Over the past year, Hocking Hills has easily become one of my favorite places to explore. The trip isn’t too far from Youngstown and the drive is so beautiful and peaceful through the rolling hills and countryside. Last year was the first time I ever went, and it was for one of my best friend’s wedding (you can check out that blog here). So when my friend Jess asked me to photograph her and Donny’s elopement there, I was sooooo excited to go back!
Jess and Donny are the adventurous type. I mean, they trudged through water and slippery rocks to climb a boulder in the middle of a creek in Mill Creek Park for their engagement session (check it out here). So I thought a Hocking Hills elopement seemed very fitting for the two of them! Just as Ohio weather is, random downpours kept happening the morning of the wedding. Jess and Donny are also very go-with-the-flow kind of people, so ceremony plans changed from Cedar Falls to on the deck of the cabin, surrounded by the treetops. It actually ended up being perfect! The sun was shining and there was absolutely no need to break out the umbrellas and ponchos, which is always great!
I started with Jess and Donny’s details while their closest friends and family prepared for the ceremony in their big cabin on top of a hill. The vibe was suuuuper chill, which I didn’t expect anything otherwise! I think everyone was more than ready to witness those two tie the knot!
I feel like I talk about this maybe too much, but I just love a first look. There were a few special ones this day, and one impromptu one that made for a good laugh. Before Jess and Donny had their first look, Jess asked her dad and then brother to come see her for the first time before the ceremony. The look on their faces was priceless! Afterwards, we were on to the BIG first look with Jess and Donny. As we were walking down to the location, Jess thought it’d be funny if the Best Man, Brian, went to surprise Donny. We gave him the bouquet and watched his acting skills flourish 😂 It was almost as good as the real first look, but nothing beats a groom seeing his bride for the first time on their wedding day.
Then they said, “I do”! The ceremony was simple and sweet and absolutely perfect for them. Smoke bombs and frolicking in tall grass followed, and, of course, Chipotle for dinner - which is ALWAYS a great idea! I had so much fun with this wonderful group of people and am so grateful to have been a part of such a personal day! A million congrats to Jess and Donny! <3
Venue: Hocking Hills, Ohio
Florist: Briel’s Flowers & Greenhouse
Hair: Caitlin at The Heritage Salon
Makeup: Nikki Jackson Artistry
Videography: Derek Little of Irradiant Motion Films
Assistant: Bobbi Diefenderfer