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
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Rain was in the forecast for Seth and Clara’s outdoor vineyard wedding. It’s not what anyone had hoped for and we all were scrambling for backup options. Our flurry of emails back and forth was all for naught; we had the perfect, ideal September day that Northern Michigan typically offers. And, as I knew it would be, all the hard work of planning was flawless. The local honey for guest favors, the display of Clara’s grandmother’s satin wedding gown, the old family wedding photographs, the wooden hand-painted box Clara found at a yard sale, the vintage cake topper, sorority sisters cheers and Viking hats — it all had an absolute unique Clara-and-Seth-one-of-a-kind celebration that I’m still pinching myself that I got to be a part of it all.
Ceremony and reception: Ciccone Vineyard and Winery
Invitations: Ashley Meyers
Florist: Field of Flowers Farm
Caterer: Uptown Catering
Baker: Baked by Josephine
Hair and makeup: Hanna Wagner Designs
Bridesmaids gowns: Jenny Yoo
Wedding shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bridal gown: Watters
Furniture Rental: Fancy Fray
Tent and farm table rentals: Monstrey-McDonald
DJ: Bee Entertainment
Videographer: Traverse City Video
East Grand Rapids, Michigan
When I met Matt and Alyssa to do their engagement session on a REALLY cold February day they joked they were just big nerds. And although they do have really impressive resumes, (Matt graduated summa cum laude from University of Michigan with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and Alyssa who also graduated from U of M is now a recent graduate from UCLA law school) like Alyssa’s mother mentioned in her toast; the real measure of success was that they found true love and they found each other and they are just really good people. (Of course, I’m paraphrasing here.)
Basically, a pure genuineness surrounded their wedding day which was held at Alyssa’s family home on Reeds Lake. Friends from Alyssa’s West Africa Peace Corp days were there. Matt’s family from Pittsburgh was there. High school friends and SpaceX coworkers — they all came. This glorious mix of friends and family all celebrated on a perfect May day, dining on wonderful food and drink, and dancing until the sun set across the lake.
Wedding planner: Kenley Event Design
Florist: Overgrowth Floral
Bartender: Amy Ruis at Art of the Table
Caterer: Kangaroo Kitchen
Tables, linens, china: The Rental Company
Videographer: Jon Carson Wedding Films
Makeup: Sue Sytsma
Bridal gown: Pronovias
Band: Nine Mile Smile
Second photographer: Andraya Croft
Elk Rapids, Michigan
I felt a bit like an incognito CIA agent in sunglasses with a newspaper to my nose as I staked out the perfect spot. I was hiding out on the beach near the Airbnb Alex rented on the Grand Traverse Bay so he could have his surprise proposal to his longtime girlfriend, Grace, photographed. Everything went perfectly from the weather, to the kind neighbors who let me trespass on their property, to the proposal itself.
I’ll say it again. I feel this overwhelming honor at witnessing these moments of love. I’m so happy for you, Alex and Grace!
When I photographed Adam and Whitney’s engagement session the sun quickly disappeared and we had gloomy skies but the opposite happened on their wedding day. It started out a bit gloomy but then we had the most glorious sunset to end the night of their perfect day.
There was something really wonderful about this wedding. I’m a small town girl myself so perhaps it was the quaint church where everyone settled in closely in the creaky wooden pews or maybe it was the kindness I felt from everyone — a genuineness that comes naturally to rural folks. That’s the best way I can describe it. The reception was on the golf course that Whitney’s family owns; the place she played with her Barbie dolls on the greens with her sisters. The flower girl dresses were made by Whitney’s mother. So were the invitations and the paper flower decorations. This day, start to finish, was full of warmth and goodness. May your marriage always carry those same qualities in your Hart (I mean, heart.)
Garrett spent his summers along the dunes of the Beachcomber Association near Little Point Sable Lighthouse and this is where he chose to come back this summer to get married. Garrett is a CEO of a sustainable hardwood company in Ecuador and this is where he met Sabrina — an Ecuadorian that teaches English to children. Good food, good music and good friends surrounded the two as they were married along Lake Michigan in a beautiful and intimate ceremony.
Three Oaks, Michigan
Patrick and Arielle met at a friend’s wedding in Minnesota. They talked around a bonfire and at 2 am took an “intense, hardcore” hike. Patrick went back to St. Paul and Arielle went home to Chicago but then a postcard showed up from Patrick. Their wedding was a bit like their meeting — Patrick was out for a walk and we couldn’t find him when we first arrived and, like a nostalgic postcard, the two did their “first look” at the Lake Michigan cottage that Arielle’s great-grandfather built 93 years ago.
The weather couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to be gloomy or sunny but the rain held out until everyone was safe inside the tent for the reception which was masterfully decorated by the bride’s mother.
Patrick and Arielle, I hope your marriage is always a perfect mix of adventure and nostalgia. Happiness always!
Ceremony and reception: Willow Harbor Vineyards
Bridal gown: Jenny Yoo
Groom’s suit: Judd Frost Clothiers
Hair: Bang Blowdry Bar
Makeup: Nicole Cap
Videographer: Jon Carson Wedding Films
DJ: Style Matters
Second photographer: Cory Morse