It’s a Summer Bella Amore Wedding, everyone! There ya go! I jumped right into it! I.CAN’T.EVEN.STAND.IT. You can definitely expect a lot of exclamation points in this baby today! Here is your warning…this is going to be LONG! Taelor and Justin tied the knot a few weeks ago! I took off for vacation right after their wedding so that’s why you’re just seeing this now (plus you can add about three ER visits with different family members and a case of hand foot mouth with my children….Oy). Nonetheless, I powered through! I even started sorting and blogging this baby while I was at the beach! I seriously couldn’t wait! It’s just EVERYTHING a wedding photographer like me could ever want in a wedding…general amazingness – amazing venue, amazing vendor lineup, amazing couple, amazing color palette, amazing details, and more. It was all just so…what?! AMAZING! That’s right!
So, you know me by now…well, most of you probably know me by now, at least. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve photographed almost 50 weddings in the last four years so it’s really not so stressful anymore leading up to any big day. Well, I am here to tell you I was STRESSED this morning…to the point I was a little sick to my stomach. Why? Well, because I was so excited. The anticipation for this wedding was killer. I could NOT wait to get back to Bella Amore in Dennison, Ohio. I think I wanted these photos more than my couple wanted these photos (I really think that may have been the case). I even joked at one point with Taelor that I may have even been more excited for her wedding day than she was! HA! So yea…I could have thrown up the morning of this wedding and I was talking even faster than normal and I consistently had to take deep breaths and tell myself to calm down. Can you imagine?! I’m sure Kari noticed but I thank her for not pointing it out.
So, with all that said…let’s do it!! Taelor and Justin are now Mr. & Mrs. Fankhauser and their wedding is one you’ll all want to read and see! Disclaimer: All of these photos are a huge mix of my images and Kari’s! Enjoy!
So, first things first…we started the day off by stopping for lots of food! If you follow me on IG, I posted some stories of it! First on the list, CAFFEINE …even though I really didn’t need any! Dunkin’ Donuts was a must! Then, we drove one building over and got lunch…at TACO BELL! HA! I needed all the fuel for this day. It was also July 20th…the hottest and most humid day of the year! OY! 90 degree weather…80-90% humidity! Whewww! That added a whole other level of real stress to the day (real stress) but more on that later! So, yea…we were pumped up for this wedding – so pumped that I threw my car in reverse on the road to Bella Amore to get a photo of the very first thing we saw for their wedding…this little sign! It’s true!! I did NOT want to miss one little detail!
Then, we headed to Bella Amore which I am convinced is Dennison, Ohio’s hidden little secret! I jumped out like a crazy person (again) to grab a photo of the sign only to see another car pull up behind us…with a video camera hanging out the window. That’s right!! I KNEW this had to be the videographer. I’d never met him…but had heard a lot about him. Ryan Nolan, a fellow photographer friend, of R. Nolan Photography (shameless plug HERE), is buddies with with this particular videographer. He actually referred both of us to the bride’s family. I told Kari right then and there…”This guy is the real deal. He knows what he’s doing! LOOK AT HIM GO!” I mean…come on…he was doing EXACTLY what I was doing too!! He hadn’t even made it to the venue yet and he was soaking it all in and documenting it! So, yea…we pulled in right in front of him and even caught the guys getting out of their car!
Bella Amore is definitely enchanted. The owners, Celeste and Ryan, knew what they were doing when designing that place! So, after introducing myself to the videographer and playing paparazzi on the guys, we headed inside. I got to say a quick hello to Celeste (who was doing the outstanding reception decor) and then we were off to find the ladies getting all dolled up. I quickly put Kari to work on detail shots!! I barely took ANY at this wedding! There was just so much to photograph so we split off!
Kari was quick to lay everything out. This was RIGHT down her alley!
While I was wandering around, I did take a few myself…like this dress shot!
…and Kari continued on making wedding detail greatness!! AHHHHH!! I just can’t get enough of these!
Then, Jonathan Mihellis of Finest Events rolled in. I gave him a little grand announcement in true Hannah fashion and then Celeste, one of the venue owners I mentioned already, followed it up with “let’s get this party started!” or something like that! I’m telling you…there is no better feeling than rolling into a wedding and knowing you’ve got a vendor dream team behind you. It’s a lot like when I was a nurse. It didn’t matter how amazing (or crappy) of a day we were having. If we were surrounded by great people…we knew everything was going to be A OK! It’s also just a nice environment to work in…when everyone is genuinely having a good time while working AND everyone loves the couple just as much as the next person. So, yea…here is Jonathan and Ted (our favorite DJ assistant) bringing in the big guns. Seriously, he hauls a lot of stuff with him and you’ll see why later!
So, we kept on doing our thing and then headed in with the guys. oOO my goodness. I’m just going to keep saying it…Bella Amore was MADE for wedding photographers like me! Even the prep rooms are pretty on the eyes (and have great light). So, we headed in with the guys to get a photo of Justin getting ready and opening his gift. There was a moment…a tiny moment…when I thought he was going to cry. He paused…took a deep breath…and then laughed. I even told Taelor about it later and she did NOT believe me! I sooooo hope it was caught on video! I love when the guys get emotional when they aren’t typically emotional lads to begin with! Also, can we talk about those pants and that vest?! As if I wasn’t excited enough, everything was SO different and I was loving it so much! SO MUCH!
I really love that Justin’s closest buddies were even interested in seeing his new watch from his future wife!
Just a few more “getting ready” wedding prep shots for your viewing pleasure…
…and then some amazing black and whites of the groom!
Then, we took Justin and the guys out for their photos. Remember…it was HOT AND HUMID. So, not only did I have to work fast but I had to use lenses we had previously placed outside…caps off…to warm up. Stefano was having a fit about my lenses having a picnic on the picnic table with no supervision and out in the elements. It made me giggle. I reminded him that after almost four years of this and 50ish weddings later…I’ve yet to ruin a piece of gear! I’m crossing my fingers now!
So, here are the guys! I was love love love loving the colors going on here! FOR REAL!
Then, it was time to get the ladies ready! OooO my! OOoo my! As if Taelor isn’t beautiful enough, she MOVES through poses and just makes them her own. It’s every wedding photographer’s DREAM bride, I tell ya! AHHHHH!!! Just look at these ladies and then just look at her! They’re all stars in my book! And you know what else I love? They were ALWAYS ready! Like this photo (below). I was coming out of the guys’ room and they struck a pose and smiled when I lifted my camera!
So then…Taelor got to open her gift from Justin. I have a funny little back story here. That card was originally blank. Justin hadn’t written anything on her card. I ran back in and had him do it anyway! You know…for sake of the photos, right?! HA! He said his handwriting was terrible…I beg to differ! It makes these photos PERFECT!
…and before we got the beautiful bride ready for her big day, I HAD to snap some detail shots REAL QUICK! I mean…how could I not?! I was totally having FOMO – photographer edition. For those of you who don’t know, “FOMO” stands for “Fear of Missing Out” and I was totally having that with these details. I couldn’t let Kari have all the fun! So, here are my quick shots I took before we let the bride have all this!
Wait…wait…we need some robe shots first! Here are some quick shots of these beautiful ladies one more time before they’re officially ready!
OooOoo wait. See what’s happening here? I’m a little all over the place with this blog BUT that’s exactly how my brain was functioning on the wedding day too. We needed to wait for Taelor’s mom to get ready so she could help her daughter! Seriously, it was totally ok with me because I still needed to do the reception shots. I was high strung and in fast forward anyway (more than normal if you can believe that) so I ran downstairs. CHECK.IT.OUT. OoOo my goodness gracious me!! I hope everyone gets to see Bella Amore once in their life! These photos are definitely a great mix, as always, of my shots and Kari’s shots! I always like to give credit where credit is due!
Ok. I’ll let you see even more of that beautiful reception here in a little bit once Jonathan lit the whole place up – Finest Events style! For now…let’s see the amazingly, beautiful bride get ready! I’m just going to throw up a whole beautiful collage that Kari and I concocted ! Here you go!
One more great one from Kari!
Then, I ran down to take some extra detail shots and check on my lenses. If you wondered earlier why the lenses were having a picnic outside on the picnic tables, it was because of the humidity! Have you every walked outside on a hot day and your glasses or sunglasses fogged up? Or how about when your windshield fogs up because it’s hot outside and cold inside? Welllllll, it’s the same thing for our lenses. This is only the second wedding ever I’ve had this issue and I was prepared. So, the trick is to leave the lenses outside so they can warm up and acclimate to the weather. So, I went out and did that! I timed it…it took 30 MINUTES for them to adjust so I’m sure glad we planned ahead!
While I was downstairs doing that, Kari was upstairs doing this!
Then, it was time to take the bride, mom, and bridesmaids out for their photos! OooOO my goodness. AHHHHHHH!!! I was a squealing machine, I tell ya! I can’t even get over these! Is she not stunning or what?!
Then, we added the ladies in to the mix! These are my new favorite bridesmaid dresses, I think! I THINK! There were similar colored ones last fall that I fell in love with so maybe I just LOVE this color, in general! How could I not?!
Then, mom was standing by so we HAD to add her in, of course!! They’ve got great genes these two…they do!
Remember…it was HOT AND HUMID. So, we tried to make it real snappy when we were outside. We then headed back inside to add just a few more touches – the veil!
So, let’s circle back around to that videographer I mentioned earlier in this blog, shall we?! Stefano was my kind of personality, I tell ya. He’s feistier than me…if you can believe that!! He also bossed ME around…even though he denies it. HA! He even used Kari to his advantage as assistant and although I laughed all day long, I think I laughed the most at this particular part of the day. So, let me set it up for you. Taelor wanted to do a first look with her dad last minute. Stefano stole the show and got it all set up (TOTALLY fine with me…do it!). I always say the videographers shots of this stuff are more important than mine so I kind of loved that he took control. Videographers rarely do! So, he SPECIFICALLY told Kari to give him 30 seconds before letting Dad into the room. I’m pretty sure he even told her to count to 30 slowly…with instructions on that! They were VERY specific instructions, seriously…but you all know Kari is a very free spirit! I knew the chances of her getting this right, per his instructions, was hilariously slim. At that point, I could see her silhouette through the door talking to dad and I kept telling Stefano she wasn’t going to come in any time soon. Kari likes to get to know people like me…so there was no way she was actually counting to thirty, I knew that. He was confident she would though. I was confident she would not. Taelor, Stefano, and I waited…and waited…and waited. Nothing happened. Finally, he opened the door and yelled “That’s not 30 seconds…that’s 60 seconds!” We all busted out laughing and I know it doesn’t sound funny now and seems like a ridiculous story…but if you know him…you’re probably giggling. Right here they are bickering about the differences in 30 or 60 seconds and I couldn’t stop laughing then and now! I mean…we had bigger fish to fry and a wedding to get to! I took photos though!! I’m always taking these photos! HA!
Anyway…Taelor and her dad did get to have a few moments together after all that and before the wedding ceremony got under way!
Then, I grabbed those non-fogged-up lenses and off we went to the ceremony location! Here is Celeste making the dreaded but much needed unplugged ceremony announcement. It’s needed so people don’t forget we are there (because some jump in the aisles and block us) but it’s dreaded because I get the evil eye! I DO leave this up to the couple…just FYI! I have a professional elbow and I know how to use it anyway! HA! But really…I always was to climb under a chair and hide! I also love the irony that Celeste has her phone in her hand while making this announcement!! I didn’t notice at the time but I totally giggled now!
Her husband Ryan is ALWAYS ever so helpful, as well, and that’s why I love them both so much! This was Kari’s test shot right before it mattered but I always like showing behind the scenes too!
Then, this beautiful summer Bella Amore wedding ceremony got underway. There was so much goodness I’m just going to leave you another large collage!
I don’t know how they managed, but they didn’t look hot during this. Let me tell you…the sweat (gross) was running down my back. Stefano whispered in my ear at one point, “How are you NOT sweating?!” I assured him I was just hiding it well! HA! I think everyone was ready to get inside…BUT…not just yet for us! We had some outstanding formal photos of this bride and groom to take!! Let’s do it!
They didn’t stop kissing and dipping ALL DAY LONG!!! Those who know me can imagine how happy this made me!
…and some more…
Have you had enough yet?! I haven’t! Here’s some more…and remember…we were struggling with the heat and humidity but powering through!! I mean this was the weekend they asked people not to run their AC too high for fear of city wide power outages…and here we were…outside voluntarily in it! I even stopped and had Taelor drink some water because I couldn’t have her falling down and cutting picture time short. I mean…PRIORITIES, right?! HA! I can’t even begin to imagine what she felt like in that heavy dress!
More bridal photos…because we can!
Then, we headed off to Bella Amore’s “famous” swing! Boy OooO boy…the struggle was REAL! It’s actually kind of awkward for two people. I can’t even wait to show you the outtakes at the end of the year!! We faked it until it worked though….and it worked! AHHHHH!!
We did some walking and snuggling to wrap things up…for now! You just wait! There absolutely IS more after this…but later!! Stay tuned!
Then, we headed inside for the reception! Jonathan was ready for us….OooOOo my goodness! Brides…uplighting is EVERYTHING! I promise!! It’s worth every penny…especially for photos!
Then, they cut that beautiful wedding cake and the challenge was on. Take a look! You can just tell what’s about to happen!
They did NOT disappoint either!! They went ALL IN! Most of these photos are Kari’s photos…she always gets the best angles for cake cutting!
…I mean…ALL IN! THEY GAVE IT THEIR ALL!
Her hair cracks me up in this one…but it’s an amazing action shot!
After it was all said and done so quickly, they showed us it was all in good fun and they still really loved each other…WITH A KISS AND A DIP, OF COURSE!
Speeches were said by the best man and maid of honor next and then Justin got up and said a few words to his family and friends (which I ALWAYS love). SO, here’s a photo of that!
THEN, Jonathan let loose and did his thing! AND I GOT EVEN MORE EXCITED!
Here are some first dance black and whites! I always love that Jonathan does some dancing with the guests first and THEN traditional dances! It keeps things fresh and fun!
Jonathan had a surprise for all of us too!
LOTS OF SURPRISES!!! AHHHHHHH!! I gotta admit though…I felt like I was on a boat while walking through it! HA!
…and he just kept on doing his thing!
As the sun kept setting, this wall kept looking more and more amazing! Jonathan is a lot like me and he’s very PARTICULAR, as a professional should be. He kept telling me NOT to take photos of the wall until it looked just perfect (and that happens when the light from outside isn’t shining inside anymore). So, I kept taking pictures throughout the day…just to get to him! HA!
AND THEN…Celeste did the best dang thing EVER! She offered to take a couch outside for me. That’s right!! The owner of this venue offered to take furniture outside!! Did you know I have signed agreements in the past that say I won’t do this (which I totally understand because people can be reckless) but they WANT me to do these things at Bella Amore!! AHHHHHHH!!! Get out!!! I also thank Jonathan for allowing me to do this. I know DJs hate it and I get it but we all needed some of this in our photo lives!
…and because we could…we moved it to another location! I wish you could have all seen the teamwork that went into this. Celeste and Kari carried furniture. Celeste cheered us on the whole time and she even ran inside and grabbed some napkins so I could defog my lenses. Remember…I hadn’t planned for this so all my lenses were cold! I do believe I have a photo for the end of year blog that shows the chaos going on to get these babies! But again…that’s why I love shooting weddings at this place! I’ve got lots more ideas up my sleeve for the future! WEEEE!!!
Seriously , we were having A BLAST! There was so much laughter and amazingness happening!
Stefano and I came up with the idea to put them behind the fire!! This was more for video…but I snapped some too!
…and a few more laughs because we were having an AMAZING time!
Celeste and Taelor had a moment too before we headed back inside! This was the whole day. Teamwork…love for one another…it was EVERYTHING!
The lighting just kept getting better and better and better!
Then, the party REALLY got started!
…and Jonathan’s famous conga line got rolling!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS!!! It’s so unique to his weddings!
I also love getting in the middle of it!! Sorry for the butt shot, Justin! HA! It was either that or Taelor was going to run me over!
I mean really…I could NOT stop taking detail photos…well into the reception!
We were dancing along with everyone. We were having a grand time and documenting it all!! Selfie time with the vendors!
Taelor threw the bouquet!
…and Justin was quite the gentleman…for the most part…when removing the garter! He kept it pretty classy…PRETTY classy! HA!
He gave his single buddies a good surprise and cooled them down with some water instead of tossing that garter (Stefano’s idea). I do NOT know how Kari managed to get that water in focus but she nailed it! *high five*
Then, he threw the garter for real! We were definitely on our A game for this…we managed to get both the garter and the bouquet in the photos…mid air!
…and then the guy who caught the garter did his thing with the lady who caught the bouquet. I always love the little conversation that happens every time someone does this! I always wonder what they say…someone tell us! Do you discuss placement? Do you discuss how FAR to place the garter?! Inquiring minds need to know!
MORE SELFIES! I’m telling you…we were having a GRAND time! That’s Ted on the right. I mentioned him earlier! He frequently comes with Jonathan to help at weddings and he’s the best DJ assistant EVER! Actually, I could also call him photographer assistant. When we were packing up, he started untaping and taking down our light stands too!! He’s the best! Don’t you also love how Kari’s totally being a photobomber?! HA!
The party just kept going and Taelor was having the time of her life…as she should!! Heck, I was having the time of my photographer life! Weddings like this make my heart so so so happy!
…and right before we left, we took the bridal party out for a little, intimate sparkler send off!
Ok…Ok…Ok…last one from Kari…LAST ONE! I PROMISE!
Well, that’s it, folks! The end is here for this wedding…whomp whomp. It’s VERY bittersweet for me! This was the 10th wedding of the year and we’re not even half way there yet! As I mentioned before, I think there’s a strong possibility I may have been more excited about this wedding than anyone else and the whole day did NOT disappoint! It was also this wedding that confirmed I absolutely love what I do and I’ll tell you why right now. It wasn’t long after I got home from this wedding and was on cloud 9 that I got one of those dreaded calls at 1 AM. My mom called me and told me my dad was having chest pain. If any of you know me, I DEFINE a Daddy’s girl. Anyone who knows my dad knows he’s a healthy (we thought…Oy), spunky, 59 year old man who would do anything for anyone and can do just about anything to top it all off. He’s the one who remodeled my studio too! I get most of my personality from him. I get my sales and customer service “genes” from him. We’re two peas in a pod (I’m also an only child) and he’s one of my very favorite people on this earth! So, yea…I had just gotten ready to go to bed after this amazing wedding and landed in the ER with my family. Turns out he had a massive heart attack. I was scheduled to leave for vacation the next day and he still insisted I go. So, I reluctantly did. He then ended up with triple bypass open heart surgery and I eventually came home early because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. He’s on the mend now…so no worries there BUT my point is I never dreaded editing this wedding or keeping up with business stuff. It didn’t feel like “work” even though all the craziness of my personal life and that’s my point to all this. Many of you probably saw my posts and my IG stories. I worked from the hospital A LOT but it was good therapy for me. Editing this wedding and looking at these photos gave me some relief and joy and took away some of the stress. Taelor and Justin knew what was going on the whole time and I thank them so very much for being so patient. Out of all my couples this year, they’ve had to wait the longest. It’s been almost three weeks from there wedding and even though that’s still quick for a wedding photographer in our area….I didn’t like it one bit! But yea…I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. My dad was actually the one who ALWAYS told me growing up to find a job that I loved so it never felt like work. I definitely found it! I’m so very grateful life pointed me in this direction and I get to meet all these amazing people! Ooo and then right after that my grandma fell and broke her ankle. She’s in surgery as I type this. Then, my kids ended up with a gross virus I mentioned earlier. Oy. It’s been rough in the Barlow house recently but we’re getting there!
So, back to this wedding! I want to thank Taelor and Justin for asking me to be their wedding photographer and for picking the very best dang vendor team I’ve worked with in a long long long time! Taelor said she was having wedding withdrawal. I think I’m having it too! Good thing I’m back at it this weekend though, right?!
ONE LAST TIME….
CONGRATS TO MR. & MRS. FANKHAUSER!
It was AMAZING!
NOW….LET’S TALK ABOUT THESE VENDORS, SHALL WE?!
Bride’s Gown – Justin Alexander (dress) Eve of Milady (over skirt) – Bridal Beginning
Bridesmaids’ Gowns – Hayley Paige – Bridal Beginning
Groom’s Suit – Custom Made from Men’s Wearhouse
Groomsmen Attire – JJones
Jewelry/Rings – Saxon Jewelers
Hair – Grace Boyd
Makeup – Kara Eltringham
Wedding Planner/Coordinator – Celeste (Bella Amore)
Florist (Bouquets) – McCauslen Any Occasion Florist
Florist (Reception Decor) – Celeste – Bella Amore
Videographer – Through the Lenz Films
Cake/Other Desserts – Sugar Fuse
DJ/Band – Finest Events by Jonathan Mihellis
Catering – Bella Amore
Transportation/Limo – Black Bus Shuttle
Save the Dates/Programs – Minted
Invitations – Something Special by Sheila
Ceremony/Reception Venue – Bella Amore on Enchanted Acres
Officiant – Leland Stoops