Junque in the Trunk | Small Business Showcase | Youngstown, OH Commercial Photography

Today’s blog is a Small Business Showcase that we’re really excited about because it is a business based upon embracing the creativity within all of us! Rebecca (Becky) McElroy is the owner and visionary behind this new business, Junque in the Trunk, that combines a fun hangout with friends, meeting new people, creativity, building something with one’s own hands, and a fun night out! We’re happy to share just a bit about her & her small local business on our blog today!  She let us crash one of her crafting classes hosted at The Coffee Stop in East Palestine, Ohio, and we had a lot of fun hanging out, taking photos, and witnessing the participants have a blast while creating their handmade signs! We asked Becky a few questions about Junque in the Trunk.

What is your business all about?

“Creating, crafting & inspiring. We want to ‘add a little sparkle.’ Also, giving back & small business and community support. There is something so special about handmade.”

What are your business’ goals?

“I dream of having my own studio where you can come craft, a space filled with inspiration. A studio to craft, create & shop a little.”

What’s a typical day in the life of Becky of Junque in the Trunk?

 “Many people don’t know, but I do have 4 small kids, ages 2 years to 9 years. So my days are filled with messes, giggles & laundry (which I could do without that part). I love when I can sneak away and blog or creating something special for someone.”

Why did you decide to start your crafting classes?

“I am definitely an ‘accidental’ crafter, designer & entrepreneur … 10 years ago I would have never dreamed I would be doing something like this & seriously labeled myself as ‘not the creative type.’ It wasn’t until I had numerous failed sewing attempts & 2 little toddlers by my side that I tapped into a new creativity and one thing led to another. I ran a small sewing business from my home; it started at my dining room table- designing and creating custom children’s clothing. Over the years I have helped many mommies like me, through emails and messages on Facebook, tap into their creativity and even encouraged a few to start their own Etsy shops. There really is so much talent out there; it’s just a matter of tapping into it. I started my blog as a creative outlet & way to connect with customers locally & help others. Sewing kids clothes full time wasn’t easy with 4 kids, so last fall I started blogging, not really knowing what I was doing … but I have a real passion for helping and teaching others. I always knew while I was sewing that I wanted to teach DIY of some sort, it was just a matter of it all falling into place & God’s timing. Everything I have made, customers who had purchased my clothing, small business owners who had carried my product lead me up to this. I am very humbled by the wonderful response to the DIY workshops.”

What inspires you?

“My husband says creating inspires me; one thing leads to another & something even bigger and more special. Inspiration is everywhere & you never know when it might hit, it could be a certain paint color, fabric in a pillow or something someone says… you say, ‘That’s it!’ & have to make it right then, just go with it. I have a long list of people who inspire me on a daily bases; many are moms in business, just like me. All they do & create gives me courage.  My faith inspires me probably the most, as well as creating, teaching, & helping… it’s just a part of who I am.”

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting your blog & teaching crafting classes?

“This is a really hard question because you want to give an honest and true answer. I wish I could say it’s easy peasy, but everything has its challenges.  When you are in business you are always growing and learning (same could be said about life), it’s how you handle the situations that arise and grow from it. I must say 99.9% has all been wonderful. I think in ‘blog land’ some people forget there is a person behind the computer writing and sharing; you have to brush off the negative but listen to the constructive part too and grow. Even though I face challenges, God seems to always put the right people in my life at the right time; it all kinda just has been falling into place.”

What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting your new business venture?

“Seeing what everyone makes! I love seeing their creativity and fun they are all having at the classes. It’s really something special. The best part is you get to take it home and hang it, that feeling of ‘Wow! I made that.‘”

Tell us something fun about yourself:

“Well you already know I have 4 kids, but I eat gluten free, love coffee, went to school to be a teacher, & married my best friend who is a football coach.:)

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“Painting, hands down! Don’t get me wrong I like to sew, but it’s the end product you get with sewing I like more. I love everything about the painting process; from mixing colors to a way a room feels with a fresh coat or bringing new life to an old piece of furniture. Now days I am tapping into a new creativity- my home, learning my style and turning curbside finds (literally) into special oak pieces for our home. I read design books because nothing beats turning the glossy pages of a book that inspires you. I also love reading magazines on the iPad, like Cottage Living, Flea Market Style & I dream of having a magazine-worthy home one project at a time.”

What’s your advice for people who don’t think they’re creative or crafty?

“You are! You just have to tap into it & find that special gift you have.”

Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share about Junque in the Trunk classes or your preparation for the classes?

“Well the interesting part is that it’s a lot of prep for one class & a family affair. My father-in-law has always made sure I have the right ‘big girl’ tools like a drill & a jig saw but then he has helped me cut, prep & find a way to make my crazy ideas work. My son TD helps me nail signs for classes. My oldest, Libby, helps me design. My husband helps with the carrying and loading, errand running, & all the other fun madness that comes along the way. My mother-in-law helps paint; I am constantly repainting the walls in my house. She painted almost every room in the house when we moved in! My parents & uncle, even though they aren’t nearby, help out in many ways. They are such an encouragement, and they’re always willing to take the kids for a weekend.”

The particular class that Josh & I crashed to photograph was all about rustic homemade signs. The class participants got to choose their quote for their sign ahead of time for the class when they signed up. Becky got all of the lettering prepared before the class, brought all of the sign-making materials, and then instructed and assisted everyone as they created their signs for their homes. It was a lot of fun to watch as everyone created their signs; they were all unique and very pretty!

Becky administers a Facebook group for those interested in participating in a crafting class. She posts in the group about the upcoming crafting classes & what the creations will be for each class. Participants then sign up for the class and make any initial preparations for their crafts beforehand (like choosing a saying for a sign, for example). The crafts made at each class are different every time so participants can come to many Junque in the Trunk classes if they’d like to. Their whole home can be decorated in homemade crafts if they’re feeling ambitious.:)I heard from many of the participants that the class was one of the most fun nights out they’ve had in a long time. A couple of the ladies at the class we crashed told Becky to have one every week instead of only two a month because they NEEDED the night away from home. ;) 

This glitter was the prettiest glitter I’ve ever seen!

The finished products were all SOOOOOO awesome!:)And it’s very kind of The Coffee Stop to allow Becky to host her classes there. Everyone gets to enjoy a yummy beverage while there, too.

When we showed up to photograph the class, Becky met us with a huge smile & our very own sign that she had made for us! We were so surprised & we LOVE the sign she made! It says “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”:-DWe have it displayed in our living room beside a few of our wedding images. It matches perfectly & she didn’t even know what our living room looked like . . . pretty cool! Becky is a sweetheart, so very creative, and someone we wish much success to in her business! Plus, her kids are the cutest! Here’s one of them having fun at a wedding that we photographed in 2012. . . adorable! I think he enjoyed the wedding cake. (We hadn’t met Becky yet & didn’t know that this was her son, but we have since learned that fun, little fact:)).


Seriously! How stinkin’ cute is this?! Thank you so very much for making this for us, Becky!  It was very unexpected and much appreciated!

As if there’s not enough to love about Becky already, something more that we love about her and Junque in the Trunk is that she is an avid supporter of other local small businesses! She buys her craft supplies locally whenever possible & we LOVE that!

Here’s how to find out more information about Junque in the Trunk & how to be a class participant:

Junque in the Trunk blog: http://junque-in-the-trunk.blogspot.com/

“Like” Junque in the Trunk’s Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/junkinthetrunkgirls

If you’re local to the Youngstown, Ohio area and you’re interested in participating in a Junque in the Trunk class, request to be a group member here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/369090039898683/

Thanks so much for reading!

If you’re new to our blog, we’re a husband & wife wedding photography team based in the Columbiana, Ohio area who travels internationally to photograph weddings. You can call or email us to talk photography or to nominate a small business to be featured: 330.651.4849 or info@menningphotographic.com

See our recent work & personal musings here:
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Menning Photographic Rebrand Launch | Coffee Shop Gift Card Giveaway! | Youngstown, Ohio & Destination Wedding Photographers

Hi Everyone! We’re so ecstatic to announce the launch of our rebrand today! This has been in the works for quite awhile & we’re so very happy that we finally get to share our new brand with you. Thanks for stopping by and please take a look around the new website!

We changed our branding to more appropriately reflect our unique style and our personalities. You’ll notice that there’s a lot more personal detail on our website now; that’s because we LOVE getting to know each & every couple whose wedding we photograph. Our couples do not just meet us on their wedding day, engage in a business transaction, and then send us on our merry way . . . no, no!:)We get to know our couples from our initial meeting when we hear all about how they got engaged and how their wedding planning is going. After that, we get to know them even better during their engagement session. Beyond that, we love hanging out with them & grabbing dinner or coffee. This is not a business transaction to us; it’s a friendship that we hope will last long beyond the wedding day! We want to know how our couples interact with one another, the unique qualities of their relationship, and the details of their family lives. We always want our couples to feel confident that we are supportive of their marriage well beyond their wedding day & that we are in this business to impact lives in as many ways as possible- not just to take photos on wedding days! This approach to our business is what allows us to create lasting, timeless art on wedding days that our couples cherish and adore. It’s why we love what we do! We hope our rebrand reflects those qualities! Norris (below right) is licking his chops at the thought of the giveaway we’re about to announce .  .  .:-D

rebranding launch

We’re so excited to share this launch with you that we decided to have a giveaway on the blog to make everything even more exciting! There are a few ways you can enter to win.

You can win YOUR CHOICE of one (1) of the following:

A $25.00 gift card to Generations Coffee House. (We HIGHLY recommend this choice to locals in the Columbiana area!)

A $25.00 gift card to Starbucks.

A $25.00 gift card to Dunkin Donuts.

Enter to win YOUR CHOICE of a coffee shop gift card by using the voting widget below (may not work in Internet Explorer.) The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, April 25, 2014.

*PLEASE NOTE: the voting widget below may take up to a minute to load and may not work in Internet Explorer. The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and will be contacted directly via email.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you very much for checking out our rebranded website! Please feel free to poke around in the Our Story & Meet Us sections to find out a bit more about us & our vision for our business. Good luck in the giveaway!:)

Danielle & Josh

  • April 23, 2014 - 6:10 pm

    Vickie Mason - Look forward to seeing the photos you post. So fresh and uniqueReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:20 pm

    Angella Sell - Love the rebranding! :) ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 9:20 pm

    Kim - You guys are the best!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 9:32 pm

    Menning Photographic - Thank you all so much! We’re so excited about all of it!ReplyCancel

Delvaux Wedding & Event Planning | Small Business Showcase | Youngstown, OH Commercial Photography

Today on our blog is a Small Business Showcase that our clients and other engaged couples who are planning a wedding can truly benefit from! We were so happy to meet Kristen of Delvaux Wedding & Event Planning because she shares with us a LOVE of weddings! She’s an event planning guru & she’s just the right amount of kind, caring, & sweet AND knowledgeable, skilled, and organized! We had a lot of fun with her during her headshot session at Poland Library. We’re so excited to share a little bit about what she does as a wedding & event planner so that you can get to know her and what her small local business is all about!  You should definitely check out her website & Facebook page for wedding inspiration, planning info, and all kinds of ideas related to weddings!

What is your business all about?

“Delvaux Wedding and Event Planning is a woman-owned business that provides services including proposal planning, day-of-coordination, full wedding planning and everything in between! The majority of the brides I work with do a lot of the planning themselves, but would like the knowledge and guidance of a professional along the way. In addition, having a wedding planner allows them to relax and enjoy their big day once it arrives. I make the wedding day easier for the bride and groom, the wedding vendors, the bridal party and the guests in attendance. We also offer corporate event planning.”

What are your business’ goals?

“Our main goal is to offer modern and creative wedding and event services all while stretching a dollar without the guests ever knowing it.”

What’s a typical day in the life of Kristen of Delvaux Wedding & Event Planning?
“A typical day for me is made up of a lot of lists! When I am smack dab in the middle of planning a wedding, my tasks can vary depending on where in the planning process we are at any given time. A lot of my time is spent sending information over to the couple whether it’s vendor recommendations, budgeting information, creative ideas, contracts, reminders, etc. In addition to the planning tasks at hand, I usually set aside one day a week to reach out to newly engaged couples. I also like to follow up with brides I have recently met either in person or through social media. I research any recent wedding news or trends and pass that information along through social media. I am also continuing to build my relationships with other wedding vendors so I spend a good amount of my time updating my vendor database and meeting with them.”

Why did you decide to start a wedding planning business?
“I fell in love with wedding planning while planning my own wedding in 2008. Around that time I was also in the marketing industry and planning corporate events. It became clear to me that creativity and time and money management were my strengths and since I loved planning events, wedding planning seemed to be a perfect fit!”

What inspires you?

“I think one of the best things about planning an event is that you can find inspiration anywhere! I find a lot of inspiration for color choices from fashion and interior design. (You should see my house–nearly every room is a different color and some of my friends and family thought I was crazy when I was choosing colors and matching teal and lime green, but it all works!) And now with a lot of the popular country and rustic themes, inspiration can definitely be found in nature. If you take the time to stop and look at what God has created, you can’t help but feel inspired!”

What’s your advice for people who don’t think they can afford a wedding planner?
“In order to have a stress-free wedding day, hiring a wedding planner is essential, so it is definitely money well spent. I offer services at various price points, so you only pay for what you want and need. In addition, it is possible that a wedding planner can actually save you money because of the relationships they have with other wedding vendors. The savings you can get by booking your other vendors through a wedding planner may actually pay for the wedding planner in the end.”

Tell us something fun about yourself:
 What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I have a twin brother! We also have three older sisters and my family is always growing. When I am able to relax, I love spending time with all of them and their families, my parents and of course, my husband!”

What do you do as a day-of coordinator?

“About two weeks prior to the wedding, I provide a full wedding day timeline to the couple and wedding vendors. I also attend and direct the rehearsal (usually along with the officiant). On the day of the wedding, I am the direct point of contact for all vendors, family and bridal party members. I pin on the boutonnieres, help the bride and bridesmaids with their dresses, ensure family and bridal party members are where they need to be when they need to be there. I serve as the bride’s personal assistant for the day, so any other additional tasks that she needs done are discussed and arranged ahead of time.”

Do you have any advice for brides currently planning their wedding day?
“It sounds cliche, but it is so true–stay focused on the true purpose of your wedding day. You are getting married because you found the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with and that’s pretty special!”


Do you have any fun wedding planning or wedding day stories to share?
“The most recent wedding I did was for such a fun group of people. There was a lot of laughing even during the rehearsal and prior to the ceremony starting. Once the couple was pronounced husband and wife, ‘Everybody Dance Now’ came on and the bride started doing the robot right from the altar. The entire bridal party danced back down the aisle and just when you thought it was over, the pastor followed down the aisle with her own moves!”

Kristen, thanks so much for sharing a bit with us about you & your business! We’re confident that the couples whose weddings we photograph and other engaged couples would definitely benefit from your assistance with planning their wedding & with day-of coordinating.

A ton of our brides & grooms are SUPER busy people & a lot of them are planning a Youngstown wedding from out of town or even out of state. If you’re curious about wedding planning, event planning, or day-of coordinating, don’t hesitate to contact Kristen of Delvaux Wedding & Event Planning.

Here are the details about how to get into contact with Kristen:
Website: http://www.delvauxweddings.com/
Contact Form: http://www.delvauxweddings.com/#!contact/c24vq
Phone: 330-770-7667
Email: kristen@delvauxweddings.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristenDelvauxWeddingEventPlanning
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DelvauxWeddings
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kristendelvaux/

If you’re new to our blog, we’re a husband & wife wedding photography team based in the Columbiana, Ohio area who travels internationally to photograph weddings. You can call or email us to talk photography or to nominate a small business to be featured: 330.651.4849 or info@menningphotographic.com

See our recent work & personal musings here:
Facebook | Pinterest G + | Twitter | Instagram

CONNECT 2014 Marriage Retreat | WinShape Retreat | Mt. Berry, GA

Hey Guys!  Josh & I were so blessed this past week to have gotten the opportunity to invest time and energy into our marriage at CONNECT Retreat in Rome, Georgia at WinShape Retreat. You KNOW we love weddings, but we hope that through reading our blog you’ve come to realize that we value marriage even more. It’s truly a beautiful thing & one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s why we LOVE to invest in ours.

We would love to share just a little bit about our experience at CONNECT. We arrived to Georgia on Sunday evening and the retreat didn’t start until Monday afternoon so we had some time to hang out & Josh really wanted frozen yogurt from Jandy’s, which is what we enjoyed last year before attending the retreat. We have now perpetuated a few traditions since this was our second time at CONNECT.  Check out the first time we went by clicking HERE.


We sat at the same table outside to enjoy our frozen treats and decided to take a self-portrait just like we did the previous year. The only difference this year was that our yogurt portions were MUCH smaller this year than last. Enjoying small treats every now & again is what keeps us sane. Indulging too much just makes us feel icky.

We grabbed some subs to go at a nearby sandwich shop & headed to the park. We strolled around the same park last year, too. When in Rome (GA). . .

The weather was gorgeous that day & the rest of our time at the retreat. Josh got quite the sunburn! Our skin hasn’t experienced such exposure to the sun for seven months!

We were also extremely happy to see blooming trees and green grass, as this particular Ohio Winter has been rather brutal.



When we arrived to CONNECT at WinShape, we were greeted by the lovely speakers, given big hugs, and handed our swag. The emotions that swept over us just by being at the WinShape campus again were unexpected. After the amazing experience that we had last year gave us pretty high expectations for this year, and we were blown away again. We forged such great friendships with our small group members & with others that we didn’t want to leave when the time came. We felt like we were exactly where God wanted us to be.

WinShape treats guests VERY well; the employees there are all very accommodating and exceedingly kind. The current housing used to be dairy barns, but have since been renovated into very nice and comfy guest rooms.




Our fun t-shirts for the retreat were designed by Jeffrey Woods, one of the speakers.

We also received a card with heartfelt words from Zach & Jody. It was a nice way to arrive to the retreat. . . feeling so very welcomed.

We all ate dinner together in the dining hall (Chick-fil-A owns the retreat so the food is tasty) and then gathered for our very first session. The CONNECT Retreat is a marriage retreat for husband and wife creatives in business together & it’s based on Biblical principles for us to apply to our lives. Before each session, we got to connect with God by singing praise and worship songs as a group; Zach Gray, Katelyn James Alsop, and Nathan Mace all contributed their musical talents & this time was unbelievably uplifting and meaningful.

Throughout our time at CONNECT, we really didn’t take very many photographs because we wanted to unplug, to truly experience life in the present, and to connect with each other and with God. Those were our main priorities so our camera didn’t leave its bag in our room very often. The main speakers at the event this year were Zach & Jody Gray, Michael & Katelyn (James) Alsop, and Jeffrey & Julia Woods. Since this was the second year for the retreat, they also gave an opportunity to five returning couples to share with the rest of the group one key factor that has strengthened their marriage. These sessions were only five minutes each, but they all held so much helpful & uplifting material.

Allen & Carol Adams spoke during the 5 Minute Marriage session on Having New Firsts to Keep your Marriage Fresh. They are such a sweet & compassionate couple & we were glad to get to talk with them.

We were really excited to be able to share our talk on Healthy Living for a Healthy Marriage. (Thanks to Danny Yang for taking these photos for us).


Sabrina Fields took this photo and the one below it for us.

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014
Another photo from Danny. . .



Every photographer in the room raised their hand in response to my question, “Who has shot a wedding day and then felt like they got hit by a truck the next day?”:)It was really fun being speakers & we’re so thankful we got the opportunity to share about how exercising together and sharing the common goal of living a healthy lifestyle has brought us closer together as husband and wife and also closer to God who has blessed us with only one body that we feel we have a responsibility to respect and treat well.

One day during the retreat, we all got to participate in “experiential activities,” which were a lot of fun. The experiential activity photos below were all taken by Sabrina Fields. Sabrina and her husband Ben were in our small group & we were so glad God placed them into our lives this week. Her blog about CONNECT is HERE. Check it out!

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

View More: http://sabrinafields.pass.us/connect-2014

WinShape is a gorgeous place to be for a few days a year.

We REALLY want some of these comfortable rocking chairs at our house! (Not to mention the 80 degree and sunny weather!)


At the end of the retreat, any couple who wanted to share with everyone how God worked in their lives & what they learned & how they had changed during their time there, had that opportunity. This was certainly one of the most powerful moments of the entire retreat. A couple who labeled themselves as very near divorce and who had been separated prior to coming to the retreat had barely made it to the retreat due to financial issues. However, they prayed about it and the wife pleaded with God to allow them the money necessary to attend because she believed it was the last hope for their marriage. A group of friends raised the money for them to be able to attend. While at the retreat, their marriage was restored. They told us all that God had worked in their marriage during the retreat and that the husband would be moving back in to the family home when they returned there after the retreat. Witnessing this moment of prayer for their marriage and for the challenges that they’ll inevitably face once they returned home was extremely profound.

We’re so very thankful to Zach & Jody for organizing this retreat. Like we said in our blog about the retreat last year, their hearts are so sincere & they’ve helped many more people than they know by doing all that they do.

It was so difficult to say goodbye to friends! Kelly & Loni are so fun & I really want to visit them sometime! I wish they lived closer to us than Nebraska!:(We wanted to talk to them for hours.

Ben & Sabrina live in South Carolina. Like I said previously, we’re thankful God put us in each others’ lives. Their smiles can brighten anyone’s day, but one of the best things about them is their love for Jesus & their courage to speak out for Him in their lives & their business.

Maison & Caleb were “the engaged couple” at the retreat. They are so sweet, funny, and kind. I know God has big things in store for their marriage and I’m so excited to see their wedding photos come August! I also can’t wait to see photos when she gets her entire arm inked. These two are from Wisconsin.

Amber & Chad REALLY fired us up in a lot of ways & challenged us. They also gave a Five Minute Marriage talk. Their talk was all about listening to God’s plan for your life & obeying it. We’re all uniquely designed by God & He has a unique plan for each of our lives. We’re getting started on the book that Amber & Chad recommended to us & we couldn’t be more stoked (and, to be honest, slightly nervous) to start this journey! They’re also from Wisconsin; seems like we should road trip across the U.S. to visit everyone!

We met Laura & Danny at CONNECT 2013 and couldn’t wait to see them again this year! Their openness to others & their love shines through in their sincerity & happiness. We loved chatting with them at the bonfires at night & getting to connect (hehe) with them again this year! Also, we really need to invade their home in Florida; they grow kale in their tower garden that is bigger than their heads! Yum!

After the retreat, we just had to stop by the She-Wolf in Rome, Georgia. We saw the “real” She-Wolf in Rome, Italy this past Fall & thought it was cute that Rome, GA also has a She-Wolf.

You can read about the She-Wolf if you are interested here.

After the She-Wolf photo-op, we got to stop and grab a sandwich at Jamwich, a small local sandwich shop in Rome.

Here’s my sandwich: The Swagger. It was, HANDS-DOWN, the BEST sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m not exaggerating. It had caramel-almond butter, fresh local honey, bacon, and bananas. WHOA!

Josh went with The Drewberry.

The music playing in the shop was eclectic and really great. The songs we heard while there ranged from classic 70s rock to modern hits from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.





CONNECT 2014 was a huge blessing & we were so happy we got to attend and were sad to leave! We’re excited to see what God does in our lives & how what we learned can be implemented into our business.

Check out our recent work & some little snippets of our personal lives here:
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  • April 8, 2014 - 2:45 pm

    Zach & Jody - Wow! What a look at the retreat and what a blessing to have you guys there. So glad we got to hang and spend time together! -ZReplyCancel

    • April 8, 2014 - 9:10 pm

      Menning Photographic - Thank you Zach & Jody for organizing the retreat! Your love for God and others truly shows with everything you do! We can’t wait to see you guys again!ReplyCancel

Leah & Ian Wedding | Duquense University | Duquesne Chapel of the Holy Spirit | LeMont Restaurant | Pittsburgh, PA Military Wedding Photography

All of you blog readers are in for a TREAT today! Leah’s & Ian’s wedding was an unbelievably amazing day full of love, happiness, friendship, laughter, closeness, God, and fun! We had a wonderful time being a part of the wedding day & couldn’t have asked for a kinder, more welcoming couple with wonderful, supportive family members & friends. It was the perfect combination to create a wedding day to remember for generations.

I met Leah & her bridesmaids at her parents’ home in Steubenville. Her sister, Sarah, beautifully pregnant with Leah’s first nephew (the first boy in the family for a LONG time; Leah has four sisters and zero brothers), selflessly dedicated herself to doing makeup for the entire bridal party. She did a fabulous job.


Leah was full of smiles and laughter the entire day. I won’t belabor the point, but there were a couple of details about the wedding day that didn’t go exactly right and didn’t comport with the vision Leah had anticipated. She brushed them off with a smile & didn’t worry about those small details. She was excited to marry Ian that day & the rest would work itself out.


Her mother softly exclaimed to Leah as she helped her don her dress: “You’re absolutely gorgeous, Leah. The Lord has been very kind to you.” 


Undeniably breathtaking!



The glances exchanged between a daughter and her mother on a wedding day communicate volumes without a single word.


Her sisters, childhood friend, college friend, father, and grandmother all gasped as they saw Leah emerge from her dressing room and walk down the stairs in her gown. 


Meanwhile, Josh was with First Lieutenant Ian at Duquesne Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Pittsburgh. He was also all smiles getting ready for the wedding ceremony.



I love these shots Josh captured before Leah arrived to the church for the first look.


This moment. . . oh this moment. It definitely ranks up there amongst my all-time favorite Menning Photographic wedding day moments! I walked out of the church with Leah & when we emerged around the corner of the building and she caught a glimpse of Ian standing with his back to her waiting for her to arrive, she was giddy, elated, and ecstatic; I could almost feel the excitement radiating from her voice and her smile. She said, “Oh, no way. There he is!” in a half-whisper. Josh met us at the corner of the church building and told Leah how to make her approach.:)This first look is BEYOND sweet, emotional, and an absolutely amazing memory that these two will share for a lifetime. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:









One of my favorite aspects of this wedding day in particular is Leah & Ian’s story. These two kids have known each other since middle school. They were friends, but they never dated. Their families knew each other; their mothers prayed that they’d end up together. It was one of those things- so many people around them knew they were a great match, but they wanted to remain friends. 


The event that eventually brought these two together was a sad one: Leah’s family pet passed away & Ian was there to comfort her. They realized that they clicked as a couple & that was that. Then God called Leah’s family from Raleigh, North Carolina (where Leah & Ian had both grown up) to Steubenville, Ohio, where Leah’s mother would eventually get a professorial position at a nearby University. After school, Ian went the Army route & Leah & Ian did the long-distance thing.

Leading up to their wedding day, Leah lived in NYC & Ian lived near Seattle. They went months without seeing each other in person, which made this first look moment even more like a fairytale. And now these two will get to be together through happy & sad events alike, to comfort each other, to make each other laugh, to lift one another up, and to build a family and a life together.



Josh & I had scouted out the Duquesne campus and the surrounding area the week prior to Leah & Ian’s wedding day; we always value preparedness and having a plan for the wedding day. We were ready for whatever the weather would throw our way & we were even ready for the craziness of a 150,000 strong St. Patrick’s Day Parade invading the city of Pittsburgh on Leah & Ian’s wedding day! That event didn’t disturb us at all.:)

Um . . . can we just pause the blog for one quick second to admire the fact that Leah is ONE GORGEOUS BRIDE?! 






Her veil was her Something Borrowed. 


The sun was shining, the skies were a lovely shade of blue, and the wind was intense. Overall, it was a fantastic March day for a wedding.



Following the first look, we shot some wedding party photos. Then there was time for freshening up, prayer, and reflection prior to the personal & heartfelt wedding ceremony.





Ian’s parents walking down the aisle to witness their only son be married.


Those moments just before the bride & her father walk down the aisle are so full of love & emotions.


Leah’s beautiful mother beaming with pride & love:






This is a grand space.




Leah’s father, a Deacon at the Chapel, had the pleasure and honor of performing the homily. It was, thus, comical, personal, and significant at the same time. 




Leah’s adorable niece enjoyed the wedding ceremony, too.




The saber arch awaited them at the end of the aisle during the recessional:


Some quick family formals took place, as the Chapel was triple booked that day. We had to act quickly, but no worries. We had the family grouping details worked out in advance of the day & can swiftly move from one group to the next with organization and ease. Family formals don’t have to be stressful & do not have to take an hour & don’t let anyone tell you differently.:)Just make sure your photographers have a game plan for the day mapped out with you beforehand and don’t forget to tell the family members to stay after the ceremony. 


Gorgeous sisters:



The wedding reception took place at LeMont Restaurant on Mount Washington, just a short drive across the bridge and up a steep hill. The yellow reception details were so pretty & they matched beautifully with the yellow bridges of Pittsburgh that appeared in the background of a few shots. 


Fenoglietto’s Wedding Cakes designed this beauty.


Leah & Ian made their grand entrance as First Lieutenant & Mrs.!



Elise, Leah’s Maid of Honor & childhood friend from Raleigh, gave the cutest speech that included a description of her & Leah’s love for Playmobil figures as children. She explained that they always loved to pretend that their toys were having weddings & then she busted out the bride & groom Playmobil figurines for Leah & Ian to use as a wedding cake topper.




The Best Man, Scott, shared a funny story about camping with Ian & the pyromaniacal antics that were included.:)Childhood friends are like no other friends.



Kelly, Leah’s college friend, had the entire crowd cackling and guffawing throughout her speech about how Leah is always prepared (even for strange situations in trailer parks behind an above ground pool retailer), but she also left room for tears as she described how happy she is for Leah & Ian.



Ian’s father mentioned how the power of a woman’s prayer truly works, as his wife & Leah’s mother prayed that his son & his now-daughter-in-law would end up together.


Leah’s dad had the entire crowd toast “to six grandchildren.”




Their first dance was incredibly romantic & full of beautiful moments that stitched together to create a few amazing minutes of their life that they’re sure to remember forever. Our goal as photographers on wedding days is to make sure that couples can look back through their collection of wedding images & remember exactly how they felt in those moments. We pray Leah & Ian can do just that.







Leah’s parents gazing lovingly at the newlyweds as they swayed to “Gone, Gone, Gone” by Philip Phillips; the LOVE between these families was palpable the entire day.




Leah & her father danced to “Butterfly Kisses.” Although I only spent a day with this father & his five daughters, I could tell that he loved each one uniquely & made each daughter feel special in her own way. This father-daughter dance was a lovely moment to witness.







The love Ian’s mom has for her son is apparent to anyone.




At the end of the mother-son dance, Ian’s mom welcomed Leah’s mom to share a moment with her new son.



Then things got slightly frightening.;)Now THAT’S a knife.





These two newlyweds are one of our 2013 wedding couples. We actually met Leah & Ian at their wedding reception & that’s how we got to shoot this wedding. We were SO happy to get to see them again. They traveled all the way from Texas for the wedding and were both looking great in their Army blues.


The anniversary dance was adorable, as always. Leah’s grandparents were the longest married couple.




The dance floor was packed all night & the DJ, Bob Hartnett of All Pro USA, did a great job playing music everyone could enjoy and keeping the crowd engaged.



Leah’s college theater friends are a little shy.;)










Everyone in every age group had an absolutely wonderful time. This was a wedding reception to remember!







The Pittsburgh skyline as viewed from Mount Washington at night makes for a pretty decent backdrop for some romantic & beautiful end of the night shots, eh? :-D 


Leah & Ian are a gorgeous couple, definitely hand-picked for one another, and we had an absolutely amazing day with them on their wedding day!

Leah & Ian, we are so blessed to have met you both. Thanks for choosing us to photograph your wedding day! We pray that you enjoy a lifetime of love, laughter, and closeness.

If you’re interested in talking with us about your wedding day photos, please call or email us: 330.651.4849 or info@menningphotographic.com. We would love to hear about your wedding day!

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