Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding
Chris + Katie
This was not our first rodeo, folks (aka COVID wedding, like this one (Covid-19 Backyard Wedding)). By now, you have all heard the term COVID wedding far too often and frequently, so we’ll spare you and direct your attention to how awesome your wedding can still be. Just like this Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding.
Chris and Katie met us in a cute little coffee shop looooonnnng before any talk of pandemics, masks, and not touching your face, among countless other new daily sayings that are now part of our daily norm. Even before Katie and Chris chose a venue (ie. their beautiful Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding). Ah, simpler and more social times. We bonded over our mutual love for food (#foodies).
Katie and Chris’s engagement shoot was at the Rocky River Reservation. On what felt like the chilliest morning ever, we all layered up and wandered around the park, poked fun at them and made sure they looked super cute and stuff. Oh, and we probably talked about food. Again. And Chris’s disdain for physical activity (we walked many miles and hiked many stairs that day, whoops). We trampled through the snow, sat on snow covered logs, and almost slipped on some icy stairs. But, the sun was shining and we got some killer images of Chris and Katie and their love.
Chris and Katie were actually some of the first people we told that we had put in an offer on our (now) house when we were in the process of anxiously awaiting to hear back on said offer that day. After their session, we got the call from our realtor and she told us our offer had been accepted!
Obviously Chris and Katie’s plans had been adjusted come fall of 2020, and their Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding had morphed and adapted to the times. If dealing with new restrictions and a pandemic leading up to their wedding day hadn’t been enough to test their stress levels and sanity, there was a virus exposure scare the morning of their wedding.
Chris and Kate handled this like absolute superheroes; they powered through and pivoted. Their intimate ceremony would still be absolutely stunning, despite a stressful beginning to the day. As anxious as I’m sure they were to see each other for their first look, I knew it would make them feel a million times more at ease and assured that this marriage thing was about to be awesome. You could physically see a weight lift off both of their shoulders as they saw each other all cute and stuff for the first time in the Japanese Garden.
Located in University Circle in Cleveland, Ohio, the Cleveland Botanical Garden has so so so much to offer (especially for nature/plant lovers or even those who are looking for something outside the normal barn, conference center, or even backyard) for your own Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding (or heck, you can even book a portrait session there, too! They do require a fee and that you book/contact them ahead of time, so keep that in mind if you plan to venture over there). This venue is also near tons and tons of other nearby well known Cleveland venues and locations for hosting weddings.
They offer tons of options and locations for your Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding. Ceremony-only, elopement, different capacities, catering partners, outdoor spaces, indoor spaces, we could honestly go on and on. Its a super versatile and accommodating location! This had been our first wedding there, and though small, intimate one, each detail was looked after and cared for by the awesome staff.
The day we photographed Chris and Katie’s Cleveland Botanical Wedding, the weather was absolutely perfect—sun shining through the trees with a light October-y fall breeze. It made it ideal to wander all over the gardens and fully get immersed in nature and stuff. Stopping and smelling the herbs and roses. Watching the bees and squirrels (me, not Luke, because he’s terrified of bees). Oh, and taking photos, duh.
Cleveland Botanical Garden consists of eleven outdoor gardens:
- The Gateway Garden
- The Perennial Garden
- The Restorative Garden
- The Hershey Children’s Garden
- The Inspiration Gardens
- The Japanese Garden
- The Geis Terrace
- The Rose Garden
- The Topiary Garden
- The Herb Garden
- The Woodland Garden
Chris and Katie got married in the sunken garden area, near the Japanese Garden. A large shaded, rolling grassy area surrounded by the lush forest and architecture of the CBG was the perfect vibe for their Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding. A string duo played as Katie and co. walked down the aisle. Their nephew giggled and walked around the trees. Was pretty cute (although we still lean more towards cats over kids, but to each their own). Chris and Katie were wed in front of their closest loved ones in a ceremony full of laughter and happy tears. It was small and quaint and perfect.
Following the ceremony of Katie and Chris’s Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding, we prepared to do a few COVID-friendly family and group photos. After doing this magic trick at a few other weddings this year like the Gordon Green Wedding, Nathan and Jordan’s, we did our thing and prepped the fam for some sorcery. Our process was basically this:
Step 1: Find a shaded, consistently lit photo spot that doesn’t have *too* busy of a background. Foliage is a great asset here.
Step 2: Photograph the Katie and Chris together, formal-style (essential professional tip #1: remember or mark where you place said bride and groom or else you’re screwed come post-editing time).
Step 3–2384923: Coordinate various family members separately in and out of the frame, posed where they would be had they all been standing together, such as in #thebeforetimes (essential professional tip #2: use that magical photographer eye and try to keep them consistently space as they would be in a formal photo. It can be hard to keep track, but flip back and forth through your shots to make sure everyone’s angles and consistent, etc. etc.)
Step 4. Edit all separate photos as you normally would. Export. Grab a coffee.
Step 5–what feels like step eternity (but oh so worth it for happy and teary eyed clients, and besides, Luke does this part because I edit the entire gallery): This is the hard part, folks. Open up dat beloved Photoshop. Time for your best and most accurate surgery-level cutting and masking out of figures you’ve ever performed. Slap on those Photoshop surgery gloves. It’s showtime. You’ll use the couple’s photo as your ”base” photo that you’ll add all the other family members to. This can be done in a number of different ways, but our favorite and most tried and true way is utilizing the mask feature in Photoshop. Don’t know what masking is? Check this out.
TLDR: Basically you’re a wizard and everyone will be crying happy tears at this end product from a meaningful event that just happened to fall on a really strange and crazy year that will forever now look normal (aka mask-less), and you can see everyone’s smiling and happy faces. Voila. Frameable, put-it-on-the-wall worthy photo. You’re welcome. -takes a bow-
After their ceremony and the ninja-like family photo session, we wandered throughout the ten acres of outdoor gardens and stopped to *literally* smell the roses (their David Austin roses are a favorite of mine) . And the herbs, because again #foodislife. The slight breeze and dappled sunlight made for a perfect decompressing, romantic, “holy crap we just said I do” session. We mostly had the grounds to ourselves and it was such a serene, quiet place to get some sick photos taken. Perfect for Luke’s sarcasm and poking fun.
Another beautiful feature you’ll notice at the Cleveland Botanical Garden is their indoor facility, The Glasshouse, which simulates two different environments, Costa Rica and Madagascar. Complete with funky and wonky tropical-esque plants that make you feel as though you’ve been transported to that island Lost was filmed on. The climate is computer controlled (whaaaat?! Science, man). Oh, and they also have daily butterfly releases and chameleon feedings (although I’m terrified of anything amphibious and reptilian, I can look from afar. We can move on from my deep phobia … the butterflies were freaking majestic though).
It was pretty magical to be surrounded by a flock of butterflies as we shot Chris and Katie’s Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding. Oh, and that freaking sick waterfall feature we stood under. This Cleveland Botanical Garden wedding gets a big whopping 12392304/10 for not only style but for resiliency and kind people. We can’t wait to reconvene with Chris and Katie for their bigger celebration with even more of their loved ones when it’s safe (and deliciously scrumptious food of course because #kindredfoodies).
Though it obviously wasn’t the wedding day plans Chris and Katie had in mind when planning during their engagement and leading into 2020, HECK, even MORNING OF—it was still a completely stunning ceremony and start to their marriage. These guys are champs for handling it with calmness and grace (also, big shout out to the vendors, especially the Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding peeps), and we applaud them for their resiliency. Cause, phew, I’m sure that was pretty stinking stressful and we don’t envy pandemic couples planning weddings whatsoever. Copious amounts of coffee and chocolates should be sent to all of you. Lots and lots.
If any of us have learned anything this past year, its how to be super freaking ninja-like adaptable and roll with the punches, however unexpected and last minute they can be (unfortunately). 2020 was the year of the unexpected and unimaginable, but has definitely helped us focus on what matters most—pizza.
In all seriousness and pizza aside, a global pandemic hit us all hard, but marriage is still a doable thing. That’s why you had planned for the big day (in the before times), but, as we’ve all moved and changed and Macarena’d plans back and forth and up and down, it’s become more prominent that love can’t be stopped. Sure, plans can be scrapped and re-planned and then scrapped again, and it may look a bit different than initially expected, but, that doesn’t stop the celebration for those that get married, and that’s pretty rad.
Don’t be afraid to break from the norm and embrace the chaos. Weddings definitely aren’t a one size fits all situation and event, and there are no rules (except for the getting married to each other part). You want giant wheels of cheese to slice into instead of cake? GO FOR IT. Want to wear black? GO FOR IT. Wanna say heck with the traditional venue and get married at your favorite diner or hiking spot? YOU STINKING GO FOR IT. You’ll end up 1000% happier than if you went with the status quo.
If you’re in the middle of planning a pandemic wedding, take a break (yes right now). Maybe turn on some Great British Bake Off? Something wholesome. Maybe some puppy vids. Pet a cat. Do some yoga. Take some deep breaths. Eat some awesome food or grab a drink. Hug your person (if you can). Call your friends. Treat yo’ self. You’ll feel better, promise.
Planning your own Cleveland Botanical Garden Wedding, or looking to start? Or just in need of some rad photographers to grab some ‘za with and socially distance hang (we even do virtual coffee dates)? We shoot everything from elopements to pizza. Shoot us a message and talk to our cats (aka the office administrators) for more information! Now booking for 2021 and the beginning of 2022.