The Morning after the Big Day // Adventures in Punta Cana, a Caribbean Wedding

A few weeks ago I blogged Patrick + Lisa's Caribbean, Punta Cana destination wedding. If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here.  On our first day on the island, we were walking along the beach discussing the wedding day, and we came across this abandoned hacienda tucked far back, behind a forest of palm trees.  The estate and surrounding property had never finished being built. It was pretty fantastic, and literally, stopped us in our tracks. At this point, we knew we had to do a photo shoot there, so the morning after the wedding, we took a field trip back to this jaw dropping estate, and had a fun little session. I wish I could take home the amazing "palm tree forest" located on the property. It was like nothing I had ever seen in all my travels. I hope you enjoy this little bit of paradise! I most definitely have to head back here someday. It was just too good!! 

Patrick + Lisa // A Tropical, Caribbean Destination Wedding // Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."  -Jacques Yves Coustea

This quote is me in a nutshell. All of my happiest memories growing up were by the water. It's why my husband and I chose to live on the water, and why I constantly strive to be surrounded by anything that reminds me of it. The water is what brings me my biggest sense of calm and peace. You can most definitely say, I am cast in its spell. 

I don't typically begin my blogs with a paragraph that's all about me, but I feel like for this, it's quite fitting. When Patrick + Lisa originally reached out to me to photograph their family reception here in Michigan, I thought, absolutely, but who's photographing your actual wedding? We all know how much I am in love with photographing love, and a couples wedding day is the epitome of that greatest love. So when I got the opportunity to photograph a wedding by the sea, it really was a dream come true for me. My heart honestly couldn't have been happier to be there by their side, in such a majestic setting.

So a month ago, we made our way to the Caribbean, and landed in the beautiful, sunny, and tad bit windy island of Dominican Republic. I could feel the excitement and anticipation of photographing in a new place, which allows me to step out of my comfort zone, and be challenged by a new environment. The day of the wedding was windier than normal as the locals confirmed, but it really did work in our favor. I mean, Lisa's dress + that wind were pure magic!

This day really was so special to everyone present. As a wedding photographer, it's my job to document the day. Yes, there are times where I will give directions or prompts, but my absolute favorite moments of the day are the ones I can just stand back and capture what is happening in the moment. Whether it's a mother helping her daughter get ready, or the groom seeing his bride for the first time. Being able to capture those brief, split second moments of the emotions that ensue, the sheer happiness that comes from friends and family, and the couple themselves, are what feeds my soul, and drives this passion of mine. There were so many of these moments present on this day. The wedding was small, intimate, and perfect in every way. Patrick + Lisa were radiating happiness, as were their family. I can't fully express how much joy I felt just being there to witness it and document it. Thank you so much Patrick + Lisa for allowing me to be a part of your incredible day and trip. I can't wait to capture your family reception and continue to celebrate you both! xoxo

Robert + Raleigh// A Classic Grosse Pointe + Detroit, MI Wedding

I'll always remember one of the first things Raleigh said to me when she called me last year inquiring about her wedding day. She was searching for a wedding photographer, and said I got her attention by the way I speak about my wedding clients. She said she could pick up on how much I really love doing what I do, and how much of myself I put into their day. It really caught me off guard because I've never had another bride mention it to me the way she did. From that point, I knew Raleigh was my kind of person. She already "knew" me, and pretty  much summed me up with that statement alone. 

Robert + Raleigh didn't have the "typical" book me to photograph their wedding kind of experience. Not living locally, they decided to hire me based on our phone conversations, and I really couldn't be happier they trusted me enough to do so. I didn't meet Raleigh until about two months or so before the wedding, while in town for a family event. And I didn't actually meet Robert until the morning of the wedding itself. I usually go into a wedding day already having built up a repertoire with my clients, but we really did start from scratch that day, and I can honestly say, it was effortless. I know, I'm going to get all mushy, because that's what I do, but these two are truly two of the nicest, most welcoming people I have ever met. They just exuded this sense of happiness right from the beginning, and I knew from just our phone call a few days prior, their day was going to be pretty incredible. 

Ok, so let's fast forward to the day of the wedding. Though both living out of state, these two wanted to come home for their big day. They chose to get ready at the Detroit Marriott, at the iconic Renaissance Center in Detroit. Now, I will say this, and most people probably already know this about me, but I am a sucker for details. But not only that, I absolutely LOVE sentiment and meaning behind things that are incorporated into a couples wedding day. I am a glorified sentimentalist to the core!  While photographing Raleigh's jewelry, she explained to me that the bracelet she chose to wear that day was a collection of charms her grandmother had given her throughout the years growing up. It was just so beautiful, and so special.

Robert and Raleigh wanted to also pay homage to Robert's Scottish roots and incorporated so many details into their day. Robert's sister knit a beautiful shawl for Raleigh. When I asked her about it, she said it was symbolic of how different generations of Scottish women would work together to knit something. The youngest girl would knit a fairly easy pattern, followed next by the mother, whose pattern was a bit more complicated, and finished by the grandmother, who's pattern was very intricate and precise, and reflected her many years of experience. The detail in the shawl was nothing short of amazing, and it was obvious she put so much love and care creating it.  Absolutely amazing job, Claire! 

Following with more details, Robert's bow tie and suit accessories were ordered directly from a tailor in Scotland. Purple thistle flower was also incorporated into his boutonniere, as well as the ladies bouquets. They all tied into the day so perfectly.

Once finished getting ready, we headed over to one of my favorite Detroit venues, The Gem Theatre in Detroit, for their first look. Robert could barely contain himself while waiting. And can I just say, one of my absolute favorite parts of a wedding day, if not the most favorite part, is when a groom sees his bride for the first time. Whether it's a first look, or standing at the alter, that moment holds so much magic. It's powerful and perfect every single time!  

Following their first look, we drove over to the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church in Grosse Pointe, MI, for the ceremony. I really don't have words to describe the awe of this church and it's surroundings. It's completely breathtaking. Again, as a nod to Robert's roots, a bagpiper led the processional into the church. It was little touches like these that made the day that much more meaningful. 

Something I'm sure these two will never forget is how their wedding day coincided with The Monster Jam event that day, located right across the street at Ford Field on Brush Street. Traffic was crazy, and there were people everywhere. Following dinner and first dances, we decided to head out to the garden area outside The Gem and take some photos with the skyline. We didn't realize however, the two of them would be greeted by throngs of thousands of people all exiting Monster Jam. This of course resulted in so many cheers, whistles, high fives and celebration. It was truly something to see, and the energy was out of this world! It's incredible to see complete strangers show so much joy and excitement for a newly married couple. It always takes my breath away. Mankind at it's finest. Just showing love.

Robert + Raleigh, I feel like such a lucky girl, because I really do believe I get the most amazing clients, and you two are both just that. I feel blessed I'm able to not only document a couples wedding day, but then be able to call them friends afterwards. That is truly so special to me, and being able to experience a couple's most magical day is something I never take for granted. Thank you for that phone call, for going with your gut and trusting me, and for honestly just being so kind, happy, and so in love. The energy of your day was palpable and left me smiling for days. Jeez, I'm still smiling. :) I wish you both all the best always! xoxo, Lia

And one more thing, you're the first couple to ever send me a postcard from their honeymoon! It completely made my day! :)

Matt + Kathleen // A Wintry, Holiday Nights Engagement Session // December, 2015

Wow! Has it really been 8 months since I've last blogged?! Ok, so one of my major New Year's business resolutions is to blog on a regular basis. I have so many photos and amazing moments living in my computer, and I need to get them out for all to see. So, hold me accountable everyone.... more blogging in 2017! It will happen!

As the holidays are fast approaching, well, right at the finish line actually, it dawned on me that I never blogged this super fun engagement session I photographed last Christmas. And with this couple's New Year's Eve wedding coming right up, I thought there's no better time than now!

When I met with Matt + Kathleen last year to discuss their wedding day, they wanted to run an idea by me. They had the green light to photograph their session during one of my favorite events of all time, Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. If you're local, you know exactly which event I'm referring to. If you're not, let me just create a vision for you. Every Christmas, The Henry Ford, Greenfield Village transforms itself into a holiday wonderland. You are transported back in time. I was going to try to describe it myself, but no one describes it better than the Henry Ford itself, from their website,

" Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season. Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is like stepping into a Christmas card from the past — the golden glow from candlelit windows, the scent of roasting chestnuts, the sound of carolers in the distance, the jangle of sleigh bells. This is how the holidays are supposed to be." 

I mean, doesn't that sound simply magical?! I assure you, it is! So anyways, when Matt + Kathleen asked me if I could do their shoot during this live event, I essentially turned into a kid on Christmas morning, and we set the wheels in motion. Take a look at some of the love + magic we captured that night. It was truly so much fun! And a huge thank you to The Henry Ford for allowing us to capture this vision for the soon to be bride + groom!

Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays from my family to yours! See you more often in 2017! <3

-Lia

 

Huge thank you to The Henry Ford! www.thehenryford.org

Getting married? Now booking weddings 2017 + beyond! www.liagiannottiphotography.com

Ben + Melissa // A Snowy, Springtime Ann Arbor, MI Wedding, April 2, 2016

Ben + Melissa kicked off my 2016 wedding season with a showstopping day! I can't even put into words how incredible their day was. They got married on April 2nd, in Ann Arbor, which just so happened to fall on the annual Hash Bash event. This ultimately lead to some really great stories that I know not only they, but I'll be telling for years to come. 

I'll be honest, I'm a little sad to get these photos delivered and stored neatly away on my hard drives. I have had a smile on my face editing these images, as big as the one I had when I was taking them. Ben + Melissa exude happiness, and pure JOY. One look at these photos will show you exactly what I mean. If there was ever a smile so contagious, it would be Melissa's. This day for her and Ben was years in the making, and the happiness, love and joy that was shared between them and their families was like nothing I've ever experienced. I honestly felt like a member of the family by the end of the night. It was just that powerful, and a day I will not soon, nor ever forget. <3

So, as I mentioned, this day was full of surprises and fun stories. A beautiful spring day turned into winter, as we left the church to be surprised with a blizzardy snowfall. We headed out into the city for photos, and even had a celebrity siting of the Violin Monster, who graciously posed for a photo op. ;) We then headed to Literati Bookstore, where Melissa, who's Masters is in Children's Literature, has a soft spot for this beautiful little shop. They typed love letters to each other, found their favorite book in the Children's section, and beautiful memories were made.

Melissa + Ben, I can't put into words how much I loved your day. I know your joy, happiness and love that's evident in your smiles will last you a lifetime. Thank you for having me along. xoxo

 

Ceremony: St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, Ann Arbor

Venue: Weber's Inn, Ann Arbor

Florist: Chelsea Flower Shop, Ann Arbor

Dress: Bridal Couture, Plymouth

Tux: Vera Wang, Men's Warehouse

DJ: Mammoth Entertainment

A big thank you to Literati Bookstore for the hospitality!