karlee + mike

Filed in weddings shot by on at

This is the time of year where things get really intense for us wedding photographers. We are up to our eyeballs in shooting, editing, blogging, album designing, and all sorts of other craziness. Sometimes it can feel a tad overwhelming, but whenever I spend time putting together a blog post, and getting to re-live an awesome day that we spent with an awesome couple all over again, I stop feeling overwhelmed. Looking through Karlee and Mike’s photos made me smile, and made me feel so thankful that we get to do this job. Yes, I have a never ending to-do list and mountains of editing to climb, but being a wedding photographer makes me truly happy, and that’s what it’s really all about. :)

Karlee and Mike were kind enough to share their Top Five Favorite Wedding Day Memories with us, so I will be sharing those throughout the post! Thanks so much, guys!

I started out the day with the ladies at Karlee’s grandparents’ house, which was super adorable.  Karlee was all smiles and laughter – it was such a fun way to start the day!

I love this so much…one of my favorite captures of the day.
Ben started out the day with the guys, and then got everything set at Beaver Island State Park for Karlee and Mike’s “first look!”  I love that they opted for a first look – it really makes a difference in the wedding day schedule!
Karlee:  “Michael and I decided that we were going to see each other before our wedding ceremony.   I was so nervous all day as I waited for that moment to arrive.  I loved that I got to truly see and hear his reaction; it was nice to have that moment to ourselves.  I think seeing each other really took the edge off and I was happy to take on the rest of the day with him by my side.”
After the “first look,” we got to spend a bunch of time just walking around the park and taking photos, which was awesome!  Obviously, we love taking photos.  ;)
This was a super fun group of people to work with!  Everyone in this group was so friendly and easy going – good times!!  
GORGEOUS bride.  
Our next stop was Our Lady of Czestochowa in North Tonawanda.  It was our first time shooting in this particular church, and WOW…it was stunning.  The pictures just don’t do it justice.
Karlee:  “Our vow and ring exchange was a moment I will remember forever: the look on Michael’s face, the feelings I had, and all of the support of our friends and family next to us.  It was the moment that our entire day was about.”

Mike:  “Saying the vows and the ring exchange.  This was the time where I really felt the love and affection and I thought to myself that it was really happening (in the best possible way).”

Mike:  “Walking down the aisle after being married and standing in front of our loved ones.  It was great to see all of the love and support everyone displayed.  Our wedding party of friends and family was great too.  Everyone was so loving.  It was great to have our closest friends and family be a part of our special day in such an integral way.”
This shrine is one of most gorgeous features of the church, so we incorporated it into a few shots.  I love the way they turned out!
Karlee:  “The limo ride from our wedding ceremony to our reception was one of my favorite parts of the day.  The serious part was over and we were all able to relax and enjoy ourselves.  It was so much fun to have that time with our wedding party.  My brother was a groomsman in our wedding.  He was 25 years old on our wedding day and had NEVER had a sip of alcohol in his life.  On that limo ride he had his first drink with us! Not that drinking is important to me, but I thought it was so cool that he decided to take part in that toast and his first drink was to Mike and I.”
Karlee:  “I was very excited to walk into our reception for the first time.  As we walked in, we saw all of our friends and family before us.  It was an amazing feeling to see that everyone we love and care about was there to share our wedding day with us.”
Karlee:  “All of our dances!  My dance with Michael was so special and I loved that he sang our wedding song to me.  It was touching to watch Michael and his mother dance to a Rod Stewart song that had so much sentimental meaning to them.  My dad and I surprised everyone with the song “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” and it was priceless to hear everyone’s reactions.  It was such a fun dance and I will remember it forever.  I also danced with my cousin Sarah, who was my maid of honor, to the song I Saw the Sign.  That was an awesome moment for us because when we were little it was our favorite song and we made up a dance to it. It was fun to be doing the dance with each other 15 years later.”

Mike:  “Watching Karlee and her dad perform their choreographed dance…neither Karlee nor her dad would share with me what song they were dancing to (it was a secret they kept until her dad’s speech).”
Mike:  “Dancing to Rod Stewart with my mom.  Rod was one of my dad’s favorite singers.  It was a nice moment.

So, this was the first wedding we’ve ever seen that had karaoke, and IT WAS AWESOME!  People really got into it!!

Mike:  “Singing karaoke with Karlee to start the night and then finishing the night with Closing Time.”

Ben made this cool light-up backdrop just for Karlee and Mike.  :)
I know I probably say this a lot, but this really is one of my all time favorite night shots that we’ve taken.  This is absolutely going up on the wall of our client meeting space for all to see.  THANK YOU, Karlee and Mike, for your willingness to sit in a tree for me!!!  I am so ridiculously happy about this shot!
And, to wrap up the post, here are a few words of wedding planning advice from Karlee and Mike!!

“Not to encourage breaking tradition or anything, but we HIGHLY recommend planning to see each other before the wedding ceremony for many reasons. We were questioning our decision right up until our wedding day, but we are so happy we chose to do it that way. First of all, we loved that the moment was so private for us. Not that we wouldn’t want to share a moment like that with our loved ones, but we both get a little shy when standing in front of a crowd. We enjoyed the fact that we could see and hear each other’s true reactions and we were able to hug and kiss. We were also happy we did it this way because after seeing each other we were both far less nervous than we would have been at the ceremony. It really took the edge off for the rest of the day and it felt good to know that we would be together from then on. And lastly, because we did it this way we did not have to worry about what our guests would do for hours between the ceremony and reception. We took care of all of our photos before as well (the two of us and the bridal party), so we had nothing to worry about after the ceremony. We were able to go right there and enjoy our reception with our friends and family.”

We couldn’t agree more, guys!! Thanks so much for sharing this! We’re so thrilled that we got to be a part of your wedding day!! It was an amazing day all the way around. We wish you both all the happiness in the world! Much love, J + B :)


  • Natalie Hofert SAYS...

    your tree shot at the end is awesome !!

  • shannon SAYS...

    Gorgeous photos! Love LOVE the tree shot. Amazing, I don’t understand how they got up there… :)

  • Karlee and Mike SAYS...

    Jenn and Ben – We are so happy with our decision to have you photograph our wedding! It was so important to us to have amazing photographers and we clearly made the right choice – the pictures are absolutely beautiful! You two have been wonderful to work with and we thank you so much for capturing these memories so perfectly. We can’t wait to work with you again in the future ; )