TRADITIONAL PARTY - Nikki was feted in celebration of her 18th Birthday by Family and Friends in downtown Detroit, at the Courtyard Marriott, across the street from the Renaissance Center. The weather outside was cool and drizzly, but the atmosphere inside was warm and festive.
Black and Gold were the theme colors and they were sprinkled in combination on the paper goods (invitations, itinerary, menu), linens (table cloths, napkins, seat slipcovers) and food (special order cake and appetizers).

THE EVENING - The evening’s itinerary consisted of The Grand Entrance, The Blessing, The Dinner, 18 Roses Dance, 18 Candles Cake, Cake Cutting and the dancing. There were many touching, memorable moments: the Celebrant’s dance with her Dad, as her Mom looked on with tearful pride; the slide show made by her sister of her growing-up years; the Celebrant’s funny gestures during her grand entrance; the many jokes shared by close family and friends. Family and friends had traveled to downtown Detroit to be a part of this day. They hailed from Chicago, Texas, England (U.K.) and Canada.
It was a wonderful party, hosted by loving parents, for a beautiful girl, to celebrate a milestone in her life, and the love and good wishes were palpable in the atmosphere. Congrats and Happy Birthday!

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CARVED HEARTS - The Bride and Groom fun and creative. They wanted their day to be entertaining for everyone and included small touches so their guests could relax, enjoy, and of course, party. At their reception, guests were guided to sign wooden hearts that were slid into a glass frame, in lieu of a sign in book. They were then directed to pick up their escort cards and upon entering the dining room, were asked to fill out “Date Night” ideas on Popsicle sticks. A candy table was set up after dinner and guests were invited to fill mini burlap bags with stamped with the saying “Love is Sweet.” Gifts to the Bridesmaids included sterling silver necklace with an infinity pendant to represent all of the friendship, love and support they have given.

BIRCH TREE CAKE - To emphasize their love of the outdoors, the Bride and Groom had a cake made to look like birch logs from a tree. They had their names in a heart put in the middle as if it was carved in the tree. (Too cute!) Accompanying the cake were cupcakes in chocolate, vanilla and raspberry.

FAMILY CENTERPIECES - The Bride and Groom had an Uncle help in creating centerpieces for each table. Flat pieces of stump acted as the tray and small branches were cut, sanded, and engraved with the table numbers. The tray also held two mason jars: one for a candle and a larger one for flowers.

LOVELY RAIN - It rained intermittently in the afternoon. Their spirits couldn’t be dampened by the rain even if their post-wedding photo session could have been longer. Big smiles were presented for most of the photos, but there is one photo of the Bride, looking at the Groom, with a small contented smile, and that is my favorite. It is the tell tale sign of true happiness.

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WE ALMOST USED A PROP RING - Her ring had been sent to get customized and sized, and we weren’t sure we would have it for this session. He surprised her, by expediting the process and having it ready, when I asked her if she wanted to wear a stand-in I had brought. (Such a nice guy!)

HAPPINESS REIGNS - These two terrific people are one of the happiest couples I have had the chance to meet and photograph. There is always a smile or joke forming, and the session we had was so much fun!
When I asked them to use the chalk boards to write a comment about each other, I got “Beauty” and the “Beast”. I couldn’t stop laughing when they showed me who the words matched up to. It was a testament to their playful relationship.

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COURTSHIP AND LOVE - Nicole had started a journal, of their courtship, when Michael was deployed overseas. It was her wedding day gift to Michael. Her thoughts (ideas and dreams) as they waited to be together again, were documented on papers (sometimes in collage form) with humor and affection. The groom was presented with this memento before the ceremony started.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES - We had a chance to take photos before the ceremony of the bride and groom, separately. But, after the ceremony, when we did the portrait session, it was something different: so much better. While they smiled for the cameras before the wedding (each person sequestered in their own rooms) the smiles they gave us after the ceremony were totally remarkable. You can see it in the photos. They were better versions of themselves when they were together.

HONOR AND DUTY - Michael’s brothers from the Marines, stood as an honor guard, as the couple exited the church. A special message from Michael’s best friend was sent via Skype because he was still stationed overseas. He had planned on being Michael’s Best Man before duty to his country had intervened. He wanted to be a part of the special day and his message was received shortly after dinner. It was a reminder of the personal sacrifices personnel in the military make, for the well-being of our country.

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THE COUPLE - Abby and Chad are one of those couples that look so right together. They complement each other so well and have known each other for a long time. Their ease with each other even had Abby teasing Chad at the engagement session as we walked to the parking lot. (The relationships where everyone is at ease are the best!)

PALETTE OF BLACK AND WHITE - Abby's likes things are simple but refined. She chose a strapless gown with a jeweled waist and a pair of kitten heels paired with an ivory pashmina scarf for warmth. Her bridesmaids wore black halter-style dresses from David's Bridal. Black ribbons accented the reception chairs, wedding cake and take-aways for the guests.

THE PRETZELS - The pretzels were made by Abby's Grandma and they are from a traditional German family recipe. They were the take-away each guest received at the reception. They were packaged in cellophane, a black ribbon and with a 'Thank You' message. They were also present for snacks along with fruit and sandwiches when the Bride and her Girls were getting ready.

EN ROUTE - On their way from the Church to the Reception, the bridal party and immediate family made a pit stop to The Village Tap (a small local pub in Manchester, Michigan). The group brought a silver trophy cup, of some significance, to drink from and they started the celebration in style.

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GOLD & BLACK & JAZZ - The Bride was described affectionately by her Dad as the type of person who sings at the "top of her lungs". So it's only fitting that the theme she chose for her wedding was Black, Gold and Gatsby.

THE BRIDE - To accent her lace overlay dress, the bride wore Badgley Mischka open-toe silk pumps in cream and an antique broach, with a blue stone, on her garter. Tucked into her bouquet were two sparkling hearts. Her Bridesmaids wore noir infinity dresses accented with sparkling gold or black heels.

MARRIED LIFE - After the ceremony, the Bride and Groom slipped away for some photos. Being November, it was chilly. While setting up a photo, the Groom casually slipped his jacket off and wrapped his Bride in it to keep her warm. 

EVENING FESTIVITIES - The Bridal Party stepped out of the Reception at the end of the evening to light heart-shaped paper lanterns and share a special wish with the new Mr. & Mrs......Then, they went inside for more food and fun!

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CELEBRATING IN STYLE - Their wedding was full of D-I-Y elements. The main aisle in the Church was adorned with white branches holding crystal and chrome elements with twinkling lights and candles. The bridesmaids were dressed in shades of purple and were coordinated with the ties and squares of the groomsmen.

FIRST LOOK - Their First-Look photo session was scheduled at the Cass River Park Trail Bridge. The Groom arrived early and waited for his Bride. The Groom surprised his Bride by wearing leopard print socks to match her leopard print ankle strap sandals. She was thrilled and couldn't stop smiling and laughing.

ROMANTIC DETAILS - The Groom had their wedding date inscribed inside the ring. On the front of his Tungsten ring, is a fingerprint from the Bride. During the ceremony, the Bride and Groom braided three cords as a symbol of binding love.

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AUGUST HAZE - On a hazy August day, we caught up with Abby and Chad for some engagement photos. It was quite humid that day, and Chad had to wear a tie for some of the photos, but he didn't sweat it! (Okay, corny joke! But as I sit here, I am typing this with a smile, so it was amusing, if only to myself!)

GETTING TO KNOW YOU - They weren't sure what to expect, but after reviewing some feedback on the back of the camera, we were able to determine the types of photos they liked. That is one of the best things about an Engagement Session; the couple gets to express how they like to see themselves. This helps so much when we do the wedding photos. 

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ABOUT TOWN - Currently residing in New York, the Bride wanted to bring her Groom home to Michigan for their wedding celebrations with family and friends. The Groom's family and friends traveled from the New York to Frankenmuth, Michigan.

BESPOKE STYLE - The Bride had her headpiece and the adornments for the Bridesmaids handmade. The Groom and his Groomsmen wore custom squares and rosette boutonnieres. To round out the custom pieces, the men's summer suits were from Express and the Bridesmaids' coral dresses were from David's Bridal. The Groom's Sister is a terrific baker and created the wedding cake and all of the desert pies. 

WEATHER PLANS - The plan had been to leave down an aisle of sparklers held by family and friends to their getaway car, but the weather had other ideas. As the Bride and Groom dodged rain drops and the crowd braved the elements, the laughter and fanfare was not dampened. The happiness and collective good wishes of everyone for the Newlyweds could be felt, because plans may change, but love is forever.

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A WEEKEND OF CELEBRATION - The Bride and Groom planned to add to the excitement of the July 4th weekend (July 4th was a Friday) by having their wedding July 5th! Having relocated to Seattle, WA, for work, they knew this would be a great time to get together with all of their family and friends in Michigan. I had the pleasure of joining this celebration to capture the beautiful moments of this gorgeous event.

.....AND THEY WORE - The Bridesmaids wore sea glass green silk dresses from J. Crew. The Bride had vintage heirloom pins from her grandmother in her hair and an heirloom handkerchief sewn into the underside of the Enzoani wedding gown. The Bride wore a matching Enzoani belt and cerulean Enzo Angiolini blue pumps. Slipped on before we went to the ceremony, she had a garter from her alma mater, University of Michigan.

For a casual summer vibe, the Groomsmen wore blue-grey vests, beige pants and checked bow ties. The Groom wore a beige suit, blue-grey vest and a wrist watch the Bride had given him for his birthday.

ATTENDING ATTENDANTS - The weather was perfect and the mood was light and playful. The wedding attendants were totally attentive! As we were doing portraits on East Main Street after the ceremony, they went off to grab the Bride and Groom deli sandwiches from down the street.

AS SPECIAL AS THE PEOPLE YOU SHARE IT WITH - Some couples save the top of the cake for their first year anniversary celebration, so it was not unusual to see it taken away once the cake cutting was done. Lauren and Maxwell had something better planned. The next day, they brought the top of their cake to their grandmother, who was unable to physically attend the wedding, and created another special moment, by sharing a part of their very special day with her.

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THEMES & TRADITIONS - The Bride and Groom chose a Mardi Gras theme with shades of pink and gold for their June wedding. With lots of personalized details (Mardi Gras masks, beads with escort cards, roses or rose petals where ever possible) and sentimental traditions (warming the rings, wedding cake pull charms and wish lanterns) it was a beautiful event. It was terrific wedding and the photos show the thoughtful detail for the event. 

THE FRIENDLY STREETS OF BIRMINHAM, MI - As chance would have things, the co-owner of Rojo’s Mexican Bistro graciously helped us cross the street after a few pictures in front of Birmingham theater. She was so moved by the fact that Sam and Kyle had just gotten married (an hour ago) and were on their way to the reception, that she invited the whole bridal party in for a round of margaritas. What a nice memory for Sam and Kyle: their first drink as husband and wife was at Rojo’s.

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IN THE DETAILS - The Bride chose purple for her color and it was seen in the ceremony programs, all of the wedding flowers and ribbons, the Bridesmaids’ dresses, the scroll design on the wedding cake, the table linens,  the groomsmen’s ties, her shoes, the garter and the flip-flops she gave to her Bridesmaids’ for dancing! It was all very coordinated and beautiful! 

WARM WISHES - Wishing Katie and Tyler all of the best in their life together! They are warm, funny and kind. Their wedding was a beautiful (and coordinated) reflection of them.

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I had the pleasure of being a guest at the beautiful wedding A, to her sweetheart, K. 

CLASSIC MEETS CONTEMPORARY – The color scheme of the wedding was crisp navy blue with creams and pinks highlighted with silver. The blues set a foundation in the menswear, bridesmaids’ dresses and sheer organza reception table cloth overlays. The pinks and creams were presented in the floral arrangements, stationary, Wedding Cake and dessert table candy bar.

CEREMONY AND SPARKLE – The Bride arrived in a vintage Cadillac and was escorted down the aisle by her father. After the ceremony, guests moved to the tent for the reception. Five crystal chandeliers adorned the middle of the tent to add sparkle. It was a charming day filled with gentle breezes, family, friends and beautiful wishes for the happy couple.

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AT THE PARK - On one of the first warm days of spring, I had the opportunity to capture-the-moment in an engagement session for K and J. But, this was no mere engagement session. What unfolded could only be termed a "Styled Engagement Session" because their stylist friend, Camelle had brainstormed some terrific styling ideas.

MOVING IN - The laundry list of items brought include the following: 2 foot stools, a cow hide rug, a 3-foot picture frame, 2 suitcases, 2 flower arrangements, 2 lanterns, a record player in the case, a vintage camera, bowls and assorted bow ties, head bands and pins from her collection. (Did I forget anything?) And the Groom-To-Be also brought along his own acoustic guitar. I am sure other people in the park thought that we were moving in!

SO MUCH FUN - J and K were easy-going, funny and fabulous! They even trekked to the car a few times to change clothes. This may sound like a large production, but it was actually one of the most enjoyable, relaxed engagement sessions I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. And, I know you can see in the photos, that as a collaborative experience, it was a total success!

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Close female family and friends feted The-Bride-To-Be with a Bridal Shower on one of the first warm days in April.

THE THEME - The theme of the Bridal Shower was Cherry Blossoms and guests were encouraged to wear something pink to the Bridal Shower. The-Bride-To-Be wore a white tulle skirt nipped at the waist with a polished gold bow belt matched with sleek ankle strapped heels: Sweet and Sophisticated.

THE CAKE - There was no groom present, but there was cake! At the suggestion of the wise and experienced, The-Bride-To-Be was encouraged to ‘feed’ a slice of cake to her attendants as practice for the real thing (sharing cake with her groom on the wedding day) and it had guests in stitches.

THE EATS - The menu included tuna and chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls with various fruit, pasta and vegetable salads, and three kinds of soup. For dessert a three tiered cake decorated with the pink cherry blossom theme was served.

Friendship, love and laughter! It was the perfect recipe for an afternoon gathering, of family and friends, helping to set up one of their own, on her wedding journey. Lovely!

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Mini Photo Session After the Bridal Shower

An impromptu photo session happen as we were outside getting some fresh air after the main events of the Bridal Shower finished. As her Bridesmaids cheered and offered words of modeling inspiration, the Bride-To-Be gamely participated in this mini photo session. It's not everyday you get to wear a tulle skirt, so when you do, you need photos!

IT WAS 10 DEGREES OUTSIDE - I had the pleasure of working with some brilliant ladies for a styled shoot on the morning of February 15th. It was 11 degrees Fahrenheit and the flowers literally froze on the shoot. (To simulate this, put a flower into the freezer for an hour and pull it out!)

OUT TALENTED TEAM - Our wonderful stylist Naree (from Northern Bloom) brought everything to our snow covered location. She arranged all of the settings and flowers and carried the table out herself! Our fearless model, Mikayla, visibly shivered through the shoot until we insisted she go back in the car to warm up. 

YUP, IT WAS COLD! - I think all of our fingertips were numb by the end of the session! But the photos were worth it! Take a look and let me know what you think.

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THE HIGHLIGHTS - Emily had her Bridal Shower on Sunday January 26, 2014. Friends and family braved the snow and cold to shower Emily and Zac with love. There hadn't been much snow until an hour before the event started. Then, it came down. 

THE EVENT SUMMARY - After eating and playing a few games (the guest that won the Purse Game had a toddler's toilet seat in her diaper bag - the things Mom's will do to help their children!) Zac, Emily's fiance, arrived to help unwrap the gifts. This is the time, in a woman's life, where she will be so happy to see pillows,cutting boards and dish towels! Congrats to the happy couple!

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