landlocked bride® | midwest + mountain west wedding inspiration

plan a modern wedding in the middle of the country

Here at LLB, we try and stick to featuring only weddings shot in the Midwest and Mountain West, so as to give our readers the most relevant, attainable inspiration possible. Luckily, we’ve got some pretty amazing backdrops-lush rolling hills, majestic mountains, picturesque plains, and fun, interesting cities. But one thing we rarely if ever get to feature is a beach wedding, since we aren’t exactly coastal. Today, I’ve got this different take on beach wedding inspiration. This, my friends, is a landlocked beach on Catawba Island in Ohio, and this style shoot by Erin Leigh showcases how our landlocked brides can capture that slightly nautical, laid-back, beachy feel that coastal brides get to experience.

From the Photographer:

A simple neutral nautical setup perfect for small intimate wedding or anniversary dinner. Paper products featured custom invitation set, menu card, and name knot cards. Shoot took place in and all vendors from Ohio to showcase different beach perspective than the ocean as well as highlighting how you can use great local vendors for things like your dress. Neutral color palette with nautical hints for an understated nautical inspiration.

Photographer: Erin Leigh / Hairstylist: Beaute / Flowers & Decor: Corso's Flower & Garden Center / Invitations & Stationery: Sparkvites / Dresses: Ghinda / Rental Furniture: K&K Home Furnishings / Makeup Artist: Alexis Renny / Location: Gem Beach / Models: Andrea Renny, Chelsey Rumberger

As I was looking through the images for this real wedding, my internal dialogue was something like this, “oh my goodness. yes. yes. love that. oh wow. totally obsessed.” Needless to say I am in love with this wedding: the ceremony in a clearing, the loyal ring-bearer, and all the handmade details. Not to mention the back story that really makes you think about life, and spending it with those you love, and namely, the one you love most.


From the Bride:

Nick and I agree that we have a fantastic story. Nick grew up in Dallas and we are both originally from southern Ohio, but we met in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2005 when Nick was working on a film set, and I was a waitress and a glass artist that contributed some glass work to the set.  He came in to my restaurant and asked me out only a few days before he was to go back to New York, and we had a whirlwind series of romantic dinner, road-trip, and breakfast dates in that 72 hours before he left. We dated long-distance for a couple of years until I decided to take the plunge and move to the city to be with him.
We had been working on plans for a trip to Italy, where Nick secretly wanted to propose, but  one  day in 2008 he suffered an aortic dissection and had to undergo emergency open-heart surgery. He was in perfect health and great shape, so it took us by total surprise, and against all odds he survived. After months of recovery, our Italy plans got pushed further into the future. Nick was determined to wait until we were in Italy to propose, and finally in October 2010 he asked me to be his wife (in Italian, no less) in Rio Maggiore while overlooking the sea.
We wanted our wedding to be an event all about celebrating life, love, family and friendship, because as we learned from Nick’s experience, you never know what can happen.  It was extremely important that our guests have a smashing time, and that the details were thoughtful and a reflection of us, whether anyone noticed or not. Our ceremony was relaxed and filled with laughter and tears, and took place in my neighbor’s clearing in the woods. The officiant was our good-friend Brandon, who originally convinced Nick to ask me on our first date. Our guests sat on hay bales while my cousins and 91 year old grandfather played instruments, and the ring bearer (my sister’s Newfoundland Ferdinand) galloped down the aisle with my mother’s ring pillow pinned to his collar. Our parents each gave us words of wisdom about life and marriage, and my dad unrolling a long list of honey-do’s and telling Nick to make sure and keep the seat down and me laughing. We each wrote our own vows and ring ceremony exchanges. One of my favorite details is Nick’s ring being made of titanium (the same metal as his new heart valve) and engraved on the inside is the written sound of a heartbeat, “lub-dub, lub-dub”.
I come from a long line of hard-core DIY-ers, and we all spent months crafting for the day. I had the help of my brilliant designer friend Marissa Rivera on the invitations, while I silk-screened each one. Dick Blick and Paper Presentation probably know me by name, I was there so often getting the supplies we needed. We tried our hardest to keep things as budget and environmentally friendly as possible, so we had everyone we knew saving cardboard tubes, and I got snaps from OldeEnglishCrackers.com to make the English table crackers that were filled with toys, jokes, and handmade tissue paper hats.  Each table represented a different movie that we love, and our friend made movie ticket escort cards that we stashed in the drawer of my dad’s antique cash register. We had his jukebox out and popcorn machine popping away as guests strolled into the tent in my parent’s backyard. There was an old metal bathtub filled to the brim with beer from Brooklyn, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio, including mead that our friends made just for the occasion. Our signature cocktail was called the “Butler County Buck,” with homemade ginger beer, basil-ginger syrup, lime and rum. Each guest was given Texas and Ohio hand-stamped goodie bags filled with peanut butter buckeyes and southern pralines, made by my mom and all her lady-friends. Our friends helped us make all the paper and wire flowers for the log centerpieces my dad cut. All live flowers were purchased in bulk or picked from the garden or woods, and assembled by aunts, bridesmaids and friends in our garage. The details that we didn’t make I acquired from Etsy, such as my hair fascinator and the little bird cake-toppers. The candle holders, jars, and props for the photo booth were borrowed from friends’ attics, or from scouring thrift stores and yard sales.
All I can say for my style is that I can’t help but love aqua, salmon and like colors, antiques, and usually the decorating theory I live by is that if you like it, it will match. We are thankful for our coordinator, Michelle Kinne of Blue Dahlia events, who saved the day. She was supportive of all our ideas, and creatively made all our plans come together seamlessly. We knew we wanted the Wiebners as our photographers since we saw their work at a friend’s wedding in 2007. They were so much fun to work with and made us feel relaxed and just like ourselves.  It truly was the best day of our lives so far!

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Michelle Kinne, Blue Dahlia Events / Photographer: The Wiebners / Videographer: Cooper Miller, Demonstrous / Flowers & Decor: wholesale, The Flower Man / Cake Baker: Elé Cake Company / Catering: Little Miami River Catering Company / Invitations & Stationery: Marissa Rivera / Rentals: Kosin’s Party and Tent Rental / Band: Funky G and the Groove Machine / Bride’s Dress: Allure Couture, via PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com / Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie / Bride’s Jewelry: Sparc / Groom’s Attire: Ted Baker / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Groomsmen's Ties: The Tie Bar

Bride and groom, becoming husband and wife; This is clearly what this day was about for Lisa and Bryan. Though the setting was stunning and there were some awesome details (not to mention Lisa’s unique dress!), it’s obvious that Lisa and Bryan’s wedding day was focused on their union and joining their families, from near and far, and I love that so much.

From the photographer:

Lisa is from New Zealand, Bryan is from Ohio. Their paths crossed when Bryan was living overseas, and they’ll be starting their married life together in Washington DC. But first, they wanted to celebrate with their family and friends. Lisa is a talented graphic designer, and every aspect of their wedding, from the hand-lettered signs to the homemade food and the beautifully strung lights reflected her vision. In her first email to me, Lisa mentioned that photography was especially important to her because so many of the people she loved in New Zealand couldn’t make the trip to America to be at the wedding. Her sister, who couldn’t make the flight because she’s pregnant, was able to see some of the wedding through a Skype call on a laptop that was perched on various hay bales throughout the night. Lisa’s mom gave two beautiful speeches to the couple – her own, and Lisa’s sisters’. It’s weddings like this that make me realize, all over again, how important it is to tell the story of not only the wedding day, but of two people coming together, of the joining of families. I hope I did Lisa and Bryan’s story justice.

Photographer: Anni Cee Photographie

When I first saw Chris and Kerry’s wedding photos, I loved the bright colors, handmade details, and I was dying to know the story behind the tree motif. Getting married in a somewhat traditional city, they had to make sure they chose the right vendors to pull off their quirky, personal day, and that is exactly what happened.

From the Bride: 

Chris and I are complete mountain lovers. Even though we are currently residents of Phoenix, Arizona and chose to have our wedding in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, we have always and will always love the mountains. The mountains are a big part of our love story. Right as we first began dating, Chris was offered a job in Breckenridge, Colorado. So for five out of the first six months of our relationship, we dated long-distance and traveled back and forth from Arizona to Colorado. One day when I was missing him, I decided to draw Chris a little picture of two pine trees alone in the mountains. Because he’s more sentimental than he likes to admit, he saved the picture and it became our main inspiration for our wedding years later.

We knew from the very beginning that we wanted anything but a traditional wedding. We wanted our wedding to be fun, colorful, and laid-back. Nothing formal or stuffy for us! We also wanted to keep it somewhat low-budget, which meant plenty of DIY projects, creative ideas, and handmade items. I knew right away that I wanted to use my same little sketch as the base of our invitations and that meant I was about to take on the giant project of making all of our invitations by hand. It turned out to be an entire summer’s worth of work (good thing I’m a teacher and had the summer off), but it totally paid off and was such a fun project. I think our invitations really set the tone for the wedding day: whimsical, bright, and goofy. =)

Our wedding date itself was decided based on one important factor: our honeymoon. We knew we wanted a winter honeymoon in the mountains and that meant getting married in December over my winter break. Once we had decided on a December wedding in my hometown of Cincinnati, we knew we would have to bring the mountains to us with our wedding decor. We wanted pine trees, pinecones, and plenty of color to represent our vibrant personalities. Our funky venue helped too!

December 30th, 2011 turned out to be exactly the kind of day we hoped for. No, it wasn’t a perfect, fairytale kind of day. Plenty of things went wrong (including the wrong ceremony chairs…they were hideous…and some music mishaps), but it was a real day like the rest of our married lives will be. Since we’re both a little cynical, we were most nervous about the ceremony. Who wants to share intimate feelings in front of a room full of people??? But the ceremony turned out to be the highlight of the day for both of us. We really made it “us” by using our favorite song lyrics for readings, writing simple thoughtful vows to repeat aloud to one another, walking down the aisle to some great tunes, and having a surprise ring bearer by hiding the rings under a random guest’s chair. Plus we got MARRIED! It was definitely an awesome day: I got ready with my mom and closest friends, had so much fun taking photos with my soon-to-be husband and amazing photographers, married my best friend in front of our favorite people, and danced the night away. So. Much. Fun.

Bride’s Dress: Neiman Marcus/Aidan Mattox | Groomʼs Clothing: Tommy Hilfiger (Macyʼs) | Cake: A Spoon Fulla Sugar | Venue: Venue 222 | Catering: Funkyʼs Catering | Flowers: Handmade Colectibles | Photographer: Christa Kimble | Videographer: Lane Kimble | Pine Tree Centerpieces: Quietude Quilts | Officiant: Phyllis Eid-Nienaber

The second I caught the photo of Tom, the groom, with tears welling up in his eyes at the sight of his bride-to-be, I fell in love with this wedding. I knew this wedding was going to be beautiful for more reasons that just the fabulous table numbers and beautiful centerpieces. Thanks to Nathan for capturing so much love and joy (and for sharing it with us).

Nathan Peel Photography

From the Bride:
Our engagement lasted 16 months, which gave us plenty of time to think through all of the wedding details and decisions. The best advice that I received throughout the wedding process was to plan everything, down to the minute, but once the big day arrives to just enjoy every second and not stress over anything. All of our vendors were very professional and truly helped to make our special day everything we could have ever dreamed of!

Wedding Coordination: All Events Planned | Photography: Nathan Peel Photography | Florist: Blooms by Plantscaping | Ceremony Venue: St. Ann Church | Reception Venue: The Club at Key Center | Stationery: Poeme | Bakery: Wild Flour Bakery | Reception Entertainment: Jerry Bruno Productions | Hair / Make-up: Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa | Wedding Gown: Jim Hjelm from Bridal & Formal | Bridesmaids Dresses: from Bella Bridesmaids | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse

More people should get married on New Year’s Eve. It’s such a great way to host a party, not to mention it’d be a fun way to celebrate your anniversary each year.

Andrew and Heidi knew they wanted a New Year’s Eve wedding. Why? Well, they got engaged on that same day the year prior, so why not follow tradition and tie the knot on the eve of a new year. This wedding had beautiful DIY details thanks to some wonderful Etsy vendors, it had the chill of the winter air, and an incredible amount of love and heart – the most important aspect of any marriage.

As we prepare ourselves for another new year (in just two short days), take the time to remember your loved ones and reflect on the important things in life. Happy New Year!

rad Photographer

From the Groom:
There are certain events in your life that you look forward to, or obsess about for a long time. They might be graduating from high school, finding your first job. Most of those moments are not nearly as big or as important as you build them up to be, they are simply moments in life that come and go. But, there are a few times that turn out to be so much more than you could ever imagine that you are at a loss for words. Your wedding day is definitely one of those. You may think you have a good idea of what to expect, or think you are prepared for the emotions you will experience, but you never know how you are going to truly feel until the time comes.

Having proposed exactly one year prior to our wedding day, I had plenty of time to think about all of the different details of the day: what I would say to my bride when I first saw her in her gown, how I would prevent the tears from flowing in front of all of my friends, how I would try to savor the day and live in the moment. Unfortunately, I believe I failed on almost all of those accounts – not from lack of preparation, but from the great emotions one experiences. For example, due to logistics, we ended up having a “first look” captured prior to the actual wedding. I was adamant against this during the planning of the wedding, as I wanted to stay traditional and not see my bride until she came down the aisle, however it worked out for the best. For one, there was no way I could hold back the tears. My first thought when I saw my bride that morning was “Holy sh*t, she looks freakin’ amazing!” Unfortunately, I think the words that came out were something like: “uhh, I like you…uhh, err…dress..” Not that eloquent, however I think the look on my face (and the look on hers) were all that needed to be spoken.

I knew this day would be emotional for everyone, however with Heidi’s father having passed away years before, I knew those emotions would be amplified for all. All little girls grow up picturing their father walking them down the aisle. For Heidi, a different path was set forth. With this on my mind, I thought that before the day got started, I should go visit Mr. Schmid’s grave to pay my respects. He is a man that I have never met, but his impact on my life is one that I will always have via the amazing job he did at raising his beautiful daughter, soon to be my wife. I thought visiting his grave in the morning would be a proper thing to do on my wedding day. It was important to me and will be something that I never forget.

Once things got started with the wedding day, everything seemed to pass by incredibly fast. First it was pictures, then it was getting to the church, next thing you know it was time for the reception. It all seemed to happen in double time, but I knew I needed to savor as much as I could. The one piece of advice I always seemed to get was: to make sure that at some point throughout the day, sit back and soak in the fact that every single person in that room is there for you and your wife. And that, most likely, this will be the last time all of those people will be together. I tried my best to make sure that I said hi to as many people as I could, but also took some time by myself to take in the evening. Just looking out, seeing everyone there all of the other things in life seem so insignificant. The true meaning to life and happiness was all rolled up into one perfect evening. The rest of my life was starting that night, and I had found the most perfect companion to share along in my journey.

Overall, our wedding went off without a hitch. Heidi had taken care of all of the details, and everything was spectacular: there was beautiful music at the ceremony; the priest gave a memorable homily; the speeches before dinner were thoughtful and well-delivered; the food was awesome; and everyone danced all night. At midnight we all celebrated the New Year like it was the last night of our lives, only in my case it signified the beginning of the rest of my life.

Ceremony Venue: St. Helen Church | Reception Venue: Club at Hillbrook | Photographer: rad Photographer | Florist: Burton Floral | Bakery: West Side Bakery | Wedding Gown: Monique Lhuillier via PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com | Shoes: Badgley Mischka – http://www.badgleymischka.com/ | Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston via Bella Bridesmaid | Stationery / Calligraphy: Little Miss Press | Cake Topper: Dandelionland | Hairpiece: Lo Boheme | Wedding Hankies: Embroidery by Linda | Bridesmaids Clutches: AO3 Designs | Love Banner: Funkyshique | Save the Dates: Shadowboxer Inc.

I’m not sure what I love most about this wedding. It’s a combination of the nod to 500 Days of Summer, the simple and earthy feel of all of the details, and the karaoke during the reception. Yes, karaoke. This super sweet wedding oozes great details, a beautiful back drop and fun. Thanks to Ely Bros. Photography for sending it our way!

Ely Bros. Photography

From the Bride:
Our wedding was inspired by the movie (500 days of summer) so we wanted to have a very modern yet artisan feel with regards to attention to detail, materials and look. I wore a contemporary one-off J Crew gown, and Max was in a Shipley & Halmos slim suit.

Our color scheme was based around earth tones, which we applied to the paper goods, which we designed and printed. The alter was covered with birch and flowers used in our arrangements and we opted to go with mason jars for the center pieces to add a coziness to each table.

The cake had fondant birch branches wrapped around it to tie with the theme. Living in a state almost 2,300 miles away made it impossible for us to meet our vendors, which can be worrisome. However, when the big day arrived (9 months flies by faster than you think), we were met by our photographers who were enthusiastic about our wedding as much as we were. The team had lined up our formal photography in locations on the country club property that embraced the feel of our wedding (a wooden barn as a backdrop, for example). This put us at ease because we were just waiting for some kind of kink in our wedding planning via email.

Photographer: Ely Bros. Photography | Ceremony / Reception Venue: Royal American Links | Musician: DJ Barticus | Floral Designer: Bella Couture Events | Wedding Gown: J.Crew | Hair Stylist: Salon Lofts | Wedding Cake: Alice’s Piece of Cake

This wedding is full of so many things I can appreciate in a wedding. Simple details.  Bold punches of color.  And, fun all around.  These are things I encourage of brides all the time.  Remember why you are getting married, and let those reasons show in the details and emotion of the day.  If you do that, your day will be memorable for everyone involved.

Wagner Photographics

Photographer: Wagner Photographics | Event Planner: Your Wedding by Jen | Floral Designer: Courtenay Lambert Florals | Reception Venue: Historic Properties Management | Cake Designer: Jerry’s Cheesecakes | Band: T-Sly Band