Wedding Photographer

Matt + Liz's Elegant Wintery Wedding at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

There could not have been a more incredible way to close out the 2018 season than with Matt and Liz’s wedding. I have always been a sucker for winter weddings, and these two planned an absolutely gorgeous December celebration. The church where they were married was covered in red poinsettias, the Christmas trees sparkled at their wedding reception venue and downtown Detroit was dressed up for the occasion with every tree decked in lights. There is something so romantic about all of those lights shining in pictures.

Some of my favorite memories from the day were being in the room with Liz and her mom and her sister while Liz slipped into her wedding dress. Liz’s mom and sister made the last few adjustments to her dress, and it was such a sweet moment between the ladies in their family. The way that Liz’s mom and sister looked at her was with such absolute love and admiration- they were so excited to see Liz promise forever to Matt and they couldn’t hide the excitement on their faces.

I also loved being able to sneak outside with Liz and Matt for a few pictures once the dancing started at their reception. The two hadn’t had a chance to spend much time alone yet, and it was so sweet to hear them talking about how perfect the day was and that they were officially husband and wife! These two are so kind and thoughtful, and I couldn’t help but notice throughout the planning process how they always thought about others. They wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable and able to enjoy the celebration. They continued to think about their guests and their vendors, so I loved being able to see them taking some time to just enjoy one another.

I was so thankful to became quick friends with Matt and Liz during their wedding planning. From our first meeting for coffee to their engagement session, to wedding planning phone calls and then on their wedding day- all of our time together was easy and lighthearted. I am already excited to see where life takes them and to hopefully help them capture more memories along the way! Congratulations, Matt and Liz- I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together- you two deserve the absolute best!

Matt + Danielle's Northern Michigan Barn Wedding

I am not sure where to start with this blog post, because I have so many favorite things from Matt and Danielle's wedding!  Northern Michigan, portraits at a lighthouse, a beautiful barn setting, loving friends and family, a flower girl and rings bearers that stole the show, and a bride and groom totally and completely in love. Yes, it is safe to say this has to be one of my very favorite wedding days yet! Danielle and I have known each other since college, so I had so much fun reconnecting with her during her wedding planning.  What I really loved though was seeing how happy Matt makes her. After their engagement session I kept thinking about how perfectly these two compliment and care for one another. 

Their wedding day was such a perfect celebration of the love they have for one another, and the love their family and friends have for them. Danielle spent the morning getting ready in a house packed full of her bridal party, close family and lots of little ones. Matt and Danielle met in downtown Charlevoix for their first look, where they read handwritten vows to one another. *Insert, Caryn crying the entire time here.* From there we headed to the Charlevoix lighthouse for bridal party portraits, and then to the most beautiful barn for their ceremony and reception.  

During the entire day I was struck by how much everyone at the wedding loved each other.  I couldn't tell which family was Matt's and who belonged to Danielle's family, or if they had separate groups of friends- everyone just melded together for one, big celebration! The dance floor was one big party, the games of cornhole were cheered on by everyone and everyone treated Ted and I like we were part of the party.  It makes sense to me why these two are as passionate, caring and as hilarious as they are- it is because they are surrounded by people with all of those traits. 

After hearing about how Matt and Danielle connected on a trip to Alaska, and were engaged on a return trip. How they purchased a home together and plan to remodel it, how they adventure together and encourage each other in their careers- I am so excited for these two.  And Danielle's Dad mentioned something about 12 kids in his speech- so I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them!  Matt and Danielle, you could not have asked for a more beautiful day to promise a lifetime to one another. I am so thankful that you invited Ted and me to be a part of the celebration. Cheers to forever, you two! 

Venue: Shanahan's Barn in Charlevoix, Michigan | Dress: Patty's Bridal | Bouquets: The Harvester | Welcome Sign & Programs: Say I Do Decor |  DJ: A+ Event Entertainment | Catering & Cake: Grey Gables

 

Steve + Caiti's Glamorous Gem Theater Wedding

We had been looking forward to Caiti and Steve's downtown Detroit wedding for months, and for so many reasons. First, Ted and I couldn't wait to join with Caiti and Steve's family and friends and celebrate this couple. Caiti and Steve are pure gold.  We share mutual friends, so we have spent time with the couple in the past and they always make everyone around them feel welcomed and loved. Caiti and Steve can come into a new group of people and seem like they have known everyone since childhood, even if it is their first time meeting everyone in the room.  Little did we know that their family and friends would treat Ted and me the same way.  Making us feel like a part of the party the entire day!

Secondly, we are suckers for downtown Detroit weddings.  The city is thriving and it is so fun use the Motor City as a wedding day backdrop. We shot at a few of my favorite downtown locations throughout the day and I felt like the city was just showing off. Exploring all of my favorite spots with this gorgeous bridal party made it all the more special!  Caiti and Steve's ceremony and reception were held at the Gem Theater.  The Gem is an iconic location in the city, and made for such a unique venue for their wedding day. 

Lastly, we couldn't wait for Caiti and Steve's wedding day because we knew it would be filled with so much laughter. And we were so right about this one!  Caiti and Steve have a relationship where they constantly keep each other laughing. We started noticing this when we spent time with Caiti and Steve as friends, and then at their engagement session.  During their engagement shoot Steve kept Caiti laughing the entire time. Even when I would encourage a soft, quiet moment these two would burst into laughter together. It was the best.  Because that is exactly who they are as a couple. 

Laughter is such an incredible trait to share as you embark into married life.  Some of our favorite moments are the ones where Ted and I just laugh together.  Because married life can get messy, and life gets busy, and sometimes the best source of comfort at the end of a long day is just laughing together. Laughing about the small things and sometimes laughing about the big things that you can't change.  Knowing how to make your spouse laugh is such a gift, and Caiti and Steve certainly have that gift!  Not to mention that they have a pretty wonderful support system that keeps life lighthearted and hilarious right along with them.  

Caiti and Steve's wedding lived up to all of our expectations. We explored our favorite city, laughed along with Caiti, Steve and their bridal party, and watched two of the kindest people vow to love each other unconditionally and through whatever life may bring them.  Thank you for letting us capture there memories with you, Caiti and Steve! Cheers to a lifetime of laughter together! 

Paul + Susan's Downtown Detroit Wedding

I am so excited to share Susan and Paul's wedding photographs with you!  This couple's lives have been intertwined since they were kids.  They went to high school together, and started dating a few years later.  From listening to Susan's sister's speech it sounds like once they reconnected they were inseparable!  The two moved to Detroit and during that time Paul proposed to Susan on the steps of the Detroit Institute of Art.  One of the most beautiful buildings in the city!  They have since moved to Washington, D.C., but celebrated their wedding back in the city where their love story began. 

When Susan contacted me about photographing her and Paul's wedding I was so honored.  Susan and I attended Albion College together, so it was particularly fun to reconnect and get to spend the day with her and her family and friends. Spending the morning in the bridal suite while the girls got ready was a particular highlight.  Most of the ladies had grown up together, so their jokes flowed back and forth as they leisurely enjoyed the morning together.  I was pleasantly surprised when I went down a few floors to hang with the guys. They were equally as welcoming and fun! They welcomed me into their group, and we had a blast wondering the city for their guy photos.  I love that Paul wanted to stop into Lafayette Coney Island for a few photos.  If you are from Detroit you know it is Lafayette vs. National and we are a Lafayette family, so I was very happy with his choice!

The ladies also looked completely stunning against the backdrop of the city.  They stopped traffic and got more than a few whistles from people passing by ;) The wedding ceremony took place at Ste. Anne's Catholic Church and it was incredible.  These old churches always amaze me, and I was left standing in awe that this was the space where Paul and Susan chose to commit their lives to each other.  Such a memorable moment.  The rain started at just about the same time as the ceremony. Luckily, Susan and Paul were just happy to enjoy the day together.  So rain or shine, we still snuck over to the DIA for a few photographs of the couple following their ceremony.

They ended the evening at the Westin Book Cadillac with one awesome party!  Thoughtful speeches that praised the way the couple compliments each other, a first dance song sung by the bride's mother, and a dance floor that was packed the entire evening were just a few of the highlights. Susan and Paul are clearly so loved and respected by their family and friends and I think that says a lot about who they are individually and as a couple.  They treat those around them with so much love and they truly honor their relationships, so of course everyone wanted to be there to celebrate their big day! Congratulations, Susan and Paul! And thank you for letting me be a part of something so beautiful!  

Kyle + Lisa

A few weeks before their wedding, Lisa called and asked if I would be interested in photographing her and Kyle's intimate courthouse wedding, and of course the answer was a quick yes!  She shared with me that she would love to capture the intimacy of the wedding and a few photographs of their family sharing this memory together- love, family and intimate ceremonies.  She was speaking my language.

We met at the Birmingham courthouse and everyone huddled inside before their ceremony. Once the judge arrived we all moved outside to the steps of the courthouse.  It was a perfect fall evening, and the sun was just setting as a pink light settled over the city and all of the lights started to come on.  Kyle and Lisa shared their vows with their families as witnesses and were united as husband and wife.  The moment was so raw and beautiful, and just made me fall in love with love all over again.  

We took advantage of the gorgeous golden hour light and captured a few images of their family together, and wondered around downtown Birmingham for their portraits before heading off to a private candlelit dinner.  The evening was a beautiful celebration of love and family, and it was a true honor to be a part of your wedding day, Kyle and Lisa.

2016 Highlights: Part 1

Wow- what a year!  2016 has topped them all, and as we close out the year I am welcoming 2017 with a grateful heart and big goals.  But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a little walk down memory lane together, shall we?

The year started with the new Caryn Ashley Photography brand.  It was a dream come true to see this brand come to life.  One of my closest girlfriends helped me dream and plan for what this new sight and brand would do for my business and I wouldn't have wanted to share that experience with anyone else.  Once the new brand launched it really felt like I could jump into the year ready to better serve my clients with an elevated experience.

And from there I spent every possible moment documenting life with all of you.  I met so many new couples and families in 2016.  Together we explored new parks, you opened up your homes to me during lifestyle sessions, and even shot through rain and snowstorms.  During these shoots it not only felt like the Caryn Ashley Photography family was growing, but that I was gaining close friends.  Friends that I look forward to seeing every few months or once a year to capture life's ever changing seasons. 

2016 will also be remembered as the year my little business grew up right in front of my eyes.  Shoots and more shoots started coming, and my calendar filled up.  You have all been so kind as you display, share and post your photographs.  It feels like I constantly have a team of cheerleaders in my corner with clients like you!  Your sweet texts when you receive your flash drives and thoughtful Facebook reviews are the best motivation I could receive.  

I have to be honest with you on something here, I hadn't completely prepared myself for what this growth would look like.  I have been so beyond grateful that all of my goals and dreams are coming true. There have been multiple little dance party celebrations, popped bottles of champagne and quiet prayers of thanksgiving in this season.  But you know what?  It also took me some time to get my head above water.  With every weekend packed with sessions I worked to stay on track with my promise to return photos to you in 2 weeks. Thankfully in that season Ted stepped in and took over all of the tasks necessary to keep our household running smoothly- making the coffee, cooking dinner, cleaning the bathrooms- he was a lifesaver and I just loved him all the more for serving my business in that way.  You all also showed me grace and flexibility as we packed in as many shoots as we could in October.  Thankfully mother nature was a saint this year and we had a few extra weeks of gorgeous fall weather.

So that brings me to looking ahead, planning and goal setting for 2017.  In 2017 I want to serve my clients better.  I want to run a transparent business that shows my heart, the good and the work in progress.  I want to maintain better communication with my clients and create a seamless experience that makes you feel comfortable and cared for every step of the way. 

I write these things here because I want you to hold me accountable to these goals.  I don't ever want to take one moment of this work for granted.  In the off season, as we dive into the cold of January and February, you can find me working hard to elevate my client experience.  To love and serve my clients in the most beautiful way possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a part of this journey, I cannot wait to see where 2017 takes us.

Jack + Kathleen

When Jack and Kathleen first contacted me to photograph their wedding I was so excited.  We all went to college together and there is something so sweet about capturing the wedding day of fellow Albion College Britons :) I think part of it is that it instantly takes me back to the day I married my college sweetheart and was surrounded by so many college friends.  Or maybe it is the chaos of trying to take a picture of the Albion alumni with the purple flag.  Or maybe it is all of the songs that get played that remind you of those ridiculous fraternity parties . . . but whatever it is, I couldn't have been more excited to share their day. 

The morning started at their apartment where Kathleen was surrounded by her friends and family while she prepared for her wedding day.  I loved that she included more than just her bridal party for this special part of her day.  All of her closest friends were there getting ready, chatting and enjoying the morning together.  It was a cozy, intimate setting and you could feel the anticipation building for the rest of the day.

Their ceremony was at the gorgeous St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor.  From there we visited the Law Quad at the University of Michigan and another local park for their portraits and bridal party pictures.  Jack and Kathleen also included their family and friends on the party bus and during this time for photographs, and I loved that.  Your wedding day is so special and the more people you love that can share it with you the more authentic and memorable it will be.  The day finished at Polo Fields in Ann Arbor for dinner and dancing.  

We were lucky enough to sneak outside for a few more shots while the sun was setting.  I love sneaking off with the bride and groom during their reception.  It gives the couple some quiet time to take in all of the craziness and to just look into each other's eyes and say, 'we are married!'  Jack and Kathleen walked and spoke with each other about their love and their wedding and I just got the chance to quietly capture it.   What a blessing this job is.  Thank you so much, Jack and Kathleen.  I had so much fun sharing your special day and feel so blessed to have been a part of it.