Lake Michigan

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!

 

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.

 

2018 WEDDING PORTRAIT HIGHLIGHTS // NORTHERN MICHIGAN & MIDWEST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Forget everything else. Forget the discussions about money, family dynamics, and logistics. It’s hard, I know. But try for a minute. Forget the decor, the menu, the venue. Forget the magazines and blogs (ironic, I know, since this is a blog post). Definitely forget the awards, and features, and pins, and posts. Take everything away and your wedding is about your marriage. Your marriage is about you and your partner. This is where the magic in the portraits live.

These are the amazing partnerships we photographed last year.

We worked with an unbelievable number of talented people this year. I hope I’m not missing anyone!

Venues: The Inn at Bay Harbor, Shanahan’s Barn, Ciccone Vineyard, Starry Night Barn & Studios, Brengman Brothers Winery, Sojourn Lakeside Resort, The Garvey Family Wedding Barn, The Cathedral Barn, Aurora Cellars , Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Ecco Event Space, Pierce Stocking Drive, Sleder's Family Tavern, Blue Bridge Event Center, Bay Harbor Yacht Club

Churches:  St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Mary's of Lake Leelanau, St. Francis, St. Francis Xavier

Officiants: Crystal Yarlott, Weddings Your Way

Wedding Planning, Coordination and Design: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings, Sunrise to Sunset, Tableau Events, Every Little Detail 

Prep Locations: Hotel Indigo, Condos at Grand Traverse Resort, Brys Estate, Chateau Chantal, The Westin Michigan Avenue, Holiday Inn West Bay Beach

Hair & Makeup: M.O. Hair & Beauty, OnSite Bridal , M Salon, Simplicity Hair & Makeup Studio, Pavlova Salon & Spa, Bliss Salon, Signature Salon TC, Brittany, Elegant Bridal Designs, Jess Klaas, Mario Tricoci, Lysette Nazworth, Northern Michigan Beauty

Floral Design: Sweetwater Floral, Bloom Floral Design, Field of Flowers North, Hooper Farm & Gardens, Lilies of the Alley, Martin's Flowers on Center, Premier Floral Design, Omena Cut Flowers, Blue Bridge Floral

Decor & Rentals: 307 Events, Serradella Vintage, Monstrey MacDonald, La Tavola, Sweet Seat Chair Covers, Gigi and LaClede, Special Occasions West, Taylor Rental

Stationary, Calligraphy, & Signage: Pop Fizz Klink, Minted, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy, Holly Thomas Design, Leah Moss, Silver Fox Calligraphy

Favors: A Signature Welcome

Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours, Great Lakes Party Bus, Northern Michigan Trolley, Blue Lakes By The Bay, Bay to Bay Shuttle, Affordable Limo

Catering: The Boathouse, Catering by Kelly’s , Uptown Catering, Chef’s Pride, Grand Traverse Resort, Dawn Fresh Catering, Folgarelli's, Bayside Gatherings, Jewell Events Catering, Grandview Catering

Cakes & Desserts: Simply Sweet by Jessica, Top Tier Cakery, Sweet Tartlette, Bella e Dolce , Grand Traverse Pie Co. , Tom's Mom's Cookies, Aunt B's Cakes & Desserts

Donuts: Gallagher’s, Stan's Donuts

Videographers: Mandie Forbes

Photo Booth: Up North Photo Booth, Motion Booth

DJs or Bands: 2Bays DJs, Bugbee’s DJ Plus, Rusch Entertainment, Jump Start DJs, Soul Xpress, Blue Water Kings Band, Cage & Aquarium, Brena Band, Northern DJ Connection, Simone Vitale Band 

Bride attire: Allure Bridal, BHLDN, Antonio's Bridal, Juri by Enzoani, Nancy's Bridal, Barb's Bridal, The Gown Shop, Modern Trousseau, Bianka Bridal, Renee Austin

Groom attire: Livonia Tayloring, Men's Warehouse, Pierre’s, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Generation Tux

Photo Assistance: Chelsey Granger, Lindsey Billings, Cathy Fitz, Josh Hartman, Hallie Kohler

Video Assistance: Sawyer Harris

 

RAY & MIKE // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Last week Ray and Mike headed to Northern Michigan for a little getaway and I was thrilled that the timing worked out so that I could join them for a photo session! The weather, as always, was unpredictable and we ended up with a cold day that felt absolutely frigid the moment the wind touched you. When I stepped out of my car at the beach in Glen Haven, the wind was whipping up huge icy blue waves and I was a bit worried. Despite conditions that make you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket, Ray and Mike were absolutely up for the adventure. Those blues of Lake Michigan came through, we walked through green forests with fat snowflakes coming down, and explored the vast expanse of sand at the dune climb - Northern Michigan’s color palette really came through for us. But the most important part was, of course, Ray and Mike. Their sense of humor and laughter was contagious. We were chatting and laughing as we walked down trails and hopped back in cars to warm up. Their smiles stole the show and I had an absolute blast. Thank you Ray and Mike for an awesome afternoon!

 

THE MILLER FAMILY // TRAVERSE CITY FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Time passes so quickly, which is one of the main reasons I find so much meaning in being a photographer. I can’t encourage you enough to capture your life as it is right now. There will never be a “perfect” moment - your haircut might not look the way you want it to, you might question your outfit choices, your kid might not behave exactly how you hoped they would, or maybe you’re thinking that only people with kids take family portraits. Nope - c’mon this is real life. Nothing is ever going to be “perfect”, but I hope that you come away from your session with at least a handful of images (hopefully more) that make you feel like life is pretty freaking awesome.

Despite being chilly and windy, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Miller Family and I definitely took advantage of the Fall sunshine. I had a great time photographing this beautiful and super sweet family out on Old Mission peninsula last week.

 

MATT & DAWN // MACKINAC ISLAND PROPOSAL AND ENGAGEMENT SESSION

 

On Saturday Michael and I headed to Mackinac Island to document a surprise proposal - and then engagement session. It was so special and sweet, and we also got super into pretending to be covert spies as we hid microphones and tried not to be obvious while pretending to nonchalantly photograph and film the grounds of Mission Point Resort. Matt and Dawn were wonderful and after the proposal we spent some time with them exploring Mackinac Island on a moody early Fall day. I have to say, if you’re considering a trip to the Island, this time of year is a great time to go. It was so beautiful and way more laid back than it is in the height of Summer. Congratulations Matt & Dawn!

Special thanks to Mission Point Resort for advice and assistance in coordinating Matt’s proposal!

 

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!

 

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

 

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

 

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!

 

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

 

ZACK & LAURA // PORT ONEIDA ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

 

We hit a perfect Fall day for Zack, Laura & their two pups.  The golden light was just right and the session kinda flew by because we kept finding new places to explore.  It was one of those times where I'd just pull over on the side of the road and say "I just had to stop - that field looks like a perfect spot right now".  To top it all off we witnessed a cotton candy sunset at Pyramid Point... doesn't get much better!

 

KIM & ANTHONY // GLEN ARBOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // THE HOMESTEAD

 

It's not often that you meet a couple who has been together since the 8th grade.  Throughout the day it was honestly hard to tell who was on "Anthony's side" and who was on "Kim's side".  I had a bridesmaid and groomsman say to me, "take our picture!  We have pictures of us together since 7th grade!".  The time that Kim and Anthony have already spent together as a couple created such an amazing bond between them and everyone attending their wedding.  Talk about an incredible atmosphere surrounding them - and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to photograph it.  Cheers to Kim & Anthony!!

Venue: The Homestead, Hair & Makeup: Lily Jade Salon at The Homestead, Florist & Decor: 307 Events, Paper products & design: Holly Thomas Design, Ceremony music: Festival Strings, DJ: 2Bays DJs, Catering: The Homestead, Cake: Cake Connection, Bride's Attire: Stella York from The Bustle Del Mar, Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank.

 

CORY & MARK // CHICAGO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // THE CRYSTAL GARDENS AT NAVY PIER

 

Chicago was really showing off for us this past weekend with comfortable weather, gorgeous sunshine, and an absolutely lovely couple: Cory & Mark.  They read very personal vows to each other, created a time capsule of their relationship during their ceremony which they plan to add to every year, and they are just so visibly calmed by being around each other.  It was such a privilege to travel to Chicago and document their wedding!  The big city is a change of pace from our work & life in Northern Michigan, but that's exactly what can make this job so great.  Cheers to C & M!

Prep: The Sheraton Grand, Ceremony & Reception: The Crystal Gardens, Planning & Coordination: Mallory of CHI Chic Weddings & Events, Hair & Makeup: Bianca Sansoti, Florist: Artistic Blooms, Transportation: M & M Limousine, Videography: George Street Video, DJ: Electric Blue Entertainment, Cake: Deerfields Bakery, Bride's attire: Ania Bridal, Groom's Attire: The Black Tux

 

MORGAN & NATHAN // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES // ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

MORGAN & NATHAN // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES // ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Engagement sessions with me are kind of evolving into hikes or walks - exploring new spaces and lighting.  Adventuring with couples for a couple hours.  Taking time to wander and taking in this f-ing magical Northern Michigan landscape.  Reflecting on it now, it really is a great fit for our brand.  I'm looking for people who are open to this; Morgan and Nathan were perfect.  We laughed, we hiked up dunes, explored the woods looking for glowy strands of light.  Their wedding in August is going to be a beauty - I can't wait.

KATHY & SIMON // HARBOR SPRINGS WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

KATHY & SIMON // HARBOR SPRINGS WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

We have had some ridiculously unusual weather here in Northern Michigan.  50+ degrees in February is bonkers.  But a definite upside to all of this sunshine is the glowing light and bright snow during engagement sessions!  Kathy and Simon wanted an outdoorsy session that would include their pups - love it.  I had a blast and we can't wait for their Winter wedding next year!

HANNAH & DAN // CHARLEVOIX WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // SHANAHAN'S BARN

Oh, Hannah & Dan... the way they look at each other just makes me smile.  The genuine joy and happiness surrounding them and their friends and family made me feel warm & fuzzy all day - even though the weather didn't exactly match.  There was a brisk wind for most of the day, but the light was absolutely gorgeous AND the evening ended with a ridiculous neon-colored sunset (I actually pulled them out of their reception by saying "You guys, the sky is exploding!").  Hannah and I went to high school together, so it was truly awesome to reconnect and witness the beginning of her marriage.  It was such a special day.  **sigh**

Cheers to Hannah & Dan!

 
 

Venue: Shanahan's Barn // Wedding Planner & Coordination: Every Little Detail // Hair & Makeup: Memorable Occasions // Florist: A.R. Pontius Flower Shop // Transportation: Blue Lakes by the Bay // Caterer: Catering by Kelly's // Dessert: Grand Traverse Pie Co. // Decor: Sweet Themes // Band: Huckleberry Groove // Bride's Attire: BHLDN & Frye // Groom's Attire: J Crew

STACY & AMIN // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Stacy and Amin are loving, full of energy, and just plain fun to be around.  The day began at Stacy's childhood home in Glen Arbor, so of course we had to take portraits along Lake Michigan.  It really only got better from there... We stopped at a barn within the National Lakeshore that was once owned by her family, the ceremony at Williamsburg Creekside was full of emotion in all the best ways, we trail-blazed through the woods so that the two of them could stand IN the creek for photos, and their families danced the night away SO HARD.  It was a beautiful, happy, meaningful, and unforgettable day for a group of amazing people who traveled from around the globe to be together.  Cheers to Stacy & Amin!