This issue’s Wedding Guide features a couple who got engaged with the help of many friends at Toledo Pride, and another couple who exchanged vows at Cedar Point dressed as witches— we are so pleased with the photos from both! Also, don’t miss our tips, tricks, and local businesses to browse as you’re planning your own special day.
Dawn & Elyssa
FRIDAY, SEPT. 13, 2019 | CEDAR POINT
What made your wedding day special?
We knew we didn’t want a big or traditional wedding, so as soon as we saw the Cedar Point post about the contest— six couples to be wed on Friday the 13th (under a full harvest moon)— we KNEW it was for us. We sent in the application and won!! We didn’t pay for any of it! Everything was compliments of Cedar Point. We saved a fortune.
During the wedding planning process, did you ever want to elope?
We really did kind of elope. We were just happy to have some family and a few close friends join us.
What was your favorite thing about the ceremony?
The thunderstorm! It fit in perfectly. Some say rain is lucky. The storm was strong, but short lived, and added an orange haze with ominous clouds to add to the effect of the spooky Halloweeny vibes.
How did the two of you meet?
At a local LGBTQ night club in 2012 on Adams Street— Bretz. It was Elyssa’s birthday and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I offered to buy her a drink. The rest is history.
Who popped the question, and how?
It was mutually discussed and agreed upon. We had humorously entertained the idea for quite some time, but after years of talking about it, we decided it was time. You just know.
Was there anything in the wedding that didn’t go according to plan?
The thunderstorm was a little worrisome as we had family and friends outside waiting for the ceremony, but it ended up making it even better!
How long was the engagement?
A little over two years.
How did the two of you decide on the look for your wedding?
We only knew a few days in advance that we could really wear costumes. We decided we would go with a witch theme and whipped up some stellar hats the night before our wedding.
Three words to describe your wedding expectations:
atmospheric, laidback, unconventional
How big was your wedding?
18 of our friends and family attended the ceremony. There was definitely a crowd of Cedar Point guests!
Wedding coordinator: Katie Young.
Caterer: We plan on making our own food for our post-elopement party….. coming soon…. desserts by Meirav Pierce.
Photographer and/or videographer: Toledo City Paper’s own Kelli Miller
Tips and tricks for other couples: Breathe. Take your time. Don’t worry about the small stuff. You’ll reflect on that day quite a bit so make it one of the best!
Sarah & Thea
Are the two of you originally from Toledo & how did you meet?
Sarah: We were both born and raised in Toledo. We both moved to the West Coast when we were in our twenties, and— unbeknownst to either of us— we moved back to Toledo within two months of each other. We met shortly after at Toledo Pride in 2018; Thea is also known as Justin Case [drag king] and was in drag when we met. Something about her voice made me want to see who she was out of drag. We had a mutual friend who connected us two days later… we went on our first date that night, stayed up talking until 5am, and have been inseparable ever since.
Tell me about how you got engaged and when:
Sarah: Thea is an actress and entertainer, and I thought it was only fitting for her to be proposed to where she is most comfortable: on stage. With the help of close friends and family, I came up with a surprise proposal on the Toledo Pride stage in front of hundreds of people. Our friend Porsha Armani [drag queen] performed “our song” on stage, called us up, and I got down on one knee and popped the question. After Thea said yes and turned around, she saw several of our best friends on stage wearing shirts that spelled out “SAY YES!!”
Who proposed to whom?
Sarah: I proposed to Thea first… but Thea also has a secret plan of her own apparently to propose to me. 😉
How long had you been together before getting engaged?
One year… almost to the date.
Please give details on your vision for the big day.
Since we just moved to Los Angeles together, we are slowly starting to gather inspiration and are about to set a date. We would love to have a big celebration with our closest friends and family in Toledo. We are both autumnal babies, so we’d love a fall wedding outdoors with vibrant fall foliage.
What makes the two of you work so well as a couple?
We are both hard-working individuals who rely on one another and are our authentic selves together. We support each other’s passions, and we communicate, whether we agree or not. We love being silly together and making each other laugh. We also balance each other out and know how to bring out the best in each other.
Thea: Sarah is kind, generous and patient.
Sarah: Thea is passionate, selfless, and thoughtful.
5 Shots to Request from Your Photographer
- Incorporate all close family members, including your pets
- Small, but meaningful, details— like your rings, other jewelry, and beautiful accessories like high heels
- The Grand Exit— sparklers are a great way to make this shot memorable
- Shots of the most striking aspects of the dress— a long train or open-back style for instance
- Getting ready with your bridesmaids/groomsmen
Mined or MANN MADE™?
The Evolution of Diamonds
For most couples, an engagement ring is an emotional purchase because it’s more than just a piece of jewelry— it’s a representation of shared love and the commitment they plan to make. So, how much is that symbol worth?
According to Brides’ American Wedding Study, the average cost of an engagement ring in 2018 was $7,829, representing about 14 percent of the overall wedding budget.
But what if you could slash that price by 40 percent, and still enjoy a beautiful diamond built to last for generations? With lab-grown diamonds, you can.
Revolutionizing the jewelry business
The fine jewelry business is based on tradition as well as elements and stones that have been around for thousands, if not millions, of years. So it is rare and wonderful for the industry to have something new and revolutionary like lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are not simulations like cubic zirconia and moissanite. They are real diamonds that are chemically identical to mined diamonds with the same properties. The only difference is that lab-grown diamonds are grown in a high tech laboratory over a few weeks versus mined diamonds which are formed deep in the earth over thousands of years.
“Lab-grown diamonds have identical optical and chemical properties as mined diamonds which means they are just as hard and sparkle the same way,” explains Jeffrey Mann of Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers. “They also are graded by the same gemological institutes using the standards that grade mined diamonds. Loose lab-grown diamonds are accompanied by a certificate assuring their authenticity with a full grading of the stone including size, cut, color, shape and any imperfections.”
Proven technology used a new way
Lab-grown diamonds are not exactly new. The technology was developed in the 1950s and has been in use for decades to create diamonds for industrial applications. In 2013, lab-grown diamonds represented only 2 percent of the gemstone quality market. In 2018, lab-grown diamonds joined the popular fine jewelry market after the FTC ruled that manufacturers and dealers could refer to the gemstone as a diamond. Shortly after, diamond mogul DeBeers launched their own lab-grown diamond line.
Locally, Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers is leading our region in this trend, offering lab-grown diamonds under their own MANN MADE™ brand.
“We’ve been Toledo’s diamond source for 35 years,” said Mann. “If there is something new and exciting like MANN MADE™ diamonds that we know our customers are going to love, we are proud to put our name on it.”
More for your money
Compared to mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are an exceptional value. Customers can expect to save 20 – 40 percent on comparable diamonds. Not only does this provide a huge relief for those looking to save money on engagement and wedding costs, but it also opens up a world of possibilities for anyone planning on sticking to their original budget.
“Most customers walk in our store with a budget in mind. When they find out that with lab-grown diamonds they can get a bigger diamond and stay within their budget, their decision is easy, and they opt for lab-grown,” said Mann.
“A diamond is a diamond. The only difference our customers will see with lab-grown diamonds is the price.”
Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers
10am-6pm, Monday-Friday | 10am-4pm, Saturday.
5247 Monroe St. | 419-882-6994 | jeffreymannfinejewelers.com