Allie Siarto | Lansing, Michigan Wedding Photographer

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Jessi + Brian: St. Gerard’s Parish and Crowne Plaza Wedding, Lansing Jul 16

I met Brian and Jessi almost exactly a year ago when I photographed their engagement session on MSU’s campus, and I’d been looking forward to their wedding ever since. These two are so natural together—the kind of couple that every photographer hopes to work with.

Thanks to Chris, as always, for helping out as my assistant photographer and helping to get some amazing photos from the day.
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Chris stayed behind the scenes with Jessi and her dad while I was in the church as the ceremony started.
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We went to Island Park in Grand Ledge for photos after the ceremony.
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We wanted to get a few photos by this wall near the park, but there was a youth league baseball game going on. By the time we left, the whole wedding party was cheering on the game.
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Channeling our inner ‘Bridesmaids.’
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Jenny + Ryan: St. Michael Church and Newberry Library Chicago Wedding Jul 9

I’m going to warn you now: this post will be long. Chicago weddings still hold a special place in my heart. I lived there for almost four years—I became passionate about photography thanks to the Chicago Photography Center, where I took just about every class they offered and eventually started teaching. I apprenticed under a wedding photographer there and got my feet wet photographing insanely beautiful weddings that I probably had no right to photograph in the very early days. I started planning my own wedding there before our venue went out of business and we moved the whole shindig to Mexico.

Jenny and Ryan’s wedding took me to three stellar Chicago locations—The Palmer House, where everyone got ready, St. Michael’s Church, which epitomizes the beauty of Chicago churches, and the Newberry Library, which I remember slipping into years ago to explore after reading ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife.’ On top of all this, Jenny was one of the most expressive brides I’ve ever had the honor of meeting. Her face exuded pure joy all day, from the big hug that she gave me when I arrived until the moment we said our goodbyes. The day flew by—it was nonstop fun. Jenny and Ryan, I’m honored that I was able to be a part of your special day. I wish you all the happiness back in LA.

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Up North Jul 7

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We had our first Michigan family vacation with Zelda last week (who is officially seven months old—how did this happen?).
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We stopped off for a walk through Hartwick Pines on our way to Mackinac Island. I adore these daddy daughter photos with Jeff and Zelda.

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Zelda was a bit nervous on the ferry to Mackinac at first, but she enjoyed it once we got going. She even got a shout out from the captain, who stopped in the middle of his announcements to say, “And that is one cute baby” over the loud speaker.
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We had a huge room at the Island House with a beautiful view of the water. I think they put us in the front corner so that our child wouldn’t bother everyone with her baby-isms.
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We found a nice little spot at the Pink Pony overlooking the water. Once again, Zelda won over all the strangers at the restaurant with her giant grins.
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After grabbing some fudge (naturally), we took a walk down the boardwalk and went for a long walk by the Grand Hotel to enjoy the views.
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The Island House has an amazing front lawn. They have fires in chimineas every night, and guests can buy little s’more kits.
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We had the best seat in the dining room the next morning. The view was glorious.
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We call Zelda our little “bean,” so we naturally had to get a photo in front of The Lucky Bean coffee shop. We sat outside and enjoyed our coffee while Zelda smiled at all the passing strangers.
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After our morning coffee, we rented bikes and biked around the island. A stranger offered to take a family photo for us, and we had to laugh when we saw the photo and realized that you can only see Zelda’s feet. Oh well—you get the idea.
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After Mackinac Island, we drove to Northport on the Leelanau peninsula to share a cabin with my sister’s family for the week.
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My Grandma lives in downtown Northport, so she hosted a potluck dinner before everyone walked down to the park to see fireworks over the bay.
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We didn’t last long in the park. I actually ended up in bed by the time fireworks started. Such is life with a seven month old.

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We spent our last full day at Lake Leelanau before driving to the Traverse City Cherry Festival to meet up with Jeff’s best friend, Chris. He’s lived in Thailand for years, so it’s a special treat to catch up with him. 
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I can’t get enough of northern Michigan.

To follow along with our daily adventures, follow The Daily Z.

 

Dottie, Matt and Lola: Family Life Photos Jun 25

When my sister’s family was planning their move into a new house in DeWitt for this spring, I started to think about my own family’s move when I was two years old. I have a few very faint memories of that first house, and I always wished I had more family photos to see how my family lived when I was a baby and toddler.

Around the same time that I started thinking about this, I did a family photo swap with another photographer in the area. That inspired me to take family photos with my sister’s family around their house so that my two and four year old nephews could look back and see how they interacted together around the “old” house (I’ll post those photos soon—stay tuned). After the shoot, I asked my sister if she knew anyone else who would be moving soon who might want family photos to remember their house (my sister’s an awesome realtor in Lansing—shameless plug if anyone’s looking to move). She put me in touch with Dottie. Dottie, Matt and their daughter, Lola, will be moving to the St. Louis area later this summer. They’ve been in their house for five years. They renovated it, decorated it, turned the house into a home and brought their daughter home to this place two years ago. I love that I had a chance to capture them in their first family home, and I hope that these photos make Lola smile twenty years from now when she’s wondering what life was like in those early days before the family moved.
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