Ashley & Carlos

I had the honor of capturing Ashley and Carlos' engagement session in Traverse City, Michigan last winter and it was an absolute beauty. You can check out that blog here. It was evident ever since the first time I met Ashley and Carlos that the season of winter meant everything to them and their love story. Knowing this, it was no surprise to hear that their wedding would be in the wintertime. The cold weather and crisp winter breeze did not deter this couple from having a good time and *that* is what I am here for.


Ashley and Carlos had their wedding at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan. A hotel that brings a mix of modern luxury with English charm and really puts a unique twist on a wedding day. This boutique hotel gives you the once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone looks for on their wedding day which is why so many couples choose to get married at this Rochester, Michigan wedding space. Now, let me start off by saying that the Royal Park Hotel went *all* out for the winter decor and festivities. They did not skimp out on the holiday celebration which made it a winter wonderland for Ashley and Carlos' wedding. It's because of this, that a lot of couples will choose to have winter weddings so that their decor can double as their wedding decor. Essentially killing two birds with one stone! For a more inside look at the Royal Park Hotel and what it looks like outside of the winter decor, you can check out Beatriz and Paul's wedding day here.

We started off Ashley and Carlos' wedding day at the hotel with Ashley getting ready with her bridesmaids. My second photographer/hubby side-kick, Joe, was with Carlos and his groomsmen getting ready in another room. We took a few detail photos and got to document Ashley and Carlos opening up each other's wedding gifts. A sweet moment getting to document the thoughtful and amazing gifts that they got each other. I loved that all of the bridesmaids wore Christmas-themed PJs which really just emphasized the whole winter/Christmas theme that they were going for! After slipping into their wedding attire, Ashley wanted to do a first look with her dad which of course always gets me. Good thing Joe is the designated tissue man when he comes to weddings with me - lol!

first look & personal vows

Shortly after, Ashley and Carlos were to meet up for their blind look. Now, for those of you who don't know, a blind look is essentially being in the same room as your partner but not seeing them before the ceremony. It gives the couple a little bit of comfort knowing that their partner is there, but still holds just as much anticipation and excitement for the big reveal. Basically very similar to having a first touch, and is a great alternative to a first look on a wedding day!

The Royal Park Hotel had a Christmas pop-up bar open up that was completely decked out in Christmas decor. It was Ashley and Carlos' wish to have their blind look held here with all of the Christmas decor surrounding them. Lucky enough for us, we got the inside scoop and were able to get in before they opened - woohoo! With permission, of course! It was here that Ashley and Carlos exchanged their personally written vows to one another and it was a real tear-jerker, for sure.


After their blind look, we separated the love birds to go and take a few wedding party photos before heading to the ceremony. Inside the Royal Park Hotel is a conservatory where they host their wedding ceremonies. Covering the roof of the conservatory was a blanket of snow, which was reminiscent of a huge snowstorm that had just happened the night prior. Despite some of the guests not being able to make it to the wedding due to the inclement weather, the conservatory was filled with still so much love and laughter which is all that you can really ask for.


Once the lovebirds were married, I stole them away outside for a brief minute to take some of their wedding portraits. I say a brief minute because that's really all it was... a minute! It was so stinkin' cold that we ended up heading back inside and utilizing the beautiful Christmas decor and lighting for the remainder of Ashley and Carlos' portraits. While some of you would automatically think "cringe", these photos came out beautifully and were absolutely everything. It really gave off a stunning ethereal vibe, which I loved!


I have to admit, the Royal Park Hotel really did it on this day. The decor, the service, and the overall vibes from the day were absolute perfections and I loved every minute of it. Ashley and Carlos had the most beautiful wedding reception. With dances, speeches, and classic garter toss, and of course, a celebratory champagne pop towards the end of the night. We ended the night having to get a bit creative with their grand exit and instead of sparklers, wedding guests held the twinkling lights as we sent off the newlyweds. All in all, the day was gorgeous and was proof that winter weddings are highly underrated.

If you loved reading this Winter Wedding at The Royal Park Hotel in Michigan then you're going to love this blog!

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, and 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 these photos from Ashley and Carlos' wedding puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!

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Photography: Photos by Gayle

Hair & Makeup: Bocci Salon - Andrea V

Florist: Vivianos

Videographer: Prestige Entertainment

Planner: Prestige Entertainment - Amber

Desserts: Christene's Cakes & Pastries

Music: Prestige Entertainment - Noah

Dress: Jenna in White

Tux: Jos. A Bank