I knew Katrina when I was in middle school, we had met through a mutual friend (the maid of honor!) and when she and Sasha reached out years later about photographing their Loft 310 wedding I was SO pumped. I absolutely love connecting with couples that I know and getting to capture their love. It was clear when we me up for their Engagement Session that their wedding would be spectacular and they totally didn’t disappoint. Loft 310 is a great venue, the best in Kalamazoo I think. They offer such gorgeous spaces to allow couples to really cater their wedding to their personal taste. I loved that these two didn’t feel obligated to do any traditions they didn’t want. It just felt like a huge celebration of love and friendship. Sasha and Katrina are a perfect pair and their big day matched that perfection, thank you for allowing me to be there to capture it!
To learn more and see more of Liv Lyszyk Photography’s work check out the blog posts below or go to the website!
I did it! I failed. I went from 24 weddings in 2018 to 19 for this season. My goal was 20 and I failed. So what happened when I didn’t reach my goal? Not much. To be honest I kind of expected my career to fall apart and the world to crumble around me. But you know what? My career is still there and I’m doing ok.
I’m a goal setter. Each year in my off season I look at my books from the previous year and plan out how I want to do even better. My goal for 2019 was 20 weddings. A goal I thought would be hit by the end of January, but here we are half way through the season still at 19. I think part of why the number 20 was so stuck in my head is the fact that the number of weddings each year is a benchmark for my success. When people who don’t understand the full scope of wedding photography ask about my job the first question is “how many weddings do you have this year?” And I think no matter what that number is people would still be impressed. But, when it comes to the photography community, which can be pretty cutthroat, that number feels small.
So how did I come to be ok with my perceived disaster. I thought about the 19 couples who trusted me. Who chose me. Who are allowing me to be a huge part of shaping their legacy during an important time in their lives. Those 19 couples don’t give a shit how many weddings I have. In fact, having fewer weddings coupled with going full time allows me to invest my time and energy even more into helping them plan their days. I also thought about little Liv. How proud she would be of me, pushing through all the bullshit that made her question if she would even be around to have a career.
Our society is built on hustle. It’s long work weeks, no time off, letting ourselves go uncared for in the name of success. When did it become a bragging right to say you take no days off? I’ve built my career around the life I want to live. Because of my career I’m able to go on vacations with my partner, I’m able to be at home to care for our pets, I’m able to grab coffee with a friend and not miss out on my payday. I’ve been able to take the time to focus on my physical and mental health more. The things I’ve gained from this career, and specifically this year, are not measurable by numbers. It’s the things I’ve gained from my friendships and relationship that truly mark my success.
I know that this year and that goal won’t be the only one I perceive as failure. Life is all about seasons, and without this season of “failure” I wouldn’t be working so hard on making myself better. We can’t fault ourselves for doing the best we can with the resources we have. So take it from me, failures aren’t really failures, they are opportunities to learn and grow. I’m glad I failed.
Liz and Dan are the perfect match. Their punny sense of humor shines through in everything they do, and their wedding day was no exception. I loved how positive and uplifting of a day it was. Their ceremony took place at City Life Church in downtown Grand Rapids. Their home church that means so much to them. Music filled the air and pure joy as they signed their license and made it OFFICIAL official. We then headed to Sparta, Dan’s stomping grounds, and celebrated at Long Lake Park. This is a gorgeous park with a super neat pavilion area for them to set up the reception. One of their favorite bands played as we enjoyed Two Scott’s BBQ for dinner. These two danced the night away and we roamed through the park to grab some more photos. I’m so glad these two found and chose me to be their photographer. It was the perfect laid back and fun wedding and I know Liz and Dan have so many great years ahead of them!
To learn more and see more work from Liv head to the Website or check out the blog posts linked below
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!
To hire Liv as your engagement or wedding photographer check out the website and click the other blog posts below!
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.
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 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.
To hire Liv as your LGBT wedding photographer check out the website or the blog posts below!
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.
“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 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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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!
To hire Liv as you Michigan wedding Photographer or to see more work click the links below!
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!