Jonah and Gina | PRIDE Week!

In honor of pride week, I'm featuring one of my favorite couples this week, J and Gina

Let me just go ahead and brag about these two right here! They’ve been clients of mine since their elopement in 2016 and have been returning clients/friends ever since. I have grown fond of the two of them and their strength as a couple. I’m hoping that by sharing their story, we can inspire friends, family, loved ones and even strangers to be themselves and embrace who they are and their feelings!

1)   Where did you two first meet?!

We first met in January 2012.  I was a undergraduate social work student doing a month long internship and he was a masters level social work student doing his practicum. We were both interning at the agency that we now work for! At the time he went by Elizabeth and presented as female. He says that he immediately had a crush on me. I was not out yet out as pansexual so I immediately felt a connection but could not identify what it was. In fall of 2014, Jonah was working at the same agency and then I came back to intern again as a masters social work student at OSU. We started to spend a lot of time together in the spring of 2015 and began dating June 10, shortly after my internship ended. :)

2)   How long were you engaged?

About a month or so after we started dating we both knew that this was the person we wanted to marry. I never believed it was possible to feel this way so early into a relationship but we had been friends for a while and all I can say is we just knew. Jonah proposed in November 2016 but we kept our engagement a secret because I was still processing coming out. We got eloped on March 1 2016 so we were engaged for four months. 

3)   Is there a significance to your wedding date?

 No significance necessarily in the date. We knew we wanted to be married for a while and so we decided on February 29 that we would get eloped the next day! We spoke to our wonderful officiant Windi from Run to an Elopement at 6 PM the day prior and talked with Whitney about photographing our wedding at 8 PM the day prior. It was an elopement in every sense of the word. :) But we were in love and just so badly wanted to be married. Our day was beautiful largely thanks to Windi and Whitney. We treasure Whitney's photographs and not a day goes by where I don't look at them again!

4)   When did Jonah start going through his transformation?

Jonah started talking about transitioning to male shortly before we got married. He was not sure he wanted to complete a full transition but was interested in looking into changing his appearance to more closely match the way he felt on the inside that he should look. Shortly after we were married he decided to complete a full transition to male. At this point he is out to all of our family and friends. He is current at military training in Texas but shortly after he returns he will begin testosterone!

5)   Could you share some fears/bumps along the road for you two along the way?!

I would say that coming out for me as pansexual was definitely a challenge we faced in our relationship. When you come out, you deal with a lot of internalized shame that you did not realize was there about your sexuality. I would also say that Jonah's transition has been not necessarily a challenge but definitely a big change. When you fight so long for acceptance and for the right to marry your same sex partner, it's weird to have a transition cause you to present as a "straight" couple to the world. Although both of our coming out processes have been hard at times, we have also grown stronger together through this. Coming out is both a beautiful and tough journey and getting the privilege to go through this together has been amazing. It has been so incredible for me to be there for Jonah's transition and see him slowly become the person he is meant to be. 

6)   What’s the best thing about being married?

Sharing our lives together is such an amazing part of being married. Getting to go through life and experience the ups and downs with Jonah has been amazing! This has definitely been the best year of my life. 

On March 1, 2016, I photographed Elizabeth and Gina at Goodale Park in Columbus on their wedding day. Roughly 6 months later, I received an email from the two of them asking if I could update their images, as Elizabeth was going through a transformation and wanted present images of them. I eagerly obliged! Here we are, almost a year later, including them in a styled shoot that Kristin from 614 Weddings, Windi from Run to an Elopement and myself have been organizing for months!

I wanted to share their story because it’s empowering. Love is love and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of their love story! Cheers!

Matt & Ali | Engaged

Whew. This story already makes me want to cry...ALL THE FEELS!

Where to even begin?

Let's rewind to December 2012 when I met Matt. He is full of energy and spunk, knows how to have a good time and can put a smile on your face no matter what's going on. I met Matt through a mutual friend and well, it's easy to say that we've been good friends ever since! He has a radiance about him that I can't quite explain. I've never seen the man in a bad mood and he's always been supportive of his friends and family. I can't speak more highly of him!

Fast forward to a year later, Matt begins to bring his new girlfriend, Ali, around. Everyone loved Ali from the moment we all met her. (Including Matt, duh. He just told me...and I quote "I mean we both laughed at the same stuff from the get go and sense of humor is huge for me.") She is ALSO full of good energy, smiles and has a huge heart. There was no hesitation to love Ali. She was genuine and from what we could all tell, they were falling for each other faster than we had ever imagined. They complimented each other well and it was a no-brainer that Matt would eventually ask Ali to be his wife...It was just a matter of time.

Matt and Ali lived in German Village together for quite some time. Ali had been struggling with her job and wasn't really sure if it was the correct career path for her. She applied for a job with Sony and within months, her and Matt found themselves driving cross country, relocating Ali for work because she GOT THE JOB! (Ali has a tendency to doubt her badass-ness. We all knew she would get the job, but we're our own worst critics, right?! She didn't think her interviews went well, but Sony proved her wrong!) Ali shared with me, upon taking the position with Sony, that this big move was pretty terrifying for her. There were a lot of unknowns, but I assured her that the only thing in life that is constant is CHANGE! Moving to the other end of the country and starting fresh with Matt, of course, was intimidating. Moves like that can be scary and those feelings were very normal.

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Matt and Ali invited me to our favorite local pub, The Hey Hey, for some drinks and goodbyes. They were headed to So.Cal much faster than anticipated. I had just got off work and decided to go and have a drink with them because I didn't know when I would see them next. I walked in, hugged them both and we chatted a bit about their move. After my one drink (I promised myself only ONE!), I started walking to my car and the next thing I knew, Matt was screaming "Whitney! Wait! Wait up! I have to ask you something really important!" I surprisingly turned around (Matt never chases me out of a building so I figured it would be important...) and he exclaimed "I need you to be at Schiller Park tomorrow at 7:30am PROMPT. I'm proposing to Ali near the umbrella girl and I want you to photograph it. I don't care how much it costs, I just want it documented! Do you want to see the ring?!" (Mind you, Matt has been designing this GORGEOUS ring for what felt like years. I've been lucky enough to watch the progress of the ring and it finally was complete to his liking. I started crying!)

The word "YES!" couldn't come out of my mouth fast enough. I wouldn't miss that for the world. I couldn't wait to go home and sleep so that I could wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready!

Matt tied a tiny note to Wiggins (their youngest pup) that read "turn around" and used him as a aid in asking Ali to be his wife! As they approached the umbrella girl in the park, I hid behind a tree and captured the whole thing! Ali bent down to look at Wiggins and eventually saw the little note that directed her to turn around. When she did, Matt was on one knee with the ring and well, her reaction was PRICELESS! She looked at me as I crept out from the tree (looking like a sketchy homeless person, may I add. I had an onlooker who later mentioned to me that he was going to call the police on me because I looked like I was homeless and on drugs?! Always good to include all the details, right?!) Ali, of course, said yes and we all proceeded to walk around the park so that I could capture their adorable OFFICIAL little family!

I couldn't be more honored to be a part of that special moment and I'll remember it for the rest of my life. Did I ever mention how much I love my job?!

Congrats, Matt and Ali! I wish you a lifetime of happiness and love. I care for you both deeply and will always be here for you. I love you!