Jenna + Shane // Rainy Fall Wedding // Spirit Mountain Duluth Minnesota

Jenna and Shane brought some of that PNW to the midwest a couple weekends ago for their wedding. It was foggy and moody and totally 100% romantic. The universe has been conspiring for a long time to bring these two together. They rode the same bus as children and grew up in the same town. It wasn’t until years later though that they finally met at a friend’s birthday party. The connection was instant. Since that night they have grown and travelled and built a life together. Their love has flourished through long distances and adventures and raising the cutest pup ever.
They did their wedding their way. They had their first look in the rainy woods, hugged and kissed and walked in a foggy field for the most bomb portraits ever, and exchanged vows on a mountain top. I think everyone that knows Jenna and Shane will agree that they are the most laid back, go with the flow couple. They laughed with each other the whole day and took everything in stride (the rain, the wind, the mud).

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Let’s all take a moment to fully appreciate how freaking amazing Jenna’s dress is. Amen.

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First looks like these just melt my little black heart. For real though. Try not to smile while you look at these.

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I’m obsessed with their style. Future couples, take note.

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I have no idea if I was screaming while I was actually taking these, but you better believe I was when I finally got them on my computer. Holy.Shit.Have.Mercy.

I’m a classic lit snob so all the Pride and Prejudice/Wuthering Heights/Jane Eyre vibes in these pictures are absolutely killlling me.

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This just might be my most favorite bridal portrait ever. Yup. It definitely is.

I 100% support sipping whiskey to warm up. These are my people.

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Jenna and Shane are serious troopers. I wish I could explain to you how cold we all were at this point in the day. But LOOK AT THEM!!!

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The coziest dinner/reception. I was straight up obsessed with the feel. Like gimme a blanket, a book, and some coffee with Jameson and I’ll just stay here forever.

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Guys. I was simultaneously crying and laughing during this first dance. Someone send me a video of it please and thanks.

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How to Make Sure Your Wedding Pictures Are Kick Ass // Wedding Planning //

Wedding season is fast approaching! I'm not kidding. I have one month until the madness begins. And this blog post is for anyone planning a wedding! 
This is one of the most important days of your life. I mean this is the day you and your soul mate officially begin your life together! You've dreamt about it, you've planned, you've invested. And I'm sure you've already heard that the photographs are the one thing you're going to have to remember this amazing day by. So hopefully you've done your research and found a photographer who you love and trust. Because that's the most important part! But even the best photographer appreciates a little thoughtfulness from their couples ;) Here's a couple tips to make sure your day and your pictures are kick ass!

1. First of all, it's your day! So do whatever the hell you want! Seriously. Walk down the aisle together, shotgun a beer, wear masks, dance in the street, hire someone to write poems for your guests during cocktail hour, light off fireworks, go barefoot, have donuts instead of cake. Just make your day special and thoughtful and have fun. Because if you're worried about following tradition and a timeline and the rules it's going to be really hard for you and everyone else to enjoy your day... and when no one is having fun it's really really hard to make it look like they're having fun ;)

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2. Plan where you're going to get ready! Prep pictures can be some of my favorites. There's so much anticipation and excitement before the ceremony. But nothing kills the vibe more than making everyone sit on metal folding chairs in the church basement. Sorry. But it's true. Get ready somewhere that has good light, tells part of your story, is really cool, put on some music, sip some whiskey if you're into that sort of thing, etc. You're going to be spending a good portion of your day moving around talking to family you haven't seen in years so make sure you get to relax and hang out with your closest loved ones before the craziness begins.

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3. Consider doing a first look. If you're not completely immersed in the wedding industry you might not even know what I'm talking about. So I'll break it down! A first look is a a private moment where the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony. Check each other out without everyone staring at you. Tell each other how good you look. Hug and kiss and laugh and cry. The biggest argument I hear against first looks is that you won't have that awesome reaction or raw emotion. Please please please trust me on this. It is so much easier to show your real feelings when you're not standing in front of a crowd. Also it makes your timeline flow sooo much easier. Get all of your couple pictures, wedding party pictures, and family pictures out of the way before the ceremony so that the rest of the day you, your wedding party, and family are free to enjoy cocktail hour, mingle with guests, and not worry about rushing to get to dinner on time. 

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4. Make a list for family portraits. If you know any wedding photographers, you've probably heard that family formals are the bane of our existence. Whoops. But it's not because we don't adore your family or realize how important these pictures are. It's usually because it's complete chaos and we have no idea which great aunt is also your godmother but hasn't spoken to your dad in 10 years. Please please please. This can be such a fun time if everyone is on the same page. I mean you're all dressed up and you're all together let's get some good pictures! Make a list of important family members you want included. I say grandparents, parents, and siblings and I usually do a big group and then a couple different combos. And then if you want to add in some other important people like aunts and uncles or cousins by all means do that! Just make the list and give it to your personal attendant or someone in your wedding party who can be in charge of gathering those people up and having them ready. Also if there are any sensitive situations (divorces, deceased family members, strained relationships, etc) please communicate that ahead of time so we don't make anyone uncomfortable. And then you can have some awesome bad ass family photos that everyone will cherish forever.

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5. Don't stress about the weather. You can't do anything about it anyway. Fog, rain, snow, wind, freezing cold. Just embrace it. Stormy skies and fog make for epic backdrops. Overcast skies are perfection. Wind blowing your hair is a good thing! And trust me you'll survive being in the cold for a few minutes. Have fun, be adventurous, trust your photographer and your pictures will be perfect.

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6. Always always always sneak away. You're going to be pulled in a million directions and all of your friends and family are going to want to talk to you and congratulate you. But ultimately your wedding day is about you and your partner. So take some time after dinner to sneak away for a couple minutes. I always tell my couples to blame me "Ohhh that pesky photographer just wants to take more pictures!" Which is true because who doesn't love those glowy sunset images?! But it will give you guys a minute to breathe and relax together. Because I'm being honest with you, you probably won't get to do that very much throughout the day! So once again. Just trust me on this ;)

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7. Play some damn good music. Once again, if no one's having fun it's really hard to make it look like everyone is having fun. If you're making your own playlist start it out strong! If you're having a band or a dj tell them to save the slow stuff for later when the night is winding down. You want your guests to actually stay at your reception and have a blast the entire time right? Well no one wants to do the chicken dance or the ymca. There. I said it. Play some hip swinging, ass shaking, hands in the air, jumping up and down ragers!!! I'm just trying to help. Nothing is more uncomfortable than having everyone huddled at the bar, as far away from the dancefloor as possible, with the locomotion playing in the background. 

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Like I said at the beginning of this post, it's your day. Do whatever you want! Make it unique and include all the little things you love. Just have fun and enjoy yourself and keep it drama free and everything will be smooth sailing. 

Georgia Wedding at The R-Ranch in the Mountains // Chelsea + Donny //

We just got hit with another snow storm here in Central Wisco. So I'm just looking back through all my favorite happy warm wedding pictures. Le sigh. 

In September I went to Georgia to photograph Chelsea and Donny's mountain wedding. It was my first time really hanging out in the south and I don't think it could have been any better. My first night there I hung out at Chelsea and Donny's house with them and their friends. We sat on the deck and drank beer and ate pizza and I laughed until I had a headache. The next day at breakfast I ate the best biscuits and gravy (courtesy of Dakota's plate. Whoops.) in the world. Amen. Seriously though guys. Like I will travel for food.
The rest of the weekend was basically like adult camp. Everyone stayed in cabins at the R-Ranch. I rode on the back of a motorcycle and tried moonshine and it was perfect. I honestly have never felt more welcomed by a wedding party in my life. It was like I knew them my whole life and I might have even shed a couple tears when I got on the plane to come home. Anyway. Enough about that. 
Did I mention we were in the mountains guys?!?! And this wedding was so freaking beautiful?! 

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Brides. Take note. This is how you do cowboy boots on your wedding day. Mmmk?

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But did I tell you about the mountains yet? Sorry. I'm from Central Wisconsin and it's all flat here.

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For the record I 100% support shotgunning beer on your wedding day...

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I CAN'T!!! This ceremony. I cried. I cried when I watched Donny see Chelsea for the first time. I cried when both of her Dads kissed her before giving her away. I cried when Donny told her that her beauty rivaled the Georgia mountains and streams. Whatever. Don't judge me.

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These are my new best friends guys. They know how to have fun and they look goooood doing it!

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It's always a good idea to take a break from dancing and get some sunset pictures and time alone together... Especially when this is the backdrop...

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Sparkler send off and motorcycle getaway?!?! Have mercy.

Chelsea and Donny-
I'm pretty sure you already know how much I adore you but I'll say it again... You are the best! I love the way you love each other and your banter. Thank you for trusting me before you really knew me. Thank you for opening your home to me and making me feel welcome and sharing your friends with me :) I am so excited for you guys and this journey you're on together! I am coming back because obviously Blakely needs to meet me and know how cool I am. And also I need to redeem myself and show you all how we hang in Wisconsin. Mk? Love ya guys! Take care of each other!