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destination wedding

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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Great bourbon, great friends, and a beautiful wedding

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Great bourbon, great friends, and a beautiful wedding

I met James many years ago, when he was a strident poet with a pastoral bent and I was a struggling novelist. We argued, laughed, and bonded over borscht and vodka while we completed our MFA degrees at the University of Arkansas. Both single, we commiserated over the difficulties of finding a great life partner as we navigated jobs, family, and the daily grind of life. 

He gave me great advice when I decided to spend some time teaching English overseas, as he had been an ESL teacher in Japan and Malaysia, and when I met my wife in Ukraine, he was one of the first I told. So when he talked about this new woman in his life, Tania, a few years ago, I was excited for him. They met when Tania came to Kentucky for a program that enhanced the English of foreign English teachers. She was from Ecuador, but that didn't stop James from realizing the special bond they shared, and when she went home, their bond only grew. 

So it was no surprise he called me asking for advice about getting her and her beautiful daughter visas to come live with him. He had been with me as I navigated the immense bureaucracy of USCIS trying to get visas for my wife and stepdaughter. So I was with him as he battled through the process over the winter and spring, finally securing a fiancee visa for Tania and her daughter. Of course I was there to photograph the wedding.

This was a relaxed, intimate wedding in the heart of bourbon country, and it couldn't have fit James and Tania more completely. As the sun set, we trekked out to Shaker Village, where James had proposed, and we walked up the hills of the preserve to one of his favorite places. Pristine natural grasslands on the rolling hills of Kentucky, this was where James often came to keep himself centered, and it helped me understand his connection to nature and his connection to his beautiful bride. Thank you, James and Tania, for sharing the weekend with me. And for the great local bourbon, which is almost gone!

 

 

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Florida Destination Wedding for a Stunning Couple

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Florida Destination Wedding for a Stunning Couple

It's not unusual for wedding photographers to travel when they photograph a wedding, but it's always a little more stressful than usual. And, unbeknownst to last weekend's stunning couple Cheryl and Nick, this one was painful at the start. Olga and I arrived early in Milwaukee to catch our direct flight back to South Florida the day before their wedding, but the computer hangover from a day of glitches at Southwest Airlines meant we spent ten hours sitting in the airport hoping our long-delayed flight wouldn't face the fate of so many others that day--cancellation. 

We lined up some friends in South Florida to document the wedding, but our patience was rewarded with a late night flight and arrival at 4 a.m., just a few hours before we needed to head to Sunny Isles to capture the day's wedding. We arrived early at the gorgeous Doubletree by Hilton Oceanpoint Resort and Spa and simply got to work...if you can call it that! 

Nick and Cheryl and the entire wedding party and family were a blast to hang out with, and the outdoor ceremony was even blessed with a cool ocean breeze and cloudy skies. 

We simply felt lucky to see the love, joy, and zest for life that everybody brought to the wedding.  Congrats to the amazing couple!

 

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