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vendor q+a::melissa gregersen photography

Yesterday we shared a look at the beautiful photography of Melissa Gregersen, and today we’d like to share a little about the photographer!

Q: How did you get into photography?
A: When I got my wedding photos and didn’t like them. That was 7 years ago on June 15th. I was so sad, they were “technically” ok, but no emotion, no feelings, no FUN! I was so bummed. I remember thinking…I can’t believe this guy calls this wedding photography. I chose him purely for the price and boy did I get what I paid for.   I NEVER want one of my brides to feel that way when I photograph their weddings…never ever!

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: For my weddings, I strive for candid, yet when I have “my” time with the couple, I look for gorgeous light, elegance, and mix in lots of  fun. =

Q: What is your favorite moment of a wedding or your favorite moment to capture?
A: I LOVE photographing the bride and groom if they choose to see each other before the wedding. Those expressions can sometimes bring tears to my full of emotions! Love that!!

Q: Any personal tips or tricks for brides?
A: Pick your wedding photographer for their photos, style, and quality…but also pick them for their personality. You will be with your photographer from start to finish of your wedding day, so make sure you like them. =)

Q: What is your favorite wedding “trend” of the moment?
A: I love the colors that I see at weddings now. I love how brides are breaking out of the “normal” traditions and truly making their weddings unique to themselves.

Q: What do you do when you’re not shooting weddings?
A: I have worked 10 years doing physical therapy, it’s a very rewarding job to know you are truly helping people recover and heal. I am married to a wonderful man, Jaymem and we have an adorable 3 year old daughter, Norah. I work very hard to perfect my photography skills. I am never satisfied with where I am at…I am always learning! I just love my job as a photographer. It is ME!

Q: Where can brides find your (beautiful) new studio?
A: Downtown Kalamazoo at the Rose Street Market building. 303 Rose Street!

vendor meet-up::melissa gregersen photography

A few weeks ago I came across Melissa Gregersen on Facebook. I was completely enthralled with her new studio space which she decked out in all of my favorite colors,  so I checked out her website and loved that, too! A few weeks later I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa at the Kalamazoo MWEP meeting, and today I get to introduce her to all of you lovely readers! Check out some of her beautiful work below, and stay tuned tomorrow morning for a Q+A with Melissa!


signature drinks for your michigan wedding::part 2

To follow up to yesterday’s post, I wanted to share some cocktail recipes you could use for your wedding! These are just a few I like, but feel free to use any drink you love!

drinks2(Left to Right::Grapefruit Gimlet, Key Lime Margarita and Royal Blush)

Grapefruit Gimlet::A refreshing drink for a beach-inspired wedding

  • 1/4 cup Charbay Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Simple Syrup (see below)
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 lime slices

Place first 4 ingredients in cocktail shaker; fill with ice. Cover and shake quickly and vigorously for 8 seconds. Strain into 2 Martini glasses. Garnish with lime slices.

Key Lime Margaritas::For the fun & spunky couple

  • 1 Key lime (optional), quartered
  • Kosher salt (optional) for rims of glasses
  • 3/4 cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cup reposado tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons superfine granulated sugar (optional)

Run a lime wedge (if using) around rim of each of 4 (6-to 8-ounces) glasses. Put salt (if using) on a small plate and dip glasses in salt to lightly coat rims.

Blend liqueur, tequila, juice, and sugar (if using) in a blender until combined. Serve over ice (in coated glasses).

Royal Blush::For a chic & swanky lake shore wedding

  • 1 teaspoon cherry purée (note: recipe below makes 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) vodka
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne, chilled

To Make Cherry Purée:
In a bowl, purée frozen cherries or all-fruit spread with water. In general: 1 cup of frozen cherries (6 ounces) puréed with 2 tablespoons of water makes approximately 3/4 cup purée. To make purée using all-fruit spread, combine 3/4 cup spread with 3/4 cup water. Any extra can be used to make smoothies or sauce for ice cream.

To Make Cocktail:
Transfer purée to chilled martini glass. In chilled cocktail shaker, combine vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Tear mint leaves in half and add to shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Slowly strain into martini glass without disturbing purée, then top with sparkling wine and serve.

**All drink recipes from Check them out for tons of great drink ideas!

vendor meet-up::carrie miles photography

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting a fun group of wedding professionals when I attended an MWEP meeting in Kalamazoo.  I’m happy to showcase one of those lovely ladies today! Carrie Miles and her husband Dave are a husband and wife photography team, and Carrie was nice enough to share a recent Lake Michigan wedding with us, and answer some questions!


How did you get into wedding photography?
I’ve loved weddings  ever since I was a little girl – every summer my family went on a camping trip and my mom would take out a stack of wedding magazines from the library.  I would pour over those images and dream of my happily ever after!  I took a photography class in college and started taking pictures at my close friend’s weddings.  Several times the brides liked my images more than the ones they had paidd a professional to do.  The rest is history!

What do you like most about being a husband & wife photography team?
Two sets of eyes are so much better than one!  We can be in two different places at once, and are able to give equal star coverage to the bride and the groom.  I hang out with the bride & her maids while Dave chills with the groom & his men before the ceremony.  We are able to get more creative – different vantage points throughout the event enable us to truly tell the story of each couple’s wedding day.   I also really love being able to share the whole experience with Dave and spend time with him while we are working!  We are newlyweds ourselves and can really understand & relate to everything that goes into a wedding.

Do you have any tips for brides searching for their perfect photographer?
It’s vital to find a photographer who’s personality is a good match to you & your future mate’s.  They should be flexible and a calming presence as well as a lot of fun!  They are there to serve you and your guests, make you feel comfortable and capture your true personality through beautiful images.

What’s your favorite wedding cake flavor?
We are both huge cake fans!  Secretly, I tend to judge each wedding on how great the cake tastes!  I love vanilla w/ butter cream frosting.   Dave’s favorite is chocolate cake wtih white icing.  We had marble w/ butter cream frosting at our wedding – the cake topper is in our freezer, its 3/4 of the way eaten and we haven’t reached our 1st anniversary yet!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not hanging out at weddings?
I love home decorating, reading, writing letters, gardening, camping, craft projects, knitting, making gifts, and taking naps in our hammock.   Dave loves to draw, read, geocache, bike, camp, play video games and do projects around the house.

Thanks for sharing Carrie, it was lovely meeting you last week! To check out more photos from Carrie Miles Photography check out their website and blog!

what we did last night::kalamazoo mwep event

MWEP is a state group called Michigan Wedding & Event Professionals. Last night they had the first Kalamazoo event and I’m so glad I decided to go. Like most wedding networking events, the group was comprised of a TON of photographers and a handful of event planners, which I don’t mind at all, because photographers are great to get to know and always so nice (plus as a planner we have a lot of interaction with them at the wedding so it’s nice to know the  photographers!) and the other planners that attended were all wonderful and fun to chat with.

So I thought I’d share a few of the great people I met last night:


Cindy Corstange (The Open Shuter)::I actually have a client who booked Cindy for an incredible wedding on the lake in June, and it was so nice to fill her in on all of the planning & the fabulous details—she has such a bubbly and energetic personality, I’m excited to work with her!


Carrie Miles (Carrie Miles Photography)::Carrie and I quickly got to chatting over our lemonade and shirley temples! She’s very relaxed and easy to talk to and would be wonderful to have on hand at your wedding day, or for an engagement shoot!  Check out some of her beautiful photos.


Melissa Gergersen (Melissa Gregersen Photography)::Melissa and I internet-met a few weeks ago when I came across some pictures of her adorable new studio space! It’s got all of my favorite things—pink-ness, IKEA goods galore, and beautiful photos. Check out more of her work by visiting her website!

These are just a few and it was so nice meeting everyone and getting to catch up with a few people I knew there! So many wonderful people working in the wedding industry, and so nice to get to chat with everyone!

relax and save some cash

On your wedding day, you want to look and feel beautiful, but you also want to be relaxed! Bringing in professionals to help you with your make up is a great way to feel pampered and stress-free. However, if you’re on a budget I know this can just seem like one more thing to pay for.

Solution: Turn to an experienced Mary Kay representative to assist you with your wedding day makeup. Your local Mary Kay gal can give you a full facial to freshen you up and apply all of your color cosmetics to give you that perfect wedding day look. And the cost? Zero. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big makeup person. So I’m always skeptical about how heavy and cake-like my face is going to feel after having a makeup application. For our team photo shoot, local Mary Kay gal Katie Oney provided facials and makeup application for our entire team and I can’t tell you how happy we all were with the results. The mineral foundation was so light and soft that even I was a huge fan! Plus Katie’s been doing this for 6+ years so she’s a pro (and a lot of fun).

If you’re in Southwest Michigan, contact Katie Oney at 269.921.1128, or visit her website here. You can even upload a picture of yourself and do a virtual makeover to find your perfect wedding day look before your wedding! I won’t lie, I tried out the virtual makeover and was hooked for over an hour trying out makeup looks!

teamwindThis picture cracks me up. It was SO windy during our photo shoot a few weeks ago, especially at this location (the train station) which was right down by the lake. We all laughed a lot as our hair swirled around us and it was hard not to have a good time. Here’s us with our favorite Mary Kay gal (Back: Jessica, Mary, Katie, Front, Megan, Brittany) Thanks again Katie, for making us look beautiful for our picture day!

tidbit friday::wedding morning

The morning of your wedding is probably the only day of your life you’ll be photographed doing your daily routine of breakfast, makeup and dressing, so make it count! Get something special to wear on the morning of your wedding. You can get something custom made with your name like a hoodie that says, “The future Mrs…” or “Mrs. XYZ est. 2009,” or something stock from a store that says “Bride.” Either way, you’ll feel special (like you should) on the morning of your wedding, and you’ll have something cute for pictures!

weddingmorningshirt(photo by JK Photography)

looking forward to::megan+greg’s wedding

Our first wedding of the season is only a few days away! On Monday we posted some beautiful pics by Two Pair Photography, who we’ll be working with this Saturday on Megan & Greg’s wedding at Mill Creek. This morning, I received some of Megan & Greg’s engagement pics taken a few weeks ago and I just had to share! They are such a super fun and sassy couple, and I can’t wait for their wedding on Saturday! Check out the rest of Megan+Greg’s pics here


behind the scenes::2009 team photo shoot

This weekend we got the chance to get our whole summer team together before wedding season starts for some team bonding, orientation and fun.  I thought a fun way for Mary and I to get to know the new interns better and have some fun would be to do a little photo shoot for some sassy new head shots.  So we enlisted the help of local Mary Kay gal Katie, who pampered and primped us before sending us off (looking glam) for our photos with Southwest Michigan photographer Ben Pancoast. Here are just a few…we had so much fun and I’m so glad we decided to do this with the whole Stella Team!

southwest michigan wedding planner

After a week of beautiful weather, it was windy and cold on Saturday, but we thought warm thoughts, and laughed a lot to keep warm. It’s hard to believe all 4 of the great locations we shot at were within 5 minutes of downtown St. Joseph. It just shows you don’t have to go far to get great shots and fun locations when you take your wedding pictures. Think outside of the box! This beautiful meadow shot was actually along the side a new real estate development, but you’d never know! After finishing up at Tiscornia Beach with our lighthouse shots, we decided that we’d brave the 50 degree weather and trek down by the water for some final shots at the waters edge (this one was for fun!). We didn’t have a single team member fall in the lake, so I’d call that a successful day! A huge thanks to Ben Pancoast for trekking around with us and taking some fabulous photos!