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I met Shane standing in 11 degree weather waiting for the White House Wedding Chapel in Warren, Michigan to open their doors to the couple. The White House Wedding Chapel runs a very tight schedule and they will NOT let you in their doors even 30 seconds early, so you’ve got a half hour to get the bride and groom in the doors separately along with all the floors. It’s not that it isn’t a very nice place to hold a small wedding service, it’s just the folks that run it, Lavdas, are running it like a business transaction. Getting a bride in the door without seeing her husband to be, getting dressed and ready to walk down the aisle in less than half an hour is a pretty tall order! They also have brides make their grand entrances from on top of the staircase which is a challenge for me since there are exit signs and emergency spot lights right at the top of the stairs as well. Traditional brides and bridesmaids wearing full length gowns have real troubles negotiating stairs, so if you’re planning a wedding here, don’t worry too much about buying into their whole grand entrance thing. More than half your guests won’t be able to see you walking along the balcony because they are underneath it and have an obstructed view.
Now back to Shane and Katie. Anybody who hugs me when they first meet me gets a thumbs up… even if he was perhaps just seeking body warmth after standing outside checking the doors of the White House Wedding Chapel to see if they were open yet! Katie’s mom, dad and sister did just about all of the wedding planning since Katie and Shane live out of state. Katie sobbed happy tears through just about all of the wedding ceremony and we got free entertainment from the little ring bearer dudes who played pretty much non stop throughout the whole service. With sun streaming in through the windows, it went along perfectly with the warmth we were feeling from the atmosphere the couple created.
Afterwards we piled into the limo, which I believe is part of the White House Wedding Chapel package, and headed downtown. What to do on a freezing Michigan wedding day when you’ve got three hours to kill? Well, Katie’s uncle used to work at the Belle Isle Conservatory, so we went there. Turns out it was tolerably warm, nicely decorated, not crowded and it’s free. This Detroit based wedding photographer hadn’t been here and didn’t know this little jewel was out there available to my winter wedding couples who are looking for a nice place to shoot where they won’t freeze to death. So, if you’re looking for a nice Detroit place to shoot wedding photos, go out to Belle Isle. Sure beats freezing to death! And that’s what Katie wanted to do next. Not wanting to subject all her family (who were her wedding party) or the kids to Michigan’s 15 degree below zero temperatures, she did, however, want photos of herself outside. We’re talking about a woman in a strapless wedding gown in Arctic temperatures. So we made a very brief stop at Comerica Park (the tiger has a coat on… no such luck for the bride!) where I tried out my walking together shot with a super busy Comerica Park background. Then we went back to Belle Isle as the sun set for another attempt of the motion picture with Detroit in the background. We were at each of these locations for literally two minutes. No time for redos, or “try this”, or “maybe if we”… these were quickie pit stops and for what we put into them, I’m pretty darn happy! My favorite shot was from inside the limo as we drove over the Belle Isle Bridge you can see Detroit’s skyline out the frosted window of the limo.
We got to the reception where DJ Sean McDonnell from All Night Entertainment kept things moving. He is such a nice, gracious man and he gives his couples wonderful service and experiences. He’s attentive and thorough and very easy to work with. Katie cried through most of her dance with her dad, which was very sweet to capture. I think you can see from all the photos what wonderful parents Shane and Katie will be. They’re expecting their first child in 5 months and I thought it was neat to see how much they enjoyed surrounding themselves with their nieces and nephews all nice long. For more photos from this White House Wedding Chapel wedding, please check out my other blog at www.themichiganweddingphotographer.com.