Vangheem Wedding: From the heart.

Mike's hard lemonade bottles, used as vases. 

spray paint, doilies, plastic plates and cups. a blue tooth speaker, and a potluck. 

The Vangheem wedding. 

I make a point to tell all my new Bridal clients that I am invested in getting to know them, and their story, and I really mean that. 

I met Cody and Heather over 2 years ago now, when they booked me for a mini-session. They were baby-faced it seemed. Like kids playing dress up, pretending to be adults. Just barely 20 years-old, they talked big. They were newly engaged, renting a duplex, getting a dog, going to school, and dreaming of their future. They had a plan, and they were going to implement it. 

I'll be damned. 

The plan worked. 

Heather, is now a LPN, and is  completing her RN. Cody, graduates from College this month, majoring in Human resources. They recently purchased Cody's Grandparents house, and are slowly moving 40 years worth of their grandparents belongings out of their home. Add to this their fur baby family- Gigi, a Beagle, and 2 rescue Cats. 

The final task of course, was the Wedding. 

But what do you do, at barely 25, after toiling away at an education, paying off debts, and moving into a home that is essentially still being lived in, and needs tons of work? 

You scrimp. You cut corners. You make concessions. And I tell you what, that is sometimes heartbreaking to do, when you are planning your wedding. 

Heather continually poked fun at herself, and said, "don't judge me, I am using fake flowers, paper plates, and used wine bottles for decor. We can't afford catering, so like white-trash, we are asking guests to bring a dish to pass around, like a pot-luck."  

I'm a wedding Photographer, so I photograph occasions of all shapes, colors, and themes. I bring no judgment to the table, my job is to expertly craft, and tell a story with my Lens. But I will tell you now, that this hit home for me on a personal level. 

Young, and in love, with 2 kids, oodles of debt, a $80 dress, and barely enough gas money- I got married. We were 22, and the ceremony took place in a backyard in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our reception was held in a garage on the property.

Tables and chairs were borrowed from a local church, and were decorated with dollar store table cloths, and used wine bottles. Wildflowers that grew roadside were handpicked, and used for boutonnieres, and my bouquet. I purchased a two-tier Walmart cake, and a tie from GoodWill for the Groom. I asked that guests bring a dish to pass around, as we were too poor to afford to feed ourselves even. 

A dear friend of ours Photographed this $150 wedding for us as a gift. The greater gift being, that his supreme eye for detail, and ability to tell a beautiful story, made this wedding look priceless. 

The greatest lesson in Photography I have ever learned, was from my own humble beginnings. I learned that every detail matters, even cheaply made ones. I learned that every story was worth telling, even when it came from a place of struggle. 

These meager beginnings in life should be celebrated, not criticized. The whole Wedding, and reception itself in our culture, is meant to celebrate, and support the union of two people. When we choose to envelope those who are starting a journey together, the event itself becomes a monument to our humble beginnings, and serves as support for the road ahead. 

Heather and Cody, along with the support of so many, took items that normally go out with the trash, and made it beautiful. They put their hearts into every detail. And their guests demonstrated a overwhelming outpouring of support, and brought the most food, that I have EVER seen, at any singular event. 

Truly, handcrafted with dedication hard work, and faith: I present, The Vangheem wedding-