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!!
I first met Jenna & Mike in downtown Cleveland, for their engagement session last winter. I knew soon enough about their love for our Cleveland Indians, as we started their session in front of Progressive Field! They even wore their Tribe gear!
Moving ahead to their September wedding day, they had a beautiful ceremony along Lake Erie, at Lakewood Park. After the ceremony, it was off to Georgetown, a quaint little restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio. Not you typical reception, it was more of a brunch with immediate friends and family. It was a beautiful outdoor setting, with a breakfast buffet, mimosa & bloody mary bar, and even a donut bar! Can you guess what their guests favors were? Snack bags for the Tribe game after breakfast!! Yup, peanuts and Cracker Jacks for everyone!
What next for the bride & groom, and their bridal party? Change in to their custom made Tribe gear for the Indians game! The couple, their bridal party, and immediate friends and family all had tickets to watch the Cleveland Indians take on the Detroit Tigers. Well, crush the Tigers that is!
This was not your typical wedding day, but that is what I loved about it. They did it their way, they made their wedding day about what they love, and it was amazing and so beautiful!! Couples, take note!
I first met the bride and groom in the summer of 2017, for their winery and Lake Erie engagement session. What a gorgeous couple!! So, I was super excited for their September 2018 wedding! Christa & Matt had a beautiful church service ceremony, surrounded by all of their loved ones. For their formal photos, after the church, we headed to Lake Erie College. The college makes for some gorgeous images, with all of the brick and fountains. From there, we headed to one of my favorite Lake Metropark’s Parks, Lake Erie Bluffs. We found the Lake and some nature, both of which I love!
The rest of the wedding day was spent at the Perry Community Center, for the reception. What a great venue, right on the cliffs of Lake Erie. We even had a rainbow, after a random rain shower! The DJ kept the party going all night, and I even saw my first “money dance Polka!”
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!
Emily inquired with me back in early summer, about being their wedding photographer. I was so excited that I was available on their date next summer! Not only are they a gorgeous couple, but their reception is going to be a new winery in town that hasn’t even opened yet! The thought of all of the weddings I could capture, right here in my home town, that gives me all the feels.
It seemed only fitting that we capture their engagement photos at another local winery, South River Vineyard . This winery is such a dream to photograph at! It has beautiful architecture, all built around an old church, and gorgeous acres of vineyards. I always try to plan engagement sessions around sunset, and boy did we get the most gorgeous sunset ever!! Pair all of that beauty with an amazing couple, and Emily’s to-die-for ring, and I would say it was one of my best engagement sessions ever.
Mr. & Mrs. Harris had a beautiful wedding day at the Columbia Ballroom. The weather was perfect, a little warm, but perfect. I love the gorgeous outdoor setup of this venue, which overlooks a beautiful horse farm. Those horses made for some great photobombs! Jami & Rob brought in their own rustic arch to be married in front of, and they set up the ceremony in a perfect spot in the shade. Such amazing flowers, which matched perfectly with the bridesmaids dresses of different shades of dusty blue. Jami cried when she saw her groom, of course causing the rest of us to shed some tears as well. Such a beautiful ceremony!!
The reception was a great party! They had some bridal party members scooting around on scooters, some amazing speeches, and delicious food. The inside of the ballroom was decorated perfectly, with candles and greenery, and table numbers made from photographs of the couple when they were that age. Loved that!! They even had a camera setup for a selfie station, where guests could hang their pictures up on the wall, so cool. You have to check out the cake! You will see a little Harry Potter reference there! And check out Rob’s dance surprise with his Mom, it was the best!!
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