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2020 has not been kind to those getting married this year. So many changes and hopes and disappointments, and then more changes again. When Haylie and Chris booked me, we all thought it would be “no problem” and the pandemic would be behind us. Sadly, we all know that was not the case. Their wedding date was very very special to them as it is their one year anniversary of dating so they were determined to get married on that date. 🤍 And they did it!!!! They had big plans to have a wonderful reception and PARTY at the Amway Grand, but the COVID restrictions just wouldn’t allow for that. So instead they had a beautiful intimate wedding reception at Haylie’s parent’s home. 🤍

I am thrilled to have been a part of their day. Despite so many things taken away….it was full of the most important things. SO MUCH LOVE and SO MUCH LAUGHTER!! Their cheeks must have been sore from all the smiling and laughter during their day. I asked them how to describe their wedding day and they said….We both felt an immense amount of pure joy. The day went by fast but slow and we truly felt like we soaked in every moment. I asked them some more questions and they are all below with the highlights of their wedding day.

Haylie and Chris, you two were just a dream to work with. Truly🤍.  I so admire how you both made this day happen despite it all, and honored to be your photographer. I hope you love your sneak peak, and know many more images are to come!! 💕 I pray blessings on you both, as you continue to serve others and God together. Thank you for choosing me. I will be ready and waiting when you make me a gorgeous baby to photograph. 😉

Haylie moved to Grand Rapids in July of 2019 after receiving a promotion. She knew she would need to get involved with a new church community right away. In September, she joined a co-ed bible study small group. This group had already been meeting for a year. Chris remembers the first time Haylie walked through the door and being immediately smitten with her. Later that evening, Haylie mentioned she was going to start serving at the youth ministry at Ada Bible called Lifeline. Chris had been serving at this Middle School ministry program for over a year and was ecstatic that Haylie would be involved with the program too. Haylie was thankful she would know someone on her first day of serving!
After a few weeks of seeing each other at small group and Lifeline, Chris reached out to Haylie to ask if she would want to ride together since they both live downtown. After carpooling several times, they both realized they shared a love for whisky, specifically Old Fashioneds. Chris insisted on going to Butchers Union after Lifeline on Wednesday night, promising they had the best Old Fashioneds in Grand Rapids. This “Whiskey Wednesday” became a tradition. (Which still continues to this day!) During this time, they got to know each other very well as friends. It eventually led to hanging out other days of the week. One Saturday night, Haylie had Chris over for dinner. This is when everything changed. With the help of a little Maker’s Mark, Haylie kissed Chris! They both realized their friendship had become much more. It was the following week, on December 12th that they made their relationship official! (Which would be their wedding day a year later)
From that point on, they enjoyed a blissful season of meeting each other’s families, friends, and colleagues. Haylie and Chris quickly became regulars at many of the downtown establishments. Date nights always ended with slow dancing in Haylie’s living room. It didn’t take long for them to realize they had found everything they had been praying for. From the very beginning, their friendship and relationship was centered around Christ. To ensure they pursued a Godly relationship, they reached out to their campus Pastor, Kevin, to discuss mentorship. Kevin connected them with an incredible and loving married couple from the church. Haylie and Chris are so grateful for the example and guidance they have provided for them.
After an extremely fun dating season, it quickly came to a situation which no one could have anticipated, Covid-19. As much of the world was forced to shut down and change their norms, they both had one another during this time and grew closer together. They were blessed to spend a month at Haylie’s parents where Chris had the opportunity to get to know the Born family more and the Born family was able to get to know Chris more. It was during this time, Haylie and Chris knew they were ready to commit to one another forever. A week after they got back to Grand Rapids, Chris asked Haylie’s parent’s permission for her hand in marriage! He also made sure to ask each of her siblings individually.

On June 14th, Haylie waited for Chris to pick her up to head over to their friend’s house for dinner. It was when Chris walked up (instead of drove) in his cute sports coat with a big grin on his face that Haylie knew something was up! Chris admitted they were not actually going to their friends for dinner but instead on a scavenger hunt through downtown. Haylie immediately knew where this scavenger hunt was headed. Chris presented Haylie with love letters at each place which ended with a clue for the next location. Each place he took her to had a significant meaning to them and fun memories. Once they arrived at the Blue Bridge (the final stop) Chris gave Haylie one last letter, which asked a lifelong question…..“Will you marry me?” By the time Haylie opened this letter, Chris was down on one knee, with the ring in hand. Haylie could hardly contain her excitement and snatched the ring right out of the box and put it on her own finger :). Thankfully, this did not surprise Chris one bit! He then led her to the other end of the bridge where he had both of their families waiting to celebrate with them. After having a fun photoshoot with the photographer Chris hired, they went back to Haylie’s apartment. She thought they would just be celebrating with their families, but to her surprise, her best friends from childhood, and the east side of the state were there along with Chris’s best friends! It was an engagement party! The whole evening felt like a dream come true.

What I love about Chris: Chris is the strongest man of God I know my age. His love and devotion to the Lord is his most attractive quality. I love the way he honors God in the way he speaks, acts, works, spends money, and loves. I am truly humbled by the patience and grace he extends to me. I love his work ethic and desire to serve others. I love how he constantly insists on taking care of me even when I push back. I love how silly we are together and safe and vulnerable being with him feels. He has a way of carrying himself that is confident but so approachable. He is the most genuine human I know and always so intentional with his actions and words. He goes out of his way to love me and others. I love his generosity. He would give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger and not think twice about it. I love how seriously he takes his calling from the Lord. I love his desire for God’s wisdom and knowledge. I love how he calms me and listens to me; he always points me back to Christ and my identity in Him. I love his tolerance; he has the longest fuse and shows compassion like Jesus. He is always so quick to forgive and apologize. I love his love and admiration of children and can’t wait to see him thrive as a father. Chris has a unique way of being able to relate to anyone. He is able to make anyone feel valued and appreciated. Chris will always put others comfort before his own. Knowing him has truly made me a better person. I love that he is exactly who I have been praying for. I will forever be grateful that the Lord is trusting me with his heart. His heart is truly one of the best I’ve ever known. I love Jesus more because of Chris and I love others better because of Chris.
What I love about Haylie: Faith, Family and Friends are the most important things to me. The more I have gotten to know and love Haylie, I have realized that all three of those things are her top priorities as well, something that only God could have blessed me with. Her consistency in how she pursues her relationship with Jesus each day. The way that she smothers each of her siblings with love and kisses is special to watch. When she talks about each of her parents her eyes light up with joy and energy talking about them and it is evident the care, she has for them. The friendships that she has cultivated over the years are everlasting and deep-rooted. She is willing to sacrifice for them and be there for them whenever they need her. The one common denominator in these three things points back to Christ and how he loved.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think about getting engaged and married in a pandemic. Throughout this season of restrictions and lockdowns She is one of the most people-oriented individuals I have ever met, being around people is what fills her up and energizes her. We both love being around friends, family, co-workers and our church community. Learning from the people that God has placed in our lives has been so beneficial, especially during this pandemic. One of the things that I love the most about Haylie is her ability to be present. She tells me constantly that she can NOT multi-task and throughout this year of dating, getting engaged and now almost married I realize that. It is difficult for me at times not to try to multi-task, one of the ways she has helped me do that is our date night on Wednesdays. Grabbing Old Fashions at Butcher Union every Wednesday at night, then having the one on one time without any distractions is something I look forward to every week. I am ever relaxed during the 2 hours than I am during any other time during the week. It all has to do with Haylie’s loving nature and her ability to make me feel like the only person in the room. One of her best qualities is making every person that she is around feel so loved and important.
Haylie’s serving heart is something else that I love to see. She is a person who loves to open her apartment and host everyone. Whether it be co-workers, small group or just friends she has such a serving heart. It was so great to watch her host her Pfizer colleagues for last year’s Christmas party and the enthusiastic attitude she embodied. Always willing to spend time serving others, especially her high school Lifeline group. It is so clear what type of impact she is having on each of the girls and how much all grow in Christ.
Haylie and I have both talked about how we want our marriage to point towards Christ. The last couple of weeks with the pandemic and recent restrictions our image of the wedding party we wanted to have got turned upside down. The large extravagant, black tie and long gowns event is now an intimate reception with our bridal party and immediate families. Throughout these last couple of weeks, we both know that God is teaching us something so important during this time in our lives. We never want to lose focus even with all the distractions that may come our way, our marriage has one purpose, and it is to honor and praise God. I am so thankful to God for his plan to put Haylie and I together and become husband and wife. This is truly the happiest day of my life! For Haylie and I this is the beginning of our life together and I am so excited share each moment with her ?

We love to be around people and hosting! We enjoy serving together at the church and having date night every Wednesday at Butchers Union. We both love new experiences but appreciate slowing down and having lazy days.

Haylie: My best memory was walking down the aisle, holding my dad and seeing Chris’s face! Definitely the best part of the day. I also loved hearing the speeches from the people we love most! Chris: Walking down the grandparents and parents, trying my best to hold it together. As I watched our wedding party come down the aisle it got harder and harder to hold in my emotion. Once the wedding song came on and I saw my beautiful bride, I lost it! The first look was also very special and intimate. I loved the anticipation leading up to it!

It was our only option! LOL now looking back, we cant image having our reception anywhere else. We initially chose the Amway because we both love grabbing drinks there and have many good memories there. We also love how elegant and beautiful it is around Christmas time!

If there was one thing you could change about the day what would it be?

Not a single thing!! It was perfect in every way.

If possible, do most of the planning on your own and don’t seek outside opinions! Other people often over complicated our plans and we preferred to plan everything just the two of us and it worked out much better! Don’t take too much time to plan, 6 months was plenty of time. The day will come and go but being married is the most important part!!

Los Cabos Mexico! We stayed at Le Blanc Spa and Resort.

What is your biggest accomplishment together so far? Ex. overcoming a difficult experience, accomplishing college together, or just getting married!

Planning a wedding in a pandemic!!

Faith, Family, and Friends! We will constantly strive to pursue Christ in all that we do!

Florist: Shelly’s Designs IG-@shellysdesignsflorist
Videographer: Life on Earth Productions IG-@lifeonearthproductions
Makeup: Brianna IG-@beautybybriianna
Band: Brena Band IG-@brenaband
Hair: Krystle Waivio IG-@krystlewaiviohair Catering: Pistachios Catering

Final words from Haylie and Chris that make my heart swell!! ⬇️

You did amazing Melissa! We can hardly wait to see what you captured. We are so thankful you stuck by our side despite all the changes. You had beautiful visions that I cant wait to see come to life in your photos. We knew we would end up with gorgeous photos hiring you!!