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!
I am so excited to share with you Katie and Danielle’s wedding at The Cheney Place in Grand Rapids, MI. It is a serious contender for one of the most fun queer weddings I have ever had the chance to not only photograph but also attend. From the time when we started the day with getting-ready pictures to the reception, it was a non-stop stream of laughing, dancing, and merrymaking. (Do people say “merrymaking” still? If not, this wedding is definitely bringing it back).
These two lovebirds met while working for OtterBase where Katie already worked for a few years before Danielle came in for an interview. Katie was drawn to Danielle’s friendly personality and thought she was absolutely beautiful and had a kind-hearted personality. A few years later after they clicked, they went to St. Pete Beach in Florida and Katie popped the question during sunset! Something magical and romantic about strolling down the beach with the sky changing from orange to dark navy blues.
Since then, Katie and Danielle have clearly been having the time of their lives ever since. And, as you’d expect, the wedding party was just as much fun. I mean, there are wedding parties… and then there are wedding PARTIES. After Katie pulled on her well-fitting navy blue suit with a floral and butterfly pattern lining, her wedding party (also in blue) all shared a Bud Light and cheered in anticipation. With the help of her wedding party in red, Danielle finished getting ready herself. She slipped into her gorgeous wedding dress complete with a shimmery lace top and satin skirt detail and shimmer white tennis shoes. This Grand Rapids wedding was ready to
After the exchange of vows, rings, and kisses the wedding party was more than prepared for their photo session! With striking poses, lots of laughter, and toasts with rainbow jello shots, the reception was on its way. Mingled in with the uproarious events were some genuinely sweet moments, too. I loved when they had their first dance! Watching the two of them glide across the floor hand in hand as Mrs and Mrs was heartwarming. Just goes to show that fun and love go together really, really well. It is always an honor to share queer love stories. Congrats again, Katie and Danielle!
Heading to Leona Rd in Grand Rapids, MI, for Katie and Paul’s wedding, I knew that it was going to be a special day. This gorgeous, incredibly in-love couple met through a mutual connection. They reconnected 3 years later through Bumble and planned a sweet, intimate wedding shared with close friends and family. Walking in, I couldn’t help but notice the stunning ceiling chandeliers, gold decor, and green accents throughout the venue right away. Katie and Paul had their first date at Eastern Killie Distillery, then a few outdoor activities and cooking. Katie shared she was excited to find someone who was as excited about food as she was! The pair have found it easy to love one another and to continue to do so.
You could feel the emotion between them during their first look. After an exchange of laughs, smiles, and hugs, they sat and exchanged heartfelt words from handwritten letters. I had to keep myself from tearing up to document the tender moment. After a few snaps with their wedding party, it was time. An Instax polaroid camera was left so guests could take their pictures and leave a message for the couple. As everyone took their seat a quartet echoed charming music through the venue up through the bride’s entrance. The big moment was finally here!
“We are SO excited to have everyone we love and care about together in one place,” said Katie about the way she always imagined their wedding. And here we are, all this time later with a gorgeous wedding that’s exactly like she pictured. I find that one of the best things about small weddings is that they lend themselves to especially tender moments. They also somehow feel a little more at ease, and that’s exactly what the vibe was on this beautiful day in Grand Rapids, MI. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite moments from the day, and with a big congrats to the newlyweds!
Vendors that made this day possible:
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Just wait until you see this wedding I captured at Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Camp Linden in Linden, MI. Of course, it was the PERFECT location since the newlyweds had a romantic, adventure-inspired wedding! Kait and Nick thought this thing through from beginning to end, and there wasn’t a shortage of dreamy, Pinterest-worthy moments. I especially loved the camping decor and the long communal tables. In fact, the tables were arranged by national park name and map for guests to find their tables. From the wedding party to the decor, vivid fall hues of evergreen, maple leaf reds, autumn oranges, and marigold yellows popped!
Their journey began in July 2014 at a lawn concert at DTE despite having a class together at Michigan State University and close social circles. After the concert the group moved to their friend Max’s bonfire, resulting in them sharing a deflated mattress at the end of the night. Nick promised to visit Kait when she returned back to Indiana – to which he did. And here they are now! When Kait moved back to Michigan in May 2015, they lived about an hour apart from each other. Ultimately in May of 2018, they decided to move somewhere in the middle to split their commutes.
Nick and Kait love nerdy pop culture, travel, breweries, politics, Netflix, cooking, baking shows, and cute animals on the internet. As they enjoy being outdoors hiking, camping, and visiting National Parks it’s no surprise they chose this for the theme of their wedding at Camp Linden. When asked what they were most excited about for their big day they said “We are so excited to have our wedding at a camp during the fall color change, surrounded by our family and friends. We love the idea of having everyone together in one place with a sense of community! It all feels very “us” to do this outdoors and in a camp setting. We also can’t wait to finally marry each other! It’s been a long journey to get here.”
Thank you for choosing me to share your love story. I know life has the best adventure in store for you two. Congratulations Kait and Nick!
To see more Michigan summer camp weddings Liv has photographed make sure check out the blogs linked below!
Lainee and Maggie held their wedding at the beautiful Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joined by family and friends, these two love birds began a new chapter in their lives, but first, how it all began.
They met in 8th grade and were friends throughout middle school, high school, and their first year of college! During Lainee’s sophomore year of college, they started dating and ended up in a long-distance relationship. While they were apart, Lainee and Maggie stay in touch through love letters, confessing their feelings for one another. After being reunited, they recently moved in together last year and have a cat named Sprinkles.
On the day of their wedding, they wowed one another when they did their first look, admiring one another. Both wore white wedding dresses with lace detail and sweetheart necklines. Walking through the garden, I captured moments of them holding hands, sharing tender kisses and embrace. The first look with each of their fathers was heartwarming and full of smiles. The Grand Rapids gardens provided such beautiful green backgrounds against the pops of red throughout the venue down to the maid of honor’s dress. I could not miss sharing the baby photos of Lainee and Maggie and the cute LGBTQ pride guest favors that contained rainbow m&ms. This intimate Grand Rapids occasion was absolutely joyous and was beyond thrilled they chose me to commemorate their day. When I asked what were they most excited about for their big day and they said “Getting to celebrate us, see each other in fancy dresses, and finally call each other wifey.” I’d say mission accomplished.
Congratulations to Maggie and Lainee! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.
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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!