I first received a phone call just over a year ago from Christie, who was calling me from California. She was originally from Michigan and planning her wedding long distance. Because she was up in northern California, it was impossible for us to meet in person, so we spoke over the phone in length about her wedding, the ceremony and venue locations, and my style. It is happening more and more frequently these years, many of my clients are booking me over the phone without meeting in person. Years ago, this would have made me nervous because it does help to establish a relationship with the couple before the wedding day. But like the example of this wedding, not having met Christie and David in person, had no effect on my being able to capture the kind of memorable moments and beautiful, documentary-style imagery! I think that this is because my style requires very little interaction with the bride and groom on the day of the wedding. My job is to be unobtrusive and blend into the background, to be a soulful observer and allow the day to unfold without my prompting. The story is not mine to tell, but the couple’s.
I began with photographing Christie at her parents’ beautiful home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she had her hair and makeup done. David was met by my second photographer, David Yarnall, for getting ready photos at the site of the ceremony: Cranbrook House and Gardens. After a short drive from her house to Cranbrook, Christie got into her wedding dress. The wedding ceremony took place outside on the grounds of the estate. Cranbrook is one of southeastern Michigan’s jewels. The estate is on the premises of one of the midwest’s most prestigious, private high schools. It reminds you of another time and place, set back on a long winding driveway, overlooking rolling hills and greenery, tranquil and peaceful, surrounded by luscious gardens, expansive pools, fountains, and statues. There are a few estates in the area from some of the auto magnates of Detroit’s formative years, each with their own charm, but Cranbrook is one of a kind. It is a beautiful location for a wedding! I have photographed here several times, and look forward each time to my return.
After the ceremony, we spent a few minutes walking around the gardens for some portraits of just the bride and groom. It was a hot, humid day, and often in such high humidity, showers are soon to follow. We finished just in time as the drops began to fall and were able to enjoy a two hour break before heading over to the Townsend Hotel for the reception. If the theme of this wedding was sophistication and elegance, the Townsend Hotel was the perfect match to compliment the Cranbrook Gardens ceremony. Stately, and with European, old world charm, the Townsend is a beautiful venue. It is a favorite stop for celebrities and guests of distinction in beautiful downtown Birmingham. With a jazz band to set the tone during cocktail hour and dinner, toasts by the Best Man and Maid of Honor, the evening was underway. After dinner, the D.J. replaced the band to to get the party started. Let me tell you: this was some party! Everyone was on the dance floor from the moment the dancing began, and was still going strong when I left toward the end of the night.