With less than two months to plan, this couple married in Hocking Hills, surrounded by a handful of loved ones, stormy skies and a whole lot of love.
How did you meet?
We have been together for almost five years. But have known each other for over eleven years through a mutual best friend. During a Pride event in June 2016, we reunited after not seeing each other for years. It was instant chemistry, and we later found out we were both secretly excited about the other one being there. When our souls reconnected, we always say that it was love at first sight and that we fell in love at just the right moment when the timing was right.
Tell us about the proposal.
Technically we had two proposals. I first proposed to Lexi on her 30th birthday, using it as a guise for the day’s activities. Having planned it for almost six months, I had set up a whole day scavenger hunt that Lexi’s best friend took her on. She thought she was just going to birthday brunch with her. But she found out otherwise when the waitress brought her first clue.
At each stop, which were all important places to us in some way, she received a clue for the next destination and a surprise visit (or video message for those afar) from people closest to her. At the end of the day and ten stops later, I was at a local park of roses under a beautiful old gazebo with pictures strung up of us throughout our relationship and our favorite songs playing in the background. I asked Lexi to spend the rest of our lives together.
Lexi decided to propose back to me about five months after. Being a dancer and choreographer, she had created a beautiful and romantic set up in a Chicago dance studio. I thought I was just coming to see her rehearse for an upcoming piece she was performing in. But instead, I got a choreographed and improvised dance made to a score of our favorite songs and audio recordings. We have said that everyone should do a second proposal as it felt like we were reliving all of those same emotions and the excitement we felt during the first proposal. It was so special, and I’m glad we both got to experience both sides of proposing and being proposed to.
How was planning a wedding through a global pandemic?
Like many couples planning on getting married in 2020, we were faced with the unfortunate scenario of having to cancel our original wedding plans and replan an entirely new day.
Initially, we were planning on a large elopement on the side of a mountain in Boulder, Colorado, with our closest family and friends present. We went through an elopement company and had every detail planned. We were hopeful that since it was a small outdoor wedding, we could keep the original plans. But about a month and a half from the date, we were notified that state laws determined that we had to keep our gathering to under ten people. Our thirty-person guest list didn’t make the cut. So we decided that it was more important to us to celebrate with our people than elope by ourselves in our dream destination.
We were set on keeping the date as is, so we thought of our backup plan. Being from Ohio originally, we knew that Hocking Hills was the perfect location as we’ve spent years hiking and camping in this scenic wonderland. We ended up renting a private, beautiful vintage A-frame cabin on thirty-acres of woods to be our venue for both the ceremony and reception. And began planning and booking all of our other vendors from there.
Closer to the date, our original caterer told us two days before the wedding that his wife tested positive for COVID-19. So we had less than 48-hours to find a new caterer. Lucky for us, food was the least of our worries. At that point, we were totally down with getting fifty pizzas delivered. We ended up snagging a local BBQ restaurant that our guests loved and really made our wedding’s small, intimate backyard vibe come to life. Wedding planning is all about going with the flow, which we learned very quickly.
What was the inspiration behind your wedding day?
We wanted an intimate, outdoorsy, romantic, vintage vibe that genuinely felt like us. We both love nature, so having an outdoor wedding was a no brainer from the start. The day-of rain and fog, rolling thunder during the ceremony, the woodsy venue, and added greenery just helped really lay those vibes down, and it was perfect. So many of our guests kept describing the entire night as magical.
Tell us about the DIY projects that brought the day to life.
Pretty much every aspect of the wedding was DIY. Taylor is a graphic designer and designed all of the invites, stationery, place cards, signage, and wedding favors. We had also been collecting vintage decorations the past year by going to estate sales and thrift stores, so we handled all of the décor ourselves.
Our favorite DIY project was the flowers for the bouquets and Taylor’s boutineer. We went through a fabulous local florist who provided the flowers that we picked out in our original consultation. As well as a guided step-by-step tutorial to walk us through on assembly day. This was such a fun thing for us to do together to kick-off our wedding weekend, and we are so happy with how they turned out.
The flowers for the table centerpieces were collected at various locations around the area and put together the night before in the mismatched apothecary jars and vases we also got from estate sales. From the music, day-of setup, food and drinks, we handled it all with our closest people’s help. It really was a team effort to pull it off and speaks lengths to the fact that marriage isn’t just about two people. It’s about the community you have together, and we would have never been able to pull it off without them.
Talk to us about the big day!
It was small and intimate, only immediate family and friends that are chosen family, and a woodsy, nature lovers dream. We stayed in the cabin together the night before. Just enjoying a slow morning of reflection just the two of us the day of. We enjoyed our morning coffee in the foggy woods, where we would hold our ceremony just hours later. Both of our moms and maid-of-honors joined our hair/makeup team and us at the cabin. Spending the morning and afternoon getting ready all together. We feel like this is the part of the day that we remember most clearly as it was just slow-paced and fun as we navigated through our nerves and excitement together, jamming to our favorite music.
We knew ahead of time that doing a first look was important to us. So even though we had seen each other get their hair and makeup done, we hid in separate rooms once we were all ready until it was time for the first look. Taylor was waiting in the woods as Lexi made her way up to Taylor’s back. Turning around and seeing each other, just the two of us, and having this moment together was so beautiful. We cried and held each other for a few minutes. It felt so intimate and special before everyone else sees us.
The ceremony was short and sweet and officiated by a mutual friend. We had vintage, mismatched rugs leading guests down into the woods where they stood around a beautiful altar that sat slightly above them. We stood on a beautiful antique rug with greenery and candles surrounding us. One of our favorite parts of the ceremony was that our dog Cash got to be our four-legged ring bearer and play such a special role in the ceremony. We each had written our own vows, and reading them to each other was such a special moment.
During the entire ceremony, thunder was rolling in the background. Right after we were pronounced married and had our first kiss, there was the loudest crack of thunder, and it immediately began pouring rain. Talk about timing. It really felt like it was planned.
For the rest of the night, we just enjoyed our favorite drinks, food from a local BBQ restaurant, and listening to our favorite songs and stories from our loved ones under a tent as the rain persisted for the rest of the night.
Tell us about your song choices!
This was such a fun part of the day to plan. Most of our music was from smaller artists that people aren’t familiar with, making it even more special to us. Our processional was “Favorite Place to Go” by Layup. We both walked down the aisle to “Strawberries” by CAAMP. Our recessional was “Real Love Baby” by Father John Misty, where we had a little dance party with our guests. We didn’t have a formal first dance, but we played “No Turning Back” by Joy Oladokun and danced together under the moonlight.
What does marriage mean to you?
T: Marriage to both of us is finding your most treasured somebody and promising to love them unconditionally no matter what. Through the fun and the hard times, the good and the bad days. To love without judgment, and always act with compassion, respect, and appreciation towards each other. A part of Taylor’s vows captured it perfectly as she made Lexi a set of promises on that day forward.
“I’m promising to love you with no hesitation or boundaries from this day forward.
I’m promising to stand by you hand and hand as we face this sometimes scary but beautiful world together.
I promise never to let you lose sight of what you love and always do my best to help you turn your dreams into reality. From your brilliant productions to our kitchen dancing, I’ll always be your biggest fan.
I’m promising to start the hard conversations. Always try and step away from my stubbornness to admit when I’m wrong and work through inevitable conflicts that we will face with an open heart.
I’m promising not to adopt too many dogs over our lifetime without telling you.
And no matter what comes our way, through the good times and the bad, I’m always promising to see you with the same heart I see you with today at this moment.
I’m promising never to allow our adventure to end.”
Photography by Fox & Twig
Cake Short North Piece of Cake
Cinematographer Stretch Video
Engagement Rings Dallas Maynard, Alexis Russell
Florist The Flowerman
Gown Boutique BHLDN
Gown Designer Willowby By Watters
H&MU Alea Beauty
Wedding Rings Eden Philippa