documentary wedding photography

OLIVIA + ABDOULAYE // A WOODLAND ELOPEMENT IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

This is not the first time that I’ve written about this, but I’ll say it again. I love when couples create a wedding for themselves. They create it to be about the two of them and who they are as a couple. They incorporate the traditions that they want to, let other ones go, and build new ones together. This wedding was a creative expression of who Olivia & Abdoulaye are and I couldn’t love it more. It was truly an honor to be a part of the small group that ventured into Hartwick Pines last Tuesday.

Tuesday Afternoon by The Moody Blues played as Olivia & Abdoulaye walked through the woods to their ceremony site so I’ll just leave a snippet of lyrics here for you before you see what we captured:

Tuesday afternoon
I'm just beginning to see
Now I'm on my way
It doesn't matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I've got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I'm looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It's just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you'll just come with me you'll see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

 

ALLISON & RAY // A JULY WEDDING ON HIGGINS LAKE // ROSCOMMON, MICHIGAN

 

On a Tuesday in July, Allison & Ray tied the knot. They stood on top of a friend’s boathouse overlooking Higgins Lake and read vows and exchanged rings. And laughed. And cried. They made Ray’s daughter, Eleanor, a critical part of their day. They danced and joked together. They remembered Ray’s dad in a powerful way by placing his flag and portrait on the front row of ceremony chairs. Friends surprised them and decorated the van with “just married” chalk paint and streamers. They drank and danced the night away. I’ve been trying to write about this day and coming up short. I haven’t been able to find the right words, but I keep coming back to this: This day felt real. This was truly Allison & Ray’s wedding. It’s hard to explain. There is no way this wedding could have been for anyone else. It was 100% them. It was filled with their personality and I am filled with gratitude because I had the opportunity to tell this story. Cheers!

 

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

 

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

 

2018 CANDID WEDDING HIGHLIGHTS // DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN MICHIGAN AND THE MIDWEST

 

We’ve made it to part three of my 2018 highlight series and let me just say - the candids are what really spark joy for me (anyone else out there binging the new Marie Kondo series on Netflix?!). The unplanned moments, the dynamic emotions, the chance to capture fleeting things that can’t be recreated.

This is why I’m a wedding photographer. This is what keeps me motivated season after season. It was always what drew me to weddings, and it continues to inspire and challenge me today.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that even if you try as hard as you can to plan every aspect of your life… you simply can’t. Shitty, deeply tragic, things happen. AMAZING things happen. So when you can feel happiness and joy, feel it deeply. Set that time aside to celebrate. Sing loudly, laugh with your favorite people, and DANCE.

This is a long post, but I promise you it’s worth it for a lot of reasons, but definitely the dancing. Stay for the dancing.