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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.

Hilltop : A Gathering Place

(all images from the venue’s website or google images.  Sadly, they weren’t credited.)

A knotted and knarled Catalpa tree thrusts it’s way out of the verdant lawn and up into the pale blue Wisconsin sky.  Below it’s heavy-laden branches stands a bride and groom, surrounded by concentric circles of family and friends and expanding landscape.  A warm breeze sweeps its way up the hill and rustles the lace of the bride’s dress.  They clasp hands, run down the aisle in joy and lead their guests to a stunning outdoor patio, where cocktails await.  As the sun sets among the pines and oaks, dipping below the hilltop they celebrate on, a sister toasts her best friend under a cream-colored canopy with small sparkles of lightening bugs illuminating the moment.  Later on, the rustle of leaves is joined by the strains of music from the 100-year old barn as guests jump, step and jive to the beat, a happy, newly-minted couple at their center.

That wedding could happen at Hilltop: A Gathering Place.  This unique and little-known venue is conveinently right in our backyard – adjacent to the famous Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  It’s one of those rare “all in one” wedding venues where you can have all of your events hosted on one piece of property providing a fluid and continuous wedding day experience.  The serene and pastoral nature of this wedding venue is an ideal spot for an outdoor wedding and reception for any nature lover.  Given the incredible views available from it’s elevated location, late summer and fall are particularly wonderful times to be married there.

The Pritzlaff Building

(all images from the venue’s website or google images.  Sadly, they weren’t credited.)

Footsteps echo across hardwood floors that have seen over 125 years of stories. Light streams in the tall factory style windows.  A bride glides down the aisle of a make-shift ceremony space, eyes locked fixedly on her smiling groom.  They and their guests, laugh, cry, promise and kiss under original timber beams, surrounded by endless cream-city brick.  The feelings are raw, unpolished and original, just like the space they stand in.  Hours later, they glide across a colorfully lit dance floor, circling and swaying amongst massive wood columns.  Glasses clink, faces alight in candle glow, small children play hide and seek and giggles waft across the open-ness.  All too soon, the band is packing up their equipment, the caterers start stacking chairs, and there stands the couple once again.  Her head is on his shoulder and they look around them at the beautiful mess they have created.  Another story to be imprinted into the history of this place.

The Pritzlaff Building has long been one of my favorite structures in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.  It’s vast, wandering and so full of history.  So, imagine my utter delight when I learned that Gravity Events has opened up an event space there!  Milwaukee has such a wonderful district of warehouse-style urban loft spaces in the Third Ward, but until the Prtizlaff, they were all suited to only more intimate weddings.  The Pritzlaff though is positively massive if you want it to be – with several convertible spaces that could host a wedding of 125 to 400 guests.   The possibilities are endless in this raw and unpolished space – make it elegant, make it hip, make it rustic.  It just doesn’t get cooler right now in Milwaukee than the Pritzlaff, and I can’t wait to shoot a wedding there!

Golden Oaks Mansion

(all images from the venue’s website or google images.  Sadly, they weren’t credited.)

All good love stories have a sense of folklore, a bit of fairytale.  Theirs was one of those.  One where the missing beats in its telling made you daydream, made you wonder what filled the spaces.  Strolling along the shore of Lake Geneva that summer, he read out the history and background of the mansions they passed.  One had played host to the playboy club, another a summer home for an industrial era magnate.  She wondered what their lives had been like, what details completed the stories.  Later that summer, they added another chapter to their story at a whitewashed mansion in the little community along the lake.  Standing amongst the generations-old oak trees, their branches swaying a sweet summer breeze, they vowed yesterday, today and tomorrow.  The chandeliers hanging from the branches twinkled with reflected light that evening, casting an aura of mystery and magic over the intimate gathering of family and friends for an open-air party.  The couple spun around the dance floor, weaving amongst their guests, negotiating the spaces between them, leaving some open and others full of new details and snippets of story.

If you’ve ever visited Lake Geneva, you’ve likely wondered just who lives in those amazing mansions and homes along the water.  It’s long been known as a vacation destination for Chicagoans and others, a little bit of Hamptons-esque flair right in the heart of the midwest.  There’s no question the little community is gorgeous and yet still quaint.  Most of the homes are private (and you can rent them for events often), but one of the oldest mansions is also an Inn, and you can get married there. The Golden Oaks Mansion is a little-known venue, but so lovely.  I’ve always pictured the sort of affair I’ve described above – an outdoor wedding under the oak trees, a small, intimate open-air reception in the summer breeze.  Lights strung from tree to tree, music wafting in the air, and a beautiful historic mansion standing guard over it all, soaking in this new story.  Of course the bonus of this location is the built-in rain back-up inside the mansion, and the fact that you can stay right there on the grounds with your closest family and friends.  It’s like you could step inside one of those stories, and fill it in with a few details of your own.

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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.

When you think of beautiful light, sweeping countryside, fantastic red wine, delicate pastries and charming old-world stone work – what comes to mind?  For me, it is the Provence region of France.  I’m not sure there is a more charming setting for a destination wedding than this region – it just surrounds you with unreal experiences and atmosphere.

I stumbled upon the La Bastide de Marie in a magazine some months ago, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since.

La Bastide de Marie is a former country farm, nestled deep in a vineyard in Menerbes, France.  One glance at the picture above and you just know this would be a wedding of peaceful quiet, inviting scents and flavors, rustic elegance, and charm, charm, charm for miles and miles.  Pretty much, this place has everything a French countryside wedding should be.

Thumbing thru the images of La Bastide de Marie and reading the descriptions – I can picture wedding photography at every step: nearby lavender fields, olive and cypress tree lined drive, rolling vineyards, manicured garden, breakfast terrace, pale blue shutters, original fieldstone, warm white plaster, unspoiled countryside, I could go on and on dreaming.  The village of Menebres, a jewel of Luberon, is very promising as well – stone ramparts, vaulted stone, cobblestone streets, rocky overlooks, 17th century bell-tower – this is the heart of Provence.

Do you see the lovely light in the image right above? That isn’t just a great picture – that’s great interior light.  This is a hard thing to find, rarely does the inside of a hotel, venue or location have amazing light to match its exterior.  This one does – and that means amazing getting ready pictures.

I have to admit a fairly intimate destination wedding seems most ideal for this location, though I’m sure it is capable of hosting some number of guests.  The main hotel (La Bastide de Marie) has plenty of grounds and buildings to house your main wedding participants and host your guests.  And the smaller Villa Grenache, a free-standing house on the property promises a more decadent and peaceful experience.

Provence has some of the best light in the world – warm, golden, abundant and so magical.  And if you’ve read even a few posts on my blog, you know that light is chief among my obsessions.  I’ll shoot in an empty parking lot if it has good light.  I’m quite certain a wedding at La Bastide de Marie, or just about anywhere in Provence, wouldn’t require such sacrifice.  Why not choose a destination wedding location based on the quality of the light?  It will make all the difference in your experience.  This is a truly inspiring and deeply soulful location – one that would have my head buzzing with the stories to capture.

As a side note, since this is a hotel deep in a romantic locale – this would also make a fantastic honeymoon destination!  Very intimate and lovely.  I can just see afternoons on bikes exploring the countryside and having picnics, sunset walks thru the vineyards…..(I do offer honeymoon photography as well).

*all images are from the La Bastide de Marie website.

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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.

Who doesn’t love a southern plantation wedding?  I think it might be my well-buried southern girl roots (I grew up partly in Virginia), but I have a severe soft spot for all things Southern.  Add in an antebellum mansion and a sense of history, and you might just see me swoon.  (Okay, you will.)

One of my best friends lives in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’ve been down to visit her dozens of times, and we often find ourselves walking the grounds of one of these two plantation homes.  Often, you’ll find me dreaming of a wedding on their amazingly historic and beautiful grounds.  A plantation wedding would be a gorgeous affair indeed!

A Belle Meade Plantation Wedding

Belle Meade Plantation is elegant and historic.  The 30 acres of grounds are impeccable and the atmosphere is friendly.  They have a truly gorgeous carriage house to complement the fantastic mansion. The original slave house is also present on the property, as well as several other outbuildings and a new addition – a winery.  Porches, balconies, aged stonework, ancient trees, weathered wood – all of the wonderful details are there.

I’ve walked the grounds of this plantation in many seasons, and it is always gorgeous, even in the rain.  It’s almost too good to be true honestly.  A wedding ceremony on the front porch would be so classic, but there are numerous other locations on the grounds as well.  And a reception in the carriage house would be intimate and inviting.

The new winery on the grounds makes blackberry wine, just as the original owners did.  You just have to love the authenticity of this venue.  It’s Southern thru and thru, and I don’t think there is a bad angle on the property for wedding photography.

A Carnton Plantation Wedding

Just what you pictured, isn’t it?

Carnton Plantation is a bit more rustic.  Nestled in historic and beautiful Franklin, Tennessee (just outside Nashville), its more sparse and out in the country than Belle Meade.  But that open expanse just adds to the feeling of being transported back to civil war times.  I actually love this plantation a bit more as it leaves more to the imagination and feels more romantic and mysterious.

Carnton has many original buildings in addition to the beautifully restored mansion.  A fantastic manicured garden sits to one side, overlooked by the  most wonderful double-decker balcony.  There is a wide open backyard, perfect for a beautiful tented reception.  A wedding at Carnton could be rustic or elegant, and still very southern and very plantation.

I’m always keen on shooting a wedding in Nashville – it has many amazing and wonderful venues, and the town has a special place in my heart.  A plantation wedding is high on my list of “must shoot” and I’d be honored to capture your story at these plantations or any other in our Southern States.

**all images are from google images.  I’m not aware of their owners and if I was, I would certainly give credit.  Somehow, in my many trips to these plantations, I’ve never brought my camera!

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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.

This edition of “All about the Location” is quite possibly my personal artistic holy grail.   Ca d’zan has played a pivitol role in my trajectory as an artist.  This Sarasota, Florida mansion was a whole character in itself in one of my favorite films of all time: “Great Expectations”.    Not the old-time film, the 1998 film with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow – the one directed by one of my favorite directors; Alfonso Cuaron.  That film was incredibly inspirational to me as an artist, and as a film maker myself.  The look of that film, the way it told a story, the camera moves, the cinematography, the clever way it uses the color green, the paintings by Francesco Clemente – the light!  It all played a crucial role in what kind of artist I chose to be, what kind of artist I still am.   The film, and the Ca d’zan mansion in it (which stood in for Ms. Dinsmoor’s home) were a large force behind the inspiration of my animated thesis film, “Old Night”.

Here are a few stills from the film “Great Expectations” – sorry they are tiny and poor quality – it is all I could find:

You see those two people dancing in a decaying ballroom?  Here’s a still from my thesis film (I apologize again for the poor quality, it is hard to find my old files, and this was the only one I could find and it was teeny tiny)

I could trot out a whole bunch more of my prints, paintings and such to show you how this film, and more pointedly, this place, have influenced me, but I think you get the point.

So the real kicker is….I’ve never even been to Ca d’zan!  But I love it deeply anyway.  It would be an incredible place to shoot a wedding.   And it would be an incredible place to have a wedding too.

I mean – who doesn’t love a gothic venetian mansion right on the water?  In Florida?  With amazing light?  Hello!

This mansion was built in the mid 1920’s by The Ringlings of circus fame.  Their air for the fantastic gives this mansion a larger than life quality.  The interior is just as amazing as the exterior.  The waterfront portico is perfection for a wedding ceremony or reception, and the courtyard adjacent to the mansion (below) would be awesome for an outdoor reception as well.

The grounds of the mansion are extensive and gorgeous with dripping spanish moss, formal and more casual garden spaces, palm trees, other gothic structures (even a full museum of art modeled after the Uffizi Gallery in Italy), a five story high tower with views for miles, the list goes on and on.

Like I state at the beginning of every “All about the Location” post – I truly feel that my clients feel the way I do about places.  That they have meaning, character, and are an important consideration and top priority in your wedding planning.

Any couple who would choose this incredible location for the start of their marriage is tops in my book.  So, if you want a photographer that is as in love with your location as you are – I’m your girl.  My artistic heart might just live at Ca d’ ‘zan, nestled in among it’s gothic promenade or tucked away between the portico tiles.

**All images in this post are from the Ca d’zan website.  They didn’t give any photo credit for them, so regretfully, neither can I.  But they are not my work. **

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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.

So, if you know me at all, you know it wasn’t going to be long before this blog series touched on Italy, right?  Recently an Italian photographer friend of mine posted an engagement session she shot at this location on Facebook.  I’ve been dreaming; like serious, wall-gazing, day-dreaming about this amazing wedding location ever since.  It is everything I love and adore in a place.  History, abandoned-ness, Italian, natural fields, amazing light, mystery, walls steeped in stories….ah, I could go on forever.

A wedding at San Galgano Abbey would be the culmination of my career as a wedding photographer I think.  I don’t know if it gets better than this.  I really don’t.  An immense, beautiful, gothic cathedral, with no roof, in the middle of nowhere. Well, nowhere Tuscany.  Seriously – isn’t this the kind of thing you dream about catching a glimpse of on a vespa while exploring the tuscan countryside?   It is places like this, ones where the very air you breathe feels laced with that of exhalations of generations long forgotten about, that I love the most.  These are the kinds of locations that make you feel lucky as you pass beneath their arches.  The kind that bless you with their specialness.  I can’t think of a more beautiful location, or a better place to get married than within the ruins of San Galgano.  A church that is also overtaken by nature?  Sign me up!

Located just 30km west of Siena, this location is conveniently close to city life and several beautiful Tuscan towns (Monticiano, Petriolo, Sovicille, Murlo and Monteriggioni among them), and yet still so isolated that it feels stumbled upon.  In fact, I’ve been going back and forth about even blogging about it, because I would loathe to see it lose its wonderful “secret” status.  I hate when magical, amazing places lose that quality because of tourists.  They retain their unique qualities if they remain in shared consciousness, not on advertising brochures.

San Galgano is said to be the origin of several medieval mysteries – the search for the Holy Grail and the Sword in the Stone among them.   There is a real sword in a stone in the chapel of Montesiepi, which is a round building with an amazing domed ceiling of 24 concentric circles that is part of the San Galgano grounds.

So imagine a San Galgano Wedding.  Walking past the proud columns with light streaming in through the arches.  A gentle breeze blows across the sunflower field and into the apse, catching your veil.  Sweet, yummy Tuscan light floods the open air cathedral as you say I do.  Running in and out of the side aisles.  Walking thru sunflower fields.  Finding long forgotten nooks and crannies. Watching the sun move from the sky overhead and down thru the open windows.  Ah, it is so amazing, I can’t stand it.  Someone stop me now from booking two tickets to Italy for a vow renewal for me and Hubby!

The pictures, oh, the pictures would be so epic, so emotional, so amazing, so filled with that intangible something.  This is the light and situation of dreams, at least my dreams.  If this is the location of your wedding dreams too – I know I am the perfect wedding photographer for you.

***All images are from Google Images unless otherwise noted***

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Yes, I love couples in love.  Yes, I adore your stories.  I believe in marriage, and I crave the energy of a wedding day.  But when it gets right down to it, I get seriously inspired by the location.  Place has always been a huge driving force in my work.  Looking back on my art career and training, you’ll find I was always drawing, painting, printing and making films about places, and the stories they held.  It is part of why I love to travel so much – I have an insatiable appetite for new places, new stories.  This blog series is all about the places I would love to shoot a wedding at because I find them seriously intriguing, inspiring and amazing.  And I have no doubt that a couple who chooses to get married there would be equally amazing and inspiring and I want to be there to document it.


Let’s take a little trip to America’s wine country, shall we?  Outside of the vineyards, the mountains, the coastline, the wine (oh, the wine!), there is something so much better about weddings in Napa Valley; the light.  The light in this part of the country is some of the best you will find.  Warm, buttery, lemony, dusky.  Just gorgeous.  And you know, if anything inspires me more than a fantastic wedding venue, it is the light.

One of the very best wineries in Napa to get married at is the V. Sattui Winery, in St. Helena, California.  Nestled right in the heart of the Napa Valley, it is an ideal spot to not only have your wedding, but for your guests to use as a home base for exploring.  They have two and a half acres of gorgeous fields surrounding the original, 125 year old building.  That building makes a perfect backdrop for a wedding ceremony, by the way.  Their outdoor courtyard is just the spot for an open air reception (a long standing dream of mine to shoot), though I think they also offer tented receptions.  Shooting a wedding at V. Sattui would be a dream!

(all images from google images)

Also owned by the V. Sattui winery is another winery that would be ideal for a wedding.  (Though their website says they don’t have a permit to do so)  If you can’t have your wedding at Castello di Amorosa, then you could do a fantastic day after shoot there, or an even more fantastic rehearsal dinner.  This winery is a new construction castle modeled after those in the medieval wine towns of Tuscany.  It is simply gorgeous at every turn, with so much to explore.  Weddings at Castello di Amorosa?  Yes please!

If V. Sattui and Castello di Amorosa and the idea of a wedding in either of those locations wasn’t enough to inspire you, lets take a look at Napa Valley in general.

A Napa Valley wedding is high on my wedding photography “bucket list” for sure.  It doesn’t get much better than California sunshine, warm buttery light, outdoor wedding ceremonies and homegrown wine.

If you are planning a Napa Valley wedding, this is one photographer who would love to be there.

If you would like a winery wedding a little closer to home (assuming you are from Wisconsin), check out these local wineries:

Parallel 44 Winery

Stone’s Throw Winery

Wollersheim Winery

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