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Ashok doesn’t love much more than he loves Riverbend.  He lights up within its walls, his eyes sparkle as he describes the library, and his shoulders relax a bit lower as he walks the grounds.  But then there are Brooke and their kids.  They certainly rank above this enchanting estate, and when you see them all together, you understand why.  So on this day, he got all of them together – the incomparable Riverbend in Kohler, his brilliant and gorgeous bride, and their troupe of six kids.  They added a handful of their dearest friends and family and celebrated love on a fall day that was nothing short of perfection.

 

The Credits:

Venue: Riverbend Estate in Kohler
Floral: Destination Kohler
Catering: Destination Kohler
Hair & Makeup: Destination Kohler
Bride’s Gown: Nicole Miller

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“For one night, we have it all to ourselves…”

That’s what Ron said in reflection of his wedding day, looking out over a sea of happy faces, all raising a glass to him and Heidi.  There they were, surrounded by love, basking in the glow of candlelight, sheltered by the incredible architecture of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Love had struck twice, and he had been bold enough to scoop it up.  He joked it was a ‘geriatric’ wedding – but all in attendance only saw how much these two revel in their fortune.  Heidi was radiant.  Rom was effusive in his joy.  Their kids were proud and giddy in admiration.  This is what it looks like to wear love on the outside, for everyone to see.

Ron was in awe.  This magnificent place….they had it all to themselves…for one night.

The Credits:

Venue: Milwaukee Art Museum
Getting Ready Venue: The Journeyman Hotel
Planner: Blue Fancy Events
Floral: Belle Fiori
Cake: The Cake Lady
Band: Green Fourteen
Makeup & Hair: Style By R
Bride’s Gown: Rime Arodaky
Groom’s Suit: Giorgio Armani
Stationery: Designs that Fly
Truffle Favors: Indulgence Chocolatiers

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Whether it’s fabulous selfies wherever they go, carefully constructed shots of their latest restaurant meal….or someone who could talk your ear off with all the gear wishes of their hearts….Everyone has that one person in their life who is always taking pictures.

So, what do you get the photographer in your life?   Or, maybe Mom has been bugging you for a few ideas to put under the tree?

Just send her this list, I’ve got you covered.

Let’s look at 7 fun gifts for the Shutterbug in your life.  This is someone who is enthusiastic about taking photos, loves photography, but isn’t a professional or a gear head.   And actually, a pro or a gear head amateur would probably love these too.

  1. Canvas Wine Tote – $14 –  This tote is adorable, and any photographer who wastes away their nights staring into the glow of a computer screen will appreciate it.  Fill it with some wine to fuel those late-night editing sessions and you are golden.
  2. Podo Labs Stick & Shoot Camera – $69 – I LOVE this little guy.  It sticks to any surface and communicates with your smartphone.  No more selfie sticks or stretching your arm out beyond the socket – just stick, smile and click.   This is extra awesome for the Mom in your life – she gets to be IN the picture with this guy in her purse.
  3. Photography Patent Posters – $19 – A little inspirational and vintage-style art that can suit almost any decor.  A sophisticated homage to your love of photography, and a great conversation starter.
  4. Instax Camera ($54.99) and Instax Film Pack ($19.80) – These cameras are so fun.  It’s polaroids on a smaller scale, with simple and easy to use options.  Give your favorite photographer a chance to go analog and have some fun.  Kids really have a blast with these too!
  5. Wireless Bluetooth Camera Selfie Trigger – $7.99 – Another chance to be IN the pictures instead of always behind them.  This little remote lets you click away from inside an image.
  6. Power Add Bank – $14.99 – Hubby was gifted one of these last year, and you’ll see me stealing it on the regular.  Each battery pack holds multiple charges for your phone or tablet – so no worries about draining your batteries on your photo adventures.  It’s practical, but you will be hearing all about how often the recipient uses this clever gift.
  7. Golden Hour T-shirt –  $28 – There are a lot of fun photography themed t-shirts out there.  But I like this one since it’s a little more subtle and invites conversation for those not familiar with this magical time of day.

For the aspiring photographer, the professional, or the avid amateur – any of these gifts would leave a serious impression!

  1. The Think Tank International Bag – $399.75 – I’ve had this exact bag for 10 years, and it still looks nearly brand-new.  It’s been hauled around more airports, photoshoots and weddings than I can count…and it just keeps delivering.  The interior is fully customizable to suit your particular gear needs, it fits in every airplane overhead compartment, and it’s built to last a lifetime.
  2. Creative Live Photography Classes – various $ – Buy your photographer a gift certificate to this amazing online education site.  They’ll be able to expand their knowledge and skills in hundreds of areas – all from the comfort of their couch in their pajamas.
  3. Think Tank Photo Lily Deanne Mezzo Bag – $149.75 – Can you handle more bag love?  Because I am deeply in love with this bag.  I’ve been carrying around multiple versions of other shooting bags for years, always disappointed with how they didn’t hold up.  This bag checks all the boxes and then some!  More space without the bulk, fully customizable, structured enough to stand up when set down (no spilling lenses!), but soft enough to hug your body while shooting.  I could go on and on…this is THE bag.  And, it’s 50% off right now….
  4. Holga Camera – $39.99 – These little cameras come in a variety of colors and styles, but the insides are what matter.  As simple as a camera can be – light, film, shutter and basic settings.  Trust the magic of silver nitrate exposed to light over time, and let this camera unleash some hidden creativity for you.  The basic process they demand frees you from the technical side of photography and results in lots of happy accidents.
  5. Ilford HP5 Black & White Film – $8.29 – This is my favorite film.  Pair it with the Holga camera above and you’ve really got a combo gift.  But give several rolls alone and you’ve just handed a photographer candy.  Film, to use however they want, on whatever they want – that’s fun times.  Make it even better with a gift card for processing to your local lab.
  6. Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza –  $30 – This is a totally bipartisan recommendation, all politics aside.  You could be on the far right and still love the photography in this book.  Souza is a brilliant photojournalist who shot day in and day out, for years, capturing the story that was President Obama.  You’ll be astounded by his neverending creativity and interest in a single subject, and his creative use of elements he had on hand to make brilliant compositions.
  7. Irving Penn: Centennial – $49.98 –  It’s Irving Penn, the consummate portrait artist.  The one we all copy, look up to, seek to allude to.  This tome belongs on every photographer’s bookshelf for endless inspiration and thoughtful reflection.

 

 

 

**Many links provided are affliliate links.  So if you use them, I get a little something for sending you that direction.  Thanks!

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Elise had a vision for her wedding day.  One that involved a vintage sensibility with blush dresses, romantic florals, a touch of whimsical antiques, and small touches that showed their guests how much they were appreciated.  Late fall in Wisconsin can be temperamental and a cold front was eyeing up their weekend squarely.  In the end, we got surprised by sunshine at moments and a warmer afternoon than expected.  But no matter…the chilly breeze drew everyone closer to snuggle under blankets at the woodsy outdoor ceremony and huddled them nearer with mugs of cider.  That cozy and warm vibe was the perfect final touch to Elise & Dan’s day.  Something that couldn’t be bought in a store, but instead was fostered over time and the clear expression of how everyone felt about this union.

The Credits:

Venue: The Farm at Dover
Floral: Cora Flora Studio
Bride’s Dress: BHLDN
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Bridesmaids: Paper Crown
Catering: Sazamas Fine Catering
Invites: Minted
Tux: Hart Schaffner Marx

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Tara and Victor’s wedding day felt like a love letter to Villa Terrace.  They used every inch of the estate, celebrating the nooks and crannies, decorating the vistas, reveling and delighting in the atmosphere it exudes.  These two certainly have an eye for hosting a great party – whether it was toasts delivered from a balcony, cocktails among fine works of art, a first dance under twinkling lights and stars, dinner al fresco with a Lake Michigan view, and even an impromptu performance from the groom.  This is a summer wedding that takes in all the season and the historic mansion have to offer and garnishes it with love.

The Credits:

Venue: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Planner: Gracious Events
Floral: Gracious Events
Catering: Gracious Events
Bride’s Gown: Pronovias  purchased at: Vera’s House of Brides
Makeup: Blush by Brittany
Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal
Men’s Suits: Michael Kors
Stationer: Creative by Jennifer
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Favors: Taffy Town Taffy
Lighting: Milwaukee Airwaves
Band: Lead Bottom Band

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Images come across the editing desk long before they show up on the blog… and sometimes I just can’t wait to share them with you.  So, I have to jump the process and share at least one with you today from last weekend’s mini-sessions.  Funny Ellie and her energetic bro Nathan made their session a bundle of fun!  Twenty minutes flew right by and I was lucky to get this awesome shot.

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Sometimes there’s a location that holds all your warmest memories.  The place where you enjoyed ice cream cones in the sun, where you splashed your sister in the pool, where you watched Mom and Dad stroll into the sunset hand-in-hand, where you wasted away afternoons in a good book, where you celebrated graduations, where you dreamed of the dark and handsome man you would marry one day.  And then one day you wake up and realize it’s all coming full circle.  You are making another memory in this special place, one that will be a chapter page in your life.  You are marrying that dark and handsome man, with the broad smile you hadn’t counted on but that makes you weak in the knees, in your favorite place, on a most magnificent day.

The Credits:

Venue: The American Club
Planner: Tailored Engagements
Floral: The American Club
Cake: The American Club
Flower Cake Decorations: The Cake Lady
Cupcakes: Blooming Lotus Bakery
DJ: Milwaukee Airwaves
Bride’s Gown: Pronovias
Bridesmaid Dresses: WToo by Watters
Suits: The Black Tux
Makeup: Kate Troxell
Ceremony Musicians: Fretless Strings

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It was 2015.  He was the course doctor at the PGA tour at Whistling Straits.  She was his new-ish girlfriend enjoying the views on the course, the gameplay of the pros and the warm sunshine.  There were benefits to dating Ashok, many of which seemed to revolve around awesome sporting events and even more awesome venues in Kohler.  There were other things too, of course.  His winning smile, his gentle nature, the care and consideration he treated her with, the child-like energy he exuded when talk turned to his beloved Corvette.  Oh, and those four children he gushed about.  She hadn’t met them yet, but that wasn’t necessary to realize how great they were.  So, there she stood, sunshine at her back, the wind off of Lake Michigan blowing her brown hair away from her face.  She’d been at this hole for awhile, but she figured he’d be by as the foursome moved on.   Then it happened.  The crowd started to rustle, a low buzz of conversation that grew to higher tones of concern and panic.  An amplified voice announced the game was to be suspended.  A tornado warning had been issued.  She looked around, not sure where to head amongst the hills and valleys of the Irish course.  And there he was, running over to her.  “Come on, let’s get you out of here” he called as he ushered her into his medical golf cart.  He dodged the groups and tents.  “Shouldn’t you be…?” she started to ask.  But Ashok was focused and not really listening.  He pulled up in front of a shelter, escorting her out of the golf cart and to the door.  He smiled at her, then looked over his shoulder.  She was sure his duties were elsewhere.  “Okay?” he asked her, looking expectantly into her eyes.  She nodded.  “Good.  I love you.  Bye.”  And off he ran, back to the cart, back to the course, and back to his job.  And there she stood, stuck to the ground and speechless.  He hadn’t said that before.  

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it every year – the wedding that falls at the end of June gets all the good “wedding day juju”.  I swear!  The weather is perfect, the setting is gorgeous, and the light is all kinds of magical.  Annie & Mike’s day had all these things – but it is something more about this wedding that makes it really special.  It’s the smile on her Mom’s face as the dress is buttoned, it’s the look in Mike’s eye as Annie comes down the aisle, it was the jokes Annie & her Dad shared outside the church, it was Mike’s “let’s do it!” attitude as we cruised around the golf course, it was the ‘can’t breathe I’m laughing so hard’ moments in the speeches, it was in the poetic words of Annie’s sister in her toast, and it was definitely in the way they sang their first dance to each other, as they swirled around and around the dance floor.                                                                                                          

The Credits:

Wedding Planner: Clementine Custom Events
Ceremony Venue: St. Francis Xavier Church – Wilmette, IL
Reception Venue: Westmoreland Country Club
Hair & Makeup: Kate Johnson Artistry
Florals: Edwards Florists
Cake: Sweet Mandy B’s
Band: Carol Sarlas Band

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Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of something I wouldn’t usually do.  If I’m feeling bold, I’ll go down that path creatively.  I’m often surprised by where this takes me – sometimes good, sometimes bad.  This time, it was good.

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