West (Michigan) Coast Love: A not so typical engagement shoot
Our own founder, Elsa Vogel is engaged! Instead of the typical engagement photoshoot, Elsa and her fiance, Stephen Vos, decided to capture their love for each other while also capturing their love for their home state of Michigan. They hopped in the car onto the M-22 with photographer Hannah Ziegler ( HZ photos) on a day-long adventure, making sure they stopped to capture photos at their favorite places along the West Michigan Coast.
WE CAN THANK OKCUPID FOR THIS LOVE STORY
Steve and I met a little over a year ago. After graduating from Bowling Green State University in May of 2015 I moved back to my small little hometown, Holland, Michigan. Not long after moving home, I decided to make an OKcupid profile online and take my chances. Looking back, it was totally worth it.
The same night I set up my profile, I sent a message to Steve, and within an hour or so received a message back! I was excited. According to OKcupid our profiles were supposedly a 97% match! How accurate could this really be?
We ended staying up until 2AM feverishly messaging back and forth online. Now the rest is history! A month later we started dating, and I fell in love faster than ever. I knew in my heart early on that Steve was the man for me; he was going to be my life-long partner and best friend.
Steve is the most loving, hard-working, ambitious, God-fearing, selfless, caring, silly, and supportive man I’ve ever met, and I cannot put into words how excited I am to marry him next June. I love him with my whole heart, and I can’t wait to call him my husband.
A NOT SO TYPICAL ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
We began our journey out at Steve’s house in good ole Marne, MI with outfit changes planned, hangers neatly hung and arranged, and our photographer in the back seat. We were off!
Our first stop was Biggby for a coffee outside Muskegon (essential to any kind of adventure), then before heading up north we stopped in Muskegon, MI to find some of the best wall backdrops that you ever did see.
Muskegon, MI | LET'S TALK ABOUT THOSE WALLS
We found beautiful walls in Muskegon where we took some amazing photographs. A few of my favorites actually came from that location...unplanned but completely worth the stop!
Scenic Dr. | THE WINDING ROAD
Over the past year, Steve and I found our thing-- simple dates that have us going for a long drive. As a busy entrepreneur, it’s a great mental escape and an easy way to relax and soak in the beauty. We put our phones away, intentionally forget the never ending to-do lists we both have, unplug from social media and just drive. Our favorite drives are the ones that take an entire day and hug along the beautiful west coast of the Mitten.
As we were driving, we stopped at a curve in the road because the scenery caught Hannah’s photographic eye. Here comes the second stop on our tour! One of my favorite photos is where we’re standing right in the middle of the road. It perfectly symbolizes the trips we take, enjoying each other’s company and the conversations we have while we’re on our drives.
Cherry Point Farm Market | An Apple a day.... Makes for a really cute picture
We’ve taken the day long drive multiple times through different seasons of weather and our relationship. During each drive I clearly remember the season, the scenery, our conversation, and more importantly, where we were stood in our relationship.
We chose to take our day long adventure to capture our engagement photos because that drive, and all the locations mean more to our relationship than just a pretty backdrop.
Our third stop was at Cherry Point Farm Market, also known as the cutest little apple stand there ever was!
Manistee Maritime Museum | TEAL DOORS AND RED BERRIES
There’s a building that has always caught my eye every time we took a drive in Manistee on our way out to the beach. A big beautiful teal door with a small overgrown cement path framed by a small berry tree to the left made for lovely composition then and especially now. It wasn’t even a question. This little gem of a place was going to be our fourth stop.
Douglas Park, Manistee Beach | OUR DAILY DOSE OF VITAMIN SEA
This beach holds some important memories for the two of us. One which included a sentimental moment, conversation that held a defining moment of love in our relationship. One that I’ll never forget.
In lighter memories, this is also the beach where I decided that the urinal was going to have to work for me. There was no way getting past the locked ladies room. Oh, the memories we share at this place--both funny and serious.
Inspiration Point M-22 | OUR SPOT, NOT YOURS..
Inspiration Point, an iconic spot for anyone driving up M-22. I know this is everyone’s “inspiration point”, but I like to think of this as Our Spot. We’ve walked up those stairs, Steve holding my hand, helping me each and every time, admiring the beauty around us as we went. When we got to the top of the platform it was always like a breath of fresh air, a moment of relaxation. Even when there were other people around it always felt like it was just me and him against the world up there. One of the most relaxing, inspirational spots indeed. I suppose that’s how it got it’s name.
Frankfort Beach | CLEAR HEART, CLEAR EYES, CLEAR WATER
One day this past summer we packed our bags for the day and decided to take advantage of the short commute to the beach! Steve said he didn’t want to go to any beaches around us and that he wanted to head north a bit. In my head I was thinking Grand Haven, Muskegon, Silver Lake, something closer, but still a little bit of a drive.
We started driving, and kept driving, and driving and then early afternoon became late afternoon. To my frustration I very calmly (on the outside) asked him where they heck we were going and insisted that we stop very soon because we were losing daylight!
Steve ignored my plea and continued to drive, and told me to trust him, that we would stop soon enough. I’m so glad that he did and that I chose to trust him, because he took me to the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been too.
Frankfort Beach is a gem. The water is clear and shallow and the pier is a gorgeous walk down the middle of the two beaches. Beautiful dunes scattered with trees hug the lakeshore making it a great slice of paradise.
Glen Haven | THE BIGGEST WHITE BARN I EVER DID SEE
The Big White Barn, is quite literally the biggest whitest barn I’ve ever seen. Another iconic spot that many would recognize if you've ever been up M-109. For us, the big white barn marks the drive through Sleeping Bear Dunes and Glen Arbor.
By that point in our drive Steve and I are normally quieter, and instead I stare out the window intently making sure I’m not missing anything because of the astounding beauty that is all around. It is a moment of relaxation and realization that God is good.
Sleeping Bear Dunes | THESE TREES ARE ON FIRE
The mini forest of trees was unbelievable. They were bright and vibrant, saturated in an indescribable orange hue. In these pictures with the scenery behind us, the rolling hills, and millions of orange leaves hanging from the trees it perfectly captures my total commitment to Steve. There’s no one else I’d rather spend my entire life with. I want to hold Steve’s hand and conquer the world together and I’m so grateful to have him by my side.
State Theater, Traverse City | CITY LIGHTS
Last but not least, the great city on the bay, Traverse City. This is typically where our day-long drives would come to an end. We’d either stop for dessert at Grand Traverse Pie or go to Cherry Republic to stock up on our favorite cherry wines for the winter. This time we poked our heads into the Red Ginger, and came to find out that we were the recipients of Northern Michigan hospitality-- a generous patron paid for our drinks!
Traverse City is the place where we finally parked the car for a while and took a walk down the quaint city streets, looking for somewhere to eat or grab a sweet treat for dessert. The sun would be close to setting and the lights from the theater would light up the sky. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Stay tuned for our wedding on June 9, 2017!