I had a reeeeally hard time limiting the number of pictures I wanted to put on the blog for Dena & Jeff! They are all so fun!! Dena & Jeff remind me so much of my husband and I - only they're hotter. ;-) They're so laid back, love to make sure everyone is having a good time, and they love to show their love for each other. It made them so easy to photograph!
The day started off with Dena getting her hair & makeup done at the Kerry Mark Salon. Afterward, as she was walking through town to go to the bank, she kept getting stopped by her family and friends who were in town for the wedding. Apparently a lot of guests were in town from Chicago, which is what made me stop and think to take a picture of the Chicago headlines that day.
The wedding and reception were held at the Lake Bluff Inn & Suites in South Haven, MI; which is like a little domestic destination for a wedding. As you approach the hotel, you see this dinosaur sign that really doesn't have anything to do with the inn's name or brand, it just cracked me up!
Dena and Cisco are the best of pals. He goes with her pretty much wherever she goes and he's so well behaved! He did such a great job walking up and down the aisle during the wedding - I could almost feel how proud he was that his mommy was getting married.
I got in the day before the wedding to attend the rehearsal, meet Dena & Jeff, and just to get a feel for the location and the people that I'd be photographing on the wedding day. So, Dena & Jeff had planned this great bonfire with smores and all sorts of drinks for the guests who were already at the Inn and about 30 minutes into the bonfire it started pouring... and I mean HARD! We took shelter in the recreation room for a while but it never really seemed to let up. Quite a few people were worried about the rain pouring on the wedding the next day, and about the tent getting set up over wet grass. Well, it did rain a bit on the morning of the wedding, but once again, the skies cleared just before Dena wanted to head to the beach for some portraits of her and her girls! She was so happy to see the sun come out, but even more excited to be getting married that day! I couldn't have asked for a happier bride!
After spending time with the girls, it was time to hang out with the guys for some pre-ceremony portraits. I'm always on the look-out for unexpected moments when I'm doing portraits, and I think that groomsmen often underestimate how quick I am when they pull their stunts!!
Dena & Jeff chose to have live musicians for their ceremony and reception and I have to say that their banjo/fiddle player was awesome... and fun to photograph! Check out what's written on his banjo...
One of the things I love about outdoor ceremonies is that I can get angles and moments that I normally can't get under church restrictions. Dena's dad cried pretty much all the way down the aisle with her, which of course made me start crying along with a bunch of other people (thank goodness for auto-focus!) In this moment you can see the dichotomy of happiness and sadness in his face as he gives his youngest daughter away to the man of her dreams. (Darnit.. he's making me cry again!!)
They had this neat idea of using sand from the beach near the Inn, but due to the rain, the sand was all wet, which made the whole pouring sand from two vases into one a bit of challenge! There's actually a pretty funny sequence of pictures that goes along with this of Dena pounding the sand out of her vase and then helping Jeff with his, but I think this one sums it up...
I love it when adults aren't afraid to be kids again!!
It was a pretty windy day along the lake, but all of that wind helped to move the storm out of the way for the wedding, so I wasn't complaining!
How incredibly cute is their cake?!? They even included Cisco!!
There were so many wonderful personal details in their wedding that I could take up a ton of pages just posting details, so rather than doing that, I'll just send you to the image gallery on flickr where you can see all of the fun details!
Prankster & Photographer... a kid after my own heart. ;)
I just love cake cuttings!! I never know what's going to happen, but I'm always ready!! This was the first time I had ever seen two people eat off of the same serving knife! Thumbs up to Dena & Jeff for trying something different!
These two could really dance!!! They could also really fall gracefully....
There are sooo many more pictures that I didn't post here but are in the slideshow. Dena & Jeff - I'm so grateful that you allowed me to share a little slice of your life with you!! You have no idea how much your energy and enthusiasm are infectious!! I can only hope that I was able to capture some fraction of that energy in the images of your wedding day!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!