On a wedding day full of surprises, Elise & John exchanged vows at St. Luke Catholic Church, surrounded by one of the largest groups of flower girls I’ve ever seen. Then it was off to the World War I Memorial downtown for photos with Jessica Strickland – and a goat. This was one of many “baboons” (surprises) that greeted the couple throughout the weekend. One unwelcome surprise was a sudden storm with horizontal rain that nearly ruined my camera, but thankfully Jess saved the day (as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses) with her collection of umbrellas.

The reception took place up the street at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, stunningly decorated by Posh Petals under the watchful eye of consultant Carlie Oakley (who along with Jess referred Elise & John to us). After a wonderful meal by Thomas Caterers along with a few formalities, the band Living Proof rocked the Rite with nonstop Motown and party classics the rest of the evening. The final “baboon” featured a conga line led by a Tarzan & Jane cutout board…and I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence! Anyway, obviously a fun day for a great couple.

UPDATE: Photographer Jessica Strickland already has some great shots up on her blog – enjoy!

By the time I arrived at Castleton United Methodist Church early Saturday morning, Courtney had already been up for several hours getting ready for her big day. Joe was admittedly nervous and tense early on, but a spontaneous jam session by the musically gifted groom with his friends quickly melted the tension away. By the time the ceremony was underway, everyone was relaxed and truly in the moment.

Afterwards, along with photographer Mike Bizila, we quickly captured some fun poses outside the Oak Hill Mansion before ducking inside to escape the heat. The full ballroom looked splendid as decorated by Posh Petals. Joe’s friend Rob, who had sung beautifully at the ceremony earlier, did a nice job providing music and MC duties while armed with only an iPod and a killer song list.

UPDATE: Courtney just sent me this nice e-mail: “Thanks so much– I just watched the video (several times!) and it’s beautiful. You have a great way of highlighting all the little details and little moments of such a big day. I can’t wait to get home and watch it again with Joe tonight! Thanks again!”

Arshad and his brother Aasif found us at the very last minute through a Google search, and fortunately I had availability on Friday & Saturday evenings to cover the highlights of Arshad & Melissa’s big weekend. Everything took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Carmel, and I was amazed at the level of contemporary chic througout the new hotel’s interior. Friday evening’s events included a formal engagement ceremony, a henna ceremony, and some of the best Indian food I had ever tasted.

The wedding ceremony on Saturday took place in an adjacent ballroom and featured some humorous traditions, including seating the bride amidst the crowd before joining the groom and then requiring the bride to agree three times to marry the groom before it was official. The main ballroom was magnificently adorned for the reception by Enflora, the centerpiece being the couple’s table under a colorful canopy, from which they could enjoy the evening’s many highlights. This was easily the most culturally diverse event I’ve ever covered, combining Indian, Muslim, Spanish and Catholic traditions among others.

Krista & Sam arrived at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ with their wedding party in a Hummer limo clearly warmed up from their time with photographer Joanna Baughn of Randall’s Photography at the Canal and ready to enjoy their big day. After a scary moment early in the processional that is more amusing now in hindsight (and from what I hear is destined for YouTube immortality), the rest of the ceremony went perfectly, judging by Krista’s radiant smile throughout the nuptials.

The reception at the Omni Severin Hotel (who, along with former clients Jill & Steve Biddle, referred the couple to us) was classy from the start, featuring the jazzy sax & vocals of multi-talented DJ Steven Elston early in the evening and gorgeous decor by Royal Creations. The many highlights that followed included a great sight gag by the father of the bride during his welcome, a funny Soulja Boy dance by the couple, and a surprise “Boogie Shoes” serenade by Sam and his backup “dancers” before removing Krista’s garter.

UPDATE: Just got this short but sweet note from Krista: “I love it!! I can’t wait to see the rest! Thanks again!!” Thank YOU, Krista!

Photo by Randall’s Photography

Laurie, who always does a great job videotaping for us, really topped herself with this wedding, which is easy to do when working with a couple so tenderly in love with each other. Tracy & Andrew were generously referred to us by Tracy Heine of Bliss Boutique, and the bliss between them was undeniable. The weather cleared up just long enough for them to enjoy an emotional first meeting at Coxhall Gardens, followed by photos with Rich Walton, who worked alongside us for the second straight weekend.

Then it was off to the Ritz Charles, where Tracy’s reaction to seeing the chapel decor provided by Alan Thompson of McNamara Florist was priceless. The ceremony was a beautiful blend of Jewish and Catholic traditions, and the couple added their own spiritual touch by reading to the congregation a covenant prayer that they had written. The reception, MC’d by DJ Jim Gucinski of Lakeside Entertainment, was filled with plenty of laughter, tears and way too many great moments to fit into the highlight video, and I got there just in time to see them squeeze a cute “mini-hora” into the proceedings.

Photo by Rich Walton Photography

After completing coverage on Christa & Kevin’s earlier wedding, I drove straight to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to begin coverage of Kathy & Nate’s wedding day, arriving just in time to capture the couple’s first meeting, moments after a hilarious near-miss. This was the first time I had seen or heard of a church literally flipping around the layout of an existing sanctuary, so I was quite impressed at this marvel of engineering when I walked inside for the first time in years. One of my favorite images that photographer Kiera Dubach of Kiera Photo took of the couple was in the back of the sanctuary, under the exact same arch that used to frame the altar where Kathy’s parents had exchanged vows 20 years or so earlier.

As a longtime member of the Children’s Museum, I always get a kick out of covering events there, since the unique environment and architecture allows me to capture the types of shots that you never see in any of our other videos. The bridal party made great use of the Carousel Wishes & Dreams gallery, hamming it up in particular on the carousel. Obviously, this group came ready to party, and DJ Sunny Moon, whom I had worked with just hours earlier, was ready to oblige with some great tunes that made it hard for me to put away the camera at the end of the night.

Laura & Steve have a story that I can relate to, where they dated off and on for many years before finally tying the knot at Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station. After covering Erin & Eric’s wedding there myself the previous night, Laurie did the honors this time around. Photographer Kevin Swan set up a nice first meeting, followed by fun photos in the Grand Hall while consultant Rebecca Raymond (who referred the couple to us) and her huge Event Fantastic staff hustled to get all of the fabulous decor supplied by Rue de Fleurs and A Classic Party Rental in place. The ceremony went off beautifully, and the introductions for the reception were capped by a cool and unique touch – a first dance on the mezzanine overlooking the guests. The incredible band Zannadoo took it from there, rocking the house all night under a nifty, dramatically lit backdrop.

Photo by Swan Delicious Wedding Photography