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!

Detroit Nigerian Wedding Photographer 00165

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!

At Last… Michigan Gay Wedding Photography!

At Last — A Gay Wedding in Michigan!

June 26, 2015 –

Jenn and Emily pose at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily pose at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

On the date that will go down in U.S. history as the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, it will also mean something else for Jenn and Emily. Friday was all about getting married to the person they loved. They’d spent months and months planning their wedding, sweating over the details, making sure everything was as perfect as it possibly could be. And then it got more perfect. The funny part is, gay weddings are just like every other wedding I’ve shot. Sure, emotions were riding extra-high for everyone, but this was a wedding first and foremost. The couple just happened to be lesbian.

Jenn and Emily pose with their daughter, and their wedding party at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily pose with their daughter, and their wedding party at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

I’ve been looking forward to shooting Emily and Jennifer’s wedding since the minute I met them. They adore each other. They finish each other’s sentences. They are kind to each other when they’re speaking. They defer to each other when I ask questions. They are perfect for each other. Honestly, photographing their gay wedding was like shooting fish in a barrel. Just look at them — they’re gorgeous, they’re in love and they’re very demonstrative. What more could a wedding photographer want?!

So for all the photographers out there who may be wondering if it’s any different shooting a gay wedding and working with same sex wedding clients (now that it’s finally legal in Michigan), the answer is no. Of course it’s not different! Isn’t that the whole point? A wedding celebrates love. Weddings are a way to tell all your friends and family that you want to be with the person you chose for the rest of your life. When I approach shooting a wedding, it’s all about the stories going on around the couple during their wedding day. What’s happening to them, around them and behind their backs. So why would shooting a gay wedding be any different? Okay, so maybe there was one little difference. Emily and Jennifer’s “First Look” was one for the books. They were both gushing, just GUSHING about each other’s dresses. That just doesn’t usually happen at straight weddings.

Emily helps her daughter E get into her junior bridesmaids dress on her historic June 26th, 2015 wedding day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily helps her daughter “E” get into her junior bridesmaids dress on her historic June 26th, 2015 wedding day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer and Emily

Jennifer and Emily’s wedding rings on their historic June 26th, 2015 wedding day, the day gay marriage was legalized in the United States. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily reacts to a comment from her bridesmaid while she gets ready for her same sex marriage in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily reacts to a comment from her bridesmaid while she gets ready for her same sex marriage in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily feel around the side of the wall for their official "First Look" on their June 26th, 2015 wedding day, the day their lesbian wedding became legal in the United States. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily feel around the side of the wall for their official “First Look” on their June 26th, 2015 wedding day, the day their lesbian wedding became legal in the United States. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily see each other for their official "First Look" on their June 26th, 2015 wedding day, the day their lesbian wedding became legal in the United States. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily see each other for their official “First Look” on their June 26th, 2015 wedding day, the day their lesbian wedding became legal in the United States. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

So if you’re looking for a manual on “How To Be A Wedding Photographer For Gay Weddings In Michigan” just get over yourself already. You shoot weddings, you know, love stories. A wedding is a wedding is a wedding. Sexual preference has nothing to do with it. My motto about wedding planning has always been, “It’s WHO you marry, not HOW you marry.” Now at least the LGBT community CAN marry. I was thrilled and honored Jenn and Emily let me be part of what certainly turned out to be a historic day for the entire nation. I happen to come from a very diverse family (by nationality, race, gender, sexual preference and political leanings) and we’re no shrinking violets when it comes to educating each other about what’s going on in our respective communities. I’m lucky. Our family celebrates and relishes our differences. If you’re a wedding photographer in Michigan thinking, “But I don’t know any gay people,” um, yeah you do. And you may be wondering about poses. What’s appropriate for gay couples? If something seems inappropriate for a couple, it’s probably an inappropriate pose for ANY couple. If you’re one of those photographers that loves those sexist wedding photography poses like having the bride sitting in her beautiful gown on the ground hugging some tuxedoed leg while looking off in the distance with cool distain on her face, then you have way bigger problems than trying to figure out how to pose gay couples for their wedding portraits! If you think for any reason you’ll be uncomfortable shooting a gay or lesbian wedding, let the couple know right up front. Emily and Jenn did have several (too many) photographers tell them they “wouldn’t be a good fit” as soon as she got to the part about her wedding being gay. If you’re not totally cool with the idea, send them my way. I’m hoping from here on out I won’t have to title blogs “Gay Wedding Photography in Michigan” or “Photographer who is happy to shoot same sex weddings in Michigan”, but can retire those search terms and go back to calling them what they are… weddings! For those likeminded Michigan wedding photographers who are as excited as I am that love won out in the high courts, please don’t tell your homophobic photographer friends how much fun we’re having celebrating love. And couples, if you’re searching for a gay friendly, LGBT savy Michigan wedding photographer, by all means, I’d love to photograph your wedding. Not your gay wedding, or your same sex wedding, but your wedding.

Jennifer and Emily picked THE day to have a gay wedding in Michigan… June 26th, 2015. All their planning for months really paid off on this perfect day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer and Emily picked THE day to have a gay wedding in Michigan… June 26th, 2015. All their planning for months really paid off on this perfect day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer and Emily  laugh as their daughter "E" clowns around on their wedding day, June 26th, 2015, the day same sex weddings were legalized. All their planning for months really paid off on this perfect day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer and Emily laugh as their daughter “E” clowns around on their wedding day, June 26th, 2015, the day same sex weddings were legalized. All their planning for months really paid off on this perfect day in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily poses at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on her fabulous and historic wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist

Emily poses at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on her fabulous and historic wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jenn pose with their wedding party at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on her fabulous and historic wedding day, June 26th, 2015 when gay weddings were legalized. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist

Emily and Jenn pose with their wedding party at Greenmead in Livonia, Michigan on her fabulous and historic wedding day, June 26th, 2015 when gay weddings were legalized. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist

Emily and Jenn

Emily and Jenn’s long planned wedding just happened to coincide with the day gay marriages finally became legal; June 26, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily turns in shock when she hears Jenn repeating a very unique promise during her wedding vows… one she

Emily turns in shock when she hears Jenn repeating a very unique promise during her wedding vows… one she’s also promised! Their wedding took place in Livonia, Michigan on the day gay marriage became legal in the United States. Emily and Jenn’s long planned wedding just happened to coincide with the day gay marriages finally became legal; June 26, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jenn show their excitement at being prounced "Wife and Wife" on June 26, 2015, the day we legalized gay marriage.  Their wedding took place in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jenn show their excitement at being prounced “Wife and Wife” on June 26, 2015, the day we legalized gay marriage. Their wedding took place in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jenn kiss after being prounced "Wife and Wife" on June 26, 2015, the day we legalized gay marriage.  Their wedding took place in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jenn kiss after being prounced “Wife and Wife” on June 26, 2015, the day we legalized gay marriage. Their wedding took place in Livonia, Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily

Emily’s father raises a toast to his daughter and her wife and their newly legal union. They celebrated on June 26th, 2015 in Livonia, Michigan. I’ve never heard a toast to “The United States of America” at a wedding before! Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jennifer and their daughter "E" enjoy a quiet moment before family photos begin after their legal same sex marriage in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily and Jennifer and their daughter “E” enjoy a quiet moment before family photos begin after their legal same sex marriage in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily share a sweet, romantic smooch on June 26th, 2015. They just happened to choose that date to get married, not realizing the historic nature of  their wedding date… the day gay marriage because legal in Michigan.  Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily share a sweet, romantic smooch on June 26th, 2015. They just happened to choose that date to get married, not realizing the historic nature of their wedding date… the day gay marriage because legal in Michigan. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer poses for photos after her wedding in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jennifer poses for photos after her wedding in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily pause in the stairwell of their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015, the day same sex weddings became legal. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily pause in the stairwell of their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015, the day same sex weddings became legal. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Brides Emily and Jenn reapply their lipstick prior to their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June, 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Brides Emily and Jenn reapply their lipstick prior to their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June, 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

The kids at the wedding "help" Emily carry her train through the restaurant where they had their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

The kids at the wedding “help” Emily carry her train through the restaurant where they had their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Emily

Emily’s bridesmaid and mother try to figure one of the most complicated bustles I’ve ever seen on a wedding dress! Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily share their first dance as wife and wife during their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on historic June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily share their first dance as wife and wife during their wedding reception in Livonia, Michigan on historic June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

The kids attending Emily and Jenn

The kids attending Emily and Jenn’s wedding had a blast throwing rose pedals over and over during the wedding reception. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan Wedding Photojournalist.

Their wedding and reception took place in a restaurant and there were plenty of other guests who popped their heads in to see what was going on in the other room (we weren’t exactly quiet). An older gentleman in a suit, on a date with his wife, walked by as Emily was getting her dress bustled. He did a double take at seeing two brides standing there in the lobby. He was partly out the door when he turned back around and said, “Congratulations you two. You look lovely.”

We’ve come a long way.

Jenn and Emily pose at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis - Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

Jenn and Emily pose at a barn at Greenmead in Livonia Michigan on their long planned wedding day, June 26th, 2015. Photo by Marci Curtis – Michigan wedding Photojournalist.

Weller Raisin River Room Wedding

Gretchen & Dale’s Saline, Michigan wedding photography at Wellers Raisin River Room.
May 30th, 2015

So what are a bride and groom to do when their wedding day is by turns storming, threatening, steamy hot and back to down pouring again? Wellers had gorgeous grounds for weddings and frankly, there was just no way it looked feasible to have their wedding outside and be able to take advantage of the beautiful setting. Gretchen really was game for it up until the very last minute, but practicality won out. The ground was thoroughly saturated, the river was swollen and her lovely white dress would have become a mud soaked sponge in no time.

Wellers has an off site spot for their brides to get ready in an antique house very nearby in Saline Michigan.

Wellers has an off site spot for their brides to get ready in an antique house very nearby in Saline Michigan.

Gretchens true first look at Dale when she arrived (and had to jump puddles) to get to Wellers Raisin River room for her wedding.

Gretchen’s true first look at Dale when she arrived (and had to jump puddles) to get to Wellers Raisin River room for her wedding.

And this is Dale and Gretchen

And this is Dale and Gretchen’s silliness kicking in… an impromptu reenactment of the first look that never happened at Weller in Saline, Michigan.

With the wedding moved indoors and Gretchen

With the wedding moved indoors and Gretchen’s dad (a true judge) performing the ceremony, everything went perfectly, capitalizing on the intimacy of the smaller, darker location at Wellers in Saline, Michigan.

I have a problem with photographing small children during my weddings. They are stinking cute AND every single thing they are thinking shows on their faces!

I have a problem with photographing small children during my weddings. They are stinking cute AND every single thing they are thinking shows on their faces!

On of the guests is hustling into the Raisin River room for a wedding at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. With continuous down pours, she really wanted to protect that gift!

On of the guests is hustling into the Raisin River room for a wedding at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. With continuous down pours, she really wanted to protect that gift!

Two little relatives of the bride and groom at the Wellers Raisin River room in Saline, Michigan goof off during the wedding reception during the five minutes it wasn

Two little relatives of the bride and groom at the Wellers Raisin River room in Saline, Michigan goof off during the wedding reception during the five minutes it wasn’t raining that day.

Another small relative goofs around with the red noses Gretchen provided to entertain their younger guests at their Wellers wedding in Saline, Michigan. Couples often forget how easy it can be to entertain their small guests until the dancing starts. This was genius!

Another small relative goofs around with the red noses Gretchen provided to entertain their younger guests at their Wellers wedding in Saline, Michigan. Couples often forget how easy it can be to entertain their small guests until the dancing starts. This was genius!

Gretchen gives a toast during their wedding dinner at Wellers River Raisin Room in Saline, Michigan. This room photographs nicely in the center of the room when the lights are up fully and there is still daylight.

Gretchen gives a toast during their wedding dinner at Wellers River Raisin Room in Saline, Michigan. This room photographs nicely in the center of the room wen the lights are up fully and there is still daylight.

The bride and groom play the Dating Game during their wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. I loved Gretchen

The bride and groom play the Dating Game during their wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. I loved Gretchen’s expressions!

Dale

Dale’s turn during the Dating Game during their Wellers Raisin Room wedding reception in Saline, Michigan.

The first dance in the Raisin River Room at Wellers in Saline, Michigan.

The first dance in the Raisin River Room at Wellers in Saline, Michigan.

A family dances together during a slow dance at a wedding at Wellers Raisin River Room in Saline, Michigan.

A family dances together during a slow dance at a wedding at Wellers Raisin River Room in Saline, Michigan.

A small guest tried to climb a beam during a wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan.

A small guest tried to climb a beam during a wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan.

Dale

Dale’s mom gets into the dancing during the wedding reception at Wellers Raisin River room in Saline, Michigan.

Dale and Gretchen dance with his son during the dancing at their Wellers wedding reception in the Raisin River Room.

Dale and Gretchen dance with his son during the dancing at their Wellers wedding reception in the Raisin River Room.

Some of the guests try to elicit a response from a baby they are trying to photograph during a Wellers wedding reception in Saline, Michigan.

Some of the guests try to elicit a response from a baby they are trying to photograph during a Wellers wedding reception in Saline, Michigan.

Gretchen checks in with Dale towards the end of the wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. I love seeing intimate moments when nobody is paying any attention to me anymore.

Gretchen checks in with Dale towards the end of the wedding reception at Wellers in Saline, Michigan. I love seeing intimate moments when nobody is paying any attention to me anymore.

Because Gretchen and Dale had a first look (can you spot the real one and the fake one?!), we were able to get some quick family photos done outside as well as some couples shots in between the storms that just kept pounding Michigan. A note to photographers and couples looking at using Wellers Raisin River Room in Saline, Michigan. This room is very cool looking, very intimate and also one of the most challenging wedding venues to photograph. I’ve shot weddings here often and now how to manage the lighting, but even having the wedding moved indoors to a small area in what is typically the dance floor area (the majority of guests stayed seated at their tables) was a challenge. Here are the technical issues… the ceilings are black, so the light does not bounce or travel far. The black ceilings also have large beams, so any light you do put out will be immediately stopped from spreading by the beams. There are multiple kinds of natural lighting going on. Some is incandescent, some is more florescent, some is natural and some is halogen! Needless to say, the lighting set for where the bride and groom typically are seated is fine when the lights are fully up. The fall off to the guests seating just to the right or left of that one area is quite dramatic, very directional from overhead (lots of shadows on peoples faces) and very red which is hard to tone. You can see in the wedding photo of the toast that the area looks nice in that center area… not too hard to color correct. So you’ll need to use a LOT of off camera lighting, not just bounced. You’ll need a LOT of batteries (the walls had water streaming down them and half their plugs just weren’t working that day… not typical, but with a very old building, who knows!). So anybody out there looking for a wedding photographer for this unique and charming venue, make sure they have a lot of tricks in their lighting bag… they’ll need every last one of them! I was extremely fortunate to be working with a laid back couple AND my favorite ally / DJ, Michigan Wedding DJ, Dan Nichols who made sure I was able to do what needed to be done before moving on. That’s a huge help on a technically challenging wedding venue.

Congratulations to Gretchen and Dale. They pulled off this wedding with style!