amanda + tim | sundance studios wedding | benton harbor, mi

As I drove from Chicago through Indiana and into Michigan the morning of Amanda and Tim’s wedding, I could feel the excitement rising within me. I played my music a little more loudly and swung by the venue to check the space out, and I soon found myself texting my boyfriend about how good it felt to be back at it after the much needed off season time of quiet and rest. I was practically giddy to see Amanda — she had texted me that morning saying that even the rehearsal night had felt “like a dream”, and I couldn’t wait to hug her and share in their excitement. I arrived at the hotel to hang out with and start photographing the most chill group of bridesmaids + bride you’ve ever met – they’re pouring mimosas and drinking beers, and belting out the lyrics together to the songs on the getting ready playlist as they get their hair and makeup done. We all made our way over to the venue soon after, and I couldn’t help but smile each time Amanda lit up about an element of their wedding day — she entered the room the reception would take place in later and squealed with excitement as she saw how beautifully it had come together.

The ladies and the guys finished getting ready in rooms next door to one another, and I loved the laid back feel as everyone flowed in and out, wedding party members mingling here and there, hanging out and sipping drinks just steps from the spot where Tim and Amanda would soon marry one another. Tim’s energy was different from Amanda’s in a way that I not only loved, but grew to understand more as I heard his best man describe his buddy in a toast later on — there was a level of quiet to Tim’s excitement, and I watched as he pinned each of the boutonniere’s on his friends and brothers, and as he took a small, nervous breath as his mom pinned on his own.

There are so many little moments that make up a day like this, and I always hope to myself that the smaller ones don’t get overshadowed by the bigger ones in our memories as the years pass and it becomes more difficult to recall all the specifics. Because when I look back on this day, I want to always be able to remember the way Amanda’s mom teared up when she stood back and really looked at her daughter in her wedding dress, and the way Tim’s dad reached out and lightly held his wife’s wrist as her voice began to crack during her toast, and the way the rain came down a little harder with each minute of the outdoor ceremony, and how it left dampened dots on the bridesmaids’ dresses and they smiled anyway, and the way Tim and Amanda laughed out loud and shrugged and hardly seemed to even notice the rain on their skin.

These two spent the remainder of their wedding day enjoying every single second – they cheersed their beers, and mingled with their guests, and walked around the venue grounds to take pictures in the rain, and then got after it on their dance floor. I very rarely refer to wedding days as “perfect”, because I’m not really one to think perfection is a thing to strive for anyway – but because of the way these two let themselves feel it all and celebrate it all and cry and hug and laugh despite the rain, it felt pretty damn perfect to me.

Venue: Sundance Studios
Cake: Lulu’s Cupcake Creations
Catering: CK Catering
Dress: David’s Bridal
DJ: Bee Entertainment
Hair + Makeup: Becky Erb
























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