The Journey to a New Chapter

Today is the day. The day that has been greatly anticipated… my husband is defending his dissertation at the University of Michigan and he will be getting his Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology. Sorry, I know this post isn’t sharing anyone’s wedding or family photos, but I need to take a minute to brag about my best friend!


To say I’m incredibly proud of this dude is not enough! I’ve learned that science is a very interesting field and learning how to fail is tough for anyone! But it takes a special person to learn how to fail, face challenges and come out with some amazing discoveries! This is why I believe Travis is so great at what he does and will continue to be great as he pursues a career as a professor. He takes everything he learns and looks at the bigger picture and revaluates his process and gets it done! During his time at UofM his research has been on C. Diff. Some of you may have heard about this as it’s an issue in hospitals and with the elderly. I try to explain what exactly his research is, but here is a quick article on what his work was on.


The past almost 5 years have completely flown by and within that 5 years we had a beautiful daughter who is 4 now and I came home to be with her a year and a half ago to spilt focus on her and my business. So on top of everything that normal life brings with the everyday woes, this guy didn’t let it affect him. He stayed focus and was still an amazing daddy and husband through it all!


I will be the first to admit that it’s hard for me to express the right words to him and how proud I am of him, but Travis, this is to you that I am over the moon excited for you and our next chapter in this adventure of life! Northwestern is going to be an amazing experience for you and I know you are going to do even bigger and better things in this next chapter! I love you more than you will EVER truly know babe! I’m one lucky girl to call you my husband Dr. Kochan!


The BEST Wedding Invitations & Wedding Websites online at Basic Invite!


So I’ve been wanting to share some great vendors and products for wedding days on my blog! Just a quick feature on what I consider some of the greats in the biz! I will include links and info on my website soon too.  I came across this awesome company called Basic Invite! They have such beautiful wedding invitations to choose from as well as elegant wedding website designs that you can help keep all your wedding design cohesive and easy to offer wedding info to guests!


There are over 800 wedding invitation sets!! How awesome is that!? Each of their wedding invitations is part of a set. You can find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards! They have something for every wedding! Super simple minimalist designs to the super elegant more detailed invitations. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options. So, you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it! Then you can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that you can make your invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. None of that gross licking every envelope! How genius is that?!



But being that we are in a new digital era, a lot of people prefer none paper invites. So this is where their wedding websites come in so handy! Their all-new super stylish wedding websites are completely customizable just like their wedding invitations! These wedding websites are mobile friendly and super easy to use. You can instantly upload all of your wedding details along with images and a map with directions which is super convenient for your guests. You can choose from 180 custom colors and even choose a design to match your wedding invitation suite. It’s all about the details! Best part, digital RSVPs! Save yourself from that postage guys. It can add up!


I think what sets them apart from the other online stationery companies is you can pretty much customize your website even more to fit your wedding feel! If you do decide to do both paper invites and website they have a feature where they are able to offer free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing! How amazing!!


If you are interested in more info about Basic Invite please feel free to contact me! They also have a great promo going on right now where you can get 15% off your entire order with the Code: 15FF51 . They have other great options for events other than just weddings so make sure to check out their site and see all that they offer! Guest books, Baby announcements, Shower invitations and more! My personal favorite, business packets for my bride and grooms! Go check them out! You won’t be disappointed! I promise! 

Downtown Detroit Michigan Engagement Session – Matthew & Katherine

I have to say I’m super excited for these two! I get to be an actual guest at a wedding instead of working one come September! These two are perfect for each other in every way! They complement one another so well! Her is a glimpse into the rest of their session with me a couple weeks ago!


Class of 2018 – University of Michigan – Kelsey Kochan

Really quick “Super Proud Sister” blog post from me! (Sorry, not sorry!) I got to take some graduation photos of my sister earlier this week and now she graduates on Saturday! Quick backstory on us. I met her back when she was this little 12-year-old playing on the Nintendo Game Cube. She was cute, loud, and wanted to be the center of attention, like most little girls who grow up with all brothers! I know this because I have a brother who is 10 years older than me so it’s safe to say I wanted attention too! But to be honest, I was never the girl “that always wanted a sister”. But when I met my husband and his family I instantly fell in love with them and this super cute blonde girl basically wanted to be my best friend, I was smitten! We instantly clicked and ever since I’ve loved becoming closer and closer to her as years went on. After almost 13 years of knowing her, I’ve pretty much seen it all! But I knew I just had to be there for her as a Big Sister and give the best advice I could throughout her teenage years and young adulthood! Even though I know there might have been times, at that moment what I had said she didn’t necessarily want to hear it, I hope she can look back and think “dang it, you were right!”

I’m a true believer that everything you go through in life only makes you stronger, the good, the bad and the ugly! That all being said, I’m so incredibly proud of her and everything she has accomplished in her life so far! This girl is turned into one amazing & determined woman. Don’t tell her she can’t do something, because she will prove you wrong! She will be starting her graduate program in the fall at UofM for pharmacology! She has come a long way from that 12-year-old little girl I first met!

So this is my Thank You to you Kels! Thank you for being such an inspiring sister, aunt, and friend! Travis and I love you and can’t wait to see how you leave your mark in this crazy world and in science!













Zingerman’s Cornman Farm’s Wedding – Ann Arbor, Michigan – Lisa & John

This was such a fun wedding day! I love shooting at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms! There was a great team of people helping this day as well! I got to work alongside Ana Skidmore from Two Foot Creative and there were some beautiful flowers from Maureen’s Design. Lisa and John were an adorable couple and their love for one another showed! Enjoy looking over their sweet June wedding at an amazing venue.


















































BIG NEWS! – Melissa Elaine Photography is… Expanding!

I’ve tried to sit down and write this blog post a few times now. So here it goes!…..It’s with great excitement and nervousness that I get to (finally) announce that my family and I are moving to CHICAGO! BUT…..DON’T STOP READING! There is a lot of information that I’m going to share with you about the future of Melissa Elaine Photography as this blog post goes on. Below are some questions that I know people will ask me. So here we go….


Will you still be taking Weddings and Family photos in Michigan? If so are you going to charge Travel Fees?

I will absolutely still be working as a Michigan wedding photographer and lifestyle photographer! I will just be expanding my business to the Chicago area wedding photographer and lifestyle photographer as well!! What does that mean for traveling? I will NOT be charging travel fees to come back to Michigan to do shoots! NO TRAVEL FEES?! Our entire families are in Michigan so coming back to Michigan will be no big deal. Just may require some planning ahead of time. Planning a shoot with a short notice just won’t work anymore. So please do not be discouraged to contact me to do shoots in Michigan. I will be readily available in both cities and beyond!

There will be dates for Michigan Mini sessions so make sure you keep an eye out for those!!

Why Chicago?

My husband has spent the past 5 years working towards his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Michigan and got an awesome job opportunity working for Northwestern University. I’m very proud of him and always knew this day would come. We are both very excited about this new chapter in our lives and are looking at it as an adventure and I can’t wait to have another amazing backdrop to capture Chicago weddings! Also, just an FYI but St. Joseph Michigan is only an hour and a half away from Chicago, so if you know anyone having an amazing beach wedding (like my husband and mines) please feel free to pass my name along! I would love nothing more than to shoot beach weddings!

Is this a forever move? 

We aren’t really sure how long we will be here yet. Could be 2-5 years, could be 10? There is no telling at this point. We will just have to wait and see and time will tell! But for now, we are going to enjoy the time we have here in our new city life living.


When are you moving?

My husband has a start date of August 1st. So our plan is to sell A LOT of our stuff, pack up our house by the end of June and move the last week of July. Being that I still have weddings July-October in Michigan, there will be a lot of traveling back and forth, but we can’t wait to take the month of July off and enjoy our families before we move and then let the excitement begin! For my brides in that part of my wedding season and 2019, DO NOT WORRY! I will back in Michigan 24 hours before your wedding to ensure I’m back in town and not having any travel issues before your wedding day.

What can I do to help you?

Well, I’m glad you asked! Any and all referrals to people who you may know in the surrounding Chicago area is much appreciated! It can be families, wedding couples, families having newborn babes, pretty much any and everything at this stage, I’m happy to talk to them!  That also being said, to build some of my Chicago based photos I will be having a “Giveaway” for some mini sessions in the Chicago area to build my Chicago portfolio some. So if you know anyone that might be interested in that, please pass my name along to them.

Some fun facts to us about this city!

Something has always brought us back to Chicago ever since my husband and I have been together. My husband’s first trip to a big city was Chicago, with me of course! One of my best friends lives here so that always has us coming back. We have always enjoyed coming to Chicago for White Sox & Cub games. Even though we are pretty sure we will be Cubs fans once we move. We had our Honeymoon in Chicago. We came here to celebrate my husbands 30th Birthday. Then what I think is the coolest thing I just recently found out about this city is it was founded on March 4th, 1837. My daughter was born on March 4th. If that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is!

So there it is! The news is out! Again we are very excited and nervous all at the same time about this move and can’t wait to start our lives in a new city! But PLEASE understand, this is an expansion! NOT a packing up and shipping out business change for us!! Thanks for all the love and support from our family and friends and my current clients who have expressed their excitement for us! We appreciate all the good luck and appreciate the support! Cheers to a new chapter!

Ann Arbor Michigan Winter Wedding – Melissa & Mike

Melissa & Mike’s wedding was held at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor Michigan. They had an unusually “warmer” winter wedding in Michigan which we were pretty happy about! Now when I say that, I mean there wasn’t much snow on the ground that time of year, which was surprising! Can we also talk about her beautiful flowers from Lasting Touch and amazing dress from Beckers Bridal?! I had such a great time capturing their day!














































University of Michigan Wedding – Whitney & Rob

Whitney and Rob had such a great summer day last year! I’m a sucker for campus weddings! They were married at the Matthaei Botanical Garden and then had their reception at the beautiful League on Michigan’s Campus. They have a few different venues you can get married on campus so make sure to check them all out!

One of the most memiorable moments of this wedding was during the reception. They had a bunch of family members take part in a massive drinking game of Thunder! That was pretty entertaining to capture! Best part about it, I could 100% relate since we played this at my husband and mine’s wedding 6 years ago! lol Such a great day and such a fun wedding day!! Congrats Whitney and Rob!
































Balancing life and everything in-between!

I recently quit my full time, 9-5 corporate job, this past winter to focus on my 2 passions, my photography business & my family. I learned quickly that this point in my life with my daughter being 3 years old I don’t want to miss her littleness.  I’m a true believer that if I’m not happy doing something, then something needs to change. Life is too short!

The whole corporate grind was not something I wanted to do at this point in my life. I want to focus on making what I have better, and live a life of passion! Not just clocking in, doing the work, going home then waking up to do the whole thing over again. It was starting to get too repetitive for me. I wanted my time back! Now I have it! Time to play, time to work, time to focus on my family and MY business.


So now with my new title of “Momtrepreneur” there is a balancing act that needs to get put in place even more than I thought before. BUT can you really have 100% balance?! It’s something I’m starting to discover more and more being home with my little one. I know there are things I must finish and do for my business, but the reason I quit my job was to enjoy my life too and enjoy my child. So that guilty feeling you get when you aren’t doing one or the other is something you have to get over!

I’ve been a small business owner for 9 years now and I’ve learn a LOT in this time. The hustle is a real thing! You are the owner, the boss, the one that calls all the shots. So if I’m not the one doing it… my business just sits here and nothing happens. I’ve learned that I need to be more of a go getter and make things happen and now with all my time I have now I am able to do so and make my passion grow! But how do you do that but also have balance in your life?!

img_3646I’ve learned that I need to set a schedule that is realistic to me and my life! Give grace to yourself! I quit my 9-5 Monday-Friday…. I don’t have to continue that pattern now that I’m home! I have set days and hours that I focus on my work, when I know my child will not be around. Then those days that she is home with me, we get to play! The phrase “work hard, play harder” is so true! But find what works for you and what makes you feel balanced. It’s ok to adjust as you go!