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Historic Courthouse Wedding in Dayton, Ohio

I love sharing weddings that showcase historic venues and this sweet Ohio wedding does just that. Chris and Candice are both JAGs in the Air Force and they decided to pay homage to their careers as attorneys by hosting their reception in a historic Ohio courthouse after getting married at a grand old church in the city. And I’m truly adoring how they incorporated hand-picked vintage wares to express their shared love of travel! / Photos by openField Photography.

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Says Chris and Candice, “Candice’s family is from Ohio so we had our ceremony and reception in Dayton – the birthplace of aviation. We picked the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and the Old Dayton Courthouse for the ceremony and reception sites. The Holy Trinity Catholic Church is a gem of a church in downtown Dayton and the courthouse spoke to us since we are both attorneys. 

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We talked about what kind of memories of our wedding day we wanted to have 20 years from now. We agreed that the ceremony elements were extremely important to us and that we wanted lots of time to spend with our family and friends since they would be the support system for our marriage through the years. We chose to have a full Catholic mass for the ceremony and poured over the reading and song selections to ensure that they were truly reflective of our joy that God brought us together to be a family. We also chose to invite a small gathering of family and friends so that we would have time to spend with each guest. To maximize the time we had with our guests, we invited everyone to the Friday evening rehearsal dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse and to Sunday morning brunch at the hotel.

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Chris + Candice’s Love Story: 

We first met at Aviano Air Base’s Annual Sports Day on May 1, 2007. Candice had just arrived in Italy, excited to start her first assignment as an Air Force JAG. Chris had already been there for almost a year. We hit it off as friends immediately and spent much of our free time traveling through Italy and beyond. Sadly, Chris’ time in Italy came to an end the following year. We would not be reunited until 2011, when Chris returned home from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan and was able to visit Candice, who was by this time stationed in New Jersey. We were both excited and nervous when the day finally came to see each other again at the airport. Our visit flew by much too quickly, and before we knew it, Chris was boarding a plane for England to begin a two-year assignment overseas. But he left his heart in New Jersey.

Over the next year, we made the best of the distance between us and accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles. By now Candice was stationed even farther away, in Destin, Fla. Between business travel and some leave, we saw each other as often as we could – both in the US and in the UK. It was really tough, and saying goodbye just got harder and harder over time.

Finally, we set off on a “Meet the Families” tour with stops in Ohio and California. What Candice didn’t know was Chris had a grand plan to propose at the end of the trip while visiting one of her favorite spots – the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio. But that plan failed when Chris just couldn’t wait. He took Candice by surprise and popped the question at her home in Florida – before we even left on the trip! We set out for California and Ohio the next day.

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We loved the ceremony. Since we opted not to see each other beforehand, there was a lot of excitement when the doors of the church opened. It was wonderful for us to see the friends and family that traveled from near and far to show their support for our new marriage. During the ceremony, we offered a bouquet of flowers to Mary. We took a moment to spend together in prayer with Mary, asking for her prayers for us as newlyweds, while our ceremony musician sang a verse of Ave Maria.

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For the reception, we wanted to incorporate a travel theme since we both love traveling. For our centerpieces: We named the tables rather than numbering them, choosing names of cities that we have visited together. We found vintage postcards representing each place. We included books from around the world that we gathered during our travels or borrowed from family.

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Chris gathered skeleton keys from around England to use with our place cards. We put flowers in tea cups (from Candice’s family), vintage milk glass vases, and blue wine bottles. We also put up a memory table to remember our loved ones who could not be with us – with candles and photos that captured the essence of our loved ones. 

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We placed our wedding cake on a vintage suitcase that Candice found at a junk store in Florida. We also had a painter who spent the entire day with us and captured the wedding and reception on canvas, weaving together elements from the day into a gorgeous painting that we now have hanging in our dining room.”

Congratulations Chris and Candice! I hope many more beautiful memories are ahead of you and thanks so much for sharing your beautiful day! xox.

ps. I love that Chris actively helped to source those skeleton keys all the way over in England while Candice was scooping up suitcases and more in Florida – a true ode to the travel theme! 🙂

Plus a little parting advice from the couple: “The wedding day celebrates the joining of two families. Make the day about you and your family. Understand that this is the first day of the rest of your life in this new family… so, above all, be gracious with your family, your friends and your vendors. In keeping the day about you and your family, pick traditions that matter to you and forget the rest. For instance, we decided not to do a bouquet and garter toss because it simply did not make sense for us or our guests. No one missed it one bit! If we could give one more piece of advice: If you are planning a wedding out of town and/or are both working full time, hire a planner. He or she can save your time, money and sanity.”

Credits: Ceremony Site: Holy Trinity Church / Reception site: Old Dayton Courthouse / Photography: Lauren Chapman and Robbie Gantt from openField Photography / Florist: Jessie from Sherwood florist / Hair & Make-up: Ryen from eye do hair / Caterer: Elite catering / painter: Heidi Schwartz from Paint your event / Cake: Karen from Tiers of sugar / Planner/Consultant: Jean from Weddings from the heart

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