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
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
Katie and Adam’s Cherry Barc Farm wedding was supposed to happen in late May 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. They pushed it to later in the summer and were able to have their celebration!
Katie was referred to me by a college friend of mine and when we first met, I knew we’d get along great! By the time of this wedding, this was Katie and Adam’s third time being photographed by me…old pros! Their engagement photos are just adorable, check them out here!
Their Cherry Barc Farm wedding took place entirely on the property, including getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception. The guys got ready in the barn loft, while the ladies got ready in a separate on-site suite. Having everything in one place is always the best and gives us more time to take portraits or just a buffer in the schedule in case things run a little late!
After a beautiful first look, we took portraits around the property. Cherry Barc Farm is beautiful with gorgeous orchard vibes and lots of tall wildflowers. We tried to make use of all of it! Adam’s daughter Jade did a first look with her dad (the cutest thing and check out her flower girl dress!).
The ceremony took place under a beautiful large tree, and the rain we thought might show up didn’t even bother to come until much later in the day (whew). Katie and Adam were just brimming with happiness the whole day and I’m so glad they got to have the celebration they’ve been dreaming of for so long!
I’m also a huge fan of the emerald bridesmaid dresses on these ladies. What a gorgeous color! And honestly works in every season. I really like how jewel tones are becoming more popular.
Though we didn’t get a beautiful sunset, we ended the night with some portraits under the string lights — the second best thing you could have if you don’t get a sunset! I love an end of the night photo to round out the story of a day and to include in an album. It just gives it closure!
venue & coordination: Cherry Barc Farm | floral: Barlow Florist | hmu: Andrea Brower | catering: groom’s family | bridesmaids: Azazie | gown & shoes: Amazon | men’s attire: Men’s Warehouse | paper: Vistaprint