. I just loved photographing the intricate beading and details of its form.
We started the day with a first look on Brookshire’s side patio. The space was lined with illuminated bistro lights which created such a romantic backdrop for these two. From there we just walked the grounds, took pictures, and soaked up every moment before the day really got started. Large pumpkins, gourds, and wheat stalks lined their little garden area. The tree next to the garden had the most delicate berries growing on them, which went perfectly with Susan’s bouquet that also had berries. Speaking of her bouquet, it was quite literally the best smelling bouquet I’ve ever smelled. I asked the florist what was creating that intoxicating smell and he explained it was Freesia. Brides- USE FREESIA. You won’t regret it. It smells amazing.
For their ceremony, the aisle was lined with flowers in mason jars hanging from the chairs. The front arbor was decorated with sprays of maroon and white flowers. As Susan started to walk down the path towards Michael, the little ring bearer escaped and his father had to reel him in. I live for little impromptu memorable moments like that. After they said their “I do’s”, the evening was very relaxed and intimate. Thank you so much to Michael and Susan for letting me share in this incredible day. I’m so honored to share these today and hope you love them as much as I did taking them! XO Jess
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.
You might remember these two from their engagement blog post last fall. All you have to do is be within 10 feet of these two to see how in love they are with each other. It is sweet, pure and genuine love. When one of them talks about the other their whole face lights up. That was one of the reasons I was even more excited to shoot this wedding.
Since the day we drove out to Wapakoneta, OH to photograph this wedding, I’ve been dying to share everything about this day with you! I’m not even sure where to begin with this venue. It’s in the middle of the country, but when you pull in it’s like it’s own little Mediterranean-inspired oasis. SoSerene is owned by a husband-and-wife team who have transformed their personal property into one of Ohio’s most unique wedding venues. Every detail you see in the entire place was handmade by one of them, from the carved marble accents to the stone outdoor pavilion where the receptions take place. When you think about just two people doing almost everything on the property and then you look around, it’s pretty mind-boggling. Lucilky for us, there was no shortage of beautiful photo opportunities.
I met Caitlyn and her bridesmaids at the pool house as they were getting ready. When I walked in I found Caitlyn with tears in her eyes. She was already emotional just thinking about Adam and the day ahead of her. The feeling was so mutual. When Adam saw Caitlyn walking down the aisle his eyes welled up with tears and it was just a magical moment I know they’ll always remember.
The pavilion they got married on was actually a floating dock! A lush garland of purple roses framed Caitlyn and Adam as they said their vows to each other. It was a hot and sunny day, but the wind was blowing softly. There was a weeping willow down by the pond. Mix one stunning wedding couple and a weeping willow softly blowing in the breeze, you get magic! The rest of the night was filled with nothing but laughter and happy tears. Caitlyn and her dad even surprised all of the guests with a choreographed dance!
Caitlyn and Adam, I love you both so much and can’t wait to see what the future brings for you. 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