When I think back about last year’s weddings, or really any wedding I’ve shot (and even though it’s over 200 I remember them ALL), it’s always the stories that stand out in my memory. Yes, there are gorgeous details, to-die-for dresses, and truly inspiring locations. But what really keeps me running after the next shot is the story. No matter how many times I witness a wedding day, it is never, ever the same because of the stories.
Below I’ve highlighted a defining moment from each of last year’s weddings. It’s up to you to click thru on the name of the couple to see the rest of the story.
And of course….scroll down to the bottom for the rules, the prizes, and to VOTE!
Allison & Bryan
Milwaukee Athletic Club Wedding
A first look is often one of the best parts of any wedding day. For these two, it was a privilege to witness. Bryan waited nervously in the hallway as the bridesmaids cleared out of their suite. When he walked in, his reaction to seeing his stunning Bride was priceless. (you’ll have to click over to their blog post to see it). But this moment right here, as they headed out for pictures, that look on Bryan’s face as he helps Allison with her dress. That says it all. Such pride, such love, such excitement.
Charlotte & Jason
The American Club Wedding
For these two, their wedding was as much about joining their family together as it was about the couple. Jason’s four children had been integral in kickstarting their engagement. So, it was only fitting that one of them serenaded the two as a surprise gift during dancing. Certainly a moment none of them will ever forget, and possibly the best welcome a stepmom could ever get.
Jessica & Nick
Gesu Parish Ceremony and Wisconsin Club Reception
I’ve seen a few Brides do this – a first look with their Dad. It’s so sweet, and such a great idea if you have a great relationship with your Father. Jessica clearly does, and her first look with her Father is a real tear-jerker. There was clapping, laughter, squeals of joy, and a few happy tears.
Mandy & Peter
The American Club Wedding
I love asking couples about their mate because you can learn so much about them, how they feel about each other, and who they are as a couple from the way they describe the other person. When we arrived for the day in Mandy’s suite as her hair was being done, she was sitting very quietly. There wasn’t the clatter of girlfriends swapping stories, or questions and answers flying around about the day’s plans. The air was calm, like the eye of a storm. When the hairstylist asked her how she and Peter met, it was as if someone flipped a switch. Her smile was bright and beaming and the air filled with the love she expressed easily for Peter.
Anne & Ian
St. Francis Ceremony, Pier Wisconsin Reception
I’ve been known to ask wedding parties to do some pretty crazy things in order to get to the images I’m seeking. Not this wedding party. I turned around to capture the group with a Milwaukee skyline backdrop and found instead that they had started their very own dance party and were rapping along together even. Easily one of the most entertaining wedding parties ever!
Christina & Chris
St. Paul’s Church Ceremony, Milwaukee Athletic Club Reception
Christina’s nieces enjoyed their jobs as flower girls with fervent joy. This little one though, she embraced it so fully – even assisting their florist Emily with the church decor before the ceremony. She already had everyone charmed before the organ even began to play. But it was this moment where she ran back to her aunt for one last kiss before running down the aisle – that stole my heart.
July & Michael
Whistling Straits Wedding
Your siblings are your built-in friends for life. That couldn’t be truer for July and her brother, who busted out a custom dance routine together in place of the traditional father-daughter dance. It turns out an elegant Monique Lhullier gown dances very well….
Maura & Sean
Whistling Straits Wedding
I often get misty-eyed behind the lens at a good father-daughter moment. Perhaps it is because we have little girls, one of whom is so clearly a “daddy’s girl”. Sean adores sweet Emma so completely, his whole body lights up at the mere mention of her. So, this father-daughter first look was especially sweet, and I thought it was so awesome that Maura & Sean crafted this moment to include Emma.
Ashley & Mike
Quivey’s Grove Wedding
Unabashed love will get us every time. When Mike took the microphone for a toast, the last thing Ashley expected was a heartfelt toast to her. By the time he was done, there wasn’t a dry eye under the tent.
Erin & Eric
Grand Geneva Wedding
It’s hard to pick just one funny moment from this wedding day. But I think the song Eric wrote and performed for Erin as a toast, it truly took the cake. The ukelele was just icing.
Kate & Taylor
Elkhart Lake Wedding
Photography obviously captures moments. It’s a serious bonus when the act of photographing can create a moment for a client. At the end of their portrait time, we climbed up a creaky, winding staircase inside one of the crumbling lime kilns on this property, emerging in the sweet breeze (oh so sweet – we were so hot!) several stories over the cocktail hour. I remember pretending to fiddle with my camera for a few moments while Kate and Taylor surveyed the party below. It’s a perspective most couples don’t get to have of their wedding – and seeing everyone all at once – gathered just to celebrate you – I hope it’s something they never forget.
Megan & Mike
Lumen Christi Ceremony, The Waterfront Reception
I just loved the way that these two took five minutes and centered themselves before their ceremony. A prayer with their wedding party (the two of them hiding around a column to preserve the first look tradition) set the tone for the hour, and day to follow.
Ashley & Tim
Grace Episcopal Church Ceremony, Madison Club Reception
Every once in awhile we help create a moment. All it takes is a nudge to put someone or something over the tipping point and a memory is in the making. Ashley’s Dad was hovering outside the vintage car she was hiding in, a bit nervously, waiting for the moment to take her into the church. A signal from the church lady left him stumbling for action for a split second. So, I said, “Open the door for her”. He probably doesn’t even remember that someone told him what to do. But I love the moment that followed.
Terren & Shane
Stella Maris Parish Ceremony, Garden Gables Reception
“Molly, she cried when I got there”. This is what Melissa told me when we chatted the night of Terren & Shane’s wedding for our traditional recap of the day. “Oh no,” I replied “What was wrong?” “Nothing. She was that happy to see us!” Having a client cry upon our arrival out of sheer joy that her photographers had arrived – that’s a first. I think it was just the last piece of the puzzle that morning. The event that made it all real. Such joy and excitement over getting married was apparent all day.
Meg & Rob
Over the Vines Wedding
Meg and Rob are wonderfully present people. This moment, where Megan’s Mom is giving her reading at their ceremony – most people stare at the reader, or maybe at the ground. Meg and Rob closed their eyes and breathed the moment in. You can see Rob internalizing the words, and Meg basking in the love (and sunshine) of the moment. Theirs was a day that struck you deep in your soul and sat there – building a fire. This moment is just one reason why.
Brooke & Nick
New Holstein Wedding
I don’t think I’ve ever met a bride as wonderfully positive as Brooke. She is always beautifully happy. And never more so than on her wedding day. This Bride beamed from ear to ear through every breath of their wedding day. When they skipped down the aisle after saying “I do”, it was an exuberant metaphor for their day.
Jen & Jeremy
Whistling Straits Wedding
You just can’t beat belly-busting laughter during a wedding ceremony, and Jen & Jeremy’s is no exception.
Li-Na & John
Villa Terrace Wedding
Li-Na read a poem written by her Father, in his native Chinese as a reading during the ceremony. It was a love poem, and something about hearing her voice, twisted into new sounds gave it extra weight.
Monica & Nathan
Pier Wisconsin Wedding
As a photographer, I do get a front-row seat to almost every moment of a wedding day. But there is still an inside experience that the Bride and Groom have, that we can’t be privy to. Monica and Nathan were obviously having their own day, and they shared it with little whispers throughout, that we sometimes managed to capture, like this one.
Carolyn & Brendan
St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church Ceremony, Villa Terrace Reception
It was this moment during Carolyn & Brendan’s first look that took my breath away. The morning sun was still low over Lake Michigan and illuminated the first look brilliantly. It felt like these two were getting a true moment in the sun.
Jennifer & Jimmy
St. Monica’s Catholic Church Ceremony, Pfister Reception
The picture on the right below is actually from a moment I don’t describe in full in the blog post. Jennifer hid a little private joke in their cake design, and this is the moment that Jimmy discovered it. I just adore his expression – it speaks to so much joy, and such a deep connection.
Kerri & Brent
Harley Davidson Museum Wedding
This was an absolute blast to shoot – such joy, celebration, energy, and color! I adored this high-energy grand entrance and it suited this couple so perfectly.
Shannon & Brandon
Door County Wedding
I loved this moment from Shannon & Brandon’s wedding for the absolute pure joy of it. When you plan your wedding in a whirlwind three months, the finality of managing to pull it off – such accomplishment!
Cassie & Casey
Woodwalk Gallery Wedding
When Cassie and her siblings spontaneously broke out into song at their reception, I knew we were in for a really good party! Please let my children enjoy each other this much…
Jenny & Pat
Viansa Winery Wedding
Jenny and Pat’s wedding plans were dreamlike, almost a fairytale. Run away to a beautiful Napa Valley winery and marry amongst a weekend of pure fun. This moment right here, this is where it became real.
Lauren & Aaron
St. John Vianney Catholic Church Ceremony, Janesville Country Club Wedding
If you could forget for a moment that you are viewing this image on the internet – it could be 1952. Lauren was a modern Grace Kelly for her wedding day – and perhaps in real life too. She has such a presence that feels as if she fully owns herself, and puts that forth in tot he world with care for the presentation. This moment – such elegance in an ordinary moment – that is what their day was.
Stephanie & Brian
Overture Center Wedding
There are a lot of great moments from Stephanie & Brian’s wedding, but its hard to beat a flash mob of singers that show up at your cocktail hour.
The Fine Print:
-Voting runs from today (March 26) thru Wednesday, April 1st at Noon.
-Voters are recognized by IP address, and you can vote once a day, per IP address.
PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES:
A 24×36 Gallery Wrap Canvas
A 16×20 Gallery Wrap Canvas
A 12×18 Gallery Wrap Canvas
On Monday, March 30th, there will be a Facebook post about this contest, and also an Instagram about the contest. Add a comment to either of those (or both) and you’ll get an extra vote (or two) for the day!
Thanks so much for voting! And heartfelt THANK YOU to all 27 of these couples who trusted us with their stories last year. It was such a humbling and memorable experience to walk in step with each of you!
Jenny and Pat wanted a wedding that felt more like a really good vacation with all those they love most. That’s exactly what they got when they imported all their Wisconsin favorites to Napa Valley for their nuptials at two of their favorite wineries. They treated their guests to winery tours, tastings, hiking trips, a beautiful bed & breakfast, and a yummy dinner in Sonoma, and somewhere in the middle of all of that they said “I Do” too.
Ceremony Venue: Viansa Winery & Marketplace
Tasting/Tour Venue: Domaine Chandon Winery
Dinner Venue: El Dorado Kitchen
Live Music: Wine Country Entertainment
Bride’s Gown: Allure Bridal
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Looking at Monica & Nathan’s wedding day – bunches of adjectives spring to mind. Stylish, sophisticated, inspired, beautiful, modern, summery. But what struck us most about their day was how much wedded bliss already surrounds them. Just look at how many couples you spot in the following pictures. Dozens of them, seriously in love. It’s a good place to be, and very good company.
“Only Fun will be had” – that was the theme of Kate & Taylor’s wedding weekend in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It was more than a theme really, more like a motto. And, they lived up to it in spades. These two are one of those couples that are so complete, it’s difficult to see where one person ends and the other begins. Such depth was apparent on their wedding day with every detail fully thought-out and executed with joy by both of them – together. It all started with the venue – a private family estate in Elkhart Lake that is well known as a party spot for locals (Taylor’s parents own a vacation home in the area and are friends with the owners). They partnered with a local floral farm and picked all the flowers the day before, and then Kate’s aunts (who happen to be florists) assembled the collection into more mason jars full of flowers than you have never seen in one place. Their ceremony arch was made from wood that was brought all the way from Taylor’s family home in Pennsylvania. Kate hand painted each invitation and table number. Their flower girls were three girlfriends, not little girls (and they embraced their duties with glee). Kate hammered Taylor’s wedding ring herself. When the rain started to pour just after dinner was starting – everyone just huddled together closer under the sailcloth tent and partied on. It was the kind of day that was so lovingly prepared, you felt privileged to take part in all that had been created. Leaving shortly after Taylor’s uncle took to the harmonica and had the dance-floor cheering, I realized they are also the sort of couple you wish you were your true friends.
Venue: Quasius Quarry
Florist: Bride’s Family & Friends
Cake: Mother of the Groom
Catering: Not by Bread Alone
Hair/Makeup: Gina Mueller
Bride’s Gown: Christos
Bride’s Jewelry: BHLDN
Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Men’s Suits: Jones New York