Kyle and Sam live in Chicago but they chose to get married at Crystal Mountain in northern Michigan to celebrate the state that they shared some of their earliest and most special memories as a couple. They love the outdoors, the Chicago Cubs, to throw big parties and they really love their dog, Stella. In fact, she was the ring bearer, the table markers were all photos of her, she walked on the bride’s gown as if to give her approval and she even licked the mimosas when no one was looking.
I loved that Sam wore a pearl ring belonging to her grandmother and the diamonds in her engagement ring were taken from Kyle’s grandmother’s engagement ring. The handkerchief she carried, Sam couldn’t bring herself to wash because it was still smudged with her grandmother’s lipstick and still smelled like her.
They entered the reception tent dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and I’m pretty sure Sam’s dad never left the dance floor. Guests warmed themselves by an outside fire to take of the autumn chill. And, oh, the laughter. So. Much. Laughter.
May warmth, laughter and good people follow you all the years ahead.
Ceremony, reception and catering: Crystal Mountain
Florist: Birchwood Flowers
Baker: Kirsten’s Bakery
Hair and makeup: Victoria Sylvester of Escape Salon
Bridal gown: Bijou Bridal, designed by Watters
DJ: Bee Entertainment
Crystal Mountain, Michigan
I have a confession to make. You know the show The Bachelor? I watch it. I also watch sappy movies. What gets me more than Hollywood love, however, is REAL love. Emily and Ryan have had a long-distance relationship for years. She was in med school in Florida and Ryan was founding a tech company in San Francisco. From coast to coast, they always found a way to make it work. During their wedding vows Ryan said, “YOU are home to me.” No episode of the Bachelor or any Nicholas Sparks movie could top that.
I have another confession. Emily and Ryan’s wedding was one of my favorites. Besides the whole real love thing, they had amazing friends and family (I mean even Emily’s dad took the time to give me some sound business advice!) It might have also had something to do with that the pouring rain stopped in time for the wedding. It might have had something to do with the fact that one of my best friends in the world, Carrie Turner, helped me shoot this wedding. It might have had to do with the beautiful location and amazing staff at Crystal Mountain. It might have had to do with how much FUN Emily and Ryan are. I mean what bride and groom spontaneously decides to go down an inflatable slide after they get hitched?!
Ryan and Emily, may your love always feel like home.
Second photographer: Carrie Turner
Venue: Crystal Mountain
Videographer: Epic Motion
Florist: Field of Flowers Farm
Cupcakes: Cake Connection
Invitations: The Print House
Dress: Paloma Blanca
Wedding gown sash: Susan Brennan
Reception dress: Anthropologie
Bride’s boots: Ariat
Bridesmaids gowns: Jim Hjelm
Disc Jockey: Double Trouble DJ’s
Band: Mike Davis Trio