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
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
This year, I kicked off my “wedding season” (May to October in Michigan) with Lindsey and Clay’s Waldenwoods wedding. Though it was a bit chilly for a late spring day, it didn’t stop these two and their friends/family from celebrating them.
Lindsey and Clay spent most of their engagement apart while Clay was stationed overseas. Five days after their wedding, they packed up and moved to Georgia where they will be stationed for the time being. What a whirlwind! I admire them for having a long distance relationship (especially while wedding planning) and for viewing living so far away from family and friends as an adventure! We met up at Christmastime while Clay was home for an engagement session at Campus Martias.
This Waldenwoods wedding took place in the tent, with lots of whites, cremes, golds, and greens. They opted for a dusty, neutral color pallette. Lindsey and Clay were married outdoors despite the chilly weather. But the rain held off all day long! I loved shooting at Waldenwoods because everything was right on site and so beautiful!
I think the most special moment at this wedding was a special surprise song that Lindsey’s grandfather wrote and recorded for her. It was a beautiful moment to witness as they danced together before the party started. And my, could this group party! Such a fun dance floor!
I had such a great time at this Waldenwoods wedding and would love to go back! Having your wedding at Waldenwoods? Contact me today!
Some people worry that a backyard wedding can be chaotic and thrown together. No, it totally doesn’t! If you have the space, a fall backyard wedding can be a beautiful event. This was the case for Jacki and Scott, who were married in a fall backyard wedding on Jacki’s parents’ property in Flat Rock, Michigan. This wedding was gorgeous!
I met Jacki and Scott merely six days after they got engaged last February and we instantly clicked over coffee. After their May engagement session in downtown Detroit, I was looking forward to closing out my September with their wedding. It was probably the nicest fall day I had this season. After being pampered by Kellie with Bridal Beauty Couture (she is so good, please check her out! I’ve worked with her on two weddings now), Jacki got into her beautiful dress which she got secondhand at the Bride’s Project in Ann Arbor. What a gorgeous bride!
We started with a first look at a nearby park (so good!) where Jacki met Scott on a covered bridge. After a beautiful portrait session (Jacki completely trusted me with locations and posing), we headed back for the ceremony and reception. Jacki, her mom and I’m sure a million other family members, really put together a beautiful fall scene, including a tractor, ladder photo display, and all the fall things.
Their ceremony was simple, but it went out with a bang…the couple had prepared confetti cannons for their first kiss! You could tell that everyone there was so excited that these two were FINALLY tying the knot after nearly nine years together. After the ceremony, the party really began! I think the whole day went so smoothly because they hired Cindy Decker as their coordinator. Cindy was sweet, keep us informed of what was going on, and handled everything with a smile. Highly recommend for a day of coordinator!
I snuck Jacki and Scott out for some sunset photos (the last true sunset of my wedding season unfortunately) which were honestly my favorite of the day. Couples, please sneak in 10 minutes for this…you will not regret it! Plus who actually gets to be alone on their wedding day? You deserve 10 minutes to take a breath and say holy crap we just got married!
Jacki was one of the sweetest brides I had all 2018 and she continues to leave me love letters everywhere. I truly enjoyed working with her, Scott, and their families on this fall backyard wedding.
From the bride: “Madalyn is amazing! I found her on The Knot, and the second I saw her website I knew I wanted her to photograph my wedding! From our very first meeting, literally 6 days after we got engaged, I felt so comfortable with her. She is so easy to work with, and her photos speak for themselves. For our engagement pictures, I gave her a general idea of locations I was interested in. She took my ideas and ran with it and we got some amazing pictures. Her and her husband Josh were working, but it was more like hanging out with friends for a few hours. We felt so comfortable with them. Leading up to my wedding, Madalyn kept in great contact and made sure all my questions were answered. She helped me create the day of timeline, and was totally fine with my admittedly too long “must have” list. On my wedding day, she went into work mode and made sure everything looked perfect. She got every shot on my list, and many additional shots I sprung on her in the moment. I got a preview of my photos the very next day and I couldn’t be happier. I would love to work with Madalyn again in the future!“
venue: private property in Flat Rock, Michigan
HMU: Kellie at Bridal Beauty Couture
coordination: Cindy Decker
gown: The Bride’s Project
men’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse
women’s attire: David’s Bridal