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Ohio Engagement Hike at Hocking Hills

Engagement sessions make my heart melt. I love to see a couple on the verge of their great adventure, and this shoot from J. Hannah Photography is such a fabulous example of why. No props are needed when there is a love like this, just two people totally in love, ready to take on the world. See even more here.

From  J. Hannah PhotographyPlease enjoy this beautiful, nature, engagement session with my clients Susan and Luke. Hocking Hills State Park is in the south-east portion of Ohio and has a ton of hiking trails and caves. Luke proposed to his high school sweetheart, Susan, around the most famous area, Old Man’s Cave. That particular area was roped off the day Luke proposed and the day of the session, but we were rebels and headed to that section anyways! We spent the day hiking around the beautiful park and capturing some great shots. My favorite photos are by the waterfall which we discovered by taking a trail we had not seen before. My favorite candid moment was when Luke helped Susan keep her balance as she walked on a stone barrier, so she didn’t have to walk through the mud.

Photography: J. Hannah Photography | Location: Hocking Hills State Park

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A Hand-Crafted, DIY Midwest Meadow Wedding at Happy Days Lodge

Handmade and heartfelt, this darling day at Happy Days Lodge (even the venue’s name is cute) was labor of love in the best possible way. With the help of family and friends, this couple whipped up a day they will treasure forever, and thanks to Anna Zajac all those priceless moments can be seen here.


From the Bride…From the beginning, we wanted our wedding to be very personalized and involving our friends as much as possible. We designed the save the dates and invitations ourselves, and printed them with our friend’s letterpress. We designed and printed all the wedding day decorations and programs on another friend’s risograph. One of my bridesmaids made my wedding dress(!!), which included lace from my mom’s wedding dress. Our musician, photographer, and cake maker were all close friends of ours. Our friend hand lettered a window with our names and the wedding date that was set up as you entered the ceremony hall. On the day of, the groomsmen and Alex set up all the decorations, and the bridesmaids and I made all the centerpieces and bouquets. Many friends let us borrow decorations. Our parents supported us and contributed an incredible amount. We had our guests request oldies songs for the dance floor, since we’re not into traditional wedding music, and we didn’t think our guests would enjoy our indie dance music. It all felt incredibly special and unique, and so us, because you could see our hands and our friends’ hands in the making of the whole day.

When Alex and I first started dating, we took many trips to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to hike or sit and talk. We had our first kiss there, and two years later, got engaged there. So it made total sense to get married there, and we were lucky enough to book the Happy Days Lodge, a hall I’d been eyeing for a few months! They had both a ceremony hall and a reception hall in one building, which was so convenient for decorating and not having to rush from one location to another after the ceremony. It had market lighting already set up, and two giant bison heads on the wall.

The biggest hit of the night (besides dancing) was the food. If you want guaranteed praise for your wedding, get a barbecue place to cater. Our venue limited our catering options, but luckily Old Carolina Barbecue was on the list. People went back for seconds, which apparently doesn’t happen very often. We also met a couple early on in our engagement that had a small business in Cleveland making ice cream, called Mason’s Creamery. Everyone loved them as well, and didn’t even miss not having cake.

Favorite Memories from the Wedding:

Alex (Groom): Because the venue was small, and because Katey and I had chosen not to see each other before the ceremony, we had to switch off waiting in our respective restrooms. The groomsmen and bridesmaids acted as “lookouts,” and we were always told ahead of time when the coast was clear before leaving. It will always be a favorite memory of mine. It was a good time bonding with my groomsmen and my father.

Katey (Bride): My favorite memory was walking down the aisle and realizing that almost everyone I knew was in the same room. Beforehand, I didn’t think it would be a big deal??but I knew the trouble some of them went through to get there, I knew the events that had fallen into place to let some of them be able to make it, and I knew of others who couldn’t make it that day. Even after the ceremony, as we stood in the receiving line, I burst into tears at the sight those people. I just felt really loved that people traveled so many miles to be there.

Advice to Those Planning Now: Do small bits of planning at a time??which means that you have to start early on things and work consistently throughout your engagement. Don’t put things off until the last minute, and don’t try to cram too much into one planning session. If you’re too stressed or tired, it’s okay to just hang out and watch a movie instead. Also, let your friends and family help. I (Katey) had a hard time doing this, but it’s physically impossible to get it all done by yourselves, especially the day of. And it’s a great way to bond with everyone.

Invitations: Alex Catanese | Reception Venue: Happy Days Lodge | Bride's Shoes: Forever 21 | Catering: Old Carolina Barbecue | Grooms Attire: H&M | Bride's Dress: Jasmine Summers | Dessert : Mason's Creamery | First Dance Song: "Love And Some Verses" -Iron And Wine | Flowers : Katey Catanese (the Bride) | Groom's Tie: The Tie Bar | Jewerly : Brit Buttons | Photography : Anna Zajac | Sign Painting : Todd Wendorff

SMP Midwest Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Discount + A Giveaway!

Today we’re thanking our lucky stars for WASIO photography, the sole reason your Saturday is about to take a giant step up from normal to extraordinary.  I’m talking an entire portfolio of jaw-droppingly gorgeous images from one of the most talented photography teams you will ever meet.  How’s that for the perfect weekend?  Dive into all of the pretty (+ a discount and giveaway) below!

From WASIO photography… Living in Chicago, we get to appreciate the beautiful architecture and incorporate it in our photographs. The roots of our inspiration are landscapes and being in the moment. True love is one of our greatest motivators that inspires us to capture special moments that literally happen in seconds. By having such a strong passion for love and beauty, we thrive to deliver timeless photographs that will be passed down through generations. Our goal is to always awe our clients with the famous WASIO signature style photographs.

Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

Discount! Book WASIO photography in August or September and we will add 10 additional images to our handcrafted wedding albums! ($300 value)

Giveaway!  One lucky SMP reader will win a sunset or sunrise 1-hour engagement session* with WASIO photography! (Value $499)  Simply leave a comment below telling us why Chicago is your city of choice for your engagement session!  The winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, September 12, 2014.  

For terms and conditions, click here.  

*Session must take place in downtown Chicago on a mutually agreed day. The engagement session includes session time plus one WASIO signature edit 8×10 print. Online gallery will include all color corrected images from the session. Client will have the option to purchase additional prints with WASIO signature edit or all high-resolution electronic images.