Two weeks ago, I was in LA at a business workshop, learning how to create a top-notch experience for my clients, super excited to get home and shoot my first wedding of my season, which was Tim + Alison’s. There were whispers of a sickness going around but I wasn’t taking it seriously. Fast-forward five chaotic days, the COVID-19 outbreak took an unreal turn and a few texts about minor wedding day changes later, the Wednesday before her Saturday wedding, Alison called me and basically said, “sooo… you free tomorrow?” Alison, in her totally poised, laid-back character, had canceled and replanned her entire 200+ guest wedding at a fancy venue downtown and turned it into an intimate celebration with only friends and family at her in-law’s home in less than 24 hours.
The next day, on a rainy Thursday afternoon, I walked into a cute little apartment where Alison, her mom and her sister spent a few hours prepping, relaxing, and taking their time getting ready. The word for the atmosphere was peaceful. The Cincinnati Trolley came and picked everyone up and took them to the church where Tim + Alison had originally planned to marry. We did a quick, but very sweet first look with Alison’s dad. Then when everyone was ready, their family took their seats in the first couple rows and Alison walked the aisle to Tim, they held hands, exchanged vows, rings, and their first kiss – and, regardless of all of the crazy changes and chaos, they STILL walked out of the church married.
We did some very quick, very fun photos at a couple of different spots with all of their family and then headed to Tim’s parents’ home for the reception. I knew these people had good taste so I knew it would be cute but I honestly pictured a living room with pizza and like… maybe a candle or two lit. NOPE. I walked into the house with candles and flowers EVERYWHERE, signs, framed photos, and a living room that didn’t look a thing like a living room but like a beautiful wedding reception ballroom. Like dang guys, this family went above and beyond. To me, that was a huge testament to how much love they shared for each other.
The next couple of hours held heartfelt toasts that got even me all teary-eyed (and I had just met most of these people), amazing food + wedding cake, a father/daughter, mother/son, and bride + groom first dance, SO much laughter, and at the end, Tim + Alison’s parents had surprised them with a video montage of all of their guests encouraging them and sharing their love.
Guys, I’ve seen a lot of different weddings, met a lot of different brides and families, and experienced a lot of different attitudes. I won’t lie, I expected to walk into a little bit of a glum, “I guess this will do” kind of vibe (because I would’ve expected that from literally anyone in their situation) but the calmness and sheer positivity that everyone radiated was UNREAL. All day long, there was laughter, total joy, tears (the good kind), and the kind of intimacy that only happens at a living room wedding with people who love each other incredibly deeply. It was a TRUE honor to be a part of; I will always remember this wedding. I hope these photos bring back the memories forever for this family and if you weren’t there, I hope the photos make it feel like you were.
I chatted a bit with Alison the week following her wedding to get some perspective + advice for brides in the same boat dealing with coronavirus, we recorded it so that’s at the bottom if you’re interested!
Photographer – Annie Ryan Photography
Florist – English Rose Floral Designs
Videography – Sweet Basil Productions
Cake – A Spoon Fulla Sugar
Hair Stylist – Sarah kosakowski with Alba Beauty Studio
Makeup Artist – Sarah Dean with Alba Beauty Studio
Ceremony Venue – The Wedding Chapel at St. Aloysius
Reception Venue – Home of the family
Cincinnati Trolley – 513.467.9888
Watch the interview with Alison:
Fun game: take a shot for every time I say “like” lol