Michigan Engagement at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Michigan Engagement at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | Sarah + Jake

July 2, 2021

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Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

WOW is all I can say about this session! Sarah and Jake invited me to join them at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to capture their dream engagement photos and it really was a dream! This session features a stylized beach picnic with charcuterie and champagne and views of Lake Michigan at the Empire Bluffs trail overlooking a stunning Michigan sunset.

I cannot begin to explain the amount of stress that happened the day before this shoot was scheduled to happen. We had planned for a luxurious picnic with charcuterie and champagne styled by Jeannene Lillie Events so several people were coming to town for this shoot. Every day before the shoot and after the shoot was looking like rain. And lots of it. The days before (when Jacob and I were actually in town having a little mini-vacation) the weather was absolutely terrible. Fog for miles, we couldn’t see any of these views and we were dodging rain everywhere.

About 30 hours before the shoot, Jake sends out a text that was tough to send, asking if we should reschedule. For me, I would have to make the 6-hour trip back another day when we were SO CLOSE! I told the gang, I think we should stick it out. I have a good feeling it’s going to work out.

AND BY GOLLY IT DID. We had the most BEAUTIFUL weather for their session. I mean, the sun was shining on the beach (it was actually quite hot, I wish I could have got in the water lol) and the SUNSET ….. HOLY MOSES. The sunset at the Empire Bluffs Trail was a remarkable view. A memory shared with this sweet couple and one I’ll cherish for life!

All along the 3/4 mile hike to the sunset, Sarah, Jake and I talked about skiing, our cats, how out of shape I am, and “I can’t believe we almost rescheduled”. We were stunned by the way the weather had turned around for us.

This sweet couple deserved the absolute best for their engagement session! It was truly a joy to finally meet this couple who had felt like penpals for the last 7 months! Thank you, Sarah and Jake, for inviting me up on this adventure, it was definitely one for the books!! I cannot wait to see you guys again next August! I know you’ll plan the most elegant affair at Greencrest Manor and I can’t wait to celebrate alongside you!

Luxury picnic styled by Jeannene Lillie Events

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

Ohhhh sweet Henley and her big brother Hudson. I wish I would have had extra time to snuggle these babes but I will have to just come early on the wedding day so I can see them again!

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

MY HEAVENS, SARAH! You will be a STUNNING bride!

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

Then we hiked the Empire Bluffs trail to what felt like the end of the Earth, honestly. I was floored by this view.

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

It was so incredibly peaceful up there. I actually slowed down for once during a session and just told Sarah and Jake to “hold each other like I wasn’t even here” to let them just take in this moment of stillness.

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

As I edited these I literally couldn’t believe how perfect this light was. It was almost like there was a soft light behind me lighting them from the front because it was just … *chef’s kiss*

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

I kid you not, this was the color of the water and the sky lol I did not play with the colors at all!

Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel
Michigan Engagement Photos at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Southbend Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

xo, Court

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  1. Kim says:

    Glad you stuck it out because these are beautiful!

  2. Jennifer says:

    These are such beautiful photos! The colors are perfect! Obsessed over the beach photos!

  3. Josephine says:

    I agree with you! WOW!!! Love the light, colours and the gorgeous couple!

And I'm so glad you're here! I'm an Indiana wedding photographer and educator creating the ultimate client experience for playfully romantic, detail-oriented brides and teaching other photographers to do the same! I believe in creating relationships with my couples to create the truly genuine and joyful imagery that you find in my work!

Hi! I'm Courtney!

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