Meadow Brook Hall Wedding

I just wanna go back and relive this day at Meadow Brook Hall over and over and over again. Never have I ever met a more kind and thoughtful group of people (including guests!) This day was just so perfect in every way. We spent all morning getting ready in the POURING rain. Just watching it cascade down. It wasn’t even supposed to rain this day so it was really out of nowhere and quite annoying. We all were diligently watching the forecast and things were not looking good. It looked like we would have to move the ceremony inside. HOWEVER Alex and Eli made a great last minute call and decided to risk it. It ended up being PERFECT. So perfect that the freaking SUN came out during their ceremony and they walked back down the aisle in the sunshine. I am so happy to share this amazing day with everyone. I will leave it up to Alex and Eli from here <3

The Beginning: 

We met at work when I (Alex) was fresh out of college. Eli had been with the company for a few years and was incredibly intimidating. He was this handsome, outgoing, successful salesman that everyone wanted to be. Little did I know at the time, he’s the biggest goof that would keep me smiling every day for the rest of my life. We never spoke for about the first 6 months on the job, and one day he randomly asked me if I wanted some Starbucks. I thought this was his way of flirting so I was nervous when he brought the coffee to my desk…then I found out he had gotten coffee for other girls in the office, which made me jealous so I immediately returned the favor by asking him out for a drink after work. The rest was history, and we’ve been together ever since.

Alex’s Dress

I wanted to keep my dress shopping more personal to minimize others’ opinions, ensuring I got the dress that I truly wanted and not what others thought I should have; so, I only brought my mom and my sister along. I found my dress at the very first shop we went to, and it was only the second one I tried on! I put on several others, but I kept reverting to this one. When I wore it, I could just picture Eli’s face when he’d see me in it for the first time, and I felt so sure about this dress I didn’t bother going anywhere else.

Eli’s Suit

Eli has always loved keeping his style up to date – he was pickier about his suit, bow tie, cuff links and shoes than the bride! He really wanted a classic look to match the overall style we were going for with the venue, which is why he decided on the classic, black tuxedo with silk lapels. Eli’s shoe game is like no other so, naturally, he had to go with an awesome pair of red bottoms to make a statement with the black ensemble.

Venue: 

We had looked at about 10 venues, and none matched both of our wish lists. We both agreed it needed to be a venue where ceremony and reception could be at the same place; minimizing travel times for our guests. Eli really wanted a venue that had both an indoor and an outdoor area so that people could enjoy the weather since Michigan only has a few nice months to do this. My big thing was I wanted a venue with a lot of character so that we could keep decorations minimal; I wanted the building to speak for itself and tell a story in its own. We were both getting fed up with disappointment after each venue we visited, and Meadow Brook Hall was the last one we looked at. We both looked at each other after we toured it, and Eli could tell by the look on my face that we wouldn’t be checking out anywhere else – we had found the place!

The Ceremony: 

We still get goosebumps thinking back at how PERFECT the ceremony was. Our plan was for the ceremony to take place in the rock garden, and the rain almost ruined those plans. The weather was pretty doom and gloom; it came down to the wire on whether to move the ceremony inside and thank goodness we rolled the dice to keep it outside regardless of the forecast! The rain stopped as everyone took their seats, and as the Rabbi was pronouncing us husband and wife, the sun literally broke through the clouds and shone down on us as we had our first kiss. GOOSEBUMPS. The fact that the quartet played “Don’t Stop Believing” as we made our exit made it that much cooler.

meadow brook hall wedding

The Decor: 

After finding the venue, I knew exactly the theme I wanted – VINTAGE. The venue, Meadow Brook Hall (previously the Dodge family estate) was built in the 20’s and is so beautiful on its own that all I needed to focus on was the reception tent. I wanted the tent to flow with the mansion’s interior, so I stuck to a lot of gold and knew I needed candles and flowers with burgundy accents all over. Emerald City Designs helped me bring my ideas to life and it couldn’t have been more perfect! My dress had a long lace train, which went with the vintage decor, so I decided to keep with the aesthetic and go with the “classic Hollywood curls” hairdo to really tie everything together. From the venue, to the outfits, to the reception decorations, everything felt like we had gone back in time for the night.

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

I can’t thank our wedding party enough for keeping the dance floor poppin’ all night! There wasn’t a moment that the floor wasn’t packed. The Hora was part terrifying, part AMAZING; being up in the chairs looking down at everyone’s faces is a priceless moment – it almost made us forget how scary it was gripping to a chair for dear life. The DJ did an incredible job playing all sorts of music that got people of all ages out on the dance floor. Watching my grandparents get up and dance is a moment I’ll never forget; it was like a glimpse into our future.

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Don’t fall victim to thinking you need to be everywhere at once! Don’t get me wrong, our wedding was the best day of our lives, but our biggest regret was not breaking away during the reception to have a moment for just the two of us to soak it all in. Talking to every guest is exhausting; you deserve a moment of solitude to truly appreciate everything happening around you. It happens in the blink of an eye, so make sure you have an amazing photographer to capture everything!

Your Photographer: 

It’s impossible to describe how amazing Rachel is in just a few words; she lives and breathes to make her clients’ memories the best they could ever imagine. Not only did she drive 3 hours, with the flu, to take our engagement pictures, she still had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone else we’d ever met! That’s when we knew we were in perfect hands for our wedding day. She makes everyone feel so comfortable in front of the camera and has the brightest personality; making everyone laugh is one of her best qualities. Outside of her awesome character, her pictures are indescribable. She has a way capturing the candid moments so perfectly that when you look back at them, you go back to that moment and relive it all over again. Rachel’s artwork is a living, breathing time machine and we couldn’t be more thankful to have her capture the best day of our lives.

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Briar Barns Grand Rapids Wedding

briar barns michigan

I was SO EXCITED to return to Briar Barns in the Grand Rapids area earlier this May. When Briana contacted me she told me her photographer CANCELLED on her last minute and I was devastated for her. This is such an important time and I take the responsibility of photography VERY seriously. I was ready to jump in and capture this amazing day for them. After some chats we realized it would be a great fit! I had the best time ever capturing this day for them. Their group of pals are amazing and so are they 😀

The Beginning: 

We were just really good friends in school, texting each other any chance we could get, hanging out together on the weekends, going for runs together, etc. Jake was there for me after a messy breakup. He was the first person I called afterward. He has always been there for me and always have been supportive. So after that moment we went from good friends to great friends. I asked him one day if he could have anything in the world what would it be? And he said “you.” My heart sank. I liked this boy and had no idea that he actually felt the same way. He told within a couple of weeks that he wanted to ask me out and I said that it was still just too early. But what do you know, the next day he was waiting by my locker. When I opened it there was a rose and a note that said ‘Briana will you go out with me?’ (I still have the note pinned in a shadow box in our living room). Of course, I couldn’t say no. And the rest is history.

groom holding a box which says bring day of weddinggirl lint rolling blue suit jacket guy in blue suit with glasses showing something on his phoneall dresses hanging upThe Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

It was perfect. Nora & Beckett were just the cutest thing going down the aisle. (Ring bearer & Flower girl)

I semi held in my tears!! And felt like we both rocked the vows.

I feel like we had a terrible messy first kiss haha (not true! Proof in a GIF below 😀 :D)

veil falling to the ground

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Seriously don’t let the little things stress you out!!! Its not worth it and your day will end out beautiful with the help of the vendors and family. Trust me, the vendors know what they are doing and will make sure everything goes according to plan. Our day was better than I expected and we are just so blessed.

Your Photographer: 

Rachel was most definitely the kind of photographer that we were looking for from the start. I definitely felt like we settle on someone else right away just to get a photographer and when she ended up backing out Rachel just kind of fell in our laps!! It was definitely one of those ‘Everything happens for a reason’ moment. We are just so blessed that Rachel was there to help us in our time of need and that she was just so accommodating. She has the perfect personality to be a photographer. She is bubbly, friendly, and quick. I would highly recommend her to anyone and everyone! We love Rachel!!!! Also, the whole wedding party did too 🙂

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Salvage One Wedding Chicago

So excited to FINALLY share this winter chicago Salvage One wedding! It was a most wonderful winter day for Brittany and Drew and I am so so thankful for them both and their families and friends. After doing Brittanys sisters wedding I was so so pumped when she asked me to come on for hers. I had such a good time with her at her sisters’ wedding, I was so excited to hang again! This day did not disappoint! Brittany and Drew planned an epic party at the coolest venue, Salvage One! It’s like a dream of rad decor and cool spaces. I loved it!

The Beginning: 

We were two college kids running around the big city!  We met while working at the same college dive bar on campus.  We were friends for over a year before we started dating and that friendship has continued to be the biggest foundation of our relationship.  Ever since that first kiss, our lives have been filled with love, friendship, and the best adventures!

salvage one wedding

Drew’s Suit

Drew rocked a black Ted Baker suit, a black Calvin Klein skinny tie, and black Wolf & Shepherd Chelsea boots.  Drew’s cuff links represented his favorite team, Liverpool FC! YNWA!!!

The groomsmen wore Indochino suits.

Brittany’s Dress

It’s very possible that I tried on five thousand dresses before purchasing this beauty.  I ended up with a gown from Spring Sweet, the most charming bridal boutique in my hometown of Holland, MI.  Finding my dress in my hometown made it that much more special and sentimental to me.

For my bridal look, I wanted something romantic with a vintage touch.  My overall look ended up having an Old Hollywood Glam vibe and I definitely didn’t hate it. The dress is  Willowby by Watters.

Venue:

Salvage One was the perfect place for our Chicago Winter Wedding. The assortment of beautiful antiques made being stuck inside not so bad.  Salvage One was unique, romantic, cozy, moody, and everything else we could have wanted in a venue.  The Bride’s favorites: vintage church pews for our guest seating during the ceremony, countless vintage chandeliers, and the stunning stained glass. The Groom’s favorites: massive stone elephants that frame the wedding aisle, the trendy yet extremely cozy suites for the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and the gorgeous vintage bars.

The Ceremony: 

The ceremony was our favorite part of the day. We highly recommend writing your own vows for anyone that is questioning it!

We had International Strings play our ceremony and cocktail hour!

Wedding Party Processional:  What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Bridal Processional:  Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Version

Recessional Song:  Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

The Decor: 

The venue already had a lot going on, so our decor was pretty simple.  We had vintage rugs down the aisle, moody floral and greenery around the venue, and many many candles!  Our Florist, Persephone Floral Atelier, made the most romantic floral arrangements for our ceremony and reception.

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Don’t forget what the day is all about!

Your Photographer: Tell us all about them 😉 What you liked or didn’t like. All the deets from the day of:

We fell in love with Rachel’s work a year before our wedding during Amanda (Brittany‘s older sister) & Jeff Brush’s wedding at Cranes Apple Orchard in Michigan.  Rachel felt like family by the time she did our wedding.  We absolutely loved the time we spent with her during our engagement shoot and on the wedding day!  She’s also a badass when it comes to calming stressful situations.

 

Vendors:

Venue: Salvage One

Planner: Grace Freeman, Lionhearted Events

Floral: Persephone Floral Atelier

Second Photographer: Sydney Marie Photography

 

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Chicago First Lady Cruises Weddingchicago

FINALLY!!!!!!!

I got to shoot an entire wedding ON A BOAT. I love the water, I love Chicago First Lady Cruises (happen to be VERY close with the family who runs the place :D) and I LOVEEEEE Courtney and Shea and their group of humans. I am so so thankful they asked me to join them on this amazing Thursday evening to celebrate their love. They decided to get married on their 5 year anniversary which happened to fall on a Thursday and I am a huge fan and think more people should get married on Thursdays. ESPECIALLY in the city of Chicago and ESPECIALLY on a boat 😀

 

They did their first look where they got ready at the Palmer House in Chicago with their dogs (which one of them escaped and pooped in the hall LOL it was a funny way to start the day) and then walked themselves down the side aisles to say their vows in front of family and friends. It was truly such a chill and special day and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. HUGE thanks to Biz and Pat for recommending me 😀 It was a treat to see you both again <3

he caught her! and mom picked up poop along with some very nice hotel guests 😛 Poor thing was so scared once she escaped the room! She was the sweetest doggo

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Detroit Masonic Temple Wedding

This day was exactly what I needed in this season of life. A week before this wedding day, my mothers health went south and I was worried I would be attending a funeral (real dark for a wedding blog Rachel….). HOWEVER things turned around and 2 days before this wedding my mother came home 🙂 I asked Brennigan of BG Photography Studios to tag along just because I wasn’t sure how I would do after such a stressful week. WELL, it turns out that what I needed was this wedding. Not only are Amy and Justin some of the most laid back, wonderful people ever. But they curated their day to just be so relaxed and awesome. They also hired my favorite DJ in the world who just made all the difference in having an awesome party. My favorite thing EVER was that he really involved everyone in the first dance, not a single person wasn’t watching!!!! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better day after such a chaotic emotional event. This day really reminded me of what is important and why I do this job. I absolutely LOVED connecting with all of the people on this day and wish we could go back and do it again and again <3

 

The Beginning: 

We met our freshman year of college in the dorms at Michigan.  We became good friends and even lived together for two years.  We both moved away and never dated, but always kept in touch, and 10 years later something just clicked!  Things got serious quick – within 6 months Amy moved to Texas, a year later we got engaged then after a ~6-month engagement here we are!

bridal skirt hanging at detroit masonic temple wedding

Amy’s Dress

Amy went looking for a dress with a BIG group – my mom, grandma, two future sisters-in-law, cousin, two aunts and maid of honor.  Luckily, B Ella Bridal in Plymouth, MI had the space and welcomed us with open arms.  Dominique, the stylist working with us, was amazing and he helped guide us through the process and kept our search focused while pushing me out of my comfort zone!  I ended up with the 2nd dress I tried on – nothing like what I pictured, but an amazing Moscato 2 piece! (I would highly recommend a 2-piece to anyone starting a dress search!!!)

detroit masonic temple getting ready for a wedding

(i wasn’t crying during this mother-daughter moment or anything 😛 😛 NOPE)…*itotallywas*

Justin’s Suit

Justin wanted a suit that was different from those he already had, and would continue to wear for other occasions – so he and the guys all ended up getting custom plaid blue suits!  Everyone got to pick inscriptions and fun fabrics for the inside which was a fun personal touch.

Venue: 

We wanted a venue that mixed our tastes of eclectic & traditional – the Masonic Temple in Detroit was perfect for this!  The huge, historic venue alleviated space concerns we had, the staff were AMAZING through both planning and event phases, and the look of the room night-of blew away our expectations.  We got married in the chapel there, by Denise Tucker of Perfect Day Celebrations, who did an amazing job, then had our reception and cocktail hour in the ballroom.  There were even huge spaces for getting ready on site!  The size of the venue and breadth of events held there was also great for pictures – we wandered around and ended up finding a roller derby setup, the main concert hall and even got to take some pictures on the roof!

Ceremony: 

The ceremony was great!  We kept it short and sweet with a couple friends speaking and let Denise do the rest.  We also went with a fun “newspaper” style handout we had seen at another wedding, which was a fun alternative to traditional program guides.

The Decor: 

Another great thing about the venue was that it was already so decorative.  We didn’t want to add too much, so ended up getting no real flowers and decorated the room primarily with uplighting and gold & light centerpieces.  These were different on each table with geometric shapes, gold twigs and gave each table a little something different.  Our families, especially our mothers, helped so much with everything about this day – especially considering we were living out of state and couldn’t handle a lot of local things ourselves!

Reception/Dancing/Music: 

This was what we’d been looking forward to for MONTHS.  SO FUN.  Derek from The Block Party was our DJ and saying he was amazing was an understatement.  He guided the reception from speeches to dinner music to dancing and everything was perfect.  Our first dance was a blast and we had an enormous crowd, who all joined in with us towards the end.  We wanted this day to be about having a blast with people we love, and that’s exactly what it was.

Your Photographer: 

Rachel was amazing!  Obviously she takes great photos but her personality fit great with us and we were instantly comfortable.  She also did a great job with our bridal party – we can be a chatty/distracted group – and made sure we got everything we needed.  She did great with going with the flow too since there were tons of last-minute picture requests.  We knew from reading her bio online she would be perfect, and she exceeded our wildest expectations!  Best day of our lives!

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Do what you want to do, not what you *think* you should do.  We chose to have no flowers and no cake, and we didn’t miss either.  We also decided to go “Adults-Only” besides our 5 nieces and nephews.  This was tougher, but everyone understood and found sitters – and it allowed them all to stay later and party for longer with us!  Also – go with vendors that you trust and that feel right.  It will make all the difference!

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