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Ali and Aaron James | Whimsical Winter Wedding in January | McKay Ballroom Tower | Grand Rapids, Michigan

Last year, when I first met Ali and Aaron, they harbored a dream of a magical outdoor winter ceremony. Their vision was to have the snow create a enchanting ambiance for their special day, and Mother Nature did not disappoint. While the outdoor ceremony wasn’t in the cards, the McKay Ballroom provided the perfect backdrop for a cozy and intimate celebration. The tower rooftop, against the backdrop of downtown Grand Rapids, became the canvas for breathtakingly picturesque images that will be cherished forever. And let’s take a moment to appreciate Ali’s stunning cloak – a must-have for every winter bride, adding an extra touch of elegance to an already enchanting day.

Getting Ready

Ali and Aaron had their own private spaces within the iconic high-rise tower in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The fourth floor harbored an intimate bridal suite, providing a serene retreat for the bride. Meanwhile, the top floor had a lively space for the groom to unwind, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and elegance. This top floor not only served as a chill-out zone but also granted access to the rooftop, allowing them to soak in the city sights from the impressive vantage point of the sixteenth floor.

The Ceremony

The wedding ceremony at McKay Ballroom was a moment of pure magic as Ali’s brother walked her down the aisle. The ballroom exuded an air of intimacy, setting the stage for a deeply emotional and personal experience. As Ali made her entrance, Aaron, trying to hold back tears, found it difficult to look away – she was truly breathtaking, a vision of beauty that demanded attention.

When it was time for vows, it became evident that Aaron had an innate talent for words. His eloquence and heartfelt expressions made it seem as if he had spent years preparing for this very moment. As a natural-born writer, his vows resonated with everyone present, bringing tears to their eyes and adding an extra layer of emotional depth to the ceremony.

Adding a touch of fun and authenticity, the couple decided to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who would recite their vows first. In a lighthearted twist, Aaron ended up on the losing side, contributing a playful and endearing element to the proceedings. This spontaneous decision perfectly captured the couple’s dynamic and showcased their ability to infuse joy and humor into even the most sentimental moments, making the ceremony uniquely theirs.

The Reception

The winter wedding offered a cozy haven as all the guests gathered in one spot, creating a warm and communal atmosphere. As we ventured off to capture couples’ portraits, the guests enjoyed a delightful cocktail hour. The air buzzed with laughter as they mingled, indulging in a spread of cheeses, savory meatballs, and handcrafted cocktails. The intimate setting allowed everyone to savor the joyful moments, fostering a sense of togetherness that added an extra layer of warmth to the winter celebration.

The Food

Anticipation buzzed as the day unfolded, but what truly excited me was the prospect of dinner (after a long day, who isn’t eager?). The array of options was enticing, yet the standout for me was unquestionably the chicken and waffles. Catered Creations showcased their culinary prowess, delivering an exceptional spread that delighted the senses. The combination of savory chicken and fluffy waffles was a culinary masterpiece, a testament to the artistry of the catering team. As guests indulged in this delectable feast, it became evident that the evening’s culinary experience was a highlight, adding a flavorful exclamation point to the day’s festivities.

The Dessert

Dessert took center stage, and for me, presentation is key. The cupcakes were not just visually stunning; they were a taste sensation. Among the delectable options, the s’more cupcake stole my heart with its toasted marshmallow crown – a delightful twist that elevated the experience. The Cakabakery showcased their mastery, delivering not only on aesthetics but also on flavor. Each bite was a symphony of sweetness, and as expected from this renowned bakery, the dessert selection proved to be a delicious finale, leaving a lingering and delightful impression on everyone’s taste buds.

The Cake

A Marvel-themed cake for Ali and Aaron was the perfect choice, symbolizing a connection that had woven through the fabric of their relationship from the start. Sharing a love for Marvel, this shared passion became a significant thread in their journey. As a fellow fan, I completely comprehend the significance. The cake, adorned with iconic Marvel elements, served as a delicious tribute to their shared interests. After exchanging infinity rings – a meaningful gesture in itself – they indulged in this specially crafted confection, adding a touch of fandom to the sweetness of their celebration and intertwining their love story with elements that truly spoke to their hearts.


The Dancing

The dance floor came alive with the vibrant beats curated by DJ Smuvi, creating an unforgettable atmosphere. From nostalgic 90s hits to the infectious rhythm of Selena’s classics and beyond, the musical journey was a celebration of diverse genres and eras. Each track resonated with the joy of the moment, uniting guests in a collective dance experience. DJ Smuvi’s skillful selection of tunes ensured that the dance floor was a dynamic space, echoing with laughter and rhythm.


Congratulations to the happy couple! May your journey together be filled with love, laughter, and countless beautiful moments. Wishing you a lifetime of joy, understanding, and shared adventures as you embark on this wonderful chapter of life together. Cheers to Ali and Aaron!

It was such a pleasure working with…

Hair Stylist  | Edge Salon

Videographer  | Janis Davis

Venue  | The Ballroom At McKay

Dress  | True Society

Groom’s Attire  | Fitzgeralds

DJ/Entertainment  | Smuvi DJ Services, LLC

Desserts/Bakery  | The Cakabakery

Caterer  | Catered Creations

Decor | Decor Elegance

Second Photographer | Alleigh Chrzan

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