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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
Up North Pride & Michael Chetcuti Foundation // Vigil: Polestar LGBTQ + Community Center of Traverse City, Mom's Demand Action, Blackbird Arts, and New Waves United Church of Christ // Pride Ride: Norte! and One Up Web // Sign-Making Party: Rare Bird Brewpub, Blackbird Arts and Ampersand Lettering Lab
Everything was green. The air was hot and humid. One cloud rolled in with a bit of rain in an otherwise blue sky day, leaving the foliage dewey with raindrops. This session just screamed "SUMMER!!!" and when you live in a place with four dramatic seasons, you just have to embrace the heat. Soon enough it will be cold and snow will cover this landscape, so for now enjoy this moment. Breanna and Lucas wanted a wooded setting with great Northern Michigan vibes for their engagement session. I'm so happy that I get to explore my favorite places with outdoor-loving couples for a living. What a dream.
Exploring the Grand Traverse Commons, riding a trolley down Front St. honking and waving at all the pedestrians, finding the most beautiful flowering plants in the park, stopping at Brady's bar for beers and a game of pool, watching the sunset over the bay from the docks at the open space... that seems like too much to fit into a regular day, but Jamie and Joe arranged their day perfectly to fit those iconic TC experiences and much more into their wedding day. What a day it was!
Church: St. Francis // Venue: Ecco Event Space // Hair: Lysette Nazworth // Florist: Kate Moyer-Olds // Transportation: Northern Michigan Trolley // Caterer: Dawn Fresh Catering // Cake: S. Art, Shannon Lopez // DJ: Rusch Entertainment // Bride's attire: Renee Austin // Groom's attire: Generation Tux
With only family and close friends gathered around them - standing or sitting in beach chairs - Kara & Rob said their vows 450 feet above Lake Michigan. The jaw-dropping scenery has drawn them to Michigan for repeat visits and clearly held a special place in their hearts. Kara wore her mom's wedding dress and she added her original hat and flowers in order to "re-create" a portrait of her mom. We walked along the dunes for some epic images and headed back into Traverse City to finish the afternoon with a meal at Sleder's (and to "Kiss the Moose" of course!). Cheers to Kara & Rob! It was such an honor to capture these moments for you.
It was such a joy to work with Marites and Darick. They created a full wedding weekend with events on both Friday and Saturday. This allowed them to have the experience of a small wedding AND a large wedding - truly the best of both worlds. This preview is full of candids from the morning, their intimate ceremony, followed by a session in the cherry blossoms. The cherry blossoms are so fleeting and I'm seriously ecstatic that the timing lined up perfectly to capture them. You would never know that it was almost 90 degrees - Michigan, you are always a surprise. Their amazing dance party will have to be featured in their video, which we can't wait to share! Make sure to check out their full vendor team in the credits below.
Vendors for both Friday & Saturday: Planning, Design, Coordination: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings // Beauty: M.O. Hair & Beauty // Preparation Locations: Chateau Chantal B&B and Holiday Inn West Bay Beach // Ceremony: St. Joseph Catholic Church // Friday Dinner: The Little Fleet // Venue: Blue Bridge Event Center // Officiant, Saturday: Weddings Your Way // Ceremony Music: Jan Ostrowski Trio // Photography, Saturday: Cory Weber // Stationary: Holly Thomas Design // Florist: Blue Bridge Floral // Rentals & Decor: 307 Events // Catering: Grandview Catering // Cake: Aunt B's Cakes & Desserts // DJ: Northern DJ Connection // Transportation: Blue Lakes By The Bay // Photo Booth: Up North Photo Booth // Videography: Us! // Photography Assistance: Hallie Kohler // Videography Assistance: Sawyer Harris
"I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world"
Megan's dad learned how to play the ukulele so that he could play this song at her wedding reception. It was a beautiful moment to witness. It was a reminder of just how fleeting and special wedding days are. The love that is poured into one single day so that a couple can begin their married life together surrounded by the people who love them the most.
Wedding Design, Planning & Coordination: Tableau Events // Hair & Makeup: Northern Michigan Beauty // Florist: Stems & Sprigs // 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 // Videography by us coming soon!
My friend and fellow artist, Dani Knoph, and I had the fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Lee Maynard of Fieldguide Farmhouse to exhibit new works. The new show opened this past weekend and our work will be on display throughout 2018! So if you book a stay at the farmhouse, or participate in any of the fantastic events held there this year, you'll have a chance to view (and even purchase!) the pieces. For more information, check out the links at the bottom of this post.
My oh my what a wonderful world - especially when it's filled with family, love, kids, cupcakes and balloons. We spent a special day with the Schlehuber family and I just love how much energy exists in these photos. The candid nature of a family at home celebrating together makes me very, very, happy.
These beautiful women will be celebrating their love in Northern Michigan next October when they get married and I seriously can't wait! To celebrate their engagement, we took some photos around Old Mission Peninsula last weekend.
It feels like Spring has come early here in Northern Michigan, so finding patches of snow to make the landscape look 'Wintery' was actually a challenge. We ended up exploring some cool ice formations along the bay and discovered how beautiful grape vines and orchards can be even without any foliage. Just when I think that the seasons might be too in-between to look beautiful, that the scenery will be to drab to photograph well, I'm always reminded otherwise. I'm so happy that Stef and Jess were excited and up for the adventure!
This just might be one of the sweetest Fridays I've had in a while. Melissa and Jeff asked me to document their elopement in Traverse City. Just the two of them and Melissa's parents at the County Clerk's office. They had rings, flowers, champagne and a small wedding cake prepared for their dinner, but other than that it was completely no muss, no fuss. They played 'here comes the bride' off of an iphone as Mel walked in with her dad. They read sincere, heartfelt vows to each other. They were calm, excited, and SO happy. They kept saying, 'This is SO US'. And I think that's just about the best thing to feel on your wedding day. Cheers to Melissa & Jeff!
Winter weddings are kind of a novelty for us. A rare gem. We don't get very many inquiries for them, but I'm hoping that more people will start to seriously consider getting married at this time of year. The sky and the lake were bright blue. Despite a warm up that melted most of our snow pack, the remaining cover was bright white and dramatic. And these two. I can't express enough just how much we loved working with them.
I'll share one story before I let the photos tell the rest: While Kathy was dancing with her dad at the end of this amazing day, I looked over to see her mom tearing up. Simon came over to stand next to her and give her a hug. Pretty soon Kathy's maid of honor came over and ended up crying right alongside her mom. Then another bridesmaid... then an aunt. Before they knew it they were all laughing at the fact that they were all crying. Their arms were wrapped around each others shoulders as they cried and laughed and cheered. That combination of intense emotions - the joy, the nostalgia, the sheer happiness of gathering with all of your favorite people - those are the things that make me absolutely love this job.
Event Planning, Design, Coordination & Styling: Every Little Detail // Prep & portraits: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Venue: The Bay Harbor Yacht Club // Hair & Makeup: OnSite Bridal // Favors: A Signature Welcome // Floral: Stems & Sprigs // Stationary: Silver Fox Calligraphy // Rentals & Decor: 307 Events, Gigi and LaClede, Special Occasions West, Taylor Rental // Entertainment: Simone Vitale Band // Photobooth: Motion Booth // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Transportation: Blue Lakes By The Bay // Accomodation: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Petoskey // Videography: US! (Stay Tuned) // Photo Assistant: Chelsey Granger // Video Assistant: Sawyer Harris