Clicking Through Life » Real life wedding photography

Mary Beth and Arayan were married on an absolutely perfect day this summer.  They had family and friends come from all over the world to celebrate with them and what a beautiful celebration it was.  The ceremony took place at the Historic Trinity Lutheran Church and the reception followed at Cafe Cortina. The details were classic and timeless and Mary Beth looked absolutely stunning in her lace gown.  The entire day was simple, sweet and filled with love…

 

 

 

One of my favorite parts about Cafe Cortina is their gorgeous outdoor patio.  The ambiance is amazing and perfect for cocktail hour and dancing under the stars on a beautiful night.

 

 

 

We snuck away just after dinner and I’m in love with these portraits.  Just look at the way they look at each other… Holiday Market created their cake, and Mary Beth surprised Arayan with this awesome groom’s cake.  Very fitting for a pilot!

Between the lanterns and the fire, the night had a magical glow…

Vendor Love

Ceremony – Trinity Lutheran Church

Reception – Cafe Cortina

Cake – Holiday Market 

Bridal Gown – Elizabeth’s Bridal Manor

Flowers – Thrifty Flowers

DJ  – Go Pro DJs

Photography – Shannon

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It’s time for a little personal post.  I’m finally starting to catch my breath this wedding season and I thought I’d share why I haven’t been blogging lately.  It feels a little weird to me to go months without posting without giving an explanation.  So where have I been?  Well to start, in January Scott and I officially started 2 new businesses.   Last year we had this crazy idea and dove in head first, even though it could mean breaking our necks.

IMG_2275_WEB-1_WEBIt started last summer…  It was Memorial Weekend and my college girlfriend was in town visiting.  We were on the deck enjoying some frosty beverages, painting rocks and catching up.  Our conversation turned to how much we were loving all of the new craft beers and how they were made with different hops.  Jokingly we talked about buying the farmland next door that recently went up for sale and starting a hop farm.  And ya know? Why not tie my photography in and offer it up for weddings, the hops could make for a beautiful backdrop…

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And so we decided to do it.  We bought the property last July and Scott and I started dreaming of hops and weddings and we began working on our idea to make it a reality.  And with help of the MISBDC, EDA, MSU Extension, Techport, Spartan Innovations we are on our way.

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The end of 2015 left us reeling when we presented our new business idea for Hoppily Ever After in the Port Huron Greenlight Competition.  We spent months preparing and in December we pitched our idea to a panel of judges.  We had 4 minutes to cover our entire plan in a “Shark Tank” style presentation.   IMG_2578_WEB

I was so nervous, literally shaking in my boots up there.  But not Scott, he’s a natural.  That’s one of my favorite qualities in him.  His ability to stay calm in any situation.
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Some of our family came for support and we all agreed that there were so many great ideas and amazing businesses in the competition.  Some of them already doing great things for the community so when they announced Hoppily Ever After for 1st place we were taken completely by surprise!   IMG_2598_WEB GreenLightWin

photo courtesy The Times Herald.  Read the article here.

We spent our winter learning all things hops and beer related.  We researched varieties.  We read as much as we could about farming and equipment.  We researched the hop and beer industries, attended the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference, spent lots of time talking with other farmers and with the help of new found friends at the SBDC  we created a business plan.

Our win at the Port Huron Greenlight Competition got us an automatic seat in the Michigan Greenlight Competition that would take place in March.  So we worked on polishing our presentation and getting ready for the next competition.  I’m serious when I say that we didn’t think we stood a chance.  We were going up against start-up businesses that were going to change the world developing cures for tuberculosis and marijuana breathalyzers and we here we were dreaming of hops, love and beer.  Regardless if we were going to win or not, we had a great time and it was an awesome experience to be a part of.

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Turns out they liked our pitch and we won $1,000 for most creative and original idea!

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This spring we started making our idea and dreams a reality when we installed the trellis system and planted our first 323 hop plants on our new farm.

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We created a space for a wedding venue.  We started clearing land and creating spaces for gardens and an alternate ceremony site for when the hops are not in season.

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We’re learning to become farmers.  We’ve had to learn about broken down equipment and weed control.  We’ve literally put our blood, sweat and tears into this summer.   It has been some back breaking work.  Most nights this summer we watched the sunset from bed, too exhausted to stay awake past 9:00.

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We’ve had to learn about what a dry summer does to your crops.  Watering our plants by hand trucking 1000s of gallons a week from our pond was a 3 hour process and has come a long way from the beginning.   Yes plans are in place better irrigation system.  🙂

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Scott and I both turned 40 this year and spent our days working on the farm.  He didn’t want to do anything for his, and while we agreed no big parties this year, we did decide to invite a few friends over for drinks in the gardens for mine because , well I’ve busted my butt on these this year and I think that birthdays should be celebrated. 🙂

CTL_3101_WEB-1 CTL_3091_WEBWe harvested for the first time on our 14th wedding anniversary.  Our goal of getting the plants around the ceremony rooted worked and we got to pick cones!
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1 year later, we own 45 acres and have started a hop farm!  Our first year crop is sold and we have 2 weddings scheduled for next year!  Never in a million years did I imagine I’d be saying I live on a 45 acre farm.   In fact I drove the tractor home from the farm for the first time yesterday and was laughing so hard I must have looked crazy to the woman who waved as she passed me in her suburban.  Me.  A farmer?!?!  The thought of it still makes me laugh…

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This year has been the craziest experience.  The physically hardest.  The busiest.  The most gratifying.  The most exhausting.  And I’m so proud of us.  I’m proud of what we’ve created.  Where we’ve taken this crazy idea.  And there’s no way we could have done it without the support of our family and friends.  Specifically these four.  They’ve been here all year long.  They’ve busted their butts for us.  They’ve bruised and bled with us.  They’ve listened to us and helped us through the days where we wanted to break down and give up.  They share their knowledge and their labor.  And we are the luckiest people in the world to call them our friends and consider them our family.  Corey, Jessica, Brad and Tracy, there aren’t enough words to thank you.

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You can follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram and more updates are coming on our website soon!  And if you want to read about us in the news follow these links:

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Last week everyone was celebrating #NationalDogDay on Facebook and I loved seeing everyone’s pictures!  Our pups are our family too and I love it when clients include their dogs in their sessions!  So in honor of some of the silliest and lighthearted and loyal members of our family, here’s a little collection of some of my favorite images from pets that were included in portraits.

And the formal pooch portrait for the frame… with doggy grins.

A more informal session in the woods. The brown pup is unsure, but the little guy is all about it. You couldn’t buy a better smile than that.

Who’s a good boy posing?

A gorgeous way to celebrate and document your growing family.

And who doesn’t look better all gussied up for a wedding?

From a dramatic winter scene…

…to a fun summer shot.

With appropriate dresscode, of course.

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We celebrate you, four-legged besties. Thank you for your loyalty, your love, and your tolerance for wearing costumes in the family photos. #NationalDogDay

And of course, I wouldn’t let this post end without my own family portrait with our Balto.  Taken last winter by my super talented niece Lauren!

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For some more inspiration on how to include Fido in the family fun, check out our Pinterest board – Portraits with Pooches.

 

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When I first met with Jaclyn and JR to talk about their wedding, they told me was that they just wanted it to be a fun day. And fun it was.  JR has the ability to make anyone laugh, especially Jaclyn. But the moment he saw his bride being escorted down the aisle by her nephew and then her father, there was a change in his expression that brought tears to my own eyes.  And that wasn’t the only time during their wedding I caught my eyes leaking.  Jaclyn shared the most amazing moments with her dad.  The look of pride her father wore all day had tears welling up in my eyes on more than one occasion…

 

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Venue – Greystone Golf Club

Florist – Twigs and Branches Floral

Cake – Home Bakery

DJ – Night and Day Productions

Photography by Shannon

 

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Angela and Brandon were married last month at the beautiful Addison Oaks  in Leonard.  Surrounded by family and friends and slightly dictated by the weather, they committed to spend a lifetime together.  Typical of a spring day in Michigan, the weather was iffy and off and on rain all day.  Luckily it cleared up for their first look and portraits, but with the threatening skies they decided to move the ceremony indoors.  Good thing they did, because right before the ceremony, Mother Nature decided that hail would be appropriate of the day.  Their wedding was a long time in the making and the weather didn’t matter, the day was perfect and wait was worth it.

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Congratulations Angela & Brandon!
Vendor Love:

Florist – Viviano Flower Shop

Cake – Mannino’s Bakery

DJ – Mike Staff Productions

Photography – Shannon & Kevin

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