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Ohio Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

This Couple Had More Than 1,000 Peonies at Their Classic Ohio Wedding

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on This Couple Had More Than 1,000 Peonies at Their Classic Ohio Wedding
Sep 302016
Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride and Groom Portrait

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

Hilary Grosser and Eric Jaschke met at Washington & Lee University in Virginia during their freshman year, but it wasn't until 2010, at the very end of their senior year, that they started dating. Four years later, the couple decided they'd celebrate their anniversary with a weekend in Healdsburg, California. When they drove up to Gary Farrell Winery and found that they'd arrived too late for a tasting, Eric convinced Hilary to sit with him on the winery's patio. While Hilary had a feeling a proposal would happen that weekend, she was completely surprised when Eric pulled her to her feet and got down on one knee to pop the question then and there.

With help from a dream team of planners at Viva Bella Events, the ecstatic couple prepared for their elegant June 20, 2015, wedding in Cincinnati, Ohio. The ceremony took place at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, and was followed by a party at the Cincinnati Country Club, which was one of the easiest choices for the couple to make. The bride's mother was the first non-legacy female member of the club, and her parents had their own reception there years before! The classic flower-filled celebration was photographed by Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography. Take a close look at every gorgeous detail below.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride's Rings Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Elegant White Invitation Suite

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

With their planners in Ohio and the couple residing on the West Coast, Hilary admits that the planning process wasn't always easy. Through a lot of Skype calls and Pinterest inspiration, they managed to tackle the toughest part (narrowing down the guest list) and dreamed up small details that helped create a day to remember. Invitations offered guests a glimpse of the simple and elegant aesthetic the couple had channeled for their big day.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride in Strapless Vera Wang Wedding Dress Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride's Accessories

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

The experience of shopping for a wedding dress was an important one for both Hilary and her mother. "My grandmother passed away before my parent's wedding, so she and my mom never got to go shopping together for her dress. It was important to me that my mom got to enjoy it on the other side," Hilary says. The third dress she tried on — a layered lace Vera Wang gown with a sweetheart neckline, buttons down the back, and a long dramatic train — turned out to be the one. Hilary paired her wedding dress with an ivory grosgrain ribbon and a stunning cathedral-length veil.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, All-White Wedding Bouquet with Peonies, Roses, and Magnolias

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

For her something old, the bride wore her great grandmother's pearl ring and her great great grandmother's lace handkerchief tied around her bouquet of ivory roses, magnolias, and peonies. For her something new, she accessorized with a tennis bracelet that her father gave her on the day of her wedding. The bottom of her custom Prada shoes served as her something blue.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride and Groom Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Groom with Groomsmen in Black Tuxedos Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Boutonnieres

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

Eric paired a bow tie and David Yurman cufflinks with his classic Ralph Lauren tuxedo. His groomsmen rented Vera Wang tuxedos from Men's Warehouse to give the wedding party a cohesive look.

While Eric had a white boutonniere, the groomsmen wore blush pink flowers.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride with Bridesmaids in Monogrammed Robes Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Ceremony Church Interior Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Ceremony Exit

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

Hilary and her bridesmaids got ready for the ceremony with champagne and monogrammed robes. Each woman chose her favorite silhouette of the pale green J.Crew gowns Hilary chose. The one rule: No one shoulder dresses. "I just asked that none of them go with the one shoulder look because I think in a few years we might look back and have one of those 'what were we thinking' moments!" she says.

The church had some strict rules regarding decorations, so the couple kept their ceremony décor minimal. They selected large floral arrangements to adorn the altar and floral wreaths to dress up the entry doors. Hilary's father walked her down the aisle as a string quartet and trumpeter played Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary. The couple's close friends offered readings, including Corinthians 13:4-13 and "Wedding Vow" by Rebecca W. "It was really special, our friends spent months picking out their readings and it couldn't have been more perfect," Hilary says.

As the newlyweds exited the church, Eric said to his wife, "We did it! You look incredible." Although it was meant to be a sweet, private moment, it's one the couple will be able to remember for years to come thanks to a happy accident. "He was still mic'd from the vows and our videographer caught it. It was such a nice surprise," Hilary says.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Signature Cocktail Menu

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

This couple wanted to make sure everyone had a blast at their party, so they hired a jazz quartet to perform at cocktail hour. There, guests chose one of three signature cocktails: The 'His' cocktail was a Manhattan, 'Hers' was an Eastern Standard, and 'Ours' was a Margarita with the option to add jalapeños.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Reception Interior Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Long Tables with Peony Centerpieces Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Low Peony Centerpieces Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Low Peony Centerpieces

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

The couple's reception space was a flower lover's dream, decked out in over 1,000 peonies! A mixture of round and rectangular tables were draped in white linens and topped with small candles and a range of high and low centerpieces in the couple's color scheme of muted green, ivory, peach, and pink. In addition to tons of gorgeous peonies, the couple filled out centerpieces with roses, hydrangeas, lisianthus, and greenery.

The venue's chandeliers were an elegant touch, warming up the property's classic ball room.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride and Groom Chair Backs Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, White Floral Centerpieces and Place Settings Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Menu Cards

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

The couple's chairs were marked with fresh greenery garlands and wedding-appropriate bundles of white flowers that were tied with trailing ivory bows.

Place settings included gold-rimmed chargers with the couple's dinner menu placed on top, along with a cookie in the shape of one of four states that are meaningful to the couple — Ohio, where the bride is from, Texas, where the groom is from, California, where the couple lives, and Virginia, where the couple met. Dinner began with a salad followed by a choice of filet mignon, grilled chicken breast, or eggplant napoleon.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Wedding Cake Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, White Wedding Cake with Fresh Flowers and Textured Buttercream

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

For dessert, the couple served their five-tiered almond, dark chocolate, and vanilla wedding, which was covered in white chocolate buttercream and plenty of fresh flowers.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bride and Father Dancing Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Bag Pipes Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Guests Dancing

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

The bride and groom brought in a 10-piece band to get the party started. After a father-daughter dance to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Fred Astaire, Hilary's mother performed on the bagpipes. "She used to play in the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes & Drums band and my friends absolutely love that she plays them," the bride says. Guests finished the night with late night stadium food. "It is my favorite part about Ohio in the summer — grilling out with family and friends. So we had brats, mets, hot dogs, sliders, and french fries!" the bride says.

Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Reception Exit Flower-Focused Wedding in Cincinnati, Getaway Car with Floral Garland

Photo: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

The newlyweds had a system throughout the planning process that may save couples a headache or two. "I would pick two options that I loved equally for every part of the wedding and Eric would make the final call if couldn't decide."

Ceremony Venue: The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer || Reception Venue & Catering: The Cincinnati Country Club || Wedding Planner: Viva Bella Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Hair: High Five Salon || Makeup: Brideface || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren || Flowers: Robin Wood Flowers || Invitations: Union Street Papery || Music: Lyrica; Sam Hill Bands || Cake: The BonBerie || Rentals: All Occasions Event Rental; Goodwin Lighting; La Tavola Linens; Wildflower Linens || Videographer: Mason Jar Films || Photographer: Ted Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography

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Can't get enough of this beautiful wedding? Then check out another couple's classic ballroom bash in the video below.

Aug 252016
Best Midwest Bridal Salons

Photo: Alice in Ivory; Kristin La Voie Photography

Finding the right wedding dress may be trial-and-error, but finding a bridal salon shouldn't be. Our editors polled more than 1,500 brides to discover the places with the prettiest dresses (from the designers like Carolina Herrera, Mira Zwillinger, and Houghton, just to name a few!), nicest consultants, and chicest spaces from coast to coast. Every single shop on this list is a true standout in style, service, and atmosphere whether it's the white dress mecca in your state or a gem in the middle of nowhere (we didn't judge!). Get ready for our curated, tested, and fully endorsed list of The Best Bridal Salons in America. Here, our editors narrow down the best bridal salons in the Midwest. Happy shopping!

Alice in Ivory, Chicago
A year in and business is already booming at this Lincoln Park shop, where boho brides can find all the Stevie Nicks-inspired silhouettes they desire from Carol Hannah, Rue De Seine, and Houghton. "I've referred at least a dozen friends already," raves one bridal blogger.

Ultimate Bride, Chicago
This landmark on Oak Street is considered "the ultimate salon" by Midwest brides for good reason. Reviewers went nuts over the massive selection of high-end designers (Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, and more), plus the pro staff "makes you feel confident with your decision."

MH Pomander's, Indianapolis
A number of women we surveyed experienced "love at first try" here, thanks to the two owners' almost psychic ability to read brides. "They immediately understood my vision and brought out beautiful dresses, veils, and accessories that matched it perfectly," says one client.

The Gown Shop Bridal, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Want to feel like the only bride in the world? For your appointment, the doors are locked and the curtains closed to give you time to test-drive that Sarah Seven dress you were eyeing. "It was so private! I felt as special as I did the day my fiancé proposed," says one customer.

Roma Sposa, Birmingham, Mich.
This posh salon has the best selection of Inbal Dror, Zuhair Murad, and others in the Detroit metro area, maybe even the entire state. Add to that a perfect score for service — one called her consultant "the dress whisperer" — and it's a no-brainer for Michigan brides.

A & Bé Bridal Shop, Minneapolis
Sure, the trendy designers (Truvelle, Katie May) and approachable price points (tons under $1,500) are a draw, but for our reviewers, what sealed the deal were the engaged consultants who get exactly what you need.

L'Atelier Couture Bridal Boutique, Minneapolis
In this spacious industrial-chic showroom, racks hang from the ceiling to display on-trend dresses at eye level, meaning you can do a 360 degree inspection before hauling a gown to the dressing room. Bonus: You can rent out the space on the big day to get ready with your bridesmaids.

Fleur De Lis Bridal Boutique, Clayton, Mo.
When Connie and Kristin, a mother-daughter duo, shopped for Kristin's dress in 2007, they were bummed they didn't get "that special salon experience." So they created a bridal haven with gorge gowns made in North America and the kind of above-and-beyond attention brides crave.

Rhylan Lang, Omaha, Nebr.
Worried you won't find a decent salon (or dress) in Omaha? Our reviewers were — until they found this gem of a shop, where they lost their minds over ball gowns from Hayley Paige and jewels from Haute Bride.

Amanda's Hyde Park Bridal, Cincinnati
This pretty pink boutique is all about the custom experience. It starts with a reserved parking spot and a big welcome sign with your name on it and ends with, say, a Pronovias gown that makes you feel and look like a million bucks.

White of Dublin, Dublin, Ohio
This place is such a stunner that reviewers admitted to window-shopping here before they were even engaged. Once inside, "the consultants will do anything" to find you the One. "My dress was over my budget, and they gave me a deal to make it work," says a bride.

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See More: 50 Things to Know About Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress

One California Couple Went Home to Ohio for Their Summertime Wedding

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on One California Couple Went Home to Ohio for Their Summertime Wedding
Aug 152016

It was pouring rain the evening Bobby Bott planned to pop the question to Kelly McCready, his high school sweetheart. But rather than select a sunnier night, the anxious groom-to-be simply worked the stormy weather into his proposal. "He strategically placed notes around the house that eventually led to a gift: A pair of Hunter rain boots," says Kelly, adding that the weather-proof shoes came with yet another note that explained a hired car was waiting to whisk her away. The car dropped Kelly at Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park, where she walked a long and winding boardwalk straight to Bobby. There, he got down on bended knee and asked her to be his wife. "I was so happy that I said 'of course' instead of 'yes,'" Kelly laughs, "so that has always been a joke with us."

For their August 8, 2015, wedding, the California residents wanted to bring a little bit of their shared home to their native Ohio. They chose Gervasi Vineyard as the backdrop for their outdoor affair and played off the vineyard's natural beauty with a neutral-palette. "When the scenery is so great you don't have to add a lot of other elements to make your day beautiful," the bride says. And she's right! The party was captured by Amy Galon Photography, and the pretty details are all seen below.

Kelly donned a head-to-toe lace wedding dress with a plunging back for the big day. "I knew I wanted something simple and delicate," the bride says. Plus, the dress was neither heavy nor bulky, which meant she could stay comfortable in the August heat.

Rather than wear a veil, Kelly asked her florist, Fair Rarity Flowers, to craft a hair piece made from greens. "I hadn't expected to love it so much," Kelly admits, "and I ended up completely changing my hair from what we decided on in the trail appointments so that I could highlight the hair piece." A gold necklace that dipped in the back was her final touch.

Kelly asked her bridesmaids to pick out their own dresses in shades of gold, cream, or blush. "I loved how they ended up choosing a mixture of beaded materials and other fabrics, different necklines, and in a variety of shades," she says. As pretty as the final result looked, the mismatched selection of gowns was also a budget-friendly choice. Since her bridesmaids were able to shop within their own budgets, dresses ranged in price from just $60 to $350.

Unlike many brides, Kelly requested that Fair Rarity Flowers not use a single rose in any of the bouquets. Instead, the florist designed organic arrangements made from a mixture of greens, anemones, and ranunculus.

Bobby and his groomsmen dressed in blue suits. "But we were careful not to get a midnight blue suit." Kelly says. "We felt that really dark color would be too formal for the venue and may be hot in the sun." Their suits were paired with caramel-colored leather shoes, white collared shirts, and slim grey ties, plus delicate boutonnieres made from springs of lavender and rosemary, all wrapped in twine.

A vintage window pane served as a welcome sign as guests entered the outdoor ceremony area. Once there, everyone picked up cones of petals and greens to toss when the couple recessed down the aisle. To help keep their guests comfortable during the summer nuptials, the bride and groom set up a cold drink station at the entrance.

Two flower girls toddled down the aisle in cream-colored combination crocheted and tulle dresses. "The girls ultimately chose the dresses," Kelly says. "They really wanted to look like princesses, so tulle was necessary." Rather than toss petals as they walked, the girls carried peach balloons filled with confetti. "They had a blast carrying the huge balloons down the aisle."

The couple's ring bearers also had a fun trip down the aisle, making their entrance in a vintage wagon. "We had our eldest nephew pull our 10-month-old nephew," Kelly says. "We thought he might wiggle out, but he stayed put and loved the attention."

The bride and groom's florist decorated the white-washed doorway that served as their ceremony altar with a thick greenery garland. "That was the extent of the décor," says Kelly. "It was super simple, but that helped the focus stay on our bridal party and on us!"

A friend served as the couple's officiant, which gave Kelly and Bobby the opportunity to customize the ceremony. They kept it short and sweet, writing their own vows and selecting a few readings. "It was really personal and felt right."

But when it came time to recite those vows, the bride admits she got nervous. "It was really special, but also nerve-wrecking to say such heartfelt things to each other in front of a crowd. I really loved hearing his vows, but reciting my own vows was tough. In the end, I am glad we did it, but was happy when I could go back to repeating after the officiant."

Kelly and Bobby's reception was held a stone's throw away at an open-air pavilion. With it's stone and wood accents, the couple again felt they needed little to make their reception space pop. They asked their florist to create long green garlands for their banquet-style tables. A friend painted green wine bottles with the couple's table numbers. "We sat in a cream settee, draped with a green garland and ribbon," says Kelly. "Making our seat a bit different than everyone else's felt special and made for some great photos."

The menu was one of the easiest things for the couple to plan. They chose the house specialty — beef short ribs with mushroom Chianti sauce — and added a salad and family-style dessert. "We were all sitting at long tables, so it felt really interactive and intimate."

The couple shared their first dance as husband and wife to Jack Johnson's "Angel."

Looking back on their wedding day, Kelly is glad they let go of some traditions, such as having a bouquet toss or even a traditional wedding cake. And she would advise other brides to go with their own instincts when it comes to the big day. "Pick out the things you've liked and disliked from weddings you've been to in the past, and try to incorporate those into your day," she says. "Don't be afraid to go against tradition and nix something where you see fit! At the end of the day, you want the wedding to reflect your style and personality as a couple. After all, it is a celebration of you two."

Venue & Catering: Gervasi Vineyard || Wedding Coordinator: Smash Weddings and Events || Wedding Planner: Blueprint Design & Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller || Shoes: Jessica Simpson || Hair: Do or Dye Salon || Makeup: Karen Siat || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Tommy Hilfiger || Flower Girl Attire: Macy's || Wedding Bands: Jared || Florist: Fair Rarity Flowers || Invitations: Minted || Music: Suite Elegance; Cleveland Music Group || Rentals: Borrow Rentals || Photographer: Amy Galon Photography

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Did you love this couple's pretty wedding? Then check out another winery celebration in the video below.

One Couple’s Blowout Wedding on the Groom’s Family Farm in Ohio

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on One Couple’s Blowout Wedding on the Groom’s Family Farm in Ohio
Aug 042016

When Rachel Satterfield and Jay Hirsh first planned to meet, they were simply pleasing their parents, who work together and sensed that sparks would fly between their respective children. Sometimes Mom and Dad really do know best — the duo hit it off immediately.

In 2014, the pair spent the Fourth of July holiday at Jay's family farm, Stoney Creek Farm, in Gransville, Ohio. Jay invited Rachel a romantic walk through the woods before getting down on one knee while surrounded by sunflowers, Rachel's favorite flower. Family members were ready to celebrate their engagement back at the farm with champagne and balloons.

In the spirit of their engagement, Rachel and Jay went back to Stoney Creek Farm on September 19, 2015, this time with 250 guests for a rustic-chic wedding. Adam Lowe Photography captured all of the gorgeous details.

It took Rachel a couple of shopping trips before she found the ivory silk Nicole Miller wedding dress she wore down the aisle. How did she know it was time to commit? This was the only gown that checked all of her boxes. "I felt comfortable, knew Jay would like it, was sure it wouldn't go out of style, and loved that it showed off my body," Rachel says. With the addition of a pair of diamond earrings, Jay's grandmother's diamond bracelet, and other gold embellished rings and bracelets, Rachel made for a classically beautiful bride.

To add a personal touch to her bouquet, Rachel embellished her bundle of ivory and blue flowers with her grandmother's broach. She finished her bridal look with a bloom-embellished braided up-do.

Jay wore a Bonobos tuxedo paired with American flag cufflinks and an antique Rolex watch. His wax flower boutonniere was perfect for the relaxed, outdoor setting.

Rachel's bridesmaids wore Lily Pulitzer shift dresses with gold detailing that they accessorized with strappy gold heels and Kate Spade stud earrings. It was important to the bride that her 'maids could wear their dresses for future occasions. The couple's twin flower girls wore matching long-sleeved ivory lace dresses paired with satin ivory flats and a cohesive headband.

Jay's groomsmen wore black tuxedos and added showed off their personal style with different patterned socks.

During the ceremony, musicians on the cello and piano played songs like "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri and "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. Rachel had her dad by her side as she made her way down the aisle towards the handmade wooden arch, that was created from materials found around the property. For a romantic touch, the couple's florist draped the ceremony focal point with a mix of pale blue and white flowers. Guests sat in Chiavari chairs as they watched Rachel and Jay exchange traditional vows before being officially announced husband and wife.

To celebrate their newly-minted marital status, friends and family showered the bride and groom with white flower petals as they made their exit.

Cocktail hour and the reception were all about entertainment. Guests enjoyed live music and sipped on signature cocktails — Jack and Coke and blueberry mojitos. To keep things exciting, the couple hired a live painter to capture the reception and created a "Selfie Station" where guests could tap into their playful side and pose for photos with cutouts of Rachel and Jay.

But there was some additional entertainment that even the bride and groom hadn't know about: The couple's parents surprised Rachel and Jay with a firework show, a nod to their Fourth of July engagement.

Once everyone settled down for dinner, guests found their seats at round tables covered in white linens and blue runners. They kept the décor sweet and simple, with a mix of different centerpieces including lanterns paired with Lily of the Valley and silver stands with a mix of different blooms in bud vases. At each place setting, Rachel and Jay's guests also found a gift from the bride and groom: Bottles of local honey from the farm.

Dinner was a choice of chicken with mushroom champagne sauce or prime rib. For dessert, guests enjoyed slices of cinnamon wedding cake.

Rachel has this advice for future brides: "The day goes by fast so try to take time to enjoy it and celebrate together. Lean on your family. They are your biggest supporters and helpers!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Residence || Bride's Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bonobos || Florist: Posy Floral Design || Invitations: Ink & Ivory || Music: Fermata Music || Catering: Bosc & Brie || Cake: McClain Creations || Videographer: Jonah Epps Videography || Photographer: Adam Lowe Photography

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Can't get enough of this beautiful wedding? Then check out another couple's barn bash in the video below.

This Nature-Loving Couple Tied the Knot in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on This Nature-Loving Couple Tied the Knot in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Jul 182016

Big, fat water droplets soaked Bethany McFarland and Mykal Leslie from head-to-toe as they hiked to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. It was hardly fun to make the six-and-a-half mile-long trek in the middle of a storm, but with an engagement ring in his pocket and a plan to propose at the top, Mykal knew there was no turning back — even when two good samaritans offered to give the couple a lift in their car. Just as the couple reached the very top, the black clouds parted and sun shone through, so Mykal saw his chance and asked Bethany to marry him. After a resounding "Yes!" and a quick selfie, the couple headed back down the mountain soaked and sore — but filled with joy and ready to plan their big day.

For their October 3, 2015, wedding in Peninsula, Ohio, the couple envisioned a naturally rustic fete with a touch of woodland-inspiration. "We wanted an ethereal atmosphere complete with dreamy, twinkling candles," the bride says. With yards of fresh floral garlands and hues that played up the natural aesthetic the couple was dreaming of — think: ivory, hints of blush, and plenty of forest green — Bethany and Mykal created the party of their dreams. And luckily for us, Studio Elle Photography was there to capture it all.

Given their engagement story, it's no surprise this nature-loving duo would choose a national park for their big day celebration. Hines Hills Campus, inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, had the whimsical look the couple yearned for with the added benefit of an indoor facility to protect them and their 80 guests from any inclement weather.

"We knew we wanted to keep our invite list fairly small," the bride says. "We wanted people to be comfortable, to have fun, and to enjoy every moment of our special day."

This bride went into wedding dress shopping knowing exactly what she was looking for: Something soft and flowing, and in a must-have shade of blush. The winner? This Stella York gown, complete with delicate lace details and a flattering sweetheart neckline. "As soon as I found the dress and put it on, I knew it was the one," Bethany says.

She finished her look with a handmade lace mantilla-style veil, a sparkling beaded belt, and a delicate pearl necklace — Mykal's wedding day gift to his bide. "I also wore a black onyx ring, which was my great-grandmother's, as my something old," she says.

To contrast their wedding's overall neutral palette, Bethany and Mykal decided that the groom and his groomsmen should dress in navy. "We liked that it's a deeper, more masculine hue," Bethany says. They added boutonnieres made from blush and ivory colored flowers and greens to tie back into the day's natural vibe.

Bethany asked her maid and matron of honor to wear knee-length lace dresses with quarter-length sleeves in shades of ivory. "I wanted a soft, feminine look for the girls," she says. And because the bride wore blush herself, she loved the idea of reversing tradition and asking her 'maids to wear the classic bridal hue.

The bride's bouquet contained tons of green foliage, with pops of color courtesy of eucalyptus seeds and blush café au lait dahlias. Her maid and matron of honor carried bouquets brimming with greens with ivory garden roses.

Bethany and Mykal took on a DIY project — or 10! — including crafting all of their wedding signs. For their ceremony welcome sign, the couple stained a piece of wood, then hand-painted the wedding day schedule in white lettering.

Because they choose Hines Hill Campus for its natural beauty, Bethany and Mykal hoped to host an outdoor ceremony and reception. But Mother Nature had other ideas and delivered rain on their wedding day. "While we weren't thrilled to turn to our backup plan at first," Bethany admits. "But it seems our Plan B was the real plan all along. The indoor settings made for the cozy, intimate, and perfectly romantic day we imagined."

The bride and groom exchanged vows in front of a roaring fire and beneath a chuppah made from tree limbs and an asymmetrical garland of eucalyptus and other greens. And while the couple didn't write their ceremony vows, they did choose ones that most represented their relationship to be printed on their Ketubah.

Guests found their seats on an unique seating chart display: A vintage window pane the couple hand-painted with their names and table numbers.

Inside the Hines Hill Campus, long banquet tables were topped with ivory linens and tan napkins. In addition to long, green garlands, place cards served as added décor. The couple's florist tied a sprig of eucalyptus to each handmade Kraft paper name tag.

The bride and groom's seat signs were also a DIY project that Bethany and Mykal tackled together before the big day.

Candles held in mercury and clear glass votives were mixed in with the table-length garlands. Bethany and Mykal also made the table numbers using white oval frames with a vintage-inspired floral patterns. "It was so much fun to be able to pour so much thought and effort into making every little detail just perfect," the bride says.

A friend made the couple's one-tier cake iced in ivory frosting and decorated with café au lait dahlias. "We also had a dessert table with a large assortment of cookies and sweets," Bethany says.

Bethany and Mykal shared their first dance as husband and wife to Alicia Keys' "Not Even the King." But the party was just getting started. "At the very end of the reception, as the final song of the evening played, our guests spontaneously formed a circle around us as we danced," Bethany remembers. "Mykal swooped me up in his arms and spun me around and around. It was by far the most memorable, special moment of the entire day."

The couple enjoyed a mini-moon on Lake Erie, then took a weeklong honeymoon in St. Lucia.

Venue: Hines Hill Campus || Bride's Wedding Dress: Stella York, purchased at Leonardo's Bridal Boutique || Veil: Alex Bridal || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair & Makeup: Sam Wanna Salon and Day Spa || Bridesmaids Dresses: Bloomingdale's || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: American Commodore Tuxedo || Wedding Bands: Braidy Jewelers || Florist: Fair Rarity Flowers || Invitations: Minted || Music: DJ David Ramey || Catering: Old Carolina Barbeque || Rentals: Miller's Party Rental Center || Favors: Fall for Design || Photographer: Studio Elle Photography

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Do you and your groom love the outdoors just as much as this couple? Then check out another beautiful open-air bash in the video below, sure to inspire ideas for your own big day.

A Nautical Summer Wedding on the Shores of Lake Erie

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on A Nautical Summer Wedding on the Shores of Lake Erie
Jul 122016

Location, location, location: It's not just an adage for real estate anymore! Rachael Novak and James Koenig first met when they became neighbors in the same duplex home in 2009 and quickly struck up a relationship. Five years later in May of 2014, James popped the question on the last night of vacation in Key West. "We were sitting on the beach with a backpack full of beer. It was pitch black outside and nobody was around," Rachael remembers. "It began to drizzle and when the rain really picked up but he blew me off when I asked if we should go inside. Before I knew it, Jim was pulling a ring out of the backpack and I was raining tears."

Drawing from the site of their proposal, the couple knew they wanted a waterside wedding, but this time traded Florida's tropical beaches for Lake Erie's shore. Rachael and Jim chose the Clifton Club in Lakewood, Ohio, for their August 22, 2015, wedding and invited 90 guests to take in the beautiful view while celebrating in the very same neighborhood where the couple met and fell in love. "We felt right at home," Rachael says. "We wanted our guests to feel the same." With the lakeshore as their backdrop and a summery, nautical vibe as their inspiration, this pair planned a bash their guests won't soon forget. And we won't either, thanks to the stunning photos captured by Kayla Coleman Photography, all seen below.

Shore Society created the couple's metallic gold invitation suite, which was complete with a fitting nautical vibe. The anchor design used at the top of Rachael and Jim's invite was carried over into several other elements of their day, including the welcome sign.

Rachael decided to try on a wide range of different wedding dress styles when she first started shopping, so when she put on this A-line silhouette from Watters, the bride-to-be knew it was the one. "Every dress I tried after this one was incomparable," says Rachael. "It was classic with a boho sensibility, and I loved the plunging neckline." Another plus? The non-white hue, which was something she had been open to all along, thanks to a silky bronze slip and sheer illusion bodice. "It was light as air and super comfortable for a summer day!"

She kept her accessories simple, choosing to wear studded Valentino pumps, drop earrings, and a stack of rose gold bracelets.

Jim went summer-casual for his attire, selecting a chambray linen suit jacket that he paired with navy pants.

For a coordinated look, his groomsmen all wore navy suits with matching chambray ties. "We didn't want them too dressed up and this look fit the vibe of our outdoor wedding," the bride says.

While the groom's boutonniere featured a peach garden roses and olive branch, his groomsmen and the couple's father's all wore a subtle mix of astilbe, berries, and greenery on their lapels.

"I wanted my bridesmaids to wear a mix of different fabrics, necklines, and textures to create depth while sticking to an overall palette of pale peach and neutrals," Rachael says of dressing her attendants. "It was important to me to give each woman a choice, so I picked a variety of styles so they would all have options. It was a ton of work but I loved how they all looked together!"

Rachael carried a textural bouquet comprised of dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, astilbe, olive branch, rosemary, and privet berries while her 'maids toted smaller version of the same mix.

As guests gathered in the lawn for the couple's ceremony, programs with the same anchor detailing offered insight into Rachael and Jim's nuptials.

In the spirit of pre-wedding DIY projects, the bride and groom worked together to build their ceremony arch. "It was made of birch branches and tied with rope, adorned with dahlias, roses, and pink passion vine," Rachael says. There, the two exchanged heartfelt but humorous vows they wrote themselves. "I loved when Jim said that we would 'travel through life, hand in hand, just like otters do.' I appreciated the laugh to break up the nerves and tears!"

Following the ceremony, the newlyweds snuck off for a little alone time and to pose for a few sunset portraits on the beach.

During cocktail hour, guests sipped on the couple's signature cocktail, a blueberry Moscow mule. Instead of escort cards, the couple used calligraphed mussel shell to designate everyone's reception seats.

Centerpieces and reception décor was inspired by the couple's coastal aesthetic, with the main table arrangements made from a mix of different bud vases with dahlias and roses, ornamental driftwood, and copper lanterns.

Instead of a traditional guestbook, friends and family left messages in a bottle for the bride and groom to read after the wedding.

Rachael and James chose a four-tiered vanilla and salted caramel wedding cake that was decorated with textured buttercream and rose gold accents. "I made our flag cake topper myself," the bride says.

As favors, the bride and groom brought in a selection of sweets from their favorite local bakeries and candy shops. "I love to bake and have a major sweet tooth, so I wanted a dessert table with take-home boxes for our guests to take home," Rachael says. "We had macarons, mini cupcakes, pecan tarts, cake pops, and sugar cookies with the same anchor design on our invitations."

The night closed out with a joyous sparkler exit — the perfect way to send the newlyweds off for 10 days in sunny Turks and Caicos. "Stay true to yourself and your vision," Rachael advises future couples. "Your wedding day is about your love and future as a couple, not about fitting a mold."

Venue & Catering: The Clifton Club || Day-of Coordinator: At Last Event Planning || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters, purchased at Something White || Veil: Jennifer Leigh || Jewelry: Alexis Bittar; Loren Hope || Shoes: Valentino || Hair: Lather || Makeup: Ashley Matho || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids || Groom's Attire: Nordstrom || Groomsmen's Attire: American Commodore Tuxedo || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Lauren B Jewelry || Florist: Twig Florals || Invitations: Shore Society || Cake: Hummingbird Bake Shop || Rentals: Borrow Rentals || Videographer: JFray Productions || Photographer: Kayla Coleman Photography

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Can't get enough of this couple's summer celebration? Then checkout another bride and groom's beachside nuptials in the video below.

This Beautiful Ohio Wedding Is Giving Us Major Flower Envy

 Ohio, Real Weddings  Comments Off on This Beautiful Ohio Wedding Is Giving Us Major Flower Envy
Jun 072016

Layne Spicher and Matthew McCaw went to high school together, but didn't actually meet until two years after she graduated. (Matt's three years older, so the pair didn't cross paths!) Luckily, as Layne was studying at the University of Cincinnati and Matt was getting ready to graduate at nearby Xavier University, the couple found themselves in the same bar in downtown Cincinnati and mutual friends made sure the two connected. "We had an instant attraction to each other but we didn't start officially dating until 15 months later," Layne says. And on February 8, 2014, Matt decided to make it official with a proposal in the couple's living room.

Since both Layne and Matt grew up in Cincinnati, a hometown wedding was practically a given. "When we were younger, our schools would take field trips to Greenacres Arts Center for nature hikes and to learn about conservation," the bride says. "I fell in love with the place then, and I've always thought it'd be the most beautiful spot to get married." As a plus, Greenacres held lots of family history for them: The groom's twin sister tied the knot there three years before! And with a venue locked in, Layne and Matt decided they'd fill the rest of their June 6, 2015, wedding with all things Cincinnati: everything from invitations and favors to the dinner menu and drinks came courtesy of local vendors. With the help of Viva Bella Events and florist Yellow Canary, the couple dreamed up a celebration packed with local flavor and a rustic, glamorous vibe. Luckily for us, Leo Patrone Photography was there to capture every stunning detail — including a show-stopping floral installation made by of over 14,000 individual blooms!

Cindy Loon of Loon & Co. created Layne and Matt's invitation suite, as well as escort cards, menus, and signage used throughout the reception. The subtle floral theme hinted at the beautiful blooms that would be used throughout the big day.

Although the bride and groom quickly settled on a hometown wedding, they wanted to incorporate hints of their home away from home: Park City, Utah. "Matt and I love traveling out west and we feel totally at home in Park City," Layne says. "We actually almost had our wedding there, so we wanted the day to feel rustic and representative of everything we love about the area."

As Layne says, the process of finding her wedding dress was an ordeal. "I'm an anxious person and also a perfectionist," the bride says. "The first time I tried on dresses, there was one gown that caught everyone's eye but I wasn't quite sure about it. Everyone convinced me it was the dress for me, so I said yes and bought it." But for the next two weeks, she second-guessed the decision and called her consultant at Bridals by Lori and admitted she was feeling concerned. "They cancelled the dress order and promised to apply our payment to a new dress."

So a few months later, she ventured back to Atlanta and found the one: A lace mermaid from Amsale and she had no more regrets. Layne loved the sweetheart neckline, lace bodice, and the way its mermaid skirt made the dress both classic and modern.

The bride's seven 'maids wore mismatched gowns from Adrianna Pappell, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Yoo, and Donna Morgan in shades of champagne, blush, and gray. "I really wanted each girl to have a dress that she loved and would feel comfortable in," says Layne. "The different dresses also helped to create the organic look we were going for."

Each bridesmaid carried a bouquet that was similar to Layne's. A mix of peonies, roses, and greenery left each with a loose, natural feel.

Matt coordinated with his groomsmen in his blue Hugo Boss suit — but only because of a pre-wedding snafu! "He was supposed to wear an amazing bright blue suit from Paul Smith that I had spent months locating," says Layne. But on the day-of, the pants were no where to be found, so the bride sent a suit the groom already owned over to his hotel for him to wear down the aisle. "It ended up matching the groomsmen perfectly and was a good illustration of the golden rule of wedding planning," she says. "No matter how much time and effort you spend on a specific element of the wedding, it still might go wrong on the day and you just have to pick up, move on, and trust it will turn out okay."

Layne's two cousins, Caroline and William, and Matt's nephew, Winston, served as the couple's flower girl and ring bearers. Caroline, dressed in a blush dress, carried a mini bouquet that matched the bride's while the boys, clad in pale blue suits, carried bird's nests with the rings.

Although the three made it down the aisle without any problems, William was particularly emotional throughout the ceremony. Layne had worked as William's nanny throughout her time in college and cared for him since he was a baby, so their bond is unmistakable. "He cried during the ceremony, saying that he was just so happy for us," the bride says.

Layne and Matt's ceremony décor totally embodied their vision of rustic glamour. The pair decided to exchange vows at the end of a stone pathway that's flanked by huge trees. The space would have been pretty enough on its own, but the bride and groom upped the ante with an installation of lavender and greenery. "That had been my starting inspiration for the wedding," the bride says. Layne had seen a photo from a wedding her photographer shot in Park City, complete with a similar lavender-lined aisle, and knew she had to have it for her big day, too.

The space was finished with tons of mismatched chairs and a wooden arbor that was covered in greenery and fresh blooms. "We made the arbor asymmetrical in that one side had more flowers and one side had more greenery," says Layne. "Behind the arbor was a fountain and flowerbed that Greenacres maintains year round."

At 5:30, Layne's father walked her down the aisle while a string quartet performed their rendition of Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars." The pair wed in a ceremony that was both religious and spiritual, complete with traditional vows and personalized ridings. "We felt like there was something special about using words that people have said to each other for hundreds of years," says the bride. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds exited to "Here Comes My Baby" by Cat Stevens.

Guests found their seating assignments on cards that were tied onto string and hung in empty picture frames.

This reception tent is nothing short of epic. Yellow Canary installed a 16 x 16 foot floral canopy comprised of over 14,000 individual stems over top the dance floor, made from a mix of delphiniums, Queen Anne's lace, larkspur, and foraged greens. "It was a work of art and so incredibly beautiful. It surpassed my ever expectation," Layne says.

Another important detail? The clear paneling on portions of the tent so that guests could see the night sky. "Over top of the clear panels we hung strands of light, which softened the entire feel of the tent and looked amazing," says Layne.

Long farm tables served as the foundation for the couple's rustic, elegant reception, so Layne and Matt opted to keep them bare, adding only a lace runner and lots of fresh flowers and greenery. The different tall and short centerpieces were comprised of mixes of different flowers, including peonies, hydrangeas, roses, larkspur, and astilbe. Each place setting featured a silver beaded charger and lavender napkin. The bride and groom's chairs were identified with simple green wreaths.

For guests who didn't want to spend all evening at their table but needed a break from the dance floor, Layne and Matt provided comfortable lounge seating near all the action.

After their multi-course dinner of braised beef short ribs, chicken breast, and maple-glazed salmon, the bride and groom cut into their naked wedding cake. Layers of almond-lemon cake were filled with buttercream and raspberries.

Guests danced all night, taking breaks from the party only to slip outside to roast s'mores over the fire. A table was filled with every imaginable treat and topping; graham crackers, dark and milk chocolate bar, different flavored marshmallows, homemade chocolate chip cookies, nutella, fudge, and peanut butter cups. No surprise here — it was a huge hit with the couple's guests!

And that wasn't the only late-night snack selection. A snack bar stocked by two Cincinnati favorites, Skyline Chili and LaRosa's Pizza, meant that no one would leave the party hungry.

The newlyweds, who honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand, have this advice for future couples: "You only get to plan your wedding once. You don't want to look back and remember the time leading up to your wedding as not enjoyable. Remember why you're getting married, stay true to yourself, and have faith that all of your efforts will be worth it," Layne says. "It really will be the best day ever."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Greenacres Arts Center || Wedding Planner: Viva Bella Events || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Floral Design: Yellow Canary || Catering: Funky's Catering || Cake: Maribelle Cakery || Photographer: Leo Patrone Photography

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Can't get enough of this gorgeous wedding? Then check out another couple's flower-filled celebration in the video below.

Aug 052015

Sometimes in the great search for that one perfect dress, you don't even know where to begin. The answer? With an appointment at a top-notch bridal salon. In our new August/September 2015 issue (on newsstands now!) we call out the best 50 bridal salons — big and small, luxury and budget-friendly, boho and traditional — across America. How did we go about creating such a list? We asked more than 1,100 real brides nationwide to weigh in on the best spots to find that dream wedding dress by rating and submitting their own gown-shopping experience. From precious, personalized boutiques in the South to giant wedding dress meccas in the Northeast to intimate indie shops in California, we found them all. So take note, brides-to-be! These are our readers' favorite bridal boutiques in the Midwest.

Ultimate Bride, Chicago
Owned by industry vet Elena Grapsas, this Oak Street salon specializes in swank labels like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. "But I never felt pressure to spend more than I wanted," says a bride.

M.H. Pomander's, Indianapolis
Bringing Mom is a must, say reviewers: Along with gowns from the likes of Lee-Ann Belter and Theia, the shop is known for its flattering MOB dresses. P.S.: In-house seamstress Erin Young is couture trained.

Laura's Couture Collection, Shawnee, Kansas
This chic boutique carries fresh-off-the-runway gowns from designers like Marchesa and Pronovias. Says one bride, "My mom and sister couldn't be there, so owner Laura Mease FaceTimed them while I was trying stuff on."

Roma Sposa, Birmingham, Mich.
Fashion-forward Detroiters, take note: Anna Castaldi-Roselli stocks her salon with haute designs from Vera Wang and Inbal Dror. Reviewers raved about the trunk shows: "After she knew my taste, my consultant suggested I go for one by Ines di Santo. I found the perfect gown and met the designer!" says a bride.

A & Bé Bridal Shop, Minneapolis
Owned by the same duo as Denver's Anna Bé, this laid-back boutique is beloved by boho brides, who tout the crazy-good selection of indie labels (Anna Campbell, Rue de Seine) and range of prices: Many gowns ring in under $1,500.

L'Atelier Couture Bridal, Minneapolis
At this gallery-like salon, you'll find gowns by hot designers like Jenny Packham and Mira Zwillinger displayed like works of art. As for the service, one recent bride told us that her consultant made a video to show the out-of-state 'maids how to bustle her gown.

See more: The Ultimate Wedding Dress Guide: The Best Necklines by Body Type

Fleur De Lis Bridal Boutique , St. Louis
Again and again, reviewers said that shopping here was the highlight of their wedding-planning experience. Not only is it the only salon in the city with sought-after designers like Rivini and Judd Waddell, but if you avoid a Saturday appointment you'll also be the only bride in the store.

Rhylan Lang, Omaha, Nebr.
Love lace? This chic salon is the state's go-to spot for ultrafeminine lines like Hayley Paige and Anne Barge. Area brides are obsessed with the private dressing rooms; each one has an elevated platform and enough space to fit even the largest entourage.

Amanda's Hyde Park Bridal, Cincinnati
At this intimate spot, each bride gets the whole shop — and a reserved parking spot — to herself. Says one, "I was greeted at the door with champagne and a sign that said, 'Welcome, Jennifer!'"

Something White, Independence, Ohio
This light-drenched salon is filled with gowns from hard-to-find labels like Leanne Marshall and Ivy & Aster. It's also the only Ohio store selling perennial fave Lela Rose. "I loved that they weren't afraid to stray from the poofy princess dress," says a fan.

Gigi of Mequon, Mequon, Wis.
City brides flock to this mecca outside Milwaukee for gowns by Peter Langner and Monique Lhuillier and spoil-you-silly service. Says one, "In Chicago, appointments are stacked on top of one another. Here, I felt like the only bride they'd ever dressed."

For even more of the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES August/September 2015 issue on newsstands now and available for download.

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