Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens

Fennville, MI
Fenn Valley Vineyards
Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens

Congratulations Tara and Caitlin!!

These two met at work, when Caitlin fell in love with Tara’s sweet dance moves and great personality. Their first official date was at Founder’s Brewing in Grand Rapids.

Did you miss their adorable engagement session at Founder’s? Please check it out here:
https://lookatthebiggerpicture.com/blog/founders-brewing-engagement

For the proposal, Caitlin was sneaky and invited Tara’s best friends to The Detroit Zoo during the holidays, making it look like it was their idea. Caitlin found the perfect spot in a somewhat secluded part of the zoo in front of purple Christmas lights (Tara’s favorite color), and Caitlin (in her very awkward manner) got down on one knee and proposed, not knowing that Tara also had an engagement ring waiting for her at home!

Their shared interests include Batman, craft beer, Harry Potter, and exploring new things together.

My favorite parts of their wedding day:
—Tara’s animated facial expressions- a photographer’s dream!
—They were so easy to shoot because they were laughing and interacting with each other the whole time!!
—We snuck off to the winery to get some really great shots and give them some alone time
—Tara’s veil. It glowed the whole sunny day!
—I love the Calcutt family! I got to see Erin (Caitlin’s sister) and Bryan, who I photographed over 4 yrs ago! I was so honored to continue to document new adventures in the Calcutt family.

—A huge thank you to Maria Lewis Photography for her talent, skill, fun personality, and knowledge of what is needed without me even saying anything. I absolutely adore working with her!

Tara and Caitlin are so fun and I loved this oh so much! Please enjoy the preview:

Advice for Brides From Brides

Hey all! The Knot is reviewing some weddings for a magazine edition and asked for their own questionnaire from past brides. After reading these, I thought it might be nice to pass on some of their advice for you. (I also asked some friends).

1. WHAT'S ONE THING YOU ARE GLAD YOU DID FOR/ON YOUR BIG DAY?
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    MAGGIE -  "#1 thing I was grateful for: trusting the experts to do their job. I let go of control.
This is specific to my beautiful photographer (THAT'S ME!!); she knew what to do, where to take us, and what needed to be done to make everything perfect, for us. I did not offer one comment or ask to do anything on my agenda, because I am not the visionary - she created memories for us that I could have never even dreamed of. Trust your people."

    CHRISTINA- "My absolute top two favorite moments were captured by our excellent photographer, Lisa Shaw. She was the only other person with me when I tapped Rodney on his shoulder for our first look. My heart felt like it was in my throat as he turned and looked at me...It was like we met again for the first time. We were both so joyful and giggly, which ultimately settled our anxiety of the big ceremony.  The other wonderful moment occurred in the chapel, when my father saw me in my gown for the first time. The room was full of smiles, tears, and sounds of "awww". But I felt like my father and I were the only people in the room. As much as I worried about every little detail coming into this day, I didn't think how many emotions were running through my dad as he prepared to present his youngest daughter to the man of her dreams. I don't like to use the term, "give away" because my dad would say "You aren't anyone's property, but you're still my little girl."

     TINA- "We whispered our vows to each other, which was extra special and something that our guests said made our ceremony unique and extra memorable. Even though we were asked about what was said specifically, the words will forever just be for us."

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HANNAH-"I would say our favorite part of the day was seeing each other for the first time as the ceremony began, but a close second would be all the dancing at the reception!"

    SHANNON- "Discussed with our photographer in advance ideas of where to go for photos. That way, we weren't milling around trying to figure out what we should do and wondering how much time we had left before we had to head to the reception hall."

     KAREN- "We had our ceremony at night. The church was lit by candles and it was beautiful, intimate, and so peaceful."

 

2. ANYTHING YOU REGRET?
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     MAGGIE-  "Honestly, nothing. I wish I had eaten more, lol!"

    TINA- "We did run into a vendor and potential officiant who would not do our wedding just because we’re both women, so for same-sex couples looking to get married in Michigan, we’d recommend making sure all of your vendors are open to working with anyone and everyone. We lucked out with our photographer (Lisa) and florist (Petit Fleur) who were just as excited as we were to be involved in a double-lady wedding so soon after gay marriage became legal all over the country. All of our vendors were awesome and we have nothing but great things to say about them."

     SHANNON- "Listening to everyone else about what song to choose for the Daddy-Daughter dance. I picked something sappy because that's what my female family members recommended. The dance was still special, but I think we both would have been more comfortable with something else."

      KAREN- "The assistant/ Day of Coordinator was supposed to help me get ready and she never showed up! I would recommend two people helping you get ready. There are always surprises."

 

3. ANY ADVICE TO BRIDES?
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     MAGGIE-  "See #1 ;)  My best advice is to remember this is a day for you to remember and enjoy. It is not a day to recreate every detail you’ve ever seen on Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, I had a vision. But allowing those around you to have fun, laugh, and just be there to be happy for you and enjoy the day WITH you, far surpasses whether or not anything happened on time or if your hair was perfect or if you had the right knife to cut the cake. Let the experts do their job so you can be carefree and happy.
You’ll regret not absorbing every moment of joy. You will not remember what color the napkins were."

    CHRISTINA- "One family tradition did sneak it's way into the wedding, which were Jordan almonds. The sugarcoating is added with the hope that the newlyweds' life will be more sweet than bitter.  Five almonds signify five wishes for the bride and groom: health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity."
AND----
"Do what the two of you want. You will hear opinions from your family and friends that can steer you away from your vision. Don't stress about what they will like/dislike. Instead focus on what will make YOUR day unforgettable. Ok one more piece of advice, don't cry over table settings. You're going to feel ridiculous about it later. Just sayin'. Best Wishes! Xo."

    TINA- "Eat throughout the day! Don't wait for the reception. Be grateful of how rare it is to get to be surrounded by so many people that you love and that love you. Try not to fidget during the ceremony and pictures (clasping your hands together helps), have back-up accessories, sleep as much as you can the night before, and make sure the bride (if she chooses to wear make-up) wears a lip stain instead of a lip stick…because it will get all over your spouse-to-be’s face.

      HANNAH- "My advice would be to take time to enjoy the day. It goes by so fast so really take it all in. Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s okay if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. At the end of the day the point is to celebrate your love and have fun!"

     SHANNON-  "Take a moment with your new husband, just the two of you. Take that second to just absorb everything and be in the moment with one another. For us, it was during introductions at the reception. We just hugged silently. As quickly as the day passes, it is a memory that sticks with you. :) Also - don't stress about anything the day of. If everything goes crazy but at the end of the day you're still happily married - that's all that matters! :)"
and--
"Small cakes as centerpieces, in an assortment of flavors. It was a fun way for people to interact with the centerpieces and each other (if you didn't want the flavor that was at your table, you made new friends by pilfering a piece from their table!)."

   KAREN- "If there's doubt, don't. Pretty much my advice for life. I don't buy the "cold feet" logic. Doubt shouldn't even be in your vocabulary. Also, let people over-love you and don't be disturbed by it. Let people help, and let them overstep. In the marriage, expect to not agree on everything. Be flexible. If you're rigid in your thinking, there will be so many unnecessary struggles." 
and--
"Since flowers are outrageously expensive, we went with this kind of stalk (ask your florist- they were pink and white), and the entire place smelled amazing!! I'm so glad we did that."


I hope this helped!  If you know anyone in the stages of planning, please share this!
Thank you so much for reading.

Coming sooon--- "How to NOT Feel Like an A**hole in Front of a Camera"!! (requested). 
If you have a request that I could cover in my newsletter, please contact me. I'd love to hear it.

Happy Planning,
Lisa

Rustic Barn Wedding-Sara and Holly

Conklin, MI

Congratulations to these lovely ladies!! I am so honored that I had the opportunity to capture this day for Sara and Holly. These beautiful ladies met in their residency program, were together for two years before the proposal, and ended up living in Alaska! They BOTH proposed. Holly chose Christmas day, a picnic and a walk in the woods. Sara chose a weekend away, at a B&B in Seattle. She "stumbled through her words", full of emotion. I love that they both had to propose.

I believe our initial consult was over the phone while they were camping. I knew I liked them right then and there. They are unsure where they will land after the bit in Alaska (maybe Hawaii?!!), but I am sure their adventures will be amazing and keep going strong.

The wedding day began in fun (and sun!! This was the hottest day of the year! Wowza) as the group was getting ready at the gorgeous farmhouse. Lots of jokes, funny faces, and silly times. 

My favorite part of the day was actually the exchanging of the vows. If I could get a copy of those words... So honest. So true to love. I don't usually get to pay attention, as I am shooting, but I just had to stop and listen. They each talked of humility, insecurities we all carry when joining hearts, comforting and nourishing those insecurities in each other, and the honesty of love. They talked about staying true to yourself, holding onto your inner strength and self-love when finding a partner to share your world. It was absolutely brilliant and heartfelt, and I am not doing their words justice. These intelligent and insightful women could easily have been writers. 

I am so happy for you both! Thank you for choosing me to tell your story. Here is a preview of the day...