2018 has been such an incredible year. It’s been filled with over 50 sessions between portraits, engagements, boudoir, weddings, and elopements. I’ve traveled all over Michigan, to Detroit, Fennville, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, and of course tons in Grand rapids. The amount of growth I’ve seen in myself makes me so proud to share this post with you all. I will never stop learning or growing as a wedding photographers, so I can only imagine how incredible next year will be!
Some highlights personally have been buying a house, a new car, and getting engaged to my best friend! This year included a bit of travel too, including Illinois, Indiana, and my favorite, Colorado. All in all it’s been a pretty fulfilling time. So now that I’ve rambled, enjoy my favorite images from 2018!
Check out Liv Lyszyk Photography at her Website Here! To see more of her work head over to the blog posts linked below!
Nicole and Theo are the embodiment of everything I love about being a wedding photographer. They chose to celebrate in the way that felt personal and special to them, having lots of friends present, and tons of great dancing. They chose to do a Windmill Island and Gardens wedding in Holland, Michigan. This colorful and unique venue provided a setting that transported guests to another place, it truly felt like I had hopped on a plane and gone to Europe. Destination wedding without destination jetlag and prices! I am so happy that I was able to work with them and am excited to be sharing their images!
I love hearing the love stories of the couples I work with and asked them how they met, they said “We lived less than a mile from each other but never would have met if we weren’t online dating. Our first date was at Rockwell Republic in Grand Rapids sometime in September. We dated for a few months and we fell for each other. We went from living in separate apartments to Theo basically squatting in Nicole’s apartment until we bought a house in Grand Rapids”. The couple has tons of close friends they’ve gotten to know throughout their relationship and instead of picking just a few to stand with them they opted for an extended portrait time between ceremony and reception to get lots of photographs with all of them! I loved how much of a community feel the day had, everyone helping, laughing, and getting involved in the festivities!
I had never photographed a Windmill Island and Gardens wedding before but had seen photos from friends. It truly is like stepping back in time. Everyone in the area has gone for Tulip Time but experiencing it during late summer was a real treat. It offers some really unique and fun photo opportunities. The couple took the Dutch theme and ran with it, the lace on Nicole’s dress was reminiscent of European design and lace. The tulip bouquet, which was hard to find apparently, was a colorful pop that really made her stand out! I was impressed by how cohesive everything felt without being too cheesy!
This wedding was just the best, lots of color, lots of fun, and a gorgeous location! If you want to feel like you are in Europe but don’t want to actually do all the travel and planning definitely check out doing a Windmill Island and Gardens wedding in Holland, Michigan!
Check out more work from Liv Lyszyk Photography at the links below!
Dan and Paul found me online after searching for an LGBT wedding photographer. It was important for them to have as many LGBT vendors to help them create their gorgeous day at Stetson Chapel and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts! These two are from Chicago but with family in the Kalamazoo area it was an easy choice to plan from afar and pick West Michigan as the location. They chose the gorgeous Stetson Chapel for it’s amazing white walls and huge windows, truly a wedding photographer’s dream church! It was such a fun and playful day all around and one of my favorites from this season!
The couple has an affinity for Ru Paul’s Drag Race and so they incorporated elements inspired by the show into the day. The wedding party carried paper fans instead of bouquets and had flowermen who were some of the most enthusiastic petal throwers I’ve seen! I loved the unique touches that were non traditional but totally embraced their personalities. These are my favorite types of weddings and often I find that as an LGBT wedding photographer it’s usually my same sex couples who veer from tradition the most. There are so many gendered traditions that I personally wish were gone, so I love when couples throw that out the window and do whatever makes them happy with their day!
To learn more about Liv Lyszyk Photography or to hire her please check out the website! For more gorgeous weddings and portraits click the links below to see more!
This Bissell Tree House wedding was wild (pun intended)! Tori and Jake celebrated on a gorgeous summer Friday with their super fun bunch of friends and family. This was my second time photographing a Bissell Tree House wedding at the John Ball Zoo here in Grand Rapids and this time didn’t disappoint either. The zoo offers such a unique location for Grand Rapids couples and I loved the personal touches Tori and Jake added to make it their own!
The couple was first introduced to each other eight years ago through Tori’s significant other at the time. He was great friends with Jake in high school and the guys often met up to play soccer on warm summer days. Years went by with very few interactions. Tori moved to Allendale, Michigan to attend Grand Valley State University while Jake enlisted in the Navy. Time went on and Jake was able to come back home and continue his management job at the infamous Blockbuster Video. Tori came into the store one day, as one normally does on a Friday night in Chelsea, and Jake was mesmerized. Of course she spent the entire time trying to shake off the instinct to blush when the cute guy behind the counter smiled in her direction. They continued to live separate lives. Fast forward to July of 2013, both of their worlds collapsed when the guy they met through died in a car crash. From that moment on, Tori and Jake were forever connected through their loss. They reconnected and healed together, only to realize that they had fallen in love along the way.
Tori was most excited for the first look since the couple always tells each other everything! She said it was so hard to keep that part of the wedding secret from him! They also were really excited about the animal ambassadors from the zoo during cocktail hour. A portion of the proceeds from the rental goes back into the zoo’s conservation efforts and incorporating the animals into their day was important.
We start at The Amway Grand Hotel where Tori and Jake worked together! The salon at the Amway provided some incredible pampering for them and once everyone was ready we headed down to do the first looks! Tori wanted a first look with her dad as well as Jake and I loved both of them! We all piled into a party bus and went to one of my favorite locations for photos, then proceeded to their Bissell Tree House wedding later in the afternoon!
The treehouse itself offers a lot of nature and really takes the need for excessive decorating away. Tori and Jake used lots of floral accents to bring the whole room together and it was gorgeous! We enjoyed their short and sweet ceremony on the balcony of the venue where they sealed their vows in with a bottle of wine to open later. The cocktail hour included some animal ambassadors and great craft beer! We enjoyed yummy food and desserts then danced the night away! The whole wedding was really just a huge party for Tori and Jake which I absolutely loved!
The whole day was so special for the two of them and offered so many good memories. I’m beyond glad that I was able to work with them and can’t wait to see their marriage blossom!
If you’d like to learn more of contact Liv about wedding and portrait photography head over to the website! For more photos and stories click the blog posts linked below!
October 15th, 2018. I come home from a chiropractic appointment to have my partner ask me for a security envelope to mail something. We both had the day off and were going to be running errands. I head over to my office and notice the door is closed. Weird, but whatever, I brushed it off and opened the door. My heart skipped a beat and I read the mural on the wall that my partner had painted asking me to marry him. I didn’t cry, I was in total shock, he totally got me good, I said my easiest yes, and proceeded to say “what do we do now”?
Frantically call my mom, who didn’t pick up the phone (it’s ok she was working), proceeded to call my friend Zoey, who picked up on the second ring. I texted and messaged and called everyone I could think of that might care. It was really exciting to have such exciting news to share! We went to lunch to celebrate and I basked in the newly engaged glow. It’s totally a thing y’all. We made it Facebook and Instagram official and just enjoyed the excitement!
Yep, the day after we got engaged I happened to be seeing my friend who we had decided we wanted to be our photographer. We had talked about who we might want to photograph, I’m a wedding photographer, it comes up haha. We both loved her work and her husband also does video! It was a perfect fit and we signed the contract and paid the deposit that day. Is this the most conventional order of things? Nope! But for us, hiring them was on the top of our priority list even before a venue. Luckily we are friends and so we were able to talk all about our tentative plans and she was willing to put us on the books without anything being super official. Photography and videography is 1/3 of our budget, so getting that settled was huge! Even if you don’t do things in this order, photographers and videographers book quickly. As a photographer myself I’m almost halfway booked and it’s not even engagement season for 2019 couples. So if you think you know who you want to book, and even if you don’t, reach out sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment if they are booked.
Budget is one thing no one wants to talk about. It’s tough to think about how freaking expensive weddings are. Working in the industry I totally understand why they are so expensive, but being on the other side of it as a bride, it sucks. Either way we picked 3 things that we wanted to be perfect and the rest is just bonus. I always tell my couples that as long as you are married at the end of the day the rest is just details. For us the three things we are going all out on is photo/video, venue, and florals. Breaking down a budget given those things made it so much easier for us. We snagged a free online budget planning spreadsheet from Bridechilla (shoutout to my current favorite podcast and facebook group! Go check them out). Sitting down and working on it together ensures that we are on the same page which is so important. No matter who is taking on the bulk of planning budgeting is key for both of you to be involved!
Having an idea of time of year, month, or even the specific weekend you want is helpful when researching venues. For us we are planning for Spring 2020. My books are filling up for 2019 and I want to make sure I can devote enough time to my couples, and then have time to plan for ourselves. The date was super important for us logistically so figuring that out right away allowed us to narrow down options for venues especially (and give people an answer when they all inevitably ask when we are getting married).
Maxx and I have some pretty specific desires as far as venues go. We know what we like (it helps seeing venues almost every weekend for half of the year) and have a budget to follow narrows it down. We also had it in our plans to have a small wedding i.e. less than 100 people. Knowing the season, size of the wedding, and area we wanted to look in got us a few great options. We emailed almost 10 venues that we initially liked and were interested in, only 2 were in budget and included our requirements. It’s honestly better to only have 2-3 options to tour and seriously consider. Touring too many venues can get tricky when envisioning your wedding in so many places. I know a lot of people struggle with choosing and writing a list of things you can’t compromise on, i.e. parking, location, style, price, and then take those things into consideration. Pros and cons lists are our best friend lately!
Overall we are still in the very early stages of planning. There are so many things to think about that it can get overwhelming but communication is key. The first 5 things we did, announce, hire photo and video, do a budget, pick a few dates, and email and tour venues has set us up for success! We have a lot of the main things pretty much figured out and we can rest and enjoy the holidays and save up even more! I definitely do not regret planning for a longer engagement! I’d love to hear in the comments what some of those first things you did after getting engaged were!
Zoey, Jake, and Harrison are three of my favorite people. I’ve been photographing Harrison since he was about the size of a strawberry when Zoey was pregnant. I might be a little biased but I love being their Grand Rapids portrait photographer. In fact I photographed them on a Sunday, so that just shows you how much I love them. Anyway, we headed to Huff Park on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. It’s a hidden gem with some great walking trails, a brand new playground, some bridges, baseball fields etc. It’s one of my favorite little spots.
Luckily Harrison (and Whistler) were super cheery and alert, which made for the CUTEST photos! Don’t worry, we snapped some of just Zoey and Jake too because, let’s be honest, after you have a kid you rarely get photos of just the two of you. Needless to say we had a blast and I’m super happy with the photos!
To hire Liv as your own Grand Rapids portrait photographer check out the website or the blog posts below!
Kyra and Kray are two of the sweetest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Their day was filled with so much love and fun! It was an honor to be their Grand Rapids wedding photographer. This classic downtown Grand Rapids inspired wedding had so many amazing details!
Kyra found me online after searching for a Grand Rapids wedding photographer and during out coffee meeting we instantly clicked. She told me about Kray and absolutely lit up. It was a clear sign that this wedding would be a blast. She said “We met at running club my freshman year, his sophomore year of college. For us it was love at second sight. When Kray and I met, he was actually in a different relationship. I tried my best to just forget about him, but once he became single, that didn’t last too long. We joke sometimes that my determination is what got us here, but I’m always happy that I didn’t give up on him”. I’m pretty glad they didn’t give up because seeing them together on their wedding day made it clear it was meant to be.
We started the day in Downtown Grand Rapids for their first look. It is a popular spot amongst Grand Rapids wedding photographers and there were a few other wedding parties there too! We were a bit nervous about the rain but luckily it held off for them and the overcast day provided amazing skies! Their sweet first look was one of my favorites, if you know Kyra and Kray in real life you know how freaking incredible their smiles are. Their wedding party braved the chilly drizzly day and were so willing to just let go and have fun to support the couple. After we finished portraits we headed over to Christ Church where the ceremony was to be held. this simple but beautiful space really was the perfect place for them to seal the deal. With two members of the clergy Kyra and Kray were able to bring their families together in a wonderfully unique way. We then headed to the Revel Center for cocktails and the reception! Revel Center is a relatively new space in Grand Rapids and seems unassuming from the outside. Kyra told me how she couldn’t believe the place was as gorgeous as it is when she first visited. They’ve done an amazing job creating an intimate reception space near downtown.
The whole day was all smiles, I cannot begin to explain the joy this couple radiates. I’m so happy for the both of you and know you have a strong marriage ahead of you!
Check out more from Liv Lyszyk Photography on her website! For more incredible couples see the links below to read more!
Kim and Guy are my people. I’m so thankful that their google search for “West Michigan engagement photographer” pointed them to me, the stars aligned, and here we are! They had reached out to me early this year and life happened and we lost touch. Kim emailed me a few weeks back hoping I was still available, which thankfully I was, and booked on the spot!
I was so excited to see the spot they picked for the photos. A family member was selling the house, read lakeside mansion, and knew it needed to happen soon. Luckily we picked a day and when I arrived I was blown away. Not just by the house, but by both Kim and Guy (and their pup Lulu). Instantly we bonded over our love of The Office and it was such a breeze from there. Kim is a hairstylist and does AMAZING work in Illinois. She also does tons of weddings too so swapping stories was a blast.
I found out that this was the place where Guy asked Kim to marry him and it made the day that much more special. They were a little nervous at first but after cracking some “that’s what she said” jokes they were modeling like pros! The beach we were on was nice and private, also helped that it was a Monday morning too! Being a West Michigan engagement photographer I get to go to the beach fairly often for sessions and this one might be my favorite!
These two are such a joy to be around and I absolutely cannot wait until they tie the knot next October! There are plans for a Date Mike cardboard cutout and if you know me at all you’ll understand how freaking excited that makes me! But for now enjoy these adorable photos with their sweet little Lulu!
To learn more or to hire Liv Lyszyk Photography as your West Michigan Engagement Photographer check out the website, or click below to read more!
Ashley has been doing sessions with me throughout the year and it was so fun to be her Grand Rapids family photographer as well! We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few months! Ashley runs a disney blog and instagram so our photo sessions are so fun and whimsical. This time she wanted to include her beloved pups and husband!
I arrived at their house which has a perfect little dead end next to it. This allowed us to be in the street and photograph! Ashley brought out some super cute elements to be included and of course the pups loved every minute! As a Grand Rapids family photographer who’s worked with pups before I knew that having treats in my hand as I snapped away would help everyone. It worked perfectly and everyone sat so perfectly the whole time. Admittedly it was a quick session including the dogs before they got put back inside, but nevertheless it went super well!
Ashley and Dan hadn’t really gotten engagement photos so this was a perfect redo for it! We got some great photos just the two of them which will be perfect for them to hang in their home! It was a lovely time meeting Dan as well and seeing exactly how perfect they are for each other! I hope you guys enjoy the new photos to decorate your home with!
To learn more and hire Liv as your own Grand Rapids family photographer check out the website! For more blog posts like this click the links below!
Julia and Robert might be one of my favorite couples! Their sweet loving energy is perfect in front of the camera and this Grand Rapids engagement photographer LOVED it! Julia reached out a while back looking for a wedding photographer and when I suggested doing an engagement session as well they were excited! It always helps couples get to know me and become more comfortable in front of the camera before their wedding day!
Julia is a barista at Madcap and Robert works at Spoke Folks, a bike shop! They both have a passion for bike polo, seriously look it up, so cool! It’s been fun watching them on social media enjoy that passion together! We ventured out to Riverside park in Grand Rapids, Michigan which is one of my absolute favorite places. It spans a few miles along the Grand River and offers lots of great scenery for engagement photos. They both love being outside and it was the perfect setting.
From the first photos I snapped I could tell this would turn into an amazing session. Julia and Robert felt a little uneasy but when I told them that awkward means you’re doing it right and gave them some prompts they opened right up. As a Grand Rapids engagement photographer I love when couples aren’t afraid of being silly and going along with my fun ideas! Between the pond, weeping willows, dock, and trees, we got so many great images.
I seriously cannot wait until their wedding next year, if it’s anything like their engagement session it will not disappoint! Keep an eye out for those images! There will be lots of woodsy elements and tons of greenery which is going to be amazing. Plus they have both had lots of practice in front of the camera now!
To see more from Liv Lyszyk Photography or to hire her as your Grand Rapids engagement photographer head over to the website! Feel free to read through the blog posts linked below for more!