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State Street wedding

Sam and Jessica’s Historic Madison Wedding


Sam and Jessica’s Historic Madison Wedding

On April 30, 1944, a stunning young Wisconsin couple, Rose and Duane, got married. The date wasn’t coincidence, but rather a way to honor Rose's parents, who married the same day in 1917. So when Rose’s granddaughter Jessica and her fiance, Sam, started planning their wedding, they already knew the date. 

But Jessica had a lot more in mind. She knew the dress, and the ring she would wear, and she knew the most important guests, Rose and Duane, both of them now 97. She re-imagined Rose’s dress. She wore Rose’s ring. And she was determined to celebrate the wedding On April 30, 2017, a hundred years after her great-grandparents tied the knot and 73 years after her grandparents did. 

Every wedding we photograph is special because it represents something truly joyous, an affirmation of love and commitment. But this one, with this amazing couple and their families, was exceptional in more ways than history. Sure, it was cold and wet. Like every wedding, things didn’t go exactly according to plan. But none of that mattered. 

What mattered was simple: Family. Sam and Jessica got married at the Wisconsin State Capitol building, flipping in 1917 silver half dollar to decide who would recite their vows first, a nod to the great grandparents who married 100 years ago that day. Rose and Duane sat in the front row, surrounded by both their family and friends. 

I have to admit, I was nervous. I’m always a little nervous before a wedding, like an athlete before a big game or an actor waiting in the wings on opening night. But this was our first Madison wedding, after moving back last summer to be closer to our own family. And Jessica wasn’t simply a bride who found us online; she’s my own lovely daughter’s best friend. 

Thanks so much to Sam and Jessica for trusting us to document this historic moment, and for being the bravest couple ever when they were up for heading out to Olin Park in the cold and rain and wind after more than 12 hours of preparation and celebration, for just one more photo. We hope you love these images as much as Olga and I have loved making them. 

Ceremony: Wisconsin State Capitol

Getting Ready: Edgewater Hotel

Dress: Grandma Rose, assisted by bride and seamstresses Themis Flores and Kate Compton

Hair: Marissa, Anaala Salon

Makeup: Mel Stafford, Kneaded Relief

Florist: Lisa Larsen of Sunborn Gardens

Videographer: Stacy Bruner

Music: Andrew Nath

Officiant: Aaron Owen, friend of the groom