Our final week of “2017 recaps” is all about the focal point of my business- weddings. I’ve been photographing weddings since I was 15 years old (crazy, right?). 2017 we booked 40 weddings… FOURTY, four, zero. YES, 40. Insane… I know. We made an ad one day on Facebook hoping to book a few but a few quickly turned into 120 inquiries and 40 finalized bookings. I had the best year of my life and I’m not surprised because 17 has always been my lucky number. I had about 50 moments listed but I FINALLY narrowed it down to SOME of my favorite moments at weddings. This year was a year full of firsts and a year full of moments that I really think were caused by fate. Our 2017 couples were absolutely incredible.
These photos were captured by myself and my right-hand Nick Najduk. I could not have imagined this year, nor would I have ever wanted this year, without him by my side. I'm thankful that we crossed paths. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
Disclaimer: This isn’t my “favorite weddings” of 2017, this is just about some of my favorite moments to happen at a wedding creatively and emotionally!
1. Holland, MI Elopement
This is by far one of the best moments of my photo career. Micaela had originally booked me for a big wedding in September but after the chaos of planning, she ditched her venue and the first week of July we spontaneously drove to Holland, MI. They got married on a beach and we finished the night by having them say their vows in the water during sunset. It was the best, I love them, I loved this day.
2. Native American Ceremony
Brittany and Michael had SO much personality included in their wedding. Their ceremony was definitely one of my all-time favorites. Brittany and her father walked down the aisle as he wore traditional Native American attire. During the ceremony they included a few traditions in respect to their roots which included blanket wrapping by the mothers, singing in celebration by their guests and burnt offerings.
3. Foggy Chicago Wedding
Photographing a Chicago wedding was on my bucket list for years. The wedding was held in the heart of Chicago with a first look on the rooftop of their hotel. It was a rainy day which created fog that covered the top of the skyscrapers, the fog also helped create some of the best dress shots ever.
4. Back-lit Rain
This was one of our last weddings of the season. We managed to go the entire year without an absolute downpour but this one was a pretty rainy day. Nick and I absolutely love the rain and managed to photograph one of the COOLEST rain shots ever.
5. Beach Wedding
A beach wedding was also on my bucket list! The very first wedding of 2017 for me was on the opposite side of the state, ON A BEACH! I was so excited. It was the perfect wedding to start busy season.
6. Couch Bridal Portrait
Valerie was truly was one of coolest brides of 2017. She made sure that every single detail of her wedding was elegant and beautiful. Right before the reception she showed us this couch that she brought to the venue. I had her give me the best serious expression she could and this ended up being one of my favorite bridal portraits ever.
7. Bridesmaids Shot
Along with Valerie making sure every detail was flawless, Valerie’s bridesmaids had the most beautiful dresses. We were at Packing Proving Grounds in the warehouse that holds all of the old cars. The light was hitting just right and their expressions were perfect. Again, one of my favorite bridesmaids photos ever. This photo actually caused me to completely switch my editing style from bright to "dark & moody". This wedding was a creative turning point in my career.
8. Leaf Ringshot
It was the first weekend of fall and I had the bright idea to line the leaves up in color order. I didn’t know if anybody else would like this shot besides myself but then it got published on LooksLikeFilm!
9. Michigan Theatre
Stephanie + Jaryd’s wedding was an absolute dream for so many reasons. These two truly have the biggest heart for Detroit so we wanted to give them something special. We managed to get into the Michigan Theatre for their portraits, which isn’t super easy to do. This location was a beautiful theatre back in the day that closed down. Due to architecture reasons, the theatre cannot be demolished so they kept the original ceiling and made a parking garage instead. (Eminem has filmed videos in here before!)
10. Firework Shot
One of John’s must-haves for the wedding was fireworks… LOTS of fireworks. Like, a ton of fireworks. At the end of the evening they had a firework show for their guests. This photo was also special because John wasn't too big on photos but we knew that he might appreciate this shot.
11. Forest Ceremony
Becca, Chad and 6 of their family members went to a park and had the ceremony in the woods. It was intimate, low-key and getting married in nature is seriously the BEST. Get married in the trees, in the water, in the mountains… I don’t care just bring me.
This day started as a rainy one and continued for the first 20 minutes of the portrait session. After a few minutes the rain cleared and a rainbow appeared!! It was fate for us to be in that exact spot at that exact moment for photos.
13. Zumba Shot
Lacey is a zumba instructor and during the reception she led her class in Zumba! I love when couples add their own passions into their big days… and Lacey is seriously the best dancer ever. I’m not kidding.
14. Stella Down the Aisle
Jaryd walked down the aisle with Stella, their dog, IN A WEDDING DRESS. As Stephanie walked down the aisle Jaryd cried, I cried and I’m sure Stella was crying too.
15. Michael Singing
Michael is a musician and brought his band to perform the entire reception! He started the evening by singing to Brittany a love song her wrote for her. The rest of the reception he sang is heart out to Outkast while guests danced and sang along. Seriously, live bands are the best!
16. Ms. New Booty
So once dancing started, I don’t think Tara ever got off of the dance floor. When Ms. New Booty came on - Tara and her Mom RAN to each other to dance. It was the funniest moment at a reception ever… also I want Tara at every wedding reception.
During Emily’s first dance with her father, he sang her childhood lullaby to her. Dad moments always make me cry like a baby and this one was definitely not an exception.