Chris and Mark’s wedding was one of those weddings I had a little extra excitement for (not that I am not excited about all my bookings!) the minute I received word that I was selected to be their photographer! For a couple of reasons: they were participants of two other weddings that I had photographed, so I knew I’d be seeing some former friends standing up at the wedding, and this wedding was going to be up in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan – a destination that I knew would provide a wonderful backdrop for some great photographic moments.
What makes this wedding so unique is that the ceremony took place at Chris’ family’s longtime owned cottage on nearby Long Lake – about a thirty minute drive from downtown Traverse City. This is where I began the day photographing the couple getting ready. Chris and the girls were at the family cabin, waiting for my arrival. They already had their hair and makeup done earlier in the day back in Traverse City, so all that was left was for Chris to get into her wedding dress. Mark and the guys were dressed and ready as well, waiting for me to walk over next door at the neighbor’s house. Soon after, the couple wanted to have a private “first look” of seeing each other prior to the ceremony. This would allow for us to get a jump start on all the family and group portraits that were required that day.
Conveniently located between these two homes was the location for the ceremony. It was a serene setting, situated on the grass, among tall pine trees and along the lake shore. The chairs were already set up, as wells as a trellis for the nuptials with the idyllic lake view behind it. We completed much of the group portraits and Chris, Mark and their wedding party went back to each of their respective houses to get ready for their cues to begin the ceremony. In the meantime, their guests began arriving en masse via shuttle busses. It was absolutely a beautiful August day for an outdoor wedding ceremony! The sky was blue and the sun was shining! Soon the ceremony was underway!
Chris and Mark chose two very close friends to be their officiants. Because of this, it was one of the more memorable ceremonies I have witnessed. Two Dr. Suess books were used to impart words of wisdom to the soon-to-be married couple (you can see the books in one of the portraits below!). In addition, Chris and Mark selected a handful of friends to come up to the alter and share a variety poems and words of encouragement. One by one, each would come up and speak to the couple! Finally, the pronouncement of the happy couple becoming officially “husband and wife” was made, the traditional first kiss followed, and down the aisle they came to the delight of their families and friends! It was a meaningful and beautiful ceremony to say the least!
Following the ceremony, the couple was toasted by the officiants in front of all their guests. There were refreshments served and soon everyone was shuttled back to Traverse City for the reception at the City Opera House. The wedding party was picked up in a classic trolley car and we had a stop to make in between the two locations. One of Chris’ bridesmaids saw a sunflower field on her way to the lake and thought it might make for a great backdrop for some additional portraits of Chris, Mark and the wedding party! The consensus decision was made to see what it looked like, and was she ever right! The trolley stopped in front of this beautiful sunflower field with literally acres of sunflowers! You can check out a couple of the portraits below or view the entire selection of highlight favorites on a slideshow by clicking >>>>>HERE<<<<<
The final stop of the day was the City Opera House of Traverse City. It is a unique and historical setting for a reception. There was a stage for the band to perform, a dance floor area in front of the stage and tables arranged in a semi-circle around the dance floor. There was a balcony as well with fixed seating for live performances, but I was able to use this for some interesting wide angle photos from above and a large group photo of all the guests. The grand entrance began with each couple from the wedding party being introduced as they walked across the stage and down the stairway to the dance floor. Chris and Mark were the last to be introduced and they went straight to the cut the cake before being seated for toasts.
The rest of the evening was filled with dancing, fun photos at a photo booth and plenty of food and drink! It was absolutely a wonderful and story-filled day! I love the results and you can see some of my most favorites above and below. The day could not have been the success it was, however, without some top notch wedding vendors. They include:
Bloom Floral Design – Florist
Deep End Films – Videographers
Collision Six – Band
Catering By Kelly’s – Catering
Zingerman’s – Cake
Happy Days Photography – Photo Booth