Dan and Brooklyn lived just miles away and knew each other casually. However, it was not until they both volunteered as Regular Pioneers that they would get to know each other. If you have ever had the privilege to Regular Pioneer, you know the love, dedication and long hours it involves. Hours in the company of others day. Hours at your best, and hours at your worst. This is how Dan and Brooklyn really got to know each other, and from there fell in love.
Dan's story on their wedding blog is very romantic and touching...just don't tell him I said so, he's kind of a private guy with a terrific sense of humor, who is very comfortable in front of the camera...as long as he's making funny faces at it! :DBrooklyn is a natural in front of the lens, who's beautiful vibrant red hair match her personality. From the moment you meet see them together you know that together is where they belong.
Dan knew that Brooklyn was the one, and wanted to do things right. First, he designed the ring...yep! I'll say that slower. HE. DESIGNED. THE. RING. It is beautiful! Multiple hearts interlocking and topped off with his grandmothers diamond.
Only thing left to do...ask her!
Dan and Brooklyn plan to continue volunteering and one day hope to be caretakers of the Belleville Assembly Hall where they both worked on construction projects. This would be the place Dan would ask Brooklyn to be his wife.
The day finally arrived and both Dan and Brooklyn were scheduled to work at Belleville. The day had finally arrived for Dan to ask her to be his wife. He had the perfect gal, the perfect ring the perfect moment....would she say yes?
Look below to find out!
We managed to fit in Brooklyn's maternity session just before her birth. Her parents have always been very open to any ideas Ive had for themes so I knew this was the couple to bring out all my props for. We set up in an open field under a large willow. This location seems to be so calming, and peaceful while shooting. So, under the shade of the big willow, we set up an antique iron bed, a side table, hung a crystal chandelier, and brought some outfits fit for a whimsical summer evening session. While we were there, we thought we HAD to do something to incorporate the moment of change soon to happen to this family of three. Adelyn, then two was soon to become a big sister. Just for her...well maybe her and her dad...we set up a tea party with Batman complete with yellow cupcakes! The session ended with dad and Addie walking hand in hand with her favorite dinosaur and or so we thought.... little Addie had her own ideas on the last shot....look and see how amazing she is!
Gals like Alyssa are one of the reasons I LOVE to shoot seniors. She wanted what every senior wants, something fun, and unique, something that defines them. During our texts I learned that she loves Taylor Swift. So I did what any self respecting rock and roll fan would do...research.
Next, we found a blue dress, some front porch steps, and a slammin' screen door. The results were amazing !!!!
As families grow up and move away it can become a rarity for everyone to be together all in one place. This past December I was asked to photograph the Coulter family on their beautiful property that has been in the family for over 46 years. We were treated to a tour of the property, as away to scout out the location prior to the session. See, this was not your typical family session of 4 or 5. We would be photographing 22 in all, and as time is precious with so much to do, we had just one hour to do it in. Thankfully the weather cooperated for us and the family since many of them were visiting from Florida, and the session was to be a Winter picnic shot in the great outdoors. It all turned out beautifully, and, as I look back, I am still impressed with the politeness of the children, and kind hospitality of the Coulter family. Now, as the family are all settled back at their homes, we hope to have provided a beautiful reminder of one of the most important things in life...family.
It is so wonderful to meet a newly engaged couple, and then have the privilege to photograph such important milestones as their family grows.
Justin and Blair with their parents, 3 month old daughter Nala and nephew Darius.
They make a cute couple, Solomon and Betty. Meeting miles apart, and falling in love, this couple would prove that true love exists.
I knew Solomon only through our mutual friends on Facebook. We had been friends for a few years although we had never met personally. I received a Facebook message from him asking us to do a Bridal session the week following their wedding ceremony by the Justice of the Peace. He told me about their plans to have a big traditional wedding, but that they decided to keep it simple thus foregoing the traditional.
Solomon was from the East side of Michigan, and Betty from the West side. Their wedding ceremony was in Betty's hometown of Grand Haven, and the bridal session had been scheduled for Solomon's hometown near the Flint area.
Over the next week Solomon and I would talk via Facebook. We suggested surprising his new wife with a surprise reception immediately following their photo session. He was so happy to be able to do this for his new bride, and we were excited to begin planning the details.
And so it was born, this wonderful surprise for his new bride. Within a matter of three weeks, Invitations were sent out, a hall was booked, a website and Facebook page created to invite as many as he could. Decorations were made to match the Comic book inspired theme he had chosen because his love is a big Marvel fan, including a custom cake topper with Solomon and his iconic glasses, and Betty in the dress she would be wearing, complete with Princess Leia buns.
In the end, Betty and Solomon, had a beautiful wedding ceremony in front of friends and family, they had a beautiful photo session while friends decorated and waited anxiously at the hall for them to arrive.
They also had their first dance, cut their cake, and celebrated their marriage with friends and family. Love doesn't mean breaking the bank to have a big lavish wedding. Sometimes it means living within your means and doing what you can to make that someone special in your life happy. Solomon did just that. Following our photo session, he and Betty walked into the hall, where we were going to go for a few "inside shots". As he escorted her onto the dance floor they danced their first dance while wiping away happy tears. A moment stolen from a traditional wedding and put in the middle of theirs.
Special thanks to the many friends and family who helped put this wonderful event together for Solomon and Betty, including contributing to the dessert table, and for helping with the clean-up when we had to make an emergency trip to the hospital near the end of the evening. Their event was special because of friends like you.
Cake Beth Denny, Jelissa Hamilton
Cake topper, Alexa Shillingburg
Reception Hall Metamora Historic Town Hall
DJ Kris Sawvel
"I met Betty through a friend. I had just broken up with someone else, so my friend Candara said, "Hey talk to Betty Newton, she is a good sister."
I was a little bitter about events leading me to breaking up with the other sister.
I emailed Betty/called her once. We talked and I made it CLEAR I wanted NOTHING more than to be friends and was just expanding my friends. I quoted the scripture about treating older women as mothers / younger sisters as...yeah I was not really that nice so I'm actually surprised Betty and I became friends.
We hung out a few times then I moved to Pittsburgh. We chatted via text a lot while I lived there. We just where friends when she made a trip to see me and it was then that I admitted that I liked her more than a friend. When she came down we had a discussion while she visited and we started dating.
How did I know she was the one? She always excepted me for me even when I was not at my best spiritually or actual health. She encouraged me and supported me when others couldn't.
The Proposal- Betty helped me move from Pittsburgh to back to Michigan. My mom followed us in her vehicle with both cars packed full of stuff. We where talking about marriage and what we wanted and expected. We had decided we wanted to be married and were basically already engaged it was just a matter of a ring and me asking. She made a comment about a ring doesn't really matter that's just a formality. So I asked her to marry me. & she thought I was joking. Then she asked if I was serious and I explained that I was. She said yes! (I bought a ring a few weeks later)
We met through a mutual friend. I knew he was the one, he accepted me for me, no matter how nerdy I got, and he has the most beautiful heart. I've never had someone stick up for me the way he does, LOVE that about him.
I also love the little random sweet messages he sends me.
As far as advice for anyone planning a wedding?
Do as you want, don't let anyone force you into doing something you don't want too. Be true to yourself.
Have you ever seen a baby's nursery in a magazine, or online, and thought...that is so BEAUTIFUL? Well, I got to experience it first hand. Before stepping into the baby's room you sense the calm. From the beautiful gray toned walls, and magical morning light streaming in, there is a peacefulness about it. Its a room that dreams are made of...and for his mom and dad....actually came true. Meet their beautiful baby boy....Grayson.
I had the opportunity to shoot a senior this summer, and in the course of planning his session I found out that he loves to kayak. So, I planned his shoot in two sessions, one in the summer, and one in the fall when the colors would be perfect on the lake where I planned to shoot him at.
During the planning I thought how perfect if, while his family was there, they all came ready for a mini session of sorts...and so it goes. The Brown Fall Family session was planned.
Little did I know that the day we planned it was the father's day to help on the farm where they were busy harvesting crops. But Ike, true to his sense of family, took time away to get in these precious last moments with his children while they were still all together. It was bitter sweet knowing that his oldest graduates and heads off to college next year. It instills the importance of making your time count...and always keeping family first.
I first came to know Amelia a few years ago when she had written a very emotive blog post about her life. I read it in tears, and it still makes me cry. See, at a young age this beautiful person was faced with things that few adults could deal with. She was caring for her ailing mother....alone at age 14. You know, the time of life when girls are talking about girl things and going out with friends and, well, just being teenagers. Amelia didn't have that. In a blur she would come to find out about the loss of her father...and then lose her mom and the life she had known before the illness.
So, why am I telling you this? Why post this on what is suppose to be a happy, joyful, exciting time in her life...an engagement session blog.
Well, for one, I want you to appreciate what YOU have.
I want you to look around and be thankful for the love you have in your life with your friends and family. I also want you to look at Amelia....I mean really look at her. She is a survivor. She has built a life, seemingly from scratch.
She epitomizes the phrase, "You don't get over it, you get through it."
Amelia has done just that, each year around this season she does it again, only now, shes not alone. Along the path life leads us there are always rays of sunshine that peek through. Amelia found hers when she met Kevin. Kevin is a smiling, charming man that, as you will see in the photos, loves her dearly. Through the lens of a camera, you learn to sense things as they happen...those natural, nonposed moments are best for seeing it. And during their session I saw it as they became comfortable with the camera, and began to focus on each other. Its a kind of moment that makes you stop and sigh......
It happened when Kevin pulled her in and gave her one of those hugs that most of us only read about on Pinterest Quotes about hugs. You know the one that begins,
I want a hug, not a normal hug, NO. I want one of those pick-me-up-off-my-feet-squeeze-me-tight-spin-me-around-hurts-my -tummy-but-still-makes-me-smile-leaves-me-breathless-gives-me-butterflies-makes-me-giggle-stupidly-kind-of-hugs.
Yep, this is what Amelia has found in life. In a few words....HAPPINESS, CONTENTMENT, TRUST....and most of all...LOVE. And she deserves ever ounce of it....and more. Throughout their session they did all those things young people do when the are in love, they smile, kissed...he held her hand, wiped the stray hair from her face. Amelia soaked up the love the Kevin showered upon her. And as they danced to Kevin humming their wedding song, (or a version of another ;) the sun began to set and he kissed her gently as it did. A testament to living life...to new beginnings, and that love never fails.
Kevin & Amelia's beautiful engagement session.
Dayne is a very special person to me and my family. When he announced his engagement we were so excited for him and anxious to meet his bride to be Dustie. She is nothing short of amazing, and if there is anyone out there that could be a perfect match for someone, it would be her. During there engagement session, I noticed how very special she is. See, Dayne is well known for loving anything to do with the outdoors. He owns a farm, works at a greenhouse, loves the great outdoors, and he loves his hats. Its a rarity to see him without his hat on. So, during our photo session, it was beautiful to watch how Dustie loved all that he is about. Not once did she want him to change or be anything other than the person he is. He really is an amazing fella, and she won his heart. They planned and hosted a wedding in just under one months time. That too, was amazing. We wish them both all the very best!