This day was 7 years in the making. After years of dating and months of engagement, their big day was finally here. Rachel and MJ are one of the sweetest couples and their wedding day was well…to say this day was perfect would be an understatement. From the first look with her father to the her stunning dress and beautiful flowers, to the sunset photos and sparkler exit, it was a beautiful and memorable day.
The day began with rain but it quickly cleared up by the time Matthew and I arrived at the salon to start taking photos. Rachel was getting her makeup done and looked STUNNING! After taking pictures at the salon we went to the church where both sides of the bridal party were getting ready. MJ looked so handsome and when I asked him how he was feeling, he smiled and said “excited!”.
Rachel had made her shoes which were so cute! It also worked out nicely that she was in flats since it had been raining earlier and the ground was quite soft. No need to worry about her heels sinking in the grass during her first look with her father. First looks always get me, especially when it’s a daddy daughter first look. I definitely teared up watching her father react to seeing his beautiful daughter. It’s a great option for those who don’t want the groom to see them before the ceremony but still want to do a first look!
The ceremony was in Toronto, Ohio at St. Francis Catholic Church. I had never been to this church before. It is SO beautiful! The church was buzzing with excitement as every rose to watch Rachel walk down the aisle with her father. MJ was in awe of his bride. The ceremony was lovely and afterwards we drove to location near the reception to take some bridal party photos. I had been working with Rachel in the days leading up to the wedding, helping make sure everything was in order. She had planned everything to a T and when she looked at her bridal party, their flowers, her dress and her new husband she said “This is literally perfect. It’s everything I had hoped for and better! I made Pinterest boards and it turned out even more beautiful”. And it’s true, as you’ll see from the pictures below, it was beautiful!
The reception was at the Hopedale Fire Department Social Hall. MJ and Rachel are both EMT Firefighters and they had renovated the social hall for their reception themselves. With help from friends, they poured so much hard work into getting the hall ready for their reception and all their hard work paid off! It was a great reception location and it had an awesome field next to it that was AMAZING for sunset photos. Their reception was a blast! Lots of food and dancing! One of my favorite moments was when MJ came out with his groomsmen, dressed in his firefighter gear for the garter toss! Rachel was so surprised and thought it was hilarious! We went outside and took some photos with MJ’s favorite fire truck in their fleet. This truck was his favorite to drive and it holds 3000 gallons of water! SO. MUCH. WATER.
Matthew and I kept our eye on the weather and sun to make sure we wouldn’t miss sunset. We saw a BIG storm coming so we took them out early for photos, just in case this storm would stick around. Luckily it blew by super fast and they had extra time for sunset portraits! (Side note: the storm ended up hitting Steubenville pretty hard. When we arrived home after the wedding, there were trees down everywhere and we had no power! Yikes!)
One of my absolute favorite things about being a wedding photographer is getting the opportunity to surprise our clients and to make their wedding experience extra special. Rachel had wanted to have a sparkler exit but they weren’t able to find any sparklers locally for sale. So she told me over the phone that I could take that off their wedding schedule. Matthew and I had the idea of surprising her with sparklers so I drove to a fireworks supermarket (is that a thing?) in Wheeling, WV the day before their wedding to buy them sparklers. She was SO surprised when we told her after their sunset photos that there would be a sparkler exit! The look on her face made my day.
MJ and Rachel have such loving, giving hearts of service and it was an absolutely JOY to serve them throughout their engagement and wedding day! Mj and Rachel we love you and wish you all the best! Have an AMAZING time on your honeymoon cruise!!
So…I seriously had the HARDEST time choosing photos for this blog post. We took so many and I have so many favorites so forgive me, this might be a tad long. Here are just a “few” of my favorites from their beautiful day!