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Sometimes I shoot weddings with other photographers.  It’s a good chance to stretch my creative muscles and not be “in charge” for once.  The person I shoot most with is my awesome associate, Melissa  .  This was one of her weddings, and we had an incredible time with these two families and at The Gasparilla Inn for a wedding weekend to remember.  As part of a photography team, I obviously don’t cover the whole event myself – but I do want to share some of my favorite shots from this experience.

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The island is beyond charming – it’s as if Lily Pulitzer herself designed a little preppy enclave in Florida.  Khakis, polo shirts, kelly green, and southern hospitality abound.  The island is small enough that everyone just bikes or uses golf carts to get around, and I think you could walk it all in about an hour.  The Inn itself is historic and takes service and hospitality to a whole other level.  I can’t wait to go back to this little slice of heaven!

We kicked off the weekend with a beautiful rehearsal dinner at the Gasparilla Golf Club.  The details and arrangements that went into this welcome dinner were just wonderful.  A custom mini-golf course, beautiful arrangements, and the best part of any welcome dinner – heartfelt and amusing speeches.  Oh yeah, and a fireworks show Hubby would be proud of!

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Thanks to Melissa for having me along for this awesome wedding!  I’ll share more from the big day another time.

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A cottage on the lake in Sturgeon Bay, occupied by Liz’s parents, was the inspiration for this Door County wedding.  Liz and Andy’s wedding was casual, collected, breezy and most of all fun.  The fantastic Angie McMahon worked her styling magic with anthropoligie-inspired elements everywhere.  Chevron table runners, barnwood tables, vintage suitcases, fluffy lanterns, hand painted votives, mason jar drinks and a truly antique cake topper were among the details.

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Liz prepped for the day in her parent’s lakeside home while Andy and the guys hung out at the wonderfully kitschy Holiday Motel in Sturgeon Bay.

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We had a little extra time with the guys that morning, so we had a little fun:

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Door County Wedding

 

One of the thousands of reasons why I love Door County:door_county_wedding-_-6

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The ceremony and reception site at Lower LaSalle Park was festooned with florals by Helene at Flora.door_county_wedding-

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Door County Wedding

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I just loved Liz’s easy, windswept look and Andy’s dapper but casual navy suit:Door County Wedding

 

Easily one of my most favorite wedding party shots ever:door_county_wedding-_-15 door_county_wedding-_-14

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Each of the guys were given playful socks that spoke to their personality:door_county_wedding-_-3

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Cocktails were held out on the lawn, right on the cliff’s edge on the water.  The setting sun and warm breeze added to the backyard wedding feel, as did the homemade cocktails.door_county_wedding__12

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Liz has incredible style all on her own.  The kind of ease with a pulled together outfit that looks effortless.  Angie was able to aptly interpret that into the look of their reception tent too.  Small details that could be appreciated and overall visual impact for a fun and playful feel.

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Dinner was served family style, each plate presented and laid out more beautifully than the last.

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The cake by Flour Girl Patisserie was extra yummy :

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Liz and Andy- It was a joy and a pleasure to work with you and your team of vendors (who just happen to be some of my favorites).  Thank you for inviting us up to your family homestead in Door County and letting us party right along with you as friends.  May all your days as a married couple be at least this much fun!

Credits:

Ceremony Venue: LaSalle Park, Algoma, WI

Reception Venue: LaSalle Park, Algoma, WI

Styling and Coordination: Angie McMahon

Florals: Flora

Cake: Flour Girl Patisserie

Catering: Mitch Wise and Julie Beaudoin

Hair: Tracy Grundy, The Shoppe

Invitations: Courtney Callahan Papers, Chicago

Other Stationery: Jennifer Brin

Rentals: Event Essentials, Madison

Bride’s Gown: Carol Hannah

Bride’s Shoes: Heiress

Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale

Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss

Groom’s Shoes: Tod’s 

Groomsmen’s Suits: Hugo Boss

 

 

 

Door County Wedding

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Ah…Whistling Straits.  It is beautiful anytime of year for a wedding.  But in autumn is when the magic starts to leak out of the seams there.  It’s harvest time, that last hurrah before winter.  Warm, golden light, a slowly changing landscape, a slight breeze off Lake Michigan and the waning chances to golf, just one more time before the cold sets in.

Lynnea and Jason set the rustic elegance of their wedding into this pocket of sweetness on a positively perfect day in Kohler.  The surroundings were enhanced by the guests who brought their own warmth, camaraderie to add to the revelry.  Oh how I love photographing weddings at Whistling Straits.  They just seem to come with their own special brand of wonderful.

Credits:

Getting Ready Venue: The American Club, Kohler

Ceremony Venue: Terrace, Whistling Straits

Reception Venue: The Irish Barn, Whistling Straits

Florals: Destination Kohler

Cake: Destination Kohler

String Quartet: Jubilate String Quartet

DJ: All Events Entertainment (Chicago)

Brides Gown: Watters

Bridesmaid Dresses: Lazaro Noir by Jim Hjelm

Groom and Groomsmen Tux: Vera Wang Black Label

Lynnea & Jason – For all the elegance, fanciness and five star experiences of your wedding – there was a serious undercurrent of fun, and it is that which I took away from the day.  Just so much fun!  Thanks for taking me along on the ride and giving me a chance to capture it all.

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When you first meet him, Chris is Shy.  Yes, capitol S shy.  Emily is anything but.  When mixed together, Emily’s bold nature is tempered and Chris’ quietness finds a voice.  Like peanut butter and jelly, they are a great combination.  Their wedding day was a great combination too.  Of sunshine and warmth, of color and elegance, of rustic flair and friendliness, of laughter and tears.

Credits:

Ceremony Venue: Wild Rock Golf Club

Reception Venue: Wild Rock Golf Club

Cake: Rachel Fox from Matcha Tea House (Madison)

Cupcake Stands, Placecards, and trellis: Made by the Groom

Bride’s Gown: Lazaro

Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy

Men’s Suits: Calvin Klein

Photobooth: Beyond the Booth

Emily & Chris-  Yours was a uniquely personal day peppered with your love, your quiet kindness and fun sense of style.  May all your days as a married couple be just as lovely.  Thank you so much for having m three studio there to capture it all.  I won’t soon forget such a heartfelt and moving day!

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Live Oaks, Spanish Moss, Oyster Shells, Old Southern Plantations, Slave Ruins, South Carolina Waterways, Cornbread, Shrimp and Grits, and long-awaited love – a perfect recipe for a Southern wedding.  Lora Ann and Craig chose the wonderfully rustic and beautiful Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation for their destination wedding because it was close to family and had just the charm they were looking for.  And, charming it was.  Join me on a little southern wedding journey, will you?

The day truly started off with a first look moment in Washington Park in downtown Charleston.

We spent some time walking around Charleston with the wedding party in tow, capturing a few signature “Charleston” scenes.

But it was at Boone Hall Plantation that the true heart of the day took place.  A long avenue of live oaks (oh, how I love these trees!), laden with spanish moss greeted us.  We dodged a few raindrops and chased some beautiful light.

The plantation’s old Cotton Dock played host to the ceremony and reception.  Positioned right on the water, the rustic wood and glorious light were positively magical.

Wedding guests relaxed on the Cotton Dock on rattan furniture, sipping cocktails and noshing on a few southern-inspired appetizers.

Easily one of my favorite parts of this wedding day at Cotton Dock was the first dance.  We timed it just right – with Lora Ann and Craig swirling around the dock as the last rays of sun lit up the sky.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Cotton Dock, Boone Hall Plantation

Florist: Duvall Catering

Catering: Duvall Catering

Cake: Ashley Bakery

Band: Chris Crosby Band

Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Dessy

Lora Ann & Craig –  Thank you so much for bringing us to South Carolina for your lovely Boone Hall Plantation wedding.  Charleston was a treat for shooting a wedding, as was your day.  There were so many magical moments, I hope it was just the beginning.

Big THANKS to my pal Melissa for being my travel buddy and helping me shoot this wedding!

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Some wedding days are epic.  The scale to which the elements come together are just massive, and the impact on guests and all those surrounding the day is significant.  Emily & Nick had that sort of wedding.  Emily’s family hosted this destination wedding at their vacation home and Woodwalk Gallery in beautiful Door County (Sister Bay to be precise) Wisconsin.  People flew in from all over the country to travel to the popular and rural vacation destination, many for the first time.  Emily & Nick, their family and their fabulous wedding stylist gathered antiques, details, chandeliers, hand-made barnwood tables, hay bales and florals for months in creation of their vision.  It was a labor of love that caught everyone up in a swirl of energy, joy, emotions and delightful details.  Pulling away from the barn that night, it was a satisfied feeling of tiredness that washed over us, the type that only comes from knowing you really lived fully that day.   A feeling which is such an appropriate metaphor for Emily & Nick.

Where does one start in describing the beauty that is Woodwalk Gallery?  A rustic barn that houses a lovely art gallery by day, was transformed with all of Emily & Nick’s special touches into a farm playground.  The venue has so much to work with already – rusty silos, open fields, split rail fences, weathered wood, and of course – amazing light!  There was so much to capture on this day that I had help from my friend Melissa Schollaert, and the two of us just fell in love with Woodwalk Gallery.   Anyway, I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Ceremony Venue: Woodwalk Gallery

Reception Venue: Woodwalk Gallery

Florist: Flora

Wedding Stylists: Emily Gan Birren (Bride), Tina Gan (Bride’s Mother) and  Angie McMahon, Viva la Cottage

Cake: Flour Girl Patissier

Bluegrass Band: Eric Lews, George Sawyn, Tommy Burroughs

Vocals: Caroline Reese

DJ: DJ Chicago

Videographer: I Do Films

Caterer: Alexanders of Door County

Bride’s Gown: Kenneth Pool

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BHLDN

Hair & Makeup: Darcy Gilmore

Groom’s Suit: Burberry

Emily & Nick – It’s no surprise to me that you both work in the movie and television industries – your lives and your love story seem straight out of a great script.  And the day you created to celebrate all of that was of equal caliber.  The hard-work, dedication, passion and drive you bring to everything you do is evident in the quality of your relationship as well.  May you never loose the desire to live each day to the fullest and push for more.  Great things lie ahead for you because of that quality you posses as a team. Thank you for having m three studio there to capture this chapter of your lives – we had a great time and will forever remember your day.

We were lucky enough to be joined on this wedding day by some of our favorite videographers – the team at I Do Films!  Clearly, the six of us had a very good time working together that day….and yes, that is Hubby there too – he served as assistant for me and Melissa and did a fabulous job as always.

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When Jessica & Brennan looked around them, they saw water, sky, cornfields, smiling faces, precocious toddlers and surprisingly, a little modernity nestled among the vast ruralness.  Their world is peppered by subtle contrasts, and celebrating that was the ideal way to celebrate their wedding day.  It’s the little twists and turns that come at you unexpectedly that make a life interesting, and in accordance, a wedding day.  They nestled a beautiful and emotional ceremony into her parent’s hidden backyard – with friends and family circled around them.  Out of the cornfields that surround them rose their reception tent, with a surprise downtown club atmosphere inside.

Just one of those many small twists and turns – a cute toddler in a tux….accessorized with his uncle’s favorite shoes – air jordans!

Brennan himself I think best characterizes those twists and turns I was talking about.  When you first meet him, he’s quiet and unassuming.  Dig a little deeper and you find humor, sweetness and a little bit of a hard edge – like these finger tattoos that memorialize the two families that came together to make his heritage.

The Credits:

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Private Residence

Florist: Petal Pushers

DJ: Flattop Sound and Light

Catering: Hy-vee

Makeup: Carol Wagner

Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero

Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo

Groom’s Suit: St. Joseph

Tent: Sherwood Tents

Jessica & Brennan – It was a joy to walk into your world for a couple of days and soak up everything you hold near and dear to tell your story.  Who knew that tucked away in lower Iowa was such beauty, such fun and such color!  Yours is a quietly passionate relationship that charts its own course.  May your days always be filled with the little surprises that make you smile.  Thank you for having m three studio there to capture it all!

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An Iowa girl ends up in New York City to pursue a career in fashion by way of UW-Madison, and goes on a blind date with a boy from Jersey who spends his days in the NYC financial district.  In a city of millions of people, somehow their circles overlapped and two people they both knew thought they would be a good match.  And, they were right.  And so, Tom invited his NYC and Hamptons -dwelling family out to the cornfields of Iowa and the Iowa State Memorial Union, where Ashley hails from, for a New York City – come – Iowa wedding in September.  It was gorgeous, it was beautiful, it was unique, it was fashionable, it was unbelievably fun, and it was full of unexpected touches – just like Ashley and Tom.

Ashley is a neckwear designer for Ralph Lauren.  So, custom bow-ties were an obvious choice:

I have to give a shout-out to Ashley’s stunning Vera Wang gown.  S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G.  You just don’t expect to walk into a hotel in Ames, Iowa and find this frothy confection of folds and undulation in front of you.  The best part was that it so didn’t overshadow Ashley, as a gown like this easily could – it was part of her.  Just love!

Recognize that bridesmaid second from the right?  She was in Kristin & Matt’s wedding too!  And, if we want to weave this small-world tale further – Kristin went to UW-Madison (as did Laura), and so did Ashley (our bride, in case you are confused), where she met Nicole (one of my former brides).  Ashley and Nicole both ended up in NYC working in fashion, and both have now married men from New Jersey.  Definitely looking forward to closing this little circle with Laura’s wedding one day!

The Iowa State Memorial Union is just beautiful from edge to edge.  It has a wonderful stately-ness about it without being pretentious.  Just the right venue for a wedding that was combining the vintage sweetness of Iowa with the elegance and city-beat of New York City.

The Credits:

Ceremony Venue: Collegiate United Methodist Church

Reception Venue: Iowa State Memorial Union

Invites: Pistachio Press

Calligrapher: Dancing Pen and Press

Flowers: Mary Kay’s Flowers

Hair: Frederic Fekkai NYC (Nicole Piper)

Day of Planner: Down to Details Events

Band: The Final Mixx

Cake: Iowa State Bakery

Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang

Groom’s Tux: Ralph Lauren Black Label

Bowties: Ralph Lauren

Brides Shoes: Miu Miu

Bridesmaid Dresses: 57 Grand, Saukok

Flower Girl Dresses: Ralph Lauren

Ashley & Tom – I can’t accurately put into words how much fun Hubby and I had at your wedding (Hubby was my assistant that day).  In fact, how much fun I’ve had working with you both from the very first email.  You are consummate hosts, careful artists and I know when I see that little twinkle in one of your eyes (you both do it) that something amazing is around the corner.  May your married life be as beautiful as your wedding day was, with something fun, unexpected and fabulous always around the corner.  Thank you for having m three studio capture your day – I won’t soon forget it!

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He dried off his hands on the towel and winced a bit as the threads caught in the rubberband on his wrist.  A smirk took over his face.  Of course.  Today of all days, the rubberband would make itself known.  He pulled it away from his wrist a tiny bit and let it go.  >snap<  The sting of the slap was minor, but a good reminder.  This wasn’t the original rubberband, he’d replaced it several times over the last few years.  But the meaning had remained the same.  That snap, that annoyance, was a reminder to him not to ever settle again.  He’d put it on first at the end of a former relationship that he thought was headed to the altar, until he found he had been settling.  He wanted to remember to never settle again, to remember he deserved more.  He looked at his reflection in the mirror.  At the tuxedo shirt he was wearing, the boutonniere on his lapel.  He thought about his bride, no doubt thinking of him also.  A smile spread across his face.  He wasn’t settling, not anymore.  Of that, he was more than sure.  The rubberband had done its job, and today it was coming off.  Today, he married the right one.

Christa and Jason know how to do something up right.  That is is clear.  Jason proposed at The American Club in just the classiest way.  When it came time to plan a wedding and show their friends and family a good time, they knew nothing but Kohler, Whistling Straits and The American Club would do.  They wanted to share an incredible experience, and there was not shortage of that.  There is a reason why Kohler is a storied and admired location – they are second to none.  And even in the 100+ degree heat, the staff at all of their venues are just unflappable.  Even when the rest of us were melting in the heat, the experience of this wedding day remained incomparable.  Though I can’t give Destination Kohler too much credit – you could easily forget about the temperatures whenever you saw this husband and wife together, no matter where we were.

I’ve seen the Father of the Groom serve as Best Man before.  It’s an honorable role to grant him in any situation.  But this was the first time I witnessed where Dad really was the true best friend of the Groom.  His speech at the reception was so wonderful – ringing so crystal clear as both parent and friend – it left everyone jealous of their relationship.

It was so hot that Christa & Jason opted to stay close to the Irish Barn at Whistling Straits, and not go too far in exploring the amazing grounds of the golf course.  But we found plenty of beauty close by, and managed to stay cool too!

There was an informal “breaking of the rubber band” ceremony in the limo:

This couple below – was so much fun to watch!  This guy just only had eyes for his girl.  Every woman deserves to be looked at the way I saw him doing all day.  It’s always fun to catch love growing at a wedding, especially among the guests.

Ceremony Venue: The Irish Barn, Whistling Straits, Kohler

Reception Venue: The American Club, Kohler

Florist: The American Club

Cake: The American Club

DJ: Jukebox Bandstand

Stationer: Touch of Whimsy

Makeup: Neda Stevic

Bride’s Gown: Jenny Yoo

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Jenny Yoo

String Quartet: Lucido Felice Quartet

Christa & Jason – your respect and love for each other – it’s truly inspiring, and an example for anyone looking for a true, honest relationship.  Your wedding day reflected that over and over again.  It was a joy and an honor to capture your day and the relationships that built it.  May the years to come only build on the foundation you’ve laid for yourselves.  I know there is so much ahead for you!  Thank you for inviting me into your lives to document it.

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He reached around her cheek, pulled back her hair and kissed her.  The wind whipped their faces again, sending her curly tendrils into their eyes, willow branches swirling around them.  The light rain dodged and weaved around the tree branches, catching him on the shoulders as he hugged her tight.  Her veil caught flight, blocking her view of him and she laughed.  This moment – hiding beneath a willow tree and waiting for a surprise rain storm to blow over, all in the middle of their wedding day – this was so true to them as a couple.  They had weathered many surprises, many challenges. And still, they laughed, and still they loved, and still they walked on.  She grabbed his hand.  “Come on!” she said encouragingly.  “Who cares about a little rain?”

Lauren and Walter were married on a beautiful (though somewhat rainy) day in August at the unique Abbey Resort in ever-gorgeous Lake Geneva.  As a compliment to the water and nature all around them, Taylor & Co. pulled together a decadent and dreamy ceremony room, draped in pale fabric and bathed in warm pink light.  The transformation was magical and a true transport to a dream-like setting for their vows.

That cotton-candy dream of a ceremony transitioned into an elegant and pretty reception room – complete with dramatic floral arrangements, mirrored tables, a decadent lounge area and sweet accents.  You’ll notice that lighting played a huge role in achieving the looks of both of these venues – neither would have been complete without this mood-setting feature.  Especially when dancing started and that pretty reception hall transformed to a beautiful dance club!  Lighting is a smart investment for your venue no matter what the setting – it can set the mood and change it with the flip of a switch – and it makes your pictures truly sing.

Ceremony Venue: The Abbey Resort

Reception Venue: The Abbey Resort

Florist: Derrick Taylor – Taylor & Co. Events

Cake: Carrie Domski

DJ: Style Matters DJ

Makeup: Danielle Marzillo of Sisters Chicago

Wedding Planner/Designer: Derrick Taylor – Taylor & Co. Events

Bride’s Gown: Bridals by Marisa

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: J.Crew

Men’s Suits: Mr. Tux

Lauren & Walter – it was a joy to capture your wedding day.  Your spirit, perseverance and “roll with it” attitude will serve you well in marriage.  I hope your day was everything you wanted, and I that the years ahead are more than you could ever hope for.

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