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A Charming Autumn Backyard Wedding

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A Charming Autumn Backyard Wedding

We knew this was going to be one heck of a wedding when the groom, Ken, rolled in on his Harley Sportster at the home of his future bride's parents in Mount Horeb a few hours before festivities began. Joan and her parents had spent months turning their lush backyard into the most festive wedding site possible, complete with a beautiful arbor, a s'mores station, and a cannon to announce the couple as they arrived for the reception. 

We've been photographing a lot of backyard Madison weddings lately, and they offer some real advantages from our perspective. What we love the most is that the place itself is a character in the story, and it's something we try to capture for clients. But it also means a level of comfort for the families that doesn't exist when you're at a banquet hall or hotel or other kind of venue. 

But they do have their challenges in terms of coordination, planning, and preparation! Joan's parents literally re-graded their yard to fit the tent, and Ken was out back sealing wood with tongue oil until just before the guests started arriving. 

In the end, it was all worth the effort, as Joan and Ken were able to revel in the joy of marriage with their adorable toddler, Jordy, and everyone had a blast. 

A special thanks to all the vendors who helped make this wedding so much fun: 

Florist: Victoria's Garden

Decor: Everything Under the Roof Improvements LLC

Tent: Bucky's Rentals

Catering: Gristle Catering

DJ: Tom York

Wedding Dress: Vera's Bridal by David Tutura

Bridesmaid Dress: Lulu's

Officiant: The Rev. Amy Gile

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Polka, craft beer, and family: Classic Wisconsin Wedding Reception

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Polka, craft beer, and family: Classic Wisconsin Wedding Reception

Kayla and Adam met at a home brewing event years ago, and while their careers have taken them out west and back, when they decided to get married, they knew just what to do: A small ceremony in their beloved mountains of Colorado followed by a big shindig at Adam's family farm outside of Mineral Point. 

Nestled into the rolling hills of south central Wisconsin, the family farm served as a perfect backdrop for a day to celebrate with family and friends. As a photographer, we love it most when the locations are personal to our couples, and all night long we heard stories about life on the farm from the family and friends who attended. But we were doubly blessed with Kayla and Adam. Not only were they fun, relaxed, and looked stunning for the reception, but we got share in their love of the natural beauty of the land and the gorgeous textures of the buildings on the property. 

Craft brews were on tap, but there was plenty of Hamm's (a family favorite) as well. And a first for us: A polka band brought out all the dancers, both young and old, in the barn after the sun set. 

We spent some time doing portraits that captured the farm's charm--acres of rolling prairie bursting with fall color, a weathered machine shed, the barn converted into a dance floor, and the spectacular vistas on the back 40. We couldn't be more excited to share the day with Adam and Kayla. 

Thanks, Kayla and Adam, and we wish you all the best in your new married life together!

Venue: Family Farm near MIneral Point

Catering: Stoddard's Market and Catering

Band: The Mike Schneider Band

Cake: Carl's Cakes

Dress: Vera's House of Bridals

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Sam and Jessica’s Historic Madison Wedding

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Burning it up at Engine Company 3 | Milwaukee Wedding

Matt and Brenda were ready to relax and let loose at their Engine Company 3 reception, starting with a quick tequila shot at the bar and then heading upstairs to enjoy the night with their friends and family. We love these kinds of weddings, where the personalities of the couple and their guests shine and everybody has a great time. It allows us to follow the night as it unfolds, capturing authentic moments along the way. From the hilarious and touching toasts to the joyful partying on the dance floor, this was a night to remember. 

As night fell, we got a few minutes with the couple to capture the ambience of Walker's Point, and that was all the time we needed to get some nice images. Congrats to Matt & Brenda! 

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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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Natalie and Luke's Backyard Vero Beach Wedding

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Natalie and Luke's Backyard Vero Beach Wedding

A wedding isn't an easy thing to pull off, and when Natalie and Luke decided to get married back home, at her father's Vero Beach home, they didn't know it would thunder and storm all afternoon, or that Luke would be too ill to rise out of bed until minutes before the ceremony. But nothing could stop Luke from his passion for Natalie, and even the rain cooperated just enough to make the day a true pleasure. 

There's something so authentic about a couple getting married in a family home. The mementos of a lifetime of family pleasures, the comfort and familiarity it brings for everyone involved. We loved their wedding and the warmth they brought to the day. Congratulations! 

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Haley + Pete Tie the Knot at Delray Sands Resort

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Haley + Pete Tie the Knot at Delray Sands Resort

What began as a pretty simple, casual plan turned into a majestic wedding for Haley and Pete in Highland Beach at the Delray Sands Resort. Haley, who's most comfortable in flip flops and shorts, fell in love with a Belissima Bride dress, but that didn't stop her and her friends from having fun! 

It was a great honor to photograph their day, and we wish them all the best! Special thanks to all the vendors who made this great day possible:

Venue: Delray Sands Resort

Dress: Belissima Bride

Florist: Dalsimer Atlas

Cake: Belen at BBB Cakes

Ceremony Music: Ed Horowitz

Officiant: "Captain Bruce" Siler

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Anne + Stephan's Stunning Addison Wedding

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Anne + Stephan's Stunning Addison Wedding

Anne never does anything halfway, so her wedding to Stephan was full on glamorous, beautiful, and fun! Between Stephan's clowning around, the adorable crew of nieces and nephews busting moves on the dance floor, and the stunning decor and momentos, this was a wedding for the ages!

Congratulations to Anne and Stephan, and we wish you all the best!

Venue: The Addison

Florist: Flowers by Renée

Videographer: Frank at Ninja Monkey Media

Cake: Leslie at Delectable Delights

DJ: DJ Darron at Avant DJ

Makeup: Desena

Dress: Angela's Bridal

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