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Alley Cat Oyster Bar Event with Sips and Dips

Every year I volunteer my services to Sips & Dips which is an amazing event put on for Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.  For many years they stuck to the same place but for the past few years they’ve broadened their horizons and have started to go to various areas in and around Cleveland.  This year’s event was at the Alley Cat Oyster Bar.  Unfortunately there was a TON of rain that night so the outside deck was tented but it was still a fantastic event!

I’m so glad that I’ve been able to be a part of this fantastic fundraiser for the past few years and every year it seems to get even better!

 When you arrive at the event you are given a wine glass for all of the sampling in your future!

Typically near the glasses they also have some kind of bubbly to start you off with.  This year it was one of my favorite proseccos!

Over the years they’ve had a few different fun things to win and the wine pull started a few years ago and has been a big hit.  Wente Vineyards graciously donates some various wine bottles and you draw a number and get the corresponding wine.

Throughout the event space are stations with various wines (and even a beer station) from Wente and Heidelberg Distributing.

The rain eventually let up and while it wasn’t much of a sunset at least the guests were able to take in the beautiful views from the rooftop deck on top of Alley Cat Oyster Bar.

Inside there was all kinds of yummy “dips” provided from Alley Cat.

It always seems that no matter what the date of the event, the weather isn’t ideal but everyone always makes the best of it!

Every year he makes me smile!

There’s always SO many smiles around the room!

The wine, of course, is always flowing.  As it should be!

One of the best parts of the evening is listening to the good that comes from events like these.  The stories are always inspiring and wonderful and I’m so proud to be a (small) part of it.

Sometimes people even dance if the mood strikes!

Before I left I was able to get an image of these two board members with photos from the children at Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital.  These are SO special and wonderful (as are these people).

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Canton Garden Center Engagement Session with Angela and Frank

The summer of 2016 was crazy between the insane heat and rainstorms so a lot of my engagement sessions that were on the books opted to move back into the fall when the temperatures were a bit more moderate and the rain wasn’t quite so frequent.  Unfortunately we did get hit with a bit of rain at the end of Angela and Frank’s Canton Garden Center engagement session.  They made it work with an umbrella and it was perfect.!

Of course, my favorite part about this session was their ADORABLE dog being included.  I always smile when people ask if it’s OK if they bring their dog because I always reply and say NO NO NO PLEASE BRING!!! Due to our crazy schedules we do not have a dog but I adore them so I get really excited when I get to see a new one.

You’ll be seeing this sweet couple again in September and I’m SO excited to work with them again!

Engagement session at Canton Garden Center in SeptemberDog Save the Date Engagement AnnouncementEngagement session at Canton Garden Center in SeptemberEngagement session at Canton Garden Center in SeptemberEngagement session at Canton Garden Center in SeptemberEngagement session at Canton Garden Center in SeptemberRainy engagement session in Canton OhioCanton Garden Center Engagement Session in September

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Tudor Arms Wedding with Karen and Robert

After Karen and Robert’s amazing engagement session I knew their wedding would be amazing.  However, I had no idea just how spectacular this wedding would be!  I can’t believe just how much of a visual treat this wedding was.  Beyond that though there were just so much love all day that it made the wedding that much more beautiful.

Karen and Robert chose to do a first look which made the most sense for their wedding day.  I love when we’re able to do first looks but I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  However, when your wedding ceremony and reception are at the same location it really makes the most sense.  What I really loved about their wedding day was that they did their first look and bridal party photos at the Tudor Arms and then headed over to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens with just the Best Man and Maid of Honor for some more portraits.

The ceremony feelings weren’t diminished by the first look – contrary to what people think happens!  There were lots of tears, lots of love and so many smiles.  The reception contained much of the same and it was just a lovely night where I never stopped smiling when documenting their beautiful love story.

Thank you both so much for trusting me with your day!

Band: Bluewater Kings Band / Bridal Gown: Custom Jovani Gown designed by Joshua Vietmeier from Henri’s Cloud Nine / Cake: White Flower Cake Shoppe / Ceremony & Reception: Tudor Arms Hotel / Dessert: Luna Bakery & Cake / Florist: Blooms by Plantscaping / Hair: Kreate Hair Studio / Makeup: Dena Vega / Officiant: Bob Javorsky / Rentals: Event Source / Wedding Planning: Allison from Kirkbrides

You need to stop what you are doing for a moment and just gaze at this FANTASTIC wedding dress.  It is a dress that was custom designed for Karen and I’m still drooling over it months later.

Wedding Dress Hanging at Tudor Arms Hotel

Her bridesmaid gowns were equally swoon-worthy.  I mean, WOW.

If you’ve been around these parts you know my love for bridesmaid dresses that don’t match but this wedding took it to the next level.  They aren’t matchy matchy but looked FANTASTIC together.

Custom Jovani wedding dress designed by Joshua Vietmeier from Henri

While the ladies and guys had a quick lunch I ran downstairs to see the ceremony setup (just you wait!) and was able to also capture some images of the stationery.  I can’t believe these are from Minted!  SO gorgeous!

Invitation Suite from Minted for Gatsby Themed Wedding

Karen’s makeup was flawless, of course.

Dena Vega getting bride ready for her wedding

Finally i was time to get her dressed in this amazing gown!  The beaded sleeves took a few moments to arrange perfectly but totally was worth it in the end.

Bride and Bridesmaids getting ready for wedding at Tudor Arms Hotel

They both did some final touch ups before their first look on the staircase!

Bride putting on lipstick before first look

I loved how Robert’s guys were so chill all day.

Groom straightening his tie before wedding

Not going to lie, I try not to play favorites with my images by this is by far and away one of my most favorite first look images EVER.

Bride walking down stairs to first look

While the above image may be a favorite of the day, it comes in close second to the one below because the joy on Robert’s face is just too wonderful for words.


First looks are always tricky, sometimes they are awkward, sometimes people are peeking and it ruins the moment but when they are perfect… they are so perfect.

First Look on stairwell at the Tudor Arms Hotel

We did our photos with the bridal party first and started with the ladies.  See what I mean about the dresses?  They could not be any more dissimilar from one another but all together it looks SO amazing!

Bride with Bridesmaids in Different Gowns

The guys were coordinated but it was just as great looking.  Maybe someday they’ll have sequined jackets for guys 😉

Groom and Groomsman

We did a few group photos before we let the bridal party head back and relax until the ceremony.

Bridal Party at the Tudor Arms HotelBridal Party on the Stairs at the Tudor Arms Hotel

Karen rocked this dress like nobody’s business.

Bride with Custom Mermaid Gown

Robert looked so dapper in his white coat!  It was a brave move (white can be a disaster at a wedding with guys) but it was worth the risk.

Groom in a White Jacket Tux

One of my most favorite things of the day was that they hired a van to take them and their Best Man/Maid of Honor to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens for some wedding photos before the ceremony.

Cleveland Wedding Portrat at the Cultural Gardens in September

When there’s less people it’s easier to get genuine smiles and love since it’s not as awkward to kiss in front of parents.

Cleveland Wedding Portrat at the Cultural Gardens in September

This has been a popular spot for me this summer and with good reason, this balcony really has fantastic light and is just in a beautiful setting.

It also let me capture the amazing back of this gown!

Cleveland Wedding Portrat at the Cultural Gardens in September

There’s so many neat spots along the cultural gardens it’s hard really to choose a favorite.

Cleveland Wedding at Cultural Gardens in September

The garden that we initially wanted to hit was having a wedding so we made do with this area nearby and it was honestly better than the original choice.

They are just adorable together.

Cleveland Wedding at Cultural Gardens in September

Her AMAZING bouquet is by none other than the fabulous Blooms by Plantscaping.

Orchid and Rose Bridal Bouquet

One last little walk before heading back to the Tudor Arms hotel to get married!

Cleveland Wedding at Cultural Gardens in September

Karen LOVES her car and this was one of her requests if the weather was good – a picture of her and her car.  She decided to ‘clean’ the tire with her skirt and I loved her even more for it.

This is another favorite from the day.  It’s so Karen and SO perfect.

Bride cleaning wheel of racecar with her wedding dress

I still can’t get over the amazing transformation in the room for the wedding ceremony at the Tudor Arms.

Every time I work with Kirkbrides I know it’s going to be a visual treat!

Wedding Ceremony at Tudor Arms Hotel

Yes, that’s a gold sequined aisle runner for the wedding ceremony!

Tudor Arms Wedding Ceremony Setup

The rose and ostrich feather arrangements were so beautiful!

Ostrich Feather and Rose Centerpieces

Even the aisle was a feast for the eys!

Ostrich feather and floral aisle decorations

People always ask me if the moment when the Groom sees the Bride walking down the aisle is diminished by a first look.   As you can see, it isn’t.  I usually find they are actually MORE emotional because you’re not trying to file away what to say later, you’ve said what you need to say about how the person looks so when this moment happens you just take in how it feels.

Groom seeing bride come down the aisle

There may have been a few tears.

Bride and Father walking down the aisle

Juuust a few… and I may have been one of them.

wedding ceremony at tudor arms hotel

A really sweet touch was that they had written their vows in a book they could read from that was also a keepsake.  Such a lovely touch!

Vows during wedding ceremony

Karen’s grandparents came up at the end of the ceremony to tie on a bracelet for the sai sin ceremony.

Sai Sin Bracelet Wedding Ceremony

Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs!

Tudor Arms Hotel Wedding Ceremony

While they enjoyed the cocktail hour, I ran around the wedding reception to get photos of all of the details before the guests were ushered in.

I started with this cake from White Flower Cake Shoppe which was outstanding.  I love how she incorporated the style of Karen’s dress into a layer (reminded me of Sarah’s wedding cake which was also designed to look like her gown!).

White Flower Cake Shoppe Wedding Cake

Sweetheart tables are my favorites – they never fail to be a visual highlight of the wedding reception!

Sweetheart Table at Wedding Reception at the Tudor Arms

I loved the touches of the art deco theme throughout – even down to the tiniest detail like the place cards.

Seat Card at Tudor Arms Wedding

Not only did they have cake but they also had desserts from Luna Bakery set up outside of the ballroom.

Wedding Dessert Display by Luna Bakery in Cleveland

The pink and gold decor at the wedding reception really highlights the beauty that is the Tudor Arms.

Pink and Gold Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

Tudor Arms weddings always make me so excited because I know that it’s going to be a beautiful event!

Pink and Gold Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

This is the view of the entire room from the area where the cake was.

Pink and Gold Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

One fun thing about a Tudor Arms wedding is that we usually get a chance to do a reveal of the room for the Bride and Groom from the balcony above and their reactions always make me smile.

Bride and Groom Seeing Wedding Reception Space

Finally it was time for the entrances and their first dance.

Bride and Groom First Dance at Tudor Arms

Bluewater Kings Band kicked things off and Karen and Robert enjoyed their first dance.

Bride and Groom First Dance at Tudor Arms

To be honest, my favorite part of the cake cutting was getting more images of the sides of the dress showing off the amazing beaded sleeves!

Cutting the Cake at Tudor Arms Wedding

The toasts were sweet and perfect!

Toasts during Wedding Reception at Tudor ArmsToasts during Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

After dinner Karen got things rolling again by dancing with her Dad.

Father and Daughter Dance at Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

He was a bit shy at first but by the end he was enjoying it and they shared a lot of smiles.

Father and Daughter Dance at Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms

After Karen and Robert’s wedding which had a lot of fascinators I wanted to write into my contract that every wedding should have at least one fascinator.  I mean, look at how fantastic Robert’s Mom looks in one?  They are so fabulous!

Mother and Son Dance During Wedding Reception at Tudor Arms Hotel

The band got into their groove as did their guests.  Everyone was dancing, smiling and having a great time.

Wedding Reception at Double Tree Tudor Arms Hotel

I fell in love with Karen even more when she started twirling in her dress.  I mean, come on, if you are going to have this fantastic of a dress it’s almost criminal to not spin in it with abandon!  However my favorite part of this photo may be Robert’s smile watching Karen.  They were just so delightful!

Wedding Reception at Double Tree Tudor Arms Hotel

A Tudor Arms wedding is not complete without the bouquet being tossed from the balcony!

Bouquet Toss at Wedding Reception

Before I left I got to play with yet another fantastic set of rings!  It was a bit tricky getting things to balance JUST right but luckily I got it to work.

Wedding Rings on Pearls

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