Sarah & Andrew had the most perfect destination wedding planned for Saturday, September 15, 2018, in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Well, on Monday, September 10th, the governor of South Carolina called for the mandatory evacuation of the coast. Panic hit, but by Tuesday, the couple decided to move their wedding to Cleveland. They had nothing but Sarah’s wedding gown & shoes. The groom and his groomsmen’s suits were all in SC, as was the cake, flowers, etc. Some of the bridesmaids were stuck in the hurricane zone, while others could not afford the last minute flights up north. Everyone scrambled.
Tuesday afternoon, I was contacted by the bride’s sister, Christine, to see if I was available to shoot their wedding that coming Sunday. I was so happy to say, that with a little shuffling of my schedule, I could do it. The couple’s good friend, Summer Genetti, then stepped in a preformed nothing short of a miracle. She not only officiated the ceremony, but also made the spectacular wedding cake, along with homemade mini-pies and even homemade ice cream for the reception dinner. The groom is a pastry chef at Spice Kitchen + Bar in Cleveland, and they generously donated their farm, Spice Acres, to hold the wedding ceremony. It is SO beautiful!!! And the reception was scaled down to a dinner party at Toast in Cleveland.
Sarah & Andrew’s destination beach wedding, turned in to a farm wedding, with a lot of “winging it” moments, but it turned out amazing. Instead of over 100 guest, there was less than 30. The date already on the guest book, and even engraved in to their wedding bands, was off by a day. But, think of the stories they have to tell! At the end of the day, they were married. It wasn’t on the beach, not everyone could make it, and they even had to stop for gas on the way to the reception….But, they were married. They pulled it off!!
Jenna & Stephen could not have asked for a more perfect wedding day at Brookside Farms. The weather man was calling for possible rain, but we ended up with picture perfect weather…literally. Even though the venue is a bit of a drive for me, I can’t wait to photograph another wedding there! Why? Here are a few reasons:
Everything a bridal party and guests need is all on the farm. Everything! There is a cottage for the guys to get ready in, and a decked out basement room for the girls to get ready in(vanities, fridge, places for HMUA to work, etc).
The gorgeous chapel for the ceremony is about 25 feet from the reception barn. Yup, after the ceremony the guests can just walk on over for cocktail hour!
SO many amazing places to take the formal photos! There is a covered bridge, an historic inn, and acres and acres of beautiful farmland.
The receptions bard is huge. A great beautiful area for all of the guests tables, separate huge area for the dance floor. And another great space for a photo booth over by the massive bar.
I loved everything about Jenna & Stephen’s wedding. The color scheme of wine & navy is a favorite of mine, and photographs so beautifully. One of the bridesmaids used to be a florist, and mans she did not disappoint with the flowers. They were so gorgeous!! A talented cousin of the bride even made the amazing wedding cake! Now let’s talk about Jenna’s gorgeous gown…Obsessed!! The couple’s families and friends made me feel like one of them for the day, and I could not be more grateful. Now, stop listening to me and check out all the pretties!
This blog post is dedicated to the memory of my Dad, James Wirtanen, who passed away eleven years ago today. He fueled my wanderlust soul, always did, and always will. He had a desire and passion to see the world, and he wanted the same for his daughter. I miss him every day: my sunshine, my mountain man, my daddy.
About a year ago, my best friend Marc started planning a trip to Canada. He reached out and asked me if I wanted to go on another adventure with him, as our last one was four years prior to Seattle & Mount Rainer, Washington. Of course I said yes! I reminded him that September was not only my birthday month, but my 40th birthday, so he planned this adventure around my birthday. And it was the best birthday ever!!
I flew out from Cleveland, Ohio to Vancouver on September 5th, and Marc flew out from Norfolk, Virginia. We met at the baggage claim, grabbed the rental car, and off we went. After checking in to the Holiday Inn and Suites North Vancouver, which I highly recommend, we hopped back in the rental and found the nearest park to explore. Sadly, I don’t even think I go the name of that place, but it was a beautiful spot for birding in North Vancouver, with paths through the woods surrounded by a gorgeous lake.
Thursday was set to be the best day ever, as it was my 40th birthday! What better way to ring in 40 than zip lining at the top of the mountains?! We started by taking in some views at Cleveland Park (ironic since Cleveland is where I am from). We then headed up the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain, where we zip lined for two hours. Talk about a view!! The last two zip lines were absolutely breathtaking, with views of snow capped mountains and downtown Vancouver!! Did I mention this adventure included a round trip ride on the ski lift, where we made a new friend from Australia? Happy 40th to me!!! #thisis40
Talk about an amazing Friday. We grabbed some Tim Hortons, which we did every day while in Canada, because Timmy’s is AMAZING. We headed to Capilano for our next adventure, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This place was worth every penny of the entrance fee!!! As most thing I experienced in Canada, the photos do not do it justice. It wasn’t just the suspension bridge, but also the cliff walk, and walking in the tree tops on the mini bridges. My best friend may have had a little too much fun trying to bounce the bridge around the other tourist, but all in good fun.
We ventured up to Cypress Provincial Park, for some more amazing views, some birding, and a cool view of one of the sites from the 2010 Winter Olympics. I found so much peace on this day, after a couple of days of thrilling activity. It is busy season right now for a Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, so it was so nice to just breath in all of the beauty and take photographs just for myself. Taking nature photos is where it all started for me, so it was nice to get back to where it all began. Another favorite stop this day was to Horseshoe Bay, home to British Columbia’s ferry boats. I had some poutine (look it up, it’s amazing), some delicious fish-n-chips, all while watching the clouds roll in and out of the bay over the mountains.
We tried so hard to get up to Whistler, a small mountain town and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but a huge bicycle race got in our way. It all worked out though, we found an amazing waterfall along our detour, and accidentally snuck in to the actual mountain site of the Olympics. It was like the apocalypse up there! You could not hear a sound. Broken down parking lots, crumbled cement walls, and nothing but breathtaking views. So peaceful. I wish I could remember the name of the town we had lunch in on the way back, it had the best lunch view I have ever had overlooking the mountains in Squamish.
Our last full day in Canada was pretty epic. Rain tried to ruin our plans, but by winging it, we found the most fun. We visited the gorgeous Shannon Falls, and while winging it again with a hike through the woods, we ended up in the parking lot of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. We thought, why not? It had been raining off and on, which for us was perfect, it meant less tourist. We took a ride up the mountain, with views of glacier lakes and mountain tops, all the way in to the clouds above. And I am being serious, we were in the clouds! When we got off the gondola ride, we really had no idea of the beauty around us, as the clouds had rolled in so thick, and then we saw the suspension bridge. Talk about something so amazing!! After crossing our second suspension bridge of our trip, we walked around a corner and the clouds opened up to views of snow capped mountains in front of us. I swear, we found heaven at the top of that mountain, or as close as we could get to it.
Adventure is out there. Life is short. Take the trips. See the world. Plan a destination wedding or elopement, and take me with you!! I am proud to say that I am an adventurous photographer, and I find peace in the mountains, and I will zip line with you and walk over crazy high bridges in the clouds! My soul needed this trip. I only get to see my best friend a few times a year, but we always make an adventure out of it. And this one was epic!! Time to plan the next one!!
Lindsay Dawn Photography: Destination & Elopement Photographer, Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, NE Ohio Portrait Photography, Traveling Photographer, Wanderlust Soul
I love all of my weddings, I really do. But, I REALLY love my small and intimate weddings, like Liz & Kirks! I always bond with my couples throughout their wedding day, but when it just a small gathering of just family, I end the day feeling like a part of their whole family.
Liz & Kirk had an intimate wedding in front of the Gazebo at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, right in front of Lake Erie. It was a very sunny, and very hot day, but you wouldn’t know it by their smiles! The only guests were immediate family, and after all of the formal photos were taken, they had an intimate dinner in one of the small party rooms at the lodge. There was one surprise though! In the lounge, outside of their party room, a jazz singer was playing and invited the couple to come out and have a first dance. Not planned, but so perfect!!
Mike & Leigh did not let a little rain spoil their wedding day. It turned out AMAZING!! The setting was nothing short of breathtaking. A little shuffling of guests to move the ceremony in to the reception area, but the view behind them as they said I DO was so beautiful as the rain fell!! And talk about romantic, Mike even got down on one knee to place the ring on his bride’s finger. He then topped that by sweeping her off of her feet for the most amazing first kiss I have seen yet.
Surrounded by their closest friends and family, Mike & Leigh became married. From the beautiful blush & navy tones, to the gorgeous cake and flowers, this Northeast Ohio wedding was one of my favorites!
From the moment that I met Nicole and Lawrence for their engagement session, I knew they would be one of my most favorite couples to work with. They have the most beautiful chemistry together. They are laid back, relaxed, sweet, funny, and not much posing needed as they just work so well together. We did their engagement session at two small Northeast Ohio parks, one called Arcola Creek Estuary, and the other Hogback Ridge, both located in my hometown of Madison, Ohio. Exploring those parks together, it did not take long for me to realize what a dream they would be to work with on their wedding day!
Nicole and Lawrence tied the knot at Happy Days Lodge, which is located inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a gorgeous and rustic venue in Northeast Ohio. It was so nice to be able to have their ceremony inside the same building as their reception, but you almost felt like you were outside with the openness of the room. But, before all of the festivities began, Nicole and Lawrence did the cutest first look I have ever seen! Why do I love a first look? We were able to get all of their family and bridal party photos done, so as soon as their ceremony was over, they went right in to cocktail hour and the reception. Easy peasy! The reception room was gorgeous!! Strung lights for just the right ambiance, and the decor that the brides mother made was perfect for the setting. Did I mention that the brides mom also made all of the bouquets AND the cutest cake topper ever?! To go along with the rustic charm, Old Carolina BBQ Co catered the food, and it AMAZING! Once the party got started, the dance floor was packed all night thanks to Brooks Music, who even got on stage and taught the crowd how to “Dougy!” It was truly an amazing wedding day in Northeast Ohio!!
It was fate that I even got to meet Bri & Dwight. Their original photographer did not show up to their engagement session, even though the couple had driven four hours to have them taken in their hometown. This is when they reached out to me, and I am so glad they did!!
These two grew up in Northeast Ohio, and that is exactly where they wanted to have their engagement session. One of their favorite spots is an awesome coffee shop in Ashtabula Harbor, called Harbor Perk . They even had a coffee waiting for me when I arrived! Ashtabula Harbor is such an adorable area, we had to stroll down the street a little to capture it’s charm.
Just in time for sunset hour, we made it to Grand River Cellars in South Madison. This winery is so beautiful! Not only did we use their beautiful vineyard, but we even found fields of wildflowers. There was this little incident with a bug flying in to Dwight’s mouth, but don’t worry, I captured that hilarious moment too!