Peter + Emily | Downtown Grand Rapids Wedding + Thousand Oaks Reception
Do you want your wedding day to be fun?
Then you're going to love looking through Peter and Emily's Grand Rapids wedding photos.
We met them through their jeweler in Grand Rapids, Almassian. We put together a photo shoot and video about Peter's proposal on the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids.
After working together once, they asked us to photograph their wedding and the photos you'll find below are the culmination of that initial referral from Trent at Almassian Jewelers.
The wedding was held in downtown Grand Rapids at a church we had never been to before: Mayfair Christian Reformed Church. The church is tucked in a neighborhood between Michigan Ave and Fulton St and if you're looking for a beautiful ceremony location with amenities, Mayfair CRC might be the place for you.
That is something to think about as you plan your wedding: Where will the wedding party be getting ready? Will they have their own spaces to get ready in? Mayfair CRC has separate spaces to get ready in and prior to the wedding.
One of the best moments of the morning was watching Emily open a card from Peter where her first comment was, "Wow, he wrote a lot more than I did..."
Peter and his 6 groomsmen, 2 ushers, 2 ring bearers and Emily's dad got ready but before it was time for photos, it was time for Emily's gift for her soon to be husband: Shinola watch -- the exact one that he was hoping for from his bride to be.
A groom's gift is a tradition that many of the couples we photograph still participate in. We have seen gifts as extravagent as exotic honeymoons to simple (yet meaningful) gifts such as a framed photo be gifts to each other.
After 20 minutes of photos with the guys (we always try keeping actual photo taking take short prior to the ceremony), Emily wanted her Dad to see her for the first time.
The photo below says it all.
She met him outside and the tears began to flow.
After a few minutes with her father, her bridesmaids made sure hair and makeup were back in place (this is the reason to wear waterproof mascara).
Emily was stunning (as was the entire bridal party).
We had perfect light for portraits and Emily was a natural (after a few minutes of coaching).
Rather than provide programs, Emily and Peter had custom designed posters made that guests would see as they entered the sanctuary.
Anything that is custom designed on the wedding day adds a great touch to the elegance of the event - just make sure it's well done (as Emily's was).
Then came the moments.
The moment that Emily's dad walked his only daughter down the aisle.
The moment that Peter saw his soon to be wife for the first time (and check out the reaction below).
Then my favorite moment. The moment where the bride and groom are now husband and wife and exit the church.
Somehow every couple glances as one another as they walk down the aisle. Take a look at Peter and Emily's!
We had to make sure and capture a photo of all the people involved in Peter and Emily's wedding day: bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, ring bearers, flower girl, guest book attendant.
The blue suits are from Woodland Tailoring, one of my favorite local Grand Rapids suit shops to visit for wedding attire (or dress attire in general).
Then it was time for a few quick portraits around the sanctuary at Mayfair CRC as the wedding party loaded up the party bus.
We like to use the transition times (like when bus is being loaded) to take more relaxed portraits of the bride and groom using the setting they were married in.
As with most CRC churches, brown pews dominate the sanctuary and I wanted to use the symmetry as a visual element while posing Peter and Emily.
And then the party bus was ready to go.
If this photo doesn't show you the type of day that Peter and Emily had, I don't know what will.
Peter and Emily wanted to enjoy the downtime between their 2pm ceremony and 6pm reception.
We suggested 2 downtown locations and we spent 10-15 minutes at each spot. We then planned to head toward their reception location at Thousand Oaks Golf Club.
The first location, just around the corner from Founder's, had an amazing concrete wall that we discovered recently.
Peter and Emily trusted us to choose amazing downtown locations and with ArtPrize in full effect (September 30 wedding), we wanted to head "downtown" but not get caught up in ArtPrize traffic.
15 minutes at each location gave us time to work with the entire wedding party, just the girls, just the guys and finally the bride and groom.
Just a few blocks up Cherry Street we used a newly reconstructed road as the second location. Emily told us she was in love with the red brick streets of downtown Grand Rapids, so it was a natural fit.
After just a few photos at the second location (because traffic was too heavy to be out in the road for more than a couple of photos at a time), we headed to Provin Trails on the NE side of Grand Rapids.
I have to admit, this is one location I've never used for photos, even though I grew up down the road.
Needless to say, we will go back because the light and natural elements were right up our alley (along with Peter and Emily's).
Thousand Oaks Golf Club has a wonderful banquet room (that has been featured on our site before).
Peter and Emily dressed the room well from their cake and donut tower to centerpieces and flowers.
My favorite photo from this series: During Brandon's best man speech, something funny and memorable was said that got the crowd laughing.
Emily and Peter's reaction is priceless.
Following a great dinner and greeting guests (yes, many couples greet guests table by table at the reception) it was time for the party to start. Peter showed off his dancing skills with his new bride as their friends and family looked on.
Emily's dad had his moment with his daughter (despite having knee replacement surgery just 4 weeks prior).
Peter's mom had her moment dancing with her son one more time.
Whether you hire a DJ or a band, the biggest question you should ask is, "how do you keep the crowd engaged?"
Emily hired their wedding band before she hired us as their photographer and before she even had a venue for the reception.
She loves the party band Brena that much. And they did not disappoint.
They kept the floor full throughout their 3 sets of music and dancing may have started at 7:45pm, but it didn't end until midnight (yes, I confirmed this with Emily the next day because I never thought folks would last 4 hours of dancing. But Brena is that good!)