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Mike & Rachel | beautiful summer wedding in Grand Rapids

Last weekend, we had so much fun photographing Mike and Rachel’s wedding and was it ever a gorgeous day!  Thankfully, the scattered thunderstorms that were predicted never showed.  This is my last wedding for the foreseeable future and it was a fabulous one to end with… a sweet, beautiful bride with an impeccable sense of style… a groom that adored his bride and happily put up with two photographers all day long… gorgeous flowers and details… lovely locations and a fun wedding party.  So ~ Rachel & Mike ~ I hope you are having a fabulous time on your honeymoon and enjoy looking at this little sneak peek!

When we first arrive, we are often jumping into the middle of everyone getting ready and love to capture all the activity.  Meet Rachel… I knew immediately that her beautiful, natural smile was going to make my day very easy!

Mike and Rachel exchanged letters…

… and little gifts.  One of Mike’s gifts cracked me up – but it did smell good.  Well, we certainly know what Rachel thinks of her groom! :)

I always love photographing the rings and the rings in the flowers is a classic shot for one reason – it is simply beautiful.

Of course, when I have a bride that has shoes like these – I consider it a license to have a little fun…

The church in Byron Center had these beautiful stained glass windows in the old part of the building.  It would have been a crime not to include them I think.

Time for Rachel & Mike to see each other for the first time!  We had them meet in the sanctuary… love the anticipation in this one!

how cute are they?!

Next we headed off to a beautiful home (belonging to a friend of the bride & groom) for some outdoor photographs.  While I like the energy of the wedding day, having fun with the entire wedding party and all of the events, my favorite time is always when I have the bride and groom to myself.  I think I am inspired by people much more than locations or events and when I get the chance to just connect with them (or capture their connection) – whether it is a child, family or a bride & groom – it doesn’t really get any better than that!

Comment below if you have an opinion on who Rachel looks like here.  I saw this and I though Rachel could pull off being her twin!

While there, we found out they had a vintage car.  Did we want them to bring it out?  YES PLEASE!  (i.e. photographer jumping up and down inside – haha)

and I couldn’t resist a quickie bouquet shot!

The wedding party joined us and we had to have a little contest to see who could get the most “air”.  You may debate the winner in the comments!

Jump #1

Jump #2

the ladies…

and the men… (love the suspenders!)

We went back to the church for family photographs and time for everyone to freshen up before the ceremony.  This table of photographs was set up in the foyer… all the wedding photographs from Mike & Rachel’s  parents and grandparents.  It was so special to see.  I wonder if one of the photographs from today will be on a similar table 25-35 years from now?

Time to get hitched! :)

beautiful church!

I told Rachel before the ceremony that if she wanted a good “first kiss” photograph… they’d better kiss like they mean it.  Not that I really needed to tell these two though!

LOVE it when the bride and groom make it down the isle, through the doors and just can’t wait to hug each other in celebration. 

It was almost time for the wedding party to hop on the bus to the reception – but you know that this child photographer will take any moment she can to photograph a little cutie – especially when that cutie is the ring bearer.

bubble practice!

to the bus!

This is Rachel’s little sister – what a stunning smile!

We took the bus through downtown Grand Rapids on the way to the reception and made two super-quick stops for a few photos…

I think I’m lucky to have the rest of the wedding photos as proof that I just didn’t hire these two for a model shoot…

off to a rustic little alley…  this was the very first image I pulled to edit – LOVE it.

Um – yeh – mmhmmm.  What else can I say?

Had to play with the shoes again… I knew I wanted a shot like this in the alley and almost forgot.  Good thing I asked Rachel to remind me earlier!

Coming up next… the party!

Rachel Wierenga - Mary Beth, I love, love, love them! You did an amazing job, so happy:)


Tricia - Mary – I don’t believe I have ever commented on your blog before even though I have looked at it many times. If this is to be your last wedding then I must tell you that I LOVE looking at your wedding pictures – you INSPIRE me!!! Oh and by the way, I think the picture of the bride looks like Courtney Love-Hewitt. :) BEAUTIFUL!!!

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