chicago | west michigan | destination wedding photographer
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I am currently booking weddings for 2019 and 2020! Let's chat more about your wedding and what I can provide you with. Include as much as you would like about your love story and ask me all you would like! It is all about getting to know you to create lasting memories and about getting to know me so you can find the perfect fit!! I am always looking for more off-beat, fun, loving couples with relationship-centered weddings! I love telling a great love story so tell me a bit about yours.
Wedding Packages start at $385 per hour. Average investment is $3000
Lifestyle Sessions start at: $385
If you are having problems with the contact form you can always contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
OH me OH my. This day was amazing. When you decide to have a November wedding, the weather can NOT be your friend. It was looking like a rough day out, but somehow we missed allll of the weather chaos. Plus, having the most amazing indoor venue with plenty of room for photos really helped. The Haight in Elgin IL is the perfect spot for a late fall/winter wedding! From the moment Marissa and Stephanie contacted me, I knew this day was going to be amazing. Never before have I felt so welcome by a group of family and friends <3 The love was so overwhelming I think I cried like 120732 times (luckily the camera hides my face!). I’ll let Marissa and Stephanie take it from here <3
When you’re in an LGBT relationship you either meet by referral or online…We met the latter through OkCupid. We went on two dates before realizing neither of us was in the headspace to start something, so we put each other in the friend zone. Neither of us really thought the friendship would be a thing, but we could not stop talking day after day for a year. Steph made the move and confessed having feelings for Marissa, so they decided to go on the third date. And that was that!
We both were concerned about not having our dresses match while still coordinating and showing off each brides’ personality. Marissa did not realize how many shades of white exist…So, we found Brides By Young in Schaumburg. Steph went first to get her dress bringing along her mom, sister, and two of her niece. Our niece, Cabery, is a bit of a fashionista so her sign-off was crucial. Steph fell in love with the sparkles in her dress. It was the perfect combination of a wow with not being too extravagant.
Two weeks after Steph got her dress, Marissa‘s mom, grandma, and one of her bridesmaids, Lea, went to the salon. Lea has been dressing Marissa since college. She’s taught Marissa everything from which colors match to doing make-up. Marissa‘s style saw some very dark times prior to Lea…Marissa knew the dress was the one when her mom and grandma started crying. She knew she didn’t want a typical wedding dress, but also wanted to make sure it was somewhat showy. The champagne color to the bottom gave it the exact pop she wanted while the flowy layers made her feel like a queen.
At the start of planning, we both agreed that having a unique venue was at the top of our list. We wanted something that had history and a romantic feeling to it. We showed a few loft venues to our moms, but none of them really wowed them. We started feeling a bit distraught that we wouldn’t find the one then randomly stumbled across The Haight.
We immediately fell in love with the wood floors, the art scattered throughout the venue, the exposed brick. It was vintage and modern all wrapped in two floors. We loved that on our day we could sneak off to the bridal suite through secret doors in the kitchen to rest our feet and just take little moments to ourselves.
We had a close friend officiate our wedding. The three of us wrote the ceremony together to ensure it was personalized as to who we are and how we wanted to join our lives together. Marissa was lost in emotion and had some trouble reading her vows. She accidentally slipped out a, ‘I can’t fucking read’ into the microphone before continuing on flawlessly. It would not have been her vows unless she dropped one cuss word even in front of our 80-94 year old grandparents.
Steph had the vision and Marissa executed it! Marissa never really dreamed of a wedding growing up, but Steph has had an idea in her mind since her childhood. We both wanted an extremely romantic, Harry Potter-esque (without being chintzy). Marissa loves rose gold, hence her wedding ring, so we knew that had to be in the color scheme. Steph has an eye for design and the reception was all her brilliant mind from the hanging pieces over the farm tables to the rose gold geometric vases.
The joyous ballad, No Hands by Wacka Flacka is the friendship song of Marissa‘s group of friends. This was a put play on our DJ list and the moment it went on the entire reception erupted into a circle screaming out the words and hopping up and down like manics. It was the most magical point of the night as Marissa‘s introverted 17-year old brother jumped in middle of the dance circle and started breaking out his moves.
Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?
Don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. Both of us are very opinionated and come from opinionated families. We had some challenges at the start, managing everyone’s expectations while making it OUR day. Just remember this is about you and your soon-to-be spouse – that is the only thing that matters.
Oh gosh oh gosh – Within minutes of our introduction video call with Rachel, we knew she was the photographer for us. We absolutely adore her and her photography style/technique. She is such a genuine ray of light that you can’t help but feel at ease and smile when around her.
At the wedding, she felt like part of the bridal party. All of our family and friends made comments on how comfortable they felt with her and how absolutely hilarious she is.
I say this all the time. But I held off on blogging this one for a bit because blogging a wedding seems so FINAL to me. It’s like closing a book on an amazing story I got to help tell and it’s always a bit bitter sweet. This September day was amazing. The most perfect overcast day made photos look great ANYWHERE and then we were somehow graced with the most GORGEOUS sunset EVER!!!!!! The weather was the most cooperative for this rooftop wedding at The Madison in Detroit. I AM A HUGE FAN of this space. Hillary and Tyler talk a lot about how unique and amazing it is and I HAVE TO AGREE. Also, a huge point that I am big on: THE STAFF IS AMAZING! They were so thoughtful and helpful and WONDERFUL to work with. I’m a big fan of this space and hope I get to go back MANY more times. What a unique location! I am super duper stoked to share these images. Each snap was a labor of love and really trying to show how unique Hillary and Tylers story is. I hope it shows in the pictures <3 For now I will let Hillary and Tyler take it from here.
Music is a huge part of our lives together, so it’s only fitting that we’d meet that way… We had a mutual friend who introduced us on the way to Movement (techno music festival) and we spent the entire weekend getting to know each other as friends. The next year we reunited for the festival again and solidified our “best friend” status. I (Hillary) was living in Boston at the time and Tyler was living in Pittsburgh but we made plenty of time to see each other, often bonding over our love for music. Over time we both secretly fell in love with each other… neither one knew it! Tyler agonized over whether or not to say anything and potentially ruin the friendship. His family all gave him the advice to say something but it was me who actually did! I remember telling him, “Tyler, I think I’m in love with you.” His response? “Hillary, I’ve been in love with you since the day I met you.”
I actually found the dress on a wedding app (The Knot Lookbook)! We searched and found a store about 40 miles away had one so I scheduled an appointment. The sales associate convinced me I had to try on a few dresses but I knew that was the one. I obliged and tried on a few but when I put it on I actually cried, and that was that.
“Nothing in particular.” -Tyler
Detroit means so much to us- it’s where we met, where we fell in love, where we bought our first house, where we’ll raise our children. However, neither of our families are familiar with the city so it was very important that they got the real downtown experience when they visited for the wedding. Having our rooftop ceremony overlooking the city that we love so much was beyond special to us. The exposed brick and industrial-chic vibe of the venue was also right up our alley. There was even a piece of artwork that was apparently a girl twerking. We had a blast with our nontraditional venue and really made it our own.
We were so grateful to have Tyler’s godfather as our officiant to guide us through the process and stand with us at such an important moment of our lives. As for the ceremony, guests really enjoyed that our processional music was electronic! The wedding party had a blast dancing down the aisle and the song I walked down to was Come Home by BANK, it was upbeat, reflected our fun vibe of the day, and the lyrics were very relevant to us because we call each other our “home.”
Once we got to the altar, our officiant had us take hands and asked all of our guests take the hands of the people next to them. He discussed how our friends and family are all connected to each other in our love and how they will support us in our journey forward together. We thought that was really nice.
We also loved how we incorporated the signing of the marriage documents into the ceremony. Doing so in front of everyone really gave attention to the weight of what marriage means and how it’s not entered into lightly.
Finally, in our day-to-day we always emphasize mindfulness and being fully present. Right before pronouncing us as husband and wife, our officiant instructed us to take a moment and really soak everything in- what we saw, what we felt, heard, thought, smelled. Doing that really helped to slow things down and I’ll cherish that moment forever. He then had us turn outward to the crowd and take a look at everyone who was there to support us. It felt so nice to be able to connect with our loved ones at that moment right before starting our lives together as a married couple.
Back to the twerking girl artwork… haha. Our venue was so unique and covered in interesting artwork, surfaces, and planters that we were very intentional with keeping decor to a minimum as to not overshadow how unique the entire place was. One thing that we got a lot of compliments on were our potted plant succulent centerpieces. We’re very focused on sustainability and we didn’t want to have a lot of cut flowers for the reception. Our guests were able to take home the succulents and hopefully have them for a lifetime as a reminder of our special day!
As you can guess based on our love of music, our dance floor was a party from start to finish! Our DJs have opened for a lot of big name techno/house artists in the area and we were so thankful to have them to bring some of our favorite music to our friends and family. Even my great-grandmother was on the dance floor in her wheelchair grooving out to some fun electronic music!
Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?
Remember that it’s YOUR day- make it your own! Neither of us like cake, so we had a company come in and create made-to-order ice cream sandwiches and creamy buns (donut ice cream sandwiches). Also, at first we were afraid of our venue’s price tag but when we realized that we wouldn’t need any floral budget because there was plenty of decor already it became much more manageable. Spend where you WANT to, not where you think you SHOULD.
How Was Your Photographer:
Rachel had the best energy, she made us so excited through every step of the process. She was willing to go anywhere/do anything for our perfect shots and made us so comfortable in front of the camera and throughout the day. A few guests even asked if she was family after they saw us interacting with her! It was important to us that our photos told a story of the day- to capture emotions and moments, not just portraits. Rachel DELIVERED. Our prints are more than photos, they’re ART.
We were so grateful to have Rachel and the GORGEOUS photos she created. We will cherish the experience and the evidence of it for a lifetime.
WE GOT OUR SAVE THE DATES!!!! And I am in LOVE!!! I partnered with Basic Invite to show off some of their save the dates. This is the design we picked 😀 You can get more inspiration by checking out Basic Invite Winter Themed Save the Dates!!!
This is just a quick iPhone shot (my cameras are all out being fixed right now!!!) So check out the links for more inspiration! The quality of these invites was insanely good for the price! AND THERE WERE SO MANY OPTIONS! We picked our design because we really wanted to highlight this one photo of us from BG Photography Studios, and also because we wanted it to be VERY simple! There are so many options from simple like ours to VERY STUNNING/gorgeous multi-piece setups. There is something for every couple on every budget! I have become a huge fan of Basic Invite and plan to use them for our wedding invitations!!! Also, we really wanted some cool coasters for the wedding and THEY HAVE THEM!!! You can get customized coasters for your wedding or engagement party!!!! We could even get coasters with our faces on them 😀 I just am loving partnering with them so please check them out!!!
Here’s just a little more about what makes Basic Invite so Awesome!:
Free Wedding Websites – Our all-new wedding websites are completely customizable just like our wedding invitations! These wedding websites are mobile friendly and super easy to use. You can instantly upload all of your wedding details along with images and a map with directions which is super convenient for your guests. Choose from 180 custom colors and even choose a design to match your wedding invitation suite!
Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options. So, you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it – down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.
Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.
Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.
Over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets – Each of our wedding invitations is part of a set. You can find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards!
Free Address Collection Service – Use our free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing.
Seal & Send Wedding Invitations – Our Seal & Send Wedding Invitations are an all-in-one wedding invitation with a tear-off RSVP postcard included! The Seal & Send lin is our newest collection and brides and LOVING them! Currently, we offer them in over 30 designs including our ever-popular foil options and like our other products are customizable. What’s extra special about our Seal & Sends is that guest’s addresses are printed on the front of each invitation which means no envelope necessary! All you have to do is share a link, collect guest addresses, and upload them onto your design, instantly. Once you receive your order all you have to do is add postage, fold your invites, and secure them with a sticker! Simple, easy, and super trendy.
Wedding Coasters – Choose from over 90 professionally designed looks. Each design can be personalized instantly to match your wedding colors. And there are no color limitations which means you are free to make as many changes as you would like at no additional cost. Each coaster is printed using the latest print technology and on a premium 200lb matte cardstock. Thanks to this technology your coasters will have crisp, clean letters, photos, and graphics.
I DID NOT recieve any compensation for this post. All these ideas are my own. I did however get free Save the Dates to check them out, BUT WE LOVE THEM AND ARE GOING TO USE THEM!!!!!!!! Please do not think that this being a promoted posts means anything other than I LOVE THEM!!! I have never had a post like this and I am excited to do more <3
Don’t Forget to Follow Basic Invite to get more Inspiration!!!
I really am jazzed about shooting the wedding of these two amazing humans this weekend back in Chicago!! I had a blast with them this past June shooting their engagement session. They made time to hang out with me on a RAINY afternoon and it really was a blast. It basically turned into some sort of notebookesque shoot in the Rain!!!
I first met Brittany and Drew when shooting Amanda and Jeff’s wedding last summer <3. They were just so helpful and kind throughout the day and I’m pretty sure we had a blast and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this wedding for SO SO LONG!!!! I can’t wait to hang with them and Amanda and Jeff in Chicago this weekend!!!
Well this wedding was amazing. 1) it was in my HOMETOWN of Grand Haven Michigan. So it was just like I woke up and didnt’ have to drive a million hours and really enjoyed my time. 2) Emily and Zach are seriously some of the kindest people in the world. Their family and friends also were incredible and it was just an amazing day to be a part of. I am getting kind of emotional thinking about how wonderful this day was, so I’m gonna leave the rest to Emily and Zach:
We met on a dating app (thank you, Tinder) and our first date was at a bar in Ann Arbor, MI in July of 2015. Our first date was slightly terrible yet extremely memorable as we each dealt with our nerves in VERY different ways with me being shy and essentially nonverbal and Zach talking nonstop to make up for the awkward silence. Despite this, there were definitely sparks and luckily I agreed to a second date. After that, we were essentially inseparable and have been each other’s best friend and better half ever since. This past year, we bought our first home in Spring Lake, MI and moved here with our fur babies Dobby and Meeko.
We got married at St. Mary’s in Spring Lake, which was especially special for me because that was the church in which my parents got married and where I went growing up. Father Dave made the ceremony and the entire process so easy and wonderful. Our reception was at the Harbourfront Grand Hall in Grand Haven, MI. We loved the atmosphere created by the “Old Piano Factory”, as most locals refer to the building, and were so happy to be able to use the space.
The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?
Our ceremony was short for a Catholic ceremony, which we were very thankful for! Trying to remember what to do next was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the day, but it Father Dave led us through the entire thing and we felt nothing but love and joy. After the ceremony, we took the Harbor Trolley from the church to the reception hall, with bar stops and photo stops on the way and it was a BLAST.
I don’t think I’ve loved to wear anything more that I loved wearing my wedding dress. I got my wedding dress from a shop called BHLD in Chicago, IL. I was so amazed at how easy the process was and only tried on 6 dresses before deciding that this was the “one”! I brought all my bridesmaids and my mom with me to shop in Chicago and we had an awesome girl’s weekend to celebrate saying yes to the dress, complete with drinking too much wine and eating too much cheesecake.
Zach and his groomsman Aaron took a trip to Men’s Warehouse to pick out the suits for the wedding, something that he was not looking forward to doing but ended up having an awesome time. I told Zach the color and let him decide the rest :). He settled on dark navy tuxedos for him and his groomsmen, because he wanted to be classy AF and what’s a better excuse to wear a tuxedo than at your own wedding?!
Our decor and flowers were from Events by iCandy in Grand Rapids, and they did such an amazing job! We chose to rent flowers and decorations rather than purchase them ourselves, and it was such a good decision. I gave the designers at iCandy the colors I liked and told them the general style we were looking for, and it surprised me how quickly and easily they threw together EXACTLY what I was thinking. Our decorations we tones of gold, burgundy, green, and blue and we used a zillion candles to make the reception feel warm and romantic. My mom made the backdrop behind the head table and also recruited a very efficient candle-lighting crew to light the large number of candles before the reception. Events by iCandy also set up the decorations at the church and reception hall, which was a big stress reliever.
Our reception was SO much fun! I think one of our favorite moments of the day was walking into the reception hall. It was an overwhelming happy feeling to see all of our friends and family there smiling at you and being there to celebrate with you. Despite the night starting off with a sappy speech by my dad (he was the cutest), the rest of the night was filled with laughter and so much dancing. The combination of awesome food, donuts, an open bar, and an amazing DJ made it the best night ever. We started dancing at 7:00 pm and didn’t stop until 11:00 pm. Walking the three blocks from the reception hall to the bed and breakfast that we stayed at was definitely a struggle after all that dancing, but it was so worth it!
Your Photographer: Tell us all about them 😉 What you liked or didn’t like. All the deets from the day of:
Rachel was honestly the best photographer we could have picked to document our wedding day! We were worried about photographs feeling to posed or unnatural, and so we picked a photographer who we thought would make sure we didn’t feel that way, and she nailed it. She provided direction while also allowing us to completely express ourselves and have an awesome time while doing it!
Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?
Plan early and find either a wedding planner or close family member/friend to help you with all the tedious aspects like phone calls, emails, and scheduling. It helps SO MUCH to spread out those responsibilities if you can. And don’t forget to take a step back on your day and soak in all the love radiating from family and friends; they’ve come to celebrate your love and that is the best feeling.
Rachel Kaye is a published Grand Haven Michigan Photographer specializing in documenting weddings, families, senior and lifestyle fashion photography. Rachel Kaye Photography is based in Grand Haven, MI and serves the surrounding areas of West Michigan: Ottawa County | Grand Rapids, MI | Muskegon, MI | Detroit, MI | Holland, MI | and the City of Chicago and surrounding Chicago Suburbs. Copyright 2013-2018 Rachel Kaye Photography | Site and Logo Design by Dani Abarca|ProPhoto Website