I still look back on Katie and Kirk’s wedding with amazement – and many times, a loss of words. I am simply blessed that I was able to witness Katie and Kirk traverse their wedding day with grace, love, and joy, a few tears, and a sip of wine as the day was completely shifted by a massive thunderstorm that ripped through the Glen Arbor/Traverse City region on August 2, 2015.
Katie and Kirk are from the Grand Rapids area, and their friends and family came into town to celebrate their marriage at the beautiful Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor Michigan. The Homestead resort is an incredible beach resort on the shores of Lake Michigan. The wedding was at the top of a ski hill overlooking Lake Michigan with their reception at the Camp Firefly venue. As the day began, everyone knew there would be rain in the morning as storms were moving through, however, there was going to be a clearing in the afternoon around the time of the wedding. So the call was made to keep the wedding outside as planned. The time for the ceremony was moved up 15 minutes to ensure everyone at the wedding site would have ample time to leave prior to the next round of storms.
As much as we would like to predict mother nature, there are many times we cannot. Just as Katie was to begin the procession to the top of the mountain for her wedding, the storm struck, 45 minutes early. The fog from the storm began creaping up the mountain top from the lake below, the storm front and lightening could be seen over the lake moving in, and then the water spouts, heavy rain, and hail moved in. The sheer winds from the storm knocked down trees and power lines. Tornado’s were in the area. The Homestead Resort lost all power for the wedding, and they were without power for multiple days following the storm. (It wasn’t until after 9:00 pm that evening that the roads were clear enough for anyone to come and go from the Homestead.) Everyone was evacuated from the top of the mountain to the golf caddy shack below. A few people remained at the top of the mountain in a small shack at the top of the ski hill – there were challenged to hold the door closed as the storm rolled through, and luckily, no tree fell on them. While many were very wet, everyone was safe. The realization of the shift in wedding plans settled in. With a few tears, everyone began to dry off, and look forward to a wedding without power, and a celebration by candle light, along with many stories about the amazing day.
Everyone was ushered into the basement of a building to await the all clear from the sheer winds and possible tornados. Once we received the all clear, the incredible staff of the Homestead set up a room for the wedding ceremony. Katie and Kirk were married by Kirk’s father in a beautiful ceremony in the Mountain Lodge. We all moved over to the Camp Firefly for dinner by candles. Kirk’s friend managed to get a small generator in to allow for some lights from the DJ. And the Homestead ran the reception perfectly, bringing in strobe lights for the kitchen staff, flash lights for the restrooms, and a few candles in addition to the candle tables.
I was blessed to watch Katie and Kirk and their family and friends take everything in stride, still enjoying the day and celebration with smiles, laughter and joy. Congratulations Katie and Kirk on your marriage. I am so blessed I was able to be a part of your amazing day and witness what it truly means to “go with the flow”. 🙂 I wish you the best as you begin your lives together as husband and wife. Much love and appreciation, Rayan.
(The beach portraits were taken a month later on Lake Michigan – when it wasn’t raining!)
Katie and Kirk preparing for the wedding as the first round of rain storms moved through the area.
Katie driving to the wedding while it was still sprinkling outside.
The view from the mountain top prior to the storm moving in.
Fog moving up the side of the mountain 5 minutes prior to the storm moving in.
Everyone was huddled in the Caddy Shack as the storm hit. The red light above the golf cart is a Homestead staff member brining people down from off the mountain in the middle of the storm.
A little conversation in the basement as everyone awaited the all clear from the tornados and storm.
Candles were found to provide a little illumination prior to the ceremony. – And then the beautiful bride and groom were married.
Gorgeous cakes from Top Tier were light with candle light at the reception. And the food was kept warm with warmers and light by candles and cell phone lights and strobe lights.
The happy couple finally make it to their reception!
A few portraits were taken on Lake Michigan a month after the wedding – when it wasn’t raining!
——————————————-Glen Arbor, Michigan——————————————–
August 2, 2015
Ceremony: The Homestead Resort
Florals: C & C Ribbon
Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Becky Osterhaven
Caterer: The Homestead Resort
Baker: Top Tier Cakery
Rayan Anastor is a Destination Michigan Wedding photographer serving Glen Arbor, Traverse City, Empire, Leland, Leelanau, Northern Michigan and surrounding areas. Serving venues such as the The Homestead, Camp Firefly, The Mountain, Wineries, and Lake Michigan Beach Weddings.