Exceptional Wedding Series V

I decided to start a new blog series this year showing some of my favorite things from each of the weddings I photograph. Since I love to focus on creating a unique wedding experience for each of my couples and pride myself on sharing their personalities in my photos, this blog series has been a great way for me to showcase these unique details. I am sharing something specific that stood out to me from each wedding which I thought was special to the couple. Something that stood out to me for Martha and Preston’s wedding day was the theme around birds in all of their reception decor. I loved this and thought it went so well with the venue they chose! Check out some of Martha’s responses to a few questions I had below.

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What is the reason behind the bird theme?

Once we decided on the Audubon center as our reception venue I decided to continue the bird theme. We found bird cages that we thought would be great centerpieces, and we had a lot of fun decorating each one with a different bird. We loved the idea of each table being unique. Being an art teacher, I really wanted to add an art element so I painted birds for all of the table numbers.

 

What significance did this have and why was it so important to incorporate on your wedding day?

The birds we used were all native to Ohio birds. My husband and I love hiking the metro parks (one of the reasons why we choose our venue!) and we thought using birds you could find around Ohio would be a fun touch! It all just worked really well with the educational aspect of the Audubon center!

 

What’s your favorite bird?

We both love the hummingbird!  

Exceptional Wedding Series III

I decided to start a new blog series this year showing some of my favorite things from each of the weddings I photograph. Since I love to focus on creating a unique wedding experience for each of my couples and pride myself on sharing their personalities in my photos, this blog series has been a great way for me to showcase these unique details. I am sharing something specific that stood out to me from each wedding which I thought was special to the couple.

Addison & Michaela had an absolutely beautiful ceremony at a new venue I’ve never been to before. I loved every little detail from their wedding day, but what stood out to me the most was the gorgeous wooden cross they used at their alter for the ceremony. So, I asked Michaela a few questions about the cross below.

wood cross wedding ceremony

What made you decide to use this cross at your wedding?

For Addison and I both, our faith is the most important thing to us. And so we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of the love we have for each other, but also the love and relationship we live out each day with Christ. We did not want to be pushy, but we did want to show how passionate our love is for one another and for God. So in that, we didn't feel a need for a ceremony in a church, but just made intentional decisions about our ceremony. Addison's Dad is a pastor, and was the officiant, and really helped craft a ceremony that helped get our message across. However, as visual people we knew symbols were also sentimental to us and others. I have always seen pictures and loved a wood cross at outdoor ceremonies. We knew that we just wanted it to have simple decorations so it would be noticed, but not overshadowed - which Gina Lynne did an amazing job executing. The cross was meant to be the focus and at the center of the "altar" up front. The cross is where the ultimate act of love was shown, where Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we could live. For us, there is no greater symbol of love than the cross.

Who made the cross?

Addison's Dad is a pastor and also was the officiant of our wedding. So the cross came from their church that they built for their use and also let us use it for the wedding.

Any other notes about the cross you would like to share?

Addison and I love each other so so much and feel so blessed to be in each other's lives. Our love is so great, but we know it is possible because of God's love. Our marriage is bigger than us and that day was a celebration of us, yes. But ultimately a celebration of the love God endlessly gives to each one of us and that is the kind of love we hope our marriage is a reflection of the love that God gives to everyone.

wood cross wedding ceremony

Exceptional Wedding Series II

If you remember back to my first 2019 wedding in February, I decided to start this exceptional wedding series. Since I love to focus on creating a unique wedding experience for each of my couples and pride myself on sharing their personalities in my photos, this blog series has been a great way for me to showcase these unique details. I am sharing something specific that stood out to me from each wedding which I thought was special to the couple.

Natalie & Jason had a beautiful day filled with a lot of unique details including a wood burned letter box, the OSU band introducing them into the reception, and my favorite… sharing a last dance together. Many couples have a last song where all of the guests come together and sing their hearts out to end the night, but these two wanted to share a last song together with just them. I thought this was amazing and loved the idea, so I asked Natalie a few questions about it.

exceptional wedding series

Where did you get the idea of sharing a "last dance" together?
While consulting with our videographer Mark Batke, we asked him what kinds of ideas he had. He mentioned a last dance. The idea is to have all the guests leave the venue and leave the dance floor to the new husband and wife. He explained this as the perfect time to soak it all in and reminisce on the night. We loved the idea! 

How did you feel in that moment?
The last dance was the most memorable part of the night for us! It was such an intimate moment for us after the rush of the wedding. It was just what we needed, to take a breath, look at each other as husband and wife, and feel the love between us. It was so nice to be able to relax and be held in my husband’s arms swaying to the music, just us two. 

Would you recommend this to future couples?
Absolutely! Wedding day can be so overwhelming and it all happens so fast. While taking a minute here and there throughout the night to step back and watch as everyone enjoys themselves can be helpful, the last dance is something I think all couples should do! Believe me, it’s so worth it! And not to mention, it’s the perfect time to have the guests gather together for your sendoff. 


exceptional wedding series

How to prepare for your engagement session

So you’ve never had professional photos done before and you’re kind of freaking out for your engagement session. If you’re worried about being embarrassed in public, how your fiancé will react, or just flat out afraid of being awkward in front of the camera, I’m sharing a few tips on how to prepare for your photoshoot.

Finding a location

Some things I like to suggest when choosing a location for your engagement photos is to brainstorm several places that have a significance in your relationship. Is there a favorite park you guys always go to? A brewery? Where did you first meet? Where was your first date? Do you have a cute home together? Do you both love ice cream, hiking, and your dog? I love the challenge of making strange places look beautiful, so even if you feel it’s odd, I definitely want to hear your ideas so I can help tell your story.

Finding a time

The time of your session will most likely depend on what season you are looking to have your engagement photos. I like to suggest at least booking 3-6 months before your wedding day. If you are planning on using these photos for save the dates then I would encourage these photos to be done even before then. I tend to shoot sunrise or sunset golden hour engagement sessions because the light works really well with my style of photography. Consider when the sun rises and sets for your time of the year. Please also keep in mind that many photographers are busy during the weekends, well, because they are photographing weddings of course!

Figuring out an outfit

Try not to be too matchy when it comes to your outfit choice. Find outfits that compliment each other rather than look exactly the same. Solid neutral colors tend to photograph the best in my opinion and try to be cautious with choosing something with a lot of patterns. Consider the weather when choosing your outfit and please make sure you are comfortable!

Day of preparation

Show up on time so we can make sure we get as much use of the sunlight as possible. Schedule a lot of getting ready time too so there is no stress as you’re walking out that door. You can even plan a little date night after to make the most of getting all dressed up together!

Sometimes I will suggest for you two to have a drink together beforehand to loosen up. I love capturing those silly candid photos where your TRUE selves come out, and it definitely helps after you have some liquid courage/giggles in you. I have several other techniques to help with this to make sure you both are comfortable so we can get those cute effortless moments. You do not need to be a pro at this so you can relax and let me work my magic!

My Favorite Ohio Wedding Venues

Okay, so quickly after creating this list of my favorite Ohio Wedding Venues, I realized I had a lot. I guess this is awesome because I discovered Ohio has a pretty legit wedding venue selection to choose from. As you may notice here soon, I favor outdoor wedding venues. With my style and love for the outdoors, it’s a no brainer that I like to soak up some sun and get natural light for all of your wedding photos. I know, I know, many of you may be rolling your eyes and are afraid to pick an outdoor venue, because, well, it’s freaking Ohio. The weather is as bipolar as you can possible get but this risk is, (in my opinion) totally worth it! Many of these outdoor focused venues have a solid backup option in case of inclement weather and trust me when I say those clear umbrellas can make for some super cute portrait props! Below you will see some of my all time favorite Ohio wedding venues I’ve shot at, as well as a few that are on my bucket list.

Oak Grove - Columbus, Ohio

Get married in a greenhouse, yes please! This truly unique venue located right outside of Columbus is one of my all time favorites. With ALL of the natural light, the newly built reception building, on site getting ready locations, and a perfect tree-line for sunset photos, you will not be disappointed.

Oak Grove - Ohio Wedding Venue
Oak Grove - Ohio Wedding Venue
Oak Grove - Ohio Wedding Venue
Oak Grove - Ohio Wedding Venue
Oak Grove Columbus Wedding Venue

The Monastery Event Center - Cincinnati, Ohio

With only being in Cincinnati for 6 months, I have not experienced many Cincinnati wedding venues yet, but I’ve had my eye on this spot for awhile. I had the chance to second shoot here with Kailey Marie Photography and it really is as beautiful as I thought it would be. This renovated church is a jaw dropper and you will immediately fall in love with it as soon as you walk in. This venue is tucked into the adorable town of Mt. Adams which has perfect side streets that make for a beautiful backdrop.

The Monastery Ohio Wedding Venue
The Monastery Ohio Wedding Venue
The Monastery Cincinnati Ohio

Warwick Farm - Mt. Vernon, Ohio

What I love about this venue is how big it is. This allows for so many different options when it comes to the ceremony and reception setup. There are two different on-site getting ready locations as well as a beautiful reception space open to the outdoors! There are a million different places to take photos here and you can even take a quick trip in the Gator out to the the open field with the sheep and llamas! (Highly suggest doing this!)

Warwick Farms Ohio Wedding Venue
Warwick Farms Ohio Wedding Venue
Warwick Farms - Ohio wedding Venue
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Warwick Farms Ohio wedding venue

Jorgensen Farms - Columbus, Ohio

Back on this list is the other Jorgensen Farms location which is their Historic Barn. Another gorgeous outdoor venue with fantastic indoor options! There is so much color and life at this Farm and there is a lot of space for all of your guest to have a great time! With outdoor games and the open barn feel, this is definitely a spot for all you summer lovers.

Jorgensen Farms Ohio Wedding Venue
Jorgensen Farms Ohio Wedding Venue
Jorgensen Farms Ohio Wedding Venue
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The Grand Barn at the Mohicans -Knox County, Ohio

Didn’t I tell you I love the outdoors? This Treehouse wedding venue will give you all of the outdoorsy feels. Another great spot with on-site getting ready rooms and lots of wooded area for photos!

The Grand Barn Mohicans
Grand Barn Mohicans Wedding Venue
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The Club at Corazon -Dublin, Ohio

Italy vibes in Ohio, say what?! The Club at Corazon is another unique location that will make you and your guests feel like you are celebrating in Italy. The club has beautiful views, vineyards, relaxing water fountains, and those gorgeous pillars out front.

The Club at Corazon Ohio Wedding Venue
The Club at Corazon Ohio Wedding Venue
The Club at Corazon Ohio Wedding Venue
The Club at Corazon Ohio Wedding Venue
The Club at Corazon Ohio wedding venue

Ohio Statehouse - Columbus, Ohio

Although I have not actually shot a wedding ceremony here, I have done many pre-wedding portraits at the Ohio Statehouse. With many different rooms to select from and covered outdoor areas, (perfect for a first look) the Ohio Statehouse creates a classy and elegant look that I love!

ohio statehouse wedding venue
Ohio Statehouse Ohio Wedding Venue

These are some of my favorite venues I have photographed over the past few years in Ohio and there are many more I have on my bucket list.

My bucket list includes Juniper (Columbus), Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus), Hotel Covington (Cincinnati area), The Columbus Zoo, Ault Park (Cincinnati) and basically all of the Cincinnati wedding venues so I can get a feel for my new home!

Exceptional Wedding Series

Since I am so focused on creating a unique wedding experience for each of my couples and pride myself on sharing their personalities in my photos, I thought I would start something new this year. After each wedding I want to share something specific that stood out to me from the day which I thought was special and unique to the couple.

I’m starting the series off with a great one from my first 2019 couple, Ali & Luke. After three years in the industry and working over 50 weddings, I have never seen this before and really loved the idea! Ali & Luke had these adorable Mr. & Mrs. aprons, (Amazon link below) which they put on right before dinner. They went behind the buffet tables and began serving their guests their food. I loved this idea so much, so I asked them a little more about why they chose to do this.

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What inspired you to decide to serve the food to your guests at your wedding?

“The whole focus on our wedding, we wanted to be different. We planned for the marriage and the kind of wife/husband we wanted to be (counseling, praying, conversations, reading books) more than we planned for the wedding day, because that’s what it’s about right? Not to say, the wedding day isn’t important because making vows for life with someone is a big deal, but in our current “selfie” and social media “highlight reel” culture you can really get consumed with super high standards of the “perfect day,” large budgets, and lots of time and stress, then at the end of the day, it doesn’t really have any benefit to the marriage, for you or your spouse.

During our engagement, we talked a lot about showing grace to each other and serving each other as husband and wife. Even when you don’t want to. Rather than being worried about what the other is doing or most likely NOT doing, but loving the other well in how they need it. It’s the picture of how Jesus loves us... we are undeserving and flawed, yet He is devoted to us.

We were thrilled to exemplify that idea of servanthood. We didn’t want our wedding day to be just about us and whatever we wanted without concern of our guests. Just like how we would treat guests in our home, we serve and make our guests comfortable. How we love each other as husband and wife, is humbling oneself for the sake of the other: servanthood.”

- Ali Barhorst - Bride

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Love this idea? Find Mr. & Mrs. Aprons on Amazon here! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. PS, did you know you can create an Amazon Wedding Registry? I think that sounds amazing and is just flat out brilliant! Check out the banner to learn more!