jillian + ben

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Jillian and Ben’s wedding day was one of those days…one of those days that remind me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in life, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.  One of those days where I got to be part of a group of awesome people who united with the common goal of creating a day that was perfect in every way.  (I’m talking to YOU friends and family of Jill and Ben – you ROCK!!)  It was one of those days that I will remember always as a day that I truly loved my job.  :)

Be sure to check out Jill and Ben’s favorite wedding day memories throughout the post, and the fantastic wedding planning advice they have to offer!!

I started out the day with Jill and the girls at her parents’ house.  There were a whole lot of smiles, laughs, and good times had at the Gallagher home that morning!  Glam on Location was there doing a fabulous job with the ladies’ hair and make-up!!  I always look forward to working with them!

Jillian:  “Getting ready with my bridesmaids, cousins and parents was a really nice, relaxing start to the day. I would definitely recommend having hair and makeup come to where you’re getting ready–it made that part of the day as seamless and fun as possible! I felt so supported being alongside all my favorite ladies (and my dad of course)!”
I love this shot of Jill’s dad seeing her in her dress for the first time that day.  You can see how proud he is…it’s such a beautiful moment.  :)

Ben Ayres (not to be confused with Ben The Groom) started out his day by meeting the guys at the Hyatt to grab some shots of them getting ready for the big day.  Then, they all made their way over to St. Louis Cathedral to await the ceremony!

Ben:  “It was great to start the day with a few laughs, lunch and a little fortitude (Krupnik, anyone?) with the groomsmen at the hotel before we left for the church.”
Jillian:  “Waiting in the back of the church with my Dad, and our walk down the aisle. It was such a surreal moment–and overwhelming in the best way possible to see basically EVERYONE we know, from all different parts of life, together in one place to support us. I had been a little nervous about this part (I hate being the center of attention!) but I truly felt so peaceful and happy.  And of course, seeing Ben waiting at the end made any last minute fears disappear.”
Jillian:  “One of my favorite moments was actually a little flub!  I loved our whole ceremony, but being up there in front of everyone for such a formal occasion was also a little intimidating. When we went to exchange rings, Ben started to put my band on the wrong finger and we both started cracking up. It lightened things up a little bit and really felt like us!”
Ben:  “Getting to see everyone in the receiving line after the ceremony was awesome. There were so many people I hadn’t seen a long time, and it was great to celebrate our big day with them.”
After the ceremony, the receiving line, and some family photos on the altar, we packed up and headed over to “The Cobblestone District” for some awesome wedding party photo time.  :)
Then, we made our way over to Tifft Nature Preserve, which is truly one of my favorite spots in the whole of Buffalo for photos.  And, on this particular day, the light and the sky were EPIC!!  These are literally some of my favorite shots in the history of Ayres weddings.  LOVE.  THEM.
Ben:  “I really enjoyed the photo shoot with just me and Jill on top of the hill at Tifft Nature Preserve. The weather was great, and I loved the long grass and just being together walking up the hill. It was also really funny to see Jill in that great dress and a pair of flip-flops.”
Jillian:  “The day went by in such a whirlwind that the limited time Ben and I had to ourselves to take it all in felt really special. From hiking up the hill at Tifft, to peeking at our wedding party being introduced, to sitting and having dinner together at our sweetheart table, it was awesome to have time to slow down and enjoy our first official moments of being married.”
Ben:  “Having everyone LOVE the Buckeyes we gave away as our favor. Since I’m from Cleveland and Jill’s from Buffalo, we combined some of our hometown treats as our favor: sponge candy and buckeyes, which are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate and an Ohio favorite. When we went around to the tables after dinner, people were raving about the buckeyes (from Jill: Umm people loved the sponge candy too!)!”
How cute is the excited flower girl in the background of this shot?!  ;)
Pearl Street Brewery has one of the best views in the whole city, which allows for some of the best sunsets in the whole city.
Jillian:  “My mom’s family is Polish, and everyone on that side (parents, aunts and uncles, cousins) has done the Oczepiny–a somewhat silly fertility ritual that involves crazy hats! It was such a fun, ridiculous moment, sitting with Ben and our parents, and staring out at our friends and families singing the traditional song to us. Loved it!”

Ben:  “The Oczepiny is a Polish tradition (or so I’m told!), and Jill’s family always make a silly hat for the groom.  Mine was beyond ridiculous–it had Christmas lights, all sorts of knick-knacks, and a baby doll complete with batteries that must have weighed 5 pounds altogether. The hat was so uncomfortable–especially since the doll was hot glued onto the hat, and somehow one of the dollops of glue had formed a little stalactite the was poking me right in the head!”

Jill:  “It’s something that everyone told me, but I didn’t realize how true it was until we were in the middle of it: the day will go by so quickly! Try not to sweat the little details–honestly, you probably won’t notice what your centerpieces look like or if the sugar flowers on your cake precisely match your color palette. You WILL notice how much fun you and your guests are having, so enjoy your own party!! I firmly believe that the bride and groom set the tone for the kind of day it is–if you’re dancing and having an amazing time, so will your guests!

Pick vendors that you genuinely like-it will make your planning a lot easier and less stressful! I’d say to pay special attention to picking your photographers-you’ll spend a lot of time with them on the wedding day! Jenn and Ben were so much fun to work with, and we both felt like we could really loosen up and be ourselves while they were taking pictures. Their positive, yet calming energy really made a difference! Also, the aforementioned speed of the day? You’ll want to know that you have awesome photographers documenting the whole thing so you can look back on everything ;)”

Ben: “Everyone you meet tells you how quickly the day goes, and it is so true – the day literally flew by at warp speed. I was nervous getting ready, and kind of had a little existential moment right before the ceremony, and then all of a sudden the ceremony, photos, dinner, first dance, Oczepiny just FLEW BY. So if you can, take a moment to sit back and just look around. One of the best memories for me was when Jill and I stood to the side and behind the wedding party being introduced. It was one of the few times we got to see the day’s festivities from the outside together, and take it all in.”


Jill and Ben – we absolutely cannot thank you enough for choosing us to be your wedding photographers! This was a day that we will always remember as being completely awesome. You two are amazing, and we could not have asked for a better couple to work with…truly…thank you times a zillion. Much love, J + B :)

  • Kathleen Marie SAYS...

    Beautiful photos! Looks like it was a lot of fun :)