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!
Grae grew up on the West Coast and Becky grew up on the East Coast but they both ended up in Chicago to attend college. Their first date was over coffee and the dates never stopped. The couple chose to get married in the Northern Michigan town where Becky spent her summers since she was six years old. She wore a gown made by her great-grandmother. It was the same dress that her mother wore and her grandmother wore before that. The bridal party (seriously, the most fun bunch I’ve ever had the chance to photograph) all gathered at the family cottage to get ready and then it was moment after moment until the sun set over Betsie Lake.
Event planner: Simply Exquisite by the Bay
Ceremony: Frankfort Beach
Reception: Elberta Life Saving Station
Caterer: Catering by Kelly’s
Bridal shoes: Toms
Hair: Infinite Beaute
Table and chairs: Design A Theme Party Rentals
Florist: Simply Exquisite by the Bay
Baker: Zingerman’s Bakehouse
Live band: Blue Dirt
Second photographer: Carrie Turner
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
The few days leading up to Robert and Margaret’s wedding were unseasonably cold but on April 11th, the sun came out and the blue sky was filled with puffy white clouds. Even though Margaret still draped the shawl crocheted by her grandmother around her shoulders to ward off the goosebumps, the sun was a welcomed guest. If the pleasant weather wasn’t enough, the music during their wedding was epic. It filled the transepts of St. Ignatius with such beauty that I honestly found myself distracted (in a good way.)
As always, I’m moved by the sentimentality in each individual wedding. I loved that Robert wore his father’s ring, that Margaret’s Aunt Mary did her hair and that she wore a bracelet belonging to her mother. The pretzels that were given as favors were made by Margaret’s mother and her friends.
Margaret posted on Facebook a few days after the wedding saying that friends were shocked that they weren’t taking a honeymoon. And in her words, “Until recently we thought we’d still be living hundreds of miles apart after the wedding. I’m living my honeymoon…”
And may it always be so.
Ceremony: Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Reception: The Lyman Estate
Caterer: Tastings Caterers
Groom’s suit: Calvin Klein
Bridal gown: Alfred Sung
Music: The Liturgy Arts Group of Boston College, Triton Brass, BC Bells, Danny Padgett, Dann Russo, Timothy Zimmerman
Second photographer: Jon Mills
Grand Haven, Michigan
Pat and Sally had an intimate wedding ceremony with a handful of close friends and family at the historic Khardomah Lodge in Grand Haven. I had never met the couple until their wedding day but I felt instantly drawn to their love story. With a few tears shed during the ceremony with an exchange of unique rings from Misty Wiersema-Jewelers followed by amazing wine and food from the Hearthstone, the day gave me the feeling that they were old friends.
May warmth and happiness follow you always.
The first time I really got to spend any time with Isaac and Jennifer was during their beautiful Lake Michigan sailboat engagement session this summer. When you’re on a boat with someone and get to share seasickness with near strangers, you become fast friends. These two were so gracious and kind and I knew their wedding would be more of the same. With their strong families of faith behind them, the day was perfect. I couldn’t even help but chuckle at the wind that seemed to come out of nowhere and secretly wondered if the two wished they were out on the lake taking advantage of the gift. May you have strong winds and smooth sailing all the days ahead.
It’s no secret that Merissa really never wanted to get married in the first place or did she ever want a dog. Guess what? She met Jason and he kind of changed all that. Merissa’s brother performed the tearful ceremony and didn’t mind that there was even a swear word in his sister’s vows. Merissa, Jason and their families handmade all the details that made this celebration so unique, everything from the decorations, to the bouquets, to the bar at the reception. And that’s the thing I adored the most about the day, Merissa and Jason have these absolutely amazing blended families. In a day with so much anger and hatred towards one another, I was inspired to see such genuine goodness coming together for one purpose — to celebrate a love that was so strong, it could change a girl’s heart.
Ceremony: Belle Isle Conservatory
Reception: Royal Oak Farmers Market
Hair and makeup: Shellinz Salon & Spa
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Band: Cabin Boyz
Linens and chairs: LUXE Event Linen
Bride’s gown: Moonlight
Shoes: International Concepts
Second photographer: Nick Tremmel
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.