Standing in the small elevator with all of our gear, I exhaled a deep breath.
“You okay?” my wife asked.
“Yeah, just a little nervous” I replied.
The first time I met Jaclyn and Chef was on their wedding day. They recently came into town from Chicago, but our hectic holiday schedules prevented us from getting together before their wedding. My nervousness quickly dissipated as they, their families, and their guests were so friendly and welcoming, I felt like more like a guest at their wedding with an all-access pass. The day was going to be beautiful: Jaclyn and Chef held their ceremony at the beautiful St. John’s Episcopal Church, right next to Comerica Park, and their DAC holiday wedding reception immediately following.
Jaclyn and Chef both got ready at the Detroit Athletic Club, an exclusive private club at the heart of downtown Detroit.
While Jaclyn was getting her hair and makeup ready, we started our day photographing Chef getting dressed with the help of his best man.
Once Chef was ready, it was Jaclyn’s turn. Behind me while I worked was a team of bridesmaids who enthusiastically watched and captured candid moments as their best friend turned into a bride. However, there were two very important people that I wanted to help Jaclyn first hand: her mom and sister. Jaclyn would be wearing a necklace worn by her grandmother, mom, and sister all on their wedding days. Knowing this, the photos of Jaclyn getting ready would take on a new meaning.
Jaclyn was absolutely stunning in her wedding dress. Simple, elegant, regal.
With both Jaclyn and Chef ready, it was time for their first look. I love when couples choose to do a first look. Not only does it change the flow of the day, it gives them an opportunity to fully express their excitement and emotions.
With many first looks, there is a moment where the bride looks at the groom unlike anyone else. I love the genuine excitement and admiration expressed by Jaclyn.
With the first look behind us, we stayed at the DAC and photographed Jaclyn and Chef.
With all of the moving parts in the morning, Jaclyn still hadn’t read her card from Chef. We stepped into a quiet room so the videographer could record audio and Jaclyn could have some privacy.
There was one more important person who was waiting to see Jaclyn: her dad.
On our way to the ceremony, we stopped at the Detroit Public Library to photograph the bridal party.
We arrived at St. John’s Episcopal Church before the ceremony. Family was patiently waiting as we set up our lights and got ready for some formals. One of the benefits of having a first look is the ability to now photograph all of the family formals before the ceremony, allowing the bride and groom to later join their guests for cocktail hour.
After the family formals, Jaclyn hid as guests arrived. The church was full. Per the rules of the church, we only had access to the balcony for the duration of the ceremony. The good news is, the view was spectacular.
I love images that capture and tell a story. This image of Jaclyn’s walk down the aisle is one of those images.
After the ceremony, we headed back for their DAC holiday wedding reception. Guests mingled downstairs during cocktail hour while the finishing touches were being put on the reception area.
Jaclyn’s parents opened up the evening with a touching speech, welcoming guests and congratulating the newly married couple. Other speeches followed, offering up a mix of stories and a few jokes, all with an overtone of love and support.
Later, Jaclyn and Chef opened up the dance floor and got their DAC holiday wedding reception party started.