Bridal portrait of the bride in her long sleeve wedding dress by Edith Elan
Real Brides

Wedding Inspiration: Maria (Cleveland)

July 14, 2023
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A heartfelt and love-filled art gallery wedding in Cleveland, Ohio.

A record collection connection brought Maria and Derek together. After a years-long engagement only made longer by the pandemic, the St. Louis-based couple found the art gallery wedding venue that united their love of music and art in Cleveland, Ohio. It would also be the location of many heartfelt moments on their wedding day.

A Love Story for the Records

It could be said that Maria and Derek’s love story was like the classic Beatles song Till There Was You:

There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No, I never heard it at all
Till there was you

Derek and Maria met in January 2016. At that time, they’d both moved home to Ohio after graduating college to find their post-college career paths. However, two of their mutual friends had other plans. The friends decided to play matchmakers with Maria and Derek based mostly on the fact that they both had record collections.

The group decided on a night out with drinks and pool playing. Maria and Derek spent the entire night talking and playing pool (poorly they say), but it was enough to make plans to see each other again. As it turns out, they had more in common than collecting records!

Despite the hour-plus distance between them, they were together from then on. And while Maria doesn’t call it “love at first sight” for her, she knew it was something. She knew that Derek was someone who’d be in her life.

After approximately four months of dating, Derek took a job in St. Louis. Then, after about a year of doing the long-distance thing, Maria joined him in 2017 along with her dog Magnolia (Maggie). About two years later, Derek proposed in their favorite park. It was a simple proposal with Maggie by their side. In March 2020, they added another set of paws – Rosalie.

Art Gallery Vibes, A Whole Lotta Love, and Heartfelt Details

When it was finally time to start planning the wedding, Maria and Derek knew they wanted to have it in Cleveland since they grew up in Ohio. A friend recommended 78th Street Studios because it matched their vibe.

When Maria and Derek went to tour the space, the giant Beatles Mural in the reception space was all Maria needed to see. As a huge Beatles fan, Maria was sold then and there. With no need to look at other venues, 78th Street Studios was it!

The Surprising Dream Dress

Back in 2020 right in the midst of the pandemic, Maria’s best friend threw her a surprise bridal try-on session at Cambridge Jewelers in Ohio with the help of Annie from Ivory + Ash Bridal.

Walking into the try-on, Maria wasn’t sure what style she wanted. All she knew was that the dress had to compliment her body type (petite and curvy) and it had to have long sleeves.

Milly, from our 2020 bridal collection, was the last dress Maria tried on, and she immediately knew it was the one she wanted to get married in! While it was much simpler than she expected, it was the surprising details that made it the dream dress she had been looking for: the long billowy sleeves, the V neckline with its fitted ruched bodice, the luxe fabric, and the perfect amount of 3D flowers and beading.

The Vintage Accessory Details

On the wedding day, Maria accessorized her bridal look with heirloom pieces from family members for a look that was vintage, intentional, and unique to her! For jewelry, she combined modern and vintage. She wore her mother’s and grandmother’s rings along with her grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet. Her earrings – from Nicola Bathie Jewelry – mirrored the mini 3D flowers and beading on the sleeves of the dress.

For her carried accessories, Maria had a beautiful vintage, beaded bag gifted to her by her mom, and her great-grandmother’s wedding-day lace handkerchief.

The Art Gallery Wedding Day

After waiting for almost two and a half years since saying “Yes” to the dress, the day finally arrived for Maria and Derek to say “I do.” The ceremony was held on the third floor of 78th Street Studios in the Hedge Gallery.

Derek’s brother and Presbyterian Minister, Heath, officiated the wedding ceremony. With people in their families of all different religions and spiritual beliefs present, Heath gave the most heartfelt message. It was at that moment that Maria felt truly grounded. Heath’s message allowed her to feel present, to really be aware, and to be grateful for the thing she and Derek were doing. On a day when she felt she was going 100 miles a minute, the message was a special gift.

Reflecting on her wedding day, Maria never expected the ceremony to be her favorite part of the day. She knew it would be great, but she didn’t expect it to bring her so much peace and joy all at once.

After the ceremony, it was time to twist and shout! The wedding guests moved down to the second floor of 78th Street Studios into the smART Space for the wedding reception where Maria and Derek’s art gallery wedding celebration carried on into the night. The cake was cut. Drinks were served. The DJ played the records. There was a bridal outfit change. And everyone enjoyed the dancefloor and photo booth. Overall, Maria and Derek were surrounded by a whole lotta love on their special day!

The Cleveland Wedding Vendors

Milly Wedding Dress – Ivory & Ash Bridal Styling Studio

Photography – Naida of Milkshop Photography

Venue – 78th Street Studios in Cleveland, Ohio

Catering – Thyme Catering

Event Coordinator – Jess & Jessica of Oh Hello Event Planning

Florals – Emery of Sacred Bloom

Makeup – Erin Thomas Makeup Artistry

Hair – HairxStaissa

DJ/Photo Booth – Shawn of NPi Entertainement

Custom wedding band – Cambridge Jewelers

Earrings – Nicola Bathie

Looking for More Wedding and Bridal Inspiration?

Head to our inspiration galleries page. There is plenty more to get you inspired!


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