This little snuggly guy made a surprise entrance into this world and has been stealing hearts ever since. Melissa and Matt welcomed Rowan who was a champion eater, breather, and everything else he needed to be doing while in the NICU. His stay didn’t last long and he was able to be home for his first Christmas, something his parents wanted very much. He’s got a little bit of daddy in him but looks like his momma in most ways. Rowan was such a champ during photos and I’m so grateful I was able to do this session. Especially since I have a track record of mom’s going into labor the same weekend we plan on doing maternity photos haha! I’m so thankful for them allowing me to document this exciting new chapter in their lives!
When I met Emma and Josiah for their consult I immediately saw their giving and gracious hearts. Emma is a social worker and Josiah is studying to be a pastor. Both of their life’s callings match their personalities so perfectly. When I asked about their love story Emma said “Met online. Dated for 2 and a half years. Opposites attract. Lots of love” short, sweet, and to the point! Their classic wedding took place at Boston Square Church in Grand Rapids, MI. It’s a wonderfully simple and elegant sanctuary space with tall windows all along the sides. I was so excited to shoot their details in this space, and the lighting during their first look was to die for!
Their brave wedding party sucked it up and went out into the bitter cold for a few minutes of photos, I definitely was challenged on being efficient but I’m more than pleased with what we got! After just a little bump in the road and some emergency floral arranging we were ready for the ceremony itself. The service was lovely and perfect for Emma and Josiah. We did a sparkler exit from the church and headed over to the banquet hall where there was plenty of fellowship, good food, and lots of dancing!
I’m so honored to get to share these images with you all and even more excited to watch Emma and Josiah as they grow together in marriage. These two are such a perfect and I know they will enjoy many years of happiness together! Cheers!
When it’s super cold a blustery but you want a cozy green engagement shoot in Grand Rapids, you go to Meijer Gardens! Ashley and Josh are getting married here next June and wanted to get snuggly here for their engagement photos too! The lovely thing at MG is that there are tons of rooms filled with so much variety of plants and flowers. They have a large tropical room, cacti, victorian, and even had their holiday display up. It gets pretty busy but we went early and missed some of the crowds!
After being inside we trekked through the freshly fallen snow and went out to the spot where their ceremony will take place. I loved being able to be in that space with them as they get excited about their wedding. Ashley went to Kendall and is now an art educator and her sweet personality is so perfectly matched! Josh was actually the one who reached out to me and I absolutely LOVE when grooms are a huge part of the planning process! His organized and cheerful personality is such a perfect compliment to Ashley!
Needless to say these two were a blast to work with and I’m beyond excited to shoot their intimate wedding in just a few short months! Next time there just won’t be any snow 😉
This sweet couple contacted me to do their engagement photos and I was pumped! Their love story centers around Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI so we trekked through campus at sunset on the most perfect fall day. Their sweet pup tagged along and we actually managed to get her to cooperate a little! I’m so bummed that I can’t photograph their wedding but I know it’ll be the most perfect celebration! We had tons of fun and I’m so excited to watch them grow through marriage.
This year has been so incredible. I’ve photographed 12 weddings, helped 3 other photographers for weddings, done over 30 portrait sessions, graduated college, traveled to my first conference, made incredible friends, gained confidence in myself and my work, and all around grown. The world was pretty murky going into 2017, I wasn’t sure how we’d do this year as a country, and while I’m baffled at the choices made by our leaders, my own community has risen above and provided great support and shown love to each other.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I could do this. I’m not sure what “this” is, but I’ve been so lucky to have such amazing people to work with and making my job easy. It doesn’t feel real. Getting to work with such a diverse group of people is more than I could have asked for. You all have showed up in the best ways and made 2017 one of the best years yet.
While choosing my favorite photos of 2017 is like asking me to pick a favorite child, I’ve compiled a few of the ones that have moved me the most this year. They might not all be technically perfect, but I always aim for emotion over perfection in my work anyway. I hope that you enjoy looking through these images as much as I do and help me in celebrating all of the victories in 2017 and get excited for what’s to come in 2018!
Lindsey and Nick wanted a quick mini session with their sweet pups for a Christmas Card photo! These two braved the cold, rather fashionably I might add, and we snagged some great ones. The energy they all had made it super easy to work with them and I love anytime I get to hang out with furry friends too! I think they probably had a tough choice picking just one for their card.
Congrats on your engagement! Chances are you are here for some advice on the daunting task of wedding planning and what your next steps should be. I’ve heard countless couples talking about how knowing where to start is the hardest part so I’ve compiled a list of the first 5 things you should do now that you’re engaged! This list might not give you all the answers but will help answer some questions, and even give you some vendor ideas for the Grand Rapids area!
1: Set a budget!
This sets the tone for the rest of your planning and gives you an idea of what vendors you can work with in your budget! Consider guest count as a factor into that budget as well, but more on that in the next step. Budgets of course can be flexible but knowing a ballpark can ensure you don’t go broke all in the name of love. When thinking of budget it helps to break it down by vendor as well. What is most important to you? Would you like photos but no video? Fake DIY flowers as opposed to real from a florist? These factors can factor into a budget that is comprehensive and an easy reference point when reaching out to possible vendors.
Not all beautiful weddings are high budget! So don’t let a small budget discourage you, tons of couples pay for everything on their own and remember, a strong marriage is far more important than a perfect day! If you’re looking for some helpful advice on budgets consider looking on A Practical Wedding that gives some sample budgets and other great resources.
2: Figure out the size of your special day!
Small elopement sound more like your cup of tea? Maybe 20 guests will be the way to go. Want a party with everyone who helped you get to where you are now? Maybe 300 guests is more your taste. No matter what the guest count it will still be amazing, just remember this is a key part of planning. Venues range from elopement size only to huge oversized spaces. Getting a ballpark for your guest count will make venue hunting so much easier in the long run! You won’t waste time on a small venue if you decide you want 200 people. The guest count also varies on budget, so these two steps go hand in hand!
3: Pick some dates or time of year!
Yes I say dates! Many venues book over a year out and so having a time of year or multiple dates makes it easier to coordinate. If you’re planning a wedding in 6 months or less it might be a bit trickier but don’t let that discourage you! There are tons of great times of year to get married and all have a different feel. Another thing to consider is weather, holidays, and if people will have to travel far. These things can all factor into the perfect wedding date for you!
4: Visit and pick a venue!
Pick 3-4 venues to go and look at. I wouldn’t only see one or two and more than 4 can be hard to pick between. Looking at 3-4 gives you a variety without being overwhelming. Things to consider when visiting are parking, accessibility, limitations on catering or decor, length of rental, and size. These things can all make or break a venue. Also ask if day of coordination is included, if it isn’t that might be another cost to factor in. Try and visit the venues during the season of your future wedding, snow or heat can make or break a location. The venue is one of the key factors in a wedding so this step should be taken very seriously. If you are in the Greater Grand Rapids area here is a small sample of my favorite venues!
5: Pick your photographer!
Ok ok ok, I’ll be honest, I’d loveee for you to pick me as your photographer, but all that aside I know I’m not right for everyone, so let me break it down. Photography is the only thing that lasts after your big day, you do not want to skimp on hiring a professional photographer. Finding a family member or old friend might not be the right choice if they aren’t a professional, do not leave this huge responsibility to someone without experience. Think about your preferred style, do you want posed classic images? Bright and airy? Darker and Moody? Candid and authentic? some combination of all of those? Search on Instagram for local wedding photography hashtags to get a glimpse at some of the talent and an idea for preferred style. If you have an idea of some photographers you love reach out to them to ask about pricing and options. Average cost for a professional in Grand Rapids area is about $2,500. Also think about your venue and maybe find some photographers who have worked there before. If you are going to have a darker reception venue or late night reception make sure to see their work with flash and other lighting. Most photographers will send full wedding galleries if you ask!
Don’t be intimidated or scared! We are really nice and often have a ton of suggestions for the little things you’ve been worried about. If you need help with a timeline or searching for vendors ask your photographer! They will have lots of suggestions to help you put together the perfect day!
All in all wedding planning doesn’t have to be intimidating, follow these simple steps to get on the right track in the beginning and the rest will fall into place for you! Do your research, look on social media, and ask previous couples for advice. Remember that this is a special time and not a time to stress out! Talk with your partner and work together as a team, now is the time to get an idea of what you both are looking for out of the wedding day! So Congratulations again and I hope that this special time goes smoothly for you both! If you need any suggestions or any help feel free to email me at email@example.com or leave a comment and I’ll gladly help any way I can!
Mycah and Kyle radiate joy and love. From the minute I met them their connection was obvious and I was so excited that they were down to get cold and snowy and hang out at the tree farm! I’d been wanting to do a tree farm session forever, especially with Michigan snow that makes it so perfect! These two are tying the knot next October and I’m especially pumped because Mycah is my best friend’s twin! So now that we’ve officially met and worked together I can say that all the good things I heard about these two are totally true. Kyle’s rugged personality matches Mycah’s sweet disposition and I am so excited to watch them walk down the aisle. All I have to say is these two made the bitter cold totally worth it!
The holidays can be a tough time for the LGBTQ community. So this styled shoot celebrates the warmth of love in the midst of darkness! Samantha and Brianna were the perfect models, their relationship is so sweet and Samantha’s sense of humor is perfection. When dreaming up this styled shoot I wanted to layer warm colors with both vintage and modern style influences. The dresses provided by BIANKA Bridal coordinated so perfectly without matching. I loved the layers of softness on Brianna’s gown with the more structured texture of Samantha’s. The tablescape had elements of nature brought in that set off the gold chargers and place settings from West Michigan Rental Company as well as soft hand lettering done by Zoey Devine! We can’t forget the amazing florals from Posh Petals that were even more gorgeous than I could have imagined! To round everything out the small but mighty gold lead semi-naked cake baked with love at The Cakabakery tasted just as luxurious as it looked.
This whole vision came to life so perfectly and I’m immensely proud of all of the vendors and people who helped it come to fruition. The idea that people experience such a hard time finding inclusive vendors in this day and age breaks my heart. We literally have a supreme court case that is deciding whether people can be turned away simply because they are LGBTQ and planning a wedding. If anyone in the area is looking for progressive vendors who embody diversity please hire the vendors used for this shoot! Everyone deserves a beautiful day filled with love ones, no matter who they are.
I met Lindsey my freshman year of college and we bonded over lunch, stressful classes, and the excitement of her pregnancy with her first born son. Throughout the year we became super close and meeting Aidan for the first time at the hospital was so special! Fast forward to this fall and Lindsey contacted me about doing family photos for them! It was the first time I had met Ruben but seeing him interact with Aidan and Lindsey made it clear how special of a guy he is. Although life has gotten crazy the last few years and we don’t talk very much I love keeping up with her life and accomplishments! She truly has beaten all obstacles and is crushing her biggest goals! I’m so proud to know such a strong mama and loving family!