Let me start by saying that I am not a writer. I am a photographer, a wife, a mother, a former server & bartender. Last night I commented on a friends Instagram post. It was just a photo of a little girl in Disney World, riding a ride, her hands up in excitement and wearing a princess costume. The caption asked us what we can’t wait to do once this is all over. I commented, “I can’t wait to ride rides again.” After I posted that comment, those simple words really stuck with me. That image of an innocent child on a ride stuck with me. When will we ride the rides again? A few weeks ago, we would never even question such a thing. Now, we don’t want to touch anything that is out in the public.
In these unprecedented times, we all have so much more time to think about the things we can’t wait to do when the pandemic is over. So many people on social media asking what the first thing you’ll do it. So many different answers: go out to eat(if we can afford it), go to the mall, go to Disney World. So many simple answers: hug my senior mom, walk around the store unafraid, allow my kids to go hang out with their friends again. It took a global pandemic for most of us to appreciate the simple things in life again.
I am a wedding and portrait photographer. I am having to reschedule so many photo sessions, and even more importantly, weddings. Can you imagine having to reschedule your wedding day? Well, it’s happening, and my couples are being amazing about it. Spring Saturday weddings are now Friday and Sunday summer and fall weddings. We are all making sacrifices. But, we are all in this together. The colors may not be in season, and the dates engraved on the rings won’t be right, but what a story to tell the grandkids one day! We will have weddings again, and what a celebration they will be!!
I know it is easy to get sucked in to the doom and gloom, and all of the things that are not fair and won’t happen and that were canceled. Believe me, I know. My daughter did fundraisers for two years to help pay for her Disney World trip. It was canceled just 8 days before they were supposed to go. She will most likely finish her sophomore year of high school from home, online. She could not take her drivers education class this month, so won’t be getting her license when she turns 16. She will most likely spend her Sweet 16th birthday at home, with no real party or friends, as it is in a few weeks. Even with all of the sadness, the unfairness, we have to appreciate what we have and what we will have again. Hold on to hope.
Take a minute and think of all of things we can’t do now, but we will do again. My hope is that this global event will make us all better, stronger, and more appreciative. We have to stay positive, we have to fight this together. We all have to do our part. I joke that by the time this is over I will be a master chef, baker, and a whiz at Photoshop(I always edit in Lightroom). Now, I may not come out a master at anything, but I will have fun trying. This event has the world slowing down, and maybe that is what we needed. Every day I am baking and cooking new things with my daughter. I started a puzzle, I can’t remember the last time I even did a puzzle! I am playing games with my family almost every night. We are finding joy in the little things. We are building an even stronger family.
Now, here are some photos of things that I can’t wait to see again. Some are cell phone photos. Should a portrait photographer be uploading cell phone photos? Well, we are in a global crises, so why the hell not?! I would love to see some comments on what you can’t wait to see again! Would love to see comments about what you are up to at home!! We will hug our friends and family again, we will go to the mall again, we will have weddings again, and we will ride rides again!! Also, let’s keep those on the front lines in our thoughts and prayers!! Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, first responders, truck drivers, and grocery store employees!! You are all the real MVPs!!!
I knew from the moment I met Kristen & David at their engagement session that they were going to have an awesome wedding, and boy did they! Totally in love with their color scheme, so unique and beautiful. They had their wedding at the gorgeous White Birch Barn in Medina. It was my first time at this venue, and I already can’t wait to go back next month for another wedding! It has everything, including a bridal suite for the girls to get ready in, a cabin for the guys, a cozy fire pit and outdoor bar, beautiful outdoor ceremony site surrounded by amazing photos spots, and the warm and cozy barn for the reception.
It was a little chilly for the ceremony, being November, but the venue provided some heaters for the guests and the couple provided some cozy blankets as well. What is a wedding without some dogs, right? David walked their two pups down the aisle, so they could see mommy coming down to marry daddy. So cute!!! After the ceremony, there were so many picturesque spots on the property to take formal photos. Was it cold? Yes, lol, but the ladies luckily had some adorable scarves to keep warm under that matched the color scheme perfectly.
What is a reception without the bridal party entering in costumes?! Yup, they did that! Finished up with the groom in a giant shark suit even! And then there was the manatees on top of the cake..Loved it!!! Kristen and David had the cutest “Dog treat bar” for their guests to treat their own fur babies, and instead of guest favors, they opted to donate the funds to a local animal shelter. LOVE!! Now, go check out their gorgeous wedding!!
Amanda and Sean had the most perfect wedding day this past fall! It was my second trip back to the beautiful Landerhaven Events center, and I was so happy to be back. They were married under a heated tent, which was attached to the grand ballroom that their reception was held in. I absolutely loved all of the emerald green and navy touches, as well as the subtle gold.
Amanda and Sean have the most amazing chemistry, and are just naturals in front of the camera. Candids are my favorite, and they nailed those along with the formal poses. Their family and bridal party were such a blast too!! We did a first look with Amanda’s grandma, and their smiles brought me to tears! Her and Sean wrote letters to each other, and watching her read his letter was also a tearjerking moment.
Amanda is a school teacher, and her family even surprised her with having her whole class and their parents at the ceremony. They were the first thing she saw when she entered the ceremony tent, and it was nothing but smiles and tears down the aisle. Sean and Amanda had a sand ceremony, which brought a lot of laughs, and some beautiful art to keep forever.
The reception was insane! I haven’t seen a dance floor that packed all night in years! The crowd was non stop dancing, and their was even a Spanish coffee bar! Did I mention the ice cream canoe? Yup! Landerhaven staff impressed everyone with a giant canoe filled with ice cream and all the toppings for guests to build their own sundaes. Such a hit!
Check out all the fun and pretties below!! Also check out the list of all of the awesome vendors from this day at the bottom of the page!
Michelle and Josh were married inside La Vera Party Center in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. I love that they chose to do a first look and all of their bridal party photos before the evening ceremony, especially since it was a winter wedding with a 5pm sunset. What else did I LOVE? I loved the whole holiday theme!! From the girls cute red flannels while getting ready, to the red and green pops in the bouquets, to the centerpieces and ornament guests favors, and even the card house that the groom made himself!
We started the day at their hotel, grabbing the final touches of the girls getting ready and a first look with her dad. Then it was time to have a first look with the groom! Michelle was so excited she practically ran through the lobby LOL! Then it was off to downtown Cleveland, for formals at The Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. I am so glad that Michelle reached out to them and secured a permit for us to take photos inside for an hour, since mid December weather can be very unpredictable here in NE Ohio. The Arcade is stunning, especially at Christmastime!
Then we headed to the ceremony and reception site, La Vera Party Center. They had a beautiful traditional ceremony, the the ceremony spot was transformed to the dance floor, which was packed all night long. You have to check out the twirl of Michelle’s dress! What a wedding to end my 2019 season!! Be sure to check out all the vendors below!
When Rachel & Matt told me about their vacation plans for Colorado, and that they wanted to take their engagement photos there, I was so thrilled at the idea! I mean, how freaking awesome is that?! They had plans to stay in Breckenridge, CO, take their photos somewhere in the Rocky Mountains nearby, then head to Denver to stay with family and attend the Browns versus Broncos game. They had originally planned on hiring a local photographer for the mountain photos, until I reached out and let them know that I had family there to stay with and that I would love to take them. So, they bought me a flight out there for the first weekend in November and we did it!!
I decided to make a weekend of it, and take my husband along since he had never seen the Rocky Mountains or Colorado. Rachel & I decided on Maroon Bells, which is really two mountain faces overlooking a lake in Aspen, Colorado. So, my husband I flew in to Denver and grabbed our rental car and drove the 4 hours in to the mountains. Unfortunately, the directions I had took us to the other side of the lake, to the actually hiking trail in the middle of no where. Rachel and Matt were in the right spot, but had no cell service. I tried calling, texting, Facebook calling, emailing, and nothing. So, my husband and I franticly made our way to the other side of the mountain just as a panicked Rachel and Matt were leaving. Both them and us thinking something terrible happened to each other. Thankfully, Rachel spotted us driving in and turned around. By the time I got out of the car, the sun had already set. But I grabbed my camera and we made magic! I didn’t even take the time to grab my coat, LOL! We got some amazing images, and shot until it was too dark to shoot anymore. With no time for them to change in to another outfit, I promised them we would take some more back home in Cleveland.
Flash forward to December, when we scheduled part two of their engagement session! We met down in the Cleveland Flats, and started outside of Shooter on the Water. They have the coolest bridge, and such great views along the boardwalk. I love the Flats. There are so many cool bridges, and the skyline, and industrial touches. It was an awesome part two for these two, to have such awesome nature photos AND urban!! Check them out!!
I can’t think of a better way to end 2019, than with a NYC engagement session! What makes it even more magical, is that they are good friends of mine!!! My husband and I even had a couples vacation with them in Mexico back in 2018! Crazy, because Mexico is actually where I met Sara! We were roommates during a photographer’s retreat in 2016. We have pretty much talked every day since! I loved meeting Tim for the first time in Mexico too, in 2018 on our vacation. I knew immediately that I really loved this guy for Sara. Check out the epic shot I got of the two of them on that vacation!
Sometime last year, Sara told me that she had helped Tim design her engagement ring, with the amazing jeweler The True Gem Company (https://thetruegem.com/). So, she knew the proposal was coming, but just didn’t know when. Ahhh!!! During this time, Sara repeatedly told me that she really wanted me there to capture the proposal. So, I reached out to Tim. I told him how much it would mean to her, and he agreed and let me in on the plan.
Keep in mind the strategics of this plan. I live in Northeast Ohio, while Tim & Sara live in Oklahoma. Now how is THAT going to work?! Well, Tim booked a trip for the two of them to go to NYC the weekend before Christmas. His plan was to fly me out there, I hide out, and he proposes in front of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center!!! AHHHHH!!!!! So, I booked my flight and hotel, and was SO excited.
About two weeks before the trip, Tim started to worry that Sara would figure out his plan. So, Tim changed it up. Tim proposed to Sara at her birthday party, a week before the NYC trip. BUT, I was still a part of a new surprise, which was surprise engagement photos in NYC. We talked about where we would meet, and locations options. But, a few days before the trip, Tim and I agreed that he should tell her before she packs. I mean, a girl has to plan out engagement session outfits! Right?! A few minutes after he told her, there I was in an excited FaceTime call from Sara. I almost cried!
Another last minute change was bringing my daughter along on the trip. I would not normally do this, but because they are my friends, they encouraged it as well. I brought along my 15 year old, to open her eyes to another world. Yes, NYC is a whole other world than small town Ohio! It was SO amazing!!!!
We started the trip without my camera, and walked all over the area of our hotel. We stayed in the YOTEL(https://www.yotel.com/en/hotels/yotel-new-york?), which was in an amazing location close to Times Square. It was a great first night, having burgers, and seeing the lights of New York City.
Friday was the only full day we had to take the engagement photos, and man did we!! We walked over 24,000 steps and that includes a bunch of subway rides(took my legs a couple of days to recover lol)! We started the day in Central Park, had lunch at Grand Central Station, then made our way to The Brooklyn Bridge & Brooklyn Bridge Park. SO cold, but SO amazing!! I even laid down on the bridge for one of the most epic photos I have ever taken. After freshening up at the hotel, we headed out to a local pizza shop for some more photos, because when in NYC…How did we end our day? At the place where he was originally going to propose, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center!!!
Soooooooo…..Who is up for a destination engagement session?!!! I am SO IN!!!! In the meantime, I will be getting all excited over Sara & Tim’s destination wedding in Florida this summer!!!!
It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to a close, but here it is. Before I take 2020 by storm, I thought I would do a recap of all of the amazing weddings that I captured this past year! I had a total of 31(including one that I am second shooting today) wedding in 2019, WOW!!! This includes 28 of my own weddings, and 3 that I second shot for. This also includes 3 destination weddings! I second shot a destination wedding in Miami, had an amazing wedding up in Maine, and another beautiful and intimate wedding down in Hocking Hills. It was an amazing year!!
My first wedding of 2019 turned out to be a winter wonderland! The morning of Chris & Amy’s wedding was the start of the biggest snowstorm that we had in 2019. Luckily for us, they had their intimate ceremony early in the day, before it got too bad out. It was SO beautiful!!!!
My second wedding of 2019 was another winter wonderland, and on a Wednesday! It was a small intimate affair, with a church ceremony and a dinner following at the gorgeous Steele Mansion Inn and Gathering Hub in Painesville. http://www.steelemansion.com/.
My third wedding of the year was a destination wedding in Miami, Florida in April. I second shot for my talented friend Emily, of https://emilymelissaphoto.com/. It was an amazing rooftop wedding at Hotel Aria in Coconut Grove, Miami. https://www.hotelaryacg.com/. It was a stunning wedding, and their were even pugs!!
My second April wedding was a local one, Mary & Scott were married at The Estate on Coffee Creek in Austinburg. http://coffeecreekestate.com/ The weather forced us to have an inside ceremony, but it blessed us with some beautiful sunset photos outside.
My next wedding was Memorial Day weekend, down in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Deb & Paul rented a beautiful home for the weekend, for their closest family. It was blazing hot, so the ceremony was held inside, but it was so beautiful! They had a beautiful archway, a memory table, an amazing cake, and their closest loved ones.
Laura & Patrick’s June wedding was a rainy one, but that didn’t stop it from being absolutely beautiful! The ceremony was held in a beautiful Catholic Church in Cleveland, followed by an amazing reception at the St. Paul Hellenic Center. In between, we took photos at Tower City in downtown Cleveland.
Emily & Buddy had a beautiful wedding ceremony at the Wildwood Cultural Center in Mentor, followed by their reception at a new winery in Madison, Stonegait Winery. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the reception was one heck of a party!
Mr. & Mrs. Coxson came all the way from West Virginia to have their wedding at the beautiful Lodge at Geneva on the Lake, back in July. It was an intimate wedding with their closest family & friends, at the gazebo overlooking Lake Erie. Afterwards, they all went out to dinner rather than a big reception. I love intimate weddings!
Michelle & Alex were married on the hottest day of the summer, in mid July. Despite the heat, it was such a gorgeous wedding at one of my most favorite venues, Meadow Ridge Events in Windsor, Ohio. Beautiful ceremony, gorgeous couple, and an amazing party during the reception!
Ann & Jess’s wedding was another scorcher of a day, just the day after my previous wedding. But, despite the heat, it turned out so beautiful. There was a beautiful ceremony on the hillside, just outside The Lodge at Allardale in Medina. The reception followed inside the Lodge, with a great dance party and even a popcorn station!
Stephanie & Gabriel were married at the same place that I met her, and that I used to work at, The Redhawk Grille in Concord, Ohio. Another hot day, but full of love and laughs. It is always awesome to work with people you already know! They had an intimate ceremony on the patio, before it was opened to the public, followed by a party under the awning in the back patio.
Next up was Adam & Abbie’s wedding in Lincoln, Maine, which is about 40 miles north of Bangor. This destination wedding was a dream! They got married lakeside, on Adam’s family’s property. The whole family was there, as it was their usual family reunion weekend. I got to ride on a boat back and forth across the lake! Total wedding goals!
Daniel & Tyler had an amazing wedding day!! We did some fun photos around the Cleveland Flats, before their gorgeous ceremony at Pine Ridge Country Club in Willoughby, Ohio. The reception was also at Pine Ridge, and such an awesome party!! These guys have the most amazing friends and family, it was an honor to capture it all.
Jaime & Darin were married just a town over in Perry, Ohio, at the Perry Community Center. It was a beautiful ceremony along Lake Erie, with the reception in the Center just after. It was an intimate affair, with just immediate friends and family. The flowers were to die for, as well as the beautiful centerpieces and awesome DJ!
Georgi & Cory had a backyard wedding, but man was it beautiful, and full of all of the bohemian feels. Her dress was pretty much my personal dream wedding dress, all the gorgeous lace and boho feels!
Austin & Erica were married at Roses Run Country Club in Stow, Ohio, a beautiful setting, and most perfect day. We even got to ride around on golf carts!! There were touching speeches, beautiful flowers, and even an ice cream sundae bar. Now that is my kind of wedding!
I had done photos for Caitlin & Eugene before, so I knew their wedding was going to be amazing. The ceremony and reception were both at NOAH’S Event Venue in Mentor, Ohio. It is a gorgeous venue, with its own ceremony site and reception hall, and even a pool table! Caitlin looked like such a princess, I still can’t get over her dress.
Haley & Steven were married at the beautiful Lake O’ Pines in Hartville, Ohio. Their entire wedding was designed by the bride’s mom, including the beautiful cake. When it came time for photos, and they took me to the lake to show me the decorated boat, I about fell over! This was like a styled wedding dream!!!!
Krysta & Jordon had their wedding at the beautiful Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. A huge thunderstorm had blew through the area the night before, knocking the power out at the venue, as well as the hotel they had to get ready in. This did not stop them from having a perfect wedding day! Landerhaven stepped it up, brought in more generators, and pulled off a fantastic wedding.
On the morning of Emma & Dustin’s wedding, I broke my pinky toe. Not cool! But, I taped it to the toe next to it and rocked that wedding!! They had a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Michaud’s Catering & Event Center in Strongsville, Ohio. The reception followed in side the hall, and it was a rocking party! They also had the coolest cake topper that I have seen yet!
Chelsea & Eric had a small and intimate wedding at their church, followed by their reception on the top floor of Pick’s at PLX in Portage Lakes, Ohio. They had just enough rain for good luck during the ceremony, then a wonderful dinner with their closest family and friends. I loved the location of Pick’s, right along the water, and made for some gorgeous photos.
I first met Taylor and Brett at a Panera, to see if we would be a good fit for their wedding day, and we have been friends ever since! They had a beautiful fall wedding at Vermilion on the Lake. Their theme was very fall, and mixed in their love of the stars. Taylor had another one of my dream dresses, and very much was Brett’s princess. I even cried a little at this wedding!
Amanda & Sean’s wedding was up next, and I was back again to beautiful Landerhaven! It was a chilly but absolute gorgeous wedding, with both the ceremony and reception at Landerhaven. Not only did we do a first look with the bride’s dad, but also with one of her grandmas! Yes, I cried. Their reception was in the large ballroom, the DJs rocked the house, and their was even a giant sundae bar in a canoe AND a Spanish coffee bar!
Lauren & Ricoh were married at the historic Peter Allen Inn, with a reception following at the beautiful Hartford Hill Winery. They had an amazing bridal party, with one of the bridesmaids even officiating the ceremony! It was a small wedding, with a dinner, cake, and speeches held at the winery. We had some amazing shots to take with a perfect sunset, and even an old truck!
Trisha & Bill were married in the same small church that Trisha grew up in, in Monroeville, Ohio. They had a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by their children and closest family and friends, followed by a wonderful dinner in the church reception hall. We got so lucky to take some amazing photos outside of a family members mansion before the ceremony!
Bri & Dwight had a fall wedding dream at another favorite venue of mine, The Grand Barn Wedding Center at the Mohicans. Bri planned every detail out to perfection, including her gorgeous veil, the smoke bomb, and the amazing florals. This was a dream wedding, and my most popular one to date!
Kristin & David were married outside of the beautiful White Birch Barn in Medina, with their reception following inside the barn after. This was my first time at the barn, and I loved it! The ceremony site, the bridal suit, and all of the photos spots around the farm are so perfect! The couple even had their dogs in the wedding!!!
Nicole and Max’s wedding sent me back to the beautiful Pine Ridge Country Club in Willoughby, Ohio. This was my first Christmas themed wedding of the season, and I loved it! I loved the dance that Nicole shared with Dad, gave me tears! Such wonderful families, a great party on the dance floor, and an all around beautiful night.
My second Christmas themed wedding was a small intimate wedding at Cassi & Derek’s church in Madison, Ohio. They followed the beautiful ceremony with an intimate dinner at the Quail Hollow Country Club in Concord. The decor and the flowers were absolutely beautiful!!
My last official wedding of the year was nothing short of spectacular! I loved all of the holiday touches that Michelle and Josh had at their wedding. We started the day with a first look, then went downtown for some amazing shots inside the Hyatt Regency at the Arcade. Following the Arcade, we went to the ceremony and reception venue, LaVera Party Center in Willoughby Hills. Talk about a dance party!!
Safe to say that 2019 was an AMAZING year for me!!! I am so honored to have played such a big part in so many wonderful couple’s big day. Truly, so honored. Cheers to the new year everyone!!! I can’t wait to start capturing all of the 2020 weddings!!!!