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Sweet Morgan + Auburn / A Maternity Lifestyle Session / Grand Rapids Michigan Photographer

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I like that this world is a small one.
It is just the case in this story…the story of how I met this sweet mama named Morgan. Months ago, she purchased this print from West Elm. A follower of mine on Instagram tagged me on said picture. I looked at the image, loved how Morgan used it in her pretty home, and asked her if I could repost it. I saw from her profile she lived in Grand Rapids…not far from myself! We struck up a conversation, she purchased a few more prints, and then we chatted about a little lifestyle maternity session before she welcomed her second son into this world (he was born yesterday by the way!!)
Her husband was working and couldn’t make all of our crazy timing work for this session, but Morgan and her adorable toddler Auburn were happy to show me around their restored family farm house, meet some chickens, pick flowers and veggies from the garden (they even sent me home with some!) and had the loveliest morning together.
Check out her own blog and follow her along on Instagram. Her house is full of the prettiest personal touches and bright airy design. She’s an inspiration to many and has the personality to match. Enjoy Enjoy!
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Emily + Ian / A Love Story / Northern Michigan Photographer

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A family is a family when two people are committed to each other and hold each other in the closest proximity. Kids will often add to a family, but they aren’t what makes a family.
I say this because Emily+Ian are a family. They wanted a session to celebrate that. Celebrate their love, their marriage, their commitment to each other. They wanted a documentation of a life they are building together…part of that life is a rehabbed home in one of my favorite parts of the world…the Leelanau Penninsula.
I have long thought, before Emily and I officially met, that we might be soul-sisters. You know…based on what I could gather on social media without actually having met her. We are both photographers, both recently sold homes in the ‘Heritage Hill’ district of the city we both reside in. I longed to also have a home in Northern Michigan…she beat me to that punch (but we caught up! More on that later). She seemed like a rad girl. I fancied being a rad girl.
When she contacted me this past spring to inquire about having a session with her and her husband Ian, I was completely on board. She wanted something on their property, something chill, something that encompassed them. The laughter, the sand dunes, their Airstream…it was a dream of an evening and made even better with beers and laughs around the campfire with them and my own little family afterward. Emily+Ian…I dig ya both hard.006_EmilyIanGallery002_EmilyIanGallery
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Lynell + Dan + Ellie / Maternity and Family Session / Grand Rapids Family Photographer

084_MillerMaternityGallery  Just as this family is nearing their time as a family of three, I thought I would post this session from last month of my dear friends Lynell+Dan and their little Ellie. As tradition holds, I have photographed some pretty big moments for these sweet friends. Their engagement session, their wedding day. Their maternity session with Ellie, Ellie’s grand entrance into the world, and now as they await their baby girl Lilly…set to arrive…well, soon (and hopefully while I’m IN town and around to be there for Lilly’s birth too!), will round out some pretty big moments in the past 3.5 years.

Knowing many friends who have gone from one baby, to two, and then more…I know how hard it is…especially on those mamas, about giving their next baby the same and equal love the first one(s) have enjoyed. I know that Lynell has been holding tight to these precious last moments with Ellie before she becomes a big sister, and I tried hard to encapsulate their sweet bond they all have. I also have absolutely no doubts that Ellie will be an incredibly excited and doting big sister to her little Lilly!

It makes me incredibly joyful to have the privilege to document these moments. Not perfectly choreographed moments. But real ones. In a field of sheep. 078_MillerMaternityGallery   111_MillerMaternityGallery 109_MillerMaternityGallery 108_MillerMaternityGallery 105_MillerMaternityGallery 144_MillerMaternityGallery 143_MillerMaternityGallery 139_MillerMaternityGallery 157_MillerMaternityGallery 154_MillerMaternityGallery 167_MillerMaternityGallery 153_MillerMaternityGallery 150_MillerMaternityGallery 147_MillerMaternityGallery 168_MillerMaternityGallery

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A little cameo of the back of my own little Mayer Grey. My family was along for the shoot and these two babies are seriously the sweetest together.
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Anna + Jacob / Greencrest Manor / Battle Creek Michigan Wedding Photographer

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Hello again! Nice to see you all again, now that it’s August and summer is almost past us. I have a lot of great blogging coming up in the future and today’s post was a favorite from earlier this June of Anna+Jake’s sweet wedding. I had such a great response when I had Krishanna write about her and her sweet groom’s USVI wedding, that I decided to repeat the feature and ask Anna to write a little about her wedding. I feel like many of you bride’s out there get a lot out of another bride’s words than just mine describing how awesome everything was. So enjoy Anna’s perspective of her wedding day accompanied by some pretty photos. Enjoy! -Amy Carroll

The Venue
Jake and I got engaged in August 2014. We live in New York but knew we would tie the knot back home in Michigan, so we immediately decided on a long engagement in order to make wedding planning a little easier. The first thing on our priority list was the venue. We knew we wanted something different, but couldn’t quite figure out exactly what that meant. I spent hours researching online and then on October 10, 2014, I came across Greencrest Manor on a photographer’s blog. (I remember the date because that’s how much I love Greencrest.) I immediately called the venue, then called Jake, then called my parents. Thankfully, my parents went and toured the venue and FaceTimed us in. Even in the dreary fall Greencrest was gorgeous and exactly what we had been looking for.

Vendor Recommendations
Many of our vendors came from recommendations by other vendors. In fact, the owner of Greencrest suggested Amy. You can spend days researching vendors online, but a good recommendation from someone else in the industry, I think, says much more. We made a priority list and booked vendors one by one. They honeymoon came after the photographer—not really a vendor but very important! Then came flowers, catering, the band—you get the idea. Booking the things that were most important to us first ensured that we got exactly what we wanted.

How to Stay Sane
Throughout our two-year engagement, the number one question I was asked was: “How are you planning a long-distance wedding?!” If I’m being completely honest, I think a long-distance wedding is the reason I was so calm during planning. Besides wishing I was closer to my mom and sister, living so far away meant that I was a little bit removed. I wasn’t constantly running around to vendor appointments and because of that, I didn’t overwhelm myself with options. We picked vendors who were easy to work with over phone and email and that made me confident that they would be easy to work with at our wedding. (Our cake baker even brought samples to my parent’s house during Christmas so we could do our tasting at home. Amazing!) I truly think wedding planning only has to be as stressful as you make it, and I really wanted us to enjoy just being engaged instead of stressing about the wedding for two years.

Be Flexible
The day of the wedding, I was as prepared as possible. I made timelines for the wedding party. I created floor plans and seating charts for the vendors. I had the giant binder. And then, an hour and a half before our outdoor ceremony was supposed to start, it rained. Not just rained, it poured. A bride’s worst nightmare, right? Somehow I remained relatively calm (thanks, champagne) and was determined that we would still get married outside. But 15 minutes before it was scheduled to begin, it was still pouring. Luckily I married a genius and he suggested we swap the timeline and start with cocktail hour. Greencrest has a gorgeous spiral staircase in the foyer, so our wedding party did a grand entrance down the stairs, with us following behind. Walking into a sea of 200 of our closest family and friends was amazing and Jake says it was his favorite part of the entire day (besides marrying me, of course). Halfway through cocktail hour it stopped raining. Our phenomenal team of vendors sprung into action, wiping down chairs and getting the guests outside. I had my dream outdoor ceremony, our guests were happily buzzed and everything turned out perfectly.

The Best Advice
All of this being said, my best advice is to take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt—mine included! People give you advice with the best intentions, but at the end of the day, it’s all about you and your future husband. Do what makes the two of you happy. If we would have listened to everyone, we would have ended up with a Vegas elopement (“save money!”), a grand celebration at Disney World (“everyone would think it’s so cool!”) and no flowers (“they just die!”). I very quickly learned to just smile and nod.

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