Isabella emailed me in August – the day after Luke proposed. They knew they were in love and they knew they wanted to get married ASAP.
Everything else would get figured out along the way. I already knew we’d be great together.
We found a Sunday evening I was available. They found a venue they loved. And on October 4, in front of their closest friends and family, Isabella + Luke became husband and wife. Isabella slipped into her perfect dress as I was getting there, then she walked barefoot down the aisle to Luke. Their vows were honest + some of the most beautiful I’ve heard. Her dad officiated. They washed each others’ feet and walked back up that aisle as The Christophers. It rained the rest of the evening, but once everyone was inside that perfect little barn, nothing else mattered. They ate, they danced, and spent the evening with only the people they love most.
I’m generally pretty good at seeing the best in any situation – even in 2020.
This year has been all about the pivot. Weddings couldn’t look like they once did. Guest lists shrunk. Venues closed. Invitations were rescinded. So much has changed. In the middle of the mess, I’ve noticed one shift in particular that so many of my couples have made that I would like to stick around forever.
Couples are letting the things that don’t matter fall away and they’re focusing on each other + the people who do.
Brittny + Josh did just that.
They got engaged this summer and didn’t want to wait to become husband + wife, so they didn’t. They called me, drove to Cleveland for their engagement session, and we chose a Sunday evening I was available to make the trip to Middletown, Ohio where they would get married.
Every moment of this day was filled with peace, love, and intention. I still can’t believe I got to be a part of it.
I spent the afternoon with them as they got ready next to their favorite people. I got to watch Josh see Brittny for the first time in her dress, and while her sweet little boy peaked around the corner. When their guests arrived, they were taken up the hill to their ceremony site in a golf cart. Somehow we picked the most perfect fall day. The leaves quietly rustled as they said their vows with only the people closest to them. After their ceremony, we took a photo of everyone together. They entered their reception with only sparkler light, and they danced on an old rug in their front yard while their guests watched from their tables. I listened to their friends talk about the kind of people they are – the ones who drop everything for you. Somehow I already knew that. We ate dinner, cut the cake, and celebrated two lives becoming one.
A wedding that’s all about your love lets you enjoy every moment without worrying about the details.
Stories were told across the table. There was no agenda. No one to impress.
In the last decade, I’ve taken photos of my brides getting ready in all kinds of places, but the most beautiful might just be Heyday Collective. With its unassuming white brick backdrop, perfectly broken in hardwood floors, and sun drenched sitting area, it’s the most ideal way to begin any wedding day.
When working with my couples, I like to be as helpful as I can throughout their planning process. After photo locations, I’m asked more about my professional opinions on getting ready spaces than any other space we’ll spend time in. And in my professional opinion, it doesn’t get better than this. You’ll have enough to think about when it comes to getting ready for your wedding and booking an airbnb or hastily trying to clean up your mom’s spare bedroom shouldn’t have to be on that list.
I know so many brides are lost when it comes to booking a hair stylist, so consider yourselves found. Not only is the space beautiful, but Megan Cox is a straight up hair goddess, so I wanted to share some of her insight with you! I asked Megan to tell us a little about her, and answer some of instagram’s most pressing bridal hair questions. Here she is.
Hey bride to be! I’m Megan Cox, Heyday Collective’s bridal and styling guru. I’ve specialized in styling and bridal hair artistry from the beginning of my career in hair, officially in 2017. My style can be described as effortlessly textured, perfectly imperfect, and softly romantic. When I’m not pampering brides, you can find me working side by side with Erin Frazee giving women seamless Hand-Tied Hair Extensions.
The morning of your wedding is SO important to me, because it sets the tone for the rest of your big day. Of course I want you to have gorgeous hair, but I also want you to have fun, feel relaxed and stress-free, and be pampered. I might even bust a move with you while listening to your favorite getting-ready tunes. I’m a lover of love, and I enjoy pumping my brides up for how awesome marriage truly is. My husband is my absolute bestie, and I love when brides ask about our wedding day – it makes me so happy to share our wedding details.
I’m every bride’s main point of contact, from the time of the inquiry to the time of their wedding day. No middle man, because all of the little details matter to me. Need vendor recommendations? I got you, girl! I love taking your hair inspiration photos to the next level. Let’s make it your own! Let’s incorporate what you like about each inspiration picture you have and make it into YOUR wedding hair. I know just how special your wedding day is, let me help you make the morning of your wedding one to remember, and make your wedding hair dreams come to life!
Can you speak a little about your approach to bridal hair on a wedding day? My approach to bridal hair on the wedding day is a little different, and more special than just your typical hair stylist. Sure I want to give you great hair, but I dig a little deeper, it’s more than just the hair for me. I truly care about your wedding morning, the vibe that the room has, the music that’s playing, and I also love helping brides find vendors that are great for them. So much of what’s going on around you will affect the best day of your life, why not also have your dream wedding hair while you’re at it
How far in advance do you recommend an initial inquiry? These days brides are reaching out a whole year in advance, if not more! My best advice? If you’ve been creeping me on Instagram, you’re engaged and eventually will be looking for a bridal hair specialist, fill out the inquiry form! I always post about my availability on my Instagram, and will probably open booking for 2022, in March of 2021.
How much time should I plan for hair on my wedding day? This all revolves around your timeline for the rest of your wedding. Some common factors are if you’re doing a first look, if you’re having an early ceremony, and how many people are getting their hair done. I always give my brides an hour in the timeline because I want them to have plenty of time to make sure their hair is just right. I give bridesmaids and moms 30 to 45 minutes each. I make sure to leave extra room at the end for touch-ups, making sure everyone looks and feels amazing! I will always be flexible and honest about what will be best!
Am I able to get dressed at Heyday, as well? So glad you asked! YES YES YES. The beauty of getting ready at Heyday is that you can also get gorgeous getting-ready photos! You know, the ones where your mom or MOH is buttoning your dress, or me helping you place your veil in front of our beautiful fireplace.
How many people can you accommodate the morning of my wedding? I get this question all the time! I will do my best to provide the appropriate number of stylists to accommodate your entire party based on the time you need to be ready for photos. Typically, I will do a bridal party of 5 by myself, and I will add an assistant for over 5.
Can I bring a makeup artist into your space? Absolutely! Your makeup artist is totally welcome to come into the space! The lighting is perfect for them to make you look glowing! Wanna know something even better? Your photographer and videographer are also welcome! Feel free to add catered refreshments as well, you don’t want to walk down the aisle starving and dehydrated!
Will you come to my venue to do my hair? I do travel, but honestly I love when bride’s come to our intimate space. Doing a bridal party at the salon is easy for me but my favorite part is watching brides and their bridal party experience the space and all that it has to offer. It’s the bridal party hanging out on our couch drinking mimosas. It’s the MOH going down memory lane with the bride while she gets her hair done in our comfy stylist’s chairs. It’s the bridal party getting portraits by the fireplace. I can help control the environment at Heyday, making sure it’s exactly what they want it to be!
Of course, I know that not all venues are super close to Heyday, so I like to accommodate those who are a little further away! That’s why I offer a travel maximum of 45 miles to give those brides the Heyday Experience too.
To learn more about Bridal, or any other service at Heyday Collective including Hand-Tied Hair Extensions, visit www.heydaycollective.com.
Category | Outdoor City | Akron, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | Every little corner of this space is beautiful. Stan Hywet has seen so many weddings, they’re a well oiled machine. Your guests will love walking the grounds, too! Bonus | Traveling the grounds in golf carts.
Category | Outdoor City | Peninsula, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | Once you’ve booked your wedding, this whole space is all yours. There are plenty of outdoor ceremony + cocktail hour spaces, a perfect barn for dancing, and open space to set your dinner tent up. Bonus | The gorgeous teal storage shed is the perfect photo op.
Category | Outdoor City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Ceremony Why I love it | The architecture at the Cleveland History Center (also known as the Western Reserve Historical Society) takes you to another world. Right in the city, this space is the perfect outdoor ceremony location. Bonus | The old carousel.
Category | Modern City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | One big room with all of your favorite people. Have your ceremony on one end, and set up tables family style for your reception in the other. Rain or shine, this spot is perfect. Bonus | The cozy nighhtime atmosphere.
Category | Modern City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | The blankest of all the canvases. The Madison is all about dreaming big. This space transforms into absolutely anything you’d like it to be. Hire a planner + designer to make your dreams a reality. Bonus | The picture perfect getting ready space.
Category | Modern City | North Lawrence, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | This space is the perfect marriage between rustic and modern, and the all white interior will makes the most beautiful photos! Bonus | Tables + Chairs are Included!
Category | Modern City | Chagrin Falls, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | I love a space that can do both. An outdoor ceremony, a covered patio for cocktail hour, and a wide open space for dinner. Bonus | The venue also serves as a restaurant so you can visit before the wedding!
Category | Rustic City | Bath, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | The Meetinghouse is an old Baptist church renovated to be a bright, white ceremony space + there’s no shortage of perfect photo opportunities on the grounds. Bonus | They host a fall fun fest so you can relive your wedding every autumn.
Category | Rustic City | Louisville, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | The fence lined paths, the little hidden bridge, and the feeling of blissful seclusion. Bonus | The perfect silos for dress hanging.
Category | Rustic City | Dover, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | The acres of gorgeous countryside, the elegant staircase, + the perfect ceremony space even if it rains! Bonus | Deanna is such a pleasure to work with and treated my pregnant self like royalty. (My bride + groom, too) 😉
Category | Classic City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | The manicured lawn, the gorgeous glass windows, and the patio tucked so neatly away. Bonus | Its proximity to so many great Cleveland photo spots.
Category | Classic City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | If you love Cleveland to the core, The Old Courthouse is the spot for you. This rotunda is a statement space, for sure. Bonus | The grand staircase.
Category | Classic City | Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | Talk about an entrance. The glass ceiling and the gently lit staircase make the entrance of your dreams. A little art deco and a lot of classy. Bonus | You can stay at the Hyatt Regency and never have to leave the building!
Category | Unique City | University Circle in Cleveland, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both! Why I love it | Who doesn’t want to get married in a garden? There are so many locations in the gardens that make the perfect backdrop. Bonus | The little outdoor pond. So cute.
Category | Unique City | Ohio City, OH Ceremony or Reception | Both – perfect for intimate weddings. Why I love it | Tucked away behind bustling West 25th street, the second floor of this brewery is all yours. Say your vows around the hops barrel and take your photos where it all happens. Bonus | We can walk right across the parking lot for some fun shots in the West Side Market.
This year’s seen quite a few pivots – cancelled + delayed sports seasons, virtual church services, and so much home cooking. The wedding industry is certainly no exception.
Although the perfect location for Kiva + CJ’s wedding never changed, their guest list did. So on the fourth of July, in her parents’ backyard, Kiva married her love with only the closest of family members as witnesses. Somehow my name was lucky enough to end up on that list.
CJ’s son took photos right alongside me (the only competition I’ll always accept), their neighbors watched from a distance, and confetti fell as Kiva + CJ finally became husband + wife.
Those after ceremony, blissful newlywed moments are one of those times life just stands still. These are the moments they’ll think back on for the rest of their lives. With only the gentle waves crashing as our soundtrack, we took these photos.
Being a mom has changed me, you guys! I’m going to be honest for a second. Family sessions haven’t always been my jam. It’s not because I don’t love children. It’s because I didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t know what age kids started to walk, or how breakable they are. I didn’t know when they talk or how long they can sit still for.
But now I do.
And I love Family Sessions now.
I can make your babies giggle. I’ll make animal noises and play Prince or Paw Patrol on my phone all day. and I love it.
You may remember Tianna + Vaughn from their maternity and newborn photos last year with their daughter Viera. I was so excited to learn she was going to be a big sister and that I was going to get to photograph new baby Viviana.
Can I just say that outdoor newborn photos are my new favorite thing? My baby girl Freya LOVES being outside. We’re spending all our time in parks and on trails these days, and it was so much fun to share one of my favorites with this new family of 4.
If you’re looking for family photos for your walls or your Christmas cards, I’d love to chat with you! I’m about to open my calendar for the rest of the year so let’s get it in the books.
These strange summer days don’t lend themselves well to the bustle of big city life. I’m spending most of my working time in fields, sprawled parks, and lots + lots of private property. But this evening, this perfectly golden evening, we got the best of both worlds – a quiet, socially distanced, oasis just above the crowded sidewalks and foggy glasses.
Maggie + Tim are getting married this fall. Years ago, when they met for the very first time, Maggie began to keep a journal about their time together. She just knew. And on this perfect, quiet evening, she let Tim in on her little secret. He read those pages for the first time and learned all about the moment Maggie knew they’d get married one day.
When we bought our house three years ago, I dreamed of turning this little room into the perfect nursery for our first baby. I had color schemes + furniture ideas long before it was time. When I saw those two lines on the test last spring, my heart couldn’t believe that I was finally going to be able to design the nursery of my dreams. When we went to the doctor last summer and heard the words “It’s a girl,” I quickly went to work searching for the perfect “not ballerina, Lisa Frank, or bubblegum” pink.
The only career I can think of that could potentially be as fulfilling as photography would be interior design. My free time is spent scouring Zillow, and all my spending money goes towards wall decor and rugs. This little project is my favorite, not just because I did end up finding the perfect shade of pink , but because I’ve waited for a nursery like this one for a very long time.
I wanted this room to be a calm space for a new baby, and her exhausted parents filled with nature and reminders of the days and prayers it took to get her here. I started with paint colors. We added shiplap to the wall behind her crib to add a little texture to the room. I then decided on this furniture set because of its simplicity and ability to grow with Freya. We slowly added the rug, blinds + curtains, and a new light fixture. We have built in shelves in a handful of spaces within our home, and I’m a big fan of painting the interior of those a darker color to let the items on the shelf shine, so we painted these shelves a maroon color found in the art hanging above the crib.
We filled the rest of the room with personal details like the bookshelves Stephen built. We bought the stuffed alpaca on her shelf the day before we found out we were pregnant. I’ve saved those hexagonal mirrors for years waiting to hang them in a nursery. That “nap time” door hanger hung on my door as a baby, and the rest of the room is filled with our beautiful maternity photos by Drzazga Photo.
My favorite detail in the room just may be the sign hanging above her changing table because it was made with the track and letters from the church sign where my dad pastors. Right now, it reads lyrics from an Andrew Belle song. We saw him live for the second or third time last year on my birthday – the day I told Stephen he was going to be a dad.
I still take a deep breath every time I step into this room.
It’s a constant reminder of answered prayers and of this sweet girl called Freya that we can’t imagine our lives without.
This time of year is always the craziest for me. Editing all the fall weddings + sessions, designing last minute wedding albums before Christmas, and getting ready for all of those exciting holiday engagements. This year, it feels a little extra crazy. We’re getting a nursery set up, packing hospital bags, and folding all the baby clothes.
As my season ends every year, I get a little nostalgic. Being pregnant has made this the most nostalgic year yet. I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately thinking about how wonderful it has been to spend another year doing what I love, and meeting people who have changed me. I’m feeling overwhelmingly grateful to get to do what I truly love to do again and again. I knew that the last blog post I wrote before I left for maternity leave had to be a good one, and I don’t think I’ll disappoint.
Kendra + Brad’s wedding was lovely from start to finish. I’ve spent a few weekends this year at the Lake Erie Building and I love seeing it transform each time. This day was all Kendra + Brad. They made custom stickers and cozies for their guests. Kendra is a fashion designer and designed her dress, along with her bridesmaids’. And they had my absolute favorite guest book I’ve ever seen.
So with this wedding, I say farewell to 2019, and a big fat welcome to 2020.