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Desirée+Ryan: An Intimate Wedding at St. Thomas Aquinas and Gilbert and Blake’s

Desirée and Ryan know what it means to be in a long distance relationship. Desirée is from Puerto, and she met Ryan while studying in Indiana. Then she ended up at Michigan State’s vet school, so when her family was in town for her graduation, everything came together for their small, family-focused Monday wedding at St. Thomas Aquinas and Gilbert and Blake’s.

Desirée and Ryan were a dream to work with—I felt like one of the family. I wish you two the best in the world as you settle in together in the same place and Desirée starts her new job as a veterinarian.

  • Dress: David’s Bridal
  • Flowers: B/A Florist
  • Cake: Nom Nom Sweeties
  • Live Music at Reception: John Dale Smith
  • Special thanks to Joelle Arner for coming along and helping out

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Check back next Tuesday for a brand new blog post.

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Should You Have a Second Photographer at Your Wedding?

A lot of couples simply don’t know whether they’ll want or need a second photographer at their wedding. The truth is, I shoot many of my weddings solo, and in most cases, that’s absolutely perfect. But there are a few cases where a couple might want to consider bringing a second photographer along to help capture the day. Here are a few reasons to consider:

1. You’re getting ready in two different places, and you want photos of both of you getting ready.

I usually put together a “getting ready” gallery, and with two photographers, we’ll both sync our camera times, so you get to see what the other person was doing at the exact moment when you were getting ready. If you’re getting ready close to each other, it’s easier for one photographer to hop over from the women to the men to get a few photos of putting on ties, boutonnieres, etc.

Masonic Temple Wedding
I took the photo above of Patricia getting ready at the Masonic Temple while Derek, my amazing second photographer, took the photo below of Bryan getting ready at the hotel down the street.

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2. You won’t see each other before the ceremony, and you have limited time for bridal party photos.

In this case, one photographer can photograph the woman, and one can photograph the men in two different places, but if you’re all in the same place anyway, you might be just fine with just one photographer, since you’ll have to take turns to avoid seeing each other anyway.

H Hotel wedding photos in Midland, Michigan
Lauren and Marc waited to see each other until the ceremony, so I photographed Lauren, her bridesmaids and her parents before the ceremony, while Dionel photographed Marc, his groomsmen and his parents.

H Hotel wedding photos in Midland, Michigan

3. You want photos of the details at the reception, but it’s too far for one person to get to before guests get to the cocktail hour or reception.

When I photograph weddings by myself, it’s often all in one place, and I can take 20 minutes to jump over and take a few photos of those details. There have been cases where the room has been set up early enough that I could start at the reception location to get detail photos before heading over to get photos of everyone getting ready, which allowed me to do everything as one photographer.

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I was unbelievably envious that Derek had a chance to photograph these amazing details at the Masonic Temple before Patricia and Bryan’s reception, but I was happy to know that the job was in good hands while I took other photos that day.

4. Two photographers will sometimes be better for big church weddings where you don’t want one person to have to move around as much.

I always do my best to move as little as possible, and when I do move, I do it slowly and quietly, but if you’re having a church wedding, check to find out what their restrictions are for photographers and movement.

St. Jude Catholic Church wedding photos, DeWitt, Michigan
Liz and I were able to quietly capture these ring photos at Carly and Jared’s wedding from two different perspectives, and it helped to have us covering opposite corners of the large church so we didn’t miss anything.

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5. With two photographers, one person can be “behind the scenes” before you walk down the aisle, so you get two different perspectives.

You’ll also have different perspectives throughout the day, of course.

bride and father before wedding ceremony
At Kembra and Guy’s wedding, Liz was able to get these amazing behind the scenes photos with Kembra and her dad as I photographed everyone from the aisle.

bride walking to the aisle
bride walking down the aisle

6. If you’re taking family photos after the ceremony, the second photographer can go on to the cocktail hour to get candid photos of guests while you finish photos with family.

I usually ask couples whether they want to only focus on candid shots of guests, or if they also want smiling photos. I will say that guests really do love the photos where they’re smiling at the camera, and we always get a mix either way—we just balance it a bit based on the couple’s request.

Southern Exposure Herb Farm Family Photos
Chris was able to get some great photos of guests at the Courtney and Mike’s cocktail hour (below) while I finished up family photos and bridal party photos (above).

Southern Exposure Herb Farm Guest Photos

7. If you’re expecting more than 150 guests, it may be helpful to have a second person there to help capture everyone.

I always do my best to get as many guests as I can, but if you’re planning a large guest list, it’s helpful to have a second person there to cover more ground.

Veranda at the Whitcomb Wedding Photos
I love downloading all of the wedding photos when I get home and putting them in order to see the spontaneous moments that the second photographer captured. Chris and I delivered hundreds of unique moments from Grace and Dave’s wedding reception.

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Lauren+Marc: The H Hotel Wedding in Midland

Lauren and Marc met in high school and bonded over music. A decade later, they’re in an incredible band together, which makes them infinitely cooler than I can ever hope to be (P.S. They perform at weddings, and you should hire them right now). Their wedding at the H Hotel in Midland was sophisticated and classic. Lauren’s veil reminded me of the classic veil that my mom wore at my parents’ wedding, and her dress was complete perfection. These two also win the award for one of the greatest wedding moments of the year—they performed the song “Love Shack” together during their reception, and the crowd went absolutely crazy. I was smiling from ear to ear.

Special thanks to Dionel for being an absolutely amazing second photographer on this wedding.

The H Hotel wedding in Midland

From Lauren: “We wanted to keep our wedding look very timeless. It’s hard to tell which wedding styles will look dated and which will stand the test of time so we kept the style very basic and traditional. I added a little bit of whimsy with a Wizard of Oz theme scattered including my “ruby slippers”, walking down the aisle to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and a sign at the bar with taxi numbers that read “There’s No Place Like Home.” One of my favorite touches was our own written vows to each other. It was the perfect way for us to tell each other how we feel and share our story with our guests . And I totally recommend hiring a band for entertainment!”

Vendors:

The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan

Dionel took these photos of the men getting ready while I was with the women.
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan

The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
There's no place like home
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan
The H Hotel Wedding photos, Midland, Michigan

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Amanda + Mike: Central United Methodist Church and Lansing Center Wedding

Amanda and Mike had the perfect downtown Lansing wedding. Everything was within walking distance—we started at the Radisson, went a few blocks east to the gorgeous Central United Methodist Church for the ceremony, crossed the street to the capitol building for photos, then headed west to the Lansing Center to celebrate at the reception. Thanks for a fun day, Amanda and Mike! And thanks giving me wildly photogenic (not to mention extremely warm and welcoming) friends and family to photograph all day.

Props to Knockout Agency for doing an awesome job with hair and makeup.

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lansing_radisson_wedding_photos_0011.jpgAmanda and Mike didn’t see each other before the wedding, but they were able to hold hands around the door.
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downtown_lansing_wedding_photos_0006.jpgAmanda had a first look with her dad before heading to Central United Methodist Church for the ceremony.lansing_radisson_wedding_photos_0013.jpg
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central_united_methodist_church_of_lansing_wedding_photos_0008.jpgThe front of the capitol building may have been under construction, but we found beautiful light around to the north.
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