Another old classmate and journalism friend got married two weeks ago – and I was there in Michigan to be part of it!

As many of you know, I just spent about 10 days out in the Midwest… the first time I’ve been back out that way in nearly two years. I was there to shoot Katie and Ryan’s wedding in Michigan. Katie and I used to work at the paper together in college while attending Central Michigan University. Many times we were the ones that would run out to cover some small spot news assignment like car accidents or things like that. Honestly, it’s funny to look back on the thing that we would go out to photograph and write about for the paper. Small town life during college was pretty different for someone like me.

Since college I returned home to California and Katie, over time, switched from journalism and writing to become a teacher. She now lives outside of her home state of Michigan and laughed with me about old stories from college and how things never really go how you expect them to when you’re working on your degree. My first evening with Katie and Ryan’s families was spent at the wedding rehearsal and dinner. And while there we caught up on other old friends and who still keep in touch with and who has gone where since those long nights in the newsroom working on the next mornings edition.

When I first met Ryan earlier that afternoon one of the first things he said to me was “it’s nice to finally meet you.. I’ve recently become a big fan of your work!” Receiving compliments is always flattering, and I responded with “Oh! Great! You’ve looked at it!” Haha! You guys would be surprised how many people I shoot for that haven’t really taken a look at my photography. Typically I’m booked by one of the two who has either met me, seen my work, or was referred to me by a friend of theirs. And it’s great to get referrals that way, but it’s equally funny when I hear that the other person in the wedding may not have seen any of my work.

The rehearsal started off a bit bumpy… oddly enough the wedding coordinator at the country club didn’t come out to help us, show us around, or give any sort of direction like “here’s where things are and here’s a basic idea of how things will go tomorrow”. Luckily we found one guy that was able to tell us approximately how things would be set up and where everyone would be getting ready.
Then once that part was sorted out I ended up helping everyone organize and figure out timing and details of the entrance/exit.  Typically I only have to stand back and watch at rehearsals, but, if people are a little unsure of which order things should go then that’s where it helps that I’ve done this a bunch of times. Katie and Ryan were great about it too and laughed and thanked me for helping keep everyone moving through the rehearsal. Personally I think the funniest part was after we did a run through and I had to tell everyone to walk through it once more so I could actually take a photo or two instead of just directing!

The next morning started out a little slower since it was an afternoon wedding which meant the girls were going to be getting ready a bit later in the day. I made my way out of the hotel and out to the golf course. Katie and Ryan would both be getting ready at this location so there was only going to be one stop the whole day for all of us.

When I arrived at the venue Katie and her bridesmaids were already bouncing around getting things set up. Katie’s dad Mr. Maurer was also running around making sure things with the reception hall were looking good and organized, too.
And after the last part of the morning rush was done (which I fortunately missed) it was time to have a small lunch and then get ready to get ready. The next two hours or so was spent in the bridal room preparing with hair, makeup, and of course stories about college, work and other things in life. I was able to catch up with Katie a little more as well as get to know her bridesmaids a bit and hear about their lives – like Amy who works with sea turtles in the South.

Their ceremony was beautiful. Even though it was June in Michigan, it was breezy and perfect temperature in the shade under the trees where Ryan and Katie had their ceremony. Afterward we had just a bit of time to run out to the golf course for a few photos with everyone before the reception started.

The rest of the evening was a blast with plenty of dancing, drinks, and fun had by everyone that was there. I’ll save a lot more of the details for the captions as usual. I invite you to read on past the break for about 160 images of Katie and Ryan Gilding’s wedding.


Getting the rehearsal started with a few pointers on setup ideas

Ryan, telling the flower girls and ring bearer to not go too quickly when they walk

Practicing the handoff

Mr. Maurer made some joke about “take her” I think

And then laughed

I think they made jokes the entire time. I laughed and said “Oh it’s going to be one of thoseee weddings..”

Gotta practice that first kiss… it’s the important part

At the rehearsal dinner Katie and Ryan got up to thank everyone for traveling so far for the wedding and for being part of their weekend

And then a few gifts were given out. Mr. Maurer opens a gift from his daughter

Starting off the wedding day with some lunch with Audra before things get busy

Hair and makeup time. It was a little warm in the bridal room… the AC seemed to be on low.

Had to take the dress out to the pro-shop for some window light. It was a little too dark back in the bridal room

Playing with makeup!

All the girls hanging out and laughing as it gets closer to the time they all need to get dressed

Chattin with mom

They boys basically had a locker room to get ready in. How appropriate for the men, haha!

Figuring out how they want to fold the handkerchiefs. You know, this is one of the few things I still haven’t learned at a wedding.

Rob, Katie’s brother, helping Ryan with his rose.

The ceremony is approaching and it’s time to get in the dress!

A quick shot of Katie and her girls! I loved that Katie had three colors used in her wedding and had each girl wear a different one, too!

Helping dad with his boutinier

Anddd had to get a shot with the bride, too!

The little gazebo looked beautiful with all the flowers that had been put up for the ceremony

Ryan and Katie decided on doing a sand ceremony rather than candles.

Troy was on a mission pulling those girls down the aisle… personally I think he was just being a typical boy and not wanting to be in the spotlight… versus Molly and Lily who were a-ok looking pretty for the day.

Ryan’s first look at his bride in her dress!

Mr. Maurer did a great job of holding it together. You could see all the emotion in his face being held back as he walked his little girl down the aisle.

A kiss for Katie..

..and a handshake for Ryan and he told him to take care of her.

Fred starting things off with an opening statement and then prayer.

How awesome did all of Katie’s color choices look?

Both these girls have amazing eyes. I’m bummed I didn’t get a close up photo of just the two of them.

Troy was getting restless and wandering around during the ceremony

The sand ceremony

Handing Ryan the rings

Exchanging of rings

And of vows

Anddd it’s official!

Mr. and Mrs. Gilding!

And a small congratulations kiss from dad as they make their way back down the aisle together

The second kiss as husband and wife after they get past the crowd

Katie and the girls!

Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Gilding

Heading out to the course to do a few photos out on the greens

Katie said she definitely wanted a dip shot as well. And we made sure to squeeze one in as our last shot before the reception was starting

All the guys, waiting for directions on the entrance

There was an entire dessert table set up BEFORE dinner was out… how mean is that?

Toasts started right after everyone entered and took their seats

Mr. Maurer got up to give his speech and laughed as he said that he was able to make it through the rehearsal and walking down the aisle without getting emotional, and that hopefully he could get through his speech

Finger print tree! everyone just leave a print as a “leaf” instead of a traditional guestbook

Time for the cake as dinner has ended and rest of the night is getting started

At first it seemed like Ryan was going to be nice with the cake…

Buttttt at the last minute he smeared it on Katie’s face!

She got him back though, so it was all good

Right after we went into the first dance.

And then they shut off almost all the lights! Threw me off a little bit at first, I’ll be honest

But Katie and Ryan were in their own little world as everyone watched them out on the dance floor

The Daddy-Daughter dance was next

And Mr. Maurer did a pretty good job keeping it together. This is always my favorite part of the wedding either way

Mom was watching from the side, too!

Mother-Son dance was next with Ryan and his Mom

And a short time later the dance floor was opened to everyone!

Katie and her sister Rachel both ran up and hip-bumped their dad and he danced with their mother!

You know how there is always that one couple that is just disgustingly cute and don’t leave the dance floor the entire night except MAYBE once… maybe. Yeah, meet that couple.. Audra and her husband, haha!

Katie dancing with her twin brother Rob

Alison and her fiance Noah

Everyone busting a move to the Cupid Shuffle

Me, Alison and Beth! Haven’t seen them since college and long days in the office together

Quite possibly the best photo that night. I was checking my settings in my camera

Cuz I had to get a shot with the bride and groom!

See! Still dancing!

“Touching me! Touching youuuuu! Sweeeeeet Carolineeeee!”

Rob and Katie doing that fishing thing… is there even a name for that?

Katie had to go grab a coney dog before they were all gone. 11pm drunk food for the guests as things wind down that evening

Last dances of the evening and things are slowing down

Katie and Ryan were some of the last people on the dance floor that night as things wrapped up.

I had a great time out in Michigan seeing everyone again. I was actually able to extend my trip several days and make time to see many other old friends while I was in the area. Big Thank You to Ryan and Katie for bringing me all the way back out to the midwest. Hope you guys enjoyed this brief preview of your wedding! Sorry it took a while for me to catch up on things.

To everyone else, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! Check back soon for a few updates on some other model shoots and stuff I’ve worked on recently, too! I know I’ve only been posting weddings the last month. haha!

One thought on “Back to Michigan for the Gilding Wedding

  1. Love all the photos, John!! So glad I got to meet you. If you’re ever in need of a Georgia friend, consider yourself covered :) … and remember, I can show you some sweet sea turtles.

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