A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I had the great honor of photographing, and performing, the marriage between our cousin Rebecca, and her fiance, Kyle. You may be wondering, “Wait, aren’t you guys just photographers?” Yes we are, however, I (Jess), am also ordained in the State of Michigan (by the American Marriage Ministries) to perform marriages. This was my first time performing a marriage, and it touched me in ways I never contemplated before. However, this isn’t about me, this is about them. So, with that being said, let’s learn more about this beautiful Michigan Winter Elopement!
Rebecca and Kyle had been engaged for a little while, and Rebecca had also heard that I was ordained, and so she reached out to me about five days before the day they got married on. You see, they truly wanted to be married before their daughter was born. So, we decided together to make it happen. We discussed many things, but mainly where and when to hold their ceremony, as well as, what they wished to have said during their ceremony. We decided on Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Michigan for their elopement to take place.
It was a beautiful Sunday, and not too cold, especially considering this past weeks’ wind chills and polar vortex. The sun was shining perfectly as guests started to arrive. I began practicing once more before everything was about to begin, and was quite nervous and excited to be joining these two amazing souls together, until the end of their days.
As Rebecca walked down the aisle, she was glowing. There was no music for her approach, and Kyle stayed facing away, until I gave him the signal to look, and see his stunning blushing bride, walk down the aisle. We were surrounded by the sounds of winter, a few birds, once in a while a car, as it drove around Elizabeth Park, but mainly, just a calming and serene silence. Everyone waited with baited breath for what was to come.
As I began, I was able to watch everyone in a totally different way than typical for me at weddings. Usually, I’m with Jeff, wandering around, taking pictures of everyone, capturing details and emotions, and unable to truly pay close attention to what is being said. However, this day, I was the officiant. I was able to watch with apt attention at the reactions of the guests, and of the Bride and Groom to what I was saying. And I must say, they all seemed to very much like what I had to say.
As the ceremony progressed, Rebecca and Kyle said their vows as given by me, as well as read the vows they wrote for themselves. Tears were falling from both of their faces, and rings were exchanged. I think everyone truly felt their love for one another at this ceremony. Don’t trust my word for it, see for yourself. 🙂
Once I announced it was time for them to kiss each other and seal their fates together as Husband and Wife, I quickly moved out of the way for Jeff to capture their first kiss without me standing behind them. (Yes, I made a very funny face while moving, and included it for all of your joy and pleasure, because it makes me laugh too! Lol) After their first kiss, I introduced them to their family as Mr. and Mrs. Counts, and everyone cheered!
After their ceremony was complete, it was time to sign the marriage license and take some family formals. I can tell you from experience, that it is very hard to sign anything when you hands are cold. We all struggled to sign the license, but we got it done, and made it official! Everyone was in good spirit for the family formals, and seemed to have fun. The lighting was PERFECT, and Jeff couldn’t be happier for the pictures.
Once the family formals were finished, we asked Rebecca and Kyle to stay only five minutes longer, so we could get a few of them by themselves. They agreed, and we captured them quickly, before Kyle swooped Rebecca off of her feet, and carried her to the getaway vehicle. It was now time to head to their home for the small family dinner they were hosting.
The rest of the evening was a perfect picture of contentment. Everyone was eating and laughing, and Rebecca and Kyle even had a small cake to cut, in which I instructed them how to do so according to tradition. They ate their cake, and Jeff took some more candid and posed pictures for them, before we ended our time with them.
All in all, we had a wonderful time with Rebecca and Kyle! I was humbled and honored to perform their marriage for them. Jeff was happy to take their pictures for them. And it was great to see more of the family than usual. We couldn’t have asked for a happier day together with Kyle and Rebecca, and we wish them eternal happiness together, although we have every reason to believe that they will be truly happy and in love with one another for the rest of their lives. Thank you Kyle and Rebecca for allowing us to play such a major role in your wedding day! 🙂