Gem Theatre Wedding
I feel like all of my blog posts start the same way and have a common theme: I have known the bride and groom for a while. I suppose that is actually a really good thing: it reminds me how lucky I am to work with awesome people and receive referrals. Regardless, guess what? I have known Brittany and Chris for a while…specifically, I was there when Chris proposed to Brittany and she became future Mrs. Gray.
It wasn’t long after that Brittany and Chris began planning their wedding and called me to talk photography. Granted, everyone is super excited during their proposal – your mind goes to a million places when it happens. What I found amazing was that Brittany was excited throughout the whole planning process. It made me excited to shoot their wedding because I knew it was going to be emotional, memorable, and filled with opportunities to create some beautiful images for them to cherish.
Brittany and Chris are all Detroit. They live there, eat there, tour there, got engaged there, and celebrate there. It only made sense that they would get married there. Brittany’s wedding day started out surrounded by her family and best friends at the Siren Hotel, a boutique hotel in the heart of Detroit. I didn’t know it even existed, but walking into the quaint and chic lobby, I knew I would love my time there.
Brittany’s sister, Allison, helped her get ready. You can tell how close they are simply by how much the smile around each other.
Before we left, there were two things to do. First, she had a card and gift to open from Chris.
And secondly, her dad was waiting for her in the lobby to have a first look. I couldn’t help but to use the elevator entrance (never thought I would say those words) to create a dramatic shot for Brittany.
Before we left to do a first look with Chris, we snuck into the Candy Bar, an all pink private lounge that was reminiscent of another era.
In her spare time, Brittany runs and curates Motor City Eater on Instagram. One of their favorite places has become a staple in Detroit, Grey Ghost. How cool is Grey Ghost for allowing Chris and his crew to access the bar before they open to get ready and share a cocktail? It was a quiet and laidback atmosphere, perfect for Chris to get ready, laughs to be shared, and a special gift to be given.
This is the face of a smooth, 30-year Scotch.
With both Chris and Brittany ready, it was time for their first look. We decided to have their first look where it all started, at the same spot where Chris proposed. Chris was a bit too excited and started to turn as he heard Brittany approaching. Not sure what to do, he didn’t care and just went for it. It was a goofy but touching moment.
After giving them a few minutes to soak it all in, it was time to document their day.
After spending some time together, their bridal party met up with us at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
One of my favorite part of the day was their adorable flower girl. She wanted to celebrate and party. She didn’t quite get the idea that the goal was to stand still to take a photo. Better yet, I think this image truly capture the spirit of her and the day. I think there is a lesson in there for all weddings as well: whatever happens, just embrace it! With the right attitude and perspective, you will remember the moment more fondly.
After the formals, it was time for the ceremony. Brittany and Chris got married at Detroit’s oldest continuously operating church, Sts. Peter and Paul. This is my favorite church in Detroit for many reasons: the beautiful ambient light is gorgeous to photograph in, the aisle is long so the bride and her father can enjoy their walk, the couple sits facing the congregation, and most important to me, every time I go there I am reminded of my wedding day.
Brittany was radiant. I don’t think she ever stopped smiling in her day.
After the ceremony, we stopped into two more Detroit venues for some libations – first up was Gold Cash Gold.
Followed by a quick stop at Two James Spirits.
Finally, we escaped the heat and headed to their Gem Theatre wedding. I love the openness and uniqueness of the venue. It seems like every Gem Theatre wedding calls for a classy soiree.
One of the reasons why I love a Gem Theatre wedding is the challenge of lighting it. While most photographers simply bounce the light off of the ceiling for dance photos, the Gem Theatre is too tall and dark. Instead, I place three lights around the venue to create a dynamic lighting set up that created depth and separation between Chris and Brittany and their guests.
Joe Cusumano of JAC Entertainment keep the dance floor packed all night.
With their Gem Theatre wedding coming to a close, Chris and Brittany had one last memory to make – a special exit.