I met Maureen and Nick for the first time when we photographed their engagement session about a month before their big day! All of their initial booking plans took place with my office manager nine months prior, so not even having spoken with either of them personally, I was a little nervous when we did the photo shoot! What a pleasant surprise I was in store for that day in August! Maureen and Nick were two of the nicest people you would ever meet! We hit it off immediately! They were as happy as the sun was shining that day! I learned a little more about their love story, how they both were from the same town in Ohio, how their parents were friends before they met and introduced them, and now, engaged and soon to be married, they were starting their lives together in Michigan….it is a storybook kind of love! As a photographer who specializes in photographing love stories, I always get a “pre-taste” of the couple’s personalities and how they will be on their wedding day when I photograph them prior to the day. In Maureen and Nick’s case, the love they displayed easily in front of the camera, their huge smiles and happy-go-lucky personalities, I had no doubt that their wedding day was going to be outstanding!
The wedding day began for us at the same location it would conclude: the luxurious Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. Both myself and my second photographer, David, met up with the bride and groom respectively, in their hotel suites where they were surrounded by family and friends. When I arrived in Maureen’s suite, I found her, and all the ladies, in matching striped pajamas, finishing up their in-house hair and makeup appointments. Maureen found a few moments with her adorable flower girls to have them open their gifts from the bride-to-be! A buzz was in the air as they all changed into their dresses, helped Maureen into hers, and making final adjustments to her veil. Soon after, we were on our way! Waiting outside the hotel was an old fashion trolley to transport the wedding party to nearby Holy Name Catholic Church. The men were driven first and then it returned for the women. That way there would be no possible way for Maureen and Nick to see one another accidentally in the hotel lobby!
The ceremony was traditional from the beginning but with a twist at the end! Holy Name is one of those modern Catholic Churches where the pews form a semi-circle around the alter. It also has a choir loft that overlooks the congregation from the rear of the church. It was a wonderful and emotional ceremony…just as I expected it would be of this beautiful couple! One memorable moment was when Father Mike, a friend of the family, during his homily gave several meaningful gifts to the Maureen and Nick. Finally the pronouncement was made, the couple kissed, and they receded down the aisle as husband and wife! Followed by their wedding party, the couple returned to the front of the church to dismiss each row and receive their guests. As hugs and kisses flowed, the guests were treated to a surprise! Up in the choir loft, an African American Baptist-style Choir began singing “Oh Happy Day!” What a perfect compliment to the beginning of the marriage of one of the most positive, friendly and happy couples you’ve ever seen!
I joined the wedding party on the trolley after finishing up some portraits on the alter, and we headed over to a beautiful little park in Birmingham with a man-made waterfall for a backdrop to continue on with family and wedding party portraits. The September day was absolutely perfect! The sun was shining and the sky was blue with billowing white clouds! We headed back to the Townsend hotel to get ready for the cocktail hour, but had an extra stop for the couple: the old Birmingham movie theater was putting Maureen and Nick’s names on the marquee, congratulating them on their big day! We made a special trip there, being just a few blocks away from the Townsend, for a few photos, and then rushed back to join the guests enjoying cocktails outside the main ballroom!
The couple selected the Lynne Jordan Band, a fantastic band coming in from Chicago, Illinois! Everyone was on their feet for Maureen and Nick for the grand entrance, leading into the band then serenading the couple for their first dance. It was a great celebration, as good as I’ve seen all year! From the toasts by Maureen’s father, to the best man and maid of honor, and then by Nick himself in which he even honored a friend and groomsman who had been serving the country in the military! Just after his speech, there was an especially fun moment when Maureen surprised Nick with a custom made cake in the shape of a fish! Another special and unique moment that Maureen and Nick thought to do, was invite the oldest married couple to join them as they cut the cake! I can go on an on about this wedding, but I am going to bring it to a close. I’ll let the photos above and below do the rest of the talking! You can also enjoy the entire highlight slideshow set to music by clicking on the link >>>>>HERE<<<<<
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that this day could not have been the success it was without Birmingham’s finest wedding and event planner, Carolyn Hefner of The China Closet. My talented and good friend, Alex Bitoff, provided the video. Tecumseh Trolley provided transportation for the wedding party. Colonial Rental and Linens and Beyond provided the lavish ballroom decor. Sweet Savory made the cakes.