Alaina and Josh’s bewitching Ivy House wedding in Saugatuck, MI, overflowed with love and heartfelt moments. Their ceremony was a sight to behold, but as the sun set, the reception kicked off, ushering in a night of laughter, dancing, and memories that will last a lifetime. To fully appreciate their special day, let’s start from the beginning.
At the start of the pandemic, Alaina and Josh met on Hinge and immediately connected. They fell in love with each other’s personalities and continued to support one other when they came out as bi. During a September trip to Salem, they spent the morning having brunch and then touring a witch museum. Josh decided to pop the big question in the old burial grounds next to the witch trials memorial in the afternoon. For Alaina, it was everything she dreamed of.
Touching moments set the tone for the day as Alaina had her first look with her wedding party and father. As you could imagine, everyone was thrilled to see Alania in her wedding dress. The ceremony was perfectly decorated with red and black florals and bouquets to match the wedding colors, adding a beautiful touch to the overall ambiance. Josh looked dapper in his red velvet jacket, and the wedding party stunned in their all-black attire. The flower woman gracefully walked down the aisle, laying petals for Alaina, and anticipation filled the air. When Alaina finally entered, Josh’s emotional reaction brought tears to the eyes of many, showing that their love was truly special.
The couple’s reception truly reflected their vision. Gold and black Tarot cards served as table markers on black tablecloths, centerpieces featured the wedding colors, and black candles added to the ambiance. Adding to the fun, an illuminated “’til death” sign at the sweetheart table was a unique touch. Additionally, the thoughtful trend of guests leaving a voice message added something special to the newlyweds. Alaina shared a dance with her father, and Josh shared a dance with his mother. Last, the couple’s first dance as Mr. and Mrs. captured their love and happiness.
Overall, Alaina and Josh’s wedding exceeded their expectations, and their vision came to life. Capturing their special moments was a privilege, and I wish them all the love and happiness as they start their journey together. This Ivy House wedding was to die for!
This blog post is about another Grand Rapids wedding at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids Michigan. There is something charming about their Greenhouse room and the botanical life that, as a Michigan wedding photographer, can’t get enough of, and neither could Angela and Geoff for their big day!
When I asked them how they met, Geoff said that a coworker who was friends with Angela invited her to hang out with them one night. They connected right away and things worked out really well. A few months later, the same friend invited Angela out to celebrate her birthday together with them. Sparks continued to fly, and they started seeing each other more frequently. Their love story really took root when the pair took a trip to a show in D.C. Angela had an extra ticket and they rented a car and drove there together. Geoff said that the entire trip was calm and enjoyable. From there, they knew they were creating something special between the two of them. When they both became ill about a month later (2017, pre-covid!) they took turns taking care of one another. From then on, they knew they cared for and loved one another very much. A few months later, they moved in and after a few years, Geoff popped the big question! Which brings us to this very moment! They were very excited to have both of their families come together from all over the country for one giant party.
As Geoff waited, surrounded by loved ones, Angela made her approach through the glass doors of the Greenhouse. Colorful hues of red, pink, and blue in her veil complemented her elegant white gown. This was a fun alternative to walking down the aisle with a bouquet. The suit Geoff wore matched the color scheme with a blue jacket, pink vest, and blue pants. The couple endured their ceremony with smiles and laughter sprinkled in between their vows. Then the kiss and -viola- Mr. and Mrs!
Did I mention how cute these two are? It’s no wonder they hit it off when they first met each other. During their portraits and throughout the reception, their laughter was infectious. The details of their reception were as bright as their newlywed glow. The fresh fruit on the table, along with the bright pink, orange and red florals, added contrast against the greenery of the Greenhouse. One of the wedding trends I noticed at their reception was the cupcake tower – not that I am complaining, because cupcakes are tasty! Angela and Geoff sealed their wedding by signing their marriage certificates. Oh, but of course, the pièce de résistance was when Angela changed into an orange and red suit to rock the night away with her newlywed husband. She absolutely killed it!
Your Grand Rapids wedding left me walking away full of love and laughter. Congratulations Angela and Geoff!
There is just something whimsical about fall weddings and this one was absolutely unforgettable. I am so excited to share with you Ashley and Erin’s beautiful queer wedding they had at Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, MI.
Their love story began when they moved onto the same floor of the Van Vleck dorm at Hope College in Holland, MI in the summer of 2014. The pair quickly became friends and found every moment to spend together, from studying (they were in the same freshman health class), to exploring Holland. During their senior year of college, Ashley and Erin set out on their first official date.
Graduation did not halt their story line as they continued to date long distance, visiting each other as often as they could. At one of Erin’s favorite beaches, Ashley proposed to her during a scavenger hunt she designed for their 3rd anniversary. Erin then proposed to Ashley a year later at her favorite place, Sleeping Bear Dunes.
It is amazing how they incorporated so many colors into their wedding day. Their dog, Sugar, had a cute rainbow bowtie, Ashley’s shoes had a rainbow along the outside and, of course, the floral arrangements were vibrant in every color. Out of all the details I thought were so sweet were the spoons – one said “Will you marry me?” and the other said “Will you marry me too?”. I fell in love with the delicate details of Erin’s dress as she was getting help with the back buttons. Ashley’s suit had such an elegant look to it, especially with the detail around the collar of the shirt.
One of the highlights of the queer wedding was when they did their First Look. I captured how amazed they were by each other before their big day started. Afterwards, they sat down and exchanged cards, and Ashley gave Erin a bracelet before the ceremony. To help ease the pre-ceremony jitters, we took a walk around Windmill Island Gardens, capturing the laughs and smiles along the way. This location truly is a sight to see. Once they were ready, it was time to head down the aisle!
The moment arrived and friends and family awaited the couple in white chairs that led up to the gazebo. As the ceremony began and the brides made their way down, I imagined their anticipation. After an exchange of vows, Ashley and Erin shared with their guests their unity tree and what it symbolized to them. Together, they poured dirt into the pot. After the exchange of rings and THE kiss, it was official. Ashley and Erin were pronounced Mrs. and Mrs. Walking up the aisle, their guests blew bubbles over them, adding to the beauty of the moment!
Once the reception was underway, the newlyweds shared their first dance. There were speeches and the cutting of the cake. Though one of the more significant moments of the reception was Ashley and Erin signing their marriage certificate. After a bit more dancing, they enjoyed a cold treat from The Wandering Cow ice cream truck. They snuggled up in a knit rainbow blanket, complete with hearts.
I hope that any couple planning their own queer wedding can find some inspiration for their day. Thank you for choosing me to be your photographer for such a special moment in your lives!
Congratulations Ashley and Erin!
Lovebird #1 Attire | Dress: AIRE Barcelona
Lovebird #2 Attire | Suit: The Suit Shop
Ceremony Officiant | Dan Maxon
Make-up Artist(s) & Salon/Company Affiliated With | Quinn Vise
Florist | Picket Fence
Videography | Han Designed
Bakery | The Cakabakery
DJ or Band | Limelight Entertainment
Photo Booth | Limelight Entertainment
Jeweler | Brilliant Earth
Wanda’s Frozen Yogurt/The Wandering Cow ice cream truck
Camp Pinewood in Twin Lake, MI was a beautiful place for Tory and Sage to hold their woodland theme queer wedding. These two tied the knot with family and friends present on a gorgeous August day! The lake, the scenic view offered by the campgrounds and the weather completed the vision they had for their nuptials. First, we have to look at how they met one another.
Spring of 2019 was when they connected on a dating app. After getting to know one another a bit, they met up at the Ypsi Pride event on June 7th. During the afterparty where they danced with each other, it ignited the spark! Shortly thereafter, there were dates and overnight camping trips that drew them closer together. Covid delayed their moving plans to share a home together. However, it taught them they could get through anything in life with the love and support they share for each other. Their family includes their cats and their adopted dog, Roo. All of this has led up to this very moment. They are excited to have friends and family share this moment coming together in such a peaceful and serene place. They are also excited to have a “great queer dance party!”
Getting ready photos can be so much fun for weddings. Not only do I capture special details that Tory and Sage picked out, such as the Winnie the Pooh and Tigger salt shakers or the poem by Mary Oliver “How I Go To The Woods”. I also get to capture the excitement of Tory putting on their dress and Sage suiting up. They had an adorable First Look that almost made me cry! Tory gifted sage a watch, which they wore for the day and Sage gave Tory a beautiful jacket with a special pin that said “Queer Love Is Magic”. It is indeed!
As the guests made their way to their seats for the ceremony, I snuck a peek at the reception area. I snapped a photo of the adorable cake that featured the woodland theme with two cuddling bears on top the cake. Sage, Tory and I took a walk to the lake, where they laughed, smiled and hugged, knowing the moment was near. One of the other details I wanted to capture was Tory’s hand-painted boots adorned with flowers and purple ribbon for the laces. When it was time, they had flower folks who scattered petals down the aisle with a little groove. Sage and Tory followed soon after, to join hands with the lake behind them surrounded by their wedding party. After the vows and exchange of rings, they sealed the deal with a kiss and the guests cheered in celebration.
The reception was everything they could hope for! One detail I noticed on each of the guests tables were pronoun cards. These encouraged guests to leave their name and pronouns on the card at the table so that other guests could know it. It would be something interesting to see not just for a queer wedding, but perhaps weddings in general. I think it’s fantastic when pets are a detail in the wedding day in whatever way they can, like with the signature cocktails, which included both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
Sage and Tory entered with rainbow flags in hand and beaming smiles! After the dances, the funny and emotional toasts and cake cutting, everyone danced the night away. I have to say the photo of the two of them at as the sun was setting in the background with their newly wed glow is one of my absolutely favorite moments. Thank you Sage and Tory for choosing me to preserve the moments and details of such an incredibly special day in your lives. I hope this blog inspires others when they plan their queer wedding!
Congratulations and I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!
Wedding Planner | Tanya Lynnette Events
Lovebird #1 Attire | Tory- dress from Bombshell Bridal, shoes handpainted by friend, Emma Blackman
Lovebird #2 Attire | Sage- Suit from Missguided
Ceremony Officiant | Mary Larkin
Make-up Artist(s) & Salon/Company Affiliated With | Hair: Rikki Moss at Betty Green
Florist | Viavi
Catering Company | Martha’s
Bakery | Cakabakery
DJ or Band | Mary Larkin / Emma Blackman
Jeweler | Custom engagement rings: Valley Rose, Valerie Madison
Nails: Katie Sue Klages (Kitty Bourree)
Elopements are more ideal for a couple who want a low maintenance day without guests or a large celebration. Chelsea and Claire did just that with their beautifully simple queer elopement to an Airbnb in Benton, MI. Their love story begins with a dating app, followed by a 5 hour long first date. Since then they have been inseparable, enjoying life together. Their family includes their adopted 3-year-old Rottweiler mix, Sugar. Their hobbies include playing games, swimming at the beach, and spending time with Sugar.
The only people in attendance were the brides themselves and Sugar, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. It was their first time having professional pictures taken, and I am honored they chose me to photograph their vow exchanges. Before the ceremony they relaxed with a game of soccer in their pjs outside overlooking the water of Lake Michigan. Then, there was lots of love and cuddles with Sugar before they helped one another get dressed. Chelsea wore a tiara along with her white dress while Claire wore a custom dark green suit. Once they were ready, I captured a few portraits and laughs outside.
When the time came, the pair played rock-paper-scissors to determine who would read their vows first. I love how relaxed and carefree they were. It was a peaceful view, Claire and Chelsey standing at the end of the backyard overlooking Lake Michigan and not a cloud in the sky. After the exchange, they had their first kiss to seal the deal! To commemorate their elopement, they placed a bottle of Pinot Grigio and mementos in a keepsake box engraved with their names and wedding date. Together, they tied a bit of rope around it to keep it closed.
It is imperative to celebrate who you love the way you want to. That does not always include family. That is okay. Chelsea and Claire wanted to spend their day celebrating their commitment to each other free of other people’s opinions. And that’s exactly how their elopement turned out. This queer elopement was full of love fun and smiles.
Many congratulations to the happy couple, and may your life continue to be full of happy surprises and spontaneous fun!
Chelsea’s dress – Claudette by Sarah Seven BEFORE line
265 total views
Is there anything better than an intimate LGBTQ wedding at Palisades Park Beach in Saugatuck, Michigan on a perfect day with gorgeous weather? A beautiful couple is getting married! Two gorgeous brides with infectious smiles and vibrant personalities! The sandy beach and miles of seemingly never ending waters of Lake Michigan created the picture-perfect scene for the pair’s ceremony. Let’s look at how their love story began. While volunteering at an LGBTQ Know Your Rights/Name Change clinic, Kara and Hunter crossed paths. They both attended law school at the University of Michigan. Through their years of school, they supported one another, which continued into the start of their careers. When asked what they are looking forward to the most about their wedding day, they exclaimed “celebrating with all of our friends in Hunter’s favorite place and eating our favorite foods”.
Before the ceremony, Kara, Hunter and I strolled along the beach. The moment away from everyone and the hustle and bustle of the day allows a chance to capture pure excitement and emotion. One of my favorite photos is Kara and Hunter walking hand in hand and barefoot on the sand. Her dress had a hint of light blue that was complemented by the blues of the ocean and sky. As the ceremony was about to start, guests filled the seats with a toast glass in hand. Under a macrame chuppah, there was the exchange of vows, rings and a first kiss as Mrs and Mrs under a macrame draped arch. They marked the end of the ceremony by breaking the glass. In addition, a toast to the newlyweds!
These two planned their reception at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which was catered by Classic Catering. There were games and a cannoli bar and other sweet eats for guests to enjoy. The pair chose a Celebrate calendar so guests could special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. After speeches and toasts, Kara and Hunter signed their marriage license. The reception continued with cake cutting and dancing the night away. It was an honor to document this beautiful LGBTQ wedding and share their love story.
Congratulations Kara and Hunter!
Documenting a wedding day isn’t just about the tender moments like the first kiss. It can also include capturing the tiny details the bride and groom clearly put a great deal of thought and energy into. From start to finish, Jenny and Zak’s Downtown Market wedding in Grand Rapids Michigan is a Pinterest dream! When asked what they were looking forward to on their big day, Jenny asked “Can I say everything?” She continued “I can’t wait to see Zak during our first look, to take pictures, to share our first dance, to leave knowing I am forever his and he is forever mine! I’m just so excited”. Zak said it excited him to start a family, and he is looking forward to hearing the words “you may kiss the bride”. I have to share this love story first.
While the two attended the same highschool, they didn’t cross paths until Zak entered Jenny’s debate class as the assistant debate coach. For Jenny, it was love at first sight! It was a forbidden love as they could have fired him for dating one of his debtors. This did not stop their relationship from growing through stolen glances, winks and after debate hang outs in the Lake Harbor Park parking lot. Eventually, Zak had to make a choice between his job or Jenny – he chose Jenny. Zak helped Jenny move to her dorm at Wayne State University and they would take turns visiting each other on the weekends.
After two years, Zak knew he wanted to marry Jenny and planned for the proposal. While he was working on Christmas Eve, Jenny was with his family eating and playing games. He called Jenny faking a flat tire and asked her to come pick him up. She rushed over to him at Lake Harbor Park to find that the tire was not flat at all. He told her to get out of here and take a closer look. As Jenny stepped out, Zak got down on one knee and expressed how and why he loved her and why he chose the park as the location. After she said yes, they headed back to his parents’ house to celebrate the good news.
When Zak finished college, he attended Wayne State Law School to be close to Jenny. They moved in together in 2017 and have been happy ever since! Hearing their story reminded me somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet romance – with a happy ending of course!
As Jenny and Zak prepared for their wedding ceremony, I was looking forward to the first look! Her hair and makeup completed, Jenny slipped into her off-the-shoulder dress and gently placed her veil on her head. The fine detail of the lace of the dress and pearl necklace gave Jenny such a regal and classic vibe. Her first look was with her father, which was an emotional exchange. In his excitement, Zak accidentally stepped on the edge of the veil during the first look with her. No bride, veil, or groom was injured during the first look. They exchanged gifts with each other – cuffs for Zak and a bracelet for Jenny.
One of my favorite details of their day was the black Pontiac Straight 8 car they chose as transport to their Downtown Market wedding. It was perfectly suited for the close and tender moments between Zak and Jenny. Of course, I captured the photos from outside the car, despite the bit of rain (I hear it’s good luck on a wedding day). I snapped portraits of the groom and bride-to-be before the ceremony officially started. Upon entering for the ceremony, a sign encouraged guests to take a champagne glass for the toast at the end. After the heartfelt vows and exchange of rings, everyone toasted to Mr. and Mrs. and then the long-awaited first kiss!
Moving to the reception area within the Downtown Market, the couple chose a unique way for guests to leave their sentiments – a voice message. A green phone was on a table with instructions for guests to pick up the phone and record a message that they could listen to for years to come. They also incorporated their cats Socrates and Aristotle into the reception as their signature drinks. The reception area was a sight to behold! White and blush flowers with a green wall and their name in lights (literally). Jenny changed into a sleeveless white jumpsuit for the first dance and the rest of the evening. It was truly an event to remember and full of love. This Downtown Market wedding will be inspirational to others,
Bravo, you two, and congratulations on officially tying the knot! Enjoy your honeymoon together and the many years that follow!
Everything about this July summer garden wedding was breathtaking! I had the honor of photographing Sam and Romeo, who tied the knot at The Felt Mansion in Holland, Michigan. Their love story began with a dating app in 2016 while living in California. What started as a friendship blossomed in to a relationship in 2017, making it official on Valentine’s Day. They have lived together in New York and California. As of 2021, Sam and Romeo have settled down in their first home in Michigan. The pair appreciates musical theater, politics, and exploring new food. They are also fans of Jeopardy! When asked what they were looking forward to the most on their big day, Romeo said, “Being able to see all of our loved ones in person at the same time, in one place, celebrating us!”. Sam said “Ditto” and hoped everyone would enjoy themselves and the good food.
The details of their wedding from the invitations to their wedding party included hues of greens and pinks with a touch of purple in the flowers. Sam and Romeo helped one another get ready for their ceremony, adjusting ties and pinning their boutonnieres. In addition, both grooms wore intricately patterned white Barong Tagalogs as opposed to suits. They really thought out every detail of their day. In particular, I found the pins to be very touching. As both of their fathers passed away, they found a unique way to have them walk down the aisle with them with photos attached to decorative pins. Once they were ready, it was ceremony time!
Without a doubt, the scene was entirely breathtaking. A three-piece orchestra serenaded the guests as the aisle leading up to a gated fountain lined with white chairs. As the ceremony began and the grooms made their way to the fountain, I almost teared at the beautiful sight. They exchanged vows, rings and, of course, the first kiss and Mr. and Mr! It’s moments like this when you step back and remind yourself just how special and inspiring this kind of love is. While the guests mingled, I whisked them away for wedding portraits.
After the formal stuff, we all headed over to the covered pavilion for the reception to celebrate and, as you can see, Sam and Romeo have impeccable taste. I think my favorite detail from the after party was the map that each quest signed because there were three flags to signify something special. The purple for places they’ve lived, red for places they’ve traveled and tan for the places they will go on their honeymoon. The green flags were for guests to recommend places for them to travel to. On the map it said “Life is a journey best traveled together” and I absolutely live for this! Guests signed their name and a message around the border of their map. Undoubtedly, my second favorite part of the reception is, of course, the dessert table (so many cupcakes!) and the dancing!!!
Obviously, it was an absolutely dreamy Michigan wedding at The Felt Mansion. What an honor to capture such an important moment in their lives. Your love is giving us all so much to aspire to, you two. Congratulations again!
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Combine a lovely woodland theme, a stunning backyard, lots of queer folks, and even more love, and you have Jessie and Elle’s wedding. The couple spent so much time on all the little details that came together beautifully for this Spring backyard wedding. I’m always a fan of intimate celebrations and a backyard LGBTQ wedding. They always have so many special details and this one was a favorite!
When I asked Jessie and Elle what they were most excited for they said “I am sure we will both be emotional, but mostly excited to be able to celebrate the love we share for each other with our family and friends.” It was true, even I was tearing up behind the lens as the couple professed their commitment to one another. They met through a mutual friend years ago and have grown so much through the years. They purchased their first house together recently and love gardening, reading, and spending time with friends.
I was really impressed with how tight knit their circle is and how supportive and welcoming everyone was throughout the day. Jessie and Elle chose greens, pinks, and browns to compliment the spacious backyard they got married in. Despite a few changed plans the entire day went off without a hitch and I’m so honored to have captured their love. These two have become more than just clients and I know that they have a bright future ahead!
Check out more backyard elopements and LGBTQ weddings by clicking the links below!
What do you get when you combine 19 bridesmaids and two brides? An unforgettable museum wedding, that’s what! I photographed Sheridan and Molly as they got married at First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, MI. The scene was positively grand as drapery fell from the ceiling into the pulpit and the delicate bows on each pew. Before I get into the details, let me first share with you about the couple.
Molly and Sheridan met while in grad school for Music Therapy and established a 2 ½ friendship which blossomed when Molly admitted her feelings to Sheridan. They only had a month together off from school as their internships were going to begin and neither had a summer job. During that time, they went to all of Kalamazoo’s museums including the zoo with discounted summer passes. After 6 months apart, Molly interviewed for a few jobs in Chicago where Sheridan was living at the time. After her last interview, Molly confessed the love she had for Sheridan and it was history she wrote. They have been together ever since living in Chicago. The pair enjoy activities like dancing, board games, dancing, and camping.
For their beautiful ceremony, friends incorporated a harp and a violin during the service. Then the two serenaded each other with a piano singing “I choose you” by Sara Bareilles. I quietly sobbed as they smiled and recited each word to one another. After their vows, they literally tied the knot with a tying ceremony complete with rainbow-colored cords and had their first kiss as Mrs. and Mrs. Molly and Sheridan then signed their marriage license and stopped to have a celebration treat at an ice cream truck.
These two planned their reception at Grand Rapids Public Museum, which was complete with a rainbow cake and a ribbon display where guests could attach various colors of ribbons through the frame. The night proceeded with laughter and dancing with friends and family. I always love asking my couples what they are looking forward to the most for their big day. They said “Music, dancing, and involving as many members of our community as possible in our day! And joy. Oh, so much joy!”
What a celebration, and what an amazing couple. Congrats on officially getting hitched, Molly and Sheridan!
To see more LGBTQ+ weddings Liv has photographed make sure to check out the blogs linked below!