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!
For more info and to hire Liv Lyszyk Photography for LGBT engagement photography head to the website! Click the links below to see more!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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”.
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!
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!
To find out more information or to hire Liv as you Grand Rapids engagement photographer check out the website or links below!
I am so incredibly excited to be working with Katrina and Sasha. I first met Katrina through a mutual friend (who’s now in her wedding party!) at a sleepover in middle school. It’s so weird to think about how our paths have crossed again as adults! These two have such a warm hearted spirit about them and I was so thrilled to hang out with them at their engagement session. These two are planning a pretty non traditional wedding in Kalamazoo this May. I shot another same sex wedding at their venue many years ago so it’ll be so fun to go back and create more magic. I think especially as an LGBTQ photographer it’s important to get couples in front of the camera before the big day. It gets them more comfortable and ready for the big day. I find most of my couples haven’t been in front of the camera much, but these two absolutely nailed it. Their playful personalities mesh together so well and we had a blast exploring the park.
I’m counting down the days til their wedding and cannot wait to see the magic we make, stay tuned!
To find out more information or to hire Liv as your LGBTQ photographer check out the website and links below!
2018 has been such an incredible year. It’s been filled with over 60 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 jet lag 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!