WEDDING: Kyle and Sam
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
WEDDING: Michael and Aubrey
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
ENGAGEMENT: Erik and Molly
I’ve known about Molly and Erik before I ever met them. It’s strange how the loss of a dear friend has brought into my life this cherished and wonderful couple — a couple that I had the privilege of capturing their love as we traipsed around the Nunica farm where Erik grew up with their somewhat famous dog, Wesley, in tow. (No, really, he’s the braces-wearing dog whose photo went viral.) I’m grateful this profession lets me roam on farms, mingle with pets, climb trees and be reminded of the power of love.
WEDDING: Adam and Whitney
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.)
Ceremony: Hart Congregational United Church of Christ
Reception: Colonial Golf Course
Bridal gown: Kenneth Winston from Bianka Bridal
Second photographer: Andraya Croft
WEDDING: Grae and Becky
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
WEDDING: Josh and Sara
Josh and Sara both grew up in the Detroit area but now call Kalamazoo home. As lovers of wine and craft beer — and their new town — they wanted to invite all their closest friends and family to join them for one big cocktail party type of wedding. I love that Josh and Sara took what they love, added some creative flair and old wedding photographs, to make this wedding uniquely theirs. (And, seriously, a dancing 93-year-old grandmother, a handful of super heros and wedding vows that mention a gruesome murder — what more could anyone ask for?!)
May you always be uniquely you in your marriage. Congratulations, Josh and Sara!
Pre-ceremony preparations: The Radisson Plaza Hotel
Ceremony, reception and catering: The Wine Loft
Bridal gown: Halston Heritage
Bridal shoes: BHLDN
Makeup: Makeup by Jenna
Drink stop: The Principle
Bride’s earrings: Heatherly Designs
Florist: Southern Exposure Herb Farm
Floral designer: Micah Stanislowski
DJ: BJ Etheridge
WEDDING: Geoff and Ellen
West Olive, Michigan
I’m beginning to see a trend. It seems as though a lot of my couples live elsewhere but are drawn back to Lake Michigan to get married. Ellen and Geoff reside in New York City where Geoff works for Google and Ellen for Simon & Schuster but Ellen grew up in Spring Lake. “Inviting my East Coast friends to the beach” was one of Ellen’s priorities for her wedding and sentimentality is one of mine so I knew I’d love this day. Add in her mother’s antique glass bottle collection, hand-lettered invitation and program by the bride herself, some local Michigan blueberry syrup and Geoff’s computer cufflinks and, well, I was in visual heaven all day long. Not to mention, these two have an energy, respect and love for one another that’s pretty obvious.
Venue: Camp Blodgett
Bridal gown: Claire Pettibone
Bridal alterations: Sew Elegant
Bridal headband: Jennifer Behr
Bridal shoes: Banana Republic
Groom’s suit: JCrew
Favors: Blueberry Haven
Florist: Grand Haven Flower House
Flowers: Grand Haven Farmers Market
Caterer: Martha’s Vineyard
Wedding cakes: Grand Finale Desserts and Pastries
Second photographer: Josh Rexford