I was thrilled when they got engaged, honored when they called me, and excited when I heard it was going to be a Detroit Athletic Club wedding.
Teaching, and photography for that matter, are interesting. Despite the job being an act of service, the true reward isn’t for the receiver, but the giver. The students receives an education, but the teacher gains relationships and memories. The student receives an investment of time, attention, and intention while the teacher gains reflection, wisdom, and understanding. When I think back upon the thousands of students who have occupied my classroom, many names and faces are lost to time; however, some will always be remembered. Two of those students are Samantha and Peter.
I have been fortunate enough to have known Sam and Peter for many years and have watched their love mature throughout the high school years and beyond. I think what made our relationship unique was the level of maturity Sam and Peter displayed when our paths first crossed. Both Sam and Peter were hard working, goal oriented, and displayed a heightened sense of character and integrity. In short, they felt like peers instead of students. It made connecting with them easy and, I would imagine, connecting with each other even deeper.
Over the years, I quietly watched the accomplishments of Sam and Peter via Facebook. One day, their engagement announcement popped up on my feed. I couldn’t be happier for them. It felt like watching a touching or romantic movie until the very end, although this wasn’t the end; it was just the beginning. Not too long after their engagement, Sam emailed me about my availability. I was touched. Honored. I would love to be part of their lives one last time. When I asked about how they envisioned their wedding day and what was important to them, they both agreed that a relaxing day where the focus was on each other was paramount. They wanted to be present and truly remember the day. Got it; a generous timeline to allow them to not feel rushed. Lastly, when I asked her for any wedding details, she mentioned they would be having a Detroit Athletic Club wedding reception. The DAC is a gorgeous and elegant venue that offers its guests a glimpse of Detroit history in every room accompanied by the highest level of service. In short, I knew it was going to be a beautiful and memorable wedding for these two.
Both Peter and Sam’s days started off getting ready at their homes with the help of family. Peter was up first and had a few sentimental pieces borrowed from previous generations of men in his family.
Once Peter was all dressed, we headed to Sam’s house to document her getting ready with the help of her mom and sisters.
Leave it to siblings to have a little fun and show their personalities on a wedding day.
After Sam was ready, she shared a touching first look with her dad. We were told that he would probably cry, but I didn’t expect everyone who was in the room watching to also be crying. It was hard not to be touched when you saw how much he loves his daughter.
Once Sam was ready, we headed to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Macomb. Years ago, I shot another former student (Katie & Andrew’s) wedding there and loved the intimate feel the chapel offers.
Peter was all smiles seeing his wife for the first time on their wedding day.
This is always one of my favorite moments on a wedding day, simply because it is the first time the bride and groom and fully express their emotions. Judging by the smiles on their faces, I would say they were excited to be called husband and wife.
As we were about to leave the church, I noticed a small staircase and window near the front entrance. It was the perfect spot for an environmental portrait to tell their wedding story.
On our way down to their Detroit Athletic Club wedding, we stopped by the Detroit Public Library for a few pictures with the bridal party.
To me, these are some of my favorite types of images from a wedding day. The pose isn’t perfect, the light pole isn’t perfectly positioned…but those smiles and that laughter. That is what you want to remember. That is what you want to feel every time you look at these images and think about your special day.
After spending some time at the Detroit Public Library, we dropped the bridal party off at Sam and Peter’s Detroit Athletic Club wedding and snuck away for some alone time for the newlyweds. First stop, Parker’s Alley.
While guests began arriving downstairs, we snuck away to the rooftop of their Detroit Athletic Club wedding.
After a festive cocktail hour, guests were invited upstairs to the ballroom, where a beautiful event space waited. Sam and Peter were showered with love and accolades during speeches before holding the room’s attention during their first dance.
As guests enjoyed the music, Sam and Peter stepped out for one last quiet moment to remember their night by.
Hair: Golen Glam Studio
Makeup: Haley Benson Beauty
Transportation: Dream Limousine
Tuxedo: Wesner Tuxedo
Music: Mike Staff Productions
Venue: Immanuel Lutheran Church
Planner: Jennifer Pomerantz at Detroit Athletic Club
Floral: Emerald City Designs