Clicking Through Life » Real life wedding photography

This summer has gone by so fast, I’m seriously in awe that we’re now officially in October.  I’m still working through September weddings and with the fall upon us, I’ve been scheduling sessions like mad.  My motto lately is “Winter is coming”, yes a Game of Thrones reference, but seriously I’m looking forward to all of the things slowing down and being able to come up for air and maybe take a day or two off.

Hoppily Ever After has come a long way in a short time.  1 year ago we were preparing to pitch a crazy idea and last weekend we woke up as hop farmers with a 3 acre farm and 2400 plants in 4 different varieties.  We’ve had so many people reach out to us this year offering to help, but to be honest we were fumbling along and didn’t even know where we needed help.  But we were finally able to plan something, our fall planting.  And we were completely overwhelmed with amount of help we had!  It was amazing to look around and see everyone there helping, working together all because they believed in us and our dreams. Family, friends, neighbors and even people we had never met all showed up to lend a hand and I even remembered to take some pictures!

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I had to chuckle when our first delivery showed up in a Penske truck.  In my “previous” life I worked for Penske, and found it a little ironic.  🙂
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My dad has been visiting for the last month and a half and has been helping us so much around here.  He even drove to the west side of the state to pick up the other half of our hops for us!
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Everyone came ready to work and I cannot believe how fast we put 2000 plants in the ground.  By 2:00pm we were done! ctl_0229_web
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img_7360_webOur watering situation still isn’t ideal, but we were able to hook it up so that two could water at once!

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Lots of work was done and lots of fun was had, especially by the kids and my cousin Lisa who after pining over it all day, finally got to play on the tractor.
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More flowers went in and we got some new furniture for the gardens too!  It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but “It’s all happening”…

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Watching your child eating cake during their first birthday party is by far some of the funniest and most memorable moments of the day.  So why not preserve those memories forever by including a cake smash in your child’s 1 year session?  The cake smash photo trend has been around for some years now, and has even been picked up by some ironic 30 year olds more recently. It shows no sign of slowing, only evolving into bigger and better. And why not? It’s a time honored tradition and the resulting pictures are adorable!

BobbyTrombley_02231Year_WEBAnd the best part?  We’ve teamed with up with an amazing cake artist who will work with you to design the perfect cake for your session and delivers it right to the studio so you don’t have to worry about bringing one more thing to your session.  You can match the cake to the outfit, pick the theme and props, and you won’t miss the perfect smash moment trying to get pictures.  Cakes featured above by Living. Breathing. Baking.


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JamesSaigh_1Year_0423_WEBSometimes they aren’t real keen on the idea, but don’t worry eventually they warm up to it and dig right in!

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You’ll get the  perfect photos for gifts, cards, and hanging on the wall.  Maybe even to break out at the graduation party!

Enjoy our sugary shots above?

We also have a  Cake Smash Pinterest board for some more inspiration!

 

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He’s a country boy from Texas and she’s a city girl.  Together they’re adventurous, laid back and always up for something new and fun.  Their wedding was just that.  It was a perfect summer day when  Marie and Adam said I do at the beautiful Golden Hawk Golf & Banquet Center.  And when your day starts with a race through the halls, you know it’s going to be a fun day! 0427w-ctl-msah-0538_WEB.jpg
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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…

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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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