COURTNEY & MARK // AN INTIMATE BEACH WEDDING IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

It’s hard to find the right words sometimes. This day meant a lot to me for many reasons. It was a small wedding, which means that as a photographer you don’t blend into the background quite as much as you can at a larger wedding. You feel much more aware of the fact that you are a part of the day and not simply an outside photographer brought in to capture the events. I always feel privileged to witness each wedding we photograph, but sometimes the size of the guest list does have a huge impact on how the wedding feels. For Courtney & Mark I truly believe that this feeling was a perfect choice - it felt so sincere and meaningful and filled with family. It felt significant and rich. It felt like bright sun, and blue water, and colorful flowers. It felt like a deep commitment. It also felt extra special for me because I grew up in Ann Arbor, just a short drive, or run, or bike ride away from Courtney - and we’ve been friends since we could count our age on our hands. My heart fills up with days like this. I am SO happy for this family and I’m beyond happy to share this preview today!

Hair Stylist: Michael Moore

Florist: Jenna at Victoria’s Floral Design

Caterer: Mission Table

Cake/Dessert: Rumi’s Passion (Plymouth) and Juicy Kitchen (Ann Arbor)

Bride’s attire: David’s Bridal, designed by Oleg Cassini

Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse, designed by Joseph Abboud

 

THE CROWLEY FAMILY // NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER IN ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

 

Yes - I have not one, but TWO adorable newborn sessions to share with you today! Maddy and Michael are also former wedding photography clients. They are friends with Kirsten & Dan, their baby girls were born just weeks apart, and they live a half a mile from each other. I am beyond lucky to have client/friends like these and it is now my pleasure to introduce you to Clare. Welcome to the world little one, it was so great to meet you!

 

THE ZEMAITIS FAMILY // NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION // ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

 

Kirsten & Dan’s wedding was one of the first weddings we documented when we moved back to Michigan. And it’s not an understatement to say that their wedding seriously helped jump start our business. Their group of friends are all AMAZING people and we have been lucky enough to work with many of them. It has been so great to stay in touch with Kirsten and Dan over the years, but nothing made me happier than being able to photograph them again. This time, as a family of three! They recently welcomed Zoey, and my oh my, what a sweetheart she is.

Zemaitis Fam, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for welcoming me into your home and being amazing clients and friends. We are so grateful for you!!!

 

BRITTANY & HUNTER // SUMMER ENGAGEMENT SESSION IN DOW GARDENS // MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

I had never been to Dow Gardens before this session - and wow what a gem! Brittany and Hunter asked me to come to the gardens because it was where Hunter proposed and in the town where they will begin their married life together. On top of the beautiful grounds and gorgeous light, these two are the sweetest. This entire session literally felt like a “walk in the park” ;) Carefree, enjoying the warmer weather, the greenery, taking a break from work and study groups and a recent move to enjoy just being together. Cheers to Brittany & Hunter, I can’t wait for the wedding!

 

THE RUBIN FAMILY // A SUMMER FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION ON THE BEACH IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

The longer I have been a wedding photographer, the more I have come to realize that I’m really here for the marriage. I’ve talked about this many times, but as much as I love the details and the party and the flowers, I love the couple more. I love that they’re making an enormous commitment to each other. I love their relationship with their family and friends. I love that they’re saying “yep, I realize that we both have flaws but we’re gonna stick together on this ride”. I just love that I get to play a small part in capturing that. And ya wanna know the best part of reframing my job as a “marriage photographer”? I get to work with people for years. Sometimes I get the privilege of being asked to photograph their life again. At a sibling's wedding. For an updated couples session. Or for a baby. Kathy & Simon, I am SO happy that I got to see you and meet sweet Brian. This session made my heart so happy - I am very grateful. Cheers to this random Tuesday!

 

LINDSEY & BRAD // A JUNE WEDDING AT STARRY NIGHT BARN // SUTTONS BAY, MICHIGAN

 

We were on the lookout for rain - it was supposed to be cloudy all day and the showers kept moving all over the place on the weather apps. Instead, we ended up with some of the best golden light I’ve seen on a wedding day in quite a long time. It was spectacular. Not only that, but the cherry and apple orchards were in bloom. Starry Night Barn is just one of those places where it doesn’t matter which direction you turn, the views are all gorgeous. But let’s set all of that aside. Forget that for a moment, you’ll see it soon enough in these photos. The friendships, the emotions, Lindsey & Brad’s relationship. The jokes about cats and plants and road rage. The tears, the hugs, the high fives. The commitment. That’s why everyone came together on June 1st. And it just so happened to be an absolutely gorgeous day.

Venue: Starry Night Barn

Day of Coordinator: Dragonfly Events | Nikki Kleinrichert

Make-up artist: ALH Beauty | Aubrey Huyck  

Hair Stylist: Kelsey Martin  

Florist: 307 Events

Rentals: 307 Events

Transportation: The Magic Shuttle Bus

Caterer: Bayside Gatherings

Cake/Dessert: Bayside Gatherings

DJ/Band:  Lake Michigan DJs  

Bride’s Attire: The Wedding Shoppe (Berkley, MI)

Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

 

KARIN & NATE // A BACKYARD WEDDING IN WATERFORD, MICHIGAN

 

It’s no secret that a backyard wedding is one of my favorite venues. There are a million reasons why it’s not always possible or practical, but there is just something so personal about opening up a family home to all of your wedding guests. Karin’s parents were able to do just that and it was really special. After the wedding ceremony at Karin & Nate’s church, everyone returned to the family home where they personally greeted every guest as they entered the door. This little gesture felt very symbolic of their new life as a married couple and the close knit group enjoyed an awesome celebration throughout the afternoon and evening with beautiful lake views. The weather came through for us with some awesome golden light. The party had bbq, garden inspired centerpieces, cupcakes, donuts, belly laughs, tears, and lots of joy. Cheers to Karin & Nate!

Venue: Woodside Bible Church & Private Residence

Day of Coordination: Purple Clover Events

Make-up artist: Hannah Price Beauty

Hair Stylist: Billy Dixon

Florist: Designs by Ella Rae

Rentals: Perry’s Tents & Events

Caterer: CAYA Smokehouse Grill

Dessert: Love and Buttercream

DJ: Love Plus One Entertainment

Dress: Becker’s Bridal

 

BREANNA & LUCAS // SPRING WEDDING AT THE HOMESTEAD // GLEN ARBOR, MI

 

We kicked off our 2019 wedding season in such a wonderful way with Breanna and Lucas. It never ceases to amaze me that clients open their lives to us with so much sincerity and generosity. It is truly a privilege to do this work. Breanna and Lucas are high school sweethearts! Each of them are also the youngest sibling in their family. With all of the other siblings already being married, there was such a palpable emotion from the families. It was truly sweet to witness. The rain held off, and with a bit of misty weather coming in and out, Bre and Lucas were able to say their vows at the top of the chairlift at The Homestead with gorgeous Lake Michigan views. The whole day was full of big smiles and the laughter only continued with a great party and some truly memorable dance performances ;) Cheers to Breanna & Lucas!

Venue: The Homestead, Hair Stylist: Amanda McFarland, Officiant: Crystal Yarlott, Florist: Field of Flowers North, Cake: Top Tier Cakery, DJ: Double Trouble DJ’s, Bride’s attire: Piera’s Bridal, Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse

 

GORGEOUS LEGACY WEDDING ALBUM // MADE BY HAND IN THE USA // ARCHIVAL MATERIALS

 

This album is incredible. Plain and simple. As you lift it out of the box and remove it’s soft, plush, protective sleeve, the weight in your hands has an impact. The texture of the leather is beautiful. The album cover has been blind debossed with Megan & Evan’s custom logo. The pages are thick and lay flat. The luster paper has a soft sheen to it. This will become a cherished possession as the years pass and a tangible reminder of their wedding day. I’m really proud of this one and I’m so happy that they love it even more than I do ;)

I’m so excited to be offering this new product for our wedding clients! We will now have two different album options, a book style album and this legacy style album. This album is bound by hand in the USA using archival materials. With proper care, they have a lifetime guarantee. Multiple color and cover options are available. Time flies, so if you haven’t had time to make a wedding album or print your images, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

 

Karin & Nate // Winter Engagement Photography // Old Mission Peninsula // Traverse City

 

Karin and Nate’s engagement session last weekend turned into an awesome Traverse City adventure complete with wine and snowshoeing. Bonobo Winery really spoiled us with an unexpected little wine tour down to the barrel room. It was the perfect place to start off the session and then we headed down to the lighthouse at the point of Old Mission Peninsula. Karin and Nate brought along snow shoes (because they’re awesome) so we had a blast exploring the remaining ice and our timing couldn’t have been more perfect - the sunset was absolutely stunning. The sunshine here in Northern Michigan has been magical lately and I’m glad it showed off for Karin & Nate. Cheers!

 

BIRDS OF A FEATHER DINNER // WOMEN IN THE TRAVERSE CITY FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

 

When Cammie from Epicure Catering reached out to me asking if I would be available to photograph this dinner it was truly an honor. The Birds of a Feather dinner began last year and the idea is to celebrate women in the food and beverage industry in Traverse City. So female chefs, servers, bartenders, designers, managers, and more come together to put on a multi-course menu for 60+ guests. The dinner was hosted at one of my very favorite TC spots, The Little Fleet. The menu featured a passed appetizer from Katy Viswat of 7 Monks, an appetizer course from Kristen Karam of K2 Edibles, a salad course from Becky Tranchell of Rose & Fern Cafe, the main course by the season 16 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, Kim Ryan, and the dessert course by Becca Snook of Alliance. Unique cocktails were created by a number of female bartenders, staff members, and owners of local restaurants. The design concept and decor came to life thanks to Darling Botanical and the entire event was supported by a number of other amazing hardworking women. A portion of the proceeds even went to the Women’s Resource Center. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this event. Stay connected via a new FB group for Northern Michigan Women in Hospitality.

 

SARAH & TRAVIS // WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY // EMPIRE, MI

 

If I have clients as fun loving and awesome as Sarah and Travis for the rest of my days I will be one happy camper. They brought a 6 pack of Stella, their crazy lovable pup (also named Stella), and multiple hat options to their engagement session. We hiked the Empire Bluff Trail and headed down to the beach where the ice formations were just unbelievable! It was brutally cold, but the sun came out giving us some gorgeous light to work with. I certainly can’t complain. Cheers to Sarah & Travis!

 

Backpacking in Northern Michigan // Jordan Valley Pathway // From the Archives

 

There’s nothing quite like walking out into the woods with everything you need for the night on your back. All of your food. The tent and sleeping bag you’ll sleep in. An extra layer of clothing. A baseball hat snapped onto the back of your pack. And then you walk. Through forest with tall trees. Over a wooden boardwalk elevated over swampy terrain. Along a cold and clear river. Through berry bushes taller than you are. Your feet get tired, but the sun is warm and you chat with each other about anything and everything. Then for some stretches it’s ok to be silent. To get into a rhythm. My short legs make me a pretty slow backpacker, so I just try to go with the flow. But trips like this provide me with little jewels in my memory. These are little glowing days that stand out compared to the rest of my year. It wasn’t because it was easy. No. It was definitely not a breeze. My body was pretty exhausted after this trip on the Jordan Valley Pathway, but a couple of days in the woods makes your mind slow down. After a trip like this I seem to be able to refocus on the things that are truly important. I can’t wait to plan our next outdoor adventure - I’m already brainstorming ideas for this Summer…

 

EXPLORING SANTA FE & BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT // FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

In 2015, our family spent Christmas together in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had briefly been through New Mexico on a road trip when I was 10 years old, but other than that I had no real knowledge of the area. I didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly didn’t predict that the landscape would captivate me as much as it did. I think about this trip often. I can’t even fully explain it. As I walked through Bandelier National Monument, there was just something so overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful about it. The colors of the rock and moss and cactus against the overcast Winter sky were creating the most incredible color palette. The evidence of human presence in the region that goes back at least 11,000 years. The way the rock became large scale abstract sculpture - some carved by humans and some carved by wind and rain and time. Between our time spent here, as well as exploring the food and art and textures in the area, it was a trip I’ll never forget and a place that I hope we are lucky enough to visit again.

These are just some of the images from this trip, and they make up this week’s “From the Archives” post.

 

SUMMER CAMPING WITH FRIENDS IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN // FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

If you are really, really, lucky you will have a couple friends who have been there for your whole life. Who you played power rangers with. Who you spent months with in the summer living out of your bathing suits and throwing fishing lines over the side of old pontoon boats. They grew up with you and witnessed your adolescent shenanigans and still love you. They aggressively rooted for college sports with you. And then when everyone had graduated from college and moved onto other adventures, and moved long distances, there was always that phone call, that random text, that email, just checking in. I’m so so grateful to have a couple of these people in my life, and now we’re all “grown up” and either married or about to be married.

Even though we don’t always see each other as much as we might like, when we are together it’s pretty special. Last Summer we found one weekend that worked for all of our schedules. We went camping and made meals over the fire. We passed around bottles of beer and bubbly. We ate snacks on the beach and fell asleep in the sand. I almost got hit in the face with a frisbee - instead I ended up with a welt on my collarbone. We all laughed so hard we cried. We took a kayak out into Lake Michigan and the early Summer water was crystal clear. We watched the sunset and then made our way back to the fire. The best part? We were unplugged. If you only have a couple days out of the year to spend uninterrupted with some of your favorite people, I highly, highly, recommend doing something like this. Find a place where your phones don’t work - it will be great.