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A Backyard Wedding on Orchard Lake

Joe and Taylor’s Intimate Backyard Wedding.

Wedding during the time of Covid-19 certainly are interesting and memorable. Years of planning, thousands of decisions, and hundreds of hour of gleeful anticipation turn out to be fruitless as officials change the landscape for social gatherings on a near weekly basis. As the saying goes, “every cloud has a silver lining” and Covid is no different. It has given us pause from our hectic lives. It has given us the opportunity to slow down, sleep in, nurture ourselves and our relationships, and reflect on what truly matters in life. As more and more couples plan intimate backyard weddings, the initial disappointment of abandoning their original plans is replaced by a casual, laid-back excitement as priorities are reassessed. The stress over minute details is replaced with meaningful keystones that will long be remembered and cherished, like “will grandpa be able to be there?”

Couples are taking great strides to make everyone in their circle feel welcomed and appreciated. Ceremonies are being live streamed. Zoom calls are set up throughout the cocktail hour and reception. Even drive-by or parking lot receiving lines are welcomed substitutes for family and friends to show their love and support.

In short, it has been interesting and insightful. I think Covid weddings are analogous to life, love, and marriage. Things change, you adjust. Priorities are reassigned, optimism reigns. Love conquers all.

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Taylor and Joe planned their wedding three times, each time adjusting to the new Covid guidelines. When the final decision was made to have a backyard wedding at a beautiful lakefront house on Orchard Lake, Tim from Timothy Scott Films and I asked if we could come scout the location. Part of this is so we can do our homework, troubleshoot any potential lighting scenarios, and begin the creative process of inspiration. Part of this is to also offer Taylor, Joe, and their families any support we can. Needless to say, a lot of emotions go into a wedding; we wanted to make sure we did our part to make Taylor and Joe’s backyard wedding fun, beautiful, and memorable. While we couldn’t give our usual goodbye hugs, it was reassuring to see Taylor and Joe smiling and unphased by the venue change as we left.

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The morning of Taylor and Joe’s backyard wedding was perfect. The forecast (an ever changing gamble here in Michigan) was calling for 68 degrees and partially cloudy – perfect for any outdoor wedding, particularly in June. As Becky and I knocked on Taylor’s door, a group of warm-hearted and friendly women welcomed us in. While everyone was relaxing and getting ready, we got to work, photographing nothing but smiles as Taylor got ready.

The more Taylor got ready, the more angelic she looked. Elegance never looked so good.

On the way to the first look with Joe, we stopped at her parents’ house to share a first look with her dad. He was beaming with pride and delight.

Next, it was time for Joe to see his bride. Joe was calm and jovial as he waited to see Taylor for the first time. Like her dad, Joe never stopped smiling once he saw Taylor.

orchard lake backyard wedding

After some portraits of Joe and Taylor on the property, they took a moment to exchange wedding gifts for each other.

orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding

As guests started to arrive, Joe and Taylor made their way inside. One of the best parts of a backyard wedding is the newfound significance the house has in the couple’s lives. I told Joe, “You know the cool thing about this is, everytime you come back you will be reminded of your wedding. Where you said your vows, where you danced…basically your parents can never sell this property now.” He agreed with a chuckle as we both stood looking at the wedding arbor. As guests started to take their seats, supportive neighbors lined the shoreline in their boats and late honked as Joe and Taylor walked down the aisle as husband and wife.

orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding

The wedding arch was a beautiful addition and focal point to the already gorgeous backdrop. All of the flowers and decor were designed and created by Emerald City Designs.

This is always one of my favorite moments in a wedding. It is the first moment after the formality of the wedding is done, when the bride and groom can be themselves and celebrate the fact that they just got married. I laughed behind my camera as I saw Joe show his excitement.

orchard lake backyard wedding

Joe and Taylor had a long line of support behind them, literally. Guests who couldn’t attend the wedding waited outside in their cars to spend a few moments with them at the end of their driveway to wish them well.

orchard lake backyard wedding

As guests were enjoying cocktail hour, I had a few minutes to snap a few more images of Joe and Taylor.

Guests took their seats as parents took the stage. Compliments and insights into the journey and love between Taylor and Joe were shared. Of course, a few jokes and stories made their way in the speeches too.

As night fell, Taylor and Joe took to the dance floor for their first dance, followed by their parents. Soon, everyone joined in and some even fluttered near the pool.

orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding

To conclude their backyard wedding, Joe and Taylor put on a fireworks show for their guests and neighbors. It was the perfect way to celebrate the perfect day.

orchard lake backyard wedding
orchard lake backyard wedding

June 23, 2020

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