When I think of Jamie & Joe, I think of a few adjectives- fun-loving, happy, and beloved. These two love to have fun with friends and family & it definitely made for a really great wedding day celebration! We send our couples a Wedding Info Form in order to prepare for the details of their wedding day; on there is a spot that asks if we need to know of any special circumstances for the wedding day. Jamie’s answer: “None, we like to party!”:)Not only do they love having fun, but Jamie & Joe love one another so much & it’s apparent to anyone around them. Hanging out with them to photograph their wedding day was an enjoyable experience & we’re really glad we got to be a part of it! I started off the day at Jamie’s parents’ house where I photographed details and the finishing touches of Jamie’s makeup.
Black and red made for a classic wedding day.Jamie’s baby, Thome. (Yes, he’s named after the baseball player).Hey, Gorge Flower Girl!Josh was with Joe & the guys as they got ready for the day.Then it was time for the wedding ceremony at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Lowellville. She wouldn’t stop talking about Joe before the wedding and was so excited to walk down the aisle because she wanted to see him. Adorable.And then Joe saw Jamie.A.k.a. the happiest bride ever.:)The roses were stunning. Green’s Floral Shop did a great job with the wedding day flowers.The priest knows Jamie & Joe well so his homily was personal and well-suited to them in particular. He made everyone laugh.Jamie & Joe’s October wedding day was chilly and damp with some rain showers scattered throughout the afternoon. We had a lot of time between the ceremony and reception so we waited out the harder showers and were thankfully able to squeeze in some outdoor photos with the bride, groom, and bridal party. Jamie & Joe are so happy together; it’s adorable to watch.
Such a beautiful bride!This bridal party was full of personality.We took these photos at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Isn’t Jamie’s dress gorgeous?! She got it at a small locally owned bridal shop in Girard, Ohio- Stephanie Leigh Bridal. Because of the rain, we were blessed with an overcast sky, which makes for great portrait conditions. Jamie & Joe rocked out their bride & groom session.
Their happiness is infectious. We stopped by the Silver Bridge in Mill Creek Park.I love this. Such a fairytale.And the bridal party even had enough time to stop by Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts before the reception. It was such a laid back and easygoing day. Jamie, Joe, the bridal party, and the bride’s and groom’s parents all got to arrive to the reception location and eat their dinners before the guests arrived, too. Then they could greet their guests as they arrived & the guests could go ahead to the buffet and start to enjoy their dinner without waiting. It was a grand timeline for sure. The reception was decorated elegantly and Our Lady of Mount Carmel looked fabulous.Jamie’s brother lives in Chicago so they gave a shoutout to his town by serving Garrett popcorn alongside the traditional Youngstown cookie table. They had the Chicago mix. . . yum!Sugar Showcase made the pretty cake.They shared their first dance. . . a choreographed number that they performed very well.She played a little trick on him with the garter. Joe is a huge Steelers fan & Jamie is a huge Browns fan. . . the garter repped the Browns & here’s Joe’s facial expression when he saw it.:)Jamie & Joe, we loved photographing your wedding & are so happy for you two! We wish you lots of fun and happiness for the rest of your lives together. . . and lots of Cleveland Browns wins.;)

I have had this topic on my mind for a long while. As wedding photographers, we are in some ways immersed into the culture of all things WEDDING. Wedding trends, wedding “Dos and Don’ts,” wedding faux pas, wedding etiquette, wedding industry leaders, and the list goes on and on. As a part of the wedding industry, we get to experience weddings firsthand very often. Because of networking with other wedding vendors, our lives can sometimes seem like they’re constantly consumed by and infused with all things wedding; our Facebook & Instagram newsfeeds are full of blog posts & photos from photographers, wedding planners, wedding bloggers, DJs, brides, and florists. If we’re honest, we sometimes do find ourselves comparing our business to others’ businesses. Thoughts like “So and so shot a destination wedding in Italy!” or “That photographer shoots the most amazing styled shoots!” or “Wow! He/she/they travel all around the world to photograph weddings” often enter our minds. It’s easy to delve into the depths of comparison with the ubiquitousness of social media. We can allow ourselves to feel less important or less fancy or less talented than others OR we can choose to STOP with the comparison games and realize that we’re Danielle & Josh. We’re Menning Photographic. That’s who God made us to be & we’re unique. The title to this blog post- “Comparison is the thief of joy”- is a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt & we believe it to be extremely wise. Don’t allow your joy to be squashed by holding it up against someone else’s story. Remember when you were little and in elementary school and you worked SUPER diligently on a project at home? You straight up annihilated that diorama of the Jurassic Era. Then you proudly took it to school only to find that Jimmy’s or Suzie’s diorama had animatronic dinosaurs that roared and ate real plants. You dejectedly looked at your paper mache dinosaurs that didn’t move or roar and suddenly you didn’t feel so proud of yourself anymore. But the thing is, you did YOUR best. You worked extremely hard on your project and you gave it your all. It was your creation and it made you feel accomplished. Why should anything change that?

We feel that the comparison game happens quite often with weddings. Brides (and grooms & their parents/loved ones/bridal party) excitedly begin to plan a wedding day with all of the correct intentions. They want to plan a lovely day that will express the love between the couple, will allow their guests to have a great experience, and will provide memories for years to come. They’re not immediately caught up in all of the details. They’re not immediately a slave to Pinterest at 2:43 in the morning with DIY wedding boards that’ll make even Martha Stewart’s head explode. They’re not immediately comparing their wedding to every single wedding in every single wedding magazine. At first, they’re happy. They’re joyful. Newly engaged brides-to-be excitedly stare at the way the sunshine glints off of their new engagement ring, they tear up a little listening to love songs that’ll possibly be the first dance song at the wedding reception, and they are JOYFUL at the thought of planning a marriage (first and foremost) and a wedding to the person whom they love the most in the world. And then something regrettable happens. As they plan, they realize that their wedding budget isn’t that of George Clooney or Kim Kardashian. The wedding gowns don’t quite fit them like they fit a 6’1″ 120 pound runway model. Their normal wedding day isn’t quite panning out how all of the elaborate and expensive styled shoots they’re comparing it to on Pinterest seem to look. And suddenly that complete and utter joy, that cloud nine feeling, that “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff” fades away; the joy has been stolen. And that is unfortunate and just plain sad. One of the happiest times in someone’s life- their wedding day- has just been turned into a source of sadness and a feeling of inadequacy.

So please, let your wedding day be YOUR wedding day! Make it uniquely YOU. Enjoy planning. Step away from Pinterest. Appreciate the fact that there is only one YOUR wedding day! There is only one wedding day between you and your fiance. It shouldn’t be compared to anything else or anyone else’s wedding day. Take notice of the aspects of your wedding day that make it unique-  the people involved. Your family and your friends- they’re the most special part of the day. They’re the part of the day that you’ll remember. You’ll remember how you danced with your grandmother that day before she passed away a couple of years later. You’ll remember how silly your nephew looked as he tried repeatedly to do the worm. You’ll remember the toasts from your closest friends as they made you laugh so hard you thought champagne was going to come out your nose. You’ll remember how deliriously happy you felt as you kissed your new spouse and were announced as Mr. & Mrs. for the first time to a room full of ALL of your family and friends who were excitedly cheering you on with their faces full of smiles and happy tears. If you ask me, Kim K. & Martha Stewart got nothin’ on that.;)


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Krista & Jimmy are such a fun couple & their yellow lab Buddy is a ham for the camera! Their Fall engagement session was a lot of fun because they are so easy to talk to & down to earth. We all exchanged lots of Dumb & Dumber quotes throughout the night & Jimmy had us all cracking up at his astonishment at a hawk-squirrel fight that occurred a few feet away from us on the trail in the park. We can’t make these things up! The hawk was HUGE & the squirrel went scampering away thankfully.:)We got a lot of variety with their photos, which is always one of our goals for engagement sessions.
Buddy decided to spy on his humans while they canoodled. I can’t even with this bow tie! It is WAY too cute! Jimmy said, “I can’t believe my dog is wearing a bow tie.” Buddy rocked it.
Krista’s sweet mom made this “My humans are getting married” sign for them.Krista was a bridesmaid in Sarah & AJ’s wedding that we shot back in September. We got to meet her brother, who was also in the wedding. And we had already met her mom; we got to see her again at Sarah & AJ’s wedding.  Krista & Jimmy’s wedding day will be so much fun with all of those great people involved!I love their coordinating, but not matching outfits! They worked very well with the beautiful Fall colors & sunshine.They pretty much don’t stop smiling when they’re looking at each other. It’s the best.Hey Autumn! Thanks for being you! You’re pretty. These are two of the most considerate & most helpful people you’ll ever meet. . . and when you find out what they both do for a living you’ll know why- they’re both nurses.All of the smiles are just contagious!Leaves!We.Love.The.Sun.Their personalities are amazing.:)I guess I should give a little background for this one. Josh was talking about how we like to demonstrate poses for our couples rather than instructing people how to pose. We have a lot of reasons for this, but we find that it just works best for us this way. Then Josh admitted that he often demonstrates poses for senior girls when we photograph them although it’s a little difficult for him to “pop out his hip” sometimes due to his lack of curves. Thus, Jimmy demonstrated his best hip pop & I just so happened to shoot him at the exact right moment.:)
I call this photo Fall Explosion. Krista & Jimmy are in there. . . can you spot them?Cuteness. . . nothing but cuteness from these two!And we busted out the off-camera flash for a few photos.
Krista & Jimmy, we loved hanging out with you two & meeting Buddy! We’re so excited for your wedding in May! It’s going to be so much fun!

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If you’ve been keeping up with our blog lately, you have probably noticed that we’ve been photographing LOTS of weddings and LOTS of engagement sessions! It’s Fall, Y’all! I remember when I was growing up & when my older cousins were getting married that Summer weddings were THE thing. We’ve noticed a trend in our business since 2011, though. Fall weddings are VERY popular & book up just as quickly as our Summer dates! Fall engagement sessions are popular for so many reasons, too. A lot of couples who are getting married in the Summer choose to have their engagement photos taken in the Fall because it’s beautiful & because they want different seasons represented in their engagement & wedding photos for variety. No matter the reasons, we know one thing for certain- we’ve been really busy lately with weddings & engagement sessions & we’ve been LOVING it!

We’ve seen a lot of photographers posting this little photo:

october(Image Source)

We understand the sentiment & we think it’s a really cute design, but the thing is. . . we’ve never met an accountant who LOVES April or who gets up in the morning chipper that (s)he gets to stare at numbers for 12-16 hours a day because it’s crunch time for income taxes. We’ve never met an accountant whose passion in life it is to slough through 1040s and sort through receipts until the wee hours. The above analogy doesn’t carry through for us entirely. We understand that April is an accountant’s busy time & October is (one of ) a photographer’s busy times. That is true. But we like to think that we thrive in the busy times. We love getting to meet new clients. We adore hearing their stories. We can’t wait to hang out with our couples for their engagement sessions and get to know them better. We love making people feel important and pretty and allowing them to express their love in the most beautiful way. We can’t wait to give our clients their edited images and to see their reactions when they get to view their photos. We love getting to be a part of one of the biggest and most important days in others’ lives. Yes, we’re busy this month and don’t have as much free time as we sometimes do. But we consider that to be a GREAT thing! We’re so thankful for our clients, their loyalty to us, and their love for us!

So we’d like to create our own little meme for how we feel about Fall & October:


:)Okay, so the Richard Simmons spandex analogy might not exactly work either, but what we’re trying to say is that we love getting to experience such a busy October and we’re so thankful for all of our clients who make that possible! ♥

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Lauren & Jordan’s wedding day was full of smiles, fun, cute kids, gorgeous weather, elegant details, and lots of dancing! Their wedding ceremony was at St. Christine’s Parish and their reception was at The Lake Club. Everything came together beautifully & it was fun to be a part of the day!
Lauren & Jordan’s adorable daughter kept us all entertained as the ladies got ready for the day at the Dutch Village Inn in Columbiana.Josh was with Jordan & the groomsmen at the Holiday Inn in Boardman.The guys got ready pretty early and had a lot of time to spare so they went to Mill Creek Park for a photo shoot.:)The weather was downright perfect for a wedding that day.Lauren & Jordan did a “no look first look” before the ceremony. They didn’t see each other, but they got to hold hands and talk together.How adorable is this?!Their son Owen is a doll!And then it was time for the ceremony (and a few happy tears) to start.After the ceremony, some posed family photos, and a few quick bridal party photos, we headed to The Lake Club for Lauren & Jordan’s bride & groom session.They’re both hard working people who put their kids first. They’re a really great couple & now, as their daughter Keegan says, “They’re married!”:)
Stunning!Wellman’s Florist & Gift Shop was the florist for the day.Clarencedale Cake created the elegant wedding cake.Three flower girls under the age of three = fun!First dance time:Keegan wanted to join in, too.Lauren & her father:
And Jordan & his mother:Lauren’s sister Katelyn did a great job with her toast to the couple.And Jordan’s brother Cameron was a little goofy for his toast. Everyone loved it.D&R Audio kept the party going the entire night with great music. They also provided the great uplighting.This moment between the bride’s brother & his little family pretty much slayed me. So beautiful.Jordan was not shy about the garter retrieval.We snuck them away for a few minutes during the reception.Lauren & Jordan, thank you very much for sharing your wedding day with us! We’re so glad you chose us to document your wedding day memories! We wish you both (and Keegan & Owen) nothing but happiness and love for the rest of your lives together.

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