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Tina & Dan’s “Murphect” Meadowbrook Wedding

Tina….oh, I know you have been waiting for this blog post, and I hope….I hope it does not disappoint.

We finally met you when I waddled up to a table to introduce myself at Bell’s in Kalamazoo, and after talking for a short time, I knew I liked you and would be excited to be a part of your wedding day.

Then came your wedding day……well, rehearsal dinner day. I witnessed a beautiful ceremony and a marriage being founded in faith. I liked you more. And that Dan guy, well, he was pretty Murphect.

Saturday comes, and the flurry of hair, makeup, purple track shoes to match your purple robe, tasty color-coordinated treats…..I knew I enjoyed your color palette.

The veil that went on for hours and hours….le sigh.
The dress that was classic and gorgeous….details to dream of.
The floral that was as unique as you are…..perfect.

But then that ceremony came, and I heard words pour from your and Dan’s hearts, and I saw you weren’t just someone to be liked – – you were someone to be loved.

And I saw that all night long – in so many ways. I saw the way your friends loved you, and how they all spoke of you and Dan was something truly well, honoring. That’s the best way I can think to say it. Your friends honored you. Not with their presence, not with just standing beside you as you spoke your vows, but they honored you with their words. Every story told about both of you, every word uttered about you just made me LIKE. YOU. MORE. (I promise, this really isn’t creepy.)

Being a part of your wedding wasn’t just about taking some beautiful pictures….which we did do. It was about seeing the lives of two great people come together. It’s no wonder you liked each other. It’s beautiful that you learned to love each other. I heard why, over and over.

So I could write about how Meadowbrook was the perfect setting for a beautiful summmer wedding. I could gush on and on about your floral selection, ooh and ahh over your veil, but I felt like the most fitting thing was to gush over you and Dan. Being a part of your day was special because you two are special….and we are so glad you found each other.

Keep liking, and keep loving each other. You do it so well.

All our love….

Lynell, Dan (and Ellie!)

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Courtland & Courtney – Grand Haven Beach Wedding

So this one goes back…..way back….to the first wedding I ever photographed, as an assistant for another talented photographer. It was at that wedding that I met the Stansberry & Charnitski families, and began a seven year journey of becoming close friends, maybe even “framily” with these wonderful people.

Along the journey, I got to know Courtland and Courtney, a wonderful couple navigating life together. When they got engaged I was super hopeful I would be asked to be a part of their day….and I was! Last July early on a summer morning, I did their engagement photos on a foggy morning on the same beach where they were to be married a year later. Unfortunately, due to the crazy winter we had, the beach pretty much disappeared!! Some quick thinking (and careful planning) and some raking of dune grass, and their beautiful wedding was STILL going to be on the beach, albeit a slightly more elevated section.

This was our first wedding after our beautiful daughter was born, and thanks to our long-standing relationship with this family, Ellie & her grandma were able to spend the day at the house with us, so we were never very far away from her. AND she got to meet Charlotte, born just three days after she was!

But back to the fun stuff. The details/floral were amazing, and were a combination of the talent of Elements of Elegance and Courtney’s on vision. She had collected these beautiful dried pods, spray painted them gold, and Courtland had used his amazing skill at creating driftwood furniture to add the beach touch they love so much.

As the girls got ready upstairs, the guys cleaned up the beach and hung out on the lower floor. The excitement was on every level of the house – we had all waited for this day for a long time.

They said their vows overlooking the beach where Courtland grew up, and were surrounded by so many loving friends and family – both here, and in sprit by some dear loved ones. It was such a lovely ceremony – in a location that so many of us love, looking over our beautiful Lake Michigan. But what made it beautiful that day wasn’t the beach….or the waves…it was the love we saw between C&C, and being witness to such a happy day for so many people.

From the ceremony we made our way to Spring Lake Country Club for a lovely dinner, tearful and joyful toasts, and some fabulous dancing (especially by all the nieces and nephews.

Court & Court – we are looking forward to endless summers celebrating with you!

Love Dan, Lynell & Ellie

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Jettie & David’s Rockin’ Rockford Wedding

It was a lovely summer day…..and a beautiful woman with an infectious smile was waiting for the man who made her heart smile to join her under the trees, surrounded by loved ones and to say I do.

To those of us who know Jettie, its to know someone who is ALWAYS smiling…..and lighting up the world around her. The day of her marriage to David was definitely no exception. So. Many. Smiles.

This was my first wedding in a while without Dan, and I missed him and our little Ellie, but I really felt like knowing it was me forced me to pay attention to details better….to little looks….to moments, and to those things that really tell the story of a wedding day. (I also noticed how heavy my gear was.)

There were so many little lovely details in this day……the beautiful wildflower bouquets….the hands held in prayer…the friends greeting each other….the littlest guests of the day…and so much more.

The sun was shining and glorious, and the message given as they spoke their vows was equally glorious. It was one of those ceremonies where you just sit back and say “Yes. Yes, THIS is what it is all about.”

Their reception in Rockford was also what it was all about…celebration with friends. There were heartfelt toasts, tasty tacos, a fun photobooth, lots of lovely details (including TATTOOS!!!) and most of all….love.

I hope that as they dance and laugh their way through life — which they will — that they do not forget the message of their marriage ceremony, and the love they felt from everyone there on that amazing day.

Congrats David & Jettie!

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Kim & Dave’s Fabulous Frankenmuth wedding

To say I was anticipating this wedding would be an understatement. Not only did we totally adore this cross-cultural couple (ok, she’s Canadian), but it was also just a mere 10 days away from our due date…which sadly, seems to be coming & going today with no sign of a baby yet!

But this isn’t about the baby. This is about the “Oh, baby, this is an awesome wedding.” To prepare, we not only had hired the amazing Mindy Denning of Mindy Leigh photography to be our 3rd shooter/extra support, but we had arranged emergency backup should anything happen day of the wedding. Fortunately, no emergencies happened, but we still got to spend the day with Mindy capturing this beautiful day for Kim & Dave.

We arrived in Frankenmuth early to scope out locations that weren’t too “Frankenmuth-y” per Kim’s request, and found some lovely locations that I think fit both Kim & Dave well, as well as our combined style.

Mindy & I met up with Kim and the girls as the finalized preparations, and I had time to swoon over her most amazing of shoes….gah! And that dress. And the BACK of her dress. Oy, or should I say, EH? 🙂

Once the girls are ready, we headed off to St. Lorenz, quite possibly one of the most beautiful churches we have ever been in. From the cathedral ceilings to the seemingly perfect uplighting and the aisle that goes for miles….it was beautiful.

The ceremony was classic, sweet, and was a great way for Kim & Dave to start their lives together.

From the ceremony we got to take the biggest, baddest party bus around town (umm, complete with a DJ on the bus!) and spent a lot of time photographing & celebrating this amazing crew.

The reception at the Bavarian Inn restaurant didn’t disappoint as well – I mean, how can you go wrong with classic Frankenmuth fried chicken and cheesy puff potatoes? That’s right, you can’t!

But the icing on the cake – – and I’m not talking about their ACTUAL cake – – was the dance floor. In true Arnold style, this family, which seems to be Born to Wild, let us know, that We are Family…..and as the night ramped up into a traditional German blessing, we were sad to go, but with joy in our hearts for this fun couple!

Kim & Dave, what a way to send us off for a little break. I hope you enjoy life to the fullest, each and every day!

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Piper & Eric – Longacre House wedding – Farmington Hills

Everything about this day was pretty. The weather was perfect, the venue a beautiful old home in Farmington Hills, flowers in bloom, and the perfect spot for Piper & Eric to tie the knot.

As Piper & Eric got ready separate from each other, we got to spend time with their lovely wedding party members, getting to know them, and seeing why this group of friends gets along so well! We also were able to capture some of the MANY amazing details & special touches put together for this wedding day – by the bride’s talented mother! Everywhere I turned there was something else lovely to see. I think what I liked best was how each thing tied a piece of both their lives, and their life together into one common theme for celebrating their day.

I must admit though, that the Detroit Tigers-inspired candy bar & grooms cake MAY have been a big hit with us (and I didn’t even have any candy – the display was all the sweetness I needed). It was such a thoughtful way for Piper to surprise and celebrate Eric’s love of the Tigers! (We met them for their engagement session after a Tigers game…..I knew I liked them then!)

Piper & Eric’s beautiful ceremony took place in the yard of Longacre House, and it was sweet, sentimental, and absolutely perfect. Weddings are obviously a favorite of mine, but the best part is just watching the faces of two people in love, committing their lives to each other. This wedding was no exception.

The whole day was filled with beautiful details, sweet relationships, and a surprising dancing-machine of a groom. Wow, were we surprised by the mad skills & enthusiasm he has. Absolutely amazing & entertaining, and he wasn’t alone! This was a crowd of dancers, and we enjoyed watching all of them celebrate all the way through this day with Piper & Eric.

To this sweet couple we are blessed to know, we say thank you for letting us be a part of your day. We wish you continued success in life and in love!

– Dan & Lynell

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Kristen and Sean – Fox Hills wedding

One thing we love about weddings is the people it brings into our lives. We met Kristen & Sean a little less than a year ago after shooting Kim & Eric’s wedding, and I have to thank Kim & Eric for bringing a wonderful couple into our lives & on our calendar for their Fox Hills wedding on May 10.

The day started out so relaxed, and Dan and I had plenty of time to scope out this beautiful venue for locations for their photos, while Kristen & Sean got ready at a perfect pace for their wedding day. You see, some days are a total rush and about everything you have to “do,” and to see a DIY bride so relaxed, and enjoying putting her own wedding details together was a real treasure.

The boys and girls were separated until Kristen was ready to walk down that aisle, so we had the pleasure of spending time with them & their attendants individually before the wedding began. Fun times…..but when we got them together, even MORE fun! What a great, energetic, friendly group of people.

It was a good day.

The sun was shining perfectly over their ceremony, as guests got to hear very heartfelt and super sweet vows and a promise to love each other always. We got to roam around in golf carts afterwards, and enjoy the lovely golf course (though strangely enough, there were very few golfers out on this beautiful day – – which was great news for us).

After some time with just Kristen & Sean, we went off to their lovely reception at the Fox Classic, which had this lovely cabin charm to it, which Kristen complemented so well with her favors (succulents!) and decoration choices. It was pretty, classic, and from what we could tell, everyone was enjoying themselves!

I wish you could have seen it all….but since you weren’t, these lovely pictures and memories of their special day will have to do!

Kristen & Sean – thank you for having us be a part of your day, and a part of starting your new life as husband & wife!

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Lauren & Brad’s beer-tiful Cottonwood Barn wedding

When I met with Lauren & her lovely mother to talk about their wedding, I came home and said to Dan “I hope they pick us – she’s been to Delirium in Brussels!!” For those of you who don’t know, it’s a world-popular beer bar in Brussels, Belgium, and was on our agenda for our upcoming trip. Seriously though, I don’t mean to insinuate that you have to be a beer lover to work with us, but it does always bring something special to the relationship (and mainly, a great automatic connection with Dan).

Their wedding took place April 26th at the beautiful new venue – Cottonwood Barn in Dexter, MI – a beautiful old barn very skillfully turned into a beautiful wedding venue. For Brad & Lauren’s wedding style, it was absolutely perfect.

While Dan hung out with the guys, I of course hung out with the beautiful ladies just a few doors down from each other. With both of them getting ready so close, and everything being set up at the barn, it was such an exciting flurry of activity and anticipation.

The ceremony was officiated by Lauren’s own brother, who serenaded them during the ceremony, and provided such a lovely personal touch to it. Together with their parents they planted a tree to symbolize both their roots, and their future together. There was laughter, and tears of laughter, and tender moments, and references to beer….and an exit where the bride & groom were “serenaded” by guests playing blowup saxophones. It. Was. Lovely.

After some perfect photo time with the families, wedding party & the bride and groom, Brad & Lauren kicked off their beer-themed wedding reception (using some of the decorated bottles from our own wedding!!!) by cutting their cake surrounded by their wedding party. A fabulous, and I mean FABULOUS dinner was served family-style, and was followed up by one of the busiest dance floors!!

We can’t wait to be able to hang out with Lauren & Brad again some day – and this momma-to-be is looking forward to being able to officially toast their married life with a tasty beer some day soon! For now, we’ll just thank you for inviting us to be a part of your blessed day.

– Lynell & Dan

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Nicole & Shawn – a snowy January wedding – Muskegon wedding photographer

Early January, well, you remember what it brought us. A lot of snow, and the beginning of the Polar Vortex. But what it also brought us was yet another beautiful winter wedding.

This day belonged to Nicole & Shawn, and the celebration with their closest friends & family. We started out with Nicole as she got ready for her wedding – just her, close friends, and some tasty mimosas to get their day started. It was so lovely & relaxed – so much so that Dan wandered off into the woods in search of a pileated woodpecker. I got to hang out with Nikki and Sommar, her cousin, and one of my former brides. Always a good time with these two!

Right from there we slugged through the snow to the ceremony, which was beautiful, personal, and so touching, and the way the priest interacted with everyone really made it a very special time. Seeing Nikki and Shawn pledge their love for each other was beautiful – and there were a number of not-so-dry eyes in the crowd!

After their ceremony we found a beautiful spot in the woods for some beautiful snowy portraits (there has been a theme in the last few weddings!). It was magically beautiful. From there, a little wine tasting for the two of them, because sometimes, your wedding day should just be about celebrating each other!! From there, it was off to the reception at the Century Club Ballroom in Muskegon, where guests enjoyed tasty appetizers, drinks, and a little bit of the polka. Ok, these guys LOVE their polka.

Having gone through a very busy year of weddings, it was lovely to start 2014 with such a relaxed day with an amazing group of people.

As the rest of us shoveled our way home, Nikki & Shawn headed out to start their new life in Southern California, drenched in sunshine and love. I’m still jealous of the sunshine part, but still, wish you both all the best!

– Lynell & Dan

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Anthony and Jess – a Grand Rapids winter wedding

Last summer and into the early fall I had this amazing intern, Jessica. She was quiet, reserved, and such a hard worker that she inspired me to be better at what I do, and how I do it. When she got engaged (which she was quiet about), I casually asked about her wedding, and Dan and I offered to help her out by photographing it, just as she had helped us out during our busiest year.

She and Anthony met when they were working at the same summer camp….a little summer romance that turned into a lifetime love. Just as they are thoughtful and sweet – so was their ceremony. A celebration, worship, communion, and the joining of two lives. It was perfect, and this girl had a hard time not crying her way through it.

The weather….well, it was mid-December, and was full of fluffy white snowflakes, which meant we had to work hard and fast at photos before everyone froze or melted from the heavy snow. But boy-oh-boy was it beautiful.

Their reception was at the beautiful Cheney place, and was a breakfast-for-dinner reception, complete with a “cake” tower of the yummiest cinnamon rolls, yummy coffee, and mmmm, bacon.

In typical summer camp fashion, there were games & contests, singing and just a lot of fun between Anthony, Jess & their guests. What was NOT typical…..or maybe just not to us….was that quiet reserved Jess who worked for us. WHERE DID SHE GO? That shy young woman was a dancing machine, the life of the party, and FULL of merriment. I had to pull her aside and go “WHO ARE YOU?” 😉 It was so fun to see her letting lose and being the crazy girl that she is – – I appreciated the hard worker, but really, she could have broken out in at least ONE dance party in my office, since apparently, she had ALL the skills for it!!! (Just giving you a hard time, Jess.)

In all, it was a great way to wrap up our 2013 weddings – “brinner,” fun, and watching Jess as the bride! Anthony & Jess, we pray that your life continues to be filled with the joy you shared on that day – every day!

Love you to pieces.

Lynell, Dan & Ellie 😉