Liz & Zach: Wedding Day
A few weeks ago, I officially kicked off the 2019 wedding season. If this first wedding says anything about how the rest of the year will go, I am in for a TREAT. Lizzy & Zach tied the knot in early March, and I am so excited to finally share the story of their day with you. These two are the sweetest, most genuine, down to earth people I have ever worked with. It POURED down rain throughout the time we had planned for their couples portraits and they literally embraced every single moment of the day. These photos are precious and I am so excited to send them over for them to relive their day once again. To start the day, I met Lizzy and her girls at her parents' house to capture the sweet and funny moments they would have while getting ready. In my opinion, these "getting ready" photos are so important to the story of the day. Lizzy was surrounded by her closest family and friends as she prepped to meet her groom at the alter later that day. These moments are relaxed and candid and are so natural before the "stress" of the wedding day hits. It's always such an honor to be invited in and trusted to capture these memories.
I also think it's really important to capture the details of a wedding day. I didn't really realize it until I started planning my own wedding, but SO much thought goes into the little things that make up a wedding. It's so much more than choosing your dress or your wedding colors, but designing the invitations, choosing your shoes, deciding on jewelry. So many decisions! A lot of it isn't necessarily noticed by guests, but it's so important to a bride. After so much planning, I like to be sure I document those decisions so that they're remembered later.
While I was spending time with the girls, my awesome second shooter Amanda (with AC Photo) was capturing all of the crazy things Zach and his guys were up to that morning. They were getting ready at Zach & Lizzy's house and so I didn't meet up with them until later that afternoon. Going back through their photos after the wedding made me realize why it's so important to choose a wedding photographer that offers a package with a second shooter. I had absolutely no idea what the guys did all morning or how much fun they had, and guess what? Lizzy didn't either. I was absolutely cracking up at what I found scrolling through these photos (a random tire? Peeing in the bushes? Group photos in the yard?) These are moments that help make up the day, and it's such a rewarding feeling knowing that I get to deliver back a full gallery where both Lizzy and Zach will see parts of their day that they had no idea even happened. A lot of these moments happen at the reception (just wait until we get there, wow!) but they also happen while getting ready!
Since most of these photos were taken inside, you haven't really been able to get a feel for the weather yet. I'll fill you in. Up until this point, it had just been cloudy. A typical Saturday in March. Chilly, but not cold, and cloudy. We knew it was predicted to rain at some point, but Cincinnati weather is usually hit or miss, and we were all hoping for a miss. This didn't happen. As soon as we started packing our things to head to meet the guys, it started POURING down rain. Absolutely crazy. We had about a 45 minute drive to our next location and we were hoping it would settle down before we arrived. This didn't happen either. Lizzy and I had talked about our "rain plan" in the days leading up to the wedding, and we decided that Devou Park would be the perfect location for their outdoor bridal party photos. The park has a bandshell that I knew would 1. keep them all at least a little bit dry and 2. would help with the natural light on a rainy day. This worked out SO perfectly. I ended up meeting up with the guys & Amanda here, and we worked to take separate bridal party photos without Lizzy and Zach seeing one another (they opted for no first look, but a gift exchange before walking down the isle. This was SO precious but we'll get there in a minute!).
This bridal party was incredible. They were so full of energy and didn't even complain about shooting in the rain. They were a constant group of smiles and giggles and honestly just let themselves have the best time (while still being cooperative!!). Their best friends were getting married! Who wouldn't be excited! After we finished up photos of the bridal party, we headed to the venue. Lizzy and Zach had their ceremony and reception at the Gardens of Park Hills. Not only was the space absolutely beautiful, but everyone there was SO nice. Definitely adding them to my list of preferred vendors. Once we got there, Lizzy and Zach stayed on two separate floors so that they wouldn't see one another until their ceremony. However, they got each other gifts and letters to exchange before walking down the aisle, so we found a quiet corner where they could take a moment and be alone to do this.
They are just so cute. I'm melting ugh wow. Anyways, back to the venue! Even though Lizzy told me that all of her "details" and decorations were thrown together last minute, they looked SO great! Their cake was absolutely gorgeous (and delicious!) and since their wedding was in March, it was still a little chilly out so her blue decorations were "Elsa Blue" (LOVE!) Everything turned out beautifully.
Soon after guests started to arrive, the ceremony started. It was so sweet and special and Lizzy and Zach are truly a perfect match for one another. Their space was set up beautifully and Christmas lights filled the dark room setting the mood. Zach's reaction to seeing his bride for the first time was absolutely PRECIOUS and I know that seeing one another down the aisle is a memory that each of them will cherish. I can't believe that people trust ME to capture these big moments, and it's such an honor. Wow.
People always ask me what my favorite moment is to capture on a wedding day. After a lot of thought (because there are so many great moments!) I've decided that my absolute favorite photos from the day come from the bride and groom walking back down the aisle together, freshly married and full of bliss. These photos are always so full of happiness and capture such genuine emotion. As a wedding photographer, I get to see a LOT of the moments that other guests don't get to see. One of these moments comes right after capturing the new Mr. & Mrs. walking back down the aisle. I usually pull the bride and groom aside so that they don't get pulled away talking to guests and just let them have a moment. You guys. This moment is always INCREDIBLE to witness. It's filled with passion, pure happiness, and SO much love. I'm so glad I get to share what that looks like with you, because it's amazing.
After taking a moment to soak up the fact that they just got MARRIED, we moved back into the ceremony space to take a few family photos. I always send a questionnaire out to my couples to see who is most important to them and who they really would like photos with. I always take the traditional family photos regardless of what their answers are, but I make it a special goal of mine to capture extra moments that naturally happen between the bride and groom and whoever they listed as *extra* important. When I sent Zach and Lizzy their questionnaire, Lizzy said that her grandparents were SO important to her and she wanted to be sure she got a good picture with them. So many people think wedding photographers plan everything throughout the day to capture great moments, but I swear I don't plan nearly as much as you probably think I do (which isn't a bad thing!!) I know my camera and my lighting situations and I really just sit back and wait for moments to naturally happen. This is how I got this INCREDIBLE shot of Lizzy and ALL of her grandparents. It's one of the sweetest and most sentimental photos I think I've ever captured, and all it really took was being in the right place at the right time.
I won't share all of the traditional family photos now (I have to leave something for Lizzy and Zach to be surprised about when they get their gallery!) but I will share some of the cute candid moments captured while we were taking them!
So. We've been inside busy getting married for the past few hours. Let's switch our focus back to outside and check on the weather. Remember the rain from before? Yeah, it didn't stop. To add to the adventure, it was now completely dark outside. While most people would freak out, Zach and Lizzy were right there with me, absolutely thrilled about what an adventure the next 40 minutes would be. We jumped into the car and headed back to Devou. As a reminder, the photos we were about to take were the first of the day in which Zach and Lizzy were finally "alone" (hey, Amanda and I made great 3rd and 4th wheels! Plus Lizzy's dad is the real MVP for holding umbrellas for us). We had to work quickly to make sure we got enough of a variety of couple portraits, but you don't really have much to work with when it's dark and rainy. Or so it seems. Friends, let me stress this once more. THIS is why you need to INVEST in a photographer who 1. has your best interest in mind. 2. sees your vision. and 3. is knowledgable enough to work in any and all situations. I've had so many brides reach out and ask if I can work in a reception hall with no windows, YES! Just because it's dark (or rainy!) doesn't mean you don't deserve great photos! Do your research and get a photographer who can deliver a gallery you LOVE, regardless of the conditions you have on your day! These photos are some of my favorites to date, and I am SO thankful Lizzy and Zach trusted me enough to brave the cold, dark, rainy weather!
Wow yes. I'm absolutely obsessed with them for sure. They were so willing to jump out of the car and run into the rain and it feels SO incredible to be trusted with my creative vision!! After we were done shooting, we headed back to the venue for the reception. The room was buzzing with excitement waiting for Zach and Lizzy to arrive. Everyone cheered as they made their entrance and then we went straight into dinner. Lizzy and Zach actually added us into their seating chart so Amanda and I had seats reserved for dinner (which is just the sweetest thing to do for your photographer! It absolutely melted me!) and then we headed straight into speeches. Let me just say, these two are surrounded by SO much love. The speeches were absolutely hilarious and resulted in non-stop laughing!
We moved on to cake next (yummmm!) and then Zach sat down for an extra special message from his brother. He was supposed to be his best man and be there for the wedding, but he's in the Marines and couldn't make it. His speech was prerecorded as a video message and Zach had no idea about it. What a special moment . . .
After this we moved on to first dances and the rest of the reception followed! Everyone danced the night away and it was honestly such a blast to be able to capture. This entire day was so much fun. I think the best part of my job during the reception is being able to capture moments that only happen for a split second. There are SO many camera-worthy moments during a reception, and the bride and groom miss 95% of them. I love being able to capture these split-second moments and being able to give Lizzy and Zach something to smile about later.
Capturing this day for Lizzy and Zach was truly an honor. I am SO thankful to be able to do this for my JOB and to be trusted enough to step into the lives of such an awesome bride and groom and capture such an important day for them. The 2019 wedding season is off to a great start and I can't wait to see what the rest of this season brings. If you made it this far, I'm so proud of your dedication. :)