Brett + Lara | Latvian Wedding in Kalamazoo
In case you have not been a part of a Latvian wedding celebration, it is something that everyone should experience.
We have been part of several and met Lara at her older sister Andra’s wedding in 2014. As you can imagine, we love reconnecting with couples and families we’ve worked with previously. Knowing that the Krautmanis family was getting together to celebrate Lara and Brett’s wedding day, we were honored to be a part of the festivities.
Folks traveled in from across the globe to be part of Brett and Lara’s wedding day and it all started with hair, makeup and getting ready at the Radisson Downtown Kalamazoo.
All the morning details you can imagine were on site with the ladies in one suite and the guys in another. The wedding party included family and friends, which meant that we had a large group to help manage.
As with every couple we work with, we want to make sure not only bride and groom look and feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera, we want to make sure everyone involved in their day does as well.
Lara had a plan for the wedding day.
She wanted her mom to help her get dressed. Just Lara and her mom (such a great touch, right!?!).
It was important to her and we captured wonderful moments of mother and daughter getting ready.
The next part was to greet her ladies (and gentlemen) who were part of the wedding. Then it was time for Dad to see her for the first time.
The Grand Suite at the Radisson Kalamazoo has a wonderful staircase that allowed us to capture the reactions to her coming down for the first time fully ready for her wedding day.
The next step of the plan was to have her first look with Brett.
The suite at the hotel was perfect for this as we had her return upstairs and then had Brett come up the stairs to greet her (just the two of them — and us).
We hope the photos help the two of them remember the intimacy and intensity of their first look.
The final part of the wedding day plan was time for family photos at the hotel.
This meant mom, dad, siblings, wedding party — in the end, almost everyone involved in the wedding day.
One cute side note, we had to include the 4 photo sequence of Lara with her mother, Metra! It was too great not to share!
**Wedding Day Photo Tip — as you look through a wedding photographer’s images, look for sequences of images like the ones below. It shows that the photographer knows how to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right camera settings to capture all the moments of your wedding day.
Following photo time at the hotel, everyone headed to the Kalamazoo Latvian Association where both ceremony and reception were to be held with 200+ guests.
Guests were bused from the hotel downtown to the ceremony site. Busing allowed Brett and Lara to control the flow of guests arriving at the church and make sure everyone had a seat.
With 200+ guests, the church was full, though we captured photos from both the main floor of the church and the wonderful balcony space.
With immediate family photos taken care of at the hotel, Lara and Brett wanted to make sure they had great portraits of their extended family.
As you may have noticed, the Krautmanis family has quite a large extended family. Brett’s extended family wasn’t too shabby either.
**Wedding Day Photo Tip — How often do families get together for portraits like this? In our family, only at weddings. Take 15 minutes and have family photos taken either at the church or at the reception. Your family will thank you.
It was a quick walk across the parking lot for the reception, which included a wonderful donuts setup for dessert, sequence table linens and elaborate decorations around the facility.
The order of the evening was blessing, toasts and then dinner to follow (by Good Bites Food).
Following dinner came surprises for guests and newlyweds alike.
For guests, Brett and Lara put together a wonderful choreographed dance. With the dance floor at one end of the room, it meant guests looked on from around the space and enjoyed the show.
Then it was surprise time for Brett and Lara as the bride “was kidnapped”!
Traditional Latvian weddings include a part of the evening where the bride is “kidnapped” by some of the men in attendance and the groom has to “pay a ransom” to get her back.
For Brett it meant “paying a ransom” of swapping socks with his new father in law and playing “flip cup” against his new mother in law.
After Lara’s “ransom” was paid, she was delivered back to her new husband and the party continued late into the evening!
Ceremony & Reception: Kalamazoo Latvian Association
Wedding Dress: Becker’s Bridal
Wedding Shoes: Christian Louboutins
Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell
Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair & Makeup: Jenna Gillespie & Blush Salon
Officiant: Aija Graham
Flowers: Harrison Janness
Catering: Good Bites Food
Dessert Donuts: Sweetwater’s Donuts
Love the images you see of Brett and Lara? Looking for a photographer that can make you feel confident? We would love to connect with you about your photography needs!