This is one of those ones that even though it only happened just two months ago, I knew from the second I set foot into Jenn's Mom's home, and into their lives; that I wouldn't ever be able to find the words to describe this day. On paper, it had everything a photographer dreamed of: An intimate wedding with 50 people on a remote dune/cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. A backyard reception with nary a tent in sight, opting instead for community dining under the lights and later, the stars. A ridiculously rad pink dress, and an equally amazing entourage to walk Jenn out on to the dune. It had all of that, but I promise you, it was so much more than that. It all started last December when Jenn emailed me and gave me the synopsis of this day. Small. Intimate. Northern Michigan. Sand Dunes. That's all I needed to know. What was originally supposed to be an event with just a few people outside of family, expanded a bit, jumped dates a few times, and they took a head-first dive into how crazy (and ridiculously stressful) wedding planning can be. As time went on, I just got more and more excited for what this day could be for them. Booth and Jenn are both artists in NYC; Booth being an extremely talented video editor, and Jenn being one of the stars of CHICAGO The Musical on Broadway in New York. Obviously they've got a ton going on in their lives, but it was two secret emails from each of them to myself (without the other copied in) that started to show me just how deeply and passionately these two loved and cared for one another. The first came from Booth at a short stint of time when they were thinking with how much the wedding group was expanding, that budgets might not line up and they might have to cancel with me. Jenn was heartbroken and feeling pretty bummed out, but then after a day of thinking, Booth reached back out in secret and told me that we would make this happen; he knew what was ultimately important to his bride, he could feel what she desired for this day over the food, the music, the attire. The second secret contact came from Jenn to me; more of a heads-up of what to expect on our hike out to the ceremony site. She knew her man was a self-describe nerd, that much was given. So she setup for his two-mile hike out to the dunes for him to just happen across a bagpipe player (his favorite musical instrument), as well as a pair of Jawa's from the Star Wars Empire. Literally just popped up on our path, the bagpipe player played in the middle of the woods, the Jawa's handed him a card, hugged him, and went on their way without a word. They know each other. They know what kind of magic it takes to surprise and care for one another. That's why I love them so much.
The rest of the day was just a dream. Jenn was lead in via an entourage of the little kids she cared for most in the most epic of ways. The most perfect hand-written vows, a flower ceremony, and singing atop the dune followed; as well as a dixie cup champagne toast to top it all off. They laughed, and cried, and made the two-mile hike back to the cars before the hour and a half drive back to Traverse City. We dined al fresco with delicious food by Epicure Catering right on the Leelanau Peninsula. Large group tables, foraged and gathered from barns and antique sales grouped up their friends and family. Part of the magic of the day as I observed from the outside was just who their friends and family were. Everyone was literally overjoyed to be there to celebrate Jenn and Booth. I don't think anyone could wipe the smile off their faces. Just a gathering of some of the most interesting group of people I've ever had the honor of meeting, hailing from NYC, London, Dubai, Traverse City, and beyond. They were teachers, and chefs, and Broadway Actors, and musicians. But that night, they were just friends. Zero cliques ever formed as large group gatherings tend to have happen. Everyone enjoyed the company of everyone, and it just made for such a surreal, but also completely normal and comfortable, and happy feeling environment.
The day winded down. We ate pie, we took portraits in the cherry orchard. We laughed and they danced under the stars while Ward sang a cappella beneath just the light of the bistro lights hanging above. I'd only known them less than 12 hours at this point, but I just knew in my heart that everything about this day; everything about this marriage was right.
This day was everything. Thanks for reading my silly amount of words, now begin the slow-scroll through my silly amount of pictures. I think you'll be glad you did.
Frankfort/Traverse City, MI :: 07.11.15
Ceremony :: Old Baldy Trailhead - Arcadia Dunes // Frankfort, MI
Reception Venue :: Private Home // Traverse City, MI
Catering :: Epicure Catering/Cherry Basket Farm
Pie :: Grand Traverse Pie Company