Modern Detroit Wedding on Belle Isle

Modern Detroit Wedding on Belle Isle.

The Belle Isle Conservatory? I'd never been, or even heard of it, but I immediately pictured somewhere lush, leafy, and green -- a glass-paned walls, stone pathways winding around giant, exotic cacti and birds of paradise sort of place. The thing is, I wasn't wrong.

Kari and Kelly told me that they chose this spot because it felt true to their adventurous and outdoor-loving roots. A natural sanctuary amongst the grit of the city, Belle Isle offered a mix of textures: from spiny desert plants to the elegant glass dome of the conservatory, and just down the path an old timber-framed dining hall perched at the edge of a calm, willow-lined riverbank. At sunset, we piled into their little car and drove to the far end of the island (full dislcosure, it wasn't very far) and hiked up into a grassy wildflower field (my favorite) to catch that golden glow as the sun dipped down into Canada across the river.

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Industrial Corktown and Neon Lights

It's always a blast when you get to photograph your friends. Especially when you're meeting said friend's boyfriend for the first time, camera in hand, and you can tell immediately that he is an absolute gem. 

Farrah and I have known each other since the days of classy words-on-the-ass sweatpants and butterfly clips. Twelve years ago, we met at summer camp. among those beloved pineywood hills on Lake Arbutus -- ten years ago we became closer, on a damp and chilly Alaska expedition, triumphant despite soaked gear, subsisting on licorice and dried mangos. Since then, through the dress-up dance parties, countless mosquito bites (okay we counted sometimes), British thrift stores, downpour park concerts, Brooklyn rooftop moons, tearful late-night life talks, and all else, we've carried our cameras and shared some truly unforgettable (and forgettable) experiences. Thanks for exploring the unknown with me, friend. 

Here's to you and Wally, may all your favorite dive bars never close.

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EngagementHallie KohlerComment
Historic Martha's Vineyard Wedding

An Historic Martha's Vineyard Wedding.

A sweet and salty fish-smell that can only mean an ocean filled my nose as I neared closer to the Massachusetts coast, about an hour and a half south of Boston. I'm a child of freshwater -- the ocean takes on a magical otherworldliness every time I visit. This ferry was industrial and oceanic. I drove right on board, and as we set off my car windows were starting to pick up a misty, fine-grit. Letting forth a deep vibrating note every few minutes, the boat (or maybe I should say ship) cleared the fog and I caught my first glimpse of Martha's Vineyard. Boats. Lots of boats. Sailboats, artfully crafted -- some unassuming, some elaborate -- mostly all made of wood. This is a place with history.

(Side note: my Google search for a "brief history of Martha's Vineyard" informed me that no history of this place is brief. I'm sub-par at paraphrasing, so I'll let you do your own research.)

So back to this story. 

This is a story about Matt and Torie, a story of their love and their incredible ability to bring people together. They chose Grange Hall on Martha’s Vineyard, a historic place of gathering, to host this celebration — a gathering to top all of their past porch grill parties and holiday soirées. As vineyard emerged out of a thick fog on the ferry ride over,  that first sight of the glittering harbor and a sunny cottage-speckled island felt like a dramatic reveal suited to the magical festivities that were about to ensue. A lively mood and family-style vibe defined this September wedding weekend. Kicking off with rosé and oysters on the half-shell, Matt and Torie hosted a convivial rehearsal dinner party in a grand old shingle-style house overlooking the misty bay. The following day, accompanied by a funky and soulful jazz band (friends from home in Brooklyn) and the mouth-watering smell of a pig roast in the adjacent gravel parking lot, they exchanged heartfelt vows, shared a tasty meal and joined friends and family on the boisterous dance floor.

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Hallie Kohler Comment