So many of my summer 2020 couples made the hard decision to make changes to their original wedding plans so they could still tie the knot on their original date. Keri and Darin were no different and their intimate Divine Child wedding turned out to be just the loveliest day!
Maybe you remember Keri and Darin’s beautiful fall engagement session, with appearances by their adorable dog Callie — she makes an appearance in their wedding photos too, don’t worry! If you’re thinking of including your dog in your wedding photos, do it! I wish Nora was in ours – biggest regret for me of our wedding day for sure.
Keri and Darin met at Central Michigan University and were together almost eight years before their wedding day! They were originally planning a large 300+ person wedding, so what you’ll see below is very different from what we thought we’d be doing! These two are some of the most genuinely kind people you’ll ever meet. Keri and I had some long phone calls to discuss how best to proceed with the wedding and I never was upset to hear from her. She and Darin handled all of the changes with a lot of grace. They told me that they knew what was important to them about their wedding and planned around that. I think it turned out exactly perfect because it really centered around Keri and Darin in a very relaxed environment.
Keri is a teacher at Divine Child and it was important for them when re-planning their wedding to keep the day as an intimate Divine Child wedding. Surrounded by their wedding party and closest family, they said “I do!” on their original wedding date, followed by a backyard reception at Keri’s parents’ home. It was all beautifully put together and full of so much love! It was a hot day, but I had so much fun with these two and their people. It was one of those days where you feel like family. We took portraits at Nankin Mills which is one of my favorite spots in the Dearborn area for photos!
Though Keri and Darin opted against a first look, they decided they still wanted a special moment to themselves before they saw each other down the aisle. They opted for a first touch around a door where they exchanged letters. If you’re not into the whole first look thing, this is a great way to still have a special moment together before the ceremony! I love when couples exchange letters (whether in person or separately) and think it’s a beautiful private moment for you both. Sometimes you can say things in writing that just won’t come out otherwise.
ceremony: Church of the Divine Child | florals: Boland Florist | cake: Cakes by Stephanie | gown: Bombshell Bridal | alterations: Eva’s Bridal Salon | bridesmaids: Azazie | Rings: Orin Jewelers & Diamonds & Jewelry Unlimited | groom suit: Jos A Bank
I just love a summer Detroit backyard wedding. One of my favorite parts of 2020 was the pivoting to backyard wedding celebrations. Leina and Tom planned a simple backyard wedding to begin with; no change of plans needed when the pandemic continued to impact our lives.
It was a hot day for a Detroit backyard wedding. And I truly mean hot – very sweaty, very humid, and just a typical midwestern Michigan July day, just before Independence Day. But this didn’t make the celebration any less special, just that everyone changed out of their suits and ties and pants after all the photos were done.
Leina has an infectious personality. She is sweet and has a big laugh as you can see in the photos. I loved her simple boho dress – it just suited her. A first look with Tom and then her son Eli was the perfect way to kick off this Detroit backyard wedding!
The ceremony space was decorated with an arch with florals by the insanely talented (and super sweet but now Nashville bound) Kinship Flower Farm. Tom and Leina said their vows amongst their closest family and friends, about 30 or so people. After the ceremony and signing of the marriage license, they participated in a Polish tradition in which the husband and wife are presented with two shot glasses, one has vodka and one has water. Whoever gets the vodka is apparently the boss of the marriage. Maybe you can figure out who won by the images.
The best part of summer backyard weddings is their simplicity. The kids played badminton and danced in sprinklers. The guests greeted Tom’s mother’s chickens. Everyone ate and chatted leisurely. There were a few toasts and most people were dressed comfortably. I feel like it was absolutely perfect and I hope for more Detroit backyard weddings in the future!
I have a soft spot in my heart for intimate weddings. There is something about a couple choosing to forgo the huge party and just have their closest family surround them on their wedding day. Bill and Lauren’s Detroit Foundation Hotel wedding this past spring was one of the best wedding days I’ve ever been a part of. Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional wedding, but there is something so special and almost sacred about a small wedding. I was the fifteenth person there, and what an honor it was to photograph this day for them.
Bill and Lauren are just so sweet. They are naturals in front of the camera (remember their Gallup Park engagement session last fall? super good), and they really balance each other. I can tell you a lot about how they interact with each other because I have spent now over 5 hours just photographing them. When you don’t have a wedding party, you get to traverse the city and get a TON of portraits of the two of you. Though it was a warmer May day, we had beautiful weather…you can’t hate when it’s sunshiny on your wedding day. We started with a first look at the Detroit Foundation Hotel in front of those stunning red doors, and made our way to some of the best city spots, ending in a portrait session inside the hotel to cool off. I loved being able to use both inside and outside for portraits!
The pair were married in a ceremony officiated by Lauren’s brother in a private room where they also held their dinner. I loved the personal touches of this ceremony: they had advice from their families and personal vows. I LOVE personal vows. I advocate for them because I think it’s the best way to enter a marriage, by making promises unique to your love and your relationship. It really puts the whole event into perspective.
What I love about Bill and Lauren is that they are just a balanced pair. Lauren is so bubbly, so kind and genuine. And so dang beautiful, amirite? Like lorddddddddd. And Bill is the guy who came prepared with water for their portrait session, and put his vows in a ziplock bag in his suit so they wouldn’t be ruined. I think they bring out the best in each other, truthfully. They are world travelers and their favors came with stories from all over the world. I can’t imagine what other types of adventures are in store for them.
florals: willa rose floral | venue: detroit foundation hotel / apparatus room
Every wedding I am a part of is special. But this one felt really special. Corey and Ryan were married at The Whitney in downtown Detroit on a cloudy July day, surrounded by about 20 of their closest family and friends. I think it was the intimacy of this ceremony and meal that made it so special to be a part of. These two are so genuine and kind, never making me feel like “hired help.”
In June, Corey and Ryan met me in Ann Arbor, where they live, for their engagement session. We had a magnificent time shooting, swapping stories, and having a great time exploring their favorite spots. After this, I was looking forward to their wedding!
If you’ve never been inside The Whitney, you really should go, even if it’s just for drinks at the Ghost Bar. The place is said to be somewhat haunted, but really it is a charming spot for a meal and a beautiful spot to be married. We were able to make use of the gardens for portraits as well. Let me be real — The Whitney is a dark and moody photographer’s dreams. I always tell clients that the locations they choose do impact the feel of their images (there’s just no way around it), but these two got the best of both worlds when they picked the DIA for portraits.
The ceremony took place on the grand staircase. Corey’s sister, Lisa, officiated. As everyone gathered, overlooking the landing from the balcony, there wasn’t a dry eye. I think of all the couples I shot this year, Corey and Ryan soaked up those first minutes of being married unlike anyone else, hugs and tears and all. Take a moment after you walk out together to recognize, hey, we DID IT! It’s the best, y’all.
After things were official, we walked down to the DIA for some portraits, and stopped along the way. Their “reception” was simple: a first dance, a cake cutting, and a meal shared together. It was really simple but you could tell that everyone there was just excited as the newlyweds.
Thanks to Corey and Ryan for trusting me with their wedding day! I loved every minute of working with you two.
You may remember Lindsey and Ashley’s engagement session back from the early days of my business. They were one of the first couples to hire me and the third engagement shoot I ever did. How far I’ve come!
These two were married in Vegas in 2016. To celebrate two years together, they held a backyard Vegas-themed reception for family and friends in June. We had a GORGEOUS day for it. We started with getting ready photos, then did portraits at the Michigan Transit Museum (a favorite hidden gem of mine as you know) and got to the party, graciously held in Lindsey’s parent’s backyard.
I had SO MUCH FUN at this wedding. I can’t begin to tell you how it was one of those weddings that definitely didn’t feel like work to me. Also, how many wedding photographers can say that they’ve shot a wedding with a drag queen performance? NOT MANY. BUT I AM ONE OF THEM!
This wedding truly reflected Ashley and Lindsey and I was so glad they asked me to be a part of it. I’m 100% a proponent of weddings that aren’t necessarily traditional and that reflect the couple. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but if it’s not for you, DON’T DO IT! You do you, boo.
Huge thanks to Lindsey, Ashley, and their wonderful wedding party for having me, for being amazingly fun to photograph and for inviting that brilliant drag queen.