Lexi & Jeff’s Wilderness Wedding – Upper Peninsula wedding photographer

I’m going to start this post with a warning. It’s going to be LONG. Way more images than normal, more text. Long. But worth it.

See, Lexi is my former assistant. For two full wedding seasons she was my right hand, and sometimes, my left hand too. I interviewed her over the phone and it was done. Instant connection, instant friendship. Little did I know then how much she would impact my life.

Every Saturday morning was a car ride of philosophical discussions, laughter and tears over relationships & friendships, jokes about how many coffee cups I had in the car that week. Lots of red vines licorice.

I had never met someone who was so responsive to my needs that she knew them often before I did. She fetched, she carried, she supported, she really was the best assistant. When she told me she was moving to Florida, I was excited for where her life would go – but I was sad it was moving away from me. But it was good. It was so good. Because she was going with Jeff.

When Lexi started dating Jeff, things changed. She was happier, more energetic, and made some changes with him that took this amazing girl and made her even more confident, open to life, and all around spectacular. I definitely approved of this guy.

As I watched their life unfold on facebook, and eagerly awaited updates as they backpacked across Mexico & Guatemala, I knew at some point I would get “the call” saying he had proposed.

It came. And she asked if I would be a part of her day – and she would move it to whatever day worked for me, and she would make it pretty for me….see…again, there she was still being Lexi. Doing something for ME. I appreciate that, but I also love that even though she spent countless hours growing & making her own decorations to have beautiful things to photograph, what she did was cover that entire wedding in touches of herself.

She is organic.

She is a woman of growth.

She is grounded.

She is life.

And she and Jeff together are wild & passionate and full of life. Their wedding day was a perfect picture of them.

It started just like any other wedding day for us….except nothing like it. We woke up as the rain pounded down on our tent, in the field with everyone else who was at the wedding. We slushed our way down to the outhouse, then gathered around the camp fire.
And checked the radar. Lots and lots of rain…but eventually, it would move.

The good thing about a small wedding where everyone has traveled is you can easily make adjustments.

So we did.

The girls went into town to get ready at a hotel, and as soon as I walked in, I slapped a card down on the counter and asked for a room. Maybe I’m NOT cut out for the most rustic camping ever….and my gear, well, it certainly wasn’t! As the girls got ready, Dan and I went downtown Houghton and had a fabulous fish lunch, and then headed back out to Lexi’s grandparents’s house (look up Superior Shores Road, Atlantic Mine, MI on the banks of Lake Superior WEST of Houghton for a few pre-ceremony photos (and a first look that was not a first look)….and the ceremony overlooking Lake Superior.

The bridesmaids collected wildflowers from the field across from the wedding site and made floral crowns and bouquets. I had made Lexi’s bouquet earlier from field flowers, ferns, and some flowers from the neighbor’s yard. The piece of bark to hold it all together tied the entire thing together.

It was short, sweet, and totally magical.


I mean, COME ON! Where else would that happen???

After the ceremony & a few more photos while the strangely warm Lake Superior waves crashed on the shore, we went back to the field for the reception. So many details….so much beauty. So much energy was poured into that location, that was days before just a field.

The details – there are so many. All of them were created with objects Lexi & Jeff made from family treasures, or plants they grew (and took home & will eat or nurture). I think what I loved best is so much was reused for the wedding – and will be again. Or it was grown. Or hand made. An heirloom. Even the trail mix she made came in jars that can be reused for canning. The jars also kept the bears from getting into the tasty treats. Yes, the bears.

Oh their rings – even THOSE were repurposed, as they were both family rings, and the bands were made by one of the bridesmaids from Lexi’s grandmother’s wedding ring. Repurposed, refashioned and absolutely beautiful. Take a time to look at all their details and see just how much love and attention was given to each part of it.

The food at their reception – incredible, and all grown by or made by (or both) the groom, including the homemade thimbleberry jam and freshly baked bread AND the wedding cake! We all laughed together, and ate until we were uncomfortable, and celebrated two people who are SO LOVED by so many.

Lexi, thank you for being in my life. I’m grateful for every moment I’ve ever had with you. Jeff, take care of her. Or else I’ll make her come make me take care of you (as only a good assistant can do for me).

Love you both!

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