Patrick + Kari | Downtown Grand Rapids + Watermark Country Club Wedding
From the first date, to the proposal, to engagement photos and now the wedding, we were there to photograph them all.
That's probably the reason why we felt like family with Patrick and Kari.
We met Patrick and Kari when they were setup on a blind date by mutual friends at an event for the Saint Mary's Foundation (Up on the Roof specificially and you can read about it here).
Their Grand Rapids fall wedding happened at the end of October, when weather wise can be hit and miss. Even though there was rain in the forecast, when we took the two of them and the wedding party outside, the rain held off.
The ceremony was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Grand Rapids. The guys arrived ready for photos and the ladies arrived just needing to change into their dresses.
Needless to say, both the guys and the girls were excited for the day!
Patrick and his 4 groomsmen rocked the traditional bow tie and tuxedo. It's a trend we are seeing at weddings, especially this fall.
Many guys are favoring the move back toward the traditional black tuxedo with bow tie as it's a classic look that goes with most color palletes.
After photos with the guys and one pair of ripped pants later (it may or may not have happened to yours truly as I was photographing the guys), it was time for portraits of Kari and her bridesmaids.
IHM has wonderful space and, regardless of how good or bad the lighting was, we used the space as best we could to create great portraits.
For us, outside was wonderful with a covered walkway, near perfect lighting and an amazing looking bride (yes Kari, you know you looked stunning).
Then it was time for a quick touch up of make up (their is always time for a touch up of lip gloss, especially when it's "Pin Up") and a moment of pride for Kari's father.
The church is setup so the bride and her father are tucked away in a small hallway just out of sight from the front of the church (where Patrick was waiting).
Watching these two peak around the corner to see when it was time to go was priceless. Kari was so excited to marry Patrick.
With his daughter on his arm, Kari's father walked her down the aisle after whispering one last thing into his baby girl's ear. As he walked down the aisle, you can see him biting his lower lip (in my opinion, holding back the tears).
The priest, Father Troy Nevins, performed a customized ceremony for the two of them and in what seemed like an instant, Patrick and Kari were kissing as husband and wife.
Our favorite moment of the day is watching the bride and groom walk out of the sanctuary for the first time as husband and wife. Patrick and Kari did not disappoint as you will see in the images below. They were beyond excited and you can see it in their eyes and their smiles.
Following the ceremony we took family photos and then it was time for a quick wedding party portrait.
Their wedding party made the day fun and exciting not only for Patrick and Kari, but also for us. Their group was full of jokes, laughter and great attitudes.
**Key wedding planning tip -- choose wedding party attendents that will have great attitudes throughout your wedding day, regardless of circumstances.
We were WAAAAAY ahead of schedule at this point, which meant as the party bus arrived (right on time thanks to the handy dandy wedding schedule), we had time for 2 photo locations in downtown Grand Rapids.
The first location we were able to sneak inside and if you're not familiar with it, it's the old entrance to the Welsh Auditorium on the south end of DeVos Place. The interior space is amazing and we were lucky the doors just happened to be open.
We then took the group outside and used the amazing architecture outside the building for individual and group portraits as well.
Just down the street is another place we have fallen in love with as a photo backdrop. The geometric patterned wall is on the side of a building near Founder's. It's built so that the afternoon sun hits the wall perfectly.
One new idea came to us during Patrick and Kari's wedding, which was to capture a great portrait of each wedding party attendant with their significant other. We used the wall as the backdrop and what do you think? Is this something we should continue to do in the future?
Watermark Country Club has one of our favorite banquet rooms in Grand Rapids. Half the room has windows that look across the golf course and having natural light in your reception is wonderful for your arrival. Then when the sun sets, the mood changes and everyone is excited to party.
The setup of the room was nothing less than spectacular! Patrick and Kari were able to enjoy time with their guests as they made sure to arrive for cocktail hour as well. Patrick is from Kentucky and therefore bourbon bottles were used as centerpieces.
For your reception, personal touches like this go a long way in making the room feel like home.
While guests were mixing and mingling during cocktail hour, we took Patrick and Kari outside for about 5-10 minutes to create some portraits at Watermark Country Club.
These two braved the cold weather and threat of rain like champs and even though the sky wasn't blue, it did have rolling clouds that provided a dramatic backdrop.
Guests were then seated and it was time for the "grand entrance" which set the tone for the evening. Guests were up on their feet and I don't know if we've heard such a loud roar from guests before. We knew the night was going to be electric!
Formal dances began with Patrick and Kari and carried into Kari with her father and Patrick with his mother.
Following those formalities DJ Cameron Ridley LIT UP the dance floor. There was not a break in the action for the first hour of dancing and Patrick and Kari were right in the middle of it.
They wanted a great party and with the help of their friends, family and a wonderful DJ, they did exactly that.