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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Chrystal & Josh – Valley Lake Campground Wedding – June 16, 2017

This wedding came off beautifully!  And you know why?  Because planning, detailed, beautifully executed planning by an amazing group of people.  Chrystal, Josh and a phenomenal group of family and friends who love them came together and took Chrystal’s dream and made it real!  I love getting inside details on wedding planning from my couples, and with Chrystal I gladly exchanged texts and Facebook messages for hours and was simply giddy with excitement as I saw her vision coming together bit by bit.  From the longtime family friends who re-opened the amazing Valley Lake Campground to my own family’s adopted Aunt Kim (who holds the same position of honor to Chrystal as well because she is that awesome) custom mixed drink menu and plethora of Jello-o shots (yeah, I now know there is a such a thing as Jell-o shot racing) to the many, many hands who prepared food, help decorate and so many other touches.
The reason why everyone came together to celebrate is the simple, but clear love that Josh and Chrystal share for each other and the daughters that Josh has taken into his heart as his own.  Josh was prepared to be a bachelor for at least another 14 years, but was powerless to resist the charms of three lovely ladies!

We began our day at Chrystal’s salon, His & Hers Salon and Barbershop, where everyone was beautified from hair to nails to make-up in a sweet, rustic setting.  We met up with the Groom in Garretsville, where these two grew up and where we had held their engagement session.  Their First Look moved everyone to tears and Josh’s…ahem..dance moves on the gaudy yellow pole someone I am cross with installed in the past month made everyone fall about laughing (yep, you’re about to see that photo).   And finally we headed to Valley Lake Campground for photos under the willow trees that dot the shoreline and which were the inspiration for Chrystal’s entire dream wedding.  To me this is not at all by chance; the willow’s deep strength and stubbornness allow it to grow and thrive in the strange and challenging area where the land meets water and yet it remains so flexible,  sheltering and also beautiful.  To me this is just a natural reflection of both Chrystal and Josh.

 

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Billy & Toni – Snode’s Country Barn Wedding – Minerva, OH

Billy & Toni’s late October Wedding at Snode’s Country Barn was all about details!  Everything was beautifully planned and executed from the oodles of rustic lace decor to the most gorgeous (and delicious!) donuts I’ve ever seen from Amy’s Donuts! Nothing was left wanting and that included the love that Billy & Toni and all of their family and friend’s brought with them.
Their sunset ceremony was full of golden glow (we photogs drool over such lighting!) and the fields, pond and barns were a perfect backdrop for both the pictures and the celebration.  The day was late-October but the temperature was a final taste of summer and the celebration could not be contained in the barn but spilled out into the night with dancing, music and some seriously fun folks!

 

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The Details!
Venue: Snode’s Restored Country Barn – Minerva, OH

Bridal Gown: Essence of Australia from Wendy’s Bridal

Bridesmaids’s Dresses: David’s Bridal

Men’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse 

Hair and Make-up: Beauty Therapy – Akron, OH

 

Brooke & Ryan – September 3, 2016 Wedding – Springlake Party Center, Lakemore OH

Some weddings I get to spend all day and most of the night with the Bride & Groom, others I am only there for the main events and really, it makes you realize how it only takes a few moments to change lives.  A couple goes from engaged to married, people who love each other become a family.  It doesn’t take much time to open the way to a lifetime of new possibilities.  So even though I was only with Brooke & Ryan for a few hours, that time really is the kind of magical that makes it feel like the laughter and the joy will hang in the air forever.

The style of Brooke & Ryan’s wedding was rustic, with gorgeous sunflowers blooming all over; in the centerpieces and in the bouquets, and little nods to Ryan’s passion for hunting as well.  However, the underlying feeling of the wedding was family – ones put together like puzzle pieces.   It was most reflected in the ceremony, where the officiant was the same man who performed the wedding ceremony of Ryan’s Father and Step-Mother over 20 years previously.  During that ceremony the young Ryan was given a memento by his new Step-Mother to signify their bond as a family and during Brooke & Ryan’s ceremony that was echoed by Ryan giving Brooke’s daughter, Layne, a special necklace.  (Edit: I have since learned from Ryan that the necklace given to Layne was the very same necklace he was given at his Dad & Step-Mom’s wedding.  So yeah, just wow with the sweetness) Once more you saw it in the tender attention showered on Brooke by her mother all day long; her Mother was the first to greet me and every time I turned around she was greeting guests, keeping the kids entertained and somehow neat and tidy or making sure all of the decorations and details were in order.  But when the moment came for a photo of just the two of them she showed the duality of the best kinds of Moms, that moving from organization machine to one with eyes glistening with tears of joy and pride.  And again the depth of this newly expanded families care for each other was clear during a very moving speech made by Ryan’s father where he spoke of family and his recognizing very early on that Brooke was “the one” for Ryan, that he saw how they fitted together to create a better whole that was reflected by the growth in both of them.  And that he treasured them each not just for what they were to each other, but for who they were to him as individuals.   And that is really what we’re all looking for, the one who not only completes us, but who enhances, encourages and always, always makes us laugh.  And Brooke and Ryan are that one for each other too.

**Want all the venue and vendor details?  Check them out below the gallery**

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The Details!

Ceremony & Reception Venue/Catering: Springlake Party Center, Lakemore, OH 

Bridal Gown: Doreen Leaf Designs from Allure Bridals

Bridesmaids Gowns: Doreen Leaf Designs or Target

Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Florist: Dietz Falls Florist, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

DJ: HaleStorm DJ Services – Akron, OH