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
Samantha and Leo’s love story began on the first day of Leo’s freshmen year at Kalamazoo College when they met. They were friends for a couple years first — the way all good relationships start — and have been a couple for many years since. Thirty years ago, the bride’s parents had their wedding in the same place. The bride wore borrowed pearls and her engagement ring was made from her grandmother’s. Although the rain caused a few logistical challenges, seeing these two surrounded with such great tradition, love and joy made all that seem insignificant. The emotional ceremony had everyone in tears and then, like magic, the sun came out and soaked underneath the tent and left the evening with a quick, golden sunset.
Ceremony and reception: Franklin Hills Country Club
Invitations: Lee’s Specialty
Florist: Frech Sutherland
Baker: Holiday Market
Wedding musicians: Fleur de Lys String Ensemble
Hair: Peter Mansoor – P. La Salon
Makeup: Leslie Paterra – Todd’s Room
Bridal shoes: Via Spiga
Bridal gown designer: Gregory Parkinson
DJ: DJ Tom T
Second photographer: Merissa Hudnall
Grand Rapids, Michigan
There are always things at every wedding that touch me. I’m realizing I should jot them down because by the time I get to blogging a wedding, many of those small moments leave me. However, I think there were so many things about Michael and Aubrey’s day that left an imprint that remembering this wedding won’t be a problem. It all started with the gift that Michael gave to Aubrey: a stack of letters each sealed in a separate envelope for her to open on special occasions. And then, I can’t even begin to describe how sacred the wedding ceremony was from the singing, the sound of the harp, the golden iconography, the smell of the incense and even the surprise bagpiper (a nod to Michael’s Scottish heritage.) I loved arriving to the reception to see favorite assorted desserts baked from relatives and a height chair pushed up to the bridal party table so the young nephew was seated along with his dad — one of the groomsmen. They danced to special traditional ethnic songs as the guests sang and encircled the newly married couple. Everything felt alive and the faint thunder of fireworks to celebrate Independence Day seemed to be meant for Aubrey and Michael, too.
Ceremony: St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church
Reception: New Vintage Place
Flowers, invitations and decor: Events by I. Candy
Caterer: New Vintage Place
Cake: Wealthy Street Bakery
Bridesmaids gowns: Adrianna Papell
Groom’s suit: Men’s Warehouse
Hair and makeup: Tanaz
Bridal gown: Hayley Paige
Band: Bluewater Kings
Second photographer: Carrie Turner
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.)
Andy and Katie have known each other for years. That’s because Andy’s brother and Katie’s sister are married. Yep, it was McLaughlin and Mingay nuptials 2.0. Two families already well-woven together so much so that Katie wore two special necklaces — her grandmother’s and Andy’s grandmother’s. Their two-year-old daughter was part of the whole day from getting ready to finally falling asleep on the dance floor. They were married in a place owned by Katie’s family at one time and the walls of the barn reception were decorated with quilts made by the bride’s grandmother and her sisters. When I first talked to Katie on the phone she told me she wanted her wedding to feel like “a fun party with lots of laughter.” I do believe you succeeded.
Ceremony and reception: Dunmaglas Golf Course
Hair and makeup: Vogue Salon & Spa
Caterer: A Matter of Taste
Bridal gown: BHLDN
Flower girl’s gown: BHLDN
Bridal shoes: Calvin Klein
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Owen and Ashley, two compassionate doctors and really good people, wanted to get married overlooking Lake Michigan, a favorite place of theirs. They crossed their fingers for good weather and were married on a gorgeous August day at Michillinda Lodge. They exchanged vows underneath blue skies with an equally blue lake behind them. The two nature-lovers were engaged at P. J. Hoffmaster while hiking along the dunes so we revisited this special park on their wedding day. And how can I not love a bride who mentioned her love of yard sales during her vows, changed into a dress from a thrift store for the reception and wore a pearl bracelet she found in a dumpster?!
May your marriage be full of more hikes, adventure and lots of found treasures along the way!