Planterra Conservatory Wedding – It’s a Dog’s Life!

Planterra Conservatory Wedding Photos of Sarah & Ryan – West Bloomfield. It’s a dog’s life! Wedding photos from a dog’s perspective.

A flower girl looks at her spilled basket of flowers as the bride and groom

A flower girl looks at her spilled basket of flowers as the bride and groom’s dog races down the aisle at a wedding at the Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

 

If you’re a couple who want typical wedding photos, that’s just not me! But if you are curious about having dogs in weddings and some unique Planterra Conservatory wedding photos, this is the blog for you! If you’re wondering if Sarah and Ryan also received oodles (1,500+) of wedding photos that included details and all the things you might normally expect from a wedding photographer, don’t worry. All the typical, normal bases are covered, and you can scroll down to the bottom if you’d like to see some a few of my favorites.

 

The bride

The bride’s dog jumps up to wake up the flower girl before their Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

 

The bride hugs her dog before her Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride hugs her dog before her Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom included their dog in their wedding party at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom included their dog in their wedding party at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Planterra Conservatory Wedding 005
There were two very important elements (well, three, but one of them I’m not at liberty to discuss here) going on at this family fueled, gastro indulgent and visually luscious wedding. Wedding at Planterra Conservatory in Bloomfield Hills are always stunning, the staff are always enthusiastic and the food is to die for. Sarah and Ryan’s wedding went off without a hitch. Except for their youngest wedding party members.

Introducing Frankie, the 2 year old mutt and “Little Miss K” as I’ll call the 2 year old flower girl. They both had starring roles in Sarah and Ryan’s Planterra Conservatory wedding.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s dog waits on a couch before his grand entrance at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The flower girl is deep in thought before her grand entrance at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The flower girl is deep in thought before her grand entrance at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

I’ve had dogs play their role as “practice child” at weddings before. The dog is usually around for a short while and then are whisked off by a loving caretaker. Or the dog shows up for photos. On a leash. Well away from the bride’s white dress. This wedding venue also serves as a working greenhouse chalk full of plants which means the floors track a lot of dirt from the public and from watered plants. It’s clean ish. So a dog with full run of the conservatory that happily figured out the motion detectors on the automatic front doors also got to go in and out, usually escorted, but sometimes not. But Frankie didn’t jump on anyone, didn’t bark, didn’t pee (as far as I could tell) and didn’t mooch food (too much). He was a perfect gentleman. Until he ran out the propped open door during the ceremony. The bride’s brother quickly retrieved the dog and held him the rest of the ceremony.

A friend chases after the dog for his grand entrance at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

A friend chases after the dog for his grand entrance at the Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride

The bride’s brother holds onto the dog who escaped during a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The other youngster was the flower girl. She too didn’t jump on anyone, or bark or pee. She did mooch food and she did take a tumble and bleed (no crying though!) and happily followed me around during all the speeches. She was a much easier target to focus on than the constantly on the move dog. She at least paused every once in a while!

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s dog mooches during cocktail hour at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s flower girl mooches during cocktail hour at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

If you read my blogs, by now you’ll know that I rarely post the normal, expected photos you’d find on 99% of wedding blogs. I’m not showcasing the pretty place settings, the fabulous flower arrangements at Planterra or it’s spectacular setting. My wedding blog isn’t about trying to look like all the other photos out of a Michigan wedding bridal magazine.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s dog gets plenty of attention during the meal at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s flower girls gets plenty of attention during the meal at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

So enjoy the photos with my take of the day from the dog and flower girl’s point of view. Sorry to basically cut Sarah and Ryan out of this wedding photo blog, but I thought you all might enjoy seeing a Planterra wedding from their points of view. FYI, EVERYONE thought Planterra should have a dog at every wedding. He was a bit. Like having a tender touch stone or an on site therapy dog that brings all sort of people together.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s dog had full run on the joint, even on the dance floor during the meal at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

And here are a few of my favorite Planterra Conservatory wedding photos from the day that don’t have much to do with dogs at weddings!

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s rings at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride up on the bar at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride up on the bar at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom dance their first dance during their Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom dance their first dance during their Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom

The bride and groom’s guests share a smooch during a dance at a Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom share a smooch at the end of the evening at their Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

The bride and groom share a smooch at the end of the evening at their Planterra Conservatory wedding in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Royal Park Hotel Michigan Same Sex Wedding

PHOTOS OF THE DAY SERIES ~

KEVIN + MICHAEL; Ceremony – the Conservatory at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan with reception in the Grand Ballroom at the back of the hotel.

Kevin makes an awesome face just as his partner slides his wedding ring on at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan.

Kevin makes an awesome face just as his partner slides his wedding ring on at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan.

Okay, so this first photo does need an explanation. This was NOT Kevin’s reaction to his longtime partner Michael putting a ring on it as Beyonce would sing. I’m not exactly sure what their friend and officiant said at the time, but I think Kevin’s responding to something SHE said, not what Michael is doing. But a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?! Michael was the first person to ever point out that while they were opting to get their wedding photos done ahead of the ceremony (we would be losing precious daylight early and frankly, Michigan winter weddings can be brutal after dark!), shouldn’t they have their rings on for their wedding photos?! Duh! I can’t believe nobody ever pointed that out or thought of it. I’ll have to add that into my consciousness after a couple does their first look.

Michael and Kevin patiently waited for over 13 years to get married and began planning their wedding shortly after same sex marriage became legal. While they wanted to have a destination wedding, they also realized they had a LOT of friends and family who had been so supportive for so long that they really wanted to celebrate with their extended community. Isn’t that why everyone opts for a big wedding? They just phrased it better than I could!

This other favorite photo of the day (and there were many…) took place as soon as we stepped out the back door of the Royal Park Hotel for photos. They spotted a relative in one of the windows waving to them. I also got to work with the fabulous Dan Nichols (from Michigan Wedding DJ) as DJ. He’s always amazing and keep things smoothly rolling along.

Congratulations, Love Birds! You deserve all the happiness in the world!

Same sex couple in Rochester, Michigan wave up to one other their family members during our shoot at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan.

Same sex couple in Rochester, Michigan wave up to one other their family members during our shoot at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan.

Lansing Michigan Winter Wedding

Photo Of The Day!
I had a LOT of fun photos from Stephanie and Scott’s Michigan State Lansing wedding last month, but since my blogging time is limited, I decided to start by just including a favorite image from each wedding, even if it DOESN’T include the bride and groom. So here was my favorite single image from their Lansing winter wedding. A child’s point of view waiting for slices of cake.

A young wedding guest waits in line for a slice of wedding cake in Lansing, Michigan.

A young wedding guest waits in line for a slice of wedding cake in Lansing, Michigan.

City Kitchen Wedding – Photo of the Day

Congratulations to John and Cherie on their winter wedding day at the City Kitchen in Grosse Pointe, Michigan! Their intimate ceremony took place at the restaurant with friends and family there to support them. Congratulations again!

Wedding couple waits for photographer on a cold winter wedding day at the City Kitchen in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Wedding couple waits in the restaurant’s alcove for photographer to set up on a cold winter wedding day at the City Kitchen in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Fabulous Nigerian Wedding in Detroit

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride and groom outdoors in Metro Detroit.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride and groom outdoors in Metro Detroit.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the Nigeria Bride in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the Nigerian Bride in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

So I’ve shot over 1,100 weddings and it’s rare to see things that I haven’t seen before. My bride, Deborah, made sure I was comfortable shooting a different kind of wedding. Her coordinator (the omni helpful Kofo wanted to fill me in on things that were particularly Nigerian). The funny thing is that the differences weren’t necessarily the things they thought they’d be.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer shoots a personal message hand written by the Nigerian groom to his Nigerian Detroit bride using a biblical verse.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer shoots a personal message hand written by the Nigerian groom to his Nigerian Detroit bride using a biblical verse.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride’s shoe

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the Nigerian groom looking out the church doors as guests arrive for their Detroit wedding.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the Nigerian groom looking out the church doors as guests arrive for their Detroit wedding.

For one thing, the first thing I noticed where that an extraordinary number of wedding guests were all wearing the same thing. At first I thought the “group” were choir members. Later, it seems that a huge number of guests were wearing light blue with coral head scarves (and hats for the men). At the reception one of the guests filled me in.

The bride (and/or her family) choose wedding colors  AND the cloth months in advance so friends and family can order the same exact cloth to create their matching outfits. If you look closely at some of the photos, you’ll see a lot of the light blue. And yet, they’re all a bit different with different embellishments and styles. If friends or family happen to already own outfits in similar colors, they will wear what they have. Many, many people end up buying or making an entire outfit for this one event! That’s a really big commitment on the part of the community. And I think that’s the point. Weddings are a big deal, so the show of solidarity is really impressive.

The music and the dancing. Pretty much non stop, pretty much at a “10” for volume. It’s the first time I’ve ever needed to put in my earplugs for the ceremony to protect my ears. I’ve lost a lot of my hearing due to standing in front of the speakers for years during wedding receptions and they are very sensitive. We’re talking about very joyous music that every Nigerian guest knew well and sang along to. Young, old, everybody seemed to know what the moves were. How nice to have so many familiar songs for everyone to enjoy.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a little boy blocking out the volume of the music during their Detroit Nigeria wedding ceremony.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a little boy blocking out the volume of the music during their Detroit Nigeria wedding ceremony.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs one of the groom

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs one of the groom’s helpers grabs a little boy out of the way just before the Nigerian bride makes her entrance.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride’s processional with her Nigerian father.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a guest

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a guest’s reaction to seeing the bride make her grand entrance.

Another interesting thing is that there were a LOT of kids at the ceremony and a LOT of babies. And not a peep! Granted the music was loud, but most of the young ones were being cuddles by parents and siblings and all were content to look around, taking in all the stimulation and either quietly watched or dozed. Believe me, I’ve never seen such happy, contented youngsters at any wedding before!

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the flower girl looking around during the Nigerian wedding ceremony.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the flower girl looking around during the Nigerian wedding ceremony

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs babies happily watching the Nigerian wedding ceremony.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs babies happily watching the Nigerian wedding ceremony.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer shoots the Nigerian bride and groom

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer shoots the Nigerian bride and groom’s first kiss.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the mothers enjoying singing during the Detroit area Nigerian wedding.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the mothers enjoying singing during the Detroit area Nigerian wedding.

 

A little girl blocks out the music during the Nigerian wedding in Metro Detroit, Michigan. Notice she

A little girl blocks out the music during the Nigerian wedding in Metro Detroit, Michigan. Notice she’s wearing the same fabric as her father, which is part of the unique Nigerian wedding experience.

I was told to watch for the dancing processionals and recessionals. I thought my sports photojournalism skills would be needed, but nope. We are talking about 5-10 minute long songs where the honored wedding members slowly, almost imperceptively bounce their way along forward. There is something unexpectedly soothing about the leisurely pace these dances unfold. When so very much of the wedding day is a rushed blur, it was nice to see everyone really enjoying their moment and being able to take in the day.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer featured a lot of singing during their Nigerian wedding celebration.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer featured a lot of singing during their Nigerian wedding celebration.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs families joining in singing and dancing during this Metro Detroit wedding celebration.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs families joining in singing and dancing during this Metro Detroit wedding celebration.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer groomsmen singing during the wedding celebration.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer groomsmen singing during the wedding celebration.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographing the processional and recessional of a traditional Nigerian wedding.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographing the processional and recessional of a traditional Nigerian wedding.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the processional of the Nigerian wedding party in Michigan.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the processional of the Nigerian wedding party in Michigan.

The other thing that I found visually interesting is that husbands and wives dress in matching outfits as well and not necessarily in the color scheme chosen by the bride. So I saw couples in purple and royal blue and hot pink. I’m not sure there is much symbolism beyond “We’re here together”.

Wedding party dances into the traditional Nigerian wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

Wedding party dances into the traditional Nigerian wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a Nigerian couple wearing identical traditional outfits.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs a Nigerian couple wearing identical traditional outfits.

And the women’s head scarves (called Ichafu” pronouced ee-cha-foo) are glorious works of art. I saw a group of women working for a long time on one of the mothers in order to get hers just right. They are stiff fabric and look a bit like a rose in full bloom from the back. Women would bend their heads to the sides dramatically when they went to hug each other lest they wreck their head gear.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs wedding guests with their beautiful head gear.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs wedding guests with their beautiful head gear.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs wedding guests with their beautiful head gear.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs wedding guests with their beautiful head gear.

One of the traditions that’s also part of a traditional Nigerian wedding is “spraying” a couple with cash. I pictured friends and family basically throwing money at the couple. But as it seems, all things that happen in Nigerian weddings happen slowly and deliberately… even “spraying”. Imagine a slow motion, endless dollar dance. Guests approach the couple in the same slow up and down dance as stick a dollar bill on the couple’s heads or upper body. The bill falls off and process is repeated and repeated while several girls continually collect the money that’s falling on the floor.

Nigerian wedding guests "spray" the father of the bride during a wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

Nigerian wedding guests “spray” the father of the bride during a wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride and groom

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride and groom’s first dance once they reenter the room in their traditional Nigerian wedding outfits.

 

Nigerian wedding guests all seem to know each and every dance played during a wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

Nigerian wedding guests all seem to know each and every dance played during a wedding reception in Metro Detroit, Michigan.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the flower girl who lined up to catch the bouquet.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the flower girl who lined up to catch the bouquet.

Every year there are weddings where the wedding photographer is often outnumbered by family and friends who also have decided their need to take wedding photos is on par with my need to shoot the wedding. I’d been warned in advance by Deborah’s coordinator that everyone would want photos, but I was really surprised how many elbows I got as grannies were knocking me out of the way to get photos on their flip phones! I’ve changed my attitudes 180 degrees in the past two years. I used to say that other people shooting were “free back up”. Now that guests put their iPads, phones, laptops and cameras out into the aisle, jump in front of me and even push me out of the way so they can get their shot, I’ve finally had enough.  Soon there will be a blog pleading for couples to start exploring the benefits of  unplugged weddings. Clearly Deborah and Femi knew what to expect, and while I’m glad their friends and family were able to take photos, I don’t think guests have any clue how much they compromise the types of photos and variety I can take when I’m literally being squeezed out. The issue seems to be getting worse every year. While some cultures and families value photography more than others, the aggressiveness of guests is something that’s becoming overwhelming at all weddings. Can you imagine if you pulled your car into the mechanic’s  garage and your mechanic was suddenly swarmed with 50 friends of the driver who all started to talk and take apart the car? Not a great analogy, but you get the picture.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer competed with the wedding guests to photograph the wedding around ipads.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer competed with the wedding guests to photograph the wedding around ipads.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer competed with the wedding guests to photograph the wedding around ipads.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer competed with the wedding guests to photograph the wedding around ipads.

Lastly, when Deborah checked back in with me after the wedding, I had to giggle. The only detour we had to take that day was to accommodate Femi’s non Michigan inner thermostat. It was a beautiful, WARM November day. But if you’ve just come from Nigeria, it felt freezing! We just couldn’t warm him up outside. By the following weekend we had a foot of snow. I was relieved we didn’t have that on their amazing wedding day!

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Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the bride through the last of the fall leaves.

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the wedding party as the groom exits the photo to go warm up!

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer photographs the wedding party as the groom exits the photo to go warm up!

 

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer the groom gets emotional during their first dance as husband and wife.

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer the groom gets emotional during their first dance as husband and wife.

I’m sure I’ve made many mistakes in describing the day correctly, but I wanted everybody to know how fun it was to really and truly experience new to me wedding tradition. Thanks for taking me along on the ride, Deborah and Femi!