Blog | LGBTQ+ Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer | Liv Lyszyk Photography

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Grand Rapids, Michigan Wedding and Portrait photographer. Specializing in capturing LGBT love in Michigan and beyond. Obsessed with everything non traditional and diverse!

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Hollis and Kenny are two of the most fun and chill people I’ve worked with. Immediately we clicked and photographing them was a breeze! I’m going to be photographing their Belle Isle wedding next year and if it’s anything like this session I’m in for a real treat. We explored the industrial district of Grand Rapids near the river and had a blast. The sun was stunning and cooperated so well for us to get some stunning sunset shots. Enjoy some of my favorite frames!

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To hire Liv as your engagement or wedding photographer check out the website and click the other blog posts below!

Jasmine and Cady // West Michigan // LGBT Engagement Photography

Dan and Paul | Stetson Chapel | LGBT Wedding Photographer

Nikki and Carolyn | Delton, MI | Queer Wedding Photographer

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Ashlee and Allison’s wedding will always hold a special spot in my heart. It was truly the biggest honor being chosen by the professor who taught me so much about photography to photograph something so important. When looking for photographers having someone who was part of the lgbtq community was important to them and I was happy to be their lgbt wedding photographer! I had already photographed them last fall for a brewery engagement session and seeing their love for each other and general photogenic personalities made me so excited for the wedding.

The couple

When I asked them about their love story they told me “In classic lesbian style we actually were dating other people at the time we met at LEZ Connect. After a couple of years of friendship and breakups we connected and realized that we were what each other was missing. It was crazy to think each other was there the whole time and we never knew it. From there everything fit into place – our families, our dreams, and our paths. The rest is just history!” I absolutely love how they found each other when the timing was right.

The wedding

The wedding was held at Camp Blodgett in West Olive. The venue is set back by the beach with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. The couple chose a blush and floral theme to the day and did tons of appetizers rather than a full sit down meal. Guests were welcomed by a cocktail hour before the wedding which got everyone excited to take their beverage out to the deck and witness the stunning ceremony. The deck overlooks the lake and during the ceremony the reading of the supreme court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land had tears in everyone’s eyes.

I’m so excited to share these images and celebrate such a special union. Ashlee and Allison make me proud to be an lgbt wedding photographer and be able to celebrate love like theirs.

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To hire Liv as your LGBT wedding photographer check out the website or the blog posts below!

Nikki and Carolyn | Delton, MI | Queer Wedding Photographer

Jasmine and Cady // West Michigan // LGBT Engagement Photography

Morgan and Abe // Camp Merrie Woode // Michigan Wedding Photographers

 

 

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Nikki and Carolyn had the most beautiful, queer, powerful, love-filled celebration I’ve attended. These amazing humans were referred to me by their lovely officiant and fellow, Rachel Whitehurst of Adventure Photo Stories. They were looking for a queer wedding photographer for their summer camp wedding! If you remember the last camp wedding I photographed you will understand how excited I was to be photographing another one. When I met up with Nikki and Carolyn to chat more about their vision we immediately felt more like friends than just a professional relationship. I knew instantly that their story was one I wanted to tell.

The couple

“In the fall of 2016, the two of us shared a class together at Western Michigan University. I, Carolyn, had a crush on Nikki and Nikki…didn’t think twice about me, as I later found out. The closest we got to having a conversation was a desperate attempt on my end to compliment her by saying, “I like your style,” which came out more as a yell than anything else. Before she could even introduce herself, I ran out of the classroom. We would go on without another interaction until late the following semester….Nikki and I met each other for a second time and you would think I would have learned from our last interaction. But, no. After exchanging names, I immediately confessed my crush as if it were no big deal. From there, we became close friends – watching Parks and Recreation, driving an hour for the best pizza in Michigan and singing as loudly as we could in the car…but we remained just friends. In jest, Nikki would ‘plan our wedding.’ I eventually had to tell her that planning this imaginary wedding was not so funny if she was toying with me, as she knew I still had very real feelings for her. And you know what? I got what we wanted. We started dating – and we have been having a blast ever since, planning that very same wedding, but this time for Real.”

The wedding

The wedding took place at Circle Pines Center in Delton, Michigan. Carolyn had a long history of working there during summers and knew it would be a special place for their big day. The camp is set in beautiful woods surrounded by a gorgeous lake. It is peak Michigan to be honest. When I arrived the two of them had their cabins and were preparing with hair and makeup. It was fun to be surrounded by the wedding party while they got ready too. Everyone was dancing to Lizzo and eating the homemade soup that had been prepared. Bunks were filled with blankets gifted by Nikki and Carolyn and there was such a good energy surrounding the couple. We headed to the emotional first look and I don’t think anyone had a dry eye. Gifts were given to the parents and we headed out to explore the camp for wedding party photos! I absolutely loved all of the coordinating without matching outfits the wedding party wore. During the ceremony, held in a labyrinth, the couple chose to honor the native land they were marrying upon, and included a handfasting ceremony to honor the queer couples that came before. The ceremony had such deep heartfelt emotions that were felt by everyone present. After the ceremony guests headed over to the main house for cocktails and snacks to enjoy in their personal mason jars. The reception was held in a pavillion simply decorated with florals provided by Viavi Flower Farm. Twinkle lights were hung above and provided a magical space for celebrating. Since Nikki’s father had unfortunately passed they asked everyone to share a dance with a loved on in honor of their dance that they never got. You’ve Got a Friend in Me played while everyone honored their relationship! Everyone clearly enjoyed the whole day!

I am so honored to share these photos from the most stunning queer wedding. I loved the personal touches and commitment to inclusivity throughout the whole day. Nikki and Carolyn embody everything I want to celebrate as a queer wedding photographer. This celebration surrounded by both chosen and blood family and close friends made it clear how loved the couple is. I know that the two of them will have so much joy in the coming years as a married couple.

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To hire Liv as your own queer wedding photographer or to see more of her work check out the blog posts linked below or check out the website!

Jayme and Nikki | Rocky Gap Park | Same Sex Wedding Photographer

Jasmine and Cady // West Michigan // LGBT Engagement Photography

T and R | Mason, MI | LGBTQ Wedding Photographer

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When Nikki’s maid of honor contacted me about coming and snapping some bachelorette party photos I was pumped! Nikki wanted to celebrate the platonic love that she has with friends as well as her romantic love leading up to the wedding. The plan was super chill and we decided to meet at their airbnb on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids. I arrived being welcomed with warm voices and the amazing smells of Italian food as they finished up dinner. They all got cozy in the living room and gorgeous porch and we snapped some photos that I called “first day of school” on the steps! I loved the energy of everyone and we headed downtown to explore. Since it was raining we settled on a super cool parking garage that I love. It was perfect cover while still offering interesting backgrounds. These bachelorette party photos turned out so special and I am so honored that I was able to celebrate with them. I’m so down for doing more of these sessions so definitely let me know if you’d like to book!

Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan Bachelorette party photos with a diverse group of queer twenty somethings in Grand Rapids, Michigan

To hire Liv for your own bachelorette party photos or any other inquiries head to the contact form  or check out the linked blog posts below

Michigan Backyard Wedding Photographer | Chelsea and Cody | Coldwater, Michigan

Jayme and Nikki | Rocky Gap Park | Same Sex Wedding Photographer

T and R | Mason, MI | LGBTQ Wedding Photographer

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For most of my life I’ve struggled with mental health. For most of my life I’ve envisioned what my engagement and wedding would be like. However those two things don’t always mesh together well as I’m finding out. I’ve been engaged for about 4 months now and have spent the last 2 of those months really working on bettering my mental health. After the initial excitement of wedding planning died down I found myself bogged down with the depths of seasonal depression, general depression, and anxiety. I know how powerful the words of others going through similar struggles have been so I hope that my transparency does the same for someone else.

You should ask for Help

I hate asking for help. Like really truly. It’s the reason why I went unmedicated for so long, wasn’t going to therapy, and just told myself this was my life now. That also plays into wedding planning. We didn’t ask for help in searching for venues, picking a date, food, and most other things. I found myself searching bridal shower venues and stressing out about that even though the shower won’t be for months, and as my therapist told me, I shouldn’t even be planning it. It took her telling me I needed to ask my bridesmaids for help for me to even realize that’s literally why they are there, to help. So whether you are stressing about your outfit, guest list, or what salad dressing will be served, you are allowed to, and should ask for help. The people you’ve selected to stand with you are meant to support you not only on the day, but through the process and during your marriage. Even if you don’t have a formal wedding party, family and other close friends LOVE weddings, and I promise will want to help. You just have to ask.

 

You are worthy

You are worthy of love, celebration, and commitment even when your mental illness tries to tell you otherwise. My depression tells me no one really cares that we are getting married. My anxiety tells me that I’ll have 29734 things to do the few weeks leading up to the day. Those two things are my illness lashing out with a warped reality. When I step back and think about it, none of that is true. I am worthy of being called a bride and feeling special. I am worthy of having the attention be on me. I am worthy of a celebration that costs some money. Myself, my partner, and the wedding are all worth investing in. I remember walking into my dress appointment feeling anxious and unsure. Being a plus size bride I have a lot of anxiety surrounding clothing shopping, especially with something this important. Luckily I brought two amazing people with me and we chose a bridal salon specifically carrying all plus size dresses. Being intentional about making accommodations for my anxiety without giving into it was so helpful. My matron of honor cried when I walked out of the dressing room, in a dress I didn’t even choose. The tears started flowing and I apologized for getting emotional. Why? Because we are conditioned both by society and our mental illnesses that we are being selfish for having attention on ourselves. But in that moment when the amazing stylist told me that tears were all a part of it, I realized that I’m worthy and deserving of feeling like a bride. No matter what size, no matter what type of wedding we are having, no matter what my anxiety tells me. We are all worthy of celebration.

 

Your wedding isn’t worth sacrificing your health for

It might seem like an obvious thing but truly, one day is not worth sacrificing your mental health for. If medication, therapy, exercise, meditation, yoga, or more sleep will help you then don’t be afraid to do those things. I think a lot of people assume that weddings will be hard to plan and stressful. While I can agree that parts of it won’t be the most exciting, your wedding is all about you. If there is something that’s giving you anxiety, pass that task onto someone else, or cut it! If there’s a family member giving you problems, or a friend bugging you, you are allowed to do something about it. The best advice I can give is remembering that a strong marriage is far more important than a perfect day. That’s something I tell my wedding couples all the time, and even though it’s easy to say, practicing it takes….practice.

 

You are allowed to enjoy it

Who said wedding planning had to suck? I think we have this expectation that we aren’t allowed to enjoy the process as much as we should. I know going into it I was told by everyone that it would be hard and I’d hit walls and slumps and just want to elope. I mean the cost of a wedding makes me want to elope, but I’ll be honest, it’s been really fun. Now I know that planning things isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, and I have an advantage working in the industry. But often my mental illness lies and says that things shouldn’t be fun, and that sucks. I’ve seen friends planning weddings getting really caught up in details that quite frankly no one but them will care about. If you want to do a sunset ceremony then do it! If you want to have everyone bring a dish to pass then do it! If you want to only invite 3 people to the ceremony and 300 to the reception then do it! Marie Kondo the crap out of your wedding. For me rehearsal dinners don’t bring me joy, so we are probably ordering pizzas and going back to the airbnb the girls and I are staying in the night before. I’d much rather be chill and hang out with our people than go to a stuffy expensive restaurant. Whatever it is, you have permission to change or cut it if that brings you joy.

 

Weddings are tough. No one gives you a manual and planning one while dealing with mental illness can be even tougher. The main thing to remember is ask for help, allow yourself to do the things that help get your illness to a manageable point, and understand that you can enjoy it! There is no one size fits all for weddings which is really beautiful. Each couple is so unique and you can plan while not letting your illness overtake the joy of this time in your life. It’s not always easy, but remember that you have an amazing partner who sees the best in you and is choosing you. I hope that no matter what you are dealing with that you are able to find a little clarity and recenter yourself to get excited to continue planning this incredible celebration!

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Genna and Nolan are the best high school sweethearts. I’ve known them for years and when they asked me to be their Michigan wedding photographer I knew it would be an amazing day. Held at A Cut Above Event Center in Saugatuck, MI, the pair tied the knot amongst their favorite people. It was a super cold day but that didn’t stop everyone from cutting loose.

The Couple

Nolan and Genna met 6 years ago while going to Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo; Genna was a sophomore and Nolan, a junior. They met each other through mutual friends and became close while helping each other through everyday high school drama and would stay up all night talking on the phone, texting, or skyping. Months later, while on a trip to Grand Rapids to see a band (who’s concert ended up being sold out), Nolan asked Genna to be his girlfriend, and naturally, she agreed. As time passed, they fell in love, and even through the toughest of their teenage years, their love never faltered. They got through high school, graduated, got their own apartment along with their dog, Oliver and their cat, Noah, and started college together at Western Michigan University.

Having devoted years of their lives together, Nolan and Genna talked about eventually getting married, but the time never seemed right. Finishing college, working as much as possible, and saving for their first house were the most important things for them as they entered their 20s. But, unbeknown to Genna, Nolan had a plan of his own. He knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. In mid-August 2017, Genna went to Florida to visit family. Nolan had chosen that time to purchase a ring and set a plan for his proposal. After picking her up from the airport and giving her a gorgeous necklace as a “welcome home” present, he took her to the Metro City Detroit Casino, where they had dinner on the 16th floor at an extravagant restaurant called Iridescence. They shared a nice bottle of wine and Nolan asked her to marry him. After bawling like a baby, she accepted wholeheartedly.

The Wedding

The event center where the wedding was held has a rustic and industrial feel. It felt perfect for a winter wedding! Genna and Nolan chose navy, white, and red for their colors and offered lots of cozy details for guests. I loved the hot chocolate favor. As a Michigan wedding photographer I appreciate the warm drink during editing! It was really nice to have the ceremony and reception all in the same space. It allowed guests to stay warm and cozy during the whole event. We enjoyed heartfelt personal vows and lots of tears during the ceremony. Dinner provided guests with yummy barbecue, which everyone raved about! The couple shared in their first dance, the shoe game, and of course cake cutting. Once the dance floor opened it was a real party!

Genna and Nolan were a dream to work with. The whole day went off without a hitch and I’m honored to share their story. Just like I knew back in high school, I know this couple has many happy years ahead of them!

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To hire Liv as you Michigan wedding Photographer or to see more work click the links below!

Josh and Ashley | Meijer Gardens, MI | Grand Rapids Elopement Photographer

Morgan and Abe // Camp Merrie Woode // Michigan Wedding Photographers

Dan and Paul | Stetson Chapel | LGBT Wedding Photographer

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Jasmine and Cady have some of the best laughs ever. During their engagement session they both had each other laughing the entire time. They had reached out looking for LGBT engagement photography as well as someone to capture their wedding! I was so happy that they found me, we mesh really well and they value those candid moments that I try and focus on. We headed to a new location for me, Bysterveld Park in Dorr, Michigan and had a great time exploring.

These two are planning a gorgeous day for summer of 2019 at Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens in Fennville, Michigan. I’ve photographed there a few times and it promises to be a stunning day. I always love doing engagement sessions with my couples and LGBT engagement photography has a special place in my heart. Some of my absolute favorite photos have come from these sessions. As you will see in the photos Jasmine and Cady are a perfect match and I seriously cannot wait to see them get married!

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For more info and to hire Liv Lyszyk Photography for LGBT engagement photography head to the website! Click the links below to see more!

Katrina and Sasha | Grand Rapids, MI | LGBTQ Photographer

Morgan and Abe // Camp Merrie Woode // Michigan Wedding Photographers

Jayme and Nikki | Rocky Gap Park | Same Sex Wedding Photographer

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Morgan and Abe might have had the most magical wedding of 2018. This gorgeous and whimsical Michigan summer camp themed wedding stunned guests right down to the last detail. I had gone to high school with Morgan and Abe and Morgan’s younger sister/maid of honor was one of my closest friends! If you would have told me back then that I’d be photographing their wedding I’d laugh. There are tons of amazing Michigan wedding photographers and for them to choose me was such an honor. We clicked right away and during their engagement session, seen here, they told me all of the fun plans for the big day.

The couple

Morgan and Abe met in school and had been dating for quite some time! The two share a passion for the outdoors and it really was the perfect theme for their wedding. Both Morgan and Abe work in museum settings, Morgan in communications, and Abe as an exhibit builder. They were excited to DIY a lot of the wedding, despite a lot of warning from others not to get too crazy. Luckily the DIY aspect turned out amazing and gave them a lot of great projects to work on together. The two also share a Scottish heritage which was a big part of the ceremony elements. I love that they fit together perfectly. Both of them love laughter and have such sweet caring personalities. It was incredible to see all of their friends and family supporting them on their wedding day.

The wedding

This was more of a wedding weekend than just one day. Morgan and Abe got Camp Merrie Woode, a girl scout camp nestled in the woods in Plainwell, Michigan for the whole weekend. This is a dream for Michigan wedding photographers. I loved how spread out we could be and all the hidden buildings throughout the woods. We did a first look at the platform tents and did some portraits around the camp. The ceremony was held by the lake and had a distinct Scottish feel. Both the bagpipes and handfasting ceremony were a nod to their roots. The main dining hall was the reception location. Morgan and Abe bought buckets of flowers from Viavi Flower Farm, they were able to get tons of coverage and used moss as living table runners. Food is really important to both of them so Morgan’s mom helped create a stunning and delicious grazing table for cocktail hour, and offered girl scout cookie flavored donuts for dessert. The couple also really enjoys craft beer, a Michigan staple, and used the giant commercial fridge to stock self serve craft beer for guests!

This whole weekend was such an incredible testament to the power of community and love. Morgan and Abe put together a gorgeous celebration of their union and I’m so happy I was able to capture it. I know that Morgan and Abe have a lot of incredible things ahead of them!

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To learn more about Liv Lyszyk Photography or hire us as your Michigan wedding photographers check out the website! To see more gorgeous couples click the links below!

Sammie and Morgan | Kalamazoo, MI | LGBT Photographer

Nicole and Theo | Windmill Island and Gardens Wedding

Tori and Jake | Bissell Tree House Wedding | Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer

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Jayme and Nikki had one of the best parties I’ve been to at a wedding! The two of them have such fun loving personalities and everything from the ceremony right up until the last song was filled with laughter. I appreciated how laid back the day was and nothing seemed to phase the couple. We had perfect weather making for an excellent beach ceremony overlooking Lake Michigan. The personal touches (and super yummy pie) at the reception made everyone excited for the night. The couple had been looking for a same sex wedding photographer and found me online. We hopped on a phone call and hit it of so well. They told me all about their love story and how excited they were to party with friends and officially be wives!

The Couple

When I asked them about how the got to this point Nikki said “we set up our first date pretty quickly after we began talking and went to a gay bar in Indiana. The entire night I just wanted to be close to her. We stayed out too late, but I woke up the next morning to a text from Jayme asking to get together again that day. We spent the next 6 months driving back and forth from Illinois to Michigan before we decided that we wanted to move forward in our relationship. Jayme got a job in South Bend and we rented an apartment while we maneuvered living together. In October we closed on our new home! I knew early on that I would marry Jayme. Everything felt so right from Day 1”.

The Wedding

Rocky Gap Park was the ceremony location in Benton Harbor, Michigan. I had never heard of it before now but their overlook deck is an incredible location! We did a first look on the beach below and did most of the photos beforehand. Doing that made for a super relaxing day after. The couple didn’t have a wedding party but instead focused everything on them and their love for adventure! One of my favorite photos from the day is the one of their wedding tattoos, taken from a Brandi Carlile song that was a big part of the wedding. At the reception everyone was delighted with Bullgdog Barbq for dinner and super yummy pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company! One of the other highlights was the amazing dance from Jayme and her dad! They danced to Dancing Queen and honestly it was the best parent dance I’ve seen since photographing weddings!

I am so extremely happy for Nikki and Jayme, their wedding went off without a hitch and had some really fun memorable moments. Both of them looked stunning and seeing their family and friends being so loving and supportive made the day perfect!

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To hire Liv as your Same Sex Wedding Photographer head over to the website or click the blog posts below to see more!

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Day reached out to me a while back needing a kickass wedding photographer for their July nuptials. It became clear after our first phone call that we were officially new BFF’s and I was the one for them! Signed, sealed, and delivered, Day reached out and needed a last minute engagement session too! Their plans fell through and they needed a save the date photo so I became not only their wedding photographer but their Grand Rapids engagement photographer as well! We wiggled our schedules around and they were so gracious and willing to come to Grand Rapids all the way from Detroit on a chilly Sunday morning. They picked two amazing locations, a more floral and organic mural and then the parking structure. I loved the diversity of the lines we got to capture, and their outfits? NAILED IT! Needless to say I’m so pumped for July, hopefully it’ll be a little bit warmer than it was during the session and I’m sure the photos will be even more incredible!

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To find out more information or to hire Liv as you Grand Rapids engagement photographer check out the website or links below!

Kim and Guy | Bridgman, MI | West Michigan Engagement Photographer

Home for the Holidays | Grand Rapids, MI | LGBTQ Styled Shoot Photographer

The First 5 Things We Did When We Got Engaged!

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