Allie & Will | A Franciscan University of Steubenville Wedding
Allie & Will met at Franciscan University of Steubenville, were engaged in the Portiuncula on campus last year, and thanks to COVID-19 (and the graciousness of the good friars) ended up getting married in the exact same spot! Their wedding day was definitely not one that they had planned for or expected (looking at you pandemic/tornado/hailstorm), but it was one of the most beautiful days I have ever witnessed. Buckle your seat belts, friends...this is a story!!! <3
Due to state's restrictions starting to amp up surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus, they canceled their original big wedding date that was set for April in Connecticut, and moved it up a few weeks to their mutual Alma mater and church in Ohio right down the street. We had a couple conversations to see how we could swing still documenting the day and how I could still be present there while working within the social distancing guidelines and limiting the number of people present for the wedding. Definitely not the normal conversations I have with my couples in the weeks leading up to their wedding dates. :) With all of their wedding plans being canceled and completely altered, it was so amazing that both of their immediate families were still able to travel to witness the beautiful day and help them get to the altar. ;)
Come the day of their wedding, the weather forecast was full of rain showers! There was a little window of three hours that afternoon (right when we were supposed to do portraits and the ceremony was to take place) that the weather was going to be beautiful. So I sent up some very grateful prayers and went to meet them.
The first look was one of the sweetest things ever! They were both so excited and it just melted my heart!
We were so blessed to be able to squeeze in all of their bride and groom portraits in before the ceremony and the future downpour of weather...but I'm getting ahead of myself! ;)
Can you say, MODELS?! <3 Just wow.
I have to say, it was such a pleasure getting to be back at my college campus and to be photographing a day that was totally centered on the Sacrament. Everything else had fallen by the wayside due to the virus, and only the most important things were left: God, family, and the sacrament of marriage.
Laura Schaefer associate-shot the wedding ceremony for me (she was originally supposed to be IN the wedding as a bridesmaid and was good friends with all present, so it worked out SO well that she should be the one to photograph it with so few people allowed in the room). She did such a wonderful job and was so gracious to let me edit and share these with you personally!!!
It was right after communion when I made my way back to the Port where the ceremony was taking place, it was starting to get much more overcast and stormy looking outside. I touched bases outside with Laura, and then we saw the director of campus security running down the hill toward us. We both had an "uh-oh!" moment about what could have happened, and the Mass was not quite over yet!
As he got closer he said, "There is a tornado warning and you all need to take cover in another building now." I think my jaw dropped a bit, I took over shooting the final moments of the wedding while Laura packed up her gear #teamwork, and after waiting a couple moments we had to burst into the final blessing to relay the message to the awesome priests about a tornado getting closer. Oops! But they were MARRIED!!! <3
This was taken on their walk back down the aisle as the director of campus security told them that there was a tornado knocking at the door. I do believe this may be my favorite accidental image of the day! ;)
As we were running for cover in the bigger campus buildings, hail started to rain down and the wind and lightning had picked up immensely (mind you, we are on a big hill haha). If you look closely at the next few photos, you can see the hail. We saw a few pieces (that I didn't get a chance to document) that were easily the size of a baseball...so crazy!
We waited in the J.C. Williams Center as water was pouring in under the doorway until the storm had passed over us and then went to go finish up some family portraits in Christ the King Chapel before they went back home to dry off. Everyone got completely soaked! But man, what an amazing day!
Some of Allie & Will's good friends planned an awesome socially-distant send-off celebration for the new Mr. & Mrs., but as they were waiting to greet them from their cars, giant balls of ice started pelting (and denting) their cars thanks to the unexpected appearance of a tornado in the Ohio Valley. (WHAT?!) Thankfully, no one was hurt, and just an hour later, most of them were able to come back up the hill to surprise them. The cutest!