Newport Beach, CA & Gilbert, AZ • Sessions by appointment only

Grand Belle Wedding Leslie & Mike – Holly, MI

Leslie + Mike’s Wedding at the Grand Belle Barn in Holly, Michigan

We don’t get to leave California for weddings very often, but when we found out we would be flying out to Michigan in the fall, we were so excited!  We aren’t used to season changes like they have in Michigan, with orange leaves in the trees, and snow in the air.  We actually had to stop and purchase boots and gloves when we stepped out of the airport. It was 30 degrees and snowing!  Luckily, there was one last all wheel drive car for us to rent.  As Spotify played Christmas music in our Buick SUV, we made our way from Detroit to Holly, MI!

Leslie is originally from CA and we have been fortunate enough to photograph her family over the last 8 years.  We have a mutual love for the Anaheim Ducks hockey team and her family just happens to own the team!  We also photographed her sister’s wedding, you can see it here.

Family and friends came from all over the country to be part of the celebration.  I’m pretty sure the 2nd floor of the Holiday Inn Express were all guests since we kept running into all of the bridal party throughout the weekend!  The first night of the party weekend started at the rehearsal dinner at a very cool haunted Hotel called the Holly Hotel.  This historic hotel dates back to the late 1800’s and has more ghost stories than you can imagine.  A bartender even showed us a photo that a guest took with a little boy spirit seen in the background.  You can read more about the Holly Hotel here.

The wedding day started at the Holiday Inn Express.  We knew there was still snow on the ground from the storm the night before, so we grabbed some of Leslie’s details and headed outside.  Next, Brian headed over to the Grand Bell Barn to take a few photos of the dress while Jennifer stayed with all the girls.  Leslie’s sister worked so hard on the cute jean jackets for the bridesmaids.  Each jacket had patches sewn on that matched the personalities and interests of the girls!  Brian came back and met up with the guys for some getting ready photos in their room.

Next, everyone hopped into the shuttle for their first look photos at the barn.  Since they wanted a first look, we were able to get all of the family and bridal party done with perfect light!  Lauren (with A June Event) and her team were busy decorating the rustic barn, setting up tables settings and floral arrangements by Adorn Fine Flowers.  Leslie was not impressed with having her ceremony in a dark heated tent but it was snowing, so the guests were okay with it.  We were so happy when they decided to knock down the back wall of the tent.  Even though it made it colder, the natural light came pouring in, and Brian was able to hide in the back like he always does during ceremonies.

Cocktail hour was in the basement of the barn, which doesn’t sound impressive- but since it’s built into the side of a hill, one side has windows.  It had a very cool vintage/industrial vibe.  Guests mingled while a violinist played modern tunes in the background.  Yummy appetizers were served by the staff and drinks were flowing from the open bar below.  Food was provided by Thomas’s Catering and it was delicious!  We were very impressed by their kitchen built inside of a tent, just outside of the barn.

Overall, this was one of our favorite weddings of 2018.  Both of the families were so sweet and everyone treated us like we were part of the family.  We enjoyed getting away from California for a wedding and we loved the fall leaves, and cold weather! Congrats guys, and thank you for letting us document your wedding day!


Brian & Jennifer

About the Grand Belle Barn

(From the Grand Belle)

The surrounding area of the Grand Belle was once part of a 300 acre apple orchard.  The barn was used to wash, dry and process the apples to prepare them for retail sales.  Around 1950, it was purchased by a retired Detroit mounted police officer who used the lower level of the barn to house his retired horse.  In 1980, it was purchased by a real estate investor and was vacant for over 30 years.

Finally in 2012, a dream was hatched when the current owners purchased the grounds with the desire to transform it into a world class wedding barn.  Since then, The Grand Belle has been uniquely restored by master craftsmen and artists both inside and out, combining both original decor and modern conveniences, making it a beautiful locale for every special moment.


Gilmore Studios Weddings on Instagram

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Vendor Love

Wedding Venue: The Grand Belle  @thegrandbellebarn

Wedding Planner: Lauren w/ A June Event @ajuneevent

Photography: Brian & Jennifer w/ Gilmore Studios @GilmoreStudios

Video: Brooke Fatigante  @brooke_fatigante_photography

Catering: Thomas’s Catering

DJ: Chris w/ Rockstar Weddings @rockstar.weddings

Cake: Love and Buttercream @lovebuttercream

Florist: Adorn Fine Flowers @adornfineflowers

Bride’s attire: Melissa Sweet & David’s Bridal

Groom’s attire: Brighton Tux Shop


Brian and Jennifer Gilmore are husband and wife photographers that created a wedding photography team in Orange County, CA. They have been photographing weddings, families, and corporate events since 2003. Contact us for more info about booking your wedding in the Southern California area. The creative team at Gilmore Studios specialize in wedding photography in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and surrounding areas in OC and Los Angeles, CA. In addition, you can call 949-698-3968 or email us for more info about booking your local or destination out of state wedding.


Meet the Gilmores:

Gilmore Studios is a husband and wife team that serves Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas. We specialize in fine wedding photography, family portraits, and newborn photography. Our studio has been in business since 2002.

Fun Facts:

PLace we call home:

Newport Beach

Number of kids:

3 boys

Years in business:

Since 2002

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Simple Sophistication

Newport Beach, CA & Gilbert, AZ

Session by appointment only