A Midwestern Wedding in Grayling, Michigan
This weekend, David and I packed up our gear and traveled to Michigan for a good ol’ midwestern wedding. The trees had just begun to bloom and after a brief period of thunderstorms and rain, the skies opened up. Joey and Josie threw a party that their small town of Grayling, MI will be talking about for years to come! Over 300 guests ventured out to a local farm for grandma’s homemade pies, a pig roast, drinks, s’mores and a good time!
This was the first ever wedding on the property, but you’d never guess it. Josie and her good friend Chris had thought of everything. They even collected antique plates and china to be used for dinner for every guest! There were so many other personal touches about his wedding that gave it a true midwest charm. Joey’s mom made all of the florals, including Joey’s boutonniere with one of his old arrow fletchings! Josie’s mom had her grandmother’s engagement ring turned into a necklace to gift the sweet bride the morning of, and a close cousin married the two.
The morning of
The morning started slow and calm. As we began photographing details, both Dave and I were in awe of how gorgeous the property was. We chuckled at the goats, cows and horses that kept us company before the wedding party arrived. A few close family members worked to finish cutting the pies and assemble the florals. Each person we encountered seemed so happy and willing to help out.
Storms rolled in shortly after the girls arrived, so Josie used the down time to freshen up and print out a few items for the reception. We teased her to put away her laptop and stop working. She then slipped into her gown and shared a few sweet moments with her mom. They laughed through the happy tears as they reminisced on the past and enjoyed the present moment.
The First Look(s)
Josie is close to her family, so she opted for not one, but three first looks. The first was her brother Jake who teared up instantly. In his toast, Jake shared that over the years he and Josie had evolved from bickering siblings to true best friends. He shared how much he admires his big sister and how happy he is that she’s found Joey who loves, respects and has patience for her.
With the help of Jake and her mom, Josie made her way to see her father for the first time. Before having him turn around, Josie took a moment to just breathe. I watched as her dad nervously waited for his turn to look. The wait was well worth it. Later, when I asked her Dad what part of the day he thought would stick with him the most, he reflected back on that moment.
Finally, Josie saw her groom for the first time! She had already been such a calm bride, but something about seeing him just melted her. I could see it in her face and in her body language, Joey put her at total ease. Their wedding party watched and cheered them on from a distance as we rolled right into portraits. Emotions were still running high and everyone was excited. Josie radiated joy all day, but seeing the genuine smile she had giggling with Joey was the most sincere form of happiness I’ve seen.
After portraits, the ceremony began. Guests made their way into “the hole” which was a deep valley on the farm that made for the most unique ceremony space. The ceremony was short and sweet as everyone was eager to get the party started!
The newlyweds spent the majority of the evening mingling with guests, catching up with family they hadn’t seen in years and of course- enjoying the party! The brewery that is owned by Josie’s family was closed for the entire day so that all of the staff could join in celebration as well. Guests had a blast, and everyone wanted a turn to hug on the newly married pair. Just before the sun set, we snuck them away. We took an off road adventure to a beautiful clearing just a few minutes from the reception.
Chris, the owner of the property and brains behind the whole day, had surprised the two with an antique love seat at the top of the clearing. The whole scene was breathtaking. We only had a few minutes until sunset, but it felt magical. On our way back, Josie’s last request was to roast s’mores together so that is exactly what they did. The most perfect end to a classic midwest wedding. While Josie picked out her marshmallows, I stood next to Joey and asked him how he felt. He beamed from ear to ear, never looking away from his bride and before I even heard his answer, I knew that he truly was the happiest guy alive.
Thank you Joey and Josie for including us on your wedding weekend. It was an absolute joy to be surrounded by your family and friends on such a beautiful property! We wish the two of you a lifetime of happiness!
P.S. We sincerely hope this is not the last wedding to take place at Chris’ property, so if you’re planning a midwest wedding in Michigan…take note!
Midwest Wedding Vendors
Hair: Salon Rue
Makeup: Rebecca Latusek
Wedding Coordinator: Chris Sheldon
DJ: Eagle Entertainment, Josh Rheaume
Gown: Becker’s Bridal