Andrea and Alexa decided to tie the knot at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan surrounded by family and friends. While this is a new chapter in their love story, you’d have to start at the very beginning of their book.
The pair met for the first time on December 18th in 2018, on their first date in Grand Rapids. After dinner at Luna’s and a stroll through downtown, they shared their first kiss and POW!! – instant fireworks. After some time they moved in together and established their home with their dog Argo and their kitten Gloria. July 2020 marked when they bought their first home together in Grand Rapids.
Alexa proposed a week later after a spa date at Riverside park. She set up a cellist to play “Fucking Perfect’ by Pink in the park to which they stopped and listened for a while. Walking on, a mini flash mob orchestrated by a Burlesque troupe Ann helps with to perform “You Make My Dreams Come True”. Alexa continued to guide ann through the park to a bridge. There on the bridge was a treasure chest was waiting with a message in a bottle, professing her love. After reading the message, Alexa got down on one knee and asked her to marry her. If you are tearing at this, I promise it is not something in your eye!
Their wedding at John Ball Zoo was absolutely a joyous occasion. The loathing blue and white garland strung between two trees as friends and family witnessed their love. Prior to the exchanging of vows and rings, Alexa and Andrea performed a Unity Tree Ceremony. A Unity Tree Ceremony is where the couple has a potted tree and each of them pours water to help the tree grow and be prosperous, much like their marriage. It is such a unique ceremony that you do not see very often. They absolutely killed the portrait session, sporting not only beautiful smiles but rainbow umbrellas and outdoor-themed sneakers! Did I mention their cake was also outdoor-themed? It had mountain peaks and of course topped with a silhouette of themselves with Argo and Gloria. It was an adventurous queer wedding for sure and I was so happy to be a part of their day.
Congratulations Alexa and Ann!!!
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Nicole and Rob found me after seeing another Michigan summer camp wedding I photographed and we instantly clicked. Their vision was a party in the woods with their best people, drinks flowing, lots of happy tears, and enjoying time in nature. Camp Newaygo in Newaygo, Michigan was the perfect setting and wedding venue. It has the perfect amount of rustic charm with modern details.
When I asked them about their love story Nicole said “we met in fourth grade! We went to the same schools growing up, but in fourth grade Rob put a praying mantis on my head on the playground, so naturally it took a while to get past that. Even after the praying mantis incident, we started dating in high school and we went to the same college in Detroit”. Fast forward and on the way back from a trip, we stopped at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and camped near the summit of one of the mountains. We got up early to watch the sunrise the next morning and Rob proposed while we were sitting on a bench together at a scenic overlook.
From the moment I arrived at Camp Newaygo it was clear how much love and effort went into planning all of the details of their Michigan summer camp wedding. With a gorgeous lakeside ceremony, extra long cocktail hour, and a super delicious meal followed by an epic party. It was truly an honor to capture their love and be a small part in making their dream happen!
To see more Michigan summer camp weddings Liv has photographed make sure check out the blogs linked below!
This Bissell Treehouse Wedding wedding was beyond special for me personally, Madison is one of my absolute best friends! We met in high school and reconnected when she moved up to Grand Rapids for nursing school. Just around the same time she met her incredible, now husband, Aaron! She lit up talking about this cute guy at work while we munched on tacos and sipped margaritas. Since then they’ve grown so much as a couple and decided to make it official. It’s been so beautiful to see how they’ve grown in the time they’ve been together. From getting a cat, moving, new jobs, new house, they have come out so much stronger together.
Their Bissell Treehouse wedding was the perfect mix of garden party, cocktail hour, and dance fest! Fun animal inspired details tied the event in with the awesome venue. Guests enjoyed lots of appetizers and drinks for the cocktail style reception. The casual mingling allowed for loved ones to chat and be included in all of the activities with ease. Beautiful ivory, white, green, and grey accents were used for the decor, attire, and florals. Stems market did an amazing job bringing Maddi’s neutral modern vision to life.
This is the 4th wedding I’ve attended / photographed at the Bissell Treehouse and it’s location at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan makes it a dream for photography. Hannah, who associate shot this wedding for me, got to take Madison and Aaron all around the zoo for some really beautiful photos. The whole day was perfection from start to finish and I’m so incredibly happy to see these two become husband and wife!
To see more wedding photography from Liv Lyszyk check out the blog posts linked below!
EJ and Tom tied the knot during their simply charming wedding at Jordan Valley Barn in East Jordan, MI. The two met at a college bar in East Lansing during EJ’s last semester in college. They have been together for 5 years, sharing a home and two dogs. This dynamic duo makes such a great team, you can just feel how they complement one another on this day. One of the touching events during their ceremony was the hand fasting with what appeared to be green, maroon and grey cords. With hints of blush and light green throughout everything from the bouquet and bridesmaid dress to the groomsmen ties and table decor, this barn wedding is glamour rustic.
They said they are most excited about seeing friends and family together and dancing on their wedding day. And let me tell you, there was DANCING! EJ and Tom were such a pleasure to be around and it was such an honor documenting their day. I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness!
Venue | Jordan Valley Barn
Ceremony Officiant | Ben Jones
Make-up Artist(s) | Company Affiliated With
Lyndsey (bridesmaid) doing makeup
Salon| Melissa Hair
Florist | Billie’s Floral
Limo/Transportation | Michigan Trolly
Catering Company | BJ’s Catering
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If you’re a queer couple getting married it can be overwhelming trying to find an LGBTQ+ inclusive venue. This pride month I’ll be featuring some wedding planning tips for LGBTQ+ engaged couples, particularly in Michigan! Picking a venue is usually the first task when wedding planning and can also be the most daunting. This list of Michigan LGBTQ wedding venues is a great place to start looking. If you’re a queer person who’s getting married you shouldn’t have to ask if a place is comfortable with your love, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorites!
Something Blueberry Farm Is a gorgeous classic barn wedding venue in South West Michigan! I was able to photograph a wedding here and was blown away by the attention to detail and amenities they offered couples. There were two gender neutral getting ready spaces which was really nice for photos when I arrived. One group can get ready in their converted garage area and the other is able to get ready inside the main house. This farm also boasts a large barn space to hold all of your guests, as well as a nice overflow space that is covered right outside the main barn. If you’re lucky you can also get some photos with the furry neighbors at the farm next door!
As a wedding photographer I also really appreciated all the cute vignettes scattered around the property to give a variety of settings for photos. It felt like a hidden gem in the country with all of the convenience of city venues. All of the staff was incredibly welcoming of the LGBTQ couple that I worked with and felt completely comfortable the entire day! So if you’re looking for a Queer friendly barn space in Michigan, Something Blueberry Farm is a must see!
Camp Blodgett is a gorgeous event space situated right on the beautiful Lake Michigan shore! It features a bright reception space with a stunning patio area for ceremonies and dancing. This is one of my favorite Michigan LGBTQ wedding venues because it is so customizable to your vision. There are tons of rooms right within the property which makes it perfect for blended families and large wedding parties. The couple I photographed here was excited to use all of the fun locations on site including a stunning beach!
This venue is able to transform into a casual space or is easily dressed up for a black tie event. It’s location near Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon allows for easy transportation which is a must. Couples are also allowed to bring in any vendor they choose which makes it great to choose LGBTQ+ affirming vendors and not feel worried about any awkward situations. Camp Blodgett is a perfect upscale lakeside Michigan LGBTQ wedding venue.
The Old Art Building located in Leland, Michigan is a unique and rustic space for weddings and events in Leelanau County. For LGBTQ couples wanting a full getaway experience the charm of the Leelanau peninsula and Leland in particular is a perfect spot. The building itself has been around for a while and it’s up north charm is a must see. The lovely gardens offer an outdoor space for ceremonies and a tented reception or cocktail hour. The inside of the building has a small kitchen area for catering as well as a beautiful stage and fireplace. My couple was able to make the bathrooms gender neutral for the evening which was a great feature as many of the guests were also from the LGBTQ+ community.
The venue is just a few steps away from historic fishtown and the entire town feels exceptionally welcoming and queer friendly. Since it’s a vacation town there is also lots of options for lodging for guests and the wedding party! I was really blown away with how little decor the space needed to still feel elegant and special. The affordable cost of the space also makes it a great option for couples in a budget.
This newly created Michigan LGBTQ friendly wedding venue will take your breath away the second your step onto the property. The owners created this venue with weddings in mind. Every little part of the property serves a purpose and is great for LGBT couples looking for a barn venue that doesn’t feel as rustic. While they do have more gendered getting ready spaces, both rooms are big and bright for any type of wedding party. My couple booked the venue on short notice due to unforeseen circumstances and both brides had nothing but amazing things to say about the experience.
One of the best parts of this property is all of the variety of spaces throughout. The barn itself is stunning, the ceremony spot feels like a secret garden, and the small vineyard and pond offer unique photo opportunities. All of the staff was so kind and helpful throughout the entire day. There is no doubt in my mind that this will soon become one of the most popular venues in Southwest Michigan!
While this suggestion isn’t a specific venue I suggest looking at Airbnb’s and VRBO’s as an option for a Michigan LGBTQ wedding venue. Backyard weddings offer complete freedom in the vision of the event and also let you have control over each vendor present. Many queer couples want a more private day and renting a residence can be a great solution. There are many great spots throughout the state of Michigan that are rentable for weddings. Make sure to check that your host allows events at their place before booking!
This couple chose a rental on a lake in West Michigan for their backyard wedding celebration. The couple and family were able to stay a few days before and after to make set up and tear down a breeze. Their vision was for a relaxed weekend celebration with all of their closest loved ones and weren’t disappointed with their choice of location. The day felt very intimate and special because of the seclusion.
Looking for Michigan LGBTQ wedding venues can be tough but the locations listed above are sure to be a magical space for your nuptials. I’ve photographed queer couples all across the state and these are the standout venues that I keep wanting to go back to. All offer a unique setting for a variety of styles including barns, lakeshore, up north, and private spaces. No matter where you decide to tie the knot I would love to be a part of your day. If you’re interested in seeing more LGBTQ+ weddings check out the links below!
A beautiful group of family and friends joined Allie and Brooke for their charming LGBTQ wedding in Carmel, IN. The lovebirds chose to hold their ceremony at Bash 828, a lovely space that was beautifully decorated with green and pink tones. On Bumble they connected over their similar tastes in music to which Allie initiated the conversation. While Brooke, an accountant, and Allie, a 3rd grade teacher, are very different , they complement one another in the best of ways. They share a love of vegan food (some much so that they have a vegan Instagram account, as well as the same bands, tv shows, movies, etc. It would seem that their union has been destined with their Enneagram types (if you are familiar with them). Allie says she is a type 9 and Brooke is a type 3, which is a strong and common pairing.
Having the opportunity to photograph this loving LGBTQ wedding was an honor! Their first look outdoors surrounded by lush greenery captures their emotion upon seeing each other for the first time prior to the ceremony. You can feel the love radiating between them from their smiles and laughter. That is one of my favorite parts – sharing the love between two entwined people, embarking on a lifelong journey together. Everything looked absolute perfect from the floral wedding arch to the scrumptious vegan dessert table at this sweet Carmel wedding.
What a celebration, and what an awesome couple. Congratulations Allie and Brooke!
I had the pleasure of capturing Anna and Andy’s elopement at the Kalamazoo Courthouse in Kalamazoo, MI. While the attendance was kept at a minimum, you could feel the love radiate through the room. Anna and Andy shared that they were both working at Tiffany’s Wine & Spirits when they met. Their friends were having going away parties, so they frequently found themselves in each other’s company. Over the 7 ½ years they have been together, Ana and Andy have found they are quite the pairing.
As creative introverts, Anna is a graphic designer/Marketing Manager and Andy is a writer, they both love to garden, work on the historic home they bought 4 years ago and enjoy good food. While they both love to eat, Andy loves to do the cooking, which works out as Anna loves to clean. Together, these two love birds create a balance in their life together; when Andy worries about things going wrong, Anna is optimistic and figures it will work out.
After the ceremony inside the courthouse, we took a stroll through the grounds of Kalamazoo Nature Center. It made for such a serene background. Their dog, Eddie, joined them at Crane Park for a few adorable shots. I love it when dogs are a part of such an important day! It was such an opportunity to capture their elopement and I wish Anna and Andy many long years of happiness because, like wine, love gets better as time goes on.
To see more from Liv Lyszyk Photography check out these posts!
Hollis and Kenny had their elopement in the city of Detroit, Michigan with the officiant and myself in attendance. Since their reception is reserved for a later date, I had the honor of documenting this intimate occasion.
The two met through a dating app called Bumble and Hollis initiated the match through a message. She said “Ever since our first date we have been the best of friends and love each other so deeply. We have fun every single day and enjoy all of our hilarious moments together. After we messaged for a while I asked him out to see the band Phoenix and we had the best time. We stayed out till 2 AM talking and chatting. It was meant to be.”
With nothing more than vows, serene white roses and their commitment to each other, they tied the knot. After the ceremony, the newly weds toured Detroit, stopping by the Z Lot and the Detroit Institute of Arts, capturing the love between them. The peaceful surrounding provided a kind of serenity that we all hoped for with an elopement. I know they are looking forward to the celebration continuing with the reception, surrounded by loving friends and family.
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Brian and Brionne’s Michigan outdoor wedding bloomed from an adorable beginning. Bri revealed when they first met Brian was working on a farm where she took her students on a field-trip. Her 4th and 5th grade students banded together to ask if Brian thought their teacher was cute. He of course remained professional when they pointed her out. She said ” the first time we actually held hands was when I was learning how to milk a goat.” Talk about meeting your udder half! After Bri left without exchanging numbers, Brian knew her co-worker and ended up surprising her with a text and a date invitation.
Instead of sitting at a dinner table and the anxiousness of a first date, Brian suggested picking up beer and making dinner at the farm. She had a tour of the farm, met his dog Marley and had their first kiss, the start of their loving taking root. As they were separate for a bit when Bri moved to Ann Arbor., Brian wrote letters as her Spanish pen pal to help them both learn and practice the language. Bri found it a cute way to stay in touch, but who wouldn’t?!
Their Michigan outdoor wedding was full of vivid greens, warm oranges and of course featured Harley and Maci (Bri’s dog). Not only were they ring bearers, but also the faces of the custom drinks. Amidst the charming atmosphere, I can tell their love will continue growing for years to come.
Associate Photographer | Emily MacDonald
Wedding Planner | Jeannene Lillie Events
Brionne’s Attire | David’s Bridal dress and shoes, handmade floral headband from Elvira Ubaldo Ace Ruiz
Ceremony Officiant | Hilary Hunt
Make-up Artist | Lux Looks by Lulu
Florist | Bri and her Mom
Videography| Jacob Maxwell
Catering Company | Brian’s Mom
Bakery | Layla’s Cool Pops
DJ or Band | Ceremony singer: Sasha Battle
Jeweler | Earrings from BHLDN
Invitations or Other Stationery | Canva
Check out more of Liv Lyszyk’s work here!