Nikki & Tyler // Wedding

Defiance, Ohio

Nikki and Tyler were a bit of an anomoly for us.  Usually before our couples' wedding days we're able to hang with them several times--during their engagement session, at dinner, at an event.  But this time we had only talked with Nikki and Tyler over FaceTiming, email, and texting.  Luckily, though, when we pulled up to the church on their wedding day, we were confirmed even more that it was going to be a fantastic day. 

We started our day slowly--we got up, gussied up, and decided since we had enough time we would go get coffee at our go-to wedding day prep place: Starbucks.  When we looked up the nearest Starbucks, though, it was 20 miles away from where we were staying.  We decided to go anyway ;)

After a small adventure in searching out our caffeine fix, we arrived at the church where Nikki & Tyler were getting married.  Because Nikki was so on board with the timeline we created together, the day ran so smoothly.  We're lucky to work with brides like her!  Seriously, that girl is so kind and so on top of it (a great combination!).  

One of my favorite things about weddings is getting to know how the bridal party knows the couple.  There is so much history in these relationships, and the connections wow me.  At Nikki and Tyler's wedding, they had friends that were from high school all the way back to preschool!  They also, of course, included their (spirited, hilarious) siblings!  There was no shortage of fun from the bridal party.  I came back to the girls' getting ready room for something and saw the lot of them using Nikki's train as a giant fan to cover themselves.  You know, just for kicks ;)  There was also a good mix of rap and country going on!

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

After the ceremony, we had the family photo party!  We love getting to take pictures of families at weddings--it's such a special way to remember who was there, and they of course are SO happy for you!  What could be better?  One of my favorite family moments from Nikki and Tyler's wedding involved Grandma Hazel.  It had been about 20 years since she had a photo with all her grandchildren there with her.  As someone with older grandparents, I know how important that photo would be to me, and I can only imagine how important it was to Grandma Hazel!  You also can't go wrong with a generational shot.  It's so rewarding to see a family carry on their legacy! 

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

I also had the privilege of discovering the kindness of Nikki & Tyler when I accidentally whapped my finger (hard) on one of the aisle ending decorations (I was gesturing too fervently) and Tyler, in the middle of what felt like 50 people in the family photo, asked me if I was okay.  Usually I'm used to balancing between being present and being in the background, but that question stood out as being incredibly caring.  

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

After family photos, we went to Oxbow Lake, a beautiful nature reserve that was close to the venue.  Even though the park wasn't that big, we and the party bus ended up on opposite ends of the park (how does one lose a bus?).  We got everything sorted out quickly, though, and were able to take some fantastic photos of the bridal party!  Once we were done with bridal party photos, Nikki and Tyler suggested they go back to the party bus for some air conditioning and refreshments while we took photos of the bride and groom, but the bus straight broke down in the parking lot with a few sputters and spats of the engine.  Tyler walked over immediately and he, the driver, and another groomsman popped the hood to take a look at what was happening.  Meanwhile, we were taking beautiful portraits of Nikki.  Tyler came back a few minutes later, sleeves rolled down and still clean (which I understand was a great showing of self-control), and gave a detailed description of what was wrong (I have full faith that he was right, but I had no clue what he was saying).  All I knew was that, after their evaluation, the bus was not about to start!

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

We continued photos around the lake and park while responsible bridal party members called for help.  Family members and friends left the reception to come pick everybody up and form a long caravan!  We get by with a little help from our friends :)

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

We went to the reception and had a blast.  It was a classic country wedding with comfort food to spare; at one point I noted that three varieties of food on my plate were mainly potatoes (cheesy potatoes, potato salad, and chips).  At dinner, we sat next to an elderly couple.  When I asked how they knew Nikki and Tyler, they told us how Nikki had grown up in their neighborhood.

 "We came to wish them the same long happy marriage that we've had."

 "How long have you been married?"

"This upcoming Sunday, 72 years." *cue tearing up from me*

"That's amazing!"  People came from all over to help show their love and support for Nikki & Tyler; it was beautiful.

Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography
Romantic Rustic Wedding by Cleveland Wedding Photographer Matt Erickson Photography

For the father-daughter dance, they chose "Butterfly Kisses", a classic favorite of Matt's.  When "From The Ground Up" came on for the mother-son dance, I was excited to hear the song (even though I have to change that song every time it comes on the radio because there are too many feelings happening) but was confused as to why they chose it for the mother-son dance.  After a little while, Nikki joined Tyler and his mom on the dance floor and started dancing with Tyler.  Tyler's mom was joined by her husband, Nikki's parents came on the floor to dance, and all able-bodied grandparents got up to dance to the song.  I teared up as I thought, "Okay, okay I definitely get it now and that was such a good idea!"  The song ended and the celebration went on as usual, Tyler taking shots with his groomsmen and the bridesmaids heading over to the photobooth for some memory-making.  Not a half bad way to spend a Saturday ;)

Wedding Photography: Matt Erickson Photography | Venue: New Hope Community Church | Bridal Boutique: David's Bridal | Hair Artist: Cut Above Styling Salon | Florist: Joni Rosebrock | Cake Artist: Lynette DeLong | Entertainment: Ultimate Nights DJ Service | Film Processing: Photovision Prints