STEF & JESS // FALL WEDDING AT CICCONE VINEYARDS // SUTTONS BAY, MI

 

I’ll never get over this wedding. What an amazing day. We can’t imagine a more amazing way to wrap up our 2018 wedding season! The weather was something else - I don’t want to make this entire post about the weather, so let’s just get that out of the way first. We had rain that turned into snow. Yes, snow. We had fall colors and bitter temperatures. We had crazy wind. The sun came out like a blinding force and then hid again behind the clouds. For a couple of minutes there was a neon pink sunset that quickly left us and turned into a blizzard and a dusting of snow that actually stuck to the ground. So yes, it was a pretty unbelievable day weather-wise. But Jess and Stef handled it with humor - they laughed it off and even embraced it. I have to say, their ceremony in the barn turned into a warm and cozy intimate gathering as a result. Their vows were just filled to the brim with appreciation for each other, with emotion, with love. Their pup, Champ, made an appearance. Their Fall decor, and floral, and hand lettering, and desserts were on point. At the end of Stef’s dance with her dad, she brought her mom in. At the end of Jess’s dance with her dad, she brought out mitts for some catch. Everything was incredibly special and personal. I could go on and on, but I’ll let you check out the preview instead. Stef & Jess - thank you and congratulations!!

Venue: Ciccone Vineyard // Hair & Makeup: Simplicity Hair & Makeup Studio // Floral Design: Field of Flowers North // Calligraphy & Signage: Pop Fizz Klink // Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours // Catering: Uptown Catering // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // DJ: 2Bays DJs // Attire & accessories: David’s Bridal, Bombshell Bridal Boutique, Nike

 

LAURA & ZACK // MICHIGAN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // STARRY NIGHT BARN, SUTTONS BAY

 

Fall is pure magic. When the hills behind your ceremony site are every single shade of orange, and yellow, and red, well that’s the stuff dreams are made of. Laura & Zack have been so fun to work with. We were able to include their dogs in their Fall engagement session last year, and ever since meeting them I have been truly looking forward to this day. P.S. When you have a separate vodka bar covered in the Polish flag, hard candies, and old family photographs you’re definitely speaking my language. As October comes to a close, I have just sincerely been filled with so much gratitude. Not only for these two amazing people, but for all of the couples who have trusted us this year. I can confidently say that I am so grateful to be a part of each and every wedding we document. Sometimes I’m still completely blown away by that honor. Cheers to Zack & Laura - Na Zdrowie!

Venue: Starry Night Barn & Studios // Hair & Makeup: Signature Salon TC // Bouquet/Floral: Sweetwater Floral // Drapery: Sweet Seat Chair Covers // Catering: Uptown Catering // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // Donuts: Gallagher’s // Videographer: Mandie Forbes // DJ: Rusch Entertainment // Bride attire: Allure Bridal // Groom attire: Livonia Tayloring

 

CLAIRE & JAKE // OCTOBER WEDDING AT STARRY NIGHT BARN // SUTTONS BAY

 

The Lammers family has truly welcomed us into their lives over the past year and a half - we’ve had the honor of photographing the weddings of three sisters: Emily, Anna, and now Claire. We can’t speak highly enough about this family. We recognized so many faces at this wedding that at the end of the night I felt like we were hugging half of the guests goodbye. Now - Claire & Jake. What a special relationship they have. It was so apparent from the first look, to the moment they realized they had both gifted each other Shinola watches, to the walk down the aisle, to the ceremony, to the way they interacted with their family and friends. All of it was special and genuine and sincere. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to document this day… I could go on and on. Instead I’ll just let you get to the preview. Cheers to Claire & Jake!

Venue: Starry Night Barn & Studios // Hair & Makeup: M Salon // Flowers: Hooper Farm & Gardens // Catering: Chef’s Pride // Dessert: Family & the bride’s Aunt Carol // Band: Soul Xpress // Bride’s attire: BHLDN

 

KATIE & MATT // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // BRENGMAN BROTHERS WINERY

 

When we first met with Katie and Matt over coffee our meeting ran late because we were laughing so much. We knew this was going to be a great day, but it truly exceeded our expectations. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. Katie’s niece kept walking around the room singing “Jelly Beans!” while Katie was putting on her dress: Laughs. They chose to have a personal and private vow reading before their ceremony: Tears and laughs. Matt’s dad officiated the most beautiful, sincere, and heartfelt ceremony: Tears. Then, at the very end he accidentally announced them as husband and wife using Katie’s last name: Laughs. The best men and maid of honor tore it up with their speeches: Mostly laughs with a few tears mixed in. Instead of a bouquet toss, Katie asked all the women present, especially her mom, to join her for a dance with the most beautiful speech: Tears (mostly from me behind my camera). And at the end of the night, Matt played piano and sang a song to his wife for the first time: all the feels. We are so happy for these two and feel deeply, deeply honored that we had the chance to document this day.

Prep Locations: Hotel Indigo & Private Residence // Venue: Brengman Brothers Winery // Day of Coordination: Kathleen Egan // Hair & Makeup: Melissa Shelcusky // Paper & Calligraphy: Minted & Abigail Whitford // Floral Design: Lilies of the Alley // Catering: Catering by Kelly’s // Cake & Cupcakes: Sweet Tartlette // DJ: Bugbee’s DJ Plus // Bride’s attire: BHLDN // Groom’s attire: Pierre’s // Photo Assistance: Chelsey Granger // Video by us, with assistance from: Sawyer Harris

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

JAMIE & JOE // DOWNTOWN TRAVERSE CITY // WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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

 

KARA & ROB // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES ELOPEMENT // PIERCE STOCKING DRIVE

 

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.

Ceremony Location: Pierce Stocking Drive, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore // Bouquet: Lilies of the Alley // Reception: Sleder's Family Tavern // Huge thank you to Josh Hartman for second shooting with me!

 

MARITES & DARICK // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

 

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

 

MEGAN & EVAN // SPRING WEDDING IN PETOSKEY // BAY HARBOR YACHT CLUB

 

"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!

 

MELISSA & JEFF // TRAVERSE CITY ELOPEMENT

 

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!

 

KATHY & SIMON // WINTER WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // BAY HARBOR, MICHIGAN

 

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