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Timeless + Elegant Cleveland City Hall Wedding

When you hear the phrase “city hall wedding,” you probably think of a simple ceremony with only the Bride and Groom present. This is not that kind of city hall wedding. From the Bride’s glamorous backless, ivory lace dress to Molly Taylor Designs‘ gorgeous flowers, this day is truly something special. See it all from Lauren Gabrielle Photography in The Vault!


From The Bride…Joe and I met September 25th in Akron, Ohio at a wedding. My childhood best friend and his cousin were tying the knot and an introduction was inevitable since we were both single and living in New York City. At the end of the evening we exchanged numbers and we had our first date the following week. Fast-forward five years to our wedding date, September 26th. Since we are both from Cleveland, our hometown was the best way to ensure our family and friends would be there to celebrate with us.

For our ceremony, we decided on the breathtaking Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. We looked at four venues downtown before deciding on the City of Cleveland’s Grand Hall Rotunda. It was the perfect compliment to the Cathedral as both had a timeless and elegant feel. Each possessed arched ceilings and marble columns and we knew the sophisticated space would speak for itself. Cocktail hour would be held on the open-air second floor overlooking the reception.

From there, the rest fell into place. In keeping with our timeless and elegant theme, I chose a backless, ivory lace dress with a glamorous vintage feel. I knew it was the one the moment I put it on and I could envision myself holding a hand-tied, flowing, bridal bouquet. To compliment my dress, I chose midnight blue, one-shoulder bridesmaid dresses accessorized with custom jewels from designer and friend, Sarah Johnson.

There were other elements of the day that were incredibly special to me. My mother wrote by hand the place cards for our guests. My father helped by painting various items for our “keys to happiness” display so they were a beautiful gold metallic finish. The diamonds in my wedding band were from pieces of my mother’s own collection and our wedding bands were made by hand by my sister-in-law’s father.

While all of the personalized touches made our reception unique, our flowers really brought the space to life. Our original florist fell through less than a week before our wedding and it was a blessing in disguise. I immediately called Molly Taylor and she was incredible. We had three different designs for our tables with various elements of dahlias, ranunculus and willow eucalyptus to name a few. Her floral creations truly transformed the Rotunda. She brought the three-tier cake decorated with a herringbone pattern to life by tying in complimentary florals on each tier.

It is difficult for me to choose my favorite moment of the day so I settled on two. Taking pictures after the ceremony was so much fun! Joe was incredible and knew how important it was for me to capture this moment in time. He did everything that was asked of him (which required some heavy lifting!) and we had a great time posing for the different shots and going with the flow. Lauren from Lauren Gabrielle Photography was an incredible guide and fun to work with. She truly captured the emotions of our day and we are thrilled with the photos. We are incredibly lucky to have found her and believe our investment in a quality photographer was one of our best decisions during the planning process.

I also loved dancing with my dad. He chose our song himself, Blue Skies by Willie Nelson, and it was perfect. Growing up we loved listening to music together and it was so special to share that moment with him.

To me, our wedding day was flawless and I would not change one thing. I felt as though the day and design truly reflected Joe and I as a couple and was a wonderful way to start our new life together. My advice for brides-to-be is to take your planner hat off several days before your wedding day. I made sure everything was ready to go and taken care of the week before and the few days leading up to the wedding were relatively stress-free. This really allowed me to take in the experience and to be present. I treated the morning of our wedding like any other day. I went to the gym, had a latte and enjoyed the company of my friends. I made up my mind our wedding would be perfect long before the day arrived and in the company of our closest family and friends, I was so excited to see Joe at the end of the aisle that afternoon.

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: Lauren Gabrielle Photography | Cinematography: Langer Imagery | Floral Design: Molly Taylor And Co | Wedding Dress: Kenneth Winston | Cake: Wild Flour Bakery | Invitations: Invite Designs | Ceremony Venue: St. John's Cathedral | Reception Venue: Cleveland City Hall Rotunda | Bride's Shoes: J.Crew | Jewelry: Sisoo | Rings: Q2 Jewelry And Services | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lela Rose | Catering: A Taste Of Excellence | Makeup: Tiffini Morton Esthetically Pleasing | Hair: Lather A Salon | Lighting: Soleus Lighting | Band: Ashley And The Cosmos | Bridal Boutique: Bridal And Formal

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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When Her Dad Got a Life-Threatening Diagnosis, She Put on a Wedding Dress

Every girl dreams of that moment her dad sees her in the wedding dress. The moment he walks her down the aisle. The moment they share a father-daughter dance to their special song. It was precious moments like this Emily Millay knew she might never get when her father’s illness took a tragic turn, so she decided to plan the ultimate surprise. Wearing a replica of grandmother’s gown, she met him on the steps of the Cleveland Museum of Art for a “wedding day” first look, photo shoot, and father-daughter dance. The day resulted in photos she’ll cherish forever, and in honor of her late father we invite you to see the truly beautiful moments captured.

From Emily MillayA girl is never too old to play dress up with her daddy. When our family learned that my father’s illness was getting worse and time was limited, there were a few things that instantly crossed my mind. One of them being that I might not have my dad to walk me down the aisle or to see me on my wedding day in a wedding dress – these beautiful moments that I photograph weekend after weekend for so many of my brides.

This thought absolutely broke my heart. He is a father of three girls. Three girls that, like every other, look forward to those moments. How could it be possible for him to miss out on such a day and many other milestones in our lives. But this one stuck with me. So I thought, why not make it happen? Certainly a crazy thought at first, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We played dress up for the last time. -Emily

I wanted a replica wedding dress of my grandmother’s made, and we did just that. We played dress up for the last time. I simply told him to meet me at the art museum – I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. After the “first look” I had one of my favorite Irish bands, Mary’s Lane, play a song for us to dance to so my father could experience that moment, as well.

Other special details include great grandmother’s forget me not pin as “something blue”, a pearl bracelet that was my mother’s “something borrowed”, and my grandmother’s mother of pearl ring as “something old”. The freesia boutonniere was selected because my father’s nickname when he first met my mother was “The Freesia Man”. Also, the 28 buttons on the back of my dress were taken off my grandmother’s wedding dress. I chose a handful of photographers to help me with this photo shoot, each one playing a different part in the day. 

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these photos at the time. However, my father passed away in the beginning of February, I thought now I would share these photos with everyone. Perhaps it will be a reminder to be grateful for the people who are with you on your wedding day, and every day. 

See their special father-daughter dance!

A Father-Daughter Dance to Remember
View Slideshow
A Father-Daughter Dance to Remember
View Slideshow

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: Nick Edmundson | Photography: Emily Millay Photography | Photography: Studio Elle Photography | Photography: Lauren Gabrielle Photography | Floral Design: Fair Rarity Flowers | Wedding Dress: Olivia Guzman | Makeup : MKleinman Artistry | Hair: Lather A Salon | Museum : Cleveland Museum Of Art

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event + A Giveaway!

If there is one thing we love here at SMP, it’s a reason to celebrate.  Think drop-dead gorgeous weddings, glittery gold anything and, of course, the Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event happening on April 10, 2016 at The Westin Cleveland Downtown.  It’s the city’s most intimate bridal experience, complete with yummy treats, insanely gorgeous inspiration and a never-ending lineup of seriously talented wedding experts. It’s going to be sooo awesome.

Whether you are a modern couple planning your dreamy rooftop wedding or a romantic duo who can’t wait to say “I do” in a garden surrounded by lush florals, the Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event has everything (and I mean everything) you’ll ever need to plan your perfect Big Day.  I’m talking Cleveland’s most sought-after vendors joining forces with an entire 4 hours of dazzling inspiration and supporting sponsors Catering by Heinen’s and L’Nique Linens.  Plus, each and every stunning moment will take place at The Westin Cleveland Downtown, a hotel that knows everything there is to know about throwing an amazing party.  It’s Planning 101 with vendors who will all make it happen seamlessly.  And we couldn’t be more excited.

So what are you waiting for, loves?  Mark those calendars for Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 11 am – 3 pm. You’ll mix and mingle with the best in bridal salons, cake design, floral design, photography, catering, event design, entertainment, cinematography, health + beauty, wedding planning… and more.  Plus, you’ll receive an ah-mazing gift bag, have the exclusive on event-day discounts AND be automatically entered into some fabulous giveaways.  Oh, and did I mention the bubbly and dessert? Don’t miss out.

Register for the Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event here and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. #JstyleWeddings


What: The Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event is giving one lucky SMP reader a (1) complimentary overnight stay at The Westin Cleveland Downtown with breakfast for (2) and complimentary valet parking ($300 value)!

How: Simply leave a comment below telling us what you are looking forward to the MOST at the Jstyle Weddings Bridal Event! (Ex: I can’t WAIT to chat with all of the amazing cake designers! Yum!)

Who: One lucky winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, April 1, 2016!  For terms and conditions, click here.  Good luck, loves!

Photography (Top to Bottom): Jstyle Weddings (Photos 1,7) + Lauren Gabrielle Photography (Photo 2-6) + Catering By Heinen’s (Photo 3) + Genevieve Nisly Photography (Photo 8) | Event Planning: Kirkbrides + A Charming Fête | Florist: Blooms By Plantscaping + Molly Taylor and Co. | Catering: Catering By Heinen’s | Hotel: The Westin Cleveland Downtown | Bridal Magazine: Jstyle Weddings | Country Club: The Country Club | Linens: L’Nique Linens


These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here