The Big Day…

 Megan & Rob

Some weddings are in a galaxy all their own. Both Star Wars fans, Rob and Megan included homages to the movies in many of their wedding details-complimentary Darth Vader Vans, custom-painted R2-D2 Converse on their feet, Rebel Alliance symbols on their cake, and an introduction to the reception wielding their own light sabers.

But those are just a few of the unique details. The groom is also a DJ, and all of the tables had custom centerpieces with their own theme songs. Friends and family signed two guitars in lieu of a traditional guestbook, and toward the end of the night, Rob got on stage and fired up his gear to take a turn running the music.

Like its often known to do, the Di Paolo’s Big Day featured rain, but it;s hard to let anything get you down when you’re wearing Han Solo-frozen-in-carbonite socks and squaring off in a lightsaber duel for a photo op with your new bride.

She loves him; he knows.

Date: 10.24.15 Photographer: Shoot 2 Studios Venue: Grand Oaks Event Center Cake: Giant Eagle Marketplace Hair: Charles Penzone Bouquet/Boutonniere: Paper Dust Studio/Etsy Dress: Bride and Formal on Main, London, Ohio

Ali & Austin

Sometimes a wedding turns into a picnic, which turns into a circus. No, I don’t mean a drunken three-ring mess with unplanned disasters- no, I mean literally a Big Day with Big Top as the intended theme.

Inspired by the movie Water for Elephants, and some lengthy stays on Pinterest, the couple, who reunited years ago at a festival, whipped up a whimsical combination of the two.

No detail was left out of the tented theme. The couple;s escort cards came with plastic animals tethered to them and a ribbon canopy hung above the dance floor and sweet heart table, which according to the bride, made the entrance to the venue feel grand, a tall task when your wedding is held in a barn.

Even with all those details, sometimes the highlight of a couple;s Big Day comes in the quiet moments, the ones least expected, but born out of necessity.

After the ceremony and pictures, the couple went out in search of the only available AC unites- in the bathroom- and took a moment to not only cool off, but to bask in the energy of the day. With big, goofy smiles plastered on their faces, it was a moment that couldn’t be captured, but one that they’ll never forget.

Date: 7.11.15 Photographer: Rachel Joy Venue: Pine Acres Event Center

Abbey & John

Alright Givens, we’ll admit it: we’re kind of salty we didn’t get to g to your wedding. Any couple who deems it proper to walk down the aisle to to Magnetic Fields and Neutra Milk Hotel AND replace the taditional wedding cake with stacks-on-stacks-on-stacks of cheese wheels would have gotten an immediate RSVP had we been given the honor.

John and Abbey earn an extra local merit badge for holding their rehearsal dinner at Seventh Son Brewing and giving their guests only Ohio beer and spirits- with the exception of the groom’s preferred Miller High Life. (We make special allowances for the Champagne of Beers, so they even get props for the exception.) The epitome of a laid-back, casual Big Day, the couple gave each person in the party colors and let them pick their own outfits, and they also didn’t let rainy, cold, post-Thanksgiving weather keep them from patrolling the Short North, literally kicking up their heels.

After a quick 10-minute ceremony at The Loft, it was party time- and on to the marital High Life.

Date: 11.28.15 Photographer: Addison Jones Photography Venue: The Loft at Dock580 Dress: La Jeune Mariee Flowers: Lizzie and Lace Floral Design Nails: Charlotte Lucas Invitations: The Paper Vault Ceremony Music: Columbus Musicians, LLC Staging: The Joseph on High

Veronica & Michael

The nice thing about modern weddings? There are no rules. Couples like Michael and Veronica follow the same mentality, postponing the rat race and two careers to spend two years backpacking across the world after graduating from Ohio University.

It stands to reason that the couple who went through every major continent together would come up with a wedding uniquely their own- setting it outdoors instead of in a standard hall. In the end, the Volls’ Big Day was one Big Picnic in Highbanks Metro Park, the bridal party laid back and carefoot and several guests splayed out on picnic blankets on the ground. Early arriving guests could play with lawn games while they waited for the real festivities to begin, and shelter houses with picnic tables and open fire pits helped complete Veronica’s bohemian summer camp vision. Besides Highbanks, the couple who brought much of the world back to Columbus with them also got to show off thwie own city to their guests. After the ceremony, Michael and Veronica’s favorite local food trucks, Pitabillies and Mya’s Fried Chicken, were brought in to feed their guests, and monogrammed glases were given out as favor as a way for guests to enjoy their favorite beer from Seventh Son Brewery.

Date: 9.26.15 Photographer: Kaylina Norton Photography Venue: Highbanks Metro Park Dress: Ti Amora Flowers: Flowerman Rings: Denig’s Jeweler Suits: Express Calligrapher: Inkwell & Co.

Alli & Jess

Three months earlier, there would have been a wedding but no legal equality to their union in the state of Ohio. Which is enough to make Alli and Jess Gainor’s Big Day incredibly special- even before you count the Columbus luminaries in the crowd at their September wedding.

Okay, so former Mayor Michael Coleman and Columbus Zoo legend Jack Hana weren’t actually in attendance, but their visages were, as the Columbus-loving couple added a unique touch to their wedding by writing letters requesting autographed photos of the two, which they framed and used as ceterpieces.

Columbus was beyond just the setting for the Gainors’ Big Day- it was a character in the story as a whole. Guests could spot other items of local love, like a Frankie Hejduk bobblehead, Ohio Statehouse snow globe, and a cake rimmed with a representation of the city’s skyline.

Throw in photos taken under a glorious sunset at North Bank Park and in front of the city’s historic old arch at McPherson Commons- plus a reception at a historic train station- and you’d be hard-pressed to find a wedding more Columbus than this one. Unless you got Mike Coleman to actually perform the ceremony.

Date: 9.25.15 Photographer: Amy Ann Photography Venue: Highbanks Metro Park Dress: La Juene Mariee (Alli) & Alfred Angelo (Jess) Flowers: Madison House Designs LLC Hair: Erin Mahaffey McMahon, Family Hair Care (Alli’s side) & Lindsay Fawley, Studio Posh (Jess’ side) Makeup: Arc Artistry

Adrienne & John

Plenty of couples get married in barns. This is Ohio, after all.

But that doesn’t mean that every couple actually planned to. Adrienne and John’s Big Day was supposed to feature more of a “barn-adjacent” ceremony, with the reception to follow inside, but a giant storm literally five minutes before they were to walk down the aisle changed that plan pretty quickly. This is Ohio, after all.

After 15 minutes of just seeking shelter inside the barn, the bride said “what the hell” and they got married right hwere they stood- all in all a solid backup plan for the inclement weather, when your emergency venue is a restored structure set in the middle of a corn field.

Plus, what couple doesn’t want to have the standout photo option of saying “I do” under a vintage Penzoil sign?

Date: 9.22.15 Photographer: John Cropper Venue: Vineyard at Porter Central Dress: Asa Tawny Cupcakes: Angry Baker Caterer: Cafe Bella

Carolyn & Matt

Short, sweet, and complete with a magical Indian summer sun that Hollywood directors would die for, Carolyn and Matt Harper put together their own version of a California boho Big Day here in the O-H.

The couple and photographer Adam Lowe walked the grounds taking photos in perfect early evening light- like a director’s golden hour- a vibe that carried through to the couple’s stunning backyard outdoor dinner under a canopy of lights. Stylish and fun- like the groom, in high suit and no socks, high-fiving guests as the couple joined them for dinner- the Harpers get a high five themselves for pulling off a pretty difficult task: a beautiful outdoor wedding in Ohio, in the fall, without any bad weather. An even more impressive feat considering it fell on the OSU football team;s one bye week of the year.

Golden, indeed.

Date: 10.20.15 Photographer: Adam Lowe Venue: Private Home in Lancaster, Ohio Suit: J. Lindeberg Dress: Alexis Flowers: Brian Covert Hair: Erin Arrasmith Music: Rock the House Entertainment Cake: Kittie’s Cakes Catering: Cameron Mitchell

Mallory & Kelly

Welcome Friends & Family … Please Enjoy This Wedding Map … We Hope You Have A Splendid Time Tonight …

Those leaflets were found all over the grounds at Pleasant Hill’s Canyon Run Ranch, complete with pencil illustrations of Mallow and Kelly Nowels- in case you may have forgotten what the bride and groom looked like.

The formerly Columbus couple just took a month-long honeymoon where they biked all over the country, and while the bride’s job at Boeing touched them down in their new Seattle home, when it came times for the Big Day, they didn’t need a map for their hearts to lead them back “home.” In fact, most of our couples in this section didn’t follow much of a trail at all- they’re more likely to blaze their own. If you want to get married in the middle of what appears to be a mystical forest AND eat as many Juniors tacos as you like, you can do that.

And what’s a wedding day without a little back luck turned into good? The Junior’s truck- which typically doesn’t move much from Fifth Avenue- broke down on the way to the wedding, but it still arrives via tow truck to feed hungry guests.

You can’t keep Columbus down, especially on someone’s Big Day.

Date: 5.2.15 Photographer: Rachel Joy Venue: Canyon Run Ranch

Esther & Steven

The DeBusks care nothing for your wedding day superstitions and rituals.

Not supposed to see each other before the ceremony? Yeah, but then you’d miss out on the unique images of the couple posed in front of a grain bin, or on a mystical wooden stairway built into the woods and covered by lush canopy.

Plus, someone needed to give the groom a day-of haircut, so who better than the bride herself to make sure her man was looking sharp?

Yes, the DeBusks clearly handle their business in their own carefree way, and their Big Day reflected that at every turn. Esther did her own hair and makeup and walked herself down the aisle, her long-time friend Kate O’Donnell in tow, serenading her via violin. After that, it was lawn games and s’mored and a vegan potluck dinner with an elaborate hot dog bar.

That’s a sentence that may have never been typed before. Just like the DeBusk wedding is a ceremony that couldn’t be repeated.

Date: 6.21.15 Photographer: Rachel Joy Venue: Spring Valley Nature Preserve

Diana & Branden

For many couples, the Big Day might be the fanciest they’ve ever found themselves; the suits, the ties, the gowns, the veils- it;’s as much a chance to bask in glamour as it is love.

In the case of stylish couple Branden and Diana, it was’t that uncommon of an occurrence. The groom has been hustling his wares all over Columbus in the last decade, going from hawking t-shirts out of his car to the corner of Brioso Coffee on Gay Street.

They certainly have an album of your more standard wedding photos to reflect on, but the couple gave their shooter, John Cropper, specific direction that there was little direction and let him capture the day in its natural flow. The result is a series of images you’d be more likely in GQ or in a coffee table style guide, from pre-ceremony shaves and suds in the Mug & Brush Barbershop with the boys to a mother-son dance under the stars and the city’s iconic skyline.

No Big Day ever goes perfectly, but captured the right way, it seems like you wouldn’t plan it any other way.

Date: 8.31.15 Photographer: John Cropper Venue: Renaissance Hotel Cake: Kittie’s Cakes Makeup: Abbey Silveous Hair: Christina Mazerik Tux: Suit Supply Chicago

Laura & Scott

Weddings can be a little bit of a foreign affair. With everyone dressed in less-than-everyday apparel and standing at an altar or seated in a giant reception hall, it doesn’t exactly produce casual comfort.

Unless it’s Laura and Scott’s Big Day, which took place damn near literally in their backyard,

A few feet from were they bought their first house, the couple paid tribute to their beloved German Village by transforming it into their own marital playground for a day last fall, the groom topping the ceremony by sabering a bottle of champagne, like the host of his own gregarious garden party. From there it was on the Lindey’s, a fine place to celebrate just about any occasion, where they kept it simple and classic: crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, sliders and fries.

Low-key and on the fly, even when a slight technical difficulty delayed the music for the couple’s first dance, guests filled the silence with an impromptu rendition of “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin.”

In the end, its what makes a wedding more than just a ceremony: friends and family over frills.

Date: 11.15.15 Photographer: Caire Roeth Venue: Frank Fetch Park/ Lindey’s Cake: Alice’s Piece of Cake Flowers: Flowers on Orchard Lane Event Planning/Design: All Together Now Calligrapher: On Paper