“Can I get you something to eat Brian?”
“No thank you,” I humbly and almost embarrassingly replied. I like to buy couples who meet with me to discuss their wedding at least a coffee, not the other way around. However, when I met with Christiane and her mom to discuss the details of her wedding, it was like meeting with family. The kindness and warmth that emanated from them made the meeting feel more like rekindling with old friends than anything else. I think we both knew pretty quickly that we wanted to work together. That didn’t shorten our time together though; in fact, it probably lengthen it. Three hours later, I left with a smile on my face and a great anticipation to photograph what I knew would be a beautiful wedding at the Dearborn Inn and St. Paul’s on the Lake.
The wedding day started early at Christiane’s house in Grosse Pointe. The perfectly manicured lawn was indicative of the tasteful decor of the house and wedding details. In short: perfect and nothing overlooked. I arrived early to check in with Christiane and make introductions before I started. I was greeted by a friendly team of bridesmaids who would later be enjoyable and hilarious to work with. By the time I finished saying my “hellos” and chatting with some of the bridesmaids, it was time to get to work . Everyone was relaxed and in a good mood, making the bridal prep feel more like a Sunday brunch than a wedding day.
After a little celebratory mimosa, it was time to get Christiane ready to become a bride.
When I meet with couples to design their timeline, I explain to them that dressing take a bit longer than normal because it serves as an opportunity to capture relationships. I love the fact that Christiane’s grandma joined us in her prep. These photos will only grow in importance and emotional value as time goes on.
Once Christiane was fully dressed, she asked if she could share a first look with her dad. Judging from the warmth and closeness she shared with her mom and grandma, I knew the first look with her dad would be showered with hugs, love, and affirmations. It was a special moment.
Lastly, it was time to reveal herself to her bridesmaids for the first time. For a few moments, it sounded like a celebrity meet-and-greet: lots of excited screaming.
A few moments later, I got a glimpse of one of the things that makes Christiane so special. At the height of her girlfriends’ excitement and adoration, she says, “Can we all pray before I get married?” and asked her friend to say a few words. Christiane’s foyer turned into a chapel as her sorority sister held service.
We had some extra time before needing to leave so we took some bridesmaids, family, and bridal portraits in Christiane’s backyard.
Next, it was time to meet up with Chris for his groom prep and groomsmen photos. Chris was calm and relaxed as ever. With the help of his dad, he put the finishing touches on his wedding day look.
Soon after, his groomsmen joined us for a photo session. I couldn’t help but notice how dapper they all looked, including the ring bearer. I had to give him his own little photo shoot.
Weddings can’t be all solemn emotions and tears. Chris, ever the ham, let his personality shine a bit before walking down the aisle.
The ceremony, held at St. Paul’s on the Lake in Grosse Pointe Farms, was filled to capacity with friends and family who came out to show their support as Chris and Christiane dedicated their lives to each other.
One of the things I love about weddings is you need to be ready for the unpredictable. In eleven years of shooting, I have never seen the groom greet the bride at the altar. Chris, overcome with emotion, gave Christiane a long embrace after hugging her dad. Everyone got a little chuckle and tug at the heart strings to see him break tradition and protocol and act from his heart.
After their walk down the aisle, Christiane and Chris were greeted with cheering family and friends as they left the church as husband and wife.
Before celebrating their wedding at the Dearborn Inn, we spent a few minutes photographing them on the beautiful grounds of the Grosse Pointe Academy. Chris and Christiane we so natural and happy with each other, all I needed to do was document the moments. It was beautiful.
One of the details we discussed and deliberated during the planning process of their wedding was scheduling time for just the two of them to be alone. I suggested they look into utilizing Motor City Vintage Rentals for their transportation. It is a classy touch to the wedding that solves problems (transportation and time together) while also providing some gorgeous photo opportunities.
Chris and Christiane started their celebration with a traditional zaffa dance that set the mood for the rest of the evening.
Christiane had a surprise for Chris waiting for him during their first dance…
With the formal dances done, it was time to party…and party they did. The live band kept the dance floor packed all night.
I can’t say enough about how perfect Chris and Christiane’s wedding at the Dearborn Inn was. Everything from their day was perfect. Perfect lighting, perfect timeline, perfect couple, perfect sentiments, perfect photo opportunities, perfect friends, family, love and support. I think it shows in the photos. Best wishes you two! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your day.