Angela & Jason’s winter wedding at Steven Lelli’s Inn On The Green in Farmington Hills, Michigan
I closed out my wedding season just before the snow storms hit last weekend. This was a new location for me, and I didn’t see anything from this location online, so I’m posting more than usual of this Lelli’s location so that any other Michigan brides and Detroit area wedding photographers looking at Steven Lelli’s Inn on the Green in Farmington Hills, Michigan can get a pretty good idea of what the space looks like when they are planning and photographing winter weddings there.
Angela and Jason are about the most laid back couple I’ve worked with and I loved that they were willing to go with the flow concerning wedding photography. The restaurant (Lelli’s) was closed for the ceremony (at 4:30), but they opened it at 5:00, so that left no place and no time to take family photos or wedding party photos. The ceremony ended around 5:10, so we were scrambling to take photos so they could start dinner service for the guests. I was worried we might all freeze out in the enclosed terrace out back, but they had at least 3 heaters blowing hot air (on or off were the options), so it the staff were switching them off and on constantly. If you were too warm, you simply had to move. Needless to say, it was our first cold Michigan night and they were able to keep people from freezing!
I’m not sure if the room would normally look this great…. maybe it’s always so nicely decorated? I do know that the bride’s mom, Cathy, worked miracles within 4 months to make the place look stunning!
A word to other Metro Detroit, Michigan wedding photographers who might have this as their wedding venue to photograph… Steven Lelli’s Inn On The Green is one of the darkest, most challenging wedding ceremony sites in Michigan I’ve ever shot in over 1,300 weddings. The walls at Lelli’s are black and so is part of the ceiling, along with a beautiful, but lighting challenged tray ceiling, the space is super tight and the spots to put your lights (and you will need multiple lights) is extremely limited. Angela had originally hired a photographer that is strictly a “Natural Light” photographer (which is often code for; does not know how to use off camera lighting). She wisely knew after looking at the space that there was no way you could pull that off in this location. The terraced, reception area did offer cool twinkle lights (not sure if that was Cathy’s addition, or if those are always there), so I was able to create some really cool, ambiance filled “winter” type images from the dance floor.
Upside? The wedding food at Lelli’s Inn On The Green is AMAZING! The staff is kind and efficient.
Downside? Lelli’s accommodations for wedding ceremonies and places to take portraits of more than just the bride and groom is non existent and couples should know that and be prepared to have a first look and take all their wedding photos beforehand either at Lelli’s restaurant (if they are indeed closed) or take them off site. All of us were caught off guard that they hadn’t left any time or space for us to take photos and there are some holes in the shooting due to lack of time and space.
Lastly, this is my favorite shot of the day. It’s not technically superb, it’s not a wow, but it’s still my favorite. Cathy, the mother of the bride, was overseeing all those details for the wedding reception at Lelli’s restaurant when she came downstairs to get dressed. This was the moment she realized HER DRESS WAS MISSING! In all the hoopla, she’d left her dress on the bus and it was gone. This is a true, behind the scenes photo that captures any drama the day of PERFECTLY! Sure, the ceremony started about 15 minutes late, but I’m pretty sure not too many people knew why. Everything was gorgeous and went smoothly except this little, bitty hitch!