The Whittingtons / Benton Harbor Michigan Wedding Photographer

The Whittingtons / Benton Harbor Michigan Wedding Photographer

Sundance Studios Wedding by Kalamazoo Wedding Photographer

The Pecks / Kalamazoo Michigan Wedding Photographer

According to my mother, Kevin and I go way way back. When we were three, we had a play date at a local park and I gave him my stuffed animal. I'd like to think it was then that I solidified my reservation as his wedding photographer. I say it that way because even though I was a hired professional, I was truly the lucky one. The day was so fun and beautiful it was the kind of wedding photographers drool over. Branda and Kevin trusted me totally. They let me be creative. So it wasn't just the wedding that made me so happy, it was them. I mean, the venues didn't hurt though. Their ceremony was at one of my favorite places in Kalamazoo. As soon as I heard the words "Brewery Wedding," I was IN. Arcadia Ales has amazing food and amazing beer and amazing atmosphere. It's industrial but somehow homey. They have lawn games and you can paddle your kayak up to their boat launch overlooking the Kalamazoo River.

And for the reception, we danced the night away at Monaco Bay, a dueling piano bar. Because it is part of the Entertainment District downtown, we also had access to Loft 310, Gatsby Night Club, and SkyDeck. Everything was gorgeous, and the staff coordinating the night were incredible.

I love being a Kalamazoo wedding photographer. We've got some super cool places to get married and even cooler people.

Branda and Kevin are the kind of people that I love to sit down and share a drink with. Branda has the best laugh, and Kevin has a way of making you feel heard and valued. They have been together for a long time, and I know that their love and kindness will continue.

Dress: Azazie Flowers: Stems Market Venues: Arcadia Ales, Monaco Bay Hair/MUA: Avante Salon

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Bloom Workshop / Leland Michigan Photographer

Michigan summers are magical. Our state has some real hidden gems and Leland fish town is definitely one of them. I never would have discovered it's historic wooden shake covered shanties without Brooke. She, the creative force behind Stellaluna Events, is another one of those Michigan gems. We were in the area for a super sweet girly workshop on floral design and hand lettering (check out the Bloom Workshop site here). And after driving three and a half hours up to Northern Michigan, we were not disappointed. The workshop was fabulous... SO MANY PRETTY FLOWERS... and when we finished, getting sandwiches from the Village Cheese Shanty was well worth seven collective hours in the car.

Being a photographer is easy in Leland. There is so much texture and visual interest. Taking pictures at Bloom- surrounded by intentionally lovely things, was obviously a breeze as well. I hope you enjoy living vicariously through these images.

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The Leisters / Kalamazoo Wedding Photographer

Harshini asked me to be her wedding photographer when we met through Airbnb. It was a moment of absolute serendipity. It didn't work out for me to rent her beautiful home for a photoshoot at the time, but I was able to photograph it nonetheless on her wedding day. The previous owners of the home were married there too, and I have to say, it felt like the perfect place for a celebration. Harshini and Lewis balance each other so well. She, the petite spitfire from India, and he, the gentle giant from the Midwest. Together with their family, they crafted their wedding with care. Flowers from friends, an arbor built by Lewis, and desserts made by Harshini, made the day feel both special and intimate.

When they laughed, I laughed. When they shed happy tears, I did too. It was a perfect day.

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The Schultzes / Mattawan Michigan Wedding Photography

I was dying to photograph this apple orchard, farm-to-table, brewery reception wedding from the moment Andrew told me he was going to propose to Ruth. Colin and I were sitting outside at Texas Corners Brewing Company on our first date night since moving back to Michigan. I've known Andrew for years from school and his family farm, but I had never seen him so giddy... smile crinkles dancing in place happy. The whole wedding was full to overflowing with joy. From an outdoor ceremony with the orchard as a backdrop to the reception at the brewery and the best wedding band I've ever heard (seriously, their rendition of Up Town Funk was AMAZING), it was the kind of wedding I could have stayed at forever. At the end of the night, Ruth asked to take a picture with me because "You're not just our photographer, you're our friend!"

Folks, that's what I live for.

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The LeFeveres / Holland Michigan Wedding Photography

“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”― E.E. Cummings

Emily and Drew live for adventure. They will do anywhere together and they are each others best teammates. Like, they should probably do the amazing race. They can handle anything together.

They were married on a bright day in early summer in Spring Grove Park where the sun was warm and the breeze was cool. They set off a rocket afterwards and danced the night away at Baker Lofts in Holland.

It was a good day. The best day.

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The Grandlienards / Chicago Maternity Session

Maternity photography celebrates the strength of the female body and the hope of what is yet unseen. Spring is the perfect time for it, because we see the fruits of our hope manifested in nature. Emily and Jared are going to be great parents. They are compassionate and strong. Unwavering in love. The flowering spring trees in Lombard's Lilacia Park are like them... rooted and beautiful. It was the perfect place for a maternity session. double exposureIMG_1511IMG_1383IMG_1380IMG_1408IMG_1412IMG_1451IMG_1433IMG_1509IMG_1529IMG_1559IMG_1578IMG_1593IMG_1723

Lynsey and Jennifer / Kalamazoo Engagement Photography

In case you can't tell, this engagement session was a ton of fun. Like a LOT. Lynsey and Jenny are who they are- no holding back- and who they are is a little goofy, and a whole lot of kind. I actually spent some time in a thesaurus trying to find a better word than "kind," because it's frankly insufficient. Their accepting authenticity freed me to be myself too. They have been through a lot, and rather than becoming hard and angry people, they have settled in to a give zero sh!ts and have fun regardless life together. I wont be at their wedding (shout out to the amazing Paige for taking care of them while I'm in Denver), but I know that it's going to be a rip-roaring good time for all.

Love you ladies!

-Rachel

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Wynn Chamberlin / Fort Wayne Family Photography

Each time I visit the Chamberlins, it feels like a homecoming. I photographed Angela and Brent's wedding and each of their three newborn babies. There is always love and a touch of chaos. They are my kind of people... real and passionate and full of compassion. P.S. The last picture is the most true to life. You're welcome Brent.

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Branda and Kevin / Grand Rapids Engagement Photographer

Colin shot this session with me and it ended with us getting drinks with Branda and Kevin at Founders Brewing Co. Basically, we just met our new BFFs. IMG_0058IMG_0042IMG_0045IMG_0051IMG_0062IMG_0069IMG_0074IMG_0096IMG_0125IMG_0148IMG_0175IMG_0180IMG_0200IMG_0222IMG_0231IMG_0257IMG_0264

The Garbersons / Grand Rapids Family Photography

My heart swells when I think of the Garbersons. Their family is an active force of good in a world that needs it. Their new baby Edison is yet another wonderful thing they have done to make earth a bit brighter. (Sorry not sorry for the pun) IMG_9835IMG_9856IMG_9896IMG_9868IMG_9884IMG_0002IMG_9903IMG_9909-2IMG_9907-2IMG_9920IMG_9914IMG_9915IMG_9965IMG_9948

Baby Alfie / Huntington Family Photography

This squishy boy is perfect. He is his parent's hope rewarded. I've been incredibly blessed to photograph each of the Oprie children just days after their births and their family is so precious to me. I love you guys! IMG_9630IMG_9627IMG_9636IMG_9651IMG_9676IMG_9701IMG_9702IMG_9721IMG_9748IMG_9765IMG_9790

Rashawnda and Lamont / Kalamazoo Engagement Session

I first met Shawnda at church, and everyone kept telling me about how awesome she is. She runs our Free Store and serves in about a million other ways. This session was the first time we got to spend any real time together, and she is even more sweet than I imagined. Lamont is her perfect match: steady and kind. It was a cold and rainy day, so Adrienne from Salt & Light in the Kalamazoo Park Trades Center let us crash her space. I love that building. The giant windows. The murals. Everything was gorgeous.

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Emily and Drew / Grand Rapids Engagement Photographer

This was the session that almost didn't happen. First of all, Emily and Drew didn't really NEED me to take engagement pictures because their good friend Cindy had already taken some, but I gave them the option and we all figured it would be fun. We had plans to walk around downtown Grand Rapids and I ALMOST rescheduled this session. I had a specific vision, and Lord knows that when I get set on something, it's all I can think about. I couldn't think of any indoor locations, and I was about to give up when I discovered the Studio 3 Space in the super cool 1111 Godfrey Ave. SW building. Guys.

It's so cool. Studio 3 included, the whole building is incredible. Emily, Drew, and I had a blast exploring the stairwells and crumbling brick hallways. I loved seeing them lean into the wonder of the space.

Cheers to them and their many adventures to come!

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The Shafers / Huntington Family Photogrpaher

Danielle, Dustin, and baby Ellis came to visit us this weekend! They are some of our very best friends, and it was good for my heart. Spring is coming. I can feel it. IMG_9507IMG_9514IMG_9563IMG_9577IMG_951435IMG_9557IMG_95142IMG_9536IMG_9546IMG_9551IMG_95143IMG_9597

Harshini and Lewis / Kalamazoo Engagement Photographer

I met Harshini through Airbnb. We were looking to rent a house for a special shoot and I LOVED the natural light and neutral colors in her Kalamazoo craftsman house. The shoot fell through, but Harshini, learning that I'm a photographer, asked if I shot weddings. As she started telling me about her fiance Lewis and their upcoming backyard-dinner-party-intimate wedding, I fell in love with her effervescent spirit. We started brainstorming locations for their engagement session, and realized that their home was the perfect place. It's where their wedding will be, and no other place felt more "them."

The whole session, Lewis had Harshini laughing. I know that for many years to come, that sweet sound will echo through the halls of that beautiful craftsman house.

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Alexandra and Paul / Huntington Wedding Photography

These two have been through a lot together. They have loved each other long distance, endured the visa application process, and planned a wedding based on an ever-changing date of governmental approval. They have successfully petitioned the Catholic church. Paul has moved across the world. Allie has literally carried Paul on her back for miles when he couldn't walk. They have survived multiple 21+ hour flights and a ridiculous wedding photographer who made them take outdoor pictures in Indiana winter. They did it all with grace and kindness.

Cheers to a love that endures all things. It never fails.

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