Melissa & Jamal – Akron Italian Center Wedding -September 9, 2018

Melissa is a kindred spirit.  The same kooky, kinda crazy in a good way blood flows in both our veins.  And her husband-to-be could be a copy of my own stoic-except-when-he-is-with-me-then-he’s-a-teddy-bear husband.   I loved hearing of all the silly and sweet details as she and Jamal planned their wedding day.  And all those plans, except the one where the weather cooperated, came off without a hitch.  The rain drove us inside Rockwell Hall at Kent State University , but our spirits were not dampened.  To get Jamal’s smile ready Melissa had arranged for her nephew, Malik, to don a silly mask and pretend to be Melissa sneaking up on him to reveal herself and her wedding gown.   While he laughed at that, his smile only truly became luminous when he saw his Bride descending the stairs towards him.   And from that moment, through to their ceremony and reception at The Italian Center  the two were aglow with love.  I am so blessed to have been there for that special celebration, and blessed to continue to call these two my friends.

 

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Emily & Quentin – Ricciardi’s Tree Farm Wedding – August 18, 2018

Every couple makes an impression on me.  There is always something to be learned about love, respect and the joy found in one another.  I am always looking for a lesson to take home to my own life.  If I had to choose a word to sum up what I’ve learned from Emily and Quentin it would have to be grace.  There are several definitions of grace; 1. simple elegance or refinement of movement 2. courteous goodwill 3. an attractively polite manner of behaving 4. a divinely given talent or blessing 5. a period officially allowed for payment of a sum due or for compliance with a law or condition, especially an extended period granted as a special favor.   And while some of them may seem obvious and others odd, they all apply in one way or another.

I got to know Em & Q during their engagement session and I knew even then that they were amazingly connected and so kind to each other.  And yes, you would imagine any couple planning to marry are kind to each other, and they are, but every action and gesture and spoken exchange between these two were showing kindness and definitions 2 and 3 of grace to each other.   I couldn’t see how I would wait more than a year until their wedding!

As their wedding got closer we spoke more and met up for some coffee and to go over plans.  Every detail they shared with me made me more excited!  Pies instead of cake, complete with a pie fight in hazmat suits!  Their desire to get the perfect photo of them with all their guests so they could frame it to remember everyone who celebrated with them.  Everything was planned for maximum fun and beauty!

It was around then that I was told that Em’s Dad had brain cancer and that things were not looking good for him.  Unfortunately things did not improve and so a few weeks before their wedding day they had a small, but lovely wedding ceremony so that her father, Tony, could be sure to attend. I was not there, but the joy made clear in the photos they shared could not be more clear.

When I arrived at Ricciardi’s Tree Farm  I was immediately informed that Tony had become worse and that neither he nor his wife would be able to attend the wedding and that it was feared he would pass away before the day was through.  I was not sure what to expect from Emily and entered the Bridal Suite with great trepidation.  And there I began to truly understand definitions 4 and 5 of grace.  There I saw how Emily, Quentin and everyone else in attendance carried Tony with them throughout the day.  The gratitude that he had been at their wedding, that his wife, Meghan,  was at his side to care for him, that there was a little breeze during the otherwise still ceremony that you could feel as his presence made almost tangible; his blessing on that moment made clear.  There were moments of tears, moments of laughter and joy as so many family and friends came out to dance with Emily in Tony’s stead.  And through every moment of the day there was Quentin.  Being the strong and supportive man who was not taking the place of Em’s Dad, but continuing his legacy of love.  There was a moment where I asked Q what would happen if Tony passed.  He said, with simple grace, that he would take that call and would wait until after the wedding to tell Emily, as they agreed on earlier.  And that floored me.  I would hope that I could be that strong for my husband should he ever ask something so difficult of me.  I don’t know if I could, but Quentin did.

When I got home I did the only thing I could, I sat down and edited their entire gallery.  I was not sure then whether Tony had passed or not.  I was not sure I was doing the right thing or being self important.  But I reached out to Quentin and let him know that the gallery was done and that I would leave it to him to decide when was the right time to share it with Emily. I was glad to learn they were given the final definition of grace as Tony was able to see the wedding photos and share some precious time with his daughter and son-in-law re-living that day.  I was sorry to never have met him, but through the people who loved him and were there to celebrate this amazing couple, I feel like I knew him.   And I am so lucky to continue to know Emily and Quentin and see their marriage grow and their continued adventures and how they celebrate every achievement. Together.

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AnnMarie & Steve Wedding – November 18, 2017 – The Barn on Enchanted Acres

AnnMarie and Steve got married on the rainiest weekend I can recall.  The kind of rain that you cannot even see through because it appears to be a waterfall  dropping down from an unseen sky.  Except…for about 2-1/2 hours in Dennison, Ohio at a place aptly named The Barn on Enchanted Acres, the rain stopped.  I can clearly recall driving to the venue wondering if the rain would delay guests arriving, it was that awful.  But as I got within about 15 minutes the rain was no longer a downpour, then a few miles out it was a drizzle, then a mist.  And as I pulled up, already clad in my raincoat, I stepped outside and not a drop was falling.  I zipped around getting location photos and outdoor details assuming this was a brief respite.  But as AnnMarie donned her gown, it held off.  As Steve and the guys raised a glass of whiskey to the day, it held off.  As the staff dried off the chairs at the outdoor ceremony site, no new rain fell.  So AnnMarie and Steve, who had such hopes and dreams were married in front of family and friends on a mild November day under a gray but non-threatening sky.  And after they became Mr. & Mrs.  we wandered around the gorgeous grounds; they swung on the floral swing a bit, cuddled as the air grew cooler, laughed with joy at their luck as we fit in our last few photos before entering their reception.  And within moments of their grand entrance I once again heard the sound of rain falling.  They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck.  AnnMarie and Steve had that and more in finding each other and if volume of rain counts, even with the break in the weather they still earned enough for several lifetimes on their wedding day.

A special thanks from the Bride and Groom to David Stewart who was an amazing wedding planner and florist.

Venue: The Barn on Enchanted Acres – Dennison, OH

Cake: Litty’s Cakes & Cookies – New Philadelphia, OH

Caterer: Benson’s Market & Catering – Dover, OH

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Katie & Jimmy – October 14, 2017 – McHale Barn Wedding – Ravenna, OH

When your heart is shared so completely with another person that your home is wherever the two of you are together you have the ultimate in freedom.  Katie & Jimmy are travelers, wanderers, explorers and part of me wants to be a mouse tucked into their wheeled home to go along with them.  I know they will make amazing friends, have wonderful adventures and always end their days talking about what the future holds.  But, I am a homebody who cannot rest unless it is in her own bed so I will be grateful to continue our friendship online and share in their adventures that way.

When I first spoke with Katie about her wedding, she was clear that the ceremony was important, but the people that were coming to share in the celebration were just as much so.  Everything was planned in such a guest friendly way, from blankets and hot cocoa in case the evening got chilly, to the magical comfort food of a Swenson’s Food Truck to Katie personally cooking up veggie burgers to ensure vegan guests did not go hungry, it was just a party where a couple happened to get married as well.  The setting was the country backyard we all wish we had that they found on AirBNB that really isn’t a wedding venue, but might sometimes be and really and truly should be because Lisa & Rich were amazing hosts!  McHale Barns & Grounds was the perfect setting for every part of Katie & Jimmy’s day!

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Tiffanie & Phil – August 19, 2017 – Hartville Kitchen Wedding

Tiffanie and Phil are a couple who laugh and love intensely.  They are truly the best of friends and deeply in love in that romantic way we all dream to be.  One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies, Steel Magnolias says “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion” and I couldn’t agree more!  From playing around and being silly one moment to the reality of six years of loving each other culminating in this celebration of love making them a family causing an overflow of tears, it could not and did not fail to move all of us deeply.  I can only wish them many years of happiness and many, many, many, many, many trips to Disney…because a couple that has Beauty & The Beast as their wedding theme AND has their honeymoon at the Magic Kingdom (in August!) are absolutely going to live their happily ever after to the max!

Venue/Caterer/Desserts: Hartville Kitchen – Hartville, OH

DJ: Beach Boyz Entertainment

Bridal Gown: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal

Men’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse

Jewelry: Kay’s Jewelers

 

 

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