Royal Wedding Inspiration: Timeless Gold Ballroom Wedding Photos


I just happened to schedule an afternoon out to see Beauty and the Beast with friends the day after Lauren and Kyle’s wedding, and as I jumped into editing that week, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between their wedding and the gorgeous royal castle where it all takes place. Even the candlesticks had a striking resemblance to Lumière—and Lauren’s classic white bouquet by Petal and Forrest echoed the colors of the 2011 royal wedding that we all know and love. Add in a classic cathedral veil and gold chairs from Chair Happy, and you have the perfect elegant, timeless wedding. Scroll all the way down for more details from Lauren, along with a list of wedding vendors.



From Lauren, the bride:

Kyle and I worked really hard to incorporate a lot of the traditional items in weddings that were important to us, a family-focused and intimate event, and also something that really reflected both Kyle and my personalities. Some details we incorporated to make it unique to us:

  • Our wedding colors: I’m a Spartan grad (therefore, green and white) and Kyle is a graduate of Adrian College (black and gold). Much of our relationship grew while I worked at Adrian College, and we spend a LOT of our time on the campus of MSU. We incorporated our past and our present with the colors.
  • Our wedding party: Not only was it important to us to have some of our best friends by our side—including fraternity brothers, lifelong friends, and high school besties. But also our siblings! On Kyle’s side, his little brothers joined in as groomsmen. And on my side, my best friends in the whole world (besides Kyle!), my brothers Brent and Matt (who served as my “best men”—or, as they’d like to call themselves, “Hand of the Bride”)
  • The decor: I’m definitely more into fancy, traditional, ornate things—so things like decorative chairs, special charger plates and fancy invites. Kyle is more rustic and has an extensive background in biology—so we incorporated wood accents, lots of flowers.
  • Our vows: We wrote our own vows
  • Our wedding music: It was important to my mom that “The Lord’s Prayer” be sung, as it was sung at my parents’ wedding. Kyle’s grandfather, Phil Knapp, is an avid singer. It matched perfectly! A song that is important to my family, and singing that is important to Kyle’s family. It was a lovely blend of the two. (My mom’s best friend, Tama, played the piano to accompany Phil.)
  • Spending time with just our wedding party after the ceremony and before the reception started: These people are our besties—and we knew the day would be busy. Setting aside a small amount of time to hang out with JUST them was important to us.
  • Obviously family is important to us, so we made an effort to make sure each person had a role that day. Our brothers served as groomsmen. My dad walked me down the aisle. Our moms served as hostesses. Kyle’s dad gave the blessing.

Wedding Vendors:

Check back next Tuesday for a brand new blog post.

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A Family Sailing Holiday (Sort of)

sailing with kids on a Catalina 30 sailboat

Our family traditions around Independence Day go back to my toddlerhood. We’ve gone up to Northport, Michigan almost every single year.

We originally planned to spend the whole week on the boat in Muskegon, but we ended up splitting the time—three nights on the boat and two in Northport to catch up with family and friends and to head to a birthday party for my cousin’s daughter.

My sister, Adriane, and her family were at the campground across the lake in Muskegon, so all nine of us went for a sail our first day, then we spent the next few days exploring Muskegon’s trails and beaches, watching the sun set over Lake Michigan, swimming in the marina pool and roasting marshmallows over the fire.

Our boat was originally from Northport, and we happened to meet the adult children of the original owner while we were at the park to see fireworks on July 4. It was so cool to their hear stories and to learn more about the sentimental history of the boat. The original owner is 91, and he still plays in the local Northport band (for my Gilmore Girls fans, Northport is the closest thing I’ve found to Stars Hallow, which I love).

Vacation is far from relaxing with two young kids (don’t let those hammock photos fool you), but this is exactly what I want their childhood to be—carefree days outside with their cousins getting messy (so, so messy), playing in the sand and running around without shoes.

hammock on a catalina 30 sailboat hammock on a catalina 30 sailboat
Zelda sits on a Catalina 30 sailboat
first birthday party with birthday cake
group family photo in Northport, Michigan

Garden Engagement Photos With Bulldogs at Southern Exposure Herb Farm


I’ve been obsessed with Southern Exposure Herb Farm near Battle Creek ever since I photographed Courtney and Mike’s wedding there in 2015. Brittany and Mike loved all of the gorgeous gardens they have there, so when it didn’t work out for them to host their wedding there, they asked if it was okay to shoot their engagement photos there. The whole team at Southern Exposure is so giving—they were completely up for the idea (by the way, check out their themed dinners if you ever want to plan a date night or a night out with friends that will blow you away).

Brittany and Mike’s two bulldogs added so much personality to their session. If you’re thinking about brining your dog along for your engagement sessions, absolutely do it! Just be sure to bring a friend along to help out when it comes time to get a few photos of just the two of you together.


Check back next Tuesday for a brand new blog post.

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A Family Getaway + A Wedding in Saugatuck


I love it when my friends make my travel plans for me, because I always find myself experiencing things I would never have thought to look for myself. My friend, Jess (a travel agent and fellow photographer) convinced us to take Zel to Hawaii with her family when she was 13 months old and to plan a family trip to Costa Rica this December with two four-year-olds and two almost two-year-olds. She took me along to Austin this year and planned our trip to Puerto Rico last December.

This time, my friend Lisa asked if she could tag along with me to a wedding to see what it’s all about. When it worked out to have her come along to Saugatuck for Jess and Jon’s wedding, she booked a farmhouse for both of our families to stay in across the river in Douglas. We went to the wedding while our husband’s hung out with the kids in Saugatuck.

Lisa has a son who’s four months older than Zel and a daughter who is less than two weeks younger than Arden (her daughter was actually due on the day Arden was born and decided to wait a few extra weeks to make her appearance). The combination of other kids to play with, sleepovers in the farmhouse, bunk beds, fireflies and chickens out in the yard made Zel so so excited. The kids would get up and run outside with their pajamas still on to see the chickens and look for the barn cats in the yard. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place to stay that’s relatively close to the beach and the cuteness that is Saugatuck, check this place out.

Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Toddler looks at a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
Kids playing near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area

Here’s Lisa with all the kids before breakfast. We were all still in our pajamas.

group photo near a chicken coop in the Saugatuck, Michigan area
chickens in a chicken coop
kids holding hands

After a morning in town scouting out pretty spots for photos, peeking at the marinas (of course) and enjoying some amazing food, Lisa and I headed off to Jess and Jon’s wedding at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Bah – I can’t wait to share the rest of these photos, but here’s a quick preview for now:

oval beach wedding photos in Saugatuck, Michgan

On Sunday, we drove north to Muskegon to see if the weather would cooperate and let us go sailing. My dad joined us after he had to cancel his Grand Canyon rafting trip at the last minute (literally the last minute—he was about to get on the raft when he decided not to go because of record setting temperatures in the 120s and higher).

We spent some time at the beach, and after some rain, cold, wind and a scraped knee, we were packing up the car to go home without sailing when the weather made a last minute shift that gave us a chance for a mini sail on Lake Muskegon.

family sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck

We learned an important lesson this weekend about sailing with kids. Always, always have snacks available. Arden cried so much that I finally took her down below and read her a book (her favorite thing to do) while Jeff and my dad sailed the boat back to the marina.

We ended the weekend with a picnic overlooking Lake Michigan, where Arden ate everything in sight. Noted, my dear. We won’t leave the dock without snacks again 🙂

kids sailing on a Catalina 30 on the deck
the girls in a cart at Great Lakes marina

Captain Barnacles comes along on all of our family adventures.

the girls in a cart with "Captain Barnacles" at Great Lakes marina

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