ben + katie // grand rapids, mi wedding

On a chilly, blue-skied October Friday, Ben + Katie became husband and wife. It was an artfully decorated celebration – with great attention to detail and aesthetics, but more importantly, there was a great importance placed on the actual union that took place that day.

Ben + Katie invited their family and close friends to stand beside them (which made for an awesomely fun and full bridal party!) as they pledged their vows to one another in the evening ceremony at Neland Avenue CRC on the east side of Grand Rapids. The evening continued at the Goei Center (one of my favorite venues in Grand Rapids!) where the guests ate, drank, toasted the bride + groom and danced the night away under the twinkling strands of lights. The entire day felt joyful, but full of love and sincerity. I was grateful to join in the story of these two and their love.

Ben + Katie, you two are SUCH a delight and it was an honor to come alongside the two of the past few months as you prepared for your wedding day. You two have a beautiful story together – and it’s only just begun! I hope that these images remind you of what an amazing celebration you had and that they also allow you to celebrate for years to come!TEAM GROOM!TEAM BRIDE!Katie let the girls in her party choose dresses based on a color palette. I loved all the different dresses and styles they chose!Since we had a little extra time and some cold hands, it was hard to turndown a stop at Madcap Coffee during our portrait time!This processional was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed! It’s hard to completely express it with words, but I’ll try to give you a little bit of info. The bride’s sister and friends sang and played the banjo to a duet of the hymn “Come Thou Fount” as the bridal party walked down the aisle. In the final verse, the congregation stood and sang along as the bride walked down the aisle with her parents. I seriously had chills and had to remind myself to take photos and hope and pray the images were in focus as tears filled my eyes. It was a holy, intimate moment.

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tony + megan – monroe, mi wedding photography

From the moment I met Tony + Megan, I liked them… a lot! We met for coffee and talked for what seemed like hours about the two of them, their plans for the future and their wedding day. These two have a sparkle between them that is just contagious. The way they talked about each other and their friends and family brought me joy and I was thrilled when they chose me to capture their wedding story for them… October couldn’t come soon enough!

As their wedding day approached, the forecast was not looking good for that Saturday… or the state of Michigan, in general. Literally, the entire state was green on the radar. I kept my hopes high, but when I woke up that Saturday morning, not much had improved. Fortunately, I just knew Tony + Megan would be up for whatever was thrown their way, so I was excited to see the two of them and celebrate alongside them… rain or shine!

When I arrived at the church, there was laughter and excitement in the air… no rain could put a damper on this party. Our afternoon started with a “first look” which allowed most of the portraits to be done beforehand (and we beat the rain!). The ceremony was simple, honest and sweet and the reception was filled with great food, beautiful toasts, awesome dance moves and all their favorite people. It was one of those weddings we could’ve stayed at all night long. Tony + Megan just have a special “something” together that everyone around can recognize… and that made everything just a little more wonderful for their wedding. :)

Tony + Megan – I’m SO glad we were able to meet each other and that you invited me into your love story. Thank-you for your joy, sincerity and love for each other and those around you. I’m excited for the marriage adventure that lies ahead for you and I know that together, you two will do great things. Best wishes!!
One thing I’ve learned is that doing a First Look does not diminish the significance of the walk down the aisle. In some cases, I totally think it takes away the nerves and truly allows the bride and the groom to soak in the pure emotion of that sacred aisle moment. I loved watching both Tony + Megan’s faces as she walked towards him… The rain joined us after the ceremony while we were in downtown Monroe, but this wedding party rocked it!There’s just something so sweet about a barefoot bride! The image on the right is one of my favorites from the day!

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drew + alyssa

Oh gosh, where do I begin? These two individuals have literally been a godsend to Jonathan and I. Though we have a ridiculous amount of mutual friends and acquaintances, we didn’t officially meet Drew + Alyssa until July 2011 at a wedding I was photographing. They had us at “hello” and life hasn’t been the same since!

The fact that they have only been present in our lives for the past 18 months really boggles our minds. “How have we only known each other for this long??” is something we often catch ourselves wondering! We have shared numerous meals, games, late nights and dance parties. Alyssa and I have drank way too much coffee together and traveled hundreds of miles for adventures near and far. We share similar values, interests and life goals. These two are both such an encouragement to us – spiritually, emotionally and with life in general.

I recently heard someone describe their friends as “champions” of their relationship. And you know what, I think that is the perfect description for Drew + Alyssa. These two really are champions – for their marriage, for our marriage and for others’ marriages – and that is a BEAUTIFUL thing. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that they were placed in our lives to be two of our champions – to fight for us, to encourage us and to have a crap-ton of fun together. I am beyond grateful and humbled that God would choose to place such an incredible couple in our lives.

So, today, I get to share with you some of my favorites images, ever. ;) These are the images from a rainy, chilly, autumn day when we ran around town celebrating love, marriage and friendship. Drew + Alyssa wanted their session not just to be about photos, but about the two of them. We spent a significant amount of time figuring out what the session would look like and determined, it was going to look be full of “normal” activities for them – drinking coffee in the living room, getting fancy for a date at the park or the pub, and being casual for an evening around the neighborhood. We started as the sun rose and finished as the sun set. It was a magical day and I was honored to capture this time in their lives. :)

Annnnd so, because these two are always up for anything, I’m switching it up and sharing a slideshow… with one of their favorite songs. Enjoy!

drew + alyssa // married! from jennanibal on Vimeo.

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three years

What a blessing it is to share this life with Jonathan… to dream, to grow, to travel, to enjoy this crazy adventure together. I couldn’t be more humbled and joyful to have this man by my side. And today, we celebrate 3 years of marriage together!There were a lot of things I thought I had figured out when we got married. I mean, by the time I walked down the aisle, we’d known each other for 17 years and had dated for almost 5 years… and yet, somehow, 3 years into marriage, this man still continues to amaze me!

Our third year has been a learning year, a transitional year and a growing year. In the past 365 days, we’ve witnessed our best friends marry each other (score!). I moved on from my part-time position and became a full-time photographer (yay!). We moved out of our first apartment and into a house with a pretty rad couple to experience what it means to live in community. We helped start an urban farm with our GR “family”. We welcomed my brother + his wife to the Mitten state and were overjoyed to meet our sweet niece Lexi a few months ago. We made new friends, strengthened old relationships and learned more healthy rhythyms of caring for each other, our loved ones and those around us. This past year has had more mountains than valleys and for that I’m truly grateful.

Now, what would be a photo blog withought a few photos? :) In June, a few weeks before we left our first home, we invited our dear friend, Alyssa, into our home to commemorate our time and space in the place we spent our first few wonderful and challenging years of marriage….
Year THREE – you’ve been good to us. Jonathan, I am beyond grateful for who you have been, who you are and who you are becoming as a husband and as a man. I love you to the moon and back and I am honored to walk through this life with you. With that said, and with God in our side, I say, bring it on, number four! :)

a look back… YEAR ONE // YEAR TWO // ps, that wedding photo? my awesome friend ABBY took that one, and all the other wedding photos you’ll ever see ;)

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kevin + angela – grand rapids wedding photography

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and were able to spend some quality time with the ones you love. Jonathan and I were able to spend the WHOLE weekend visiting friends and family… With only a few shoots thrown in the mix ;) Let me say – I am SO thankful for not only the personal community around me, but also the “business” community that I’m surrounded by! The fellow photographers, the couples, the families, the mentors… all of YOU have been influential in who I am today, and in the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to THANK YOU for investing in my life and being open to having your stories shared with others! I feel truly blessed!!

Today, I have another lovely wedding story to share! Kevin + Angela planned a wonderful event for their wedding in downtown Grand Rapids. Friends and family gathered in the pews of the gorgeous Basilica of St. Adalbert, the bridal party wandered around town enjoying the day and making lots of fun images and everyone danced the night away at Bridgewater Place, overlooking the glowing, vibrant city as it appreciated ArtPrize. As I witnessed these two become one and enjoyed celebrating with them, I couldn’t help but be excited because their wedding day had come together just the way they planned and more importantly, they were finally husband and wife! This day was definitely one of those days that I was thankful for this amazing job I get to do! :)

Kevin + Angela, I loved getting to know the two of you over the last year and being a part of your love story. I hope these images are the perfect reminder of your beautiful beginning of marriage!!

And now, enjoy the glimpse into their day!Then it was off to the reception at the Bridgewater Place… a room with a view!

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