Emily and Ang’s epic love story was 10 years in the making. When these two reached out and told me about themselves I immediately wanted to work with them, and quickly became friends with the pair! Their simple church ceremony held at St John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan was filled with a beautiful sermon about the meaning of love and marriage. With a few qitty jokes peppered in, the program included so many little details that celebrated Emily and Ang’s love. After the ceremony the wedding headed to the Century Club Ballroom in Muskegon, Michigan. Despite the impending ice storm everyone kept warm in the book and fantasy themed space. Emily spent a good chunk of time crafting the paper flower centerpieces with friends at a bar and the attention to detail was perfect.
When asked about how they met Emily writes “We met online through a text-based role-playing game in 2006. (We tended to write as brothers. Yeah, that’s kind of weird now) Ang is from Australia and I’m from Michigan, so time zones were a mess but we both love hockey & books & so regularly chatted for a few years over AOL instant messenger (RIP). In 2008, Ang did the Australian thing and took a big trip around North America. I invited her to stay with me in Lansing, Michigan for a week. She came, we went to a Red Wings playoff game, and she’s been coming back every year ever since. (Probably because of the hockey!) We became best friends and had planned to spend our lives together even though we thought our relationship was platonic at first. Spoiler: it wasn’t”.
With Emily living in Michigan during their relationship and Ang living in Brisbane Australia the pair looks forward to finally getting to be part of each other’s every day lives in a practical way – to be able to give hugs or make dinner or bring each other coffee. Also being able to have each others’ back without worrying that there’s a 21 hour plane trip in between us if something goes wrong. And being able to share a house and make a home! It’s clear already that the two of them are just smitten in their new home in Australia and we all look forward to seeing how much they blossom on this new journey!
Tracey and Nathan headed back to the beginning, where their relationship started. Their wedding venue, the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI, was only steps away from where they went on their first date. Now a lot has changed since then, they’ve fallen in love, are now expecting their first child, and are coming back this time, to seal the deal. Tracey and Nathan, along with their closest friends and family celebrated in the hotels conservatory space. A beautiful glass structure that allowed us all to feel like we were outside, but not having to bundle up in the February chill.
The day started with Tracey reading the notes her new spouse wrote on the bottom of her shoes. It was such a sweet detail and got Tracey even more excited to walk down the aisle. Nathan and his two best men were getting ready across the hotel and it was fun getting some photographs of him looking at the window where she was putting her finishing touches on. The sweet ceremony included hand written vows that brought everyone to tears. Their excitement radiated and it was such a joy filled and hopeful time. After snagging the couple and their attendants for photos they celebrated into the night and enjoyed the company of those who have helped them get to where they are now. I’m so honored to have participated in the day and look forward to seeing their family and love grow! Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs. Angona!
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!
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.
Videography: Ashley Kalin
These two had such a lovely celebration with their closest friends and family. Their commitment to family was so clear and I loved getting to be a part of their days. These ladies had a split wedding. Having an intimate ceremony one day and a larger reception a few weeks after. It was such a special way to extend the celebration and enjoy the time. They were able to have the feel of an elopement but hang out with everyone later! I’ve put together some of the highlights from their day and hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
This classic and elegant wedding blew me away. Jen and Bradon celebrated their love in Downtown Grand Rapids and I was so excited that they chose me to be their photographer! These two met online while in college and bonded over their love for video games and making each other laugh! They were both so excited about seeing each other for the first time while they walked down the aisle. These two instantly became some of my favorite clients!
When I arrived Jen and her ladies were relaxing in their gorgeous robes and finishing up hair and makeup. When I asked for some of the details and jewelry Jen told me she’d be wearing some of her Grandmother’s wedding jewelry. It was such a sweet testament to the power of family and tradition. Her pearls made Jen glow. The guys arrived and were instantly a fun bunch to hang out with. I tasked my intern Gabby with snapping some photos of them and she commented on how easy they made her job. I love when the wedding party is just as pumped for the wedding as the couple, and it was clear that was the case for Jen and Bradon.
One of the most fun moments was when the flowers from Events by Ludema’s arrived. The girls were so giddy to see all of the details coming together. Jen grabbed her bouquet and stood in front of the long mirror in her suite and commented on how real it finally felt. After getting buttoned up into her gorgeous gown from Bridal Elegance we all got out first look at her, Jen was so radiant, definitely a gorgeous bride.
The short and sweet ceremony led to a quick flip of the room as they signed their license and Jen realized how odd it was to sign her new name. We headed out with the wedding party and walked to the infamous Blue Bridge where there happened to be another wedding. We snapped some photos and as we were walking back I noticed an ivy covered parking garage. I asked if it would be crazy to have them go up because I had an idea. After a few minutes I see Bradon appear who tells me that the elevator was broken (sorry guys!) but if you ask me the photo is so worth it.
We then went to the reception where we enjoyed sweet toasts, delicious dinner, and fun dancing. It’s always fun to talk with guests and meeting Jen’s family at dinner was a special treat. Throughout the whole day we were both welcomed and included in everything as if we were family, not just photographers. Jen and Bradon made the day go so smoothly and we had a blast with them. I know that this is just the beginning of a wonderful married life for them and we are both so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their story.
Katie and Colin have to be two of the most laid back and in love people I’ve ever met. When I met with them to talk about their wedding they just gushed about how excited they were to tie the knot. This was a day full of elegant details and romantic elements. The couple wanted it to be a relaxed wedding and they definitely achieved that.
One of the most fun elements of the day was the venue itself. Wildwood Family Farms in Alto, Mi provided a gorgeous backdrop that guests kept commenting on. Their donkey Pepperjack was a highlight for many people and the couple made sure to get some photos with him throughout the day. Wildwood’s gorgeous flowers and peaceful fields looked even more amazing at sunset and I was lucky enough to snag the couple for some photos during golden hour. I love being able to sneak them away and have them enjoy a quiet moment as newlyweds.
Although the ceremony was one of the shortest I’ve been to, what they lacked in length they made up in heart. There was not a dry eye as the two tearfully exchanged vows. After the ceremony guests enjoyed cocktail hour complete with lawn games and custom corn hole boards! The reception was lively and the DJ got everyone dancing, it was truly one of the most energetic receptions!
Throughout the day it was clear how in love these two were, and how supported they are by both families. Their vendors all came together to create a seamless day and I know that this wedding will be one I remember for years to come.
The Amazing Vendors:
Dress: Hayley Paige from Bianka Bridal, Grand Rapids, MI
Bridesmaids Dresses: Vera Wang from David’s Bridal
Tuxedos: The Combatant Gentleman
Florals: Stems Market Grandville, MI
Bakery: Cakabakery Grand Rapids, MI
Catering: Nighthawk Catering Alto, MI
Katy and Omar are the kind of couple that radiates joy and love. When I first met them we instantly clicked and I could see their excitement for their big day. They envisioned an elegant and classic wedding day that brought together both of their cultures. It was important that both the families felt welcomed and part of the day. During the father toasts it was clear how much love and acceptance the couple had from their friends and families.
Even though it had been pouring most of the day the clouds parted just in time for their afternoon ceremony. We took a short break and walked over to the cutest little ice cream shop. Something they highly recommend for every couple on their wedding day. The reception was high energy thanks to the band and amazing dancing. Omar’s best friends who are lovingly known as the “sketchys” threw him up on their shoulders and paraded around the reception. It was the perfect ice breaker and got everyone on the dance floor!
I’ve never seen such a perfect couple, they truly embody diversity and love. I’m so grateful to be allowed to photograph these weddings where I end up learning so much not only about photography, but about the world.
Venue: Grand Ledge Opera House
Catering: Zaytoon Lansing
Event Planning: Barb Joseph
Linens/Decorations: Get Linens
Dress: David’s Bridal
Suit: Custom Made
When I found out that Lizzie was coordinating a same sex styled shoot I jumped at the chance to help! Lizzie is an amazing stylist at Bianka Bridal in Grand Rapids and when she attended a conference recently the idea for this shoot was born. She was interested in exploring neutrals, gorgeous florals by Damsel Floral, all paired with geometric backdrops. I think we nailed it to be honest! This was my first styled shoot and to say I was intimidated was an understatement, but Lizzie and the team at Bianka made me feel so welcome. Our gorgeous models Kierstynn and Anna rocked the hell out of these dresses and were so willing to try out my crazy ideas. I’m so honored that I was included in this experience and can’t wait to team up again!
Photography: Liv Lyszyk Photography
Florals: Damsel Florals
Styling: Lizzie Russell
Makeup: Valentina Vella
Jewelry: Haute Bride