Leah + Drew / Northern Michigan Wedding Photographer / Sojourn Lakeside Resort Gaylord

Friends, I am so excited to share Leah + Drew’s dreamy wedding day with you. There were so many elements of the day that had me in near tears. From the location (Sojourn Lakeside Resort) to the incredible details (Smitten Events outdid themselves!) it was a day not to forget.
I have been enjoying asking my incredible brides + grooms to give me a write up of their own account for many of the posts I’ve done in the past year. Leah was kind enough to share details of the planning and day with you all /

I’m not someone who dreamed of their wedding day their entire life. When Drew proposed in June of 2016, the only thing I envisioned was a low-key trip to city hall…but Drew had other plans. Drew is a romantic and heart, and he made it very clear that he wanted a wedding wedding. I was more than willing to go along with this- how could I deny my fiancé something that was so adorably important to him? Once we decided to do the damn thing, I was faced with a unique set of obstacles. I was planning to start a masters program at University of Chicago in August, while Drew would be staying at his job in New York City. We had also decided to get married in Northern Michigan- I’m originally from Michigan and I liked the idea of doing it in a laid back “up north” setting. In sum, this meant I was planning a destination wedding while living in a different state from my fiancé…all whilst managing the stress of grad school and my internship. Fun!

In many ways, this meant that we had to be extremely decisive throughout our planning process. The thing I heard the most from other brides was that their wedding was a blur and that they barely had a moment to really enjoy the company of their guests. With this in mind, we wanted really wanted to get married in a private place where our whole family and closest friends could stay onsite so we’d have the opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones during the weekend. This was a tall order, but we were delighted to find Sojourn Lakeside Resort online, and once we saw it in person we knew it was the ideal location. It was the only place we looked, and we just decided to roll with it.

Another important decision was hiring wedding planners. You know those people who have color-coded planners and remember to send chic birthday cards? Yeah…that’s not me. The contents of my purse is 80% garbage and I lose my phone on a weekly basis. Since organization is not my strength, I had to admit to myself that a planner might be necessary. When we met Janelle and Ellen from smitten events, we knew they’d be perfect for us. They’re both so chill, and will seriously bring your vision to life (no matter how crazy). I remember coyly asking what they thought about an idea I had to pitch a “glamping” tent to use as a hang-out spot for the wedding. I was sure they’d say that it was silly or unnecessary, but instead they embraced the idea and made it amazing. They also did my flowers, which I LOVED. Having them to fall back on was such an incredible blessing for planning- they took all my random, half-baked ideas and made them awesome. It was also so great that they immediately understood the vibe I wanted, and were able to make great suggestions for vendors (including Amy! She’s the BEST btw).

The actual day of the wedding was pure magic. I felt incredibly calm, and I was just so excited to marry my dude. The forecast looked pretty grim leading up to the day of the wedding, but I found myself weirdly embracing the possibility of rain (googling beautiful raining wedding photos helped ease my nerves). Just as I had resolved that I’d need to wear rain boots under my dress, the forecast changed the morning of our wedding and it didn’t rain one bit.

I think our favorite thing about our wedding was how intimate, personal and true to us it felt. My stepfather was our officiant, and we wrote our own vows- which I would suggest to anyone on the fence about this. We skipped lots of traditions (no first dance, no giant bridal party, no bouquet toss etc.) and just did the stuff that sounded fun. Your wedding should be fun! We had such a great time that I’m kinda sad we don’t get to do it again. It was a beautiful, joyful day that just brimmed with love.


Sarah + Steven / Battle Creek Wedding Photographer