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Chelsea & John || Toledo Zoo Wedding || Ohio Wedding Photographer & Videographer

Coming to you on the blog today is Chelsea and John's beautiful September wedding, which was an absolutely breathtaking wedding in the Toledo, Ohio area! Chelsea and John's vision of their wedding day was simply stunning, and it was just perfect! It was an honor to be their photography and videography team for their big day.

But first, a little backstory about how they met and the proposal (because we LOVE proposal stories here!)


John and Chelsea met through mutual friends at the University of Kentucky (they're proud Alumni). They saw each other often on campus and at parties with friends, but it wasn't until junior year when Chelsea asked John to her Tri-Delta Spring Formal when they began to see each other as more than just friends. They soon began dating and even overcame long distance for a year as John was transferred to Philadelphia after graduating. For the past 6 years, they have enjoyed living in Chicago and experiencing the city with friends.

Chelsea's family has been visiting Higgins Lake in Northern Michigan for years. She had always said that Higgins Lake holds a very special place in her heart. After a long day of boating and a never-ending game of Yahtzee, John asked Chelsea to walk with him down to the dock.

It was there that John asked me to be his wife! She said YES! This was a moment that she had dreamed of for a very long time! Over the years, they had been blessed with many dear friends. They both have wonderful, loving, and supportive families and could not wait to bring them all together under one roof at the church and reception and start their lives as husband and wife together.


Now, that's a love story that we couldn't wait to capture! We had to know more about their wedding day, so we did a little interview with the couple. If you're planning your wedding, take note! They really know how to throw an awesome celebration!

Lacey Studios: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style, or color palette? Did you incorporate any family traditions in any part of your day?

Chelsea: Our wedding was on September 7th, which is my parent's wedding anniversary too- so that made our day even more special. When planning our wedding, we wanted it to be unique as we had a large population of out of town guests, and we wanted to show them how amazing my hometown Toledo is. September teeters on Summer and Fall, so we went with a timeless navy and black color scheme. We were looking at pictures of our grandparents' weddings, and we loved the white tuxedo jacket with black lapels. My aunt also had black bridesmaid dresses years ago and I thought the look was so timeless and stunning. From there, we decided we wanted to do a mix of classic traditional and Gatsby with the tall palms for centerpieces.

As for traditions, my beloved mother-in-law pinned the Miraculous Medal from John's maternal grandmother onto my dress under some tulle. Both of my sister-in-laws wore this same pin on their wedding day. This medal of Mary with its blue bow and pin really symbolizes roots and welcoming new brides joining John's family. I wore my mom's blue sapphire ring my dad bought her when we were little with a stone for each member of our family. For my something old, I carried a handkerchief of my dear late Poppy. My sister and cousin also carried one of his handkerchiefs that day. My uncle Rob brought those to celebrate Poppy being there in our hearts and spirit. My something borrowed were gorgeous hair clips from a long time, very dear family friend, Zoe.

Lacey Studios: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

Chelsea: Bartz Viviano (Amanda Viviano) helped my mom and I with our selection and planning process. She was so aligned with our vision and made everything about the flower process easy and exciting. My mom, sister, and I saw the palms on Pinterest and knew instantly that is what we wanted for John and I's wedding. The height and color they bring to the space really gathers the room. We added the blue and hydrangeas because they are my mother-in-law and I's favorite flower, and I thought that was really special. My bouquet was absolutely stunning. I am a shorter in stature bride and with the long dress and veil it could be easy to be swallowed up in flowers. Amanda made the perfect sized bouquet and added blueberry twigs to pull in the navy.


If you haven't checked out Bartz Viviano, they are absolutely amazing! We've worked with them on a few weddings in the Toledo area, and they are always so professional and friendly! (I mean...look at that bouquet!)

Lacey Studios: Let's talk fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

Chelsea: My sister picked out my wedding dress! I had looked over the Calla Blanche stunning gown and was already in the fitting room at Belle Amour when Sydney popped her head in and said, "This is something you must try on." As soon as I walked out, my mom, sister, and I knew... this was the one. The bodice was breathable and comfortable on my skin, so many times dresses look itchy, but this was so soft. I wanted to wear something different, and my mom wore sleeves on her wedding day, and I loved that this dress had sleeves, as well. The little floral details on the dress were so feminine and delicate. Picking out a wedding dress is hard! It is something you look forward to doing your whole life, so the pressure to choose the right one is high! Every single dress as any dress shop is stunning, shades of white and ivory with sparkle, lace, florals, and sheer portions. Every dress you see you love! But mine was meant for me, and my family and I both knew it.

I knew I wanted a long veil that went with my dress, but we did not buy it initially right away- so my mom picked it out for me at Belle Amour. As for my hair and make-up, I knew I wanted my hair down but out of my face. The same person who has done my hair for many years, Janelle Faulkner, came and perfected my bridesmaids and I's hair. I thought the one side pinned back with my "something borrowed" clips would be a classic timeless look. I wanted my bridal party and I's make-up to look natural but visible, and Melina Emans and her team were so professional and quick. There is not a single item of my wedding day preparation I would have changed. It is so nice to be able to count on someone for perfecting your look while you relax and soak in every moment as a bride.

Lacey Studios: What was the bride's favorite memory of the wedding day?

Chelsea: This is a tricky question because really the whole day was a dream. A few moments that standout to me is walking down the aisle with my dad by my side. His smile and strength and joy radiating, calming any nerves down. Then seeing John standing there looking at me - it was such an intense moment filled with such joy and love. Saying our vows to one another and looking out into the congregation seeing so many endearing beautiful faces looking back at us, blessing us, wishing us a long lifetime of love. That was a very powerful moment. Finally, walking into our stunning venue being announced as husband and wife to one of out favorite songs, with all of our loved ones cheering was so enchanting. The day was filled to the brim with smiles, love, support, serenity, fun, dancing, and drinking in life's best treasures of friendship and family.

Lacey Studios: What was the groom's favorite memory of the wedding day?

John: My favorite portion of the day was seeing every single person we love so much in the same room at the reception. Hearing my brother Joe, my sister Sydney, my Dad, and my Aunt Carleen speak and pray with such love and admiration was unforgettable. It is very difficult to pick one moment of the day because it truly was the best day of our lives, but my choreographed dance with my mom followed by our first dance, and then the eruption of friends and family running to the dance floor for the band's first song, "September," marked the start of our life together in the best way possible.

Lacey Studios: Do you have any wedding planning advice you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?

Chelsea: This is so common to advise, but just soak up every moment! Do not worry about a thing, it will all work out just fine! Take mental pictures throughout the day and write about how you felt on your wedding day the next morning! I had a beauty bag with me all day that my wonderful Bees, Dani Bucher and Kim Wells, from Bee for the Day carried and helped me primp in between photos and dancing. It was mostly a pacifier to know if I needed anything, it was in that bag! I know for many brides there is already so much planning going on and money being spent, but use Bee For the Day. Brooke and her team helped me plan everything down to the minute and think of things that totally would have slipped my mind. Being organized on your wedding day is so important because it leaves little to fret about!

The other piece of advice that I know is very common is to use your time wisely. The day is so magical that time slips away so quickly without even realizing it. There are a couple of pictures I wish I would have thought of before that I remember thinking, "Oh, we will get those later!" My other advice is to HIRE LACEY STUDIOS for your rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal was almost as equally as special as our wedding day with all of my aunt and mom's decor, the Mudhens venue, speeches, and out of town guests for the welcome party. At the end of the day, your wedding is perfect no matter what, because you are marrying the love of your life in-front of God, family, and friends. Make sure to enjoy your delicious stunning cake (MUST go with Jane's Cakes) and then, you dance the night away!

Chelsea and John had one of the most stunning and timeless weddings ever - it was the wedding of their dreams, and it was an honor to be able to be their photography and videography team! Check out their wedding highlight video below to see all of the most precious moments of their big day. Congratulations, Chelsea and John! We wish you many years of wedded bliss!

Chelsea & John's Wedding Vendors

Getting Ready: Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel

Ceremony Venue: Gesu Roman Catholic Parish + Toledo, Ohio

Reception Venue: The Toledo Zoo

Planner: Bee For The Day

Florist: Bartz Viviano Flowers & Gifts

Photography & Videography: Lacey Studios

Dress: Belle Amour Bridal

Invitations and Paper Goods: UpperCase Designs

Hair: Hair by Janelle

Makeup: Makeup Artistry by Melina Emans

Celebrant: Father Alan Zobler

Organist: Sister Christa Benda

Musician: Marilyn & Matt McCarty

Band: Nightline Band

Photobooth: Picture Perfect Design

Transportation: Tecumseh Trolley & Limousine Service Inc.

Transportation: Childers Limousine Service

Cake: Jane's Cakes and Confections