Travel, adventure, and a little bit of middle-school romance is the foundation of how this love story began. Michael and Mackenzie are officially man and wife now and I could not be happier. They celebrated their beautiful wedding in southwest Michigan at Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn after having to postpone a full year due to COVID. This dreamy southwest Michigan wedding was totally inspired by their original wedding plans of eloping in Italy and truly made for the best day for these two.
Mackenzie and Michael first became good friends in middle school. As many of you know, middle school romances don’t typically turn into long term relationships and marriage but throughout the years, these two kept a close friendship and later, came together as well-rounded and grown up individuals.
Their travel proposal story
These two love travel so much and it fills me with so much joy to see their love for travel not only get dreamt about but actually fulfilled. Since college, Mackenzie and Michael have taken multiple trips around Europe to enjoy the sights and scenes but their last visit to Italy proved to be the one that would change their lives.
Michael had planned a perfect proposal at the Trevi Fountain in Rome and after a few hurdles including forgetting the ring the first time and Mackenzie’s love of gelato at night, he was able to ask her to marry him and she of course, said yes.
After returning to the states, these two began planning and shortly after, hired me in 2019 to photograph their dreamy engagement session at Tabor Hill Winery. While chatting over dinner, we discussed the possibility of me photographing their elopement in Italy and afterward, it was decided that I’d join them there at their villa.
Changes in Wedding Plans
As the events of COVID unfolded, we saw Italy being undone by COVID and the tragedies that it served up. Their original plan was to postpone but we realized that it would be best for them to host their wedding stateside instead.
A dreamy Southwest Michigan Wedding Day
Thankfully, not all was lost. By hosting a dreamy wedding in Michigan, they’d be able to invite more friends and family to celebrate their best day. Together, with all 10 of their maids, matrons, best men, and groomsmen, they shared their vows underneath the most beautiful tree on an August afternoon.
They began their day with prep at the gorgeous Hidden Vineyards Wedding Barn, which is the most thoughtfully put together barn we’ve come across. The girls enjoyed pampering all morning in air conditioning while they jammed to early 2000s tunes. Tossi’s Cafe provided them with Mackenzie’s favorite breakfast, a granola, fruit, and yogurt bowl, and the ladies had no shortage of mimosas.
When hosting a traditional wedding, there are many considerations to factor in for success. Aside from two soulmates sharing forever vows, the details are a very important part of the day. Since these two couldn’t host their wedding in Rome, Italy as they had originally planned, they brought the sights, tastes, and smells of Italy to Southwest Michigan.
The cocktail of the evening was the Aperol spritz, a famous Italian cocktail aptly named for the liqueur that goes into it but also known as an “Italian sunset in a glass” due to the deep dreamy orange gradients it creates from the Aperol and champagne.
During cocktail hour, guests were quickly satiated with their favorite local wine or beer, which always enlivens a crowd while they patiently waited for these two to finish up family portraits. Throughout the evening, the DJs Bri and Hunter of 27 Entertainment kept the guests on the dance floor, moving and grooving to all the sounds from the 70s to today. One of my favorite moments was the anniversary dance in reverse where instead of narrowing the dance floor down, the the DJ asks that if anyone has been married only for a set amount of time, 1 hour, 1 year, etc, that they join the dance floor. By the end, the dance floor is full and everyone is ready to jive!
Golden hour portraits were scheduled in and we were grateful to take them out to the vineyard one more time for some dreamy evening portraits. Their golden hour portraits also included a dress change from the luxury bridal elegance that was adorned throughout the ceremony to an ornate 20s style sheath gown that was so beautiful beaded. This dress change allowed Mackenzie to easily move through the crowds and to enjoy her evening while also adding a little flair and drama upon their second grand entrance post portraits.
All is well that ends well at a wedding
Mackenzie and Michael’s plans may have changed from their original ones but the wedding reception proved to be just as epic and lively, filled with so much love and gratitude for all those that attended.
I am so grateful to have been chosen as first their photographer and now to be their friend. I just adore these two and I am living vicariously through their Italy honeymoon Instagram stories currently!
Thank you, Michael and Mackenzie for trusting us to capture your perfect dreamy Michigan wedding and I look forward to all of the amazing adventures you two will embark on together now and in the future. We will definitely find ourselves in Italy and a few other places together down the road.
Be sure to stop by their engagement blog to see more of these two lovebirds and their adventure at one of my favorite wineries in Michigan, Tabor Hill!
To connect with us for your destination engagement or elopement, click here!
Special thanks to their outstanding wedding vendors:
Cheers to these amazing vendors planning:
Planning & Coordination: @whitedahliaevents
Hair & Makeup: @girlontheglowllc