Mishelle and Joe knew from the get-go that they wanted an intimate wedding. As a wedding photographer, Mishelle has experienced plenty of weddings both big and small; she always preferred intimate gatherings.

“I’ve seen some amazing weddings. But small, and intimate ones have always had special place in my heart. And when it came time for me to plan this one, I knew in an instant we would have an intimate wedding,” explains Mishelle.

Another reason for a small guest list was that it was her second wedding. Mishelle lost her first husband to a heart attack when he was only 45. She reunited with Joe, who was her high school sweetheart, after 25 years of not seeing each other.

“He says he was always waiting for me,” says Mishelle.

Thanks so much to Hannah Metler of Lola Grace Photography for allowing us to share these gorgeous photos. Also, a big thanks to Zingerman’s Cornman Farms for sending it our way!

Mishelle, 45 & Joe, 45

Location: Dexter, Michigan

Wedding Date: July 4, 2017

Number of Guests: 20

Wedding Cost: $9,500

Wedding Ceremony Location: Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Wedding Reception Location: Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

Because it was as second marriage for me, and we have young children.  We wanted to keep the day simple, and full of our closest family & friends.

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding? 

Honestly (and I can’t even believe I’m going to say this as a wedding photographer because I’ve seen it all) but, none.  I put my full trust into my venue, florist and other team members.  I feel like we literally “showed up” and had the most incredible day.  But if I had to choose one thing, the hardest part was to keep from “overplanning” our day.  I wanted it to be effortless, yet beautiful.  We are so thankful that we didn’t load it up with too many details that didn’t matter and cause undue stress and chaos.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

Not at all. Our criteria was simple: family first, then people who were in our everyday. We only had a few friends in attendance, the rest were family & extended family. I was even thankful to have my niece and nephew from my late husband’s family there.  It was a  really beautiful way to honor his family; they are also some of our dearest friends.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

This had its moments. I hesitated when asked when our date was, so we decided to elope, and was another reason we kept the date private. My husband, Joe comes from a very large family and I love all of his aunt and uncles and cousins that I’ve met. We wanted to invite everyone! But when it came down to it, we just wanted a simple day. Thankfully, everyone was more than understanding that we wanted a small wedding and were so happy for us.

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

When my children, ages 5 & 10 walked me out of the farmhouse and we saw Joey standing there waiting for us.  What a surreal moment and one that I’ll never forget. We had a live musician playing A Thousand Years and the lyrics seem to have been written for our story. Another highlight was having two of our great friends marry us. Our vows were personal and even more powerful coming from the two of them.

What were the highlights of the reception?

Oh where to start? The food! The live music! Homemade blueberry popsicles and s’mores! All of it.  Chef Kieron Hales did an exceptional job helping us design & preparing a menu that was a nod to 4th of July.  We had grass fed burgers sous vide, a trio of coleslaw, corn on the cob with herbed butter and a smashed potato salad that was out of this world. Joey and I love 4th of July, and wanted to keep it feeling like the laid back and fun holiday that it is and that includes the food we ate. Everything was sourced locally or grown right there on the farm and it was surely one of the highlights of our wedding day. We also brought on vendors who were great friends like our planner/florist and photographer.  They were another highlight to making our day beautiful!

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Being able to focus on the real reason it’s happening … love.

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding? 

As a wedding photographer, this is a tough one because I shoot weddings of all sizes almost every weekend! And I’ve seen some amazing weddings. But small, and intimate ones have always had special place in my heart. And when it came time for me to plan this one, I knew in an instant we would have an intimate wedding. The best advice I have is enjoy planning the little details that make a big difference. Step outside of the box, there are no rules.  You want to run away to a deserted island, go for it! Just bring a photographer with you.  You want to get married in an emerald green dress?  Do it!  And yes, I almost got married in an emerald green dress.  Keep the details simple, yet beautiful and of course personal. Splurge on things that will have a big impact like flowers, food and linens and forget the rest.  But most importantly, trust the people in charge.  Let them do what they do best.


Hair & Makeup: Detroit Glam

Dress: Stone Cold Fox for Free People

Florist & Planner: Jen House Design

Linens: La Tavola

Venue: Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Music: Chris Laskos

Photographer: Hannah Metler of Lola Grace Photography