I’m not sure where to start. Truly. This wasn’t anywhere near a typical wedding for me to photograph. Want to know why?
Let’s start here. Meet Kate.
Kate is brilliant, lively, funny, and a billion other adjectives that simply describe a beautiful human being.
Kate is the kind of person that shines inwardly. Make up need not be applied for this woman to show her beauty.
Seen above; Kate in her natural element.
Nik. Nik is Kate’s soul mate. Nik’s a good man. Strong, charismatic, charming, [ wicked creatively gifted ] and has a depth to him you have to earn to share in.
He’s a snappy dresser. I respect that in a fellow gentleman. Nick and I have similar fashion tastes [ he was at my home about a month ago and we were both talking about our recent love of a certain pair of Jeans ]
Seen above: Nik celebrating a-la Lebron James style.
These two. They became friends of mine in this process. Beyond just the typical “oh you’ll photography my wedding and we’ll get to know each other” kind of friends. The “lets hang out and drink bourbon together and share life” kind of friends. Yes. That kind of friendship.[ PS – The crazy light peeking out from them isn’t magic, nor photoshop, it was some fun light painting I did with them outside the Cleveland Museum of Art during their wedding reception there ]
I’ve wanted to write this blog entry since they first invited me to photograph and film their wedding. The more I got to know them, the more I couldn’t wait to tell their story.
The truth is, I can’t tell it all. Given the large amount of wedding photography I will be sharing in this post, I’ll let the imagery do most of the talking [ insert cliche statement about a photograph and a billion words here ]
I’ll also let the short teaser we released the week after their nuptials give insight into who they are. [ Truthfully I think it will also give you a taste of our aesthetic approach to wedding films here ]
We’re fortunate in Cleveland to have the Cleveland Museum of Art. Ranked second in the country, our Art Museum is a gem in our city. If you haven’t been? Go. Go Right now. It’s one of the only museums in the country where the general exhibit is still free to view and enjoy. Seriously. Go. Why are you still reading this? Go!
The Atrium in the Cleveland Museum of art is an engineering, architectural and aesthetic wonder. It’s no surprise that a gifted architect [ Nik ] would want to marry a lovely work of art [ Kate ] in this sculpted yet organic venue.
The Atrium at the Cleveland Museum of Art also hosts galas and events [ weddings for example ]. Seen throughout this section of our blog is Kate and Nik’s wonderful reception design custom crafted by the following dream team of event professionals;
- Elizabeth and the incredible staff at Cafe Bonapetit / Cleveland Museum of Art
- Valarie at Kirkbrides [ What a leader + visionary! ]
- Arne and his wonderful team at Plantscaping [ Arne is more than simply a florist, he’s a connoisseur of creative event expression. ]
Let me pause here. Your vendors matter. I’ve been a professional wedding photographer in Cleveland for the past 11 years, and I can’t voice often enough that the professionalism and experience of your vendor team will deeply impact the way you feel and remember your day. Long story short? Don’t hire folks you can’t trust with the most important day of your life.
Case in point? Above is Elizabeth, the wedding coordinator for the Cleveland Museum of Art. Wedding Vendors like her show case so much class and professionalism. She casually, calmly and discretely walked out to help Kate’s beautiful wedding veil not get stuck on the Cleveland Art Museum steps as kate entered her wedding ceremony on the south terrace.
Ok, I’m off my soap box now 🙂
On track with our story. The new Hilton hotel in Cleveland is where Kate spent the morning preparing for her wedding day. More on that in a moment.
Let’s talk about shoes [ i’m an admitted shoe fiend – so this is well trodden territory for me ]
I LOVE lines. lines lines lines.
Like Kate and NIk’s love story, these shoes were made in Florence [ Firenze, to my Italian speaking friends ]
The love affair that began in Tuscany so many years ago, culminated this wonderful day in the fall. How fitting that every detail in dress and decor subtly honored their beginning.
Seriously impressed by the new Hilton in Cleveland. They had prepared a celebratory plate of custom macaroons and wine for our couple.
I loved photographing these treats, but it was a bit rough to keep my hands off them as I worked 🙂
Kate is an instructor at Cleveland Yoga, and spent the morning practicing Yoga prior to the start of her day.
The men on the other hand? At Nik’s family home. Drinking 🙂
Celebrating friendship and backstory is more like it actually.
I love this image. I pressed my self directly under them as they cheered Nik on. This was a real moment – not a staged / repeated moment.
Speaking of authentic; I noticed Nik’s father Vince sitting out on the back patio, penning away his speech for later that evening.
I love the custom monograms.
Nik’s parents love him very much. Spending time with Vince and Irene throughout the process of coordinating and planning for their wedding day, I really got to see how much they care for their son. It’s evident as well that they completely adore Nik’s choice of Kate too; Irene from the get go was convinced that the two were meant to be.
Lindsay London FTW. This lady knows how to rock some wonderful make-up on our brides / bridesmaids. Now if only I could talk Lindsay into coming to my house and making my bald head look pretty? 🙂
I speak often of trust and relationships. Kate trusting her soon to be sister in law Emery with her wedding day make-up is a beautiful statement of trust and her belief in family.
You can tell that Kate and Emery aren’t just “legal sisters” but true buddies.
Kate absolutely loves her new sister. Love this.
The Cleveland Museum of Art was ready when we arrived on scene for the upcoming nuptials.
I am a creative photographer – I veer far away from “traditional” wedding photography. That doesn’t mean that I don’t value images that simply showcase relationships in a timeless fashion.
The simple image I captured above was an observation I noted while photographing Kate and her mother. This wasn’t prompted, coached or faked. This is real.
For the above and below image, I threw Kate over my shoulder and carried her across the lawn of the Cleveland Art Museum so that her wedding gown would not be marred by a grass stain.
Elegance in simplicity.
Seen above; Kate reading Nik’s letter, just moments prior to the wedding ceremony outside.
A few moments later, Nik is receiving an incredibly special present from Kate. Nothing intimate, but certainly personal and unique, Kate and our creative staff secretly filmed an incredibly unique surprise film for Nik to receive.
For privacy sake, I will not share the surprise film here, but I want to re-iterate that is nothing risqué. It is simply a personal love letter and creative take on telling their story. [ I’m confident Kate and Nik will gladly share with you if you ask ]
Because it was a surprise, and a personal creative endeavor of mine, it was an honor to be present as he received it.
Kate “entering” her ceremony on the South terrace outside of the Cleveland Museum of Art was a sight to see. The long walk down the grand white stone stairs was something out of a movie.
And it will be 🙂 Our film team was present to capture the entirety of it. The entirety of Kate’s processional were rehearsed and mapped out by our film team [ this is where the type A personality of your photographer is an asset ]. Our team literally printed out satellite maps of the Cleveland Museum of Art and precisely planned each camera position and movement.
None of that really matters though. What matters is how Nik felt as he saw his bride approach.
What matters is how Dick felt as he escorted his daughter to the rest of her life.
What matters is trying to encapsulate and preserve those feelings in static imagery.
It’s the simple and quick observations that make for the most stunning and timeless wedding photographs.
Like Kate’s sister holding her veil, as it blew in the late summer breeze.
Seen above is Nik’s favorite image. In our offices, upon seeing the artwork for the first time, Nik repeatedly expressed that this was his favorite.
Kate’s wedding reception design was a perfect match for the natural and open vibe of the Cleveland Art Museum Atrium. Kate recalled this moment to me at their image premier, she commented that it felt surreal to finally walk through everything with Elizabeth. It must have felt amazing to see such an effort of personal expression and months of planning come to life.
Their head table is one of my favorite art installations at the reception. I love Arne’s work so much; spreading the petals at the feet of the table is such a bold and yet refined touch.
Subtlety is something I believe deeply in with the artwork we produce here. Most of our work is “observational imagery” [ my nomenclature for photography that we see intuitively, and reflexively capture ]
Kate’s veil trailed long behind her. Nik and her have that affect on those they know and interact with; their impact and presence can long be felt after you have been with them.
I work hard to create fresh photography for my couples. These are perhaps my favorite “bridal portraits” I’ve captured in years.
The evening was set for a wonderful party. Hundreds of Kate and Nik’s closest friends and family gathered together in the Art Museum’s Atrium in Cleveland for their wedding reception.
Nik is not only a gifted architect, but an envisioned designer as well. Their logo is present throughout most of their wedding day, having a gobo produced and placed up on the wall of the Museum had a powerful effect.
Entrances for a bridal party are often somewhat predictable to be honest. But Kate and Nik’s friends? Nate imitated the role of a bull perfectly – the matador entrance was amazing and fun. Well played Mr. Bailey. Well played.
I love Kate’s reaction as she listened to her father speak. As a father of two little girls, I often think of how they will feel if I get to speak to them on their wedding day.
Freaking A. These are my people. They know how to dance, laugh and love.
Limoncello as a thank you gift to cap the night? Yessir.
It’s funny how life works. I first met Kate and Nik as potential clients. I now realize that I was meeting lifelong friends. Cheers to the future my friends. As you say often; “Never settle for less”.