How We Style Our Wedding Album Into Our Home

Anyone who knows me knows that I spend way too much time thinking about how to keep my favorite memories at my fingertips. I spent about an hour last night writing letters to each of my daughters in a little notebook that I keep for each of them, and I’ve been taking one second of video every single day to compile into my yearly “One Second A Day” videos. And as a photographer, I’ve gone all in on highlighting our most cherished memories through photographs in our home.

bamboo album box on a bookshelf

But one piece that we put extra effort into both highlighting and protecting is our wedding album. Our album sits on an open bookshelf in our family room, and as our girls get older and taller, it’s important for us to keep the album protected from sticky, curious little hands.

We put the album in a custom engraved bamboo album box last year. It really completes the look in the display—the album looks great standing alone among other books and items (we just topped it off with a little faux succulent for interest).

In general, we try to add levels to our open bookshelf to give it balance. The bottom shelf has three big baskets filled with toys so that the girls can grab toys and put them away as they play (or more likely, dump them out and leave them—but at least they’re easy to put away). We mixed up the shelves with stacked books topped with a variety of photos and plants, and our top shelf is dedicated to our yearly memory boxes to keep all of our favorite photos and small keepsakes from each year (handprints, a few sample art pieces from the girls, hospital bracelets from when they were born, etc.).

And if you’re looking for a little help mixing sentimental items with a stylish look in your home, check out the interior design company, Havenly. They have some really affordable packages to help you with the interior design of your home (especially for those newlyweds out there who are just starting to design their homes together).

Want a custom bamboo album box for your own home?

And now for some exciting news—I’m rolling out a new branch of my photography studio to help more people get custom keepsakes in their homes. I’m now offering custom designed bamboo boxes, memory boxes, albums and framed prints to everyone, whether you’ve worked with me as a photography client in the past or not.

You can check out more details about custom wall art and keepsakes right here.

how to style an open bookshelf

I just realized that Jeff snuck his lego sailboat onto the top shelf—ha.

looking at a wedding album from an open bookshelf

bamboo album box on a bookshelf

Thanks to Havenly for asking me to highlight a sentimental item in my home and inspiring this post.

Create A Gorgeous Gallery Wall in 3 Easy Steps

Wall Design Three Easy Steps

I’ve been offering complimentary wall design for all of my A&Co. couples, families and seniors for about two years now—I realized that it can be so hard to figure out which images to print, how many to print and how to display them in a way that pulls the whole room together.

So I took a bit of inspiration from Joanna, Chip, Drew and Jonathan (a few of my HGTV favorites), and I started using a tool that lets clients see a digital version of the final look before choosing a final layout.

Here’s what you need to do to see exactly what art will look like to scale on your own walls:

Three Steps to a Gorgeous Wall Gallery

Step One: Tape an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper to any wall that you want to see designed. Take a photo straight on (or as straight on as possible). Try to capture the full wall if you can so we can see how framed art will balance across the space. Email me all of the wall photos. If you think you might want mix in other photos from prior sessions or milestones (like the example above), you can use to send up to ten other photos.

Step Two: I will set up design ideas for you in my wall design tool. Check out a real live version of the wall designer right here (note: I can’t take credit for the photos on this wall design—Sheila was a past A&Co. bride who lives out of state, and I was helping her put together some ideas from a mix of recent family sessions).

Step Three: Choose your favorite design. You’re welcome to note the print sizes and order prints only to frame later (I do recommend my styrene mounted prints to avoid bending, warping or dimpling over time in the frame), or I offer full service framing with seven frame style to choose from.

When your frames are ready, you’ll pick them up in East Lansing, and you’ll have access to the original designs to guide how you hang the frames on your walls. Voila—designing wall galleries has never been so easy.

frame styles
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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 🙂


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