Monday, October 5, 2009

Face to face with Jen Warner from Ele3 Event Design & Planning

One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to meet some awesome people
whose lives, like mine, revolve around the wedding industry. With all these connections at my fingertips I can't help but want to take the opportunity to give all you soon to be brides the
inside scoop on one of my favorite wedding planning resources to date, ele3 Event Design & Planning! After dinner & drinks at Rockwell's with Jen Warner one of the 3 owners & designers of ele3 I took the opportunity to ask her all the sorts of questions about ele3 & the services
they offer. I know, exciting right? What is even more exciting is that I am going to share all this information with you and answer those questions most brides are dying to have answered! Here I will share with you our interview word for word from Jen Warner herself making it quite obvious why ele3 is number one on my list of favorites and should be number one on

Q:How long has ele3 been in business?
A: Together as a company 1.5 years

Q:What 5 adjectives would you use to describe ele3?
A: Fun, unique, passionate, creative & organized.

Q: How did You, Kate & Sherri come together to create ele3?
A: Kate & I are like sisters and Sherri is my mom so when we both realized we wanted to start a business as wedding planners we decided that instead of being competition we would be partners and let all 3 of our creative juices come together as one. We are all in different aspects of the business with makes us all compliment each other well as a team.

Q:How did you come up with the name “ele3”?
A: we wanted a name that reflected each person equally and at the same time would be unique so we took the first letter of each our our middle names; 2 Elizabeths and Lynn the add the 3 signifying the three owners. We also wanted to show that we have gone green so we added a leaf above the second "e" elongating it to remind those of our eco friendliness.

Q:What are ele3’s goals as a business?
A: We hope to Eventually have our own event design boutique so that
we can have a place to accommodate brides and have all amenities to do so.

Q: What would you say is ele3’s key to success?
A: We are definitely client oriented and detail oriented.

Q: Describe to me what ele3 can do for today’s bride?
A: we can Customize any package to the clients unique needs & wants, there are no set prices or packages. We offer great many options for rentals such as chair covers & centerpieces. Not only do we work weddings but we also work corporate events as well.

Q:What is your favorite part of working with ele3?
A: Working with Kate & mom everyday and seeing our clients the day of being thrilled with all the details! Seeing them happy makes me happy!!

Q:How many weddings & Events would you estimate ele3 does a year?
A: Our first Full season we worked 18 different events offering various different services.

Q: On the day of the wedding do you oversee the entire event, supervise vendors, troubleshoot emergencies, set up d├ęcor, and soothe nerves?
A: Pretty much all of the above!

Q: Do you provide counsel for brides & grooms on etiquette?
A: Absolutely!

Q: Do you charge for the initial meeting?
A: No!

Q: Are you present at all the vendor meetings and tastings?
A: Yes, If the client would like us to be.

Q: Do you attend the Rehearsal?
A: Yes, Our work usually starts the day before the event and we are with you from start to

Q:What professional organizations does ele3 belong to if any?
A: MWEP Michigan Wedding & Event Professionals.

Q: What is the largest wedding you have managed?
A: 350+ people.

Q: Describe a typical day for ele3?
A: When we say we are "with you from start to finish" we mean it! Depending on what services they have required we do anything from picking up flowers, day of coordinating, having the bride drop everything off to us the day before to bring the day of, to creating a timeline as best we can for the very busy big day.

Q: What is in the future for ele3?
A: Work space in downtown Grand Rapids and the blessing of more business!

Visit ele3 online today for portfolio, extent of services, to learn more about the ele3, Jen, Kate & Sherri & to contact them for you wedding!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NEW images uploaded weekly @
Under view & order!

What's new now:
Aaron Storey
Goossen family
Becky & Jim Charon wedding

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Wish for Isaiah

When Erica from Make-a-Wish foundation called me on Thursday I had no idea that the job she had for me would impact my life so greatly. As a photographer I have been a part of many peoples precious moments and greatest memories documenting each one to the best of my abilities. This time I would be capturing moments that most parents fear and pray they never have to live through. Like most people I have met in my career Amanda, David and Isaiah are truly wonderful people but what sets them apart from the rest is their remarkably touching story. A story of courage and the power of love so amazing that I must share it with you.

Isaiah is 3 years old. He was born a perfectly healthy baby boy in Liberia. It wasn't until he was around 3 months of age that his mother noticed something was not right. Isaiah had an abnormally large head for a baby his age and this could only mean one thing, neurological problems. She began traveling form mission to mission looking for the help her son needed with no success. When she went to the liberian government asking for them to send him out of the country and to the United States for the medical attention he so desperately needed she was turned down. There reasons were simple, she was still alive and Isaiah was not an orphan. On she traveled from port to port in search of anyone who might have room to take them with. For 2 years she went on searching for the help her son needed facing many struggles along the way. The illness Isaiah had left him unable to walk making it impossible for her to go anywhere without her carrying him. The people of Liberia believed that the disorder that left Isaiah with an enlarged head was as a sign of the devil and threatened to stone anyone effected by it. So everywhere she went she made sure to hide his head from the public eye until she was no longer able to. Her own heartbreak aside she gave Isaiah up for adoption.

Isaiah was taken in by a foster family in Missouri where he received the medical attention he so desperately needed. He was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus which is a build up of fluid inside the skull, leading to brain swelling. Hydrocephalus means "water on the brain." Isaiah underwent surgery to have a shunt put in and shortly after that in August he was adopted by a

Family in Grand Rapids Michigan. Amanda & David along with there 2 cats, 2 dogs, sons Chris & Cole (also a make-a-wish child) and a foreign exchange student became Isaiah's new family and a wonderful one at that! When Monday rolled around things seemed to be going down hill with Isaiah's health and he became unable to breathe. He was rushed to Urgent care where he was put on life support. Cat scans revealed that the Shunt had caused so much pressure in his skull that it collapsed his brain taring all the blood vessels in his skull making him bleed internally andeventually fell into a coma. They were able to save his brain stem but by Tuesday they ran out of options and decided to take him off life support. Since he was an organ donor they had to wait for Isaiah to die a cardiac death before they could proceed, but after waiting 45 minutes for this to happen Isaiah's strong and healthy 3 year old heart kept beating. The decision was made by the family to take him home. Hospice was called and by tuesday night he was at home in his own bed with his dogs, cats, brothers, parents and
grandma at his side.

Being the fighter that he is Isaiah was still going strong by Thursday when Make-a-wish decided to grant the family their last wish for him and I was called. " I want pictures of his precious little feet that have never been walked on and his little hands so that I can always remember how soft they are," His mother told me as we both held Isaiah's soft little hands. With camera in hand and tears in my eyes I took with honor the opportunity to

document what might be this families last days with there darling Isaiah. Amanda (mom) told his story to me an decided that "God just needs a really cool kid I guess to help him out in heaven. He and God have things worked out and when his time comes it will be right and we will all be at peace with it." With every word she spoke Isaiah's eyes fluttered as if he could hear her voice and wanted to open his eyes and look at her. For Amanda I prayed he would, one last time, just for her. As of this morning Isaiah was still with us, his family will stay in my prayers and hopefully yours and when it is that little angels time to go it comforts me to knowthat the memory of Isaiah will live on through my photographs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Katie & Ryan Rainwater Wedding

Katie & Ryan tied the knot on a hazy afternoon on June 13th, 2009 at Thornapple Covenant Church with the reception at the Wave Room. The Couple shared this special day with there 2 young daughters at there side 3 month old Myha, and 3 year old Kylie. The bridesmaids wore a classic little black strapless dress complimented with pink gerber daisies. For desert your choice of cake or cupcakes which the kids loved! With white chair covers and black sashes and goldfish centerpieces the wave room was transformed into a dream come true for Katie & Ryan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"One Lovely Blog" Award

Shutterbug Photography has been granted the "one lovely blog award" by ele3 Event Design & Planning. Thank you very much Kate, Jennifer & Sherrie! ele3 is a premiere Michigan event design & coordination company. Put together by 3 lovely, talented women whose passion for planning and commitment to quality of detail makes ele3 the perfect choice for making your next event everything you've dreamed of!

I accept this award, and I am very excited to share it with the blogging community!

Here are the blogs that I enjoy following:
1. Livy of A Field Journal
2. Jodi Bos of In Any Event

Fellow bloggers pass on the love by:

1. Accepting the award.
2. Posting it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and the blog link.
3. Passing the award to other blogs that you enjoy following.
4. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ashley & Scott Miller

Ashley Hart & Scott Miller wed on May 30th 2009 at Bay Pointe Inn on the shores of Gun Lake. The Bridesmaids wore black dresses adorned with bright green sashes and carried bouquets of of abundant pink peonies. Between the Ceremony and Reception guests enjoyed live music, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on the lawn while the wedding party went for a ride around the lake in a pontoon boat. Two special guests included the bride & grooms dogs Maggie & Maya who were more then excited to take part in the wedding photos! The details of this day included pink flower balls, small stones holding down the table numbers, and a table with framed photos of all parents & grand parents of the bride & groom on their wedding day!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mike & Rachelle Burns

Mike Krol & Rachelle Burns wed on Saturday May 16, 2009 on a sunny, windy day at St. Jude in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Bridesmaids wore plum strapless dresses with bouquets of matching purple tulips. Between the Ceremony & Reception we visited several downtown locations for some fun wedding party shots such as 8th street bridge, and the big red button at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The wedding party traveled via Trolley and arrived in style to their final destination, the reception, held at Noto's. Guests were greeted at the doors with a glass of wine and the tables were dressed with short and tall vases of purple tulips. Favors were bags of white and purple popcorn significant to the couple since the met while working at the Burns family owned business The Popcorn Factory.

Monday, April 27, 2009


After 2 weekends photographing Grand Rapids Rugby team tough it out through rain, wind and cold I have surprisingly fallen in love with this fabulous rough, tough sport. Here are some highlights from the past 2 weekends I spent out at Douglas Walker Park photographing the Grand Rapids Game vs . Calvin and the 2 day Tournament last Saturday & Sunday over 750 rugby players showed up in the rain and over 2000 images were captured. For more information on Grand Rapids Rugby team and other teams in the West Michigan Area go to and

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Charity Event: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Make-A-Wish Foundation was making a splash at the Enchantment event Thursday night at Devos. With fascinating decor the room was a glow with an under the sea theme that wowed guests. From coral entry ways, wrecked ships, and oversized clams named "Chowder" to real mermaids, treasure boxes and best of all wishes come true. One wish in particular was the highlight of the night. Rochelle Hernandez of Belmont is 5 years old and is battling with Lukemia at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Rochelle loves dancing, playing outside, and reading but most of all Rochelle loves puppies! So when she was presented with the opportunity to have her wish granted it was no surprise to us that she wanted a puppy, but not just any puppy, she wanted an English Bulldog Puppy to be specific. Rochelle's wish was granted with great anticipation from all who were present as she was surprised with her puppy. Out she waddled dressed in a mermaid outfit, a pudgy, wrinkly, 11 week old english bulldog later named "Tinkerbell." 
Tinkerbell had also struggled in her young life after being rescued from a abusive and neglecting owner, she was one 
of 4 siblings and was the only one to survive. The two were a match made in
heaven and it was love at first sight for Rochelle & Tinkerbell. It warms my heart to know that even know little Rochelle has quiet the battle ahead of her
she will always have Tinkerbell by her side to
 keep her smiling!

To be apart of Make-A-Wish foundations, to help in Granting a wish or to make a donation please visit at

To see this event in pictures visit and go to corporate/event section of my portfolio :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Dress

I found this photograph on a posting for a used dress that was for sale on Once and it Fell in love with the image. It made me realize how important it is to make sure that a great and artistic image of the dress is. This is the dress that you dreamed of all your life and imagined his face when he saw you walk down the aisle in it. Photographing the dress is as important as photographing the bride in it.

Wedding Photography 101

Formal Portraits: When & Where

Once you have worked out what pictures are to be taken, the next key questions is when to shoot the photographs, including those of the two of you as bride and groom. There are basically two choices: before the ceremony or after. Almost universally, photographers encourage their clients to have the pictures taken beforehand, which allows the photography to take place at a more relaxed pace in a significantly more subdued atmosphere. ALso, if you are planning an afternoon ceremony, taking pictures early ensures that you will be illuminated b natural daylight, which is preferable to even the best artificial lighting. If you are adhering to the tradition of keeping the future spouses separated, or do not want to see each other before the ceremony, taking any pictures that include the two of you individually with family members and the bridal party before the ceremony can still save time.

The timing of your photography also plays a part in selecting a location: You want a background that will not vary too much when shot at two different times of day. Your photographer can help you figure this out when you tour the location with him or her a few weeks before the event. Time your visits as close as possible to the hour when the photos will be taken to get the best idea of how light & shadows will fall. It also gives you a chance to consider whether your chosen spot is easy enough for guests to walk to  or close enough to a convenient rest room.

Wedding Photography 101

Practice Posing

Because many of your portraits will be full-length, you should rehearse how you'll stand in front of the camera. It's a given that you keep your back straight and your shoulders back. But here's a trick that your mom may not have known ( thought hollywood paparazzi do): Try angling your body 45 degrees away from the camera with your head turned to face it. It gives you a more slender look, if you stand with your body square to the camera and look directly into the lens, it won't be as flattering. To enhance the effect, put on let in front of the other, place your weight on your back foot, and point your front foot forward. There is another way to cheat the lens, especially if you're wearing a sleeveless dress. Don't hold your arms against your side - the flesh tends to spread and will make them look heavier. Hold them slightly away from your body. Of course, the shots of yourself that you love best of all might be the un-posed ones, in which case all you really need to do is smile - and no bride needs to practice doing that.

Wedding Photography 101

Expressing what you want!

To help determine what you want aesthetically, look at the complete album, not just the highlights. Do you prefer candids or staged shots? Does soft-focus photography leave you cold? Be sure that you make your preferences clear, in writing, for this most special of occasions. The photographer will be close by your side throughout the wedding, so comfort and rapport are also of utmost importance. Once you've  selected someone with whom you are comfortable with, provide him of her with a list of just 3 people, in addition to you and your betrothed, to focus on. Flexibility, not a rote checklist, allows a good photographer to capture the spirit of a wedding.

Editing your wedding book should be the easy part - just pick the most beautiful pictures. Focus on creating an album that's entertaining on its own merits, not a rigorous documentation of the proceedings. Many couples are leaning toward smaller albums that are easy to browse through, which are more likely to be kept close at hand. Placing one or two images on each page reduces clutter; resist the urge to overstuff, as doing so diminishes the effect of the best images.

Wedding Photography 101

Picture Perfect

Before you walk down the aisle, you'll no doubt sit for the photographer. Here's how to ensure you bridal portraits are as stunning as our dreams. There's no arguing that when your wedding portraits are taken - typically in those anticipation-filled hours before the ceremony -- you feel a sense of inevitability, as if the mom
ent you've been waiting has finally arrived. These first images do more then document the event; long after your flowers have wilted, they'll remind you of the joy you felt and the beauty you radiated on the day you joined your husband in marriage. And if you're lucky, the portraits taken of you as a bride will be miniature works of art as well as personal mementos, ones that will be saved and treasured for generations to come.

Tip #6 : Bridesmaid Fashion Cards

How not to be a bridezilla? Pick something your bridesmaids really can wear again, then list the details on a handy card. Download this template, type contact info, and print onto card stock. Write in other details, and add fabric swatches and images. Use a rotary cutter with a perforating blade to create a tear-off card that can be tucked into a wallet for easy reference.

Tip # 5: Floaty Butterfly Seat

Paper butterflies alight on rims of champagne glasses, staying just long enough for guests to find their seats.

Tools & Materials:
Spray adhesive
Decorative paper
Card stock

Floaty Butterflies How-to:
{1} Spray-mount paper onto card stock or paper that's colored
 on both sides; fold in half. Place butterfly template on paper with flat edge of butterfly's body flush against fold; trace.

{2} Cut out butterfly along inside of the traced line and cut out V-shaped notch along the folded edge. Open slightly. Slip notch over rim of glass to hold in place.

Tip #4: DIY Wedding Programs

Branch out beyond typical wedding programs by adding a tough of Druid fun and whimsy to them. "What Tree Did You Fall From?," a Celtic version of astrology, is the perfect distraction for those awaiting the Wedding March. Find your birthday and its corresponding tree; see if personality traits listed match yours. If you're an apple tree (December 23 to 31), are you flirtatious, adventurous, always in love? If you're a fir (july 5-14), are you sophisticated, moody, industrious? Let guests read up - and let the conversations bloom. Keep your guests occupied while they wait as well as presenting them with a unique one of a kind program that keeps you on your budget. Templates are downloadable so all you have to do is print them out and put them together!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tip #3: DIY Bouquet Favor Box

I found this DIY tutorial at a blog called A Field Journal which has become a favorite place for me to find inspiration and more fabulous ideas such as these favor boxes! 

Here's what you will need:

{1} Card stock bow cut-out. Download the template here and follow the instructions on the template sheet.
{2} Assortment of paper flowers with wired stems in

 complementary colors, a ranges of sizes works best, 
though all should be towards the small end of the spectrum. 
{4} Skeleton leaves, available at craft stores, in the scrapbooking/paper crafting section
{5} Pin
{6} Strip of plain white paper, several inches wide
{7} Bone folder
{8} Scissors
{9} Length of 3/8" wired ribbon
{10} Glue Stick
{11} Decorative edge punch


{1} Using a bone folder and a ruler score and fold box cut-out (use the printed template as a reference)
{2} Glue tabs to sides starting with the bottom of the box.
{3} If necessary use the bone fold to apply pressure to tabs as the glue adheres and dries.
{4} Gather a small bunch of paper flowers, forming them into a dome-like 
Secure with a small piece of wire (you can trim a piece from one of the stems).
{5} Trim stems to desired length - remember they'll be inserted into the box, so they should be relatively short depending on what you want to put inside the box. Using wired ribbon, wrap stems to completely conceal them.
{6} Fasten ribbon with pin.
{7} Punch along the edges of the strip of plain white paper, and write desired message or name of recipient down the center.
{8} fold top flaps of box as shown.
{9} Insert bouquet into opening in box, and affix the white paper banner using a glue stick.

Tip #2: Handmade Embellished Wedding Invites

I found these beautiful wedding invitations while browsing the web and thought they were so fabulous. They are made in the UK unfortunately but they would be so easy to make and the jewels & ribbon are the perfect way to dress up a handmade invite making in look professionally made but for a third of the price. Any local arts & crafts shop like hobby lobby would provide you with everything you would need to recreate this vintage elegant invite and if you really wanted them to stand out you could buy vintage pins and earrings so that each invite was a little different and special in its own way! And if your not the creative type and  would rather just purchase these you can find them at Imagine Wedding Invitations .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

B.O.B. Tip #1: DIY Paper Flowers

DIY Paper Flowers

For all of you B.O.B.'s
(Brides on a budget) who want to have table settings that will look as fabulous as you with out paying the top dollar or hiring help check out these DIY Tissue Paper flowers perfect for adding color and style to any table, and they are so easy!

Joyous bursts of color dance above a table, imparting a cheerful radiance to a rehearsal dinner or casual reception. The dahlialike pom-poms appear to float in the air; in reality they are hung from the ceiling with monofilament. Echoing the vibrant hanging puffs, pom-pom napkin
rings adorn each place setting!

To find the step-by-step How to guide to making Pom-poms & Napkin Rings, or to find more easy and inexpensive ideas go to

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bridal Show 2009

The affordable way to get what you want.

Saturday, March 28, 9am-2pm
The Casino Club
3260 Salerno Drive, Grand Rapids 49525

Admission is FREE!
Stop by Shutterbug Photography's booth and enter to win a
$150 Shutterbug Gift Certificate
to use towards you wedding photography!

Participating Vendors:
~Shutterbug Photography
~I do! Designs
~Raap Signs
~Adeline Leigh Catering
~A-1 Bingo Supplies
~DJs by Shaun
~The Ritz Salon
~Chateau Chantel
~Wine Shop @ Home
~Premier Jewelry Designs
~Studio K2 Photography
~Music Montage
~Bridal Elegance
~Las Vegas Cheescake Company
~Elite Service Inc.
~Tastefully Simple

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ele3 Events

Ele3 was founded by 3 women with a passion for planning and a  commitment to detail. Mother Daughter team,  Sherri & Jen + Kate Upton psuedo-sister are the faces and the creative minds behind  Ele3 events. There creativity is apparent even in their name, naturally the 3 stems from the fact that there are 3 of them and the letters are a collaboration of the first letters of the 3's middle names: Elizabeth, Lynn, Elizabeth, Pretty clever!  Clever is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing their designs and there coordinating capabilities. Ele3 events is with you from start to finish making them the perfect choice for making your next event everything you've dreamed of! From chair cover rentals, floral design and centerpieces to Pre Event Planning & Day of coordination they will have you covered right down to the last detail. Want to incorporate eco-friendly elements into your special day? Ele 3 is increasingly finding was to reduce their carbon footprint by working side by side with eco-friendly vendors & venues, organic and natural foods, and materials that will be at your fingertips if you so choose! If you are looking for creativity, unique ideas, a fair price, and lovely people that you can trust will do what ever it takes to make your big day everything and more, look no further, the girls at Ele 3 are a perfect match!