Having a future wedding couple watch us photograph another wedding is the best way for them to see and experience what it's like having Rebecca and I as photographers on their future wedding day.
That's exactly how it worked for Michael and Jillian as we photographed Jillian's older brother's wedding in 2015 (check out Luke and Sarah's wedding at Michigan State).
Michael and Jillian planned an intimate day with close friends and family and when a couple plans a wedding day with fewer guests, that means they've taken time to really think through the details of their wedding day.
Those details included everything from shoes, to bridal dress to Jillian's custom made copper hair piece.
Neither Michael or Jillian are big fans of being in the spotlight. Perhaps you can relate. So having people around them, like mom, was an important part of the wedding day.
As the anticipation of seeing each other for the first time grew, they put together the final details which included a custom made memory box with their names, bottle of favorite wine and notes to one another to be read at a later date.
Then it was time for these two to see each other out in the Gardens. We arranged Michael and told him the next person he would see would be his bride.
Jillian enjoyed the walk from her dressing room out to see her future husband. While he waited on pins and needles, she was all smiles as she approached him in the beautiful location.
She was excited to show off her dress, hair and all the details she'd planned for their wedding day and all he could do was admire her with an unending smile.
Making sure couples are comfortable while having their photo taken is one of our top priorities. Michael and Jillian seeing each other before their ceremony created a sense of comfort and calmness for both of them.
This allowed them to have normal conversation with one another and feel comfortable as we provided direction and posing tips.
The gardens at Michigan State University are a dream location for a wedding. Not only do the bride and groom look amazing, the setting is spectacular as well. We took full advantage of that with Michael and Jillian.
Joy is the best word to describe Michael's quick looks at Jillian during portraits together and with a little bit of coaching they were ready to rock individual portraits. (Jillian knew how to pose with the best of them...)
In what Rebecca calls the "proudest moment for a father", Jillian took her father's arm for the long walk toward her husband.
After all the planning of a wedding day, this is the moment where both bride and groom are all smiles, knowing the details all came together to celebrate their marriage.
51 guests enjoyed the beautiful setting as Michael and Jillian held hands and pledged their lives to one another.
With the sun shining and perfect August weather, the bride and groom couldn't help but smile at each other.
Their officiant even had them turn around and face their guests as a way to help them remember the day and the feeling of creating their new life together as husband and wife.
Then the most memorable moments of the ceremony: the first kiss and walking down as husband and wife for the first time.
Amidst the business of the post ceremony shuffle, we try to help couples take a quick moment just for themselves to think about the way they feel and what this day has meant for them.
For Michael and Jillian that was a quick moment tucked away in the trees of the MSU Gardens as their guests departed the ceremony site.
Once guests departed, we headed into the gardens to capture the bride and groom with their wedding party. With only a matron of honor and best man, it made the process simple and quick.
The beautiful setting helped capture the moment of Jillian's life long best friend as matron of honor and Michael's younger brother standing next to them on one of the most important days of their lives.
On your wedding day our belief is you should imagine who you would like to have attend your 50th anniversary party, then invite those people to your wedding. That's exactly what Michael and Jillian did.
They even had some fun with their portraits, sneaking a kiss every once in a while (or maybe more often than 'once').
With green as the primary backdrop, outdoor portraits will look amazing, but more important is making sure Jillian is relaxed and Michael feels confident.
The last portrait of the two of them exudes that feeling.
Heading over to the Kellogg Center for their dinner with friends, these two wanted to make sure guests had a few things to do while they waited, including creating a new set of Jenga blocks for their home with personalized messages. A deck of cards adorned each place setting as a thank you gift.
Jillian brought together the colors of her wedding day with a wedding cake (and dessert table) that included copper details.