A few months ago I had the pleasure of seeing a very special endeavor from last summer published within the premiere issue of Cottage Hill Magazine. It was a meaningful editorial project that was more than just dreamy details or inspirational images. It was a story that we all worked so hard to bring to life in an effort to stay true to both the Cottage Hill mission and the much needed shift towards community, a focus on marriage, and an appreciation for teamwork within our wedding industry. Behind every couple uniting themselves in marriage is an adoring family, a set of friends from all walks of life, and a team of professionals that work hard to serve above and beyond. This is the story of that community. That coming together. This is the good stuff.
Please enjoy our story.
The day started off with a community effort to build a meaningful and purposeful wedding for a deserving couple. The groom helped the florist bring in buckets of fresh foliage, friends from across the country arrived early to help set up the tablescape, aunts and uncles of the bride, lifted tables and couches to put them in the perfect place, family from in town showed up with carloads of foods and decor; this was all about the guests being a part of the preparations for the day, even the bride and groom. Everyone lent a hand to cultivate a sense a community. And although it was a staged project, it was all quite touching and felt so very real.
Christine Ferris is one of the best caterers in Michigan whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with many times in the past. She recently switched gears to open her own deli and food pantry in West Michigan. The Farmhouse Deli is where she now focuses her efforts and she continues to serve only the freshest and most beautiful produce, cheeses, charcuterie and more from all over the state. For our project she served as a longtime family friend to the couple who was on hand to create a beautiful bounty of cocktail hour goodies. Christine’s displays are so gorgeous. She has such a gift and a heart even more lovely than her work.
Friends of the bride and groom created the beautiful desserts for the event and worked hard in the kitchen assembling all of the handmade treats while the bride got ready. In real life, Jason and Peter own the charming Cakabakery here in Grand Rapids and I can attest to how incredible and delicious their work is. Peter also married the couple in our intimate ceremony which you can see more of below.
I loved having so many dear vendors be a part of this project! I was lucky enough to not only be the designer for the project but to serve as the florist and sister of our bride that day. I always get goosebumps when I think of one day designing florals for my little brother’s wedding. Then Robyn who owns The Rental Company was on hand to serve as our bride’s mom. As a real life mom to two, Robyn was the perfect stand in to serve by our bride’s side. And Shannon is our very talented dress designer. She created that gorgeous gown for the project and on the day of, served as the bride’s aunt. It was incredible watching her sew the final touches of the gown on site and to make the tiniest of changes to it until it was perfect. It was very real in these few moments before we sent Jen down the stairs to her awaiting groom to be and guests for the first look.
This moment actually gave me goosebumps. A guest of the bride and groom, softly played his guitar as Jen came out of the house and it was super sweet. I don’t remember the song he played but I remember it was perfect. Oh, and said friend is actually a buddy of Andrew’s. He and his fiance, Jess came out that day to lend their support towards our project efforts. The guitar was a surprise.
Rather than having a typical ceremony with an alter, rows of chairs and lots of florals and decor, we kept this ceremony more symbolic and intimate. Our bride and groom walked out from the house together, hand in hand, to an awaiting circle of their loved ones on the front lawn. Each guest had a pillar candle in hand with a word written on the side in calligraphy. Each word was a blessing to the couple, a reminder of the good stuff when it comes to marriage. Everyone stood around the couple, their candles lit, as the couple lit two candles that meant the most to them on this special day; love and grace. The vows were short and sweet and together we surrounded the couple as they pledged their forevers to one another. At the conclusion of the ceremony we all walked back inside to prepare for dinner.
Isn’t Depree Manor gorgeous? What a perfect spot to bring everyone together.
You may recognize this handsome dude. That’s right! Mr. Apb himself. Major man crush :)
How beautiful is Jen our model? What a timeless and stunning bride.
When Katie, the editor in chief at Cottage Hill, and I first discussed this project, I told her about my vision for this particular photo. It would be of a big family and set of friends, sitting at a long family style table, holding hands together and preparing to say Grace before their meal. I envisioned it spanning across two pages in the magazine, centrefold style and well, if you’ve picked up your own copy of the magazine you’ll know Katie made that a reality for us. This photo just says so much.
And that light! Summertime in Michigan is pretty magical.
My heart is happy. Click here to read more about the project from Jen Lynne Photography!
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Photography and Direction: Jen Lynne Photography / Concept, Florals and Design: Hey Gorgeous Events / Venue: DePree Manor / Rentals: The Rental Company / Cheese Display and Styling: The Farmhouse Deli / Wedding Gown: Vue Designs / Cake Table and Styling: The Cakabakery / Candles, Paper and Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy / Make Up and Hair: Alexandra Nicole Makeup / Magazine: Cottage Hill Magazine