Dave and Lisa
Becky and Dad
Ben and Alley
Ben and Alley
Casie and Michael
Michael & Dawn ~ Wedding Photography
We are Michael & Dawn, a husband and wife wedding photography team. We document our couple’s love story from their beginning engagement images to the images captured during their wedding day. Our unique style as a husband and wife photography team allows us to give our couples a very personal experience from start to finish. We will capture the real moments and also the posed ones. We will capture the natural light of the day, and at night we will make our own beautiful light.

We make the entire process a magical experience for our couples. We try to get to know them on a personal level so that when we arrive on the wedding day it’s like we’re old friends; its not just the photographers, it is Michael & Dawn with their cameras. We accomplish that through engagement sessions, and also through the meetings and conversations throughout the engagement.

We document our couple’s love story. Our images show them having fun and show the love they share with each other. We want our couples to be able to look back upon their images and remember what it felt like on their wedding day. We want them to be able to re-experience all the emotions and all the special moments from that memorable day.

Why do our couples love us? Because they get us: a husband-wife team, a new set of friends, two fun photographers who will make their day an enjoyable one. We can relate with each of our couples because we’ve been there too. We’ve planned our wedding and we know how it feels to be in love. That’s what we capture in our images; their love. Our objective with every wedding we photograph is to have fun with our subjects, make them laugh, capture their tears of joy and leave them with beautiful images to forever remember how wonderful love truly is.

The Minister From Hell

Dawn and I have heard horror stories of ministers/priests/officiants doing this, but we have never known anyone that it has happened to, and thank God we have not had it happen to us (knock on wood). When I first saw this video I thought, “Oh no, I know what is coming!” And, yep, it did, The minister “went off” on the videographer.

This incident should never have happened. It should never have been allowed to happen by the “professionals” involved. If the minister was going to be that irritated by a videographer being behind him, then he should have set the ground rules and expectations beforehand. It is not fair to them, the guests nor the bride and groom to put on such a display during the ceremony. However, if the minister did “set the ground rules” before hand then the videographer was in the wrong and should have been scolded.

When Dawn and I do weddings, we always talk to the people in charge, including the minister, to see what is and is not allowed. You have to otherwise you run the risk of suffering the wrath of the minister as was captured on video during the wedding below.

When doing a wedding, in any capacity, expectations need to be set. Everyone involved must know what they can and can not do. Dawn and I did a wedding last week, and the “church lady” told us right away that we were not allowed to go past the last pew in the back of the church and could only go ten feet to either side of the back door during the ceremony. We couldn’t even be in the aisle during the processional or the recessional. And she did warn us that the priest has stopped the wedding before and told a photographer to go back to the back of the church. I don’t know if he really did or not, but the fact that she was telling us that was all we needed to know our boundaries. Later, when we met the priest, his very first words to us were: “Have you been told about having to stay in the back of the church during the ceremony?” That is setting expectations and avoiding bad situations for all involved!



Jesse and Emily Morris’s White Wedding



Jesse Morris has been apart of Dawn and my life for quite some time.  We first met Jesse at an ice rink when I was coaching his older brother Jimmy.  At that time he was a small boy running around the rink getting into absolutely no trouble at all.  We got to know the entire family as the years went on, and when Jesse got to high school I coached him in hockey as well.  It was during an away game that I encountered his crying father approaching me as I stood outside the locker room.  The news that he told me stays with me to this day.  I went into the locker room, as one of the other coaches was giving the pre game pep talk, walked over to Jessie and led him to the door.  I told him to be strong and that his dad had something to tell him.  I remember the next moments incredibly vividly, as his father told him that his mother had passed away in a car accident while taking his sister, Jourdan, back home for a school dance.  Dawn and I knew and worked with Mary and were very fond of her, and because of her got to know her three children and became fond of them.  We still are, and that was why we were so happy and honored when Jessie and his Emily asked us to photograph their wedding.  It is so nice to see Mary’s children grow up to be such good people.  Jesse has been strong.

The wedding was held at the appropriately named, but no relation, Morris Chapel in Niles, MI.  The chapel is a lovely little all white steepled church nestled in the middle of a wooden forrest on the sharp bend in the road.  It was the perfect location for a wedding, for Jesse and Emily’s wedding.  This little chapel was built by a father specifically for the wedding of a his daughter and it is a lovely facility.  There are two lovely rooms in the basement for the bride and groom to get ready in. There is also a cute little school house next to the church and it too is all white.  Jesse’s Uncle Mike conducted the service, traveling up north from Arizona. A personal touch that we think was great.

The reception was held back in South Bend, at Saint Hedwig’s hall and was all decorated with white sheer fabric in front of white Christmas tree lights.  And Emily had stenciled special sentiments on the walls of the hall, making it just that much more intimate.  To make the evening even more personal, the DJ was also a family friend and Cyril Oake played all of the favorites of the newly wedded couple.  In true Morris family tradition, the food was plentiful and delicious, served family style at each table.

The celebration went on into the evening, and the dancing seemed to never stop.  Dawn and I left as Jesse and Emily were dancing the night away.  We hope that their life together is long a wonderful and they never stop dancing the night away in each other’s arms.

Stay strong Jessie and Emily we love you both.


Amanda and Cameron’s Wedding Day


September 21, 2013

It was a lovely day for a wedding at the Christiana Creek Country Club, especially for an outdoor wedding. Not too hot.  Not too cold. Not too windy.  Just about right for a wedding day during the last days of summer.  The pergola, adorned with flowers, was nestled in the arboretum just out side of the clubhouse.  Rows of white chairs lined both sides of a rose petal covered grass aisle. The grooms little cousins led the bridal party’s procession to the alter where the groom and minister were eagerly awaiting the entrance of the bride.

The ceremony went smoothly, except for one stray golf ball that signaled its passage through the nearby trees with the sound of leaves being hit.  Thankfully the golfer that had hit the wayward ball was not too bad a shot as the ball landed between the seated guests and the 18th hole.  Although Michael did do a little “duck and cover” as he heard the flight of the ball through the trees.

After the ceremony the bridal party gathered for some formal poses on the fairway of the number one tee.  We were just about finished with that set of posses when a group of golfers let us know they were ready to tee off with a loud whistle.  We looked around, saw them, and quickly left the fairway, they did not look like they could hit the ball very straight.

After leaving the fairway, we all walked over to our awaiting golf carts, that the country club had arranged for us, climbed in and set off for the middle of the course for some more scenic pictures.  We love photographing at country club golf courses, minus the occasional stray golf ball and the occasional territorial Canadian goose.  The ground keeping is always top notch and there are always beautiful locations and backdrops for our photographs to be found.  The wedding party enjoyed traveling through the course but I think some had a little too much fun driving the golf carts as we heard a lot of laughing and screeching tires behind us as we were leading the caravan of bridal carts.  Michael and scouted out the course the week before to find the best locations so that we could make the best use of the limited time that we had before the bridal party needed to make their grand entrance into the reception.

After the formal photographs out on the course were completed, we headed back to the country club’s banquet hall.  Michael and I set up our lights and took our positions for the bridal parties entrance.  The awaiting crowed of invited guests applauded each pair of the bridal party.  And when Amanda and Cameron made their grand entrance, the guests not only applauded but they cheered as well.

After the maid of honor and best man’s toasts and diner were finished the celebration began with the garter and bouquet tosses.  It always amazes me how the two people that happen to catch the garter and bouquet just always seem to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Just their luck I suppose (wink).  The DJ played on into the night as everyone danced the night away.  We took our cue to gather out equipment, and get ready to leave when the DJ announced the “last dance.”  We said our goodbyes to the bride and groom, and a few other guests and loaded up our little red, folding wagon and headed for our car.

The wedding of Amanda and Cameron was a lovely one, at a lovely location.  May God bless them with their marriage and thier life together.


Film vs. Digital — Which is better?

We used to say that there are two types of photographers out there; those that shoot Canon and those that shoot Nikon. Well that is changing as other camera manufacturers such as Sony and Olympus are entering the market with equally capable products. Therefore, that debate will continue. Another debate that will also continue is the debate over Film vs. Digital.

I was recently asked what the differences were between a wedding photographer shooting film versus digital. Below are my answers to those questions.

Question: Which medium do you use? Why?

I use Digital. I began photographing with a Canon A-1 professional film camera, and I actually still have it today and use it occasionally. I now use a digital version professional camera from Canon. The reason why I chose digital over film was that digital offered me more options than film did and still does. And, with my digital camera I can instantly see what I am capturing on the back of my camera, something you still can’t do with Film cameras.


Question: What’s the difference between Film and Digital?

It is all about the electrons and chemicals. With film, the photos of light energize silver halide crystals in the film and “change” them. When the film is processed with chemicals those “changes” are made permanent in the film. Then when the film is made into a print , the light passes through the film and “changes” the paper and then those “changes” are made permanent with chemicals. Film generally gives you a more “nostalgic” look and feel. Film also can capture a wider dynamic range which means it can capture more levels of exposure from dark to light than can digital.

With Digital, the photons of light hit a sensor that changes them into electrical voltage, those “changes” then get saved into a file, after that, almost anything can happen to the file before it is made into a print. A digital file can be manipulated to a much greater extent in the “digital darkroom” than can a negative in a “wet darkroom.” Indeed, some film photographers will scan their film negatives and then process them further on a computer.


Question: Are there any costs associated with choosing one over the other?

That depends on how much the photographer wants to do after the shutter is clicked. For the sake of this argument, I will assume that the cost of the actual camera gear will be the same for both Film and Digital. With Film, every click of the shutter costs me at least .30 for the film and then the processing of that film. With Digital, I can effectively shoot thousands of pictures on one memory card and it costs me nothing to do so other than the cost of the memory card, which I can use over and over again. I won’t go into processing or archiving of the originals as both can be a little or a lot.


Question: What risks are involved with your format? How are they mitigated?

When I was shooting Film, my biggest concerns were: 1. Getting the film loaded into the camera correctly. I have shot for an entire day not realizing that when I was advancing the film nothing was happening as the film had come off the winder spool; 2. Accidentally opening up the camera and exposing the film to light; 3. Having the film lost in shipping to and from the lab; 4. Having the lab screw up the chemical processing of the negatives. All of which have happened to me. The first two can be mitigated by just being very careful and deliberate in what you do, the others, are totally out the photographer’s control.

With Digital my worries are: 1. Having a memory card fail; 2. Losing a memory card; 3. Accidentally deleting a file or reformatting a memory card. None of which, knock on wood, has happened to me. I did actually reformat a card once, but upon checking I had already transferred the files from it to my computer. I did use a special software program provided by the memory card maker to unformat that card and get all the files back, but was glad that was just an exercise and not a real rescue operation.


Question: What are the advantages/disadvantages of digital?

For me the advantages are: 1. I can take as many pictures I need to capture the image I am wanting, with little thought of the cost; 2. Immediate feedback on the image I just captured using the LCD on the back of my camera; 3. The ability to have an immediate image available to upload to the internet; 4. The complete ability to manipulate the image any way I want in my post processing. 4. Digital is much better in low light situations and for a Wedding photographer that is key.

The disadvantages for me shooting Digital are few and I really do have to stop and think about it. 1. Dynamic range is getting better but Film still has the edge on that issue; 2. Some would say that you just don’t get the look of a Film print and to that I say that with the right post processing you can get a Digital image to look anyway you want it to.


Question: What are the advantages/disadvantages of film?

To me, the advantages of film are few and getting fewer. 1. Dynamic range is still better, however by using multiple images shot at different exposures and using HDR software a digital image can have twice the dynamic range of film; 2. Film has that nostalgic and “grainy” look to it, although this is a subjective quality to say the least; 3. Some would say that with Film you have to think much more about the shot since you can’t immediately see it like you can with Digital, and to that I say a good photographer would think about their shot the same, “good photographer” being the key phrase.

The disadvantages of Film, from my perspective are: 1. Cost per click; 2. No immediate feedback; 3. Poor in low light situations; 4. I don’t personally like the nostalgic or grainy look; 4. The time it takes to get the film processed and returned.


All-in-all, Dawn and I are glad that we currently shoot digital, although I do, on occasion, still shoot with my film camera, maybe I am just a little nostalgic after all.


20 Questions to Ask Wedding Venues

Here is our list of Frequently Asked Questions – please feel free to take this list with you to wedding venues you might be considering.
Form your wedding photography friends at: Michael & Dawn Wedding Photography

1. How soon (in advance) can/should I book my wedding reception venue?

2. Am I able to tentatively hold a date while I am researching wedding venues?

3. Who does the catering for your reception venue? Are they exclusive?

4. How is the price of catering determined?

5. What bar service do you provide?

6. What does the rental fee include?

7. Are there additional fees that will come up throughout the course of my wedding event planning?

8. Who determines my floor plan for the wedding and sets it up?

9. Are there any guest minimums or dollar amount minimums for wedding receptions?

10. How many hours is the wedding venue rental?

11. Can my ceremony be held in the same place as the wedding reception?

12. Is there somewhere for my wedding party to get ready?

13. What are your policies on decorations?

14. What will we do if there is bad weather?

15. Is there parking for my guests?

16. Who will be my main contact point?

17. Can you recommend local resources like hotels, vendors, restaurants, etc.?

18. What are your policies on music?

19. What is the process for officially booking a date at the wedding venue?

20. Do you have an on-site coordinator to handle anything that comes up on the day of the wedding?


Samantha and Ryan’s Wedding

Photograph of wedding Ryan and Samantha

Ryan Laylin and Samantha Overmyer met at the American Legion Post at a Christmas party, Samantha was the waitress for his table and thought that Ryan looked cute in, what she thought, was his police uniform. He offered to buy her a Budweiser while he was drinking a Bud Light and she commented that his was a “sissy beer.” That broke the ice and started the conversation for the rest of the evening. Ryan left Samantha a $14 tip, but she never heard from him again until a mutual friend got them both together again. And they have been together ever since!

Ryan proposed to Samantha at a get together with family and friends in a barn. He did it the old fashioned way (and the way we like it) by getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him. And what was Samantha’s answer? Well, it was “duh!” Which, obviously, Ryan understood to mean: “Yes! Yes! Of course I will marry you honey!” At least that’s what we like to think anyway.


Photograph of wedding brides hair

Just love those eyes!
Makeup done by 

photograph of brides hair

We love taking this shot, where we see both the brides lovely face and her new hair style.
Hair Styles by Salon Fusion

 photograph of bridesmaid's hair
 photograph of bridesmaid's hair style photograph of wedding hair style


photograph of wedding bride and bridesmaids

We just love it when our bridesmaids wear white and our brides wear color so they stand out in group shots.  Love that shirt!


photograph of the wedding flowergirl

Such a lovely flower girl, we did not pose he, she just happend to be watching the other girls and we looked
over and we were able to capture this wonderful image of her.  It does pay to be attentive to your surroundings!

photograph of bride and bridesmaids

Bridesmaids just can’t help but help Samantha with her dress, especially that cute one on the left.

photograph wedding bride and bridemaids

Samantha and her bridesmaids, they never left her side.

photograph of bride with garters

Samantha showing a little leg and a lot of her two garters and a lovely smile!

The wedding was held at Samantha’s father’s estate in Dowagiac, Michigan that,
in addition to a lake, has this scenic pond, perfect setting for the wedding.

 photograph of wedding pond

photograph of wedding venue

photograph of the bride and father of the bride

Samantha and her Dad look so happy walking down the isle.

In keeping with “put into play wat you practice,” below you can see
that the groom practiced what he did, and did what he practiced!

photograph of groom getting ring photograph of groom taking ring


photograph of groom kissing bride

Did anyone hear the minister say “you may now kiss the bride?”  Well, Ryan sure did!


photograph of bride and groom walking out


photograph of groom kissing bride

Such passion and love between these two, that is why Dawn and I love photographing weddings!

photograph of bride and bouquet flowers

From flowers to garters to hair and her dress Samantha was a beautiful bride!


bride and groom on wedding day

Samantha and Ryan make a wonderful husband and wife, don’t you agree?


white wedding cake

We just love the detail on this cake.  We would not have the patience to do all that.  :-)
Cake by


Dawn and I always like to have some fun with our brides and grooms, no none wants a “stuffy” wedding,
so we love to capture the lighter side of what happens in and around weddings!.

bride on pool table with groomsmen

I think this is a good use of a pool table, and it only cost us a $1.
Taken inside the Wounded Minnow Saloon


bride and groom at liquor store

When you run out of “adult beverages” in the limo, you have to make a pit stop at the nearest liquore store.
Thanks to 
Vlasicak’s Meat Market & Smokehouse

photograph of father of the bride with chains

Don’t ask, we don’t know what he is planning on doing with that chain!

 photograph of bride and groom with cake on face

We did not put them up to that, not at all!  …But we are glad they did!



Dawn and I wish Samantha and Ryan the best in the future, and hope to see more of them because they are such fun people to be with!



Kathryn and Gabe’s Engagement

Photograph of engagement couple by bridge

Kathryn and Gabe make such a great couple


Dawn and I always like getting to know our brides and grooms.  One of the ways in which we like to get to know them is by doing an engagement photo session with them.  Here are some that we selected from the many good ones of Kathryn & Gabe’s Engagement session.  Even though it was a cold and windy day, they never complained or showed any sign of not having great fun!  Hey, who doesn’t have fun with me and Dawn?!  😉


Photograph of engagement couple by bridge

We did not have to tell these two to kiss, we had to tell them to stop! ;-)


Photograph of engagement couple by water Photograph of engaged couple on rocks Photograph of engagement


Photograph of engagement couple with dog

Their happy dog just had to join the loving couple


Photograph of engagement couple

Photograph of engagement couple

Photograph of engagement by door

This lovely door is a great backdrop to our loving couple.

Photograph of wedding couple's engagement

We just love how the Sun highlights Kathryn's hair


Photograph of engagement session

We love laughter, and Gabe and Kathryn love to laugh


Photograph on rocks of engagement couple Photograph of cute engagement couple by bridge


Photograph soon to be wedding couple

We can't wait until the wedding, they are so darn cute!


Photograph of engagement by water

We liked this setting next to the water's edge and of course the big chair.



Wedding Photograph of engagement couple

This was our favorite image from the session


Michael and I can’t wait until the wedding, so we can take more pictures of Kathryn and Gabe!  We are so looking forward to seeing them again and being around them both.  They really are such a loving and happy couple.



In Memoriam of Patrick Simeri

Photograph of grandfather with bride at wedding

We will miss you Patrick

As a wedding photographer we capture the first images of a story. However sometimes we capture the end of someone’s story as well.

Being a wedding photographer is a fulfilling and happy job. We get hired to capture the images of the union of two people in love and the celebration of that union. It is always joyful taking pictures of people having fun and enjoying themselves and seeing the newlyweds being happy and surrounded by people they love and whom love them.

Dawn and I always make it a point to take “table portraits” of every guest. We know from our own wedding that we don’t remember who all attended and only by looking at some of the photographs can we begin to recall who joined us on our special day. So we go around to every table and take pictures of each guest.

Dawn and I also make it a point to ask if there are any specific people that the bridal couple and/or family wants pictures taken of. Generally there are always family members that are out-of-town that they want to make sure they get “updated” pictures of. We understand that, as most of my family is on the East coast and we only see each other when one of the nieces or nephews get married.

Photograph of Pat with his family at wedding shot by Michael and Dawn Wedding Photography

A Happy Patrick with his Family

At Gina and Carlos’s wedding we were asked to make sure we get images of their grandfather Pat, who was ill and in a wheelchair. It wasn’t difficult for Dawn or I to take his picture, as all the family members were constantly at his side engaging him with big smiles and laughs. The bridesmaids were especially willing to make a “fuss” over the grandfather, and I think he loved the attention they were giving him, if the smile on his face was any indication that is.

Photograph of Pat with Bridesmaids at wedding photographed by Michael and Dawn Wedding Photography

Patrick with a big grin on his face

Soon after the wedding, while the couple were on their honeymoon, we received a call from one of the other sets of grandparents, telling us that the grandfather had passed away. We were instantly saddened, and went back to the images we took that night and looked at them again.

When Dawn and I take photographs of people, we don’t just point the camera and push the button; we form a relationship with them through our lens. I think any good photographer feels the same way; that to capture the real essence of a person, you have to get to know them. Unfortunately at weddings, we generally only have a short time, if any, to get to know the family members, and even less the guests. However, still we do develop an attachment to them as we are constantly engaged with them for an entire day. By “engaged” I mean that we are always looking at them to see what might happen, is a smile coming, are they about to laugh, is the punchline of their joke about to be told, are they about to see someone they haven’t seen in a long time. As photographers we anticipate peoples actions and reactions as well as expressions so that we can capture those moments and when you do that long enough you create a special attached to your subjects.

Photograph of the Bride with her Grandfather taken by Michael and Dawn Wedding Photography

Patrick with his Granddaughter

As sad as we were to hear of the passing of the Pat, we felt some solace knowing that we had been able to present the family with some happy and joyful moments captured in time of him from the wedding that the family will be able to look upon and remember him in the good times.

Photographers give the gift of lasting memories, and that is something that repays us in and of itself.

Jammie Calhoon You are so very right in what you just said. We remember our oldest daughter's wedding and we had a set of cousins there that no one even thought to get photos of, and then a year later they both died and we did not have current pictures of them. It really is true that you never know what the future will bring. When you have an opportunity to take a photograph then you need to have it taken. Thank you for sharing your story, I am so happy that they were able to get final images of their grandfather.
Lia Stefanidis I have to agree with so many things you have written. I love wedding photography and I remember not only the bride and groom but many of their families and friends and those special feelings that they allowed me to share. Each time I am at a wedding I create special bonds and at the end of the day people who had never met me before are hugging and kissing me. I had been to a wedding where the bride spent 20 min on the floor with an elderly relative who collapsed during the reception. We not only try to capture the moment and the happening but provide the service with grace and dignity towards all. I am sorry that this couple have to come home to such sad news but I am sure your images will forever make the grandfather live on.

Bridal Show at Callahan’s Catering

Dawn and I just got back from the Callahan’s Catering Food Tasting and Vendor Showcase.  It is an event open to all brides who are looking to book their catering services and also to showcase the St. Andrews reception hall.  It was also a way for us wedding vendors to meet and great the brides.

Dawn and I had a table next to two of our wedding colleagues C’est Le Vie Cakes  and Arlene’s Wedding Cakes both of whom make yummy cakes and cup cakes and “cake in a cup” (that is my funny term for the samples of cake served in a cup, LOL).  It is so very nice to have friends that can bake!   Well, not for our waistlines that is, but it sure is for our taste buds!

There were also several DJ there as well, but good thing they all took turns talking otherwise it would have been quite hard to even hear yourself think.  The Hitman DJD & T ProductionsIn-Tune DJ Service, and Purrfect Occasions DJ were all there and all have good voices and music.  They did an interesting thing at the showcase, they had all the DJs divy up the vendors names and they all took turns introducing us to the crowd.  All the vendors were asked to write up an introduction/commercial for the DJs to read as they were announcing them.  Here is what we had read:

Digital Mitchell Event Photography;  wedding photography that is… fun…exciting and… you!  The husband and wife team of Michael and Dawn Mitchell will capture the real you (or, at least, the “you” you want to be) on your wedding day, the most memorable day of your life.  They will be engaging and fun with you, and your guests, throughout the entire day so that on that most hectic day, your best expressions will always be captured for you to enjoy for the rest of your life.

Not only do Michael and Dawn want to be your photographers, they also want to be your friends. And to start off that friendship they like doing engagement sessions so that everyone can get to know each other better.  By getting to know each other, your wedding photographers are NOT just photographers at your wedding, they are  Michael and Dawn with cameras at your wedding, capturing all your special moments.

Find us on Facebook or at our website, both are Digital Mitchell.”

When Dawn and I walked into the room, as we got to the center of the room, I began to twirl Dawn and we both waved to the crowd.  You have to make an entrance ya know!

It was a short event, only a couple of hours, but everyone got to eat their fill of the food that Callahan’s had to sample, I love their mashed potatoes and gravy!  They served it buffet style with two rows so the crowd went through quickly on either side.  They do offer a wide variety of choices, from posta, to chicken to Polish sausage and noodles and fish, but I don’t like fish so I did not have any!

Everyone attending had a chance to win a prize from each of the vendors; ours, of course, was a portrait session with some prints.  Not sure what the others offered, as I got to talking with some brides-to-be.

We ended up meetings many lovely couples, and Dawn and I hope to be meeting with them soon!


Amanda and Ian’s Wedding, A Stormy Beginning

Amanda and Ian's Wedding Photograph

Amanda and Ian's Wedding at the Blue Dress Barn



Dawn and I had the pleasure of photographing the outdoor wedding of Amanda and Ian, two wonderful young adults. In spite of the weather going from a humid 95 degrees with bright sun to thunderstorms that knocked out the power for the entire reception, the wedding carried on with all the family and friends helping to make the event a great one. We never saw so many cell phone lights in one place! Amanda and Ian, you know who loves you when your friends’ arms falls asleep from holding a cell phone light for an entire reception! :-) Oh, and yes the minister did actually say: “You may now kiss your smokn’ hot wife!”

The wedding was held up at the Blue Dress Barn, a quaint setting nestled in the woods of Benton, Harbor, Michigan. It is called the Blue Dress Barn, because it was an old barn, the David dairy barn. We still have not learned why it is called the “Blue Dress” but when we do we will let you know.

Dawn and I went up a few days early to meet with the owners and scout the location out as we always do, it is a good thing to know your surroundings when photographing. The owners are a husband and wife couple and we met with the wife, she showed us around and we fell in love with the historic venue. The barn had a lovely deep, brown wood interior and lovely green vegetation surrounding it. Lots of nooks and crannies to shoot in.

The day of the wedding, it was a hot, humid and sunny day with little to no clouds in the sky. We took advantage of the fact that the bride and groom wanted to do a “first look” so we took a lot of pictures before the wedding of them and the bridal party. Dawn and I were glad that we did, because the weather quickly changed. We knew something was up when I got a text from one of my friends that said: “Hold on to something!” Then I looked at the radar on the weather channel on my phone and our area was completely about to be overtaken with a storm!

We went to the bride and officiant and informed them of the inclement weather headed our way, and they agreed we should move up the wedding as well as shorten it a bit. It was a lovely ceremony and was uniquely ended when the officiant said: “You may now kiss your smokn’ hot wife!” I am still not sure if everyone stood up and applauded the statement or the actual kiss.

Dawn and I started the wedding with our cameras set to a high shutter speed because of the bright sun, but ended with them set at almost night settings due to the dark storm clouds. With the winds beginning to pick up and swirl around, we quickly took some group shots around the barn and then headed in when the rain began. We continued to take some shots inside the barn until they were ready to start the reception.

The reception started with the typical announcement of the bridal party. Dawn and I took their pictures as they walked in. Right after the best man and maid of honor walked in and we took their picture, the lights went off and they never came back on again! Yep, that’s what happens in a storm. The DJ, now without his mic, yelled out the names as the rest of the bridal party walked in. Dawn and I were already using flash, so we continued to shoot, there just wasn’t any pretty ambient light in the shots, but at least those shots were able to be taken. This is one reason why Dawn and I never solely rely on “natural light.”

When it came time for the speeches, the first one up was the best man, and he must have inspired the crowd when he used his cell phone to illuminate his speech because the entire crowd took out their cell phones and turned on their lights to light up the entire bridal table. You really know who your friends are when they hold up their arms holding their light cell phones continually until all the speeches are done.

Without power, there were no lights, and no musc and very unfortunately no plumbing, well, at least indoor plumbing. However, the food was hot! The caterers had set up all the food with fire canisters to keep them warm, and it worked well because the food was hot and delicious.

Eventually the venue attendant found extension cords, and borrowed some of ours, and strung them acrossed the yard to the next door farm house, so that we had some lights and a little music. Let the dancing begin! The young crowd did not disappoint, they turned out on the dance floor and danced their little tushy’s off.

At the end of the night, the wedding went off without a hitch, (well, OK they did get hitched) and no one got hurt by the weather and the food and dancing were great. And aren’t all weddings supposed to be “memorable?” Well, this wedding was memorable, and Amanda and Ian will never forget their wedding day, as it should be!


Photographing the inside of the wedding reception venu

The inside of the Blue Dress Barn



Photographing the wedding party

The Bridesmaids


photographing the wedding party on the stairs

The Bridal Party on the Stairs of the Blue Dress Barn


Photographing the bridal party at the venue

The bridal party at the venue


Photographing the bride to be

The bride-to-be and her first look at the groom


Photographing the wedding first look

The bride and groom's first look at each other


photographing the wedding first kiss

You may now kiss your "Smokn' Hot Wife!"


photographing a wedding kiss

A lovely kiss


Photographing the wedding lights going out

...And the Power Goes Off!


photographing the wedding speehes

When the lights go off, the cell phone lights come out, get raised and come on.


photographing the wedding speeches in the dark

Enjoying the speeches by cell phone light!


photographing the wedding couple

The wedding couple perfectly framed


In spite of the bad weather, and the power going out, it was a grand wedding and a memorable one as Amand and Ian deserved!