Mike and Natalie enjoyed a beautiful wedding day at the Hotel Kirkwood in the presence of family and friends. We started the day getting ready at the Hotel Kirkwood with the girls. Makeup, hairspray, perfume, girly drinks and … symphonic music? Chill, relaxing vibes were coming out of the speakers, making us all calmer and smarter. 🙂 We only spent a short time getting smarter at the hotel before we traveled out to the Marion Methodist Church to finish getting everyone dressed. It’s fun to see some of the dramatic getting ready photos we can create in just a very simple church classroom after we push some tables and furniture out of the way and adjust the lighting.
The ceremony was early in the afternoon, so we didn’t do any portraits beforehand. That meant Mike’s first glimpse of his bride was as she walked down the aisle to him with her dad. Mike had a big ol’ grin on his face as she walked down, which is incredibly stoic considering the weight of that moment! I’m certain that not everyone present to witness that moment was as stoic. It’s quite a moment. The rest of the ceremony was more smiles and laughter as the two pledged their love and commitment, lit the unity candle and signed their marriage license. A dramatic first kiss in the dramatic light of the sanctuary wrapped up the ceremony.
Afterward, we traveled to the close by Wanatee Park for photos with the wedding party. We chose to use the tree-lined road as the backdrop for a lot of our photos. It was super beautiful, but as I write, I think 4 more cars just interrupted our photo vibe. It maybe wasn’t super ideal for photos with 15 people, but we made it work!
As the guests had already made their way back to the Hotel Kirkwood for cocktail hour, we were the last to arrive and the crowd was hyped to get the party started. The wedding party made their ridiculous entrances and the crowd roared for the new bride and groom as they made their way to the dance floor for another dramatic kiss. A delicious dinner was provided by the Kirkwood staff and toasts were delivered by the matron of honor and best man. Mike spoke after the toasts were wrapped up. He addressed his bride and brought it home with some wisdom that he received in premarital counseling from Pastor Mike. He said something to the effect of, “At its best, marriage isn’t a transactional relationship where everything is 50/50. It’s 100/100 where you are always giving 100% of yourself to meet your spouse’s needs and make them better.” That’s really good stuff, everybody.
Immediately after that, the two of them gave 100/100 in their first dance with each other. It was great and all, but I’m sorry, Natalie’s dance with her dad kind of stole the show. The waterworks were going. Natalie’s dad unflappably sang the whole song ‘Cinderella’ to her while they danced. Sheeesh! I had to check my camera to see why things were looking so misty through the viewfinder. “So I dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms . . . cause soon she’ll be gone.” I love moments that make you cry because they are the most authentic and beautiful. They show what we love and treasure. As a dad with a daughter myself, it’s moments like these that really encourage you to make the most of your time with your kids.
As the dance party kicked off, we rushed around to prepare everything to shoot at sunset, only to come out and find . . . clouds. Lots and lots of clouds. And definitely no sun. As surprising as that was after a beautiful day, we made the most of what we were dealt, and dramatic evening cloud pictures can still look super sweet.
As we went back inside, Brian, AKA DJ Tex, did a great job keeping the party going and the dance floor full. It was a pleasure working with him for the first time!
Mike and Natalie, thank you guys for choosing to have us be a part of your wedding day! It was blessing to be able to serve you guys and your families. We wish you all the best!
Hair & Makeup – The W
Flowers – Lily & Rose
DJ – Clife DJ Co (Brian)
Dress – Heart to Heart
Suits – Men’s Wearhouse
Rings – Herteen & Stocker
Photographers – Carter Photography