Wedding at The Club at Hillbrook – Michelle and Paul – Chagrin Falls Ohio

A Charming Fete planned Wedding at The Club at Hillbrook

Wedding at the Club at Hillbrook
Michelle and Paul

a garden inspired wedding at the club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls Ohio Michelle and Paul were married on May 19 in a beautiful garden-inspired outdoor ceremony. Their love for nature and the great outdoors led them to The Club at Hillbrook for the ceremony and reception venue. This 40 room Tudor mansion sits on 50 picturesque acres outside of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It was built by Edmund S. Burke, Jr. He was the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and founder of what later became known as Bethlehem Steel. The Club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls is a 40-room Tudor Estate on 50 acresUpon arrival, it was easy to see why the Club at Hillbrook was named as one of the Best Wedding Venues in America by Brides Magazine!  The secluded location and winding road that leads to the Club was also perfect for the couple’s vision for their guests. They wanted their venue to make their guests feel as if they were going to a secret elegant party. They also wanted to show the natural beauty of the greater Cleveland area since most of the guests were from out of town. The Club at Hillbrook succeeded in giving Michell and Paul their Fairytale Wedding in the Woods! a fairytale wedding in the woods

Getting Ready

Both the ceremony and reception were held at the Club at Hillbrook.  Michelle and Paul and their entire wedding party also got ready there. When I arrived, I went straight to work taking the getting ready photos and the detail shots of their attire and accessories. I was soon joined by my second shooter for the day, Julie Paszczykowski.  She mainly photographed the guys while I stayed with the girls.  Of course, we each went back and forth between the bride and groom to make sure we had different images for them.Badgley Mischka Wedding shoes with low heals
bridal jewelry from Something White Bridal Salon
lace wedding dress designed by Watters at Something White Bridal Salon
custom bridal hanger
wedding rings from Alson Jewelers
wedding and engagement rings on the brides lace gown
the perfect place to hang your wedding gown
Ashland in Ivory by Vatana Watters from Something White Bridal Boutique
ivory Ashland wedding dress designed by Vatana Watters hanging between two ferns on the covered patio of the Club at Hillbrook
nude bobbinet a line bridesmaids dresses designed by Wtoo
custom wooden bridesmaids hangers
the black tux
grooms pictures taken by JP Photography
groom reading his letter from his bride to be before the wedding
letter to the groom from the bride
bride reading her letter from her groom to be before the wedding
letter from the groom to the bride
Johnny Walker double black
the groomsmen toast before the wedding
bride drinking barefoot wine bubbly prosecco
custom labels for barefoot wine bubbly prosecco
the bride and her bridesmaids toasting with bride drinking barefoot wine bubbly prosecco
Hair stylist Christal from Beauty Therapy, Inc.
Bridal Makeup by Lena from Beauty Therapy, Inc.
satin blossom bridesmaids robes from H and C Creations on EtsyThat moment when you are taking photos of the bride with her bridesmaids sitting on the bed. Then you ask them to do something fun and one of them yells “Pillow Fight!”  Then they remember they all just had your hair and makeup done!   Protect the bride at all costs!bridesmaids in the king size bed in the Sherwin Suite at the Club at Hillbrook
bridesmaids pillow fight
the sherwin suite at the Club at Hillbrook is where the bride steps into her gown
the bride helping her mother into her dress
the bridesmaids helping the bride get dressed at the Club at Hillbrook
the mom buttoning up the bride's dress
the smiling bride looking at her reflection in the mirror
getting the groom ready for the wedding
the groom and groomsmen getting ready before the wedding at the Club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls Ohio
the groom before the first look
the bride before the first look

The First Look

The Interfaith Wedding Ceremony didn’t take place until 5:30 so Michelle and Paul opted for “First Look” photos. That way, most of the formal photos would be out of the way and they could enjoy their ceremony and reception. We had the groom go outside first and sit by the fountain with his back to the entry door to the estate. The bride came out after and walked up behind him.
the bride peeking out the front door before the first look
the bride walking up behind the groom before the first look
the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time
the bride and groom holding hands during their first look
the bride and groom looking at one another before the wedding
close up of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time before the wedding
the bride turns around so the groom can see the back of her dress
the bride turns around so the groom can see the back of her gown before the wedding
love at first site during their first look portraits
first look before the wedding for the bride and groom The landscape of the Club at Hillbrook is a photographer’s dream. We never had to “scout” for a good spot to take photos. Everywhere was perfect! But the Bride and Groom specifically wanted photos in the Gazebo in the back garden. However, getting there was not an easy task. It was a bit of a hike but the bride had on flat shoes and that helped tremendously!  It was definitely worth the extra effort!weddings at the Club at Hillbrook and wedding photographer Kurt Nielsen Photography
bridal party photos at The Club at Hillbrook
chagrin falls wedding at the Club at Hillbrook
bridal gown by watters and blue tux by the black tux
a charming fete wedding planning at The Club at Hillbrook
fairytale wedding in the woods at the Club at Hillbrook
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nude bobbinet a line bridesmaids dresses by wtoo by watters from Abbott's Bridal and Formalwear
navy blue suits from The Black Tux
michelle gets her bae
romantic garden wedding at the Club at Hillbrook
top 50 wedding venues in america by brides magazine
hidden garden gazebo at The Club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls Ohio
Cleveland Wedding Photographers
hidden garden gazebo We finished taking the bridal party photos up on the stairs leading to the back patio. The architecture of the Club at Hillbrook is the perfect backdrop no matter where you are on the property! groom photos by Toledo Photographer Kurt Nielsen Photography
Molly Taylor and Company boutonnieres
back of the club at hillbrook
casual poses of the groom and his groomsmen
wedding and bridesmaids dresses by Vatana Watters
bridal and bridesmaids bouquets by Molly Taylor and Company
Cleveland wedding photos by Kurt Nielsen Photography
Cleveland Weddings bride style
romantic bridal bouquet by Molly Taylor and Co

garden-inspired real wedding in Cleveland
A Charming Fete planned Wedding at The Club at Hillbrook
romantic garden-inspired destination wedding in Cleveland


The Ketubah is considered one of the most important parts of a Jewish marriage. It is basically a pre-nup that the groom signs and protects the bride. Although in today’s times it doesn’t usually have any monetary value today. However, in biblical times, it was the price the groom paid to marry his bride. By signing the Ketubah, the groom agreed to pay the bride or her parents an agreed amount of money or other items. It also specified that the groom continues supporting her should the marriage end either by death or divorce. Today, it often times serves as a reminder of the couple’s vows and responsibilities as it hangs in their home.
closeup of a ketubah from
Jewish Ketubah
ready to sign the ketubah before the wedding ceremony
Cantor Laurel Barr

The Ceremony

Michelle’s Jewish heritage also played a big part in their wedding ceremony. Molly Taylor and Co. did an amazing job designing and building the Chuppah under which the couple was married. Cantor Laurel Barr performed the interfaith ceremony. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck. Cantor Barr stated Michelle and Paul will have an abundance of good luck since it poured buckets during their ceremony! The Ketubah was read during the ceremony to publically affirmed the groom’s obligations to the bride. The couple also included the Kiddush (blessing over the wine) and the Sheva Brachot (7 blessings) during the ceremony. Of course, no Jewish wedding would be complete without the breaking of the glass before the kiss! The heavens must have approved because as soon as the guests shouted “Mazel Tov,” there was a loud boom of thunder!
welcome to our unplugged wedding sign from B & T Calligraphy and Design
chuppah designed and built by Molly Taylor and Co
blush and white florals by Molly Taylor and Co
custom chuppah from Molly Taylor and Co for The Club at Hillbrook

Special Guest!

Although everything about Michelle and Paul’s wedding day was absolutely perfect, there was one person who was visibly missing. Michelle’s dad was back in Toledo in a hospital recovering from emergency surgery and obviously couldn’t be there physically. However, with the help of modern technology, he didn’t miss a thing. Michelle’s nephew managed to set up a video chat feed on an iPad placed on the table under the Chuppah so Michelle’s dad didn’t miss a moment of the ceremony. Her brother and mother walked her down the aisle in his place.
setting up an iPad for facetiming a wedding
kiddish cup and wine for jewish wedding
string trio from Cleveland Music Group
groom anticipating the bride's arrival
groom is waiting for his bride
mother and brother walking the bride down the aisle
wedding ceremony on the covered patio at the Club at Hillbrook
groom drinks from the kiddish cup during the wedding ceremony
bride drinks from the kiddish cup during the wedding ceremony
the Sheva Brachot during the ceremony
vows for a jewish wedding at the club at hillbrook
stepping on the wine glass
broken kiddish cup after wedding ceremony
the wedding kiss after a jewish wedding ceremony
the recessional after the wedding ceremony
stopping for a kiss after the marriage ceremony

The Details

Michelle and Paul’s busy schedules left little time for wedding planning. Therefore, they enlisted the help of Lauren Hibbard from A Charming Fete to help them create their dream wedding.  It was instantly clear why they are one of the top wedding planning companies in the country!

They wanted everything to look and feel very natural yet elegant. Michelle loves the look of freshly picked flowers and wanted the floral aspects to look as if they were freshly picked from the garden. This included leaving the leaves on the stems of the flowers.

Their color scheme of blush, champagne gold, and leafy green was modishly displayed throughout the venue. The minimal gold flakes on the wedding cake from Luna Bakery & Café perfectly demonstrated the graceful style the couple wanted. The white tablecloths gave a simple and airy feel to the room. The blush napkins were enhanced with sprigs of vines at each table setting.

The stationery from also reflected this feel. The farm table and cane back Betty chairs from Borrow Curated Rentals served as the head table and seating for the bride and groom. The head table was simply decorated with a white table runner adorned with a mix of white votive and tapered candles for a romantic feel. The bridal bouquets and greenery added to the romantic vibes. The hanging floral arrangement above the table was absolutely stunning. leafy green seating cards with white lettering from minted
seating card display using chicken wire and old window frame

garden wedding programs from shutterfly
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wide view of the ballroom at the Club at Hillbrook
a look inside the grand ballroom at the Club at Hillbrook
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a garden inspired wedding at The Club at Hillbrook planned and designed by A Charming Fete
farm table and cane back Betty chairs from Borrow Curated Rentals
hanging floral arrangement for a wedding from Molly Taylor and Co
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garden-inspired wedding cake from Luna Bakery
gold flakes on a garden-inspired 5 tiered wedding cake from Luna Bakery Another special family member made a decidedly unique appearance at the reception. Paul and Michelle’s dog Luna was perfectly depicted on cookies created by Itty Bitty Bake Shop. They were definitely a showstopper! custom designed sugar cookies from Itty Bitty Bakeshop
using cookies as an alternative to wedding cake
custom cookies of your dog from Itty Bitty Bakeshop

How they Met!

The happy couple met in college at Miami University in 2011 at a fraternity-sorority party that neither one really wanted to attend. They have been inseparable ever since! They incorporated their alma mater into their wedding details. Their signature drink was aptly named “The Miami Merger.” This is the name given to Miami alumni who marry each other. They also brought a Miami University flag to use for pictures of the couple and for use in the photo booth. “Love and Honor” is a greeting used by Miami students and alumni and comes from the chorus in the school’s fight song. miami merger signature cocktail
how to incorporate your college alma mater in your wedding details
college photo booth
love and honor miami university

The Reception

Michelle and Paul were able to steal away a little bit of time together before the reception. Then they headed right into the festivities. They started with the cake cutting and then the welcome speech. Although it was storming and we had a couple of power outages, the night was perfect! The guests celebrated the magical day through late into the evening with the help of DJ Mike Alexander from Cleveland Music Group. the bride and groom took some time for themselves before the reception
wedding photography at the Club at Hillbrook by Kurt Nielsen Photography
a romantic kiss before dinner
announcing the bride and groom
cutting the wedding cake at their wedding
welcome speech by the groom
the couple's first dance The guests also enjoyed my green screen photo booth and took home hundreds of 4×6 prints as their party favors! custom photo booth that travels
green screen photo booth at weddings
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best Toledo photo booth and wedding photography packages A Great Time was had by All at #MichelleGetsHerBae! photos of the dance floor at a wedding with Cleveland Music Group
wedding photography by the best of the knot winning photographer Kurt Nielsen Photography
best of the Knot winner for wedding photography in Toledo Ohio

The Pros

The Club at Hillbrook
A Charming Fete
Molly Taylor and Co
Cantor Laurel Barr
Luna Bakery
Itty Bitty Bakeshop
Borrow Rentals
Something White
Abbott’s Bridal and Formalwear
The Black Tux
Kurt’s Kustom Keepsakes
Cleveland Music Group 
Beauty Therapy, Inc.
romantic wedding photos
For more information about Kurt Nielsen Wedding Photography, including pricing, please visit my website at

To contact Kurt to schedule your FREE Wedding Consultation, please call the studio at:

Kurt Nielsen Photography
5431 Schultz Drive
Sylvania, OH 43560
419 885 7153

Feel free to make comments below and/or share this blog post on your favorite social media site. Pin your favorite images to your Pinterest board!

Read what other brides are saying about me on The Knot
and Wedding Wire!

Bridal Show Survival Guide

Bridal Party Photos at the Stables by Kurt Nielsen Photography

Bridal Show Survival Guide
The Best Wedding Photographers in Toledo Ohio
Congratulations on your engagement!!!


If you are just starting to plan your wedding, or if you are still trying to find the perfect wedding specialists to complete your list, you are probably considering attending a bridal show.  If you have never attended one before, it can be quite overwhelming.  Arguably, it’s even overwhelming to the participants who are there to help you.  But it is also the perfect place to meet and talk with, albeit sometimes only briefly, those wedding professionals who can help you on your wedding day.
Bridal Show Survival Tips by Award Winning Wedding Photographer Kurt Nielsen Photography

Here are a few tips to assist in your bridal show survival.
wedding invitations photographed by Kurt Nielsen Photography
1.  Pre-Register.  Almost all of the bridal shows now allow you to pre-register for the event.  This will save you lots of time from standing in line.  In addition, many also allow you to purchase your tickets online as well.  Of course, purchasing them online will save you even more time.

stone oak country club wedding photographer
2.  Show Up Early.  Bridal shows are very busy and chaotic.  Arriving early means you will be able to get to speak with the wedding professionals before most of the rest of the brides.  This is especially important when your wedding date is the same date that many other brides also want.  Remember that when booking a wedding professional, it is usually a first-come, first-served basis, so if you know you want to book a particular wedding professional, the sooner you do that the better your chances will be of getting your wedding dream team.

detail shots at wedding ceremony
3.  Print Address Labels.  Almost all of the wedding specialists will have some sort of drawing.  Print address labels prior to attending to save time.  Be sure to include your name, email address, phone number and wedding date.  Not only does this save time, but will spare your hand from cramping!

Church Wedding Photographer in Toledo
4.  Know your budget.  Knowing your budget will save you the embarrassment of hiring someone you will not be able to afford and then have to cancel their services.  Keep in mind that most deposits are non refundable to protect the vendor.  Therefore, it’s better for you to spend that money on things that are necessary and that you can afford.  Don’t waste it on the fluff no one will remember.

Toledo Photo Booth
5.  Bring your checkbook!  If you are serious about planning your wedding, you will want to bring your checkbook.  Many wedding professionals do not accept credit card payments.  Therefore, it is wise to bring your checkbook.  This will ensure you get the wedding specialists that you want from the show.

save the date fall engagement photo
6.  Have your calendar available.  If you wish to sit down and meet with your favorite wedding specialists before booking them, you should know when you are available.  Chances are that they have their calendars with them and can schedule an appointment at the show.

Bridal Party Photos at the Stables by Kurt Nielsen Photography
7.  Bring your posse.  Have your mom, your maid of honor, your bridesmaids, and your fiancee come with you.  Bring whoever will be helping you plan your wedding.   (Just be careful not to bring too many people so you don’t get overwhelmed or confused.)  They can help you decide on things and also help carry the massive amounts of literature that you will receive from the show vendors and also help you fill out the drawing entry forms.

candid photos from a real Toledo wedding by Kurt Nielsen Photography
8.  Take notes, pictures and collect as much information as you can.  There will be a lot of things running through your brain and this will help you keep track of what you like.  Accordingly, there will also be a lot of photo booths that you can try out, so be camera ready!

wedding cake cutting gone horribly wrong
9.  Eat before you go.  No one likes it when you are hangry.  There will be small, almost bite-sized, food samples at the show.  But, they are just samples and not enough to fill you up.  It’s a good idea to eat lunch before the show to help keep your mind focused.

champagne toast in back of limo as captured by Kurt Nielsen Photography
11.  Bring something to drink.  You will be talking to a lot of people and your mouth will get very dry.  For that reason, you should bring something that will quench your thirst and keep you going.

red converse wedding shoes with artificial rose and baseball roses bouquet
12.  Wear comfortable shoes!  Your entire bridal show survival could depend on your feet comfort level!  You will be doing a lot of walking and standing.  There will not be any seating areas provided in the venue.  Therefore, it’s important to wear something comfortable and supportive.

fun halloween photo of bride and groom being chased by blow up frankenstein
13.  Don’t get pressured into booking at the show!  There will be many eager brides ready to find the one perfect wedding professional for their special day.  And there will also be many eager wedding professionals ready to fill their calendars with weddings.  Don’t let their overzealous antics force you into a contract that you aren’t ready to sign.

bride being pushed on a tree swing by the flower girls
14.  Have fun!  Don’t forget to have fun at the bridal show!  After all, this is what you have dreamed of and worked for your whole life.

sun's out, guns out bridal pose at real perrysburg weddingIf you have recently become engaged and are looking for a wedding photographer and/or photo booth, I will be at the Sounds of Music DJs Superbowl of All Bridal Shows on Saturday, January 27 and Sunday, January 28 from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. I will be located at The Premier on Heatherdowns.  Don’t forget to stop by and say hi and check out my photography and my photo booth! Here is a map of the layout and where I will be.
Toledo Wedding Photographer Kurt Nielsen Photography will be at The Premier for the Sounds of Music DJs Superbowl of All Bridal Shows
Use these tips to get the most out of the bridal expo! Happy planning!
Toledo Wedding and Engagement Photographer - Kurt Nielsen Photography

For more information about Kurt Nielsen Wedding Photography, including pricing, please visit my website at

To check for availability and schedule your FREE Wedding consultation, please call:

Kurt Nielsen Photography
5431 Schultz Drive
Sylvania, OH 43560
419 885 7153

Feel free to make comments below and/or share this blog post.  Help spread the word and pin this image to your Pinterest board!