Over the weekend Jessica and Lex were married-! You may remember these two from their second day of Fall Engagement Session at their alma mater: The University of Notre Dame. These two are from states bordering each other: Lex from east Pennsylvania right near the coast and Jessica from mid-Ohio. Lex is originally from Philadelphia and Jessica hails from Columbus, Ohio about 7.5 hours away from one another, so these two meeting and starting to date in northwest Indiana in college seems to have been destiny. These two got engaged over a year ago while walking on campus at Notre Dame (since they stuck around to work in South Bend, Indiana after university), so it’s fitting that they wed in the city/ state that has played such a key role in their relationship! These two love local restaurants, cooking, travel, the tech industry, the theatre, NPR, etc. and are just a very fun, laid back, intelligent duo. Their choice of the Morris Performing Arts Center/ the Palais Royale was so fitting for their wedding day and was just as beautiful and grand as these two.
For those who may not know, the Morris Performing Art Center and Palais Royale are historic venues in South Bend, Indiana being one of only two in the entire nation of combination theatre/ ballroom venues left (established in 1922). It is of the Spanish Renaissance Revival style and stands a whopping 5 stories (with 4 stories of it being used by Jessica, Lex, and their bridal party on their wedding day). Big acts such as The Book of Mormon, other Broadway shows, and grand orchestras grace the stage of this beautiful venue. On the second Floor of the Morris Performing Arts Center on the right is a balcony and on the left doorways lead into the reception hall: Palais Royale! You may remember both of these spaces from past weddings that we’ve captured. Sometimes cocktail hour is held on the first floor of the Morris Performing Arts Center in the main grand walkway that patrons of the arts stand in before heading into the theatre (like during Caitlin & Joe’s wedding), while other times like during Jessica & Lex’s wedding the cocktail hour is held on the second floor around the balcony (since there are actual formal theatre drink booths up there). The reception area to the left of this balcony is the Palais Royale itself. Jenny actually attended high school proms there back in the early 2000s since it was one of the very few formal venues in South Bend back then (along with the Century Center) and had just been restored. Palais itself even still has its own large stage to host live bands (that surely was home to big bands playing for crowds in the early 1900s). To this day the Palais hosts a plethora of events such as massive culinary dinners, graduations, and more and the Morris Performing Arts Center has performances and events daily/ nightly.
Anyway, onto Lex & Jessica’s winter wedding day of March 8th, 2019-! With their families in from Pennsylvania and Ohio, these two started their wedding day separately: Lex, his groomsmen, and family at their home just blocks away and Jessica and her bridesmaids & family at The Morris Performing Arts Center/ Palais Royale. Jessica and her bridesmaids arrived very relaxed and got started in on a little game while Jenny headed off to take photos of Jessica’s gown, shoes, purse, and wedding invitations! Jason headed in to their home blocks away and began capturing Lex and the men finishing up getting dressed and ready.
Once finished with some detail photos, it was time for Jessica to get her wedding gown on. Jessica’s mom helped secure the back of her dress and little adjustments were made before the big reveal to her bridesmaids!
Blocks away at their home, the guys couldn’t figure out how to tie their bowties, so Lex threw a YouTube video up on the projector to see if they couldn’t all figure it out. It turns out that Lex was the only one who really got it, so he started the rounds of helping tie everyone’s bowties! Fun fact: Jessica literally MADE the bowties by hand!
Meanwhile on the second floor of the Morris Performing Arts Center Jessica had a dress reveal for her bridesmaids! They were excited and clapped in appreciation of her beautiful final look and she gave them a large group hug.
A few blocks away, Lex and his guys began their trek across the river to the Morris Performing Arts Center/ Palais Royale. Jason captured them trekking across the bridge, had them stop for some groom and groomsmen photos, and then the guys headed just steps from the wedding venue to a local favorite of Jessica & Lex: Cinco 5. There they enjoyed a drink before heading into the below-ground floor of the wedding venue.
Shortly after we captured their bride and bridesmaid photos in a couple spots, Jessica did a quick emotional reveal of her fully dressed to her dad (as she stood on the balcony above the ceremony spot where he was). All of the women and Jessica’s dad then headed into the reception hall attached (Palais Royale) to wait to head down to the ceremony spot on the first floor.
After spending their time in the below-ground floor, Lex and the groomsmen walked up one winding round set of stairs to wait to be announced into the ceremony. Once announced they made their way out and the few feet to the front of the ceremony between pillars to wait for the bridesmaids to come down the aisle.
Soon after the grandparents, parents, bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearer made their way up the aisle preceding Jessica sometime around 4:30 pm. Once a 4th song started it was time for Jessica and her dad to make their way down the aisle as Lex looked on with anticipation.
The ceremony was beautiful with natural light shining through the many glass doors in on the right side of the room. It was a short ceremony being only about 15 minutes long (opposed to the hour-long Catholic ceremonies that we often capture), but absolutely beautiful .
Soon it was time for Jessica and Lex to exchange rings. Their parents looked on proudly as their marriage was sealed!
Post wedding ceremony it was time for cocktail hour, so everyone headed up the next set of gorgeously wide, winding steps to the second floor balcony.
While everyone was enjoying cocktail hour we captured about 30 group family photos that Jessica and Lex had chosen right there in between the reception hall doors and the attendees!
After family portraits we made sure to capture individual photos of each bridesmaid and Jessica (since Jason had already captured individual photos of Lex and each groomsman) up in the 4th side of the balcony, then we all headed outside for bridal party photos!
What just the week before called for snowy weather then possibly rain turned out to be a gorgeously sunny day: 40 degrees and the warmest it’d been in weeks! Once outside we captured the bridal party in two different arrangements in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center before capturing some solo photos of Jessica and Lex outside together.
Earlier in the day amidst a couple hours of ceremony preparations we’d already individually captured the bridesmaids together with Jessica and the groomsmen with Lex (luckily since we somehow lost about 20 to 30 minutes that we had designated for the bridal party and couple photos of Jessica and Lex).
During portraits and videography, the bridal party cheered as strangers drove past and honked/ congratulated Jessica and Lex on their wedding!
We dismissed the bridal party so that they could go enjoy cocktail hour and then we focused our attention on just Jessica & Lex. These two were just wed and immediately took group photos with about 35 different groups, so it was time for some solo time between the two of them.
With their names and wedding date scrolling on the marquee on the Morris, these two relished the last of bit of sunlight as the sun set on their wedding day.
Quickly with sunset it was getting closer to the time of being announced into the reception, so we captured some last portraits of Jessica and Lex together on the 2nd floor of the Morris since their guests had finally trickled out of cocktail hour right there by the balcony and into the reception hall.
We figured that since there was just a tiny bit of light outside (sunset at 6:40 since it was 2 days before Daylight Savings Time) and they weren’t getting announced into the reception hall for another 40 minutes that we should take advantage of the last bit of light for their portraits. These portraits are photographs that these two will have for the rest of their lives and photos that future generations will see, so we try our best to ensure that these two have gorgeous portraits to remember the day by.
Though the sun did set before some of the final portraits, we were thrilled that we were able to capture these two before Jessica had her veil removed and had her dress bustled!
And then it was time for their gorgeous reception in the Palais Royale!
Jessica had her dress bustled (thank you coordinator Richelle!), then she and Lex headed up to the 3rd floor balcony to be announced in to their reception! Once announced right after all of their bridal party, Lex and Jessica made their way down from the 3rd floor balcony, then did their First Dance right there on the dance floor.
After their First Dance, Jessica’s dad gave a greeting to the guests and salads were served. After guests got a bit of food in them, Lex’s brother and one of Jessica’s Maids of Honor (her university bestie) gave their speeches to these two.
Once their speeches were given, Jessica and Lex cut their cake! They fed each other the cake nicely and the kitchen took it back to cut it for guests as they enjoyed their delicious dinners.
A bit after dinner Lex’s dad gave a small, heartfelt speech. After his speech, Jessica enjoyed her father-daughter dance with her dad. Once finished with their dance Lex brought his mom to the dance floor for their mother-son dance.
Once the formal dances were over the dance floor opened up! First was an anniversary dance that invited single folks to come dance, then those married for the least amount of time leading all the way to those married the longest filling the dance floor with all of their guests! Soon everyone was on the dance floor cutting a rug-!
Amidst the dancing we were able to pull aside Lex & Jessica’s fellow Notre Dame alumni i.e. their college friends/ former classmates!
During the reception cake eating and dancing, Jessica and Lex also had fun things for guests to partake in! Lex’s mom set up a photobooth (with the help of her brother) that amazingly even printed out photobooth strips for everyone (one for the guests and one to glue into an album for Jessica and Lex)! Around the room were also scattered framed, printed photos from Jessica & Lex’s Engagement Session with us for people to check out as well as photos of their parents and relatives from their own wedding days! Featured below are 8x10 prints of their parents’ vintage wedding photos-!
These two also had a guestbook that we made them with photos from their Engagement Session for their guests to sign as well as a magnet board with Scrabble-style cubes on it for people to create cross-word puzzle style words on it that describe the couple.
Jessica and Lex danced the night away with their guests, but in between their partying we took them around 9:30 pm into the actual Morris theatre for some last married portraits of the day. We were so excited to get to capture these two on the stage and then in front of the lit up marquee outside (that even had their names on it for 6 hours of the day)!
We had run out of time for portraits of just the two of them before the reception, so we were excited to have this quiet time with just the two of them to capture some final lifelong lasting photographs from their wedding day. We love how these turned out and hope they love them as well!
Jason had captured detail close-up photos of their rings during dinner on Jessica’s bouquet and on some things we brought with us as well.
((Before heading out for the night Jason finally heated up and got to eat his dinner (that Jenny hid for him hours earlier) around 10:30 pm since he’d been off photographing detail photos of their rings together during dinnertime)). Lex and Jessica went back to dancing, but actually came out to take Photobooth photos right when we were all packed up for the night, so we were able to bid them adieu right then and there-!
Jessica and Lex are actually on their honeymoon down in Mexico at the moment, but whenever they see this via their texts or email: We had a blast capturing your wedding this past week and hope that you two are having a blast on your honeymoon! We absolutely loved meeting your families (you two have the best parents!) and cannot wait until you see the rest of your wedding photos in a few weeks-! Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon and we’ll see you two in town sometime soon!
((Unrelated: Coming up next week we’ll be sharing our photos and experience at the Morris Park Bridal Show that we sponsored this week! This was our 4th wedding expo with Morris Park Country Club & was their 4th time hosting it, so we’re excited to share this experience with you again in the blog next Weekly Wednesday!))