08.06.11 – Dana and Robert – Inn at Bay Harbor (Bay Harbor, MI)

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There is just something about a destination wedding that provides the perfect ingredients for a documentary style wedding photographer like myself. I’ve done quiet a few over the years, and this is what I have experienced: family and friends travel great distances to participate in the celebratory event, it is a party atmosphere and reunion that lasts for three or more days, it usually happens in a resort somewhere near the water, with ample food, drinks and entertainment everywhere you turn. The excitement, fun and joy that I’ve experienced at destination weddings is like none other. By the time I arrive either at the rehearsal, or the wedding day itself, everyone is relaxed and happy! How could a photographer not find terrific moments to photograph? Not to mention, by the wedding day, everyone knows one another that they didn’t know before, and there is magic in the air! You can just tell if everyone is comfortable with one another by observing the dance floor during the reception. You usually find the dance floors of destination weddings packed, and people are more than ready to dance to the very end.

This fits the description of Dana and Robert’s wedding exactly! They had a big crowd travel to celebrate their beautiful day. Everyone was full of excitement, relaxed, and having a great time. I saw this from the moment I arrived at the rehearsal on Friday, through the very end as the dance floor was packed to very last dance. This setting surrounded the bride and groom. The love and support that surrounded them by their family and friends was incredibly evident as was the their love for one another! They are a great couple and very, very loved by all! Their wedding at the Inn at Bay Harbor was my second visit this year to this spectacular venue and I hope it is not the last! It is such a beautiful hotel and Bay Harbor is such a great little town right on the magnificent Lake Michigan.

When the wedding day finally came, I arrived early in the afternoon to find Dana, her bridesmaids, mother and future mother-in-law at the Spa. Dana was pretty much ready to get into her dress, so we headed up to her mother’s suite and Dana would soon be in white! After an hour or so of getting ready photos, I found Robert, his groomsmen, his father and future father-in-law, putting on coats and ties. Though it ended up being a very hot, Michigan August day, the ceremony was beautiful, held in a private setting enclosed on one side with a semi barrier of Indian Grass and stone-retaining wall; and on the other side, the shores of Lake Michigan. The ceremony was performed by Rabbi Seth Castleman. After the ceremony, family photos were posed overlooking the water, guests attended a cocktail hour, and then everyone moved indoors to the dining room for toasts, dinner and cake. There was a traditional wedding cake created by Petoskey’s Julienne Tomato’s, and it was surrounded by a variety of delicious fruit-filled pies, native to Michigan. Finally, the dancing began, with a terrific band called Collision Six, a very talented group from Detroit. They played a variety of music that kept everyone on the dance floor to the very end.

I left knowing that I had just photographed a very special day of a very special couple.

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