“That girl makes me wanna be a better man. And should she see fit, gonna treat her like a real man can.” -Paolo Nutini
Their Happy Place
Liz and Mike’s wedding was so awesome! It was an intimate wedding at their small up north family cabin at the end of a sandy two trail near the AuSable River in Mio, Michigan. This is a special place for both of them. It’s where Mike learned to fly fish and chase grouse. And it’s also the place that he told Liz, and her daughter, Rory, that he loved them. This is their “happy place.” This was the perfect location for them to be married at.
It was abnormally hot for early June here in Northern Michigan. The average temperature is typically in the low 70’s. It was near 90 degrees! The first really hot day of the summer. The heat didn’t damper the mood for the day though. Everyone was excited and ready to celebrate Liz and Mike.
Along with Liz’s family, Mike and Liz got ready at a nearby Airbnb, also on the AuSable River. A beautiful place with lots of space for everyone to relax and get ready for the day. To make sure they didn’t see each other before the ceremony, Liz got ready on the lower level, and Mike got dressed on the upper level, while the family played a crossing guard role on the main floor.
The ceremony spot was absolutely amazing! It was amongst all these spectacular tall pines. They stood between two particular pines that looked like bookends. It’s a spot that Mike and Liz walk to for some quiet, alone time together when they come up north. It was perfect! They were surrounded by the ones that mean the most to them. A dear friend, Ami joined together Mike and Liz in a beautiful handfasting ceremony. It was a very personal and touching ceremony that had everyone, including me, teary-eyed. Their beloved dog, Sassy, did not leave their sides during the ceremony either. I think she approved!
Family and friends made their way out of the woods after the ceremony, but Liz and Mike (& Sassy, of course) stayed behind for some alone time. They wanted to savor the moment just a little longer.
Liz and Mike made their way out of the tall pines as Mike’s niece sounded the Viking blow horn. As they re-joined thier guests at the celebration, they were greeted with blowing bubbles, cheers, and of course lots of hugs.
As dinner was being prepared over an open fire and outdoor stove by Mike’s brother (a chef in Detroit), and step-dad, Rory and her cousins and friends were running around, playing tag, exploring, and catching caterpillars. Because nature is such an important part of Liz and Mike’s life, each table had a different National Audobon Society book. Field guides to trees, butterflies, fish, and the night sky to name a few. Everyone was visiting, drinking, and enjoying the beautiful wooded scenery all around the property.
Champagne toasts were given by Liz’s dad, her sisters, and Mike’s step-dad. Liz’s sisters told stories of their childhood and when they first met Mike, and how he embraced Rory with love and open arms as if she was his own. Mike’s step-dad gave a teary-eyed toast speaking to not only Liz and Mike but to everyone present. Family is not just by blood. It’s the people in your life that go out of their way to make you a part of theirs. It’s a bond. And everyone present, celebrating the love of Mike and Liz are considered family.
Liz’s dad gave the most memorable toast of all, integrating a scene from the classic (& one of my favorites) 1984 film, Footloose. He began by telling a very imaginative story of how he went to the “Mayor of Mio” (as Ren went to the town council in the movie) to abolish the “no dancing law” in the small town for Mike and Liz’s celebration. He then continued to quote the famous scene, reading from his notes in the Bible, as Ren.
“From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer… or so their crops would be plentiful… or so their hunt would be good. And they danced to stay physically fit… and to show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate. And that is the dancing we’re talking about. Aren’t we told in Psalm 149 “Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let them praise His name in the dance”? And it was King David – King David, who we read about in Samuel – and what did David do?
What did David do? [as he pretends to be paging frantically through the Bible, in character].
What did David do? David danced before the Lord with all his might… leaping and dancing before the Lord. Leaping and dancing! There is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh… and a time to weep. A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”
And what else was there to do but, dance! Liz and Mike had their first dance together to “Better Man” by Paolo Nutini. Under the warm night sky, they danced and sang every word to one another. It was truly a beautiful moment between them. Everyone joined in on the open dance floor and danced the night away under the night stars.
Unique, personal moments are what makes these photos so meaningful. Best friends & soul mates, celebrating true love in a genuine and unconventional way.