As an Asheville, North Carolina-based wedding photographer, my name is Michael Freas, and I was lucky enough to document a vibrant wedding at Sunset Groves. The event was a beautiful blend of “Old World Miami,” complete with vivid hues, a lively atmosphere, and a touch of Cuban flair.

Joelle, a Miami native, chose to hold the ceremony in the heart of an orange grove, adding a nostalgic element to the occasion. The entire event had a charming old-world feel, reflected in the intricate details, floral arrangements, and the overall tropical ambiance. The palm-thatched shelters were quintessentially South Florida, and Sunset Groves left me in awe with its assortment of lush tropical plants. This setting allowed me to capture not just the visual splendor but also the underlying emotions of the day – the verdant palms, the sunset’s orange glow, and a stunning cake adorned with tropical plant embellishments.

One of the highlights for me was the heartfelt moments during the ceremony and the toasts at the reception. After spending a year getting to know Joelle and Leo via Zoom, it was warming to hear their friends echo my sentiments about them. The emphasis on family at this Sunset Groves wedding added a depth to the narrative that I found deeply touching.

Of course, every wedding comes with its unique challenges. This one had an unexpected feathered troublemaker – peacocks. These beautiful birds took to pecking their reflections in the Maid of Honor’s car, leaving behind a considerable amount of scratches and dents. But as they say, “the show must go on.” In line with my motto, “Let things happen and document the chaos as it unfolds,” I took it in stride. My approach is to let the day unfold naturally, whether that involves dance floor mayhem or quiet moments away from the crowd. Being a ‘friend with a camera’ allows me to remain in the shadows, helping couples relive the best day of their lives through my lens.

Couple: Joelle + Leo

Date: March 5, 2022
Ceremony Location: Sunset Groves
Hair & Make Up: Junkie Bride + Amanda Pierce
Floral/Décor: Lucelo Flor
Photography: Michael Freas
Entertainment:DJ Stephen Peters + Plenatarium
Catering: Palate Cuisine


Are you looking for a photographer to document your epic wedding day? I’d love to talk to you more about my documentary style and approach to wedding photography. Whether you are getting married on South Beach, one of the resorts of Miami Beach or anywhere else in South FL, let’s talk! I’d love to talk to you more about my documentary style and approach to wedding photography.