Love stories, visually told.

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Mari Vineyards, Blue Bridge Event Center Wedding

Every once in a while, I will work with a “yes” couple. These turn out to be the best weddings in so many ways – from the experience to the photos. From the very beginning, Jacqueline and Matt were a “yes” couple. Perhaps THE “yes” couple, always saying yes to my ideas and suggestions. During our phone consultation, they said “yes” to booking me, without ever even meeting me. When I suggested we squeeze in their engagement session the night before their friends’ wedding while they were in town, it was an easy “yes.” When I suggested we mix up their wedding day locations to include Mari Vineyards in Traverse City and move some things to make it happen, it was a “hell yes!” As a result, the photos are this amazing and incredible reflection of their relationship and beauty, all displayed on their wedding day.

A little bit about the photos…somewhere, many blogposts ago, I mentioned that one of my photography goals is to shoot an entire wedding and deliver the photos only in black and white. I think this medium is incredibly powerful in heightening emotions, simplifying environments, and is timeless in its aesthetic. It is what I grew up shooting. I love it. Much to my surprise, Matt mentioned during their engagement session that he read my blogpost about my love of black and white photography. “Dude, Jack and I were soooooo close to signing up to be your first all black-and-white wedding couple.”

In honor of our mutual love of black-and-white photography, their entire blog is in black-and-white.

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Matt and Jacqueline started their wedding day at the beautiful Mari Vineyards, one of Traverse City’s best and most architecturally stunning vineyards. Jacqueline got ready downstairs in the cellar with the help of her mom.

Mari Vineyards
Mari Vineyards wedding

As soon as I saw the unique backdrop and lighting in the cellar, I knew I could create some gorgeous and dramatic portraits there.

Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding

Once Jacqueline was ready, it was time to see Matt for the first time. True to form and always looking for a good laugh, Jacqueline surprised both of us when she went for a little grab to let her know she was behind Matt. The emotions that followed were genuine excitement and pure love.

Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding

It began to rain at Mari Vineyards, so we went back into the cellar and created some of my favorite images of their wedding.

Mari Vineyards wedding

Using just the directional light from the skylight, I wanted to create an intimate image that portrayed love, intimacy, trust, and security.

Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding

The rain drizzled on and off all day; it didn’t matter. Matt and Jacqueline were focused on one thing – each other. We stepped outside one more time before meeting the bridal party and family for more photos at Mari Vineyards.

Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding
Mari Vineyards wedding

After our time at Mari Vineyards, we left for Blue Bridge Event Center in nearby Grawn, Michigan. I had never been there and scouted what I could online. Nothing I could find online did the Blue Bridge Event Center justice. It is a gorgeous venue whose ceremony space perfectly blends nature and architecture. You honestly feel like a guest in nature. As guests found their seats, it was time for the ceremony.

The ceremony was the perfect balance of fun and laughter with tears and love. Chris, the officiant, has been Matt’s best friend for many years and has known Jacqueline from the beginning. His weaving of stories, jokes, compliments, and words of encouragement, affirmation, and love brought an audience of strangers together in love and support of the couple. It was beautiful.

Can I break the mold and tell you something? This photo really means a lot to me. And by “really means a lot,” I mean makes me get teary eyed every time I see it.

It isn’t perfect. It wouldn’t be revered by photographers. You can’t see their faces…but it tells an amazing story of the past and the future. I love this photo for what it is and what it represents. Matt and Jacqueline are each other’s everything; their world is in their arms. They bury themselves in each other. They embrace each other, trust each other, and bring each other in. Their lives are intertwined. All they have and all they need are each other. It is so simple and so beautiful at the same time.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the gardens and later went inside for the reception. The speeches were heartfelt and jovial. I had to remind myself to keep shooting a few times because I caught myself laughing so hard.

In honor of Matt’s late father, Matt’s stepdad had a surprise for Matt and Jacqueline and invited the Grand Traverse Pipes and Drums to play for them. Everyone enjoyed the gesture and show. As the closed their short set with “Amazing Grace,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.

Soon after, Matt and Jacqueline opened up the dance floor. Once the first dances were done, everyone joined them on the dance floor and didn’t leave until the end of the night.

October 17, 2019

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