Sam & Brent

While Sam & Brent currently reside in California, their heart lies in Michigan where they both grew up. For their wedding, they decided to fly back to their home state to be surrounded by their friends & family. They had their wedding in Traverse City at Bayview Weddings at Gallagher Farms and it was just the prettiest wedding. At Bayview Weddings there are a few different locations where you can get ready. For Sam & Brent, they both got ready in the exact same spot but just at different times, which I thought was very cool. Most of the time couples get ready at separate locations at the same time, but nothing wrong with switching it up! The cabin where they were getting ready was so quaint and cute, and despite the only form of bathrooms were portable ones outside, it still was such an amazing spot.

getting ready & first look

Throughout the getting ready process, I began asking Sam's bridesmaids how they all knew her. To my surprise, each of them had a different story and all were from different places throughout the country. I already knew how sweet and kind Sam & Brent were, but knowing this, solidified it for me. They both are so adventurous and outgoing people which made learning all about their friends that much more special. Once Sam was done getting her hair & makeup, it was then time to slip on her dress. It was at this time that her mom came to help her zip up the back and it's one of the most sweet moments throughout the whole day. It seems silly and sometimes I may feel out of place, but it's during these moments that leave imprints on you and make your special day that much more memorable.

Once officially ready, Sam decided to do a first look with her bridesmaids and let's just say they did not disappoint. We even had one of her bridesmaids breastfeeding, but you know what they say... no one get's left behind! First looks are some of my favorite moments to shoot because of all that built up anticipation. Everyone is so eager to see the bride in her wedding dress and then finally when the moment happens... BOOM! It hits you like a ton of bricks... okay maybe not as dramatic but it still has some power. We then moved into taking some solo portraits of just Sam, and I just can't get over how amazing she looked in her dress, her hair was amazing, her makeup was beautiful... just all of it! The bouquet that she had also was stunning and she even decided to put photos of her grandparents that had passed away on it. Such a sweet and intimate detail that makes your wedding day that much more special. I love when couples aren't afraid to do what makes them happy, because at the end of the day... it's YOUR day.

wedding ceremony

After all of this excitement, it was finally time for the ceremony! While we were still at the same venue, their ceremony spot was to die for. It didn't even really feel like we were in Michigan because of how beautiful the views were. It was such a bright & sunny day and honestly can I just say, perfect! I know I say that all the time but you know what, I'm telling you the truth. Before walking down the aisle, Sam & Brent had curated all of their wedding guests to have flower petals. That way when they both would walk back down together, the guests would shower them in these beautiful petals which I loved. Once reading their vows and saying their "I do's", and having their first kiss they were officially newlyweds! The photos of them walking down the aisle (and hugging right at the end of the aisle) are actually some of my favorites EVER. They looked so happy and in a state of pure bliss which just made my heart so warm and happy to see.

One moment in particular that stood out to me was right after the ceremony. Typically, once the ceremony is over we jump straight into family portraits. However for Sam and Brent, they really wanted to take the time to greet every single guest which I thought was so sweet and intentional. Despite it being a small wedding, they really took their time speaking to each guest and we were their for a minimum of 20 minutes because this was not a process to be rushed!


The ceremony was done, so we then moved into some solo portraits of the newlyweds. If you take a close look, you can notice that Brent actually has a tie with a map of Mt. Whitney on it. Mt. Whitney is in California and is actually where Brent had proposed to Sam so I thought that was such a cute detail he added. We then moved to a great open area with one heck of a view and I just about died. They both were absolutely glowing and it didn't even really feel like we were in Michigan anymore.

golden hour portraits & reception

After we finished their portraits, it was then time for the reception! Sam and Brent really wanted some golden hour portraits, so I stole them away for 5 minutes to make sure that we got some of those. As it got darker, we played around with some silhouettes and the sunset. Then... came the dark, starry night. So fun fact: Brent is an astro photographer so he loves taking photos of the stars & galaxy. It was incredibly important to them to be able to get a shot with the stars! We originally were planning to go to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes at midnight, but it was about an hour away and they decided that after the wedding, they would rather hang out with some old friends and keep the celebrations going than making that drive. So when the reception was over and it was pitch black outside, we snuck up to the top of the hill where they had their ceremony and took some long exposure star photos and boy oh boy, did they turn out even better than expected!

Once we snuck back into the reception, it was a such a blast from there. Filled with so much emotion and intention, there wasn't a moment throughout the whole day where I wasn't almost tearing up. You could just tell that everyone that was there was there with a purpose and had so much love for Sam & Brent. I may or may not be tearing up as I write this... LOL. Overall, this day was such an amazing experience that I will never ever forget. Cheers to Sam + Brent!

If you loved this Michigan Wedding at Gallagher Farms, then you're going to love this Intimate Wedding with Amber & Dillon!

Photos By Gayle does more than just take photos of people. Rather, it is capturing moments of LOVE and HAPPINESS. Singing to the skies, dancing in a field, smiles that hurt because they’re so big. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than photographing these unique details that make you and your significant other a couple. If Sam + Brent's wedding puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!

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Photography: Photos by Gayle

Ceremony & Reception Site: Bay View Weddings at Gallagher Farms

Videographer: Boy from the Mitten

Florist: Sam's Mom

DJ: Rusch Entertainment

Cake: Potters Bakery

Caterer: Catering by Kellys

Dress: Lovely Bride

Tux: Men's Wearhouse

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I am a Destination Elopement Photographer who specializes in weddings, engagements, elopements, and boudoir. I love to travel to new places so if you are looking for a photographer for any of these events, please contact me here and I will be more than happy to get you started on some beautiful photos of your own!