Grand Haven, Michigan | Beach and Downtown Michigan Senior Session | Emilie Class of 2018

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Working with Emilie and her mom was seriously a dream! Their session was very last minute, due to their original photographer having some health issues. We made their session work, and it was seriously beautiful! I met with them at the Grand Haven State Park and then we finished the session downtown Grand Haven! 

Congrats to Emilie on her senior year of high school, I hope it's amazing! 

 

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5 Wedding Day Tips From A (now) Past Bride

It's been two weeks since my big day, and boy do I miss it. Being a wedding photographer you'd think that my wedding day would have been a breeze and I would have been totally prepared and all that. NOPE. Being on the other side of things as a bride and actually planning a wedding was completely new to me. So here are my five wedding day tips!

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Don't sweat the small stuff.

It was pretty amazing being called one of the calmest brides by all of my vendors, but my day did not go smoothly. Let me start with I had issues with my hair, which lead to being late to the first look. I did my hair myself, and my curls weren't staying in because I suck at hair and whenever I blow dry my hair it just wants to be straight. I should have had my flowers delivered to my ceremony venue instead of my house. I thought I was going to need my flowers for my first look, but I didn't and no one grabbed the flowers so my parents drove back to my house and picked up the flowers except my vase and the flowers for my pie table. So Jesse and I had to pick those up after the ceremony losing about 20 minutes of portrait time. Also my parents wanted this specific picture (with their show car for a magazine article) but we were running late before the ceremony and my dad isn't the greatest with stress. I ended up calling my dad and telling him that it's not a big deal and wedding ceremonies always start late, and since the picture was important to them I wanted to do it (and what the bride wants she gets, right!)

I didn't freak out about any of these small hiccups, I just asked for help or dealt with them the best way possible. I made my timeline pretty padded with time (since the ceremony and reception sites were 45 minutes apart) so starting late didn't effect us too much, and my officiant was super cool and revised to catch us back up on time. But even with these issues my day turned out amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better day.

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Savor every moment.

They say that your wedding day is gone in a blink of an eye, and that is SO true. I was talking to my husband about it and put in in a perspective of a 9-5 work day. Most of the day is pretty stressful and busy, which correlates to the planning part of your wedding and then you get that lunch break. That 30-60 minute break in the day that seems to go by SO SO quickly and then you're back to the normal grind again. Your wedding day is that lunch break, it's a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things but is the best part of the day (besides going home from work at the end of the day, but that's different)

Okay, besides my cheesy analogy, I'm being totally serious about how quickly your wedding day goes. Everything is scheduled and fast pace that you're just moving from location to location, activity to activity that it's just gone so fast. Make time in your timeline for a first look, or some time after the ceremony that you and your new spouse can spend some time together and just enjoy a moment alone. Our first look was so amazing, we were a little bit behind schedule but it was still amazing just spending those few minutes together, and of course Jesse's look on his face when he saw me in my dress for the first time. First looks are also great if you are super nervous, Jesse can attest to that. He was shaking waiting for me to come up to him, but after he saw me he calmed down and relaxed a bit.  

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Eat and drink water frequently

I'm going to be honest with you, this is something both Jesse and I failed pretty miserably at. We did great at the beginning of the day when we were getting ready, but neither of us ate or drank right before or after the ceremony until we got to the reception. Jesse and I were talking and he admitted that he didn't feel great when we were doing couples portraits because he hadn't ate much and it had been a few hours since then. But he mustered through our pictures and did what he could because he knew how important it was to me.

Invest in good undergarments (seriously!)

This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give. If you plan on wearing any shapeware under your dress, do your research. Your wedding day is long, and you're in your dress at least 3/4 of the day. I ended up wearing my dress for about 11 hours, and the part I was most thankful about was the bathroom access hole in my shapewear. I'm not going to lie, going to the bathroom in a wedding dress (or really any dress) isn't the easiest (I've definitely had my share of helping out a bride get control of her dress to even sit down) but add in shapewear and it's a whole new challenge.

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Enjoy your reception and dance

I see this a lot at weddings that the couple is so focused on talking to people at the reception that they don't get to have fun and dance (before being well...intoxicated). I know both Jesse and I fell to this when we arrived at our reception. We only had family and a few friends at our ceremony so everyone wanted to talk to us about it and our volcano. Granted, our reception was only three hours and was really up to our discretion on when food was served, but it still effected how much dance time we had. 

One way to work around this is having a receiving line after your ceremony. A receiving line takes about 45 minutes depending on how many guests you have. If you are not having a receiving line after your ceremony (or if you were like me and didn't have all your guests at your ceremony) work with your photographer or planner to fit into the reception timeline a buffer for meeting and greeting with guests. I know for me dancing and having fun with my friends was pretty important (and even though Jesse isn't a huge dancer, I still made him go out to the dance floor with me) so I pushed for having that time and less mingling with guests. 

After having a year and a half engagement, everything is all said and done and I'm married! I hope these tips help future brides with their wedding day prep. You're wedding is a crazy whirlwind day, enjoy it! 

Photos by The Portos

100 Days Till I Do: The Last 17 Days

So I'm not going to lie, I failed at doing 100 days. The last 17 days before my wedding were absolutely crazy busy and full of cleaning, cleaning and last minute wedding  (which is why I'm writing this two weeks after my wedding). We did a lot of work on the house, as well as some amazing and fun things happened. I'm not going to bore you with the "on this day, I cleaned my house" but here's a little synopsis of what happened the last 17 days before my wedding. 

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We finally finished our downstairs bathroom (minus the new faucet for the tub that's coming soon), including putting the baseboard down around the vanity and putting in newly painted shelves in. Jesse also finished his wood wall in his room in the basement. Which I have to say looks pretty awesome, I honestly wasn't really sure about his idea but I'm glad we did it. The last "big" thing we did with the house is I planted more flowers in the front, I've been trying pretty hard to keep it looking nice and even with the deer eating up the sweet potato vines they still came back and looked great! 

We also were able to do some fun things before the wedding, including seeing Jethro Tull for the second time together! If you didn't already know, Jethro Tull is my favorite band and any chance I can get to see him (I mean he's 71) I take it. We ended up driving all the way up to Interlochen, Michigan to see him and on our way up there we saw a rainbow (which is always awesome). The concert was absolutely amazing, the last time we saw him it was the Rock Opera, so this time was a bit different with a good mix of hits from his career.  

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I also had the amazing opportunity to photograph a beautiful intimate wedding the weekend before our wedding. It was a morning wedding and included a mimosa bar and brunch! After the morning wedding Jesse and I headed over to his Aunt and Uncles for a family get together. It was really the first time of me meeting most of his family (especially the family from California!) 

We also bought Jesse a different tie than the one he rented. He actually wants to buy a tux after renting one (which is a bonus for me, I think he looks amazing in it) and also, my cats were cute and cuddling while I was working in the living room. 

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So yeah, that's really the extent of the last few days before my wedding. Lots of last minute things, cleaning and enjoying what time we had together. I can't wait to share more about my big day and my experiences as a bride! 

Holland, Michigan | Romantic Intimate Wedding at Midtown Center | Carla and Iris

Carla and Iris' July wedding at Midtown Center in Holland, Michigan was absolutely gorgeous. A little backstory, I met Carla and Iris about four years ago through our mutual friend Julie, and we've been friends ever since. So when I heard they were getting married, I was really hoping they'd ask me to be their photographer (and of course they did!) 

Let me tell you, the day couldn't have been more perfect! We were all watching the radar like a hawk the days before the wedding, fingers crossed that the rain was going to hold off. AND IT DID! The ceremony was short and sweet, with Carla's son Philip walking her down the aisle. Their written vows to each other were so beautifully heartfelt, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. 

The reception was full of love, laughter and of course their favorite beer, Coors Light. Carla a few months before the wedding had surgery on one of her feet a few months before the wedding, so watching her walk down the aisle and dance with both Iris and Philip was amazing and truly a blessing.  

Congrats to you both Carla and Iris, I wish you both the best!

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100 Days Till I Do: Week 12

What a week. But seriously, what a week. Between work, all the crazy tourists in town and trying to get wedding stuff done it's been LONG. The days are winding down quick, it's almost here and I can't wait! 

Day 23: Hello Wednesday. This week is just a little to crazy to do anything. With Coast Guard Festival there are about an extra 20,000 people in this town and going anywhere (besides work) is just not a thing. 

Day 22: Working on centerpieces. With the venue we picked out, I made the decision to make our own centerpieces. I have to say I'm pretty happy with how they are turning out. It's been a little frustrating with my tendinitis doing the delicate work, but Jesse has been a huge help!  

Day 21: Last minute items and getting our marriage licence. We finally had a chance to get out of town and go up by the mall to get picture related things I need for the wedding. I bought two bouquet charms and some picture frames for the reception. We also had time to stop at the courthouse and pick up our marriage licence. Thanks to the random guy who told us where to go, too many rooms and places with the same name there. 

Day 20: Relaxing with friends and enjoying Coast Guard Festival. Coast Guard Saturday is a tradition for the last few years of going to my friend Julie's house and watching the parade and spending the whole day there till the fireworks. I love being surrounded by amazing people and of course hanging out with Julie's new pup, Bailey. She fell asleep in Jesse's arms during the parade probably the cutest thing ever. 

Day 19: AMAZON ORDER!!! It's okay to be that bride, really it's okay. I ordered all the last minute gifts I could think of and a few other things from Amazon. I'm pretty sure the mailman was not happy with all the stuff that came to the door. (sorry no sneak peeks just some empty boxes) 

Day 18: Checking off paid vendors. I feel down to the wire with some things but, that's really how it goes. Some vendors require final payment 30 days beforehand and some really don't have a defined date. So I'm doing my best by keeping track, only a few more things to pay for and we are done! 

Day 17: When registry gifts show up. I'm not going to lie, I look at my registry once a week. I just can't help it. So I did look today and saw that someone bought the Keurig that Jesse wanted. So when we got home there was a big Target box on the steps, I knew it had to be that. So I let him open it, which was pretty cute seeing his reaction. Thanks so much to my cousin Missy for the wonderful gift. Also, come on people I got a good mix of prices on my registry buy that **** up! (I mean, just kidding, but not because new kitchen and such and a few under $10 items aren't going to break the bank) 

If you want to check out previous weeks, click here

100 Days Till I Do: Week 11

Time is flying by so fast, and the little things are adding up quickly! We're into August now, which is crazy to even think about. Cheers to week 11, three and a half weeks to go till the big day! (GAH THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS!!!) 

Day 30: Domes, donuts and a long drive home. Rachel and I took a little bit of time in the morning before leaving Milwaukee to explore the area. By our Airbnb was a little donut shop, and oh my goodness it had some amazing donuts. We also went and explored the Domes, which is a big beautiful conservatory. 

Day 29: Back to the work grind. Hustle and Flow was a huge eye opener for me and my business, and I can't wait to make the changes I need to my brand and business. But right now I'm on a pretty long stretch of working everyday so it's going to be a lot of late nights between the day job, working on my business and getting all these last minute wedding things done. 

Day 28: Timelines, emails and last minute things. Doing everything on your own for your wedding is a lot, especially when you're like me and are juggling making others timelines for their big day. I also have a giant Amazon order going of all the last minute things we need, including gifts for our parents/wedding party and the shoes I finally picked out. 

Day 27: Working on a new website design. I'm not going to lie, I haven't been 100% happy with the layout of my website, but now that I have the kick in the pants to make a better website I'm going all out and creating something pretty magical and beautiful. I can't wait to release it into the world. 

Day 26: Flea on Seventh. This awesome flea market is put on by one of my friends, Joyce who owns Vintage Green. Head over to this blog post to see more images and to learn more about Flea on Seventh. 

Day 25: Applying for our marriage licence (holy cow, this is getting real) Happy day 25! I love how easy it was to apply for our marriage licence. Everything was online, fill in the blanks, no blood test (which I think is crazy that some states still do them!) just have to wait three days to go to the courthouse to pick it up!

Day 24: Kids Day. I had the opportunity through work to volunteer for Coast Guard Festival Kids Day. It was a ton of fun! We handed out workshop kits to about 1,000 kids, seeing their faces light up was so rewarding! Although it was really my only day off in a 9 day stent, but it was really worth it. 

If you want to check out previous weeks, click here