Backyard Wooster Wedding | Cole + Stephanie

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When Stephanie first contacted me, she described her vision for her wedding day: an outdoor ceremony, surrounded by loved ones, with loads of gorgeous details. I was sold. And Cole and Stephanie's celebration was even more perfect than I could have imagined. Days like this make me feel so blessed to be able to serve such incredible couples.

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When I first arrived, I was met with Stephanie's stunning dress and her bridesmaids' perfectly mismatched dresses. I knew it was going to be a good day.

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The designer in me is a sucker for a dreamy paper suite, and these were so fun and colorful!

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The girls wore Sseko sandals, which are not only adorable, but also help empower women in Uganda. You can read more about this incredible company here.

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Cole and Stephanie chose to do a first look. As a photographer, I am always a fan, because it frees up the timeline. But first looks are also some of my favorite moments on the wedding day. It was the only time these two had alone, and it was so meaningful to capture their excitement right before they said "I do." Bonus if you have a magical forest to frolic through.

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This moment is one of my favorites. Even though the frame does not show their full faces, I can feel the emotion. These are the snippets that make my heart come alive.

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Cole and Stephanie's ceremony took place under two beautiful trees behind Stephanie's childhood home. It was ideal from an aesthetic view, but also an incredibly special place to begin their marriage. Backyard weddings are my favorite!

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What was your favorite moment of the day? My favorite moment of the day was when "Turn to Stone" came on and Stephanie started walking down the aisle.  For a moment it seemed as if everything stopped.  I was overwhelmed as the song opened up and I saw my wife to be coming down looking so beautiful.  Whenever I think of this moment I still have some of those emotions hit me.  This moment I will always cherish and remember. (Cole)

I would agree with Cole that walking down the aisle was my favorite part.  The song already had such significance to me because it is what my soul feels when I think of relationship with The Lord: bursting, wonderful joy.  Being able to start walking toward my husband in that moment of the song was more than I can imagine.  It truly feels like our marriage is mirror of the Covenant Love of Christ.  I can't think of this moment without tears of thankfulness and wonder. (Stephanie)

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As you can see, there were a ton of guests. Stephanie and Cole are loved by so many people! Even though the guest list was large, the entire day felt incredibly intimate.

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This wedding party was a dream to work with...and they look so good all together!

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Cole and Stephanie timed their portraits perfectly right before sunset (a photographer's dream). These dreamy shots are some of my favorites.

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What about the wedding reflected our relationship as a couple? To me it was just our desire to serve together.  We really wanted people to feel like they were cherished guests at a party to celebrate the most important moment of our lives.  I think all the little details catered to this mindset, especially having communion together during the ceremony.  Our lives belong to the Lord and we just want to be used by Him to bring Him glory and to be a beacon of hope to world around us.  From my perspective, this was the most beautiful day I have ever seen and God (and papa Richie) get all the credit. (Cole)

Words were a huge theme in our wedding.  We have a shared journal that we write letters to each other in that we started at the beginning of our relationship.  We wrote to each other that day before we had the first look and it's awesome to have those thoughts recorded.  Our guestbook was a dictionary; we had scrabble letters on the tables as decoration and entertainment.  Speaking the words of our vows was also one of my favorite moments.  And behind it all, our love for words and stories, happy endings and marriage, comes from the Author of our story, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. (Stephanie)

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Each reception table was decorated with beautiful flower arrangements and scrabble pieces. Both beautiful and fun!

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Naked cakes are gaining popularity, and I am a big fan. Especially when they are adorned with lovely florals.

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Any other info you would like to share about your love story or your wedding day? We felt so unbelievably blessed.  The weather was perfect.  Thank you, Jesus!  So many people pitched in to help us have everything run smoothly.  It was a more beautiful day than I ever imagined.  We had so much fun celebrating with all of our friends and family.  It made us so happy knowing everyone had a good time.

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The string lights, yummy food, and incredible dance party made this reception amazing!

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When I asked Stephanie what she was most looking forward to on her wedding day, this was her answer, and I think it is a perfect way to sum up this special celebration:

I'm looking forward to marrying Cole, obviously.  All the details will be great, but I just can't wait to be united.  One.  Covenanted.  To be his and him to be mine.  I just know both of us are going to be so over the top happy.  Like uncontrollable.  To be honest, I'm looking forward of taking the pictures because it will be so real.  I can't wait to see him, looking all handsome.  For him to see me.  I hope everything fades away and we remember what the day means.  Other things I'm looking forward to is honoring the people we love in our lives.  It's a celebration!  So many people have made us who we are! I can't wait to share in the joy with the ones we love most.

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Stephanie and Cole, I can't thank you enough for inviting me into your lives during this special season. The location, the details, the love; everything was absolutely perfect!

Venue: Private Residence, Wooster, Ohio

Wedding Dress: Mikaella BridalThe Dress Bridal Boutique

Shoes: Sseko Designs

Grooms Attire: Men's Warehouse

Cake: The Faithful Little Cupcake

Tent Rental: All Events Rental

DJ: Jon Dech (friend of the groom)

Flowers: Bethany Weinhardt (aunt of the bride)

Reception Decorations: Zoetic Zinnias, a group Stephanie runs at the school where she teaches, sells flowers to fight human trafficking. They decorated all the jars and vases and lots of those students were able to come to the wedding, which made it super special

Reception Food: Kelly Matthews (aunt of the groom)

Hair and Makeup: Affinity Salon & Spa, Mary Johnson

Invitations: JustInkDesign

Favors: Emily Jankov (sister-in-law of the bride) designed the tags and programs (seed paper was from Botanical PaperWorks), Havilah Weinhardt (cousin of the bride) orchestrated the making of the soap