Real Couples

Intimate Taft Museum of Art Wedding in Cincinnati, Ohio

Here we are, turning the corner on four months of marriage (yes, FOUR – wow!) and if there’s one thing that’s certain for us, we’re so, so happy we didn’t wait to begin this new journey.  These truly have been the sweetest days together.  Today, I’m taking you through our planning journey – how our original wedding plans turned into a micro wedding, my biggest takeaways and lessons learned, as well as any plans we are fostering moving forward into 2021.

Our original plans

AJ and I got engaged October 23, 2019, so our engagement was just a week shy of 12-months.  From the moment we started talking about getting married, we knew our wedding would take place in October.  It’s our favorite month and we love everything from the weather to the cozy flavors of pumpkin spice (I know, we’re basic… what can I say?).  Flash forward those 51-weeks of engagement and our wedding day certainly didn’t look exactly as we had planned but then again, who had a 2020 wedding that did?  After all the time spent dreaming about our perfect day, never in a million years did we think our wedding would take place in the midst of a global pandemic.  As stressful, emotional and downright overwhelming as this year felt at times, October 16 was without a doubt such a silver lining!

When we started wedding planning, I had a pretty short list of places where I could envision our wedding taking place.  For us both, we always imaged an outdoor wedding with a white tented reception.  We considered a few different venues that fit the picture and even considered an at-home wedding on his parents’ beautiful property, before ultimately landing on the Taft Museum of Art.

Things change

Flash-forward a few months and the pandemic hit.  Like so many couples, we kept hope for as long as we could, making various changes to our guest list and event along the way.  From the beginning, the most important aspect of our wedding celebration was having all of our closest friends and family in one space to celebrate, so seeing that fade away little by little was personally the most difficult part.  At the end of the day, we knew the most important thing to us was getting married and starting this new season of our lives and relationship.  AJ and I had been together for five and a half years at that point, so waiting even longer, not knowing when this pandemic would end, just wasn’t something either of us wanted.  We considered cutting our losses and changing our wedding venue all together, but ultimately decided to go in the direction of a micro wedding, then postpone our large celebration to October 2021.

On October 16, we were married during a small, intimate ceremony at the Taft Museum of Art, followed by an intimate dinner celebration at the Transept.  We ended up deciding to only include our parents, bridal party, their dates and the guests who had previously been asked to play a special role in our ceremony (such as readers, ushers and our ring bearers).  This was definitely the most difficult part for us.  Over the years, we’ve both made close friends through various stages of life, both separately and together, and AJ comes from a very, very large family (to put it into perspective, he has over 50 first cousins!).  Our original 200-person celebration already seemed close-knit and the task of reducing our guest count to meet our venue’s 100-person capacity was so overwhelming.  Once we were made aware of the newest regulations surrounding virus precautions at the Museum, an intimate celebration on our original date then moving our large celebration to 2021 seemed like the best option for us. 

And sometimes, things change again

Alas, the biggest lesson we learned through all of this – nothing goes as planned during a pandemic.  A couple months after our intimate wedding, we were informed that we would need to sign the same COVID-19 event standards addendum, the one that pushed us to the decision to postpone, in order to move forward with rescheduling our celebration to October 2021.  With AJ working in healthcare and me in events, we decided this just wasn’t something we were comfortable doing at that time.  Things were still too unknown; we were yet to know if a vaccine would be approved or how people would respond to receiving it once it was.  We didn’t want to be stuck in a new contract, already married, with restrictions that still didn’t fit what we were looking for in an event.  After considering the possible outcomes, we came to the very difficult decision to not move forward with holding an event at the Museum this October.

Where we are now and our biggest takeaways

So here we are – and probably the biggest reason why I put off writing this post for as long as I have – still in a pandemic, with no current 2021 celebration plans.  But I’ve decided that’s okay.  We’re still hoping to plan something to celebrate with all of our loved ones who couldn’t be there for our wedding day, while allowing ourselves a little grace at the same time. Through this journey, we learned so much about ourselves and our resiliency, grew in our relationship and learned how to focus on the more important things in life.  October 16, 2020 was the most amazing wedding day and we felt love from so many different places.  I got to work with the most amazing couples through this business and we leaned on each other to navigate this wild journey.  In some ways being a wedding planner made this experience easier, but at the end of the day I was just another human with real emotions trying to figure out the best decision during an otherwise difficult year.  I truly believe that regardless of what our day had looked like, we still would have walk away from our wedding with full hearts and so much happiness.  If you find yourself navigating similar situations – First, I feel for you, but also know that there isn’t a wrong decision, just one that makes the most sense for the two of you.  I spent so much time worrying about how other people would perceive our decisions or if we would offend someone along the way, but our family and friends were so understanding and supportive through this process.  And that’s what it has been – a process. One step at a time, one decision at a time. 

Sending you love and hope for a new year full of celebrations, both big and small.

Enjoy some of my favorite wedding photos, captured by the oh-so-talented Lindsey Zitzke Photography, and check out our full vendor team below.

Ceremony Venue: @taftmuseum

Dinner Venue: @thetranseptotr

Photographer: @lz_photography

Planning: @ivorycouturebridal

Flowers: @carlymessmerfloral

Stationery: @longesttimedesign

Hair & Makeup: @benefitsalon

Bride’s Dress: @allurebridals from @lacebridalcouture

Groom + Groomsmen’s Suites: @pursuit_otr

Bridesmaid Dresses: @birdygrey

Hotel + Getting Ready: @lytleparkhotel

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wedding party at taft museum of art
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downtown cincinnati wedding

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Lindsey & Colton – An Intimate Wedding During COVID-19

Like many couples, Lindsey and Colton’s wedding plans changed, and changed again, before their perfect intimate wedding day finally came to life.  Twenty-twenty brought with it a lot of wedding planning obstacles in Cincinnati and throughout the country, but these two truly handled it like pros!  Lindsey and Colton are one of the most easy-going couples I’ve had the chance to work with and continued to keep focus on what was most important to them – getting married and starting their lives together.

I began working with this sweet couple and their family in December and for most of our time planning together, Lindsey was living nearly 1,600 miles away in Arizona!  With a supportive family and fiancé, we figured out how to use technology to help Lindsey feel as much a part of the process and exciting moments as possible.  We toured venues, attended tastings and interviewed vendors all while using FaceTime and photos.  After months of planning a wedding with details so perfectly them, coronavirus threw everything into question.

After a couple rounds of changing plans, Lindsey and Colton decided to move their ceremony to Colton’s family’s property, affectionately referred to as “the Conover property.”  This is a place they spent many meaningful moments celebrating and growing closer over the course of their relationship, so it just made sense that they’d hold their intimate wedding ceremony with that beautiful property as the backdrop.  Their guest list was reduced to 30 of their closest family and friends, in an effort to keep their guests safe, as the couple made plans to push their full wedding reception to what will be the weekend of their first wedding anniversary next September.

While Lindsey and Colton’s wedding day didn’t end up as originally planned, it was undoubtedly the most perfect day for one of the sweetest couples.  During an intimate dinner at The Golden Lamb after the ceremony, Lindsey’s mom shared how their family had celebrated countless milestones at the historic restaurant over the years, so it was fitting that they’d end up celebrating Lindsey and Colton’s marriage there as well.  This wedding was the first of my couples’ intimate wedding celebrations and I have to admit, it made me a huge fan!  As much as I’ll always be drawn to a large celebration, there’s something so sweet and pure about an intimate wedding.  It gives you the opportunity to be present during one of the biggest moments of life, while taking the pressure off that tends to come with a larger event.

Enjoy these gorgeous images from Lindsey and Colton’s wedding day captured by Heather at Mandy Paige Photography.  Check out the full vendor team below.

Photography: Heather at Mandy Paige Photography
Wedding Planning & Design: Ivory Couture
Floral Design: Carly Messmer Floral Design
Bride’s Dress: Hayley Paige from La Jeune Mariee
Groom & Groomsmen’s Suites: Pursuit OTR
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Birdy Grey
Stationery: Rock Paper Sisters
Hair: Paragon Downtown Cincinnati
Makeup: Benefit Salon
Celebration Dinner: The Golden Lamb
Wedding Cake: The Bon Bonerie

wedding invitation by Rock Paper Sisters
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