I’ve lived in Michigan since summer 2005. I’ve never been in love with any part of it as much as I’ve longed for the oceanic beaches of the East Coast (or St. John USVI). When I was asked to shoot (my very first!!) wedding this summer in Harrisville, I had no idea I would be staring at Michigan’s East Coast so lustfully. Close your eyes, clear your mind, then gaze out at the shoreline and you’d swear you were in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (or even sitting in the sands of Cinnamon Bay).
It was a little beach wedding. The sunshine was intense but the temperature was perfect with the breeze coming off the lake. The water was so very blue… but icy cold (as rumored by the children who attempted a post-ceremony swim). The bride and groom planned a simple day for their festivities. Fifty of their closest friends and family members, slow cooked bbq, a help-yourself drink cart, picnic tables, a gift wheelbarrow, and pie. The details fell together nicely. A bouquet full of memories. A little white dress that looked oh so beautiful contrasted next to the groom’s blue collard button up and tan beach shorts. The bride was surrounded by a lifetime of girlfriends as she prepped herself for the big afternoon; the groom by his best man and the bride’s sons (who were actually the “bridesmaids”).
The ceremony was sweet, genuine, and sincere. Her son-of-honor held her bouquet (the guests loved that) and his mom held the rings (she teared up). I am having a hard time choosing my favorite part: it’s between when the bride gave the groom a grape soda pin from the movie UP (see the Disney replica below) or when the groom made all of our hearts melt like fondue when he… yes… got down on one knee to promise a lifetime of happiness, loyalty, love, and commitment… (I know right!).
And I know this day is all about the newly wedded but I just couldn’t help but silently fawn over the guest of honor, the groom’s mother, who exuded so much beauty and grace that she reminded me so much of my own great grandmother (whom we recently lost). I just wanted to smother her with affection and listen to her life’s story. I told her she was beautiful and the camera loved her. She smiled in appreciation and then chuckled at my forwardness. The day was filled with smiles, laughs, happiness, and love – so much so I’m having a hard time narrowing down the photo quantity as I cull the images.
When I document a day such as this one, I try to remember the moment certain photos are associated with, like the one below. Alas, for the life of me I can’t remember why she is smiling or why he is smirking – but the photo definitely tells a story. And if there is one thing that we can all learn from a wedding day it is to smile, smirk, laugh, and love so much more. The details are details and may dissipate, but if we remember the bigger picture as being a happy one, well… I guess that’s all we can ask for.