Brett and Jaclyn’s intimate backyard wedding was surrounded by fields of corn and close friends and family. Jaclyn wore two dresses that day – – a beautiful intricate gown for the ceremony and a sparkly short dress for the reception. But, I won’t lie, one of my favorite things about this day was seeing her two-year-old son be included in it all. He walked down the aisle with Jaclyn and she held him as they exchanged their vows. He snitched a bite of the frosting before the cake was served and had a kissing contest with the bride. I loved that she was a mother first and a bride secondly.
Bridal gown: Madison James
Reception gown: Kate Spade
Florist: Greenville Floral
Pew rentals: Fancy Fray
Wedding cake: Haans Bakery
Tent rental: Dad’s Tent and Party Rentals
Hair and makeup: Thomas & Company Hair Salon
Photo assistant: Maddie Chitwood
I can’t say how happy I was to photograph a wedding in Muskegon for a change. It seems most of my weddings have been out of town and while I do enjoy exploring a new location with new possibilities, Muskegon has so much history, natural beauty, grit and nostalgia that I must say it will never get old. Ashley and Drew grew up in this town, both Mona Shores graduates who were friends long before they dated. They now live and work in a different city but came home to celebrate this day with all their closest friends and family. Even though we had continual cool rain on their wedding day, these two didn’t miss a beat and were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow in the evening.
Love and happiness (and rainbows) forever, Ashley and Drew!
Ceremony: Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts
Reception: Century Club Ballroom
Pianist: Kevin Meyer
Officiant: Forever Twogether
Photo Booth: Studio 616
Transportation: Muskegon Trolley Company
Disc jockey: Dance Tracks DJ
Linens: Elegant Linen Design
Wedding cake: Ryke’s
It’s kind of rare to actually to see a photograph of my own daughter and husband in a wedding blog post but that’s kudos to Barrett and Erin. Barrett is my husband’s first cousin and the two of them told me when they were considering hiring me that they wanted this to be a family affair. They had an activity table for all the kids, a candy bar and photo booth. I know it was important for them to be surrounded by everyone — little people, too. Also on that first meeting as they were trying to figure out all the details of their wedding day (which can be overwhelming and daunting) Barrett kind of stopped the conversation and said, “We know each other’s hearts and that’s what is important.”
Ceremony: Providence Church
Reception: The Silo
Hair: Innovations Salon
Disc Jockey: Paradise Entertainment
Bride’s gown: The House of Brides
Attendant dresses: Alfred Angelo
Attendant’s necklaces: Vintage Ooak Designs
Second photographer: Jon Mills
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I was lucky enough to photograph Chris and Merrill’s wedding last year before they moved to Japan. I was even luckier when they asked me to come back and photograph their reception party this summer. The best part was that these two were just as much in love (or even more so!) seventeen months later. Everyone was enjoying each other’s company, playing yard games, eating good food, laughing and dancing overlooking Reeds Lake at the WEGE Plaza. A perfect summer night with a wonderful couple.
When I photographed Josh and Alissa’s engagement session in an old bookstore, I knew they’d do things their own way — unique and meaningful. Their Sunday brunch wedding, which started with a light rain, was perfect; from the newspaper programs Josh designed himself to the custom puppets made in likeness of themselves (a nod to their love of the Muppets) all the way down to the reading of Sam McBratney’s “Guess How Much I Love You.” (And, that created quite a laugh, I may add…)
Josh and Alissa, may you always love each other to the moon and back.
Hotel: City Flats Hotel
Ceremony and Reception: Baker Lofts Events
Florist: Modern Day Floral
Hair/makeup: Flower Child
Baker: Hunters Bakery
Bride’s gown: BLISS Collection Monique Lhuillier
Groom’s suit: Suitsupply
Catering: Gilmore Catering
Attendant dresses: ModCloth
Attendant shirts: JCrew
Ties: The Tie Bar
Puppets: Fuzzhead Puppets
Programs: Newspaper Club (designed by the groom)
Second photographer: Cory Morse
There’s nothing better than photographing a photographer’s wedding because they know all the sweet photo locations but, more than that, it’s fun to photograph friends. I wish you nothing but happiness and love.
When I pulled up to the scenic Northport farm where Blake and EB were to get married, I found a guy wearing a straw hat working on getting all the details in place. It was Blake. Right then I figured if the groom was in hot August heat working to get things just so, that this was going to be good. And it was.
Even though Blake and EB now live in Wisconsin, the two chose the farm to get married because it overlooked the Manitou Islands – – the place where they were engaged. The couple said they wanted to share with their closest friends and relatives all the things that they loved about Michigan. They paid special attention to using local food and drink. Their invitation was crafted by a childhood friend of EB’s. The cake made by another and stored in the cellar to stay cool until it was time to cut it.
Before the ceremony, Blake and EB reached through a door to cut off symbolic bracelets they had worn for years – – the bracelets were to be replaced with wedding rings. (Even though EB put the wedding ring on the wrong finger during the ceremony!) The evening was a perfect ending to a perfect day–with a crackling bonfire, people lounging in hammocks and more laughter and hugs then I could count.
Venue: Leelanau County Modern Farmhouse
Flowers: Hooper’s Farm Gardens
Invitations: Chinn Wang
Cake: Lisa Wolf
Rentals: GJ’s Rentals
Caterer: Pigs Eatin’ Ribs
Wine: Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery
Suit: Brooks Brothers
Brides dress and shoes: JCrew
Cider: Tandem Ciders
Sparkling wine: L. Mawby
I feel like I have a million special moments to share about this wedding but I’ll save that for the full post. For now, just help me in congratulating this beautiful and kind couple who were married on the anniversary of their sixth year together.
Hope you are having a wonderful time in Grenada, Matt and Rockael!
Justin and Amanda picked up my business card at my favorite local sandwich shop in town. The two set up a time to meet with me and I quickly realized that I recognized them both. I had photographed Justin as a firefighter during my newspaper days and Amanda works at the pediatrician’s office where I take my kiddos. Sometimes, stars do align.
With all the serendipity set aside, what made this day wonderful for me was how Amanda wore her emotions on her sleeve. I’ve never seen a bride laugh so easily and fight back tears so courageously. Amanda was nervous, lightheaded, happy and in love — and she (and Justin) allowed me the honor of documenting the roller coaster of the day.
And one final thing, Justin wrote a love letter to Amanda for her to open before walking down the aisle. She was too emotional to read it, too fearful that the tears wouldn’t stop once they started, but I got the chance to photograph the letter. I didn’t dare read it for the words weren’t meant for me but I focused in on one single word: SOULMATE.
Indeed, Justin and Amanda, you are soulmates and I wish you years of love.
Ceremony: Westwood Reformed Church
Florist: Chalet Floral
Cake: Giggles Goodies
Hair and makeup: Salon 297
Photo Booth: Rhythm of the Night Entertainment
DJ: Quality Sound
Catering: Harris Hospitality
Second photographer: blinkPHOTO
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I’ve covered my share of emotional situations during my 13 years as a newspaper photojournalist but I’ll admit that I fought back tears as I witnessed the most heart-felt wedding ceremony yet. I don’t remember all the words spoken during Erik and Ben’s vows to each other but I remember this line “sometimes I feel like you’re the only thing I’ve gotten right.” At that point, there were no dry eyes.
Erik and Ben have amazing friends and family that transformed Erik’s childhood home into one classy wedding venue. They came in on a boat, had their dog Ethel with them through it all, handed out hugs and ginger pear jam they made themselves. Erik’s sister made the cake and a close friend made special drinks. And later, the living room turned into one crazy fun dance party.
Erik and Ben, you have definitely gotten this love thing right.
So Katie and Ryan met in fifth grade and were supposed to go to prom together. That didn’t happen but a wedding happened instead.
You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? Well, I think it takes a village to pull off a wedding as special and unique as Ryan and Katie’s. The two, along with a village of right-brained creatives, transformed the beautiful Nunica property that Ryan spent his years growing up into a magical wedding venue. From all the amazing details that were handmade (mostly by Katie) to the bouquet made from jewelry and trinkets of loved ones, to the song written and played by Katie’s brother, to the decorations put together by Ryan’s mother, to the invitations – – a collaborative art project between Katie and Ryan themselves – – to all the tattoo art (done mostly by Ryan) I was pretty much in visual Heaven for the entire day. But with all that being said, no matter how great a place is or how awesome the dress or flowers, it’s the love that gets me every time. These two, more than any couple I have photographed yet, were madly in love.
Katie and Ryan, may your love stay as strong and true as it was on this day…