Located in Akron, OH, Stan Hywet Wedding Venue is located on 70-acres of grounds and gardens with amazing examples of landscape architecture to make for an astonishing garden wedding!

Liz and Zach are such a special couple, truly one-of-a-kind people. Liz absolutely rocked her black wedding dress! She loved being untraditional on her wedding day!

Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

A: The inspiration for our wedding day was to celebrate our individuality and conjoin it in a way that further showcased who we are as people and how important we were to each other as partners. Luckily in our case, we have a very macabre, medieval vibe; think very Morticia and Gomez Adams. We love all things dark and moody, and I loved the pop jewel tones in the mix, plus the lush greenery of Stan Hywet made everything come together. There are still many things that make us beautifully unique; I wanted to make sure he felt as important as I felt on that day, genuinely showcasing our love and combining our joys and passions; for example, his favorite color is a dark hunter green, and I wanted to make sure that was brought into the appeal and decor. So I guess the theme of our wedding was love for one another and who we are as people. We are not very religious, and no traditions were practiced in our ceremony.

Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

A: Most of the decor was either second-hand, thrift, or things we already utilized in our home, such as mirrors for signage, a lot of antiques, and things that brought us joy. We loved the moody, gothic, medieval vibe, which influenced our choices. Plus, having the garden was more than enough decor; it was so stunning.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

A: We went the route of silk florals so we could preserve them for a lifetime and display them later in our home; plus, having a wedding in a garden, what more flowers do you need, we didn't want to distract from that beauty. My bouquet was made by my mother-in-law, so it was like a blessing from her, which meant so much to me. We had jewel-toned colors to match the beautiful bridesmaids and their dresses. The bridesmaids had lanterns with small silk flower accents that had a similar moody vibe that I made. Our backdrop had a lot of silk wisteria plants, which are my favorite, giving it that droopy moody feel made by Zach's aunt. It meant so much to me that so many people who were welcoming me into their lives did so with such sweet and creative gestures, which made the day feel so special.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

A: Our personalization aspect of the wedding was the photo booth, we wanted a way that folks could make memories that they could keep and fondly look back on, something that is a very personalized keepsake. Plus, adding props to an event where folks are letting loose is always bound to be a fun time.

Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.

A: For Zach, he knew I was going to go the route of the black dress, so he wanted to match it with the all-black suit, undershirt, and tie. When he was getting his suit initially, the associate informed him that doing all-black with the undershirt included can be tricky, as not all blacks are the same shade, so he advised Zach to be sure to have options; his solution was getting an undershirt that was dark green, which is his favorite color. It looked so slick and added such a fantastic element. He looked so good. As for myself, I always knew I was going to do some alternative color of a wedding dress, black, red, maybe a grey, white wasn't something I considered, it is beautiful, but it wasn't me. I love the very victorian, haunting feel, beautiful intricate cuffs, and bishop sleeves. Think Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice. The cape I got had crow feathers which brought in an element of things I enjoy and somewhat of how we started talking. I got a matching boutonniere and hairpiece with dark and moody flowers, so we had an element that joined us together. I feel like our outfits represented who we are and showcased our personalities perfectly.

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

A: We met on the dating app OkCupid; some element of most dating applications is it has sections where you can share things about your interests by answering questions like "What is your favorite genre of movie?". "Who is your favorite author," etc. The few I chose for myself were about music and a few of my favorite video games. One of them was a game called Bloodborne; when we matched online, he sent an extraordinarily thoughtful and in-depth message, not only including some of my favorite things I already wrote about on my profile but diving deeper into who I was as a person and what character I was like in the video games I mentioned based off of what little he knew of me, really breaking the ice and making me feel very seen. The conversations flowed and always had such an organic feel. showing just how thoughtful and kind he was. Due to us starting our relationship around the pandemic, we had a hard time getting together, so he went ahead and bought Bloodborne so we could play together, and this game is notorious for being very unforgiving, so I felt so bad for putting him through that, but felt so loved in seeing how much he strived to get to know and enjoy the things I did and make sure we could spend time together, even if it were a difficult game. A few months later, we moved in together, and I got to see more of his love for medieval things with his impressive armor sets, his passion for superheroes, and his perfect sense of humor, our house was always filled with laughter. We had been together for almost a year, and we already felt like being together, no matter where we were, was like coming home. On October 31st, 2020, the day of the full blue moon, and Halloween falling on a Saturday, we decided to have some friends over for a Halloween party, and our new tradition of a chili cook-off Halloween parties began, we ate chili, played board games, gave out candy and had an amazing time. After everyone left, we went for a nice stroll around the block to look at all of the Halloween decorations and enjoy the moonlight. As we were walking and admiring our surroundings, he stopped me, got on one knee, reciting the vows from the movie Corpse Bride that he memorized for this moment and brought out this beautiful alexandrite ring, and my response to him asking me to marry him in such a beautiful and grandeur way was "Duh!". So eloquent, I know! It was so perfect and so sweet. It will forever be one of my favorite memories.

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

A: For our first dance, we spent a few nights trying to find "Our Song" and just having that memory tied to us exploring that for sure is a core memory. We also wanted to have folks join us for our first dance, so seeing folks walk in after a few seconds of just Zach and I dancing was a truly special feeling.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?

A: Some wedding planning advice I have for future couples is always to remember why you are doing it and what your love represents. Please do not feel like there is a set way to have a wedding; the only thing that makes a wedding official is the licenses you get to prove its legality. Do not feel like you have to do something specific or outrageous; keep yourself grounded in who you and your partner are and what that means to you, and the pieces will fall into place, I promise. My marriage advice is to honor your partner for who they are and always make them feel important for what makes them, them. Find ways every day to show how grateful you are for them, even if it is just telling them you are grateful for them and find ways to include and share their interests with them; they are your best friend. Most importantly, learn how you give and receive love. and how your partner does the same.