“You’re crazy” was the typical response. “You are going to drive to Castle Farms, shoot a wedding, and drive home all in the same day?”
“I know, but once you start shooting on a wedding day, you get this huge rush of energy. I think I can do it.” Truth was, I had to do it. With five hours of sleep, four hours of driving to Charlevoix, a ten hour wedding in front of me, and another three hour drive that night, before finishing the drive the next morning and shooting another wedding in Detroit, Melissa and Adriano’s wedding kicked off one crazy weekend.
It was so worth it.
I have known and quietly admired Melissa for many years. She was an incredible student who displayed maturity beyond her years, determination, and a kind heart. It was fun watching her grow and find her passion and profession of helping students. I knew her well enough to know that anyone who caught her eye would have to be very special; Adriano exceeds any of those expectations. He too is incredibly kind, caring, and tender when with Melissa. I got to know him last fall during their engagement session. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but seeing Melissa smile and her personality glow when around him was all anyone needed to know these two were perfect for each other.
When it came to their wedding, Melissa and Adriano had the perfect Northern Michigan fall wedding. Their day started getting ready at Boyne Mountain before heading over to Castle Farms in Charlevoix. While Melissa was finishing her hair and makeup, Adriano was eager to get the day going and see his bride.
Melissa got ready with the help of her sister Ashley and friend Annette. The fun we had, laughing and joking during her prep would set the tone for the rest of the day.
Melissa looked angelic as soon as she put on the finishing touches.
Next, it was time for a first look with her dad at Castle Farms. Her mom and grandparents were silently watching in the background during this special moment.
After their first look, I had some time to take Melissa around the grounds of Castle Farms before her wedding ceremony. The weather, light, and colors were perfect compliments to Melissa’s warm demeanor.
Since Melissa and Adriano decided to keep things traditional and not see each other before the ceremony, we took the bridal party our separately to create some images.
It was getting close to ceremony time. Adriano and family were patiently waiting in the ceremony space as guests started to trickle in.
Adriano had the most emotional reaction I have ever seen in a groom. He was so excited to see his bride that when he finally did, he broke down. I say this in a complimentary way; it was beautiful to see someone so excited and so in love that he couldn’t contain his emotions. The sequence brings me right back to that moment and tears me up too.
This is one of my favorite moments of the entire wedding day: when then bride and groom are announced and walk into their future. It is a tough shot to get and you never know how the bride and groom will act. Will one walk with their head down? Will they be looking at their guests? Melissa and Adriano were all about each other, making for a great series of images.
With the ceremony behind us, we toured around the grounds of Castle Farms to photograph the newlyweds.
I LOVE these images. The sun was just breaking over the roofline, casting a gorgeous glow on the bride and groom.
One of the things I love about photographing weddings at Castle Farms is the variety of backdrops on the grounds. By the time we got to the next spot, Melissa and Adriano were having fun and it was showing in their photos. Not every photo need to be timeless and perfectly posed. Instead, if it brings you back to that emotion you felt, it is an equally powerful photo. I think these pictures capture Melissa and Adriano’s excitement and emotions perfectly and will bring them right back to their wedding day at Castle Farms every time they look at them.
It was time for the bride and groom to join their guests for a night of fun. Ashley and Annette led the way with a hilarious dueling speech that had everyone in the room dying. Adriano’s best men followed it up with some equally embarrassing stories that made Adriano blush.
As the sun began to set, Melissa and Adriano left their part for one more set of pictures. I always stress the couple spend a little bit of alone time away from their guests, and even myself, to have a special moment. Once we captured these images, they took that time.
Finally, it was time to celebrate! Melissa and Adriano opened the dance floor for guests and the party ensued.
After the sun set, we went outside one more time to create an end of the night shot. I wanted the building to really stand out, so I used a blue gel on a flash to light up Castle Farms compliment their wedding colors.
Congratulations Melissa and Adriano! Best wishes on a beautiful life together.