I've known Kim & Mike before they were "Kim & Mike". I remember my boyfriend (now husband) coming home from the Taco Bell they all met at telling me the two of them were secretly dating. That was over FIVE years ago!
The day before their wedding, I invited myself and my camera to this intimate ceremony. There was no way I was going to miss two of my favorite people getting married and letting them get away with no photographic evidence. I packed up my camera gear, makeup, confetti, sparklers, and Happily Ever After jean jacket and waited anxiously for the next day to arrive.
A few hours before I was supposed to drive to Lansing (around 3 pm on a Friday), Kim texted me that the courthouse had double booked them. We didn't have a location, or an officiant. But, come hell or high water, they were getting married that day. The internet came to the rescue and Kim's bestie, Ashley, got ordained. I think she was more nervous than the happy couple to speak in front of the 6 guests, but she nailed it (with only a few tears.) Kim's white jumpsuit wasn't right, so she was rocking a black dress and crocs. I handed her my jean jacket as something borrowed and blue. Typical Kim. We all did her makeup in Ashley's bathroom while Ashley's boyfriend helped Mike tie his bow tie and they played video games while I fussed about the girls getting ready.
We ended up heading to a park in Grand Ledge, MI where we found a cute little gazebo. I played "We Belong Together" by Randy Newman while Kim's childhood friend walked her up the "aisle". Ashley did a beautiful job with her officiant debut, and we all cried at Mike's vows to Kim.
Do you see the orbs in their group photos? I started tearing up and immediately texted Kim when I pulled these up to edit them. Kim & Mike each lost friends this year who should have been at their wedding. There is no telling me that they weren't both there to celebrate their love with them. Later, Ashley had made centerpieces for Mike's friend we lost, and Kim put on some Lana Del Ray at the reception for hers. It was the perfect tribute for each of them.
If you're thinking, "Did I see a photo at a Taco Bell?" You're not wrong. Kim and Mike had my dream reception by heading to the Taco Bell they met working at, ordering a party pack, and indulging me in some photos at one of the booths. Don't tell, but their first kiss was inside the walk in freezer at this location.
We ended the night at another friend's parent's house with tacos, good music, and hard cider. Oh, and maybe a few sparklers. But don't tell the neighbors.