This story is an important one. We are so blessed to be able to film the happiest moments of peoples lives… often at weddings, but life isn’t always an easy journey and life isn’t always the joyous celebration that we get to capture on a wedding day. Commitment… real commitment takes work. In today’s world its so easy to just give up and move on… well today I’m happy to share a story with you that is one of pain, hardship and ultimately triumph!
But rather than me tell you about their story, here is Greg and Natasha’s story as told by Natasha:
“Many of you know that Greg and I, after being separated for a year, had a pending divorce date scheduled for October 27th, 2011. We dismissed it two weeks before it was final and began to work on once again becoming a couple…a family. We decided not only for ourselves, but for our children (Sachel, Elle, Danika and Gunnar) that we would renew our vows, sort of a “Do Over”. Those close to us knew how tumultuous our relationship had been leading up to the separation and throughout it. It truly was only by the Grace of God that hearts were softened and forgiveness bestowed towards one another and that we were able to get back together. Our friends and family in the Event and Entertainment industries generously celebrated with us by gifting us with their INCREDIBLE Talents! It was a celebration as beautiful and unique as each of our own individual stories. We decided not to renew our vows on our anniversary, August 7th, but instead start fresh with an unlucky date…September 13th. Thirteen is also the number of years of marriage we would be celebrating. The date…a reminder that we beat the odds, odds that every couple faces. We chose a Steam punk theme for the ceremony. A little dark and edgy, reminiscent of where we had been. With the flare of texture and beauty what our relationship had been transformed into after our rise from Mordor. Beauty, with a pin hole of light it can be found in the darkest of places. The ceremony took place at the home of our friends, Jeff and Jen Belmonte. We gave the untouched woods a twist and it appeared as if the trees had been planted in just the right spots years in advance, waiting and anticipating our “Do Over”. At the head of the path that led to the ceremony was a sign and walking sticks. The sign read “Thank you for walking along side of us over the years, no matter how uncertain the footing. We are grateful for your enduring friendship, prayers, and encouragement through some rough terrain. Please take a walking stick as a token of our journey together. Please seat yourself and join us as we continue the adventure. Journey On – Greg and Natasha The walking sticks were made (By Dean Ohlman and Maynard Wright) from sapling Ash trees. Like many Ash trees they had been plagued by the Ash Borer beetle, which kills the trees, leaving behind only a maze like pattern. We thought this to be the perfect symbol for our journey together. A maze of pathways (decisions) that can either lead to an end OR if you choose to look at it with hopeful eyes, something more than its original design, new purpose, something bigger rising from the ash. The pastor, Brady Nemmers also happened to be our Wedding Dj thirteen years ago! In his message he included parts from “Love and Respect” by Emmerson Eggerich. Which talks about how love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict, and this difference is as different as pink is from blue! If only we’d known how each other worked 13 years ago!!
We had a dynamic team who performed the music. David Ohlman bass player for the band Sea Wolf Mutiny and his wife Ruth escorted us down the isle with an Irish serenade. Crisi Dykstra of Crisi Band, Amy Voss and Beth Kadwell expressed our hearts with renditions of “A Place Only You Can Go” by NeedToBreathe and “Different Kinds of Happy” by Sara Groves. The day was documented by @John Pottenger of Coastline Studios with his cinematic film skills, Jen Badalamenti of Jen Lynne Photography shooting pre ceremony images on film and Jen Kroll of Jen Kroll Photography capturing images throughout the ceremony and reception. Talk about being OUTRAGEOUSLY SPOILED!!! Erin Brown of A Davis Brown Salon coiffed the hair of the whole family and Rebecca Gohl known for her vintage style perfected my features and added a little sparkle to the girls. Lindsay Merrill of Blue house Designs provided my unique custom bouquet and the flowers in Dani’s headpiece and the flowers that adorn Elle’s boots. Tim Adam of TimothyAdamDesigns and author of “How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products” made all of our Steampunk jewelry. Including the AWESOME boutonnieres! Our rings were crafted by Designer Lisa Lehmann of StudioJewel. They are made of recycled sterling silver and hand stamped on the inside with our renewal date and the words “Do Over”. The Outfits, THE OUTFITS!!! Oh the fashion designers that got on board to custom design each of our ensembles for this event were over the top incredible. My dress and headpiece were designed and perfected by Shannon Gales of Vue Design. Shannon specializes in making one of kind dresses along with a one of a kind experience in her boutique for each of her clients. Kathy Miomanni Amato designed Greg’s outfit. Her ability to take an idea and make it come to life with a variety of textures and colors always amazes me. Andrea Lautenbach created the gorgeous tops worn by Elle and Danika, She also made Sachel’s beautiful vest. Donelle Brown provided me with a little leather nugget. She made Elle and Gunnar’s leather capri’s, which I adored. I also had to get in on the fun and provided spats for Danika and Gunnar, along with Greg’s Steam punk hat and Danika’s woodland headpiece. Special Thank you to the following people for filling in and helping to get things done. Dan Carlson (Carlson Design) for allowing us to shoot on his farm, for the use of a selection of props and for showing me how to construct our TOTALLY SWEET Candy Table, Erin Brown for pinch hitting with the cupcakes and cake pops, Angie Ohlman for all the Calligraphy, Holly and Corey Henderson for the flowers and picking up last minute items, Tom Hilbrands for the days spent moving props and Jeff and Jen Belmonte for their extreme hospitality and generosity.”
– Natasha Ohlman