For being one of the more popular locations I photograph at in Ann Arbor, surprisingly I had not photographed a Matthaei Botanical Gardens wedding before Amanda and Mark’s big day. Engagements, couples sessions, micro weddings, sure, but a full wedding, not yet. So I was pumped when Amanda told me that’s where the ceremony was. Their outdoor flower garden is absolutely stunning! A Matthaei Botanical Gardens wedding works a little differently too. Guests are seated on either side of the circle garden, then when the wedding party split at the top. The bridesmaids walked down one side, the groomsmen the other, and met at the altar. This is where having a second shooter comes in handy, that way we could capture both sides. Could a single photographer done that, yes, but it is so much easier than running back and forth.
This was my second wedding of the weekend, I was about 6 months pregnant with my twins at the time, and it was the middle of July. To say it was a scorcher was an understatement. But I pushed through and my amazing second shooter, Shawna, helped me pick up the slack when my body was telling me to take a break. I’m always shocked when someone can work throughout their entire pregnancy because of how hard it is on our bodies (maybe not all, but at least mine). However it worked out because this was my last wedding I worked before the twins were born. My body told me I was done.
Amanda had personalized clutches made for her mother and grandmother with photos of the two of them when she was little. It was the most heartfelt gift I’ve seen at a wedding. When I noticed the inside, I asked grandma about it and she beamed as she told me the story. I, of course, shed a tear with her (totally normal for me, but especially being extra hormonal and all). Moments like that are my favorite to capture. The clutch wasn’t something that was pointed out ahead of time, I just caught a glimpse of it when she was getting something out. Such a small detail that turned out to have a big impact in that instant.
The reception was at Wayne Tree Manor, but the décor turned their ballroom into a magical forest. Amanda and Mark had warm white candles inside lanterns, eucalyptus, and wood slabs covering the tables. The soft glow of the candles made the atmosphere so romantic. They did their first dances, garter and bouquet toss, and then they brought out a toy duck from Mark’s childhood. It was hilarious, everyone was roaring with laughter! Amanda and Mark were such a fun couple to work with, I loved getting to meet all their family and friends.
Ceremony Venue: Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Reception Venue: Wayne Tree Manor
Officiant: Bride’s brother
Dress: David’s Bridal
Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse
Cake: Bride’s sister
Hair & Make-Up: Stephanie Stearns Aristry
To see more Matthaei Botanical Gardens photos, check out the blog posts below: