Jake + Amanda | Bissell Tree House Ceremony & Reception in Grand Rapids
We met Jake and Amanda because of Amanda's amazing wedding planning mother, Shelly. With the help of the Bissell Tree House Preferred Vendor List (that we are a part of), Shelly reached out to us asking all kinds of questions on what it would be like to have us photograph Jake and Amanda's day.
Being an only child, Amanda decided the best way to begin the day would be to get ready with her bridesmaids at her childhood home north of downtown Grand Rapids.
She had a friend, Tess, a professional hair stylist, take care of hair for the day, which added to the personal touches at the house. Having her dress hang on the porch she grew up eating with her parents was touching.
We wanted to make sure the ladies had a great time as they got ready, so it was mimosas all morning for Amanda and the bridesmaids.
As we photographed the details Amanda had put together, we realized she could not get away from Jake -- even her shoes had his name on them.
The blending of wedding day details with the details her parent's home made for a great photo setting. It also meant her bridesmaids and best friends were comfortable all morning as they helped her put together the last pieces of jewelry.
We wanted to make sure and capture the moment of having their daughter ready for her wedding, so we had Amanda's parents head outside with her to visit the road she grew up on as a backdrop.
She and her ladies jumped into a limo that came to the house to pick everyone up. No one wants to worry about traffic, driving and 'how do I get my car back here' type questions on a wedding day.
Meanwhile, over at Jake's home (now Jake and Amanda's home), Jake and his guys were getting ready and making sure to include cute details (like the corgi socks Amanda got for him a while back, he decided they were wedding day appropriate).
He gifted his groomsmen matching watches and Jake was all smiles at the house (even to the point of taking selfies for social media).
The Bissell Tree House is a beautiful location, but the details of Amanda and Jake's wedding day came together in a unique way we had not seen before. The light pink color was great for then end of summer wedding and you'll love all the details below, including the specialty linens and bows on the chairs (provided by Special Occasions West).
The ladies arrived at the Treehouse and took a ride up the funicular as Jake and Amanda prepared to see each other for the first time.
The balcony area at the treehouse is perfect for first looks as Amanda was in place, looking perfect, and Jake came around the corner and saw his bride for the first time.
After a few moments to themselves (so they could remember the feeling of seeing each other on their wedding day) we walked the wedding party through portraits.
Some together, some just the girls, some just the guys (and just the brothers).
Eventually we wanted to get to a point where Jake and Amanda could be comfortable together and be there just with us, helping create intimate portraits of the two of them.
Once we were happy with the number of portraits of the wedding party, we moved to a different section of the balcony to grab portraits of the bride and groom with the city skyline in the background.
After being in the suit and wedding dress for a little while, both Jake and Amanda became comfortable with the camera and just being themselves. Showing a little attitude and enjoying their wedding day up in the trees.
With one last toast (and a fun moment for everyone in the wedding party) they were lined up and as seating of the parents began, laughter erupted between Jake and his mom (who was about to see her son get married).
Then it was Amanda's father's turn to proudly walk his daughter down the aisle. Guests were finally able to see how amazing Amanda looked on her wedding day and with one last kiss, Dad gave his daughter away.
The Bissell Tree House always looks amazing and if you can't tell the wall of windows leans OUT toward the trees making you feel like you're in an actual tree house.
The pastor was kind enough to have Jake and Amanda turn around and look at their guests and remember what it felt like to stand in front of those they care so much for on their wedding day.
Writing their own vows, the two of them got each other laughing (and now they have personalized vows to look back on for years to come).
Before they knew it, it was time for the "first kiss" and their exit.
The exit is one of my favorite moments as a photographer as we are the first to congratulate the newlyweds on their marriage.
Jake and Amanda had such a special moment after the ceremony. Just watch how they're looking at one another.
Then it was a little marriage license fun before a glass of wine with guests for cocktail hour (more couples should try to spend cocktail hour with their guests, it takes the energy level up a notch).
Once everyone had time to mingle with guests (and family photos were officially done), we spent 15 minutes with the wedding party as guests were being seated and captured some fun portraits.
We always want folks having fun on their wedding day, bridal party included, which means making sure everyone is comfortable with us and also relaxed now the "hard part" (aka ceremony) is done.
It's usually at this point that the bride and groom are at their most confident and that was true of both Jake and Amanda.
Then it was time for fun with guests. Their grand entrance was just that - GRAND!
First two pieces of business to attend to after being announced: cut and enjoy brownie cake and to hear from your best friends as they toast your new marriage.
Those windows are just breathtaking. The Bissell Tree House does not disappoint guests when the arrive and enjoy an evening, that's for sure.
Laughter abounded throughout the night as Jake and Amanda danced the night away.
To complete their evening, we wanted to make sure we used the amazing light and sunset over Grand Rapids.
We found out these two are beer lovers, so what better way to toast to Beer City, USA than a kiss and a cheers!
Then it was back to Jake being the funny guy, lightening up the mood with more jokes and the night closed out for us as the new Mr. and Mrs. walked back to their guests and into their new future.