Early September is such a beautiful time to get married in Michigan, and this Watermark Country Club wedding in Grand Rapids, Michigan was one of those perfectly beautiful late summer days, complete with the most perfect golden hour sunset.
I don’t get to work on the west side of Michigan too often (maybe once or twice a year) so I was excited to be able to work with Erika and Will on their Watermark Country Club wedding. Maybe you remember their gorgeous Grand Rapids engagement session (complete with puppy Nala…she makes an appearance at the wedding too!)? After spending time with these Central Michigan lovebirds, I was so excited to photograph their day!
Erika and Will made minimal changes to their wedding to still keep their original date. Their largest sacrifice was cutting their guest list down to 100 and moving to a tent on the Watermark Country Club lawn rather than using the beautiful indoor space at the venue. BUT, it all turned out so beautifully; making this one of the most beautiful tented weddings I’ve been to.
One of the best parts about this Watermark Country Club wedding was that everything was in one place! That’s my favorite – makes it so much easier on everyone (including guests) and lets us be a little more laid back about the day. After an emotional first look, we did couples portraits on the golf course. The ceremony was perfectly placed in front of a gorgeous fountain, and these two said their vows just as the sun peeked out!
One of the most emotional moments of the day was Will’s dad’s speech during the reception. It is usually very emotional for a father of the bride to speak at a wedding, and often fathers of the groom don’t speak. But Will had asked his father to be his best man and his dad had fun stories to tell and wonderful things to say about his son and his new wife.
After the sun went down, Will, Erika and their guests boogied down on a grass dance floor, lit just by the lights of the tent. I kind of loved it and wished I could have stayed and danced the night away with them!
floral: stems market | dj: ace wedding djs | gown: becker’s bridal | bridesmaids: azazie | men: men’s warehouse | venue/catering: watermark country club
After rescheduling their Odin’s Owl wedding from May 2020 to September 2020, Jamie and Trevor were very very ready to get married! I think this gorgeous day was truly worth the wait. They were the first couple to book me for 2020 back in January 2019, so we spent many many months planning together.
These two met at Michigan State University, which is where we did their engagement session in fall 2019. This spring, Trevor graduated medical school (anti-climatically without a ceremony) was matched into an ER residency in Cleveland, Ohio. Jamie, who is a speech pathologist, followed him there this summer. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these two and really enjoyed working with them. They balance each other really well, which I always appreciate in a couple.
After separately getting ready at local airbnbs, Jamie and Trevor said their vows at the gorgeous St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The church was the perfect backdrop for Jamie’s stunning dress (that train, my goodness! so long and so beautiful!). We made sure to make use of some of the church’s architecture for photos.
After the ceremony, we headed to the reception venue. This Odin’s Owl wedding warded off the rain until we were safely inside the custom-made barn. I loved the interior of Odin’s Owl! Such a beautiful property and unlike any other barn I’ve visited.
We didn’t have a perfect sunset, but we were able to take some beautiful nighttime and blue light photos to end the night. Carving out a few minutes for this is highly recommended and gives you a chance to take a breather together before the night is over!
venue: Odin’s Owl | ceremony: St. Lorenz Lutheran Church | cake: Sugar High Bakery | florals: Haist Flowers | dj: Rusch Entertainment | hmu: Bridal Beauty Couture | catering: Black Forest Catering | gown: Piera’s Bridal | bridesmaids: Joani’s Fashion Boutique | jewelry: McKenzie Jewelers | men’s attire: Eli of Troy Mensware | paper: Minted | bartenders: Slingin Sisters Event Bartenders
Though many of my clients decided to move to a backyard wedding in 2020, Shelly and Michael planned on a weekday intimate Smiths Creek backyard wedding. On a beautiful August Wednesday, 20 or so of their closest family and friends gathered in Shelly and Michael’s backyard to witness their marriage. Though large weddings are fun, the simplicity of getting married in your backyard really can’t be beat.
After getting ready separately (Shelly’s look by the amazing Ashley MacPherson) these two had a first look (again, right in the backyard), and we used their property for portraits – no wedding party or anything, just the two of them. Usually I don’t get so lucky with so many different spots in one place. It all made for a very relaxed and fun time.
For this Smiths Creek backyard wedding, I was lucky enough to work with one of my favorite videographers, Katie from 97 Films. Shelly works alongside Katie which is how we all met! I was super honored when Shelly reached out to ask me to photograph her wedding day.
After taking some family photos, everyone gathered in the seats on their newly finished deck, and the pair shared personal vows overlooking their backyard pond. Their good friend presided over the ceremony, which I always find very special and personal. There wasn’t anything NOT personal about this day and I think it made it absolutely perfect.
After the ceremony (check out that rose petal recessional – super fun!), there was an informal cocktail hour, culminating in an Irish whisky toast with a special connection to their love story. This West Cork whisky, which was hard to obtain in the US from what I understand, was the whisky they drank after they got engaged in Ireland. Sharing it with their friends and family at their wedding seemed like a special way to start this new chapter of life for them.
A Smiths Creek backyard wedding maybe isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoyed being a part of such a laid back, chill day where the focus was on getting married rather than all the extra stuff that can come with weddings. That stuff is great and fine, but sometimes getting back to the basics feels good.
Lisa and John originally did not plan to have a summer Detroit backyard wedding, but the pandemic had other plans. Instead of postponing their celebration, they decided to make some changes to the guest list and venue so that they could have their wedding on their original wedding day.
Lisa and John met in a kickball league, believe it or not! I think that’s the most unique way to meet and have never had a couple meet that way. John proposed at Acadia National Park in Maine. They love spending time outdoors and at breweries….my kind of people. We did their engagement session on Belle Isle and in downtown Detroit; it was honestly a blast!
This summer Detroit backyard wedding was graciously hosted by John’s sister and brother-in-law in their beautiful backyard. And I think it turned out wonderfully!
The ceremony took place at Lisa’s childhood church, First Presbyterian Church of Northville, which is right in downtown Northville. The church is smaller and quite beautiful inside! The stained glass just is my favorite. I loved the moment when Lisa’s mom walked her down the aisle. Super emotional for both of them!
Originally Lisa and John were not planning a first look, but they made a last minute decision to have one, and I don’t think they regretted it! It was such a cute moment and let them relax a little before the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, the wedding party and I headed over to Maybury State Park for portraits. I love Maybury for sessions and was so excited we were able to use it for their wedding. We had gorgeous lighting – literally perfect for a summer wedding.
To cap off this Detroit backyard wedding, we took some nighttime portraits with the lights hung just outside the backyard. They are some of my favorite of the day and so MAGICAL. String lights just make a space, let me tell you!
ceremony: First Presbyterian Church of Northville | florals: Westborn Market | cake: Cantoro’s | dj: Rusch Entertainment | hmu: Studio 170 | catering: Italian American Banquet Center | gown: Essense of Australia | bridemaids: David’s Bridal | shoes: Badgley Mischka | jewelry: Blue Nile | men’s attire: Men’s Warehouse | transport: Millennium Limo | invites: Vistaprint | favors: Recycled Ideas Favors
Last year really threw us for a loop with rescheduling and pivoting around COVID. But Emilie and Nico were so determined to get married that they moved their wedding UP (it was originally planned for October and they switched it up to August). Changing the plan meant changing the venue and what we ended up with was a perfect boho backyard wedding that I’ll never forget!
You might remember Emilie and Nico from their Eastern Market engagement session (it’s so gorgeous so don’t forget to check it out). They are two of the absolute sweetest people and I’m so glad I got to work with them. Incredibly down to earth and just full of joy, these two are just wonderful to be around, not to mention I love their style. Please enjoy Nico’s emerald suit and Emilie’s BHLDN wedding dress with these incredible vintage shoes. The mismatched jewel toned bridesmaids dresses — to DIE FOR.
I know so much love went into this event, which was hosted at Nico’s aunt and uncle’s home. The maid of honor made the bouquets. Other handmade decorative elements found their way throughout the decor. You could tell it was a labor of love, some DIY, but make it chic boho backyard wedding.
Let’s be clear – sometimes when you hear backyard wedding you think picnic tables and bbq. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a reflection of your style, just OUTSIDE! I felt this boho backyard wedding really did it up right, complete with a taco feast for dinner. Nothing felt plastic tablecloths and picnic tables because that wasn’t the vibe.
I’m just so thankful to my couples who pivoted their weddings so they could still get married, keeping me plenty busy in 2020!
The common theme of my 2020 weddings was flexibility. The same can be said for Nick and Alysia’s Red Riding Hood Stables wedding! Originally planned for a different venue, these two made some changes so they could get married on their original wedding date.
Alysia and Nick are such a sweet couple. I really enjoyed working with them. They didn’t opt for a first look, so the first time they saw each other was down the aisle. They shared personal vows to each other, in which I believe Nick promised to build shelves for all of Alysia’s books. My kind of guy, right?
My favorite portraits of the day were our sunset portraits. We got the BEST sunset, probably my best of the summer at least, and we made the most of it. Some people don’t want to leave their party, and that’s totally okay, but if you want to sneak out for 10 minutes alone to enjoy a sunset and let me take some photos of you, I’m all for it!
Not all couples do favors now, but I loved seeing one of my images from their Maybury State Park engagement session on a deck of cards. Too cool, and I had to take one of those home!
I think one of the most exciting parts of having a Red Riding Hood Stables wedding was the horses right there on site. I’ve never had a wedding with horses at it before, so I found that super exciting! It was fun to use them in the backdrop of images and to watch them graze throughout the wedding.
venue: Red Riding Hood Stables | cake: Buttercream Bakeshop | dj: CC King Entertainment | hair: Terri King Salon | catering: Holly Hotel | gown: Allure Bridal Salon | bridesmaids: David’s Bridal | jewelry: Craft Revival & Ronnie’s Jeweler’s | men’s attire: Baron’s | invite: Vistaprint | favors: Oriental Trading