The Five Best Places to Host a Small, Intimate Wedding in Lansing, Michigan

5. Gilbert and Blake’s
Okemos, Michigan
Small wedding at Gilbert and Blake's

If you’re planning a small church or courthouse wedding and need a place to go for dinner, Gilbert and Blake’s Restaurant in Okemos has a private room that’s perfect for a small gathering of your closest friends and family. The fireplace gives it a cozy feel, and you can either use it as is or decorate it to your own taste.

And if you’re looking for a nice place to take family and couple photos, you’re only a short drive from Michigan State’s campus, which provides a gorgeous backdrop for photos.

Small wedding on Michigan State's campus

Michigan State campus wedding photos

4. A Public Park

Small wedding ceremony at a public park

Many public parks have pavilions or open areas that can be reserved for a modest fee. I’ve been a part of some gorgeous weddings that hosted the ceremony and portraits in the park and then moved on to a restaurant like Gilbert and Blake’s for dinner.

3. Your Own Backyard

small backyard wedding ideas

Backyard weddings have a special place in my heart. My parents had a backyard wedding, and so did my sister. Rent a small tent, and make it your own with an easygoing celebration in a place that’s extra special to you.

2. Old Town Marquee
Old Town Lansing, Michigan

small wedding venue, Old Town Marquee wedding photos in Old Town, Lansing

Although Old Town Marquee accommodates larger weddings as well, if you’re looking for a space for a small Friday or weekday wedding, they have a space off to one side of the main room that’s perfect for a smaller gathering. The space has a bridal room just off of it, so you can still have the full experience of getting ready in one place before the ceremony.

As an added bonus, Old Town Marquee is right in the heart of Old Town, Lansing, which offers a huge variety of photos—it has a cute downtown area close to nature, gardens and the river, and you’re only a short drive from Michigan’s Capitol Building and Michigan State’s campus.

1. The English Inn
Eaton Rapids, Michigan

The English Inn for small, intimate weddings in Lansing, Michigan

Like Old Town Marquee, The English Inn can accommodate larger weddings, but they have a small room for intimate gatherings in their main building. It’s surrounded by windows looking out at their gorgeous garden area, which provides the perfect backdrop for portraits, and your guests can stay steps away in the Inn. The English Inn really has it all in one simple place to make for the most relaxing small wedding—beautiful grounds for a ceremony, cocktail hour and portraits, a private dining room, amazing food and guest accommodations that are only steps away.

As a new Gilmore Girls fanatic, I’m all about the cozy feel of an Inn.

Want more advice as you plan your own small wedding in the Lansing area? Get in touch to chat about the details of your plans and photography needs. My own wedding had only 40 people, and I love sharing what I’ve learned both as a bride and as a photographer with experience across a variety of small weddings.

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Michigan State Senior Photos on Campus


Living five minutes away from MSU’s campus has always made for a lot of fun photo opportunities. I always tell myself that I need to put together a little seasonal guide as I learn the exact trees that bloom during specific weeks each year. I have my key spots, but I always try to push myself to explore at least one new place or perspective during each session—which was how I ended up in the location below.

The spring blooms on campus get me every time, and lucky for us, they coincide with MSU’s graduation season. Milan had me out to capture her final weeks on campus as a graduating MSU senior. And big thanks to Milan’s brother for being my lighting helper and helping to make Milan laugh throughout the session 🙂


Rural Engagement Photos With Laughter + Light

I can usually get a read on couples pretty quickly when I start my “warm up” and prompts for engagement sessions—silly, romantic, quiet, outgoing. I have one prompt in particular that brings out the goofy personalities every time. Amanda and Joe are definitely destined for a lifetime of laughs together.

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos with beautiful golden hour light

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos walking down a dirt road

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos with trees in the back

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos with trees

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing farm rural engagement session photos

Lansing engagement session photos

Walking down a dirt road for Lansing area engagement photo sessions

Lansing rural engagement session location ideas (farm)

Lansing rural engagement session location ideas (farm)

Our First Sail on Lake Michigan With Kids


We’ve been loving our “up north cabin on the lake” this summer—our Catalina 30. The girls are getting into a better routine (although I’ll be honest—bedtime is not great. Arden pops up constantly and giggles at us as if to say, “Haha, I’m not going to bed while I can clearly see that everyone else is still awake up there”).

The good news is that both girls have been doing great with life jackets, and Zel knows that she needs to put one on before going “upstairs.” It really is becoming our little home away from home.

This weekend was about as perfect as we could hope for (besides bedtime). We had dinner at the beach, where two wedding parties came through to take photos, and Zel asked me, “Are those your princesses?” because she thinks I work with princesses (brides) for a living. We swam, paddle boarded and finally set up our autopilot to sail on Lake Michigan as a family for the first time. We’re going to squeeze every last moment that we can out of the last few weeks of summer.)
interior cabin of a Catalina 30 (sailing with young kids)
interior cabin of a Catalina 30 (sailing with young kids)
interior cabin of a Catalina 30 (sailing with young kids)

We were resigned to stay on Lake Muskegon for the rest of the season while the girls are so little, but we had the perfect weather, and we finally got the autopilot set up, so we headed out for a 15 nautical mile sail as a family. You can tell by the photo below that Zel was super impressed by the whole thing 🙂


Arden was also highly impressed by the view, as you can see.


I tied my camera up and let Zel take a photo of me.


Arden decided to call it after about three hours, but ultimately, both girls ended up falling asleep down below before we made it back to the marina.


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