Originally, I had scheduled a trip to Italy over the first couple of weeks in July and was turning down wedding inquiries to allow for my calendar to stay clear and enjoy two weeks abroad! Ironically, within days of deciding to postpone the trip until December, I received Tanya and Nick’s inquiry for their July 11th wedding at the Detroit Athletic Club. I am so happy that the timing worked out! You will see from the photos above and below, that it is the perfect Ray Anthony-style wedding! Rich with tradition, close family ties, and a fun and emotional bride and groom – perfect for a documentary-style wedding photographer like myself!
Interestingly, the last Michigan wedding I had photographed just a month before this event, was also at the DAC! Arriving there that Friday afternoon to begin photographing Tanya and the girls getting ready I had a very real sense of déjà vu! When I met Tanya she was pretty much ready to go, other than actually getting into her dress. She was surrounded by family and friends in one of the executive meeting rooms, so I was able to stay on the outer perimeter and photograph a few meaningful moments just prior to everyone heading over to Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church for the ceremony. Tanya was radiant and was obviously very excited with a permanent smile on her face! You can see some of these moments below with the girls helping her into her dress, her dad seeing his daughter (transformed into a bride) for the first time, as well as a parting toast!
Arriving at Ss. Peter in Paul, I immediately became aware of the beautiful sunlight that was beaming down upon the scene of the arriving bridal party being chauffeured to the church in a typical wedding-day party bus. To augment this beautiful summer day, the sky was animated with awesome billowing cloud formations. The plan for Tanya and the girls was to stay on the bus until it was time for the processional. Having a few minutes to get myself ready – and having the luxury of knowing my second photographer (David Yarnall) was already inside the church and photographing the arriving guests – I saw the opportunity to capture a cinematic style entrance for the bride. This photograph is the one shown at the top of this blog post! The crosses silhouetted against the sky on top of the church, the sun in perfect position to back-light the girls leaving the bus and walking toward the church, and the phenomenal cloud-filled sky above gave me the inspiration to position myself for what definitely will be among my top photos captured this year! Call it luck, coincidence, or maybe even a small miracle, I am awestruck by the cross-shaped cloud formation that makes this moment captured even more meaningful and special! I did not see this when photographing the scene, and “NO”, it was not added by Photoshop!
The wedding ceremony was Christian Orthodox – definitely one of my favorite types of religious ceremonies to photograph. What I love about the various Christian Orthodox wedding ceremonies (Greek, Russian, Coptic, Antiochian, etc.) is the very rich and meaningful traditions performed, and the beautiful and colorful churches filled with the beautiful iconography. One other benefit is that – for such a traditional church – the Christian Orthodox always allow for a tremendous amount of freedom for photographers to move around and capture great compositions! Check out some of these images below! I absolutely love how the priest stopped the couple at the beginning of the pews before moving them down to the alter of the church! I love the compositions so much! Capturing the natural light coming in from the door and wrapping around the priest and the couple is so unusual and unique! I have not captured ceremony photographs quite like this before!
After the ceremony ended, wedding license signed, the bride and groom were greeted by their guests outside the church as they made their way through a gauntlet of sparklers! We made our way back inside the church to finish up family and wedding party portraits and then headed back to the Detroit Athletic Club for the evenings celebration! I will allow the photos below tell the rest of the story; however, there is one unique surprise that Tanya had prepared for Nick that has to be shared! Tanya had learned how to play the electric guitar over the last several months leading up to their wedding without Nick knowing about it! Her girlfriend, who is seen in the photos below, sang the song while Tanya surprised Nick (and everyone else as well!) by playing along side with the electric guitar! I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed a surprise like this in my twenty-two years of photographing weddings! That moment as well plenty of other truly great moments throughout the day can be seen in the images above and below this post! Also, if you would like to see the entire collection of highlight images of this beautiful wedding, check out the couple’s highlight wedding day slideshow by clicking >>>>>HERE<<<<<