Gretchen and Matt's Worthington Inn Wedding

Ok, to get this out ahead of time - December was a cold and rainy month, and this was the coldest and rainiest of it. But as I always tell people who worry about the weather, your attitude should make the day, not the other way around. Gretchen and Matt didn't let it bother them one bit that their first look was in the snow and freezing rain at the Park of Roses. I usually give people time to enjoy those moments and only lead them on to other things when they start looking at me like "what now?" I think these two could have stayed out there for an hour without even noticing me or the rain or anything but each other.

We eventually pulled in the bridal party for some pictures and even played with some smoke bombs before heading off to the ceremony. The Worthington Inn did a great job once again hosting the reception. And I definitely ate some of that pie...

Congrats to Gretchen and Matt!

Kevin and Julie's New Year's Eve Wedding

I said goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 partying with Kevin, Julie and their friends and families. We bounced around the Canton/Akron area for the ceremony at their church and reception at Guys Party Center. This was the 45th wedding of the year for Shoot 2 Studios, and the 55th I was shooting after adding in ones I did with other people, and I was so glad to end the year with amazingly nice, fun people. The last few minutes before midnight we spent shouting at people on the dance floor to get in position for the last countdown so we could make it a memorable end for Kevin and Julie, and I think we got it. :)

Kristina and Casey's Dock 580 Wedding

I spent the second to last day of 2016 chasing these two love birds around the Columbus. Starting with the entertaining group of guys, going to the building where Kristina and Casey live for pictures with the ladies, then to the steps by the river to bring both groups together. Kristina had tears in her eyes for the outside pictures. Maybe because she was happy crying, maybe because it was so cold she couldn't help it. I'll never tell. :)  We finally ended up at Dock 580 for the ceremony and blowout that was to follow. It might not have been New Year's Eve quite yet, but they definitely partied like it!

Katie and Jon's German Village Wedding

Sometimes you just have to do it. Katie and Jon hadn't planned on doing a big wedding or probably even getting married when they did. Jon's family happened to be coming over from Spain for the holidays and they decided to make an event of it, filled with people and places close to their hearts. So I spent a cold day just before Christmas with them and their family as they got hitched. We bounced around Columbus - doing the first look at Franklin Park, just down the road from their house. The ceremony was at Frank Fetch Park in German Village. They made a stop at Jeni's for ice cream and coco. We went to the main branch of the Columbus library for a few pictures (and to pick up a book), before heading out to Barcelona for dinner. It was a great group, and I always feel privileged getting to spend time at these intimate family events.

Chau and Yong's Cincinnati Wedding

I made the drive down to Cincinnati for a short but very sweet wedding with Chau and Yong. The church was amazing and a great setting for the ceremony. We did pictures with nearly everybody present, which isn't always possible, but it's great when we can. The reception had homemade cakes, Indian food, and Karaoke!

Marie and Brent's Wedding at Dock 580

Marie and Brent got my December off to a strong start. The deep reds and greens in the dresses and bouquets fit perfectly into a winter wedding. Dock 580 was dressed up as a makeshift Shire (from Lord of the Rings, if you didn't know). It was all around a beautiful event!

Stephen and Andrea's Wedding at Vue

These two let me throw colored powders at them last year for their engagement session, so I knew they'd be loads of fun on wedding day. Needless to say - they didn't disappoint! They did a first look outside the statehouse before going in for some pictures. The ceremony and reception was at Vue, and ended with one heck of a party!

Meagan and Blake's Wedding at Highline Car House

November weddings. It's dark early, it might be cold, snowy. And that's not a bad thing. Meagan and Blake had one of those dark, cold and eventually snowy days, but it was all exactly as it should have been. They had a wonderfully casual ceremony at Highline Car House, guests standing with drinks in hand. It ended with a bagpipe player leading them out. After which we ventured outside into the dark to walk some of the areas where they first lived together. It had been bitter cold all day, but a light snow moved in and I had them stay out for a couple more shots (it's always just a couple more shots with me... meaning like 50). With a little lighting magic I finally got what I was looking for, showed Meagan, and she knew it was worth a few goosebumps.  :)

Emily and Josh's COSI Wedding

Fun, personal, a little quirky, and a day to remember. Emily and Josh brought it all to their wedding. Sometimes people ask how we can photograph so many weddings and still stay interested, and ones like this are why. I always encourage people to do weddings their way, and these two did just that. From a big balloon first look reveal, to felt flowers and action figure boutonnieres, they showed up ready to go. We did some pictures around Schiller Park before going to COSI for the ceremony and reception.

This is the only ceremony I've seen where they were able to seamlessly combine a reading from a children's book, the firing of Nerf guns, and a nod to professional wrestling. After the ceremony we got to do some pictures inside the planetarium and progress exhibit before checking out the main reception hall. All of the tables were labeled with a different location from TV, movies, or books, and decked out with Funko POP figures to match (and they might be the reason I now have a growing collection of these little guys scattered around my house and office).

It was an amazing day and totally perfect for these two. A big congrats to Emily and Josh!

Heather and Joey's Wedding at Northbank Pavillion

Heather and Joey are two amazingly nice people and I was thrilled to work with them on a gorgeous October Friday. Full of fun details, dogs in tutus and tuxes, a sweet first look, and a perfect day at Northbank Pavillion, it was as good of a day as you could ask for!

Myisha and Priest's New Orleans Halloween Wedding

I always encourage people to do their weddings their way, and Myisha and Priest did just that. They rented a house on the lake and held a small ceremony on the dock on Halloween. When I first talked to her she said her theme was "Game of Thrones meets vampires" so naturally I was excited to see what they did (I may have even gotten a vampire costume myself to wear while shooting). The facemasks, crowns, and outfits made sure that nobody will ever pull off wedding attire quite like them!

After the ceremony we drove into the Quarter for a small reception. We went onto Bourbon St. for some pictures, and they got stopped by so many people complimented their outfits! It was so fun working with these two!

A big congrats to Myisha and Priest!

Libby and Joe's Wedding at Bryn Du

Bryn Du is a lovely spot for a garden ceremony, even when a little rain moves in toward the end. Things stayed dry long enough for us to get some pictures around the grounds before heading back inside for the reception. Libby and Joe were tons of fun to spend the day with! Fun fact - Joe runs a parkour gym - Parkour Horizons in Worthington. Check it out!

Patrick and Sarah's Wedding at Strongwater

The courtyard at Strongwater was the perfect setting for Patrick and Sarah's intimate wedding ceremony. More friends and family joined in for the reception to have good food, a spread of cakes and cookies, and party with the live band.

A big congrats to these two!!

Jared and Katie's Colored Powder Engagement Session

These two had seen some of the colored powder shoots I'd done, so they came to me looking to get messy! I was interested in doing it a little differently than I had in the past, so we started with some "normal" engagement pictures, got the newspaper shot, and waited until the sun went down. I popped up some lights and let them go crazy. These things are always hilarious!

Megan and CJ's Wedding at Bluestone

Surprise gifts are always great on wedding day. It's even better if you surprise your other half by having one of your favorite musicians come onstage to play during your first dance! CJ secretly arranged to have Josh Krajcik (you might recognize him from X Factor) show up to play a few songs during their reception, and needless to say, Megan was surprised and totally blown over. It was a perfect gesture and the Bluestone was an amazing setting for the day!

Erich and Laura's Wedding at Scioto Audubon

I always enjoy seeing how people include personal touches in their weddings. Erich and Laura had a day filled with things that were personal to them. The outfits were handmade by family. The copper flowers were made by Laura herself. The centerpieces were collections of little rocks, shells and fossils, which went perfectly with the pocket microscopes they had as favors. The ceremony, outside the Grange Insurance Center, included a water blending ceremony where they had samples of water from various places that were important in their lives, told stories, and mixed them together. Cap everything off with a celtic band, and it was an amazing day!

Jackie and Nick's Wedding at Hilton Downtown

Friends, family, a great location in downtown Columbus, and a perfect September day - Jackie and Nick had it all! They had their ceremony and reception at the always wonderful Hilton, take a break in between to walk down the street for some pictures. The reception ballroom was decorated beautifully and the band was amazing, but I think the highlight was a very heartfelt series of videos put together by Jackie's brother as a surprise. Everybody had the feels - all of them.

Congrats to Jackie and Nick!

2016 Favorites

I feel like I say this every year, but every year it rings true.

Wow. Thank you. It's going to be damn hard to top that.

I finished my last wedding in the wee hours of the new year feeling both exhilarated and exhausted and I wouldn't ask for it any other way. I had the privilege of working with 45 couples in 2016 and if I'm not worn out by the end, I haven't given you guys enough. Seeing my own daughter grow into an insufferably adorable 18 month old has helped put into perspective why I do what I do in a way that has greater meaning than I ever expected when getting into this. I could be photographing anything but I choose weddings because I get to care - about couples, their families, their friends. I could be doing anything for money (probably lots of easier things than running a photography business), but I choose this because I get to give something lasting to people, something that couples get to enjoy now and that hopefully, their kids' kids' kids will get to discover many years later and ask "who were these awesome people...?"

I had summer days where I soaked through one new shirt after another with sweat and winter days where I had ice forming on my face and I was grateful for them all.

So ... wow, thank you.

Thoughts for 2017 - The year is already filled out better than at this point last year and I have so many things in the works. I moved into an office in Grandview last week and I've already had seven couples come by and talk way more about their relationships than they probably expected when meeting with a potential photographer... and that's on purpose. I've recently watched a bunch of videos by marketing guru Seth Godin and he has repeatedly talked about making art. His definition of art was something like "anything that brings emotional labor to the table to make a connection." Translated for my world - good picture takers are a dime a dozen, but honestly giving a shit about people so that they feel it and pass that along to each other and everybody else - that's when you make art. The goal is making art with everybody I meet.

All that said, the title of this thing says 2016 favorites, though it should really say "I couldn't post a thousand pictures here even though I wanted to, so here are like 60." Seriously, I have so many good stories to share from last year that I'd need another year to get through them, but here's just a tiny sampling.

Cheers ~ Steve

Collin and Hollie's Creekside Engagement Session

A little rain won't bother you when you have nerf guns, bubbles, and beer for your engagement session. We strolled around Creekside leaving a trail of bubble residue and foam darts in our wake. Needless to say there was lots of giggling and I can't wait for their wedding in May!

Caroline and Geoff's Wedding at Kenyon

Hearing stories of how people met is always a favorite part of my first conversations with them. When the stories include bows and arrows and university archery club, that's even better. When they tell me they might bring said bows and arrows to the wedding, that makes me downright giddy. Caroline and Geoff were all around wonderful people to spend a very rainy August day with. The campus of Kenyon College is filled with gorgeous stone buildings and green spaces. This wedding was extra fun because their DJ (Rob DiPaolo with was a past groom of mine (and had a ton of Star Wars details in his wedding).

Thanks to Caroline and Geoff for letting me be part of their day! ...and for not sending any arrows in my direction.