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Jenny & Jim’s winter wedding – Kalamazoo wedding photographer

I know, I know, winter is over, right? At least we hope it is! Winter may be finally ending, but my blogging is still back in the days when it got started – and everyone deserves at least a quick blog post.

Jim & Jenny’s Kalamazoo wedding was our first to usher in the “cold” wedding season, and while it was a challenge to get us started, it was still that magical time when the first snow flakes coming down were special….anticipated, and exciting. Kind of like their wedding. Special, anticipated, and exciting.

It was a family filled day, from the 27 junior bridesmaids/flowergirls/ring bearers (just kidding, it wasn’t that many, but they found a way to incorporate all their nieces and nephews in the day, which was truly touching), to sisters giving emotional and tear-filled toasts at the reception.

Despite the chilly temps outside, it was a sunny ceremony, full of laughter and great advice for the couple. After the ceremony, we bundled up – and the bridesmaids bundled up in beautiful capes made by Jenny’s mother, and drove around downtown Kalamazoo for some photos, some fun, and to take them to Bell’s, where they had their first date.

While the wedding party took time to celebrate, we went off to the reception to get pictures of the beautiful wintry details and to see what fun they had in store for their guests. And fun it was! A photobooth, a balloon maker….I don’t need to go any further…but candy bar! For as many small guests as there were, Jim & Jenny really went above and beyond to make the evening entertaining for everyone.

I hope your marriage has been filled with as much laughter as your wedding day was….and that the tears you shed together are tears of joy….and that your happily ever after is already in full swing.

Much love from us – Dan & Lynell

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A super SPECIAL delivery

Amazing.

Beautiful.

Inspiring.

There are so many adjectives I could use to describe this beautiful night, just over a week ago, but I’ll try to do it in a short(ish) story. A few weeks ago I blogged some lovely maternity photos of my dear friends Amy & Jeff, with the even bigger anticipation of knowing I would get to be a part of welcoming their precious son into the world.

For two weeks I regularly set my phone to a loud ring at night, waiting for that call/text to tell me it’s time. Waiting and waiting, and hoping that I wouldn’t sleep through it or miss it. On Tuesday, March 11, around 11:30 in the evening (just after I drifted off to sleep) came the text that things were starting, but no need to come yet. So needless to say, I didn’t really sleep much after that, so when the next text beeped at 1:56 am on the 12th, I didn’t even have to wipe the sleepies out of my eyes.

By 2:10 I was walking (skipping, giggling?) up the driveway, excited — but sure I would be spending more time waiting. Each step up the stairs to the bedroom was one full of jittery nervousness and joy. I was going to be a part of a life changing event, AND I would get to see what was in store for me a few months down the road (that part was a little freaky).

When Yolanda the midwife arrived, contractions were strong, close & regular, yet her calming presence and amazing knowledge of the process helped relax everyone and keep moving carefully towards the moment these two would become a family of three.

If you know Amy & Jeff well, you know just how precious their love for each other is, and Mayer’s birth really brought out the best in both of them. The parts of their personalities that make them work were just made larger, better, and stronger. And oh, so beautiful.

This being my first birth photography experience, I didn’t know what to expect…but I also was ready to be as hands-on as I needed to be. After all, I do have experience as “left leg holder.” I was honored to do that again….until that moment, oh that one moment when I could see Mayer, and knew life was happening. (I’m tearing up as I write this.) Nothing I have experienced was as beautiful as that moment when I KNEW Mayer had entered the world, and I waited the brief second before he made his presence known. And when he did…..joy.

In one breath, I watched two people fall deeper in love with each other, and head over heels in love with the tiniest little babe. I watched a family being born. Those first tender moments were magical….spiritual…and just utterly breath taking.

At 3:53 that morning, life simply just got better. Amy, Jeff & Mayer, I love your little family, and each day that goes by makes me happier that Mayer is here. He has, and will continue to enrich and bless your life beyond measure. (I also can’t wait for him to meet Eleanor, his soon to be BFF.)

Mayer Grey, welcome to our world. You are loved, adored, treasured — and every bit of it is so deserved. Thank you for being.

Amy & Jeff, thank you for having me be a part of your lives, especially this day — but also, every day.

Oh, and now for the pictures…..

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2014 Senior wrap-up

My 2014 Senior season was ABSOLUTELY amazing. I loved every single session with the girls, and had fun discovering their personalities, finding ways to celebrate who they are and what they love. I got to have lovely coffee discussions, shopping trips, and dreaming up great locations & props to give everyone something unique.

Each and every one of these girls is beautiful, spirited, and full of so much potential. I can only hope that our 2015 senior season is just as fabulous. Last year because of our wedding season, we limited the number of sessions we would take. This year is a little different, with our own little one on the way we took much fewer weddings, so we have much more time for another round of fabulous seniors….and I am looking forward to it!

Senior sessions are priced as follows:

Package 1: $675 (due at session)

Hair & professional makeup styling
Clothing/style consultation
Customized session
64 wallets (up to 8 poses)
4 5×7 prints
2 8×10 prints
1 11×14 print
1 digital yearbook image

Package 2: $475 (due at session)

Hair & professional makeup styling
Clothing/style consultation
customized session
32 wallets (up to 4 poses)
2 5×7 prints
2 8×10 prints
1 digital yearbook file

To schedule your consultation, please contact us using the contact section of our website.

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Amy & Jack – a beautiful fall wedding

This weekend marks the 2nd 2014 wedding for lizzie photo – so it’s only fitting I work on wrapping up blog posts on 2013 weddings, and oh do we still have a few special ones to share.

Amy & Jack’s November wedding was one of those. Now, I don’t just say this because their reception was in a brewery, though when the terms wedding & brewery are used to describe a wedding to us, we usually get very excited. Waldorf Brewery in Hastings, Mi, was the setting for this lovely wedding reception. But we aren’t there yet.

We started our day – me with the girls at the hotel, Dan with the boys at the…wait…the brewery. How does this always happen???? Not fair (ok, I was pregnant anyway, but he does always have fun hanging with the guys). Then again, I usually go nuts over all the makeup i can look at, and pretty dresses, and happy brides….like Amy.

Oh, when we first met Amy & Jack I saw it….love, adoration, safety, strength. So much is wrapped up into this relationship. I love seeing it when I look at a couple. Love is just….special. It is. I knew their day would be a celebration of it, and I was right!

From the time their beautiful ceremony started until we left the reception, it was a celebration. The celebration in Jack’s eyes when he saw Amy come down the aisle…the smile on her face throughout the ceremony, and the way their family & friends…and in the joy shared at the reception.

There was laughter…marital advice…and even a sweet serenade by the cutest little girl (who sang Michael Jackson, how cool is that)?

But most of all there was love. Lots of it.

Amy and Jack, we wish you sunny skies on endless highways and a full gas tank for the motorcycle ride of your life (that was for Jack).

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Lauren & Brad’s snowy engagement session

If you are going to have a wintry wonderland of a year, you might as well make the most of it, right? Well, for these outdoor adventurers, tromping through feet of snow in the woods seemed to hardly be a challenge. (For this pregnant woman with snowpants that don’t even zip up, well, it was slightly more interesting, but completely doable!)

With their beautiful dog along for the hike, we trudged through feet of beautiful snowy powder into the woods, where fortunately snuggles (for them) and sunshine (for all of us) kept us nice and warm!

Lauren & Brad, we’re looking forward to your April wedding, and the sunny skies and warm temps that will accompany that lovely day!

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Bellies & Babies Abound – OH MY!

Well, 2014 is shaping up to be an eventful year for former brides of Lizzie Photo. As excited as I was for their wedding days & to watch their marriages start off, I’m even more excited that they are all starting their families now! It’s such a blessing to be connected to each of them & see where life takes them – and to now watch their families grow!

So far…2014 seems to be the busiest baby year EVER. This is just what I know of so far…(and I keep remembering more)

Tom & Amy welcomed Sawyer in January
Allen & Chelsey welcomed Myla February 5
Sara & Ben are waiting to meet Little Man Merritt any day now….
Ellen & Ian are counting down the days until their little girl arrives…

And there are more to come (I think these are somewhat in order)!

Mandy & Keith
Cath & John
Debbie & Ken
Iona & Chris
Tracie & Steve
Nikki & John
Juan & Ali
Katie & Joe
Kim & Eric
Alison & Jeff

Since posting this blog, I was reminded that Carrie & Bryan are also expecting – and Bridget & Jesse got added to this list! Keep ’em coming folks!

Congrats to you all – and looking forward to seeing how 2014 closes out for the baby roster.

For those of you expecting, I’m now offering a “belly & baby” package – details can be found here. (This is a great way for me to get to be able to snuggle your little ones!)

Here is a look back at some of their wedding days – ladies you were beautiful then – and I’m sure even more so now!

Congrats to you all!

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Amy & Jeff – an international maternity shoot

Amy and I have talked numerous times about where our friendship started, and how, but to describe how it has grown and developed and gone to great depths would probably take forever to write, and I would be a blubbering mess by the end. What I do know is that in the last two years, my friendship with Amy has become something I will treasure forever. She has been an emotional rock, a cheerleader, a supporter and encourager. She has prayed with me, cried with me, shared dreams and goals and plans, challenges and struggles (and just a glass or two of wine).

Along the way, I got to know Jeff too….for the thoughtful, caring considerate man he is. Together, they just make perfect sense. They really do. They compliment each other in the way you WANT to see in a relationship. They love each other deeply, and watching their relationship unfold has been nothing short of a miracle.

And enter the OTHER miracle…..their son….who will join this already beautiful family soon.

But I need to back up first. When Amy and I were in Mexico this summer, basking in the sun, (having left the guys behind), we started a plan to take an epic trip together – all four of us. We decided that Europe would be great, and since I have family in the Netherlands and it is somewhere she’s always wanted to go….and it was close to Beergium, I mean Belgium, it was the perfect trip to plan! Little did we know that when we started that conversation, we would be going not just with our husbands….but with our future children! The conversations about where we would go on a beer tour turned into conversations about a maternity session in the Netherlands, where Amy’s family is originally from – the Island of Texel, in the North Sea.

Since it would be an entire day trip, and we lost a few days of travel, we kept when we were going flexible, so that we would have the best weather available to be able to do a session in Texel.

Yeah, about those plans.

When we got in to DenBurg, we had time to walk around and visit a few shops and check out the beautiful wool products that are native to Texel, and had a lovely lunch. After lunch, we stepped outside. To rain.

Cold, grey rain.

Still, we had a mission. Maternity photos WOULD take place in the land where Amy’s family was from. They would. So we hopped a bus and went to DeKoog, which is on the western edge of the island, with lovely beaches that extend for what seems like endless miles. With the rain coming down and the cool wind blowing, we managed to hold a mini-maternity session before we had to go find a big mug of lovely Dutch hot chocolate to warm our insides.

The weather may not have worked for us, so we improvised – we threw in a few pictures here and there in Belgium, and we made the most of it. Because it was a little like life. Things don’t always go according to our plans…or on our timelines.

Love blooms when and where we don’t expect it.

Babies change our schedules, our life plans, and mostly….our hearts.

For two people whose hearts were already a treasure, being with them through this journey into parenthood has meant we’ve seen big hearts become bigger. Amy & Jeff, thank you not just for allowing us the pleasure of doing maternity photos in a magical place….but for being our friends…and for being on this “peach & peachlet” journey together.

We love you. All three of you.

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Kristin & Russ’ Kalamazoo wedding

After a lovely day with Marlee & John, we packed up and headed right back down state for Kristin & Russ’ beautiful Kalamazoo wedding. Planned and styled by my amazing friend, Dee Mitchell of Elements of Elegance, I knew it was going to be a beautiful affair, and I knew we would enjoy our day with Kristin & Russ.

As they busily prepared themselves for their first look, we had time to capture a few sweet memories of them getting ready. We had some private time with just the two of them out on the Kalamazoo mall, until a few raindrops chased us away, and the bride ran barefoot across the road in all her tulle-covered glory to get under cover.

By the time we arrived at church, the rain clouds had disappeared and we had a few more minutes before their beautiful Greek Orthodox ceremony began. It was lovely to see another of these deeply traditional ceremonies, and despite a “time out” for a candle issue, everything was perfect and beautiful for these two!

Their super gorgeous reception was at the Kalamazoo Radiswoon, I mean Radisson, and had such lovely sparkly gold & navy details. The Elements of Elegance team really did a fabulous job on this one!

With a live band and delicious treats for all the guests, it was definitely a great party! Thanks Kristin & Russ for having us be a part of this amazing day!

– Lynell & Dan

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Marlee & John’s Castle Farms Wedding

I know I say I have a lot of special brides, and over the past few years, I’ve been honored to be a part of the celebrations of some girls I have known since they were wee babes. This is one of those stories. Marlee first entered our family (yes, she’s even family!) when she was a baby, into the loving home of Dale & Darla, and with three older brothers. Being the life-long baby lover I am, I quickly scooped this little one up in my arms. I still remember holding her in the back pew of church, caressing her forehead and soothing her to sleep.

Years of playing with beanie babies, chalk messages on my steps (I will not embarrass her by posting those pictures here), and watching her grow up into the beautiful woman she is were all things in my head on her wedding day. I always love that moment of seeing a bride as she prepares, but there was something special for me in those moments. Each step of the day had an accompanying memory from her childhood.

Her beautiful wedding was held at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, on a gorgeous Friday the beginning of November. Her hair, her makeup – so vintage, and so amazing. Her details, 100% Marlee. I loved them – let’s call it “Punk Princess.” Even her mother joined her in some studded shoes (way to go, Darla!).

From Marlee and John’s first look and all through the day, it was easy to see the love between these two. While I had to maintain my composure at times, I held my tears together long enough to smile and witness a beautiful wedding – performed by “Uncle Bobby.”

The reception was full of friends & family – it was also like a mini-reunion for me too! While we had to leave to head back down to Grand Rapids for a wedding the next day, we had plenty of time to share in some special memories as Marlee’s brothers stepped in for her father, who sadly is no longer with us. It was truly a beautiful moment, and I loved seeing how these young boys I know had become such strong amazing men, husbands and fathers.

But the best part of this whole day was seeing Marlee smile at John. It was seeing her having become a woman, and now a wife.

Marlee Jo, you’ll always be that sweet little girl to me, but now I have even more beautiful memories of you to add to my collection.

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Paulita & Chris – Wallinwood Jenison wedding

I first met Paulita when she was the Maid of Honor for my sweet Megan’s wedding – and met someone full of vitality and personality. Lucky me when I was asked to photograph her wedding a few years later (and Megan was the Maid of Honor for this one!). I just love fall weddings in Michigan, and this late October one was beautiful, if a little bit chilly & windy that day.

We started our morning with the respective parties – me with the girls at one home, Dan with the guys at another. The girls crowded in the master bathroom, and it was a flurry of curls, pins, nails and makeup, and a lot of laughter! We then met back up at their church, which we could have walked to from our house – I had no idea such a beautiful church was tucked back just around the corner from us.

Their ceremony was personal, fun, and entertaining…..I can honestly say their priest was one of the more engaging ones we have ever heard, and he made their ceremony one that many enjoyed.

After the ceremony we went to the beautiful Wallinwood Country Club in Jenison (which is where Chris’ family lives), bundled up and froze our way out onto the golf course on golf carts, while guests mingled during the cocktail reception.

When the reception kicked off, it was clear this was a big family affair….and the kids were going to have a riot of a good time. The dance floor was never empty, and there was SO much fun being had, tasty cookies, and did I mention dancing? (It’s a good thing that was a very strong floor.)

While the celebration was fun, the most beautiful part of the day was seeing how these two people are loved by so many. The family stories, the welcomes, the toasts, and the way people became one large family that day.

Paulita & Chris, may your life and your family continue to grow and be even more blessed than it was on your wedding day.