Real Columbus Wedding: Rachel and Alex Keller

A rescheduled wedding celebration provided opportunity for this New Albany couple.

Nicholas Youngblood
Rachel and Alex Keller married on Sept. 18, 2021.

Sept. 18, 2021 | For some couples, the second time is the charm. 

Rachel (Smoot) and Alex Keller delayed their 2020 wedding due to (what else?) COVID-19, but it wasn’t the first time they had to take a second pass in their relationship. The two first met in 2011 at an annual post-Thanksgiving party organized by mutual friends, affectionately called “Blackout Friday.” For some reason—who could guess why?—this encounter didn’t stick. They saw one another again in 2016 at the same event and hit it off; three years later, they were engaged. 

“What really cemented it for me is, I have a very, very strong friend group and family. So if you’re in with them, then it’s just cake from there,” Rachel says. 

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Despite their powerful connection, the Kellers live in a house divided: Rachel and Alex are die-hard Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks football fans, respectively. Hearing their officiant recite the entire record between the schools during their ceremony was a true test of their bond. (Thank goodness for Oregon’s first-time win a week prior.)

Originally, the couple was aiming for a fall wedding in 2020—the weekend after the OSU vs. Oregon game—but COVID-19 forced them to reconsider, and they eventually settled on fall 2021. 

Despite having his vows prepared for over a year, Alex says the wedding still gave him game-day jitters. “As many days as I [had] thought and prepared for it, somehow, I was still shaking-in-my-boots nervous,” he says. 

He and Rachel agree that having a first look helped ease the pressure. Seeing each other in private pre-ceremony helped turn what had long been an abstract source of anxiety into a very real cause for celebration. 

Another way Rachel and Alex defused the tension was by replacing wedding conventions with more casual alternatives. Instead of a formal rehearsal dinner, they hosted a welcome reception at Seventh Son Brewing Co. And a longtime friend stepped in as a last-minute replacement officiant; his presence added humor and a deeply personal touch to the ceremony. 

More than anything, the Kellers say, it was the guests who made the event special. “Having all of those people there definitely is what made that night what it was,” Alex says. Unlike many COVID-era couples who had to slash guest lists to keep up with changing guidelines for large gatherings, the Kellers’ list expanded considerably between initial save-the-dates and official invitations, thanks to all the bonds that strengthened during a tough year. 


Ceremony and reception: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 

Caterer: Milo’s Catering 

Late-night bites: Granddad’s Pizza 

Cake: Short North Piece of Cake 

Planner: Rachelle Chiarappa

Florist: Vessel Floral and Event Design 

Ceremony and cocktail hour music: Columbus Musicians LLC 

Reception music: Josh Staley Productions 

Photographer: Jessica Miller Photography 

Videographer: Prodigy Weddings 

Stationery: Invitation art by MeghanTurnerDesign on Etsy, printed via 

Transportation: The BEAT 

Accommodations: Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel 

Sunday brunch: Valter’s at the Maennerchor 

Rehearsal dinner: Seventh Son Brewing Co. 

Bride’s attire: Lazaro gown from La Jeune Mariee, Ted Baker shoes, accessories from Store 5a 

Bride’s hair and makeup: The Bride Bar (now closed) 

Groom’s attire: Indochino suit, accessories from Dessy and 

Rings: Engagement ring from Marlen Jewelers (Rocky River), bride’s ring from Gold & Diamonds Inc., groom’s band from Manly Bands 

Bridesmaids’ attire: Dessy gowns 

Groomsmen’s attire: Indochino suits 

This story first appeared in the spring/summer 2022 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in December 2021.