Our Five Ring Circus: A Family Wedding Weekend in Michigan

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Family Wedding Weekend in Michigan


Happy Tuesday, my friends! I'm still recovering from a whirlwind of a weekend. We traveled out of state to Michigan for my niece's wedding. I cried more tears than I care to admit over the past few days. It was an absolutely beautiful, long awaited wedding!

I think it hit me so hard because my niece, Michelle, is the first niece I really remember being born. I became an aunt twice in one month before I even started Kindergarten, so I was too young to understand, but I was a few years older when Michelle was born. I vividly remember my sister going into labor at a New Year's Eve party, and hearing the news that Michelle was born on New Year's Day.

I started babysitting her when she was a baby, even though I was only 8 years older than her. I remember how she always made me laugh when she was little. She was opinionated and sassy (exactly how my Lily is now), and I thought it was so cute how she used to proudly state her first and middle name ("Shell Teese") and mispronounce words like living room (AKA The Rivin Room)! Michelle, her older brother, and I went on so many adventures together when I babysat.

When Michelle was the same age that Lexie is now, I picked her up from school every afternoon, and drove her home. Most of the time, my new boyfriend, who became my husband, rode with us. As she grew, I sat through hours of watching her dance at her recitals, and later, I remember trying to be so brave and strong for her when her big brother was in the ICU following a terrible car accident, even though I was on the verge of falling apart.

I remember the moment she told us the shocking news that she was pregnant, while still in high school. But most of all, I remember squeezing her hand in the back of her parent's SUV, on the way to the hospital when she was in labor, then seeing her gorgeous daughter, Aubrey, enter this world. Aubrey is proof that the most unexpected things can be the most incredible gifts. We love her dearly!

Michelle and Ryan are the couple that I am most proud of. They stayed together through teenage pregnancy, and still managed to graduate from high school, go to college, get their degrees, start their careers, and buy a house, all while raising an incredibly smart, kind, and beautiful daughter. And 13+ years after they became a couple, they finally tied the knot!


Michelle and Ryan only live a few miles away from us, but they decided to get married in Michigan, at Ryan's family's lake house. We've been counting down for months, and the weekend finally arrived. Most of our family packed up, and headed to Michigan for the wedding!

Grant had to work on Friday, since it's the busiest time of the month in the mortgage industry, so we decided to drive there early Saturday morning. Dylan and Lexie went with my sisters on Friday morning, and Lily, Liam, and I had a ridiculously busy day. I finished packing just 5 hours before we had to leave!

On Saturday morning, we piled into our SUV with my mom, and began the 5 hour drive to Michigan! It was a calm, uneventful trip. Lily and Liam were exceptionally well-behaved, and other than hitting some traffic in Michigan, the road trip was a breeze!


We arrived at our destination about an hour before check in, so we decided to grab a late lunch. Then we headed to the hotel, checked in, and ran into about a dozen family members, and Dylan and Lexie, on the way up to our room!

I knew my emotions were going to be out of control all day, because when my nephew, Kelvin (Michelle's older brother), knocked on our door, I began to cry. I hadn't seen him or his family in almost a year and a half, because he lives in Florida. When I opened the door, my great-niece, Peyton, walked right in. I immediately burst into tears, because the last time I saw her she was only 2 months old, and now she's so big, and even has a newborn baby brother!

After some hugs, I pulled myself together, and we rushed to get ready so we could make it downstairs to the wedding shuttle in time! The lake house was only a mile away from the hotel, but they thought it would be much easier to bus all the guests to and from the wedding. So we loaded up our family of six, two bags, my camera, and a stroller! After a few minutes, the bus pulled out and headed to the wedding!

Wedding Shuttle

When we arrived, the rest of the guests were already there, and everything looked so beautiful! They ceremony was going to be held right at the edge of the lake, and the reception tent was in the yard. There was only a few minutes before the wedding started, and I started crying again, as soon as I saw my sister walk out to line up. She was already crying, so what can I say? It was contagious!

I made sure my family was seated, then grabbed my camera to document Michelle and Ryan's big day! The tears fell even harder when Aubrey and Peyton walked up, but I was practically choking back sobs when my brother-in-law started walking Michelle toward Ryan. I could barely see what I was photographing, but I managed to capture the special moments!


The ceremony was very sweet and very quick! I hurried to get my kids settled in before I had to run off to take pictures.



While everyone else headed to the reception tent, I started to take pictures of the wedding party with Ryan's cousin. Between the two of us, we captured plenty of shots for the newlyweds!  I have almost a thousand pictures to go through, but this one of my Michelle and my sister really stood out the most. It just made me think that I will be going through this with Lexie and Lily in the not too distant future.


Once the pictures were taken, we headed to the reception to have some fun (and my camera didn't get put down the entire night)!


My kids spent the entire time playing with their cousins. Most of them are together at every family function, but they were thrilled to have Peyton there, and excited to get to know her! My kids fell in love with her!

Wedding Reception


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My family is unique in the sense that there is such a huge age difference between my kids and their oldest cousins. I was the baby of my family, and I was actually closer in age to my nieces and nephews than my own siblings. So even though Kelvin and Michelle are old enough to be my kids' parents, they're cousins! That being said, they do call my nephew Uncle Kelvin. Although they get to see Michelle and Ryan all the time, they miss Kelvin so much (I do, too)!


Everybody was having so much fun! Liam hit the dance floor as soon as the ceremony ended, and he literally never stopped!



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Everybody was having so much fun and the reception was going by so quickly!


Before we knew it, the sun had set and dusk was falling! And the wind coming off of the lake was CHILLY! We rushed to get in the last few family pictures!

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When dark set in, everybody started dancing. I swear, Liam danced with almost every single person at the wedding! Every time I turned around, somebody else was holding him. He was a party animal!


I finally reached the point where I could relax with the picture-taking, get on the dance floor, and get in a few pictures, too!

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Before we knew it, the shuttle had arrived to take us back to the hotel. It was a great night, with awesome people, and I was sad to see it end! It's always a letdown when a wedding ends, because the excitement is over, everybody heads home, and you don't know when you will all be together again.

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We made some amazing memories that night! My kids had a great time, and Liam literally partied until he dropped. I am so happy we were able to be there for Michelle and Ryan's big day! I guarantee we'll never forget how special it was, or the memory of us all being together!

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Our family had so much fun celebrating Michelle and Ryan's long-awaited wedding this past weekend! They are an amazing couple, and we wish them, and our beloved Aubrey, a lifetime of love and happiness!


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  1. What an amazing, beautiful, special day for your whole family. You took some fantastic photos friend.

  2. I love their story! And I love your relationship with her. My husband is 9 and 11 years younger than his sisters so they had kids when he was young too and our nieces and nephews are older than our kids. We just attended the wedding for one of our nephews too!

  3. What an amazing weekend!! All of your pictures are great!

  4. What a special relationship you have with your niece!! The wedding looked gorgeous!!

  5. I am in LOVE with the brides gown. I may need you to find out who the maker was of the gown... I am planning our 10 year vow renewal!

  6. What a beautiful wedding, looks like such a great time!

  7. What a beautiful wedding and so sentimental. You've really been there for Michelle during her many milestones--I can understand why celebrating her big day was so emotional. I love that Liam was a party animal and danced during the entire reception; he's such a happy kid. What wonderful memories--hopefully you'll be together again with family sooner than you think and for happy reasons!

  8. Hey you were in my state!! What a beautiful wedding! Her dress was absolutely stunning!

  9. Looks like a great time! Love all the pictures.

  10. Wow! What a gorgeous dress! And such fun photos

  11. You captured some great pictures. Congrats to the bride and groom. Love the pic of Liam being swung around on the dance floor.


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