Anna + Jacob / Greencrest Manor / Battle Creek Michigan Wedding Photographer


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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Krishanna + Jay / US Virgin Islands Wedding / St. John Island Wedding Photographer


Hi friends! So I did something different with this pretty wedding post from a wedding we shot last fall in the Virgin Islands. I asked Krishanna, the pretty bride featured here, to write about her wedding. Why a destination, how her planning experience was, etc. I wanted to share from their perspective and integrate their images with a full post.

Sideline – I adore these two to the moon and back and even happier to call them friends after this experience. Just a few short weeks ago when they were visiting family in Michigan, they hopped over to the west side to spend a magical evening with us, walking our neighborhood, eating at a favorite local spot and drinking beers on the balcony with us. How lucky can a girl get? Enjoy their pretty little post! -Amy Carroll

Why a Destination Wedding.
We got engaged in the fall of 2015 with plans to relocate from Michigan to North Carolina, right as we began planning our wedding. It was important to us to bring those we love the most together to a beautiful, unique location.  We wanted to create an experience out of the ordinary for those closest to us.  We spent months researching various types of venues in both areas, looking for that special place.  We found a challenge in finding anything that represented us, where we were in our lives and our relationship.  We both embody a deep love for travel, (our first official date was a spontaneous road trip to Cleveland for a long weekend); so about two weeks before I was to start my job in NC, we decided to book a last minute trip to St. Thomas, USVI. We found it fun and flirty, the beaches were paradise, and the islands exuded a sense of relaxation.  During our stay, we hopped over to the island of St. John for a day trip and fell in love with the natural beauty. The lush, green botanicals covering two-thirds of the island: the clear turquoise water sparkling in the bays.  It was magical and historically untouched and I instantly imagined one of a kind memories.  So there, standing amongst a piece of ancient stone ruin, I looked at J and said, “This is it.  This is where it has to be.”

Advice for Planning a Destination Wedding
Inevitably, everyone you know will share wedding day advice with you, even if unsolicited.  It can be equally exciting and overwhelming.   Take it with a grain of salt and remember, at the end of the day, it’s about the two of you.  Make it what you want. We wanted to look back and know that we made the most of our day, and that’s exactly what we did.

Key details.  Focus on what’s truly important to you and your spouse.  It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with blogs and posts and comparison and forget to embrace the natural décor that lies within your venue.  Our main focus included food, pictures and atmosphere, so we put the majority of our energy into planning those aspects.  We found a vegan friendly caterer, convinced the loveliest photographers to travel all the way to the Caribbean and held the reception right on our Villa grounds. 

Reach out and read reviews.  Ask the questions you both have and ultimately choose the vendors who represent what you stand for and you feel see your vision.  We had no idea where to start planning a wedding, let alone on an island where we had only been for a day.  I read a lot of articles about St. John and searched out weddings on the island using social media and wedding websites.  Our wedding coordinator came highly recommended by our VRBO owner.  She is a long-term resident of St. John and not only handled all of the legal paperwork allowing us to marry on the island, but also provided us with local, personal contacts. She was genuine and accessible. I was able to call her with any questions and she made us feel like friends, not clients. 

Be flexible. Things may and most likely will veer from your initial vision but the organic nature of your day that comes from that may make the experience better than you imagined.  The day before our wedding, we Jeep’d around the island with Amy and Jeff in search of a site to hold our ceremony and unique photo opportunities.  We had only spent a small amount of time in St. John before; therefore we knew we would need to decide once we arrived. We were hiking our first day on the island and stumbled into the unfinished, stone villa across the bay.  We brought Amy and Jeff there and in all it’s raw, scenic beauty collectively decided it was the perfect spot to have our first look.

We had done research on the Annaberg Sugar Plantation and had seen an area of the ruins where we anticipated the ceremony would be. Once we actually drove to the ruins, we found a secluded stone room nestled in the back corner that was better than any photograph. So we chose our ceremony site the day before our wedding and may have missed out on an amazing space had we had our minds set beforehand.

The First Look
To us, it wasn’t important to wait until we said, “I do” to see each other for the first time.  Our destination wedding was about being close and enjoying every moment together. We were warned that the day would fly by, and we wanted to spend the entire day as one, not just the few hours at the reception.  It was an incredibly intimate time and allowed us to share our feelings about the day in the privacy of one another.  Having that time together helped eliminate any nerves and made us that much more excited about the nuptials ahead. 

Our Favorite Memory
J and I share the same favorite moment from our wedding day: our literal plunge into marriage.  After dinner and our first dance, one of my bridesmaids suggested we actually take the plunge and jump into the pool, and we smiled without hesitation.  The DJ counted down and in we went: suit, dress and all.  One by one the wedding party, the parents, and each guest dove in, moving the entire dance party to the pool. We jumped feet first into our new life together and were followed by the support of our closest family and friends. 

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