“I knew it!” I thought to myself. Scrolling through Facebook, I saw images from a proposal at Disney World. Kyle, down on his knee with the Magic Kingdom in the background surprised Rachel with not only a ring, but her sister Ashley, hiding nearby taking photos as her life changed. Rachel said “yes” to Kyle, along with a few other colorful exclamations of joy.
I didn’t know Kyle personally, but I did know one thing: Rachel has a big personality that is genuine and magnetic. Her presence, personality, and inclusiveness fills the room as soon as she enters. You meet her once and you are her friend. Someone as special as Rachel needs to be with someone equally as special. It turns out, Kyle fit the bill perfectly. Whether you know them or not, you will by the end of this post. Literally. You can see the love, laughter, and bond between them. It is awesome.
Kyle and Rachel started their Castle Farms wedding at the nearby Mushroom Houses in downtown Charlevoix. From the very beginning, the day was perfect. The sun was shining and a breeze floated in from the water in a way that only happens in Northern Michigan. Rachel, Kyle, and their families were already up north for a few days, settling in and getting ready for the big day. By the time I showed up at the Mushroom House, hair and make up was well underway. The wedding day hustle and bustle was in full swing.
I decided the quiet solitude of the second floor would be a great setting for Rachel to get ready with the help of her mom and sister.
In a beautiful gesture, Rachel wore a ring her dad gave her mom to help bless her on her day.
Now that Rachel was ready, it was time to reveal herself to her dad.
After having a first look with her dad, it was time to share one with Kyle. Both parties were beyond excited to see each other. Knowing how animated both Kyle and Rachel can be, I knew their first look would not disappoint.
True to form, it was all laughs, emotions, and expressions. You may not remember what they said, but a genuine capture like this will always bring you back to how you felt.
Since the grounds of the Mushroom house are so beautiful and unique, we utilized them for some formals of the bride and groom before heading off to their Castle Farms wedding.
Before leaving for the ceremony, Rachel and Kyle exchanged gifts. Kyle, in keeping with tradition, made a ginormous handmade card for the occasion.
This is where I have to hand it to Kyle – this was smooth. Somehow, whether through premonition, incredible insight, or extreme planning, he acquired the official Red Wings game puck from their first date at the original Joe Louis Arena. That must have been one awesome first date.
Like a kid on Christmas morning, Rachel treated Kyle to an electric skateboard. Inside, Phil and Anthony, Rachel’s brothers, were placing bets whether Kyle would ask if he could try it down the hilly streets of Charlevoix before they left for their wedding. Phil and Anthony won: Kyle wanted to ride.
After a short set of family photos, it was off to their Castle Farms wedding. Years ago, I photographed a great friend’s wedding at Castle Farms and fell in love with the grounds. To shoot there again, five years later, was a treat.
As we made our way around the grounds, I found more and more places that inspired me.
One of the things I love about weddings is I often get to work with other creatives. For Rachel and Kyle’s wedding, I partnered up with the amazing Tim Testerman of Timothy Scott Films. He found this perfectly lit, intimate nook, which led me to shoot with a little different flare than usual.
Naturally, a moment couldn’t pass between Kyle and Rachel without some laughter.
Soon after, it was time for the bridal party to join us.
As their ceremony was approaching, more and more guests were arriving. Not wanting to be spotted, we snuck away to their empty ballroom, where Rachel and Kyle practiced their first dance.
Finally, it was time for their Castle Farms wedding.
Rachel had one more surprise for Kyle…
The ceremony was beautifully officiated by friends of the couple. Having known them for years, their words, stories, and support were shared by all in attendance.
While guests were attending cocktail hour, we snuck away for one last photo session. I knew their reception was going to be a party so this would be our last chance before the end of the night to capture the beauty of them and Castle Farms.
Next, it was time to party. With their grand entrance, they went right into a zaffa and partied it up.
After dinner, the night just flowed from one moment to the next. The energy in the room was palpable, keeping me on my toes looking for those perfect candid images. Kyle singing, Rachel responding…
…and then one. epic. party.
Normally my favorite images are clean, classic and drenched in elegance or emotion. However, I think the two images below of Rachel take the cake from this wedding. Why, I don’t know…but there is a story in there somewhere.
As the party raged on, we snuck out one last time to photograph Rachel and Kyle and give them something to remember their Castle Farms wedding by.