Today’s tattooed wedding on Marry Me Ink, I get to share with you Michelle and Jon’s wedding that took place at the quirky SmART Space, 78th Street Studios in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of their wedding was DIY and was captured beautifully by Retro Peacock Photography. (Also, I’m in love with Michelle’s Simply Beaux Jewels necklace – They’re UK based!)
Jon and I met in middle school. A friend of his at the time invited my friend and me to sit with them at lunch (she and I usually sat alone), so we sat with them (a group of rowdy punk rock boys). Jon and I didn’t actually talk at all during lunch; we sat across the table from each other. However, at the end of lunch, I got up and walked by him to leave, he stopped me and asked me about my outfit: “don’t you wear that every other day?” I was used to my peers heckling me and being the smartass that I was, I replied with “yeah I do, I like this outfit and I don’t give a F what you think”. I walked away before he could respond. The next day at school, he pulled me aside, told me he respected my response from the day before and then he asked me to walk home with him. I was intrigued and it was too cute to resist, so I did. We ended up talking and walking around the woods near his house until it got dark outside and the rest is history.
Our wedding cake design, lined in leopard print ribbon and our cake topper, actually hand made by one of the bridesmaids, were silhouettes of a cat and a fox touching noses. This was significant because he and I are both wild at heart and animal lovers, so we chose our favorite animals because it was something non-traditional and different. We actually cut our cake with his family saber. His family has a long-standing tradition with attending Culver Military Academy and everyone who has attended, has their name engraved on the saber. We thought it would be a cool way to make me officially a member of the family, to wield the saber, because if/when we have children, they will go to Culver as well.
One more detail was our guestbook. We actually had two. One was the traditional, name and address book and the other was a guitar signing. This guitar was a birthday present to Jon from my dad. Daughter of a musician marrying a musician, so we had our guests “feel like a rock star and sign the guitar”.
DIY was basically the wedding theme! A lot of things were DIY, centrepieces, boutonnières, bouquets, hair, make up, nails, etc. The most fun had to be the bouquets. I think we cleared all of the local thrift stores of all of the brooches. One of my bridesmaids was literally doing finishing touches to them the night before the wedding. I actually have my bouquet displayed in our bedroom now. Also, our vows & ceremony readings were 100% DIY personalized. It made it very unique and special for everyone.
At first I wanted to cover my tattoos up, out of respect for my more traditional/old school family. As time went on though, I wasn’t as concerned because I knew my family attending would not be focused only on my tattoos or piercings. They know I have them and I’m getting more tattoos, so even being far more traditional than me, they are accepting of my choices.
We loved the whole day! If I have to pick one highlight though, it was the first look. It helped calm both of our nerves down significantly and gave us a short, intimate moment to really embrace the fact that we were actually about to get married and for us to say to each other “OK, here we go, let’s do this!” The moment of reveal was amazing. His reaction was priceless; it made my heart skip a beat or two. I will never forget that moment. Props to our amazing photographer, Heather, for coordinating it so beautifully!
Even if you have an old-school family who disapproves of tattoos and piercings, really remember that this day is for you two and you two alone. Throughout your engagement you will get so much advice (whether you want it or not!) on what to do or how to do it. Sometimes even your closest friends or family members will interject or over step and tell you what they think you should do. It’s YOUR wedding, and your choice.
As for your tattoos, if you love something enough to have it tattooed on your body, don’t be afraid to show it off! You might be surprised on how beautifully it photographs! Express your individuality! Find unique and interesting ways to show case you and your fiancé, who you are as a couple! If that means showing tattoos, show them! Lastly, whenever you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, and trust me you will, just remember WHY you’re going through this and truly, think of the words you will say to your soon to be husband or wife on that day. It’s a beautiful clarity in the chaos of planning for that special day that you will remember for the rest of your lives.
How awesome is Michelle and Jon’s wedding? Thank you to them both and to Heather of Retro Peacock Photography for sharing their wedding with Marry Me Ink. Be sure to leave them all some love!
Photographer: Retro Peacock Photography
Wedding Reception: 78THStreet Studios SmART Space, Cleveland, Ohio
Michelle’s Dress: Sophia Tolli from Catan Fashions
Jon’s Suit: Jabbour’s clothier, Hudson Ohio.
Bridesmaids dresses: Express
Groomsmen: American Commodore Tuxedo
Flowers: DIY craft store flowers and thrift store brooches
Cake: Giant Eagle (grocery store), cake decorations were DIY
Necklace: Simply Beaux Jewels (UK based online shop)
Food: A Taste of Excellence (Strongsville, Ohio)
And a quick shout out to our long-time friends Matt Trehan (officiant) and Derek Krieder (for the personalized reading at the ceremony)