When you get to photograph your college bestie’s wedding, it’s a really good day. Celeste and Jeremy’s Como Conservatory wedding last November was absolutely perfect for a November Minnesota day. No snow, actually warm for a November day, and no rain! I think we won. This was my first “destination wedding” and I’m actually glad it was in the Twin Cities because I think it’s similar to Detroit in a lot of ways.
This was my second trip to Minnesota in 2019 (we made three…Josh is from Rochester, Minnesota and we go there for Christmas), the first being Celeste and Jeremy’s Duluth engagement session. If you’re reading this from the land of ten thousand lakes (though I hear there’s more than that), I would love to go back. 🙂
It’s been a long time since I’ve photographed the wedding of a friend (cue first wedding I photographed), but it was so lovely to spend the whole day alongside Celeste, who I’ve known for nearly a decade. We met when we lived across the hall from each other during our sophomore year of college and both us and our roommates all shared an apartment and house our junior and senior years. If you look carefully in this blog post, you’ll find our roomie photo. It’s probably the only wedding blog post where you’ll find a photo of me! And you’ll see some photos of Josh who was with me!
Celeste and Jeremy were married at the church where they met, Hope Community Church in downtown Minneapolis. They shared an intimate first look on the balcony in front of stained glass windows. I think the emotion of the day was JOY. We headed down to the Stone Arch Bridge, which is an old pedestrian bridge that is one of the Twin Cities’ icons. Though it was super windy and chilly, it’s such a beautiful spot to take photos of the Minneapolis skyline. We also used some of the old mill ruins as a backdrop. I love the Twin Cities!
After a beautiful ceremony, the reception at the Como Zoo and Conservatory began. I think this was such a cool venue. They had the doors to the palm room open so you could walk through and all the windows overlooking the gardens would be gorgeous in the spring or summer.
When she was planning, Celeste told me they wanted to do some type of exit (they are fun duh!) but sparklers weren’t allowed. So I told her only a certain type of glow stick works well (the huge ones) and really streamers are your best bet! So they did that and I think the exit photos turned out beautiful!
Before 2019 gets away from me, I wanted to finish sharing the last of my 2018 images! Kaitlyn and Jacob were married on December 29, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Royal Oak and celebrated their reception at the Waterview Loft in downtown Detroit. This Waterview Loft wedding was complete with beautiful event design and a hopping party!
I think my favorite part of this wedding was that Kaitlyn and Jacob were able to visit the spot of their very first date, Ale Mary’s, after their ceremony. When I met Kaitlyn for the first time a year before their wedding, she had told me all about this very long first date and hinted that she kind of knew that this one was special. Ale Mary’s holds a special place in their relationship, so what a treat to be able to go back to where it all began on the first day of a new chapter.
After Ale Mary’s, we headed to downtown Detroit for photos and to catch the last glimpses of light on the Detroit River as the reception began. There’s nothing like a downtown Detroit wedding, I’ll tell you that!
From the bride: “Madalyn was an absolute dream, and I will never stop recommending her. She did our engagement and wedding and the entire planning process made me feel so at ease and excited at the same time. Not to mention, she sent us the cutest little package with treats and a handmade card for help to plan the wedding photos. The personal touches and individualized attention is beyond what you would ever get from the big guys. The candid authenticity of her photos is so dreamy, but she was also able to capture the more posed shots that I wanted as well. Madalyn, you’re amazing, Jake and I are customers for life!”
floral/event design: emerald city designs | cake: sweet heather anne | dj: pro dj services | hair: bridal beauty couture | makeup: blushed hair & make-up | gown: maggie sottero | paper: HSR graphics
Cheyenne and Tony’s Tina’s Country House and Gardens wedding was a long time coming and definitely worth the wait! On a slightly chilly early March day, they were married amongst their closest family and friends.
The first time I met Cheyenne was back in 2017 when my business was just taking off. Their son Chase was just a baby and I remember holding him as Cheyenne signed the contract. Now Chase is growing fast and their daughter Naomi has joined their beautiful little family! I think one of the most beautiful moments of the whole wedding was Tony’s reaction to Chase coming down the aisle. Second would probably be Tony and Cheyenne dancing with their children before they were off to bed.
One of the sweetest couples I’ve worked with, I have photographed Tony and Cheyenne twice before their wedding so they were ready for the camera. And honestly they’re naturals. It’s always clear to me why they’re together every time I see them!
They wrote their own vows for their ceremony and shared their promises to each other. The ceremony was followed by a lovely reception and some heartfelt words from their friends and Tony’s mom, who made a wonderful speech welcoming Cheyenne officially into the family.
After waiting a year and a half for this Tina’s Country House and Gardens wedding, I was sad to see it end, but luckily Tony and Cheyenne have promised to let me always take their family photos! 🙂
I love weddings in all seasons, even when it’s cold, rainy, and windy like it was on Robert and Elizabeth’s Pier Park Grosse Pointe wedding last December 1st. The weird weather didn’t stop them from having literally the best day. In fact, from the first look to the sparkler exit, they couldn’t stop smiling!
After getting ready separately, they meet right on Lake St. Clair in a gazebo for a first look. Despite the crazy wind and Elizabeth’s veil blowing right off, it was an emotional moment to witness. They exchanged gifts after a few portraits, Elizabeth giving Robert a journal of letters she wrote to him while they were engaged and Robert giving her the necklace she would wear the rest of the day.
After some bridal party photos, we headed to the church for their candlelit ceremony. Is there anything more romantic than a candlelit ceremony? I’ve decided there isn’t. When the vows were exchanged and the license signed, everyone headed back to Pier Park for the reception.
Let me tell you, this Pier Park Grosse Pointe wedding was a PARTYYY. The dance floor was full all night long and I got some of my favorite dance floor photos ever. See below. The bride and groom did what I think brides and grooms should do: they partied with their people in the way they wanted to! The party was so intense, the bride’s hair went straight up into a top bun.
The night was capped off with a sparkler send-off and Robert told the guests that were left that it was the best day he’d ever had. That means you’re doing it right.
Who doesn’t love a New Year’s Eve wedding? I definitely do! Brittany and Taylor celebrated with their friends and family, ringing in 2019 as part of their reception, at a Kensington Hotel wedding in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In Pure Michigan fashion, it rained the entire day and we had to scrap our plans of outdoor portraits, but that never upset these two. You may remember their wintery engagement session at Maybury State Park…they are absolutely adorable.
Right after the first look, Taylor just couldn’t stop looking at Brittany (who was a gorgeous bride) and couldn’t stop telling her how beautiful she looked. He couldn’t stop sneaking smooches either.
Luckily, the Kensington Hotel was perfect for an indoor first look and bridal party photos. But Josh and I really wanted to do something special and make sure we got photos somewhere else. So before the ceremony, Brittany and Taylor hopped in the car with us and we went over to Nickel’s Arcade, the perfect covered spot in Ann Arbor for rain (remember it was NYE so there wasn’t a lot of options indoors!), and I took some romantic portraits of them. It ended up working out really well because the Christmas lights were still up!
Their ceremony was at Trinity Lutheran Church, artfully decorated for Christmas, and at the end of the ceremony, Taylor just couldn’t stop kissing his bride! It was so sweet!
After the ceremony, we all headed back over to the Kensington Hotel for the reception. The room was beautifully decorated with uplighting from Bee Entertainment, who by the way kept the crowd on the dance floor pretty much all night long! The Christmas trees were still up which made for some beautiful bokeh in the dance photos.
Favorite parts of this reception? The chocolate fountain (a favorite of Brittany’s) and the countdown to midnight. It was so fun to watch everyone celebrate the new year while celebrating Taylor and Brittany! Before I became a wedding photographer, I thought NYE weddings were kind of weird, but I really enjoyed being a part of this one. It didn’t hurt that Josh came along as my second shooter for this one! It felt less like work to spend the night with him while still doing what I love.
Taylor and Brittany are two of the most genuinely nice clients I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Also they’re the cutest together. I’m glad they didn’t let some change of plans with the rain ruin their day and instead embraced that the day was about celebrating them!
I’ve now been to A LOT of weddings, most as a vendor and not as a guest. Each is different, even if it’s just slightly. But I think what always makes me happiest is when there is just an energy of excitement in the air. This was true for Shannon and Jimmy’s wedding at St. Anselm Catholic Church and Meeting House Grand Ballroom.
But back to why we’re here: they’re married! There was just an energy I could feel in each room at their wedding, that their large families were just SO excited for this moment. Shannon had warned me about this ahead of time, but I couldn’t help but feel so EXCITED myself! Let me just give a quick example. The grand entrance was just the bride and groom (usually it involves the bridal party). Shannon and Jimmy entered to the Space Jam theme song, and literally everyone was on their feet giving them high-fives as they made their way to the head table. Also, my favorite image from 2018 is of them entering…and usually I don’t like photographing grand entrances at all. But that moment, it just brings me back to the energy in the room and how pumped everyone was to be there celebrating this marriage. The Meeting House Grand Ballroom was a gorgeous spot to work and just the right amount of historical elegance for this wedding!
Not only did Shannon look like an absolutely classic, timeless bride (she’s gorgeous isn’t she? Also hello so much rose gold — which is just like my wedding and engagement rings), but she is also one of the kindest brides I’ve ever worked with…always asking my opinion and for advice. She was THE most organized and I kind of knew we’d get along really well from the first moment we met (isn’t that just the best feeling?). Jimmy is a goof ball, but he brings out the joy in Shannon…you can tell they have a ton of fun together. I just really like them, okay?
One of the most challenging parts of this wedding was to shoot the entire portrait session in the dark! Yes, that’s right, it was November and these two wanted to go traditional so there was no first look. It was DARK when we shot all the bridals and bridal party photos (the ones of them all together). It was also cold and had snowed (this didn’t happen for my December weddings haha!), so it was a winter wedding to me! I think it’s important to make sure that your photographer can handle something like this. When I told Shannon and Jimmy that we probably wouldn’t be able to get AS many shots as I usually get because it’s hard to set up lights at night and in the middle of a downtown, they didn’t worry. I think it was most important to get more candids of the day for them, so I tried to do that. I was nervous for the darkness, but more and more I fear it less and embrace what is given to me as a photographer. I think their portraits were pretty magical!
From the bride: “Madalyn has been a joy to work with in all aspects of wedding planning. Her willingness to answer emails (there have been a few from this nervous bride) and ability to make all the planning seem easy has been so reassuring. Working with her on our engagement pictures was awesome and we are so happy with all the choices and variety of shots. Her client portal and gallery are super easy to use and she promptly updates all information, such as invoices. We are so excited for her to shoot our November wedding and will update after the date. However, 10/10 would recommend her!!”