This was my first wedding on the Western side of Michigan. I’ve heard many good things about the other side of the state, but I’ve never been. So I was very excited to experience my first wedding in the Grand Rapids area!
The venue was Felt Estate in Holland, Michigan. Sitting on acres and acres of land, the mansion itself is a beautiful, historic brick building. Inside, the bedrooms, library, dining hall, and foyer all made the perfect setting for our pictures of the bride and groom getting ready. The real showstopper of the venue, though, were the estate grounds. The Felt Estate hosts a small white chapel that served as the backdrop for Emily and Evan’s ceremony. The beautiful gardens in front of the mansion were fresh with summer flowers. Adjacent to the mansion was a lovely fountain that was absolutely magical at sunset and helped Emily and Evan feel like a couple right out of a Jane Austen novel. All in all, the venue was incredible and made our jobs as photographers a breeze.
When we arrived at the estate, we met the event coordinator and the bride and began shooting the details right away. The historic decorations and soft light coming through the windows provided the perfect lighting to capture Emily’s dress and details. With its sweetheart neckline, embellished belt, and layered skirt, it was simplistic but beautiful, as classy as the venue she chose for her big day.
Just a few doors down, Evan and his groomsmen were waiting for us to take pictures of them getting ready. Evan’s groomsmen were all so clearly excited for him and happy to share in the biggest day of his life. While we were taking pictures of them getting ready, Evan opened a gift from his bride. She through in some of his favorite candy, but the real prize was a pair of glasses designed to correct his color-blindness.
Next, we took the groomsmen down to the library to take some group pictures. The dark wood and old antique books in the library gave the room a masculine feel. Just by looking at the pictures you can tell the Evan is a well-loved friend, son, and brother, but most importantly a well-loved husband-to-be.
Did you even get married in 2018 if you didn’t take a robe picture with your bridesmaids?
Emily’s mother was one of the sweetest mothers-of-the-bride I’ve ever met, and you can tell just how much this day and Emily meant to her.
I don’t usually say this, and it rarely happens, but I think Evan outdid his wife by just a little bit in their gift exchange. Later in the evening, Emily and Evan would share their first dance to the song “You and I.” He had the words written on a large canvas with their names and wedding date at the bottom. Not only did the gift serve as a beautiful reminder of their wedding day, but the words were also a promise from Evan to Emily that “we can conquer the world in love.”
Before Emily walked down the aisle, she shared a first look with her father, the first best man in her life.
We continued to shoot the bride and bridesmaids individually.
While Emily and Evan chose not to do a first look before the ceremony, they did want to spend some time in prayer together. Holding hands around a corner, they shared some sweet words and asked God to bless their wedding and their marriage. Not every couple chooses to share this time together. While the wedding is just for a day, the marriage lasts forever, and what better way could you begin a life together than by asking God to lead and guide and bless? It might be shocking to say this as a wedding photographer, but I wouldn’t be too particular about my wedding pictures. However, this is one moment I would want to share with my bride and have captured for the rest of our lives.
Now the guests began to arrive and we prepped for the ceremony!
Having never been a bride myself (and I don’t really intend to be one), I can’t tell you exactly what Emily was thinking in this moment. How would a bride feel standing in the dress of her dreams ready to marry the love of her life? How would a bride feel watching the most important people in the world to her gather together to celebrate the happiest day of her life? How would a bride feel knowing that at the end of the day her life will be changed for the better forever?
All the guests were seated and the piano began to play, signaling the parents, grandparents, and bridal party to begin walking down the aisle.
Evan had one request for this wedding. Literally one. He wanted to first time he saw Emily on their wedding to be the moment she began walking down the aisle towards him. And I think it was worth the wait!
One of the most memorable moments in the ceremony was when Emily and Evan washed one another’s feet. It was a representation of Christ washing His disciples feet and a promise that Emily and Evan would serve one another in their marriage. I’d never seen this at a wedding before, and I thought it was very noble.
And there it is! Mr. and Mrs. Evan Blok!
The best part of the bride and groom walking back up the aisle is their genuine emotion. I don’t tell them what to do, and even I do, they usually forget anyway! Every single time, I’m amazed by the authentic happiness that I get to capture. It is my privilege to take each bride and groom’s first picture as a married couple!
After the ceremony, we went straight to the reception tent to take some set up pictures. The tent was set up right next to the beautiful Felt mansion. The beautiful natural lighting and soft pink shades from the floral centerpieces made a romantic, elegant setting for the big celebration!
While guests were enjoying cocktail hour and checking out the venue, we took some pictures of the wedding party. Personally, these are usually my favorite pictures! The closest friends and family members of the bride and groom enjoy congratulating their friends, and I get to tell them to do whatever I want. True story. The funny thing about a wedding is that we usually think it’s all about the bride and groom; however, the bride and groom don’t actually get to spend a lot of time together on their wedding day. The sweet moment before they enter their reception is one of the few times during day they get to spend by themselves. We shouldn’t take those sweet moments for granted.
How do you think Emily liked the reception setup?
As you can see, her mind was blown!
Shout out to Every Little Detail (@eldeventdesign) for the amazing work they put into planning this beautiful wedding!
Guests were seated for the reception, and the wedding party was introduced!
Emily and Evan went straight to the cake. These are my kind of people.
I can’t say enough good things about this wedding; it was a very genuine, pure, and Christ-centered wedding with two loving families.
Lots of memories were made and lots of precious moments were shared that day that will last forever.
In the end, this was the most memorable moment for me. You can tell a lot about a bride’s character based on how she planned her wedding. After Emily and Evan had their first dance, she and Evan invited all the married couples at the wedding onto the dance floor. As the dance progressed, the DJ called out different amounts of years, and couples that had been married would keep dancing while couples that hadn’t been married that long yet would step off. Obviously, Emily and Evan were the first couple to leave the dance floor. But even though they had to walk off the dance floor first, they got to admire the love and perseverance represented by couples that had been married for 20, 30, even 50 years. These family members and friends that danced across the floor set an example through their marriages that Evan and Emily want to follow as the tell their own story together.