ALEX & DAN // SEPTEMBER WEDDING AT SHANAHAN'S BARN // CHARLEVOIX, MI

 

The September weather was perfect. The bride and groom were surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love. The bride brought whiskey shots to their first look by Lake Michigan. The vows were heartfelt and real. The ceremony was officiated by the bride’s brother in law. The flowers were colorful. The youngest flower girl stopped to pick up rocks on her way down the aisle. Loved ones lost were memorialized with the most beautiful tributes. Sometimes when I can’t quite find the words to summarize a wedding I make a list like this, and I think I’ll just keep this post this way. Cheers to Xan and Dan! P.S. Their nieces and nephews were a very important part of the day and they are amazing little humans so they make a significant appearance in this post!

Prep Location: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Venue: Shanahan’s Barn // Wedding Planning, Coordination and Design: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings // Hair & Makeup: M.O. Hair & Beauty // Decor & Rentals: 307 Events, Serradella Vintage, Monstrey MacDonald // Catering: Catering by Kelly’s // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Entertainment: Blue Water Kings Band

 

MEGAN & EVAN // A WEDDING TRAILER // BAY HARBOR WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHER

 

Wedding Design, Planning & Coordination: Tableau Events // Hair & Makeup: Northern Michigan Beauty // Florist: Sweetwater Floral // Papery Design & Event Branding: Tableau Events // Calligraphy: Leah Moss // Prep Locations: Private Residence & The Inn at Bay Harbor // Church: St. Francis Xavier // Venue & Catering: Bay Harbor Yacht Club // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Transportation: Bay to Bay Shuttle & Affordable Limo // Band: Simone Vitale Band // Photography Assistance: Chelsey Granger // Videography Assistance: Sawyer Harris // Check out Megan & Evan’s wedding photography, here.

 

LIZ & BRIAN // SOJOURN LAKESIDE RESORT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // GAYLORD, MI

 

For years I have been thinking about what our roles are as wedding photographers and I've come to a lot of conclusions about what I feel is truly important.  Somehow, the amazing folks over at We Are The Parsons (a tremendously inspiring husband and wife photography team) are writing about many of the same things that I've been thinking.  There have been times when I feel like they're reading my mind - and then taking those thoughts even one step further.  Ideas about letting go of a rigid "shot list" and instead allowing yourself to truly watch what is happening in front of you.  Then capture that.  The moments that you let unfold before you will inevitably be the most realistic.  The way a dad looks at his daughter.  The ring bearer's pouty face before portraits and then a complete 180 degree mood change as he RUNS down the aisle during the processional with a huge smile on his face.  An offering of flowers at the beginning of the ceremony to honor those family members who are no longer physically present.  Feeding your new mother-in-law a bite of your wedding cake after you cut it.  Does this mean I'm never going to pose anyone ever again?  Absolutely not.  BUT, it helps to have this refreshing perspective about shooting.  That you are doing it for a specific group of people each weekend.  They are all unique.  Don't follow the same "rules" every time.  Liz and Brian are awesome.  Their family is awesome.  I hope we captured some images that could only have happened with this group.  Cheers!

 

JESSICA & CHRIS // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // GARVEY FAMILY WEDDING BARN

 

A little rain can't stand in your way.  It's ok to be bummed.  I get it.  Honestly I do.  On the same weekend two years ago, Michael and I got married and it was a drizzly day too.  But we didn't let it get in our way, and neither did Jessica & Chris.  When you are ready to get married, and your whole family is excited - just completely full of emotion and love in the way Jessica and Chris' families were, it can't be a bad day.  It will be the best day.  Once again, the way we are welcomed into a family's life for such an important day will always be so significant for me.  It was truly an honor to capture these moments.  Cheers to Jessica & Chris!

Prep location: Condos at Grand Traverse Resort // Hair & Makeup: Pavlova Salon & Spa // Church:  St. Joseph Catholic Church // Florist: Lillies of the Alley // Venue: The Garvey Family Wedding Barn // Rentals, Catering, Cake: Grand Traverse Resort // DJ: 2 Bays DJs // Bride's attire: Nancy's Bridal, Veil: Barb's Bridal // Groom's attire: Men's Warehouse

 

JACQUELYN & DOUGLAS // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // OLD MISSION PENINSULA & THE CATHEDRAL BARN

 

Jacquelyn & Doug.  Oh where to start.  We truly adore these two.  From my first meeting with Jacquelyn and her parents, to photographing their engagement session in California, to the planning phone calls, and then of course their wedding - the entire process has been fun because these two are just wonderful.  We've had so many laughs with them.  It's not everyday that one of the bride's main requests is as follows: "Jacquelyn and her friends with their pizza friendship necklace.  This is a photo we take at each person's wedding and it's imperative to capture".  And then we joked about her use of the word imperative multiple times during the week leading up to the wedding.  Pizza-themed necklace aside, Jacquelyn and Doug placed a high priority on food and wine in their wedding plans.  It is a huge part of how their relationship has developed and grown, including where they have lived and their plans for the future.  Capturing that aspect of their wedding day was a real treat - literally.  The Boathouse did a fabulous job.  This day was full.  This day was full of love.  Full of food.  Full of wine.  Full of family.  Full of friends.  Full of the good stuff.

Bride Prep Location: Brys Estate // Groom Prep Location: Chateau Chantal // Church: St. Joseph Catholic Church // Venue: The Cathedral Barn // Coodination: Sunrise to Sunset // Hair: Linda Sabbagh // Makeup: OnSite Bridal // Floral Design: Sweetwater Floral // Rentals: 307 Events, Monstrey MacDonald // Catering: The Boathouse // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // Band: Blue Water Kings // Bride's attire: The Gown Shop, Modern Trousseau // Groom's attire: Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren // Videography: Us!  Stay Tuned! // Photography Assistance: The fabulous Lindsey Billings // Videography Assistance: The amazing Sawyer Harris.

 

THE DONAHUE & LOVE FAMILY // OLD MISSION PENINSULA FAMILY PORTRAITS

 

Leslie & Bob are former wedding clients of ours and so I was super excited to hear from Leslie about a family trip they had planned in Northern Michigan!  They were coming up north with her brother and sister-in-law whose baby was born within months of their new little one.  Bob also proposed to Leslie at the Old Mission Lighthouse, so that made these photos extra special.  What a sweet time for this family.  I was honored to capture some shots for them!

 

KYLE SKARSHAUG // MUSICIAN PORTRAITS // SENIOR PORTRAITS // TRAVERSE CITY, MI

 

When I grow up, I want to be as cool as this teenager.  I'm not kidding. 

Kyle is an incredibly talented young person who will be attending Interlochen Arts Academy for his senior year of high school.  I'm so impressed by Kyle - both his passion for music, and how kind and fun he was to work with.  Plus it's not every day that you get to set up a drum set in the middle of an orchard!  Big thanks to Townline Ciderworks for having us!

 

CHELSEA & SCOTT // AN INTIMATE WINERY WEDDING AT AURORA CELLARS // LEELANAU WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Imagine an intimate wedding in Italy.  A winery tucked among the hills and fields.  A day so warm the bride has to dip her feet in the water.  An uncomplicated ceremony.  Friends and family laughing, eating delicious small bites, drinking wine.  Dozens of adorable babies giggling and toddlers running around playing.  Tables simply set with lace runners, candles and red roses.  Tiramisu for dessert.  Golden light hitting the grape vines.

That was Chelsea and Scott's wedding.  Minus one small detail: the location.  Surprise, surprise we weren't in Italy last weekend, but the vibe was on point.  Cheers you two!  What a day!

Venue: Aurora Cellars // Hair & Makeup: Brittany, Elegant Bridal Designs // Florist: Omena Cut Flowers // Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours // Catering & Dessert: Folgarelli's // Thanks Cathy Fitz for the photo assistance!

 

CAROLYN & DAN // LEELANAU COUNTY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // AURORA CELLARS

 

As I was sorting through Carolyn & Dan's wedding photos I was really struck by two things.  First was of course the natural beauty of Northern Michigan and the striking portraits we were able to take of the two of them in that landscape.  But the second thing I was really struck by was the number of great "in between" moments that I wanted to include in this preview.  The photos that probably won't be the hang-on-the-wall or "frame-worthy" photos, but are priceless none the less.  No, you probably won't frame the photo of your parents making ham sandwiches and hummus roll-ups for the wedding party, but that moment is special and it's definitely worth documenting.  I never want to be so caught up with seeking "perfection" that I miss moments like those.  Cheers to Carolyn & Dan!  What an absolutely spectacular wedding day.

Venue: Aurora Cellars // Ceremony: St. Mary's of Lake Leelanau // Hair & Makeup: Memorable Occasions // Florist: Premier Floral Design // Transportation: Great Lakes Party Bus // Caterer: Bayside Gatherings // Dessert: Grand Traverse Pie Co. // DJ: 2 Bays DJs // Bride's attire: Bianka Bridal // Groom's attire: Calvin Klein

 

AN EXTENDED FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION AT CAMP MICHIGANIA // WALLOON LAKE, MICHIGAN

 

This seems to be a year of former wedding clients reaching out about family portraits, and I'll tell ya what: I'm 100% ok with that.  I was basically jumping for joy to hear from Kendall about setting up a session with her extended family while they were vacationing at Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake.  I've followed along with Kendall, Tim & Ellie on social media since their wedding and I've also run into her mom at a number of local events here in TC.  This family has the best sense of humor and their laugher was contagious.  Given they don't all live in the same place anymore you could just tell how precious this time together was.  My job is just the best - I'm so grateful for families like these.

 

JOHN, JULIE & JACK // NORTHERN MICHIGAN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Does it get cuter than this?!  No, my friends.  No it does not.

Julie and John's riverside wedding was one of the first weddings I photographed the year that we moved back to Michigan.  5 years has passed, which is just super hard to believe!  Now they have a sweet little one, Jack, and last week we spent a few hours exploring the family property along the AuSable River in Grayling.  This property was where Julie and John got married - his family has been coming here for generations.  They were so happy to just spend some time doing simple things: playing the banjo, hanging out with cousins, and enjoying Northern Michigan as a family (with their three dogs of course!). It couldn't have been more fun or more special to reconnect with them. 

 

CASSIE & CRAIG // A CHICAGO WEDDING AT THE PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM

 

Last weekend we traveled to Chicago for Cassie & Craig's amazing wedding.  We lucked out with some perfect weather and by the end of the evening all of the guests were eating on the rooftop open-air patio bathed in the most glorious golden light ever.  Seriously, I don't know if we've ever photographed pre-dinner toasts in such ridiculous light. 

Cassie and Craig truly spent time crafting their vows.  At certain moments during their ceremony I don't know if there was a dry eye in the house.  The tears were balanced out with their wonderful sense of humor and contagious laughter.  I also have to give a shout out to Cassie for wearing a short dress!  I didn't wear a full length dress at our wedding and I have been dying to photograph a bride who also wants to let her legs be free!  As Cassie said to me, "my calves are the most toned part of my body, why would I hide them?"  You do you girlfriend.  I really love you for it.

I also just have to say that I included a lot of dancing photos in this preview.  Normally one of my blog post previews doesn't have this many shots of any one specific part of the day and so I asked Michael, "Is this too many dance photos?" his immediate response was, "Absolutely not.  I think it is your duty to show off that party."  This was one of the most packed dance floors we've witnessed in a long time.  Cheers to Cassie & Craig!

Venue: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum // Prep Location: The Westin Michigan Avenue // Make-up: Jess Klaas // Hair Stylist: Mario Tricoci // Florist: Beth Koenig (Craig's cousin!) // Catering, Rentals & Event Coordination: Jewell Events Catering // DJ: Cage & Aquarium // Dessert: Stan's Donuts

 

THE MARTENS FAMILY // GRAYLING FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER // LAKE MARGRETHE

 

This is the fifth Summer that I have photographed the Martens family.  Five years!  Wow.

July is busy.  The height of the Summer... but it's a perfect time for sessions like this one.  We took a cruise on the pontoon and played in the sand.  It doesn't get much better.  I'm so happy that these beautiful people want me to do this every year.  Love you guys!

 

MAURELLA & TEDDY // A SUMMERTIME BACKYARD WEDDING IN ANN ARBOR

 

There is nothing quite like getting married in a place so personal that all of your family heights have been recorded on the inside of the doorframe.  Childhood portraits line the walls.  Your sister was married in the backyard years earlier and today you see your niece and nephew running around on that same lawn.  Now you're marrying the love of your life there - telling jokes in your vows, cutting a cake that your mother-in-law made with painstaking care, eating tacos from your favorite restaurant, having a great friend DJ.  For Maurella that fairytale came true on Saturday.  Teddy and Maurella wrote the most personal vows and danced the night away under the stars.  It was truly a pleasure and we were privileged to be a part of it.  I hope you were taking those mental snapshots all day, but I sincerely hope these photos help you remember even more.

Wedding Coordination: Crystal Broome // Hair & Makeup: Christy Lindsey // Florist: Enchanted Florist // Rentals: A1 Rental // Catering: Maiz // DJ: DJ Joey P // Dessert: Teddy's Mom (Queen of Hearts Bakery) // Bride's attire: Mimi's Bridal // Groom's attire: President Tuxed

 

THE BISKELONIS FAMILY // PLYMOUTH MICHIGAN FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Three years ago, we were lucky enough to meet Kerry & Nick when we documented their wedding.  Fast forward a of couple years and Kerry and I found ourselves at the same retreat for women who own or are starting businesses.  We were able to connect on a level outside of the client to wedding vendor relationship - which don't get me wrong, I love and value my relationship with my clients, but it makes me so happy when we can actually become friends and stay in touch.  When Kerry reached out to me about taking portraits for their son's one year birthday it felt extra special.  Seeing our clients years after their wedding, so happy and in love with their awesome baby is just the best!

 

THE COLLA FAMILY // HARBOR SPRINGS FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

 

I've said it before - but I'll say it again.  I love extended family sessions.  I love the fact that families are gathering along the shores of Lake Michigan to vacation together.  To eat meals together, explore a new area, take in the lake views, enjoy the late sunsets and just be together.  Cheers to this beautiful family and their time together.

 

LEAH & SHAYNE // SUMMER WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // THE INN AT BAY HARBOR

 

Nothing was going to bother Leah and Shayne on their wedding day.  A little rain?  Who cares?  Move the wedding under the tent and guess what?!  It's going to be gorgeous.  The cloudy skies created slightly moody lighting, the tented ceremony was intimate and beautiful, the toasts were hilarious and the party was rockin'.  Above all else, Leah and Shayne were happy.  They were loving each moment and we were so honored to be there capturing it.  Cheers to Leah and Shayne!

Wedding Planning and Design: Sincerely, Ginger // Venue: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Hair and Make-up: Memorable Occasions // Floral Design: Bloom Floral Design // Officiant: Crystal Yarlott // Day-of Stationary: Kelsey Malie Calligraphy // Rentals: 307 Events, La Tavola, Monstrey Macdonald // Caterer: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Dessert: Tom's Mom's Cookies // Entertainment: Brena Band

 

HAPPY'S TACOS FOR TASTE THE LOCAL DIFFERENCE // GUIDE TO LOCAL FOOD IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

I had the great pleasure of collaborating with Taste the Local Difference and Happy's Tacos for this year's Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan!  Happy's Tacos creates their own hot sauces using locally grown peppers when available and the rainbow of colors created such a fun set to style and shoot.  Here's a look behind the scenes.

 

UP NORTH PRIDE // TRAVERSE CITY // 2018

 

Last week Michael and I volunteered to photograph a few of the events hosted by Up North Pride: a vigil honoring the lives lost in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Pride Ride through downtown Traverse City, and a sign-making party at Rare Bird Brewpub (see the bottom of this post for a full list of contributors!).  We were overwhelmed by the love we saw in this small town and felt an immense sense of joy to know that we don't need to live in a large urban area to support Pride.  As people who document love for a living, our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and accepted.  We want to work with loving people of all religious and non-religious backgrounds, all races, all sizes, all sexual orientations, and all gender identities.  The vigil was a somber reminder that we have a long way to go to achieve peace and acceptance as a society, but the pride ride and sign-making party reminded us of how far we have come.  It gave us hope for the future.  One with more love and more parents teaching their little ones how to keep an open mind and open heart. 

Cheers to Up North Pride!