Chelsea + Joe

I’ve known Chelsea ever since I could remember. To be more exact, it was actually the summer after 5th grade when I had just moved to Clarkston, Michigan. We met when we both signed up for a travel softball league and have known each other ever since. We even played softball with Chelsea’s maid of honor, Jenell, so it really is such a small world. Outside of softball and over the years we didn’t stay in touch much, but when she reached out for me to cover her wedding I was SO excited. 

getting ready

To start off the day we began with the bridal party getting ready at the Comfort Inn & Suites here in Clarkston, MI. and let me tell you… this bridal party was STUNNING. Each and every last one of them were so beautiful and I couldn’t get over it. The space itself was so beautiful and immersed in it was just breathtaking. Ugh and can we please talk about these photos with Chelsea on the bed? Her eyes were piercing and beautiful and I honestly wish I could have taken photos of her all day in this spot. Alas, we could not because we had a wedding to attend!

After slipping into her wedding dress and completing the final touches of her look, Chelsea was all set to go. Chelsea actually opted to do a first look with her bridesmaids which is honestly some of my favorite moments. Of course it is filled with so many emotions/tears/smiles and is just a moment that is so very special. 10/10 would recommend doing a first look with your bridesmaids, you will NOT be disappointed. 

first look & portraits

After getting ready, we then moved into Chelsea and Joe's first look. We actually drove to Independence Oaks Park which luckily was about 5 minutes from their getting ready location & the wedding venue! First look moments always have a special place in my heart. It has so much emotion and anticipation and when the moment has come to finally see your partner, the emotions can be so overwhelming (in a good way though). They both wrote their own vows and read it back to each other (you may notice a few tears coming from Chelsea). Some couples may opt to do this during their first look moment instead of reading them in front of their wedding guests. This is always a good option for anyone looking for a bit more privacy and intimacy on their wedding day.

Once we finished with their first look, we moved into some portraits. It was such a gorgeous day out so of course we had to utilize all of the beautiful greenery and nature surrounding us. The park even has a dock so we took some photos by the water and they both honestly looked like supermodels. The way that the wind was blowing Chelsea's cape was out of this world amazing and I can't stop staring at how good these two looked. You will even notice that I took some very special photos of them and their matching tattoos. To match Joe's socks, Chelsea and Joe also have matching avocado tattoos that wave to each other which I thought was SO adorable.


The ceremony was actually at this beautiful boutique store called The Gateway. I thought this space was so unique and different and added so much character. Fun fact though, the priest that was there for the ceremony actually married Chelsea's parents like 30 years ago. It was such a full circle moment and was incredibly special for her to have that connection with her parents. As I saw Chelsea walk down the aisle I just couldn't help but admire her beautiful dress - she even had this beautiful cape added to her dress which I just loved. Can we can also take a moment to admire the bridal party too? The bridesmaids were wearing these gorgeous green satin dresses while the groomsmen wore these really cute bowties which I loved. The ceremony itself was just as beautiful as I could ever imagine. The weather was just perfect and despite the sun going in and out throughout the ceremony, the photos were to die for.


After the ceremony, we moved right into the reception! Their reception was held at the 15th Street Tavern and let me say, the food and the space were AMAZING! The main goal for Chelsea and Joe was to spend as much time with friends & family as possible. So they actually opted to skip their first dance (literally decided this at the reception!) and just spend the time having fun and enjoying their time, which honestly I am here for! We also need to shine a spotlight on their cake because it wasn't your typical wedding cake, it was a cake shaped as a cupcake! Something so unique & different but oh so fun. We basically ended the night with everyone on the dance floor and having such a blast, it was almost too hard to leave! If I were to give you one piece of advice for your future wedding: don't be afraid to make your wedding your own and step outside of the box, because at the end of the day it's all about YOU!

If you loved this Outdoor Summer Wedding in Michigan, then you're going to love this Spring Backyard Wedding!

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 Chelsea and Joe's photoshoot puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!

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Photography: Photos by Gayle

Ceremony Site: The Gateway

Location & Wedding Party Portraits: Independence Oaks State Park

Reception Site: 15 Street Travern

DJ: Infinity Play Entertainment

Cake: The Union General

Dress: Made with Love Bridal

Tux: Men's Wearhouse

Invites: Zola

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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!