Lovebirds over the moon at Over the Vines Wedding

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Lovebirds over the moon at Over the Vines Wedding

Last weekend marked the end of the wedding season for us, bringing a mixture of joy at all the great people we met this year and exhaustion at the six months of heavy work that isn’t quite finished. Between all the editing and planning and consultations, it could start to feel like a grind.

But people like Ben and Jordan make us remember why we love photographing weddings in the first place. We had a blast with them last winter in our snowy outdoor engagement session, so we knew this wedding would be fun. They are as madly in love as anyone we’ve met, and Saturday’s wedding at Over the Vines showed us that it’s not just the two of them, but all their families and friends who enveloped the day in love.

The cold weather and wind didn’t even slow them down, and they put on a beautiful ceremony near the vines and a rocking fun reception in that gorgeous barn. And the weather gods rewarded them with the most spectacular sunset we’ve seen since we moved to Wisconsin! We wish them all the best in their future together!

Special thanks also to the other great vendors: getting ready: Courtyard Marriott East Side; ceremony & reception: Over the Vines; DJ—JS Sound & Events; catering & cake—Hy Vee Madison East; pies—Hubbard Avenue Diner & Bakery; hair & makeup—Creative Beaute Agency; dresses—Vera’s Bridal; suits—Men’s Wearhouse; ceremony & cocktail music—Soggy Prairie; day-of coordinator—Melissa Finkelstein.

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A Cozy, Intimate Milford Hills Wedding

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A Cozy, Intimate Milford Hills Wedding

Nobody would call Stephanie and Amanda traditionalists, so when they decided to tie the knot last weekend, their first priority was making everyone feel at home. They made a great choice with the Milford Hills Hunt Club. The rolling hills, sloping valleys, and still-turning hardwood forests of the club are the facility’s featured attraction, but the lodge itself is warm, inviting, and a great place for their intimate wedding.

Olga and I felt more like guests than hired help, and their friends and family joined together with us to celebrate two women who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Even the constant rain didn’t deter anyone from a great time, and we were able to sneak outside in between the raindrops to capture a little bit of that gorgeous scenery.

Everyone got in on the fun, whether it was maid of honor Mary reading the perfect Shel Silverstein book, “The Missing Piece,” as her toast to the couple or parents rocking out on the dance floor or friends recalling memories of their times together.

Special thanks to the vendors who made everything work just right: Milford Hills Hunt Club, the Sweet Spot for cake, Cris at Red Velvet DJs, Taylor Kallhoff for hair, and David’s Bridal for dresses.

We certainly had a great time, and we wish Amanda and Stephanie a lifetime of joy together!

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A Union of "Mutual Weirdness" | Star Wars Wedding at Olbrich Gardens

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A Union of "Mutual Weirdness" | Star Wars Wedding at Olbrich Gardens

One piece of advice we give all our clients is to be themselves. It’s easy to get swept away by all the cool things you see on Pinterest or get pressured into choices by well-meaning relatives. We believe there is no one right way to have a wedding, and we will work with you to create the most fun, representative wedding you can imagine.

Samantha and Zach didn’t need our advice. They came to us with a vague plan to have a space-themed wedding of some sort, possibly involving “Star Wars” characters and other costumes. We were all in on the idea! Last weekend at Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Olin Park Pavilion, Samantha and Zach, along with their closest friends and family, all delivered.

While the Olbrich Gardens ceremony begin simply and classically, the recessional turned into The Imperial March as Zach donned a Darth Vader mask and cape as they left the intimate ceremony in unique style.

So when we arrived at the reception in the Olin Park Pavilion, we were charmed by all the space-themed details. Our favorite was a sign proclaiming “Mutual Weirdness Forever.” But even more fun were the varied costumes the guests wore, from R2 D2 dresses to Princess Leia hair buns and white robes to Zach’s Darth Vader bow tie to steampunk jet packs and goggles.

To borrow a phrase, the force is strong with these two.


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Joyous Abandon at Common Gardens Wedding

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Joyous Abandon at Common Gardens Wedding

We were particularly honored to photograph the wedding of a dear wedding industry colleague, Jen, and her kickass fiancée, Courtney, last weekend. And like you'd expect from another industry pro, they took great care all day to make sure everyone there had a blast, from the family and friends who came from all over, to the staff at their whimsical venue to the chickens wandering the grounds and the family dogs who join in the ceremony. And they made sure they had a blast too, bringing energy and loads of personality to every photograph we took. 

This wedding was amazing because the people there were extraordinary in the joy they brought to celebrating the union of two people and families. Instead of a dollar dance or fundraiser for their honeymoon, Jen and Courtney held a 50/50 raffle to raise money for the JDRF to honor their dear friend Julie and Agrace Hospice Care for their dear friend Dana. The love showed during the ceremony, officiated by Courtney's brother, extended into heartfelt toasts and a wild and exuberant night of dancing. 

Special thanks to all the vendors who made this great celebration possible. Common Gardens provided the scenic venue and great help in making the day smooth, Bunky's Catering served up a wonderful family-style meal, and to D&S Rentals and Steve at Master Works Design Group for decorations and support as well. 

It was an honor capturing the moments of this fabulous day, and we wish Jen and Courtney the very best in their life together. 

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Beauty and Brains at a Downtown Madison Wedding

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Beauty and Brains at a Downtown Madison Wedding

Kenneth and Emily met in physics class at UW-Madison, but these two scientists proved to have more than mere alchemy when they married last weekend, on the most popular day of the year (thanks to the coincidence of a Saturday featuring a palindrome, 8-18-18). But every couple is unique, and so, therefore, is every wedding. This one had enough style and class for a dozen weddings. And Bucky came out to get the party going on the dance floor! 

The ceremony and reception were held at the stunning new St. Paul University Catholic Center, and the couple spent time at Memorial Union for photos as well. Special thanks to planner Alexis at Lillian Rose Events, Alan Koa Salon for hair and makeup, Felly's Flowers for floral decor and bouquets, the Knock Shoppe's Country Cakes for the wedding cake, DJ by Thini from C'est La Vie,  a stunning Martina Liana design from Brandi's Bridal, bridesmaids dresses from Adriana Pappell, suits from Suit Supply, ceremony music by Quartessence String Quartet, Event Essentials for linens and place settings, and Heritage Tavern Catering for dinner. 

Congratulations to a warm, wonderful couple and their families! We wish you all the best!!

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Joy abounds at UW Memorial Union Wedding

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Joy abounds at UW Memorial Union Wedding

There's always a lot of happiness at a wedding, but as I was reviewing images today from Mae and Eric's beautiful nuptials at Memorial Union and The Pres House, I was struck by how joyful everybody always looked. 

The guys hooked up a Playstation and enjoyed some FIFA while the ladies had a breakfast party and makeup down the hall. They all were game to showcase downtown Madison and the Union Despite the oppressive humidity. And when entrances came around for the grand march, they did not disappoint, from rail sliding to summersaults to football. The party continued deep into the night, with plenty of dancing and singing thanks to Piano Fondue, and we were even able to break free for a late-night portrait or two on State Street, despite the continuing humidity and this season's very hungry mosquitoes! 

Olga and I wish Mae and Eric the very best! It was a pleasure sharing the day with you. Thanks also to all the great vendors who came together to make this wedding special:

Venue: Memorial Union and the Pres House

Videography: Stacy Bruner

Florist: Rose Cottage Florals

Cake: Gigi's Cupcakes

Band: Piano Fondue 

Makeup: Alicia Jaedike 

Hair: Hair Legacy Salon

Officiant: Joe McAlpine

Dresses: Vera's House of Bridal and Brandi's Bridal Galleria

Suits: Men's Wearhouse

 

 

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Blending Cultures in Rural Wisconsin | Nitish & Elle's Indian Fusion Wedding

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Blending Cultures in Rural Wisconsin | Nitish & Elle's Indian Fusion Wedding

It is no easy task to pull off a backyard wedding under typical circumstances, but when Elle and Nitish decided to tie the knot, they faced the unique challenge of bringing important elements of Indian wedding tradition to her family's rural Columbus acreage. 

Elle's father built an outbuilding just for the reception and tamed the mosquitoes hiding in the lush green forest surrounding them. Elle and Nitish traveled back to India for Elle's stunning hand made lehenga as well as Nitish's sherwani and the attire for the entire wedding party. Their wedding programs included details about both American and Indian wedding traditions, and they even found a white horse for the baraat, or pre-wedding parade of the groom's family and friends. 

Saturday dawned clear and cool for July, and despite the hiccups that occur with such a jam-packed wedding day, Elle and Nitish breezed through everything with class, joy, and humor. And there wasn't a dry eye in attendance as they read their beautiful vows to each other. Thanks so much to both families for welcoming Olga and I on this important day. Its a wedding we won't forget!

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Dodging the Rain at Wisconsin Dells Wedding

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Dodging the Rain at Wisconsin Dells Wedding

Max and Karynne had long planned a beautiful outdoor ceremony planned at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. But on Saturday, Max spent more time checking the weather than he did getting dressed for the big day because on-again, off-again storms kept sweeping through the area. 

Nothing, however, would stop them from tying the knot in the lush green of the dells, and the sky lightened just enough for them to say their vows in nature...just before everyone ran back inside as new drops began to fall just after their kiss. 

It was a culmination of love for two high school sweethearts, but the entire day was a love fest of family and friends. We had such a blast making these images and can't thank Max and Karynne enough for their kindness throughout the day. 

Special thanks to all the vendors who helped make their day work so well: The staff at the Wilderness Resort (rushing out to wipe down the chairs moments before the service!), flowers from Cindy at Blooms Unfold, DJ by Jukebox Bandstand, Sari Anderson for makeup, Liz Zernicke of Locks by Liz for hair, officiant duties by Karynne's uncle, Jeff Quaerna, the gorgeous beaded wedding gown from Premiere Couture, bridesmaids dresses from David's Bridal, tuxedos from Nedrebo's, ceremony music by Jason Stubbs, and a tasty wedding cake from Agie's Cakes

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A Grand St. Paul Cathedral and Interlachen Country Club Wedding

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A Grand St. Paul Cathedral and Interlachen Country Club Wedding

Chad and Brenda took their time getting to the altar, but it was clearly worth the wait when they got married last weekend in a grand wedding in the Twin Cities. Their love story began during a bonfire at Indian Lake Park, and continued to burn brightly seven years later as they celebrated their union with family and friends, paying homage to Brenda's mother's history with the Interlachen Country Club and their connection to the Catholic Church at one of the Midwest's most beautiful cathedrals. 

It's rare a wedding goes off without a hitch, but this one sure did, despite some cool spring weather. It helps that Chad and Brenda not only knew what they wanted, they knew how to make sure everyone, from the vendors to the guests, had a fabulous time. 

The day wouldn't have gone so well if not for the great work done by the other vendors on this stunning day. Thanks to the Cathedral of St. Paul for providing one of the most beautiful backdrops for a ceremony we've ever had the pleasure to photograph and to Father Michael Becker (who led the service and who helped Chad and Brenda secure this coveted venue), Interlachen Country Club, hair and makeup artist Julia McConahay of Chrysalis Hair and Body, (and violin music during cocktail hour), the Fabulous Flower Market for gorgeous bouquets and decor, Steve, the Midwest Sound DJ who kept the dance floor packed all night, Very Tres Chic for Brenda's sleek wedding dress, Brandi's Bridal for the bridesmaids dresses, and Nedrebo's for men's tuxedos. 

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How to Plan your Engagement Session

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How to Plan your Engagement Session

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engagement session in train

One of our favorite things, besides weddings, is getting to know our couples better during their engagement sessions. Madison and all of Southern Wisconsin offer a wide variety of locations and activities that make for amazing engagement photographs. Here are a few tips to getting not only amazing, unique images but also having a great time.

  1. Do what you love together. More than anything else, this tip is key to getting a set of photographs that only you could star in. Our approach begins with a discussion about the things you love to do as a couple. Maybe you love hiking in the woods, so we go to your favorite hiking spot. Or you love trains, so we visit a train museum. Or maybe you walk your dogs together every day and want us to document that. You might love grabbing a beer or glass of wine at a local haunt or shooting pool downtown. The options are truly endless. Its not so important that you're sitting in the perfect location as it is that you are doing what you love, together. It shows. 
  2. Embrace the season. Whether it's spring, summer, winter, or fall, Madison offers myriad views and settings regardless of the time of year. Spring presents nice weather and blooming flowers as well as more than a small chance of rain. Summer can be hot, but later in the evening it often cools down nicely. Autumn brings the beautiful colors of fall, and sometimes a little cool weather. And winter can offer a snowscape that's magical. As long as you love it, we can bring the season to life in your images. 
  3. Weather create opportunities. Last year, weather turned out to be one of the stars of our engagement sessions. We powered through all day showers at one session, getting a bit wet as we walked the couple's dogs, but were rewarded with the most stunning sunset of the entire season. That's not unusual--the best sunsets always occur after rain. And this winter, we worked with one couple who really wanted to make their photographs while it snowed. It takes a bit more flexibility and cooperation, but the results were worth it. 
  4. Your wardrobe should reflect your style but not overwhelm you. You want your personalities to shine in engagement photographs, but wild colors, logos, and patterns will distract from the beautiful love you share. Dark colors keep the attention on your faces as well. 
  5. Have fun! The advantage of documentary-style engagement sessions is that you get to do something you love doing and we simply capture it. That's why identifying something you love doing is more important than anything else in your planning of the session. There's always time for more traditional images as we find great light and settings wherever we are. 

Whatever you do, talk with your photographer to make sure your images are not only beautiful, but also unique to you. Are you looking for a photographer for your wedding and engagement session? We'd love to talk! Email or call us today!

madison snow engagement

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