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 ;)

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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.

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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. 

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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.

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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.

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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 ;)

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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. 

How to Get Good Wedding Pictures Wisconsin Wedding Photographer Chloe Ann Photography Wedding Planning and Inspiration

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. 

Sara + Jordan | Winter Elopement | The Red Mill | Waupaca Wisconsin

They say when you know, you just know. And from that first date, Sara and Jordan knew. She made him feel at ease and comfortable enough to be himself. And hugging him was like coming home.

Sara messaged me at the beginning of February asking if I had plans on Valentine’s Day because she and Jordan were planning a spur of the moment wedding. I cancelled my romantic evening of Netflix and Jim Beam with my cat and said “Hell yes. Sign me up.” 

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

These two had been tentatively planning a summer wedding but when it came down to it they realized the only thing they really cared about was committing themselves to one another, being husband and wife, starting their life together. And to do that they didn’t need to plan out some extravagant event. And they didn’t want to wait. So we met on a windy February evening at the place they went the first time they exchanged vows to love, support, and care for each other. 

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

This is why first looks are lit-er-ally the best! 

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

Like for real. Can we take a moment to appreciate both of their outfits? I know brides normally steal the show but Jordan was also looking hella dapper and killing the game. 

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

Like I said these two went to The Red Mill the very first time they met. And then Sara dreamt of marrying Jordan there. And it could not have been a more perfect spot. We were the only ones there and there was only the sound of the water in the background. They performed their own ceremony (which is quickly becoming my favorite thing!) so it was perfectly them and heartfelt and genuine to who they are separately and together.

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

I just want everyone to know that getting these sparkler pictures were a struggle! Between actually getting them lit to me running around them with my frozen toes to my camera falling in the mud.... but I'd say it was worth it.

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer
winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

Shooting in the pitch black was definitely a challenge for me. But I loved getting to experiment and try new things. And I actually think these turned out pretty rad.

winter wisconsin elopement the red mill wedding photographer

Joanne + Adam | Elopement | The Alexander House, Port Edwards, WI

I got a text message from my high school friend Joanne a little over a week ago “Things took a turn for the worse.” Joanne’s mom has been battling lung cancer. Some of you might know Suzanne but for those of you that don’t I’ll try to sum her up for you. She is the kind of person you want to sit and talk to over coffee when you’ve had a bad day, you want her to take care of you when you aren’t feeling well, when you just really need a hug she’s the one you want to give it to you. She has one of the most warm, calming, loving, generous spirits you’ll ever encounter. And you can feel it right when she walks in the room. 

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate wisconsin wedding the alexander house
intimate wisconsin wedding the alexander house

When I got Joanne’s text my heart broke a little bit for her and her family. But then my heart was soaring too. I have never met a group of people who have dealt with something like this with such grace and love and gratitude. Plus the rest of the message was to tell me that her and her fiancé Adam were getting married on the 21st. Super intimate. Low key. Spur of the moment. Just a celebration of love between two people and their families. 
Because a wedding doesn’t need to be about the floral arrangements or the invitations or how big the guest list is. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying those things are always bad. But what’s most important is that two people are committing to starting a life together. What’s most important is that the people who love them are there to witness it. 

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

I got to Joanne’s parents’ house Saturday morning. It was perfectly foggy and still outside and Joanne and her family were calm and laid back while they got ready. Joanne was putting the finishing touches on her vows, her sister Katie was running to pick up flowers, Suzanne showed me the mantle and shelves Joe had built, and Joe put on a tie. Everyone was stress free and relaxed.

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

Once Joanne had decided that her and Adam would be getting married, she and Katie went on a hunt for a dress. They found one on a sale rack. Perfect style, perfect fit and hella gorgeous.

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

Can we all take a moment to appreciate this freaking ring? Have mercy!

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

Joanne and Adam had their ceremony at The Alexander House in Port Edwards. It's an art gallery and local history museum in our home town. It's an old house with tons of character, lots of cool little rooms, and some of the most rad wallpaper you've ever seen.

Wisconsin Elopement Wedding Photographer-13.jpg
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

Any wedding that starts with snacks is pretty great in my book.

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

That wallpaper though!!! Be still my heart.

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

One of the coolest things about being friends with someone from adolescence into adulthood is that you know them. I mean you really know them. And you watch them grow up and become confident in who they are and they pursue their passion and they start building a life. And then they find their soul mate. And it’s the most amazing thing ever. You see them find someone who compliments them so well it’s hard to imagine that they ever existed without each other.
Joanne and Adam met and right away they eased into each other. They’ve fallen in love in the small, quiet, in-between moments over the past three years. They fell in love over the sushi dinners (sometimes multiple times a week), the netflix binges, listening to records, and taking their dog Yoko for walks. And that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. There are big moments in love, yes. But if you truly love someone, I think you really feel it in the little moments. 

One of the coolest things about being friends with someone from adolescence into adulthood is that you know them. I mean you really know them. And you watch them grow up and become confident in who they are and they pursue their passion and they start building a life. And then they find their soul mate. And it’s the most amazing thing ever. You see them find someone who compliments them so well it’s hard to imagine that they ever existed without each other.  Joanne and Adam met and right away they eased into each other. They’ve fallen in love in the small, quiet, in-between moments over the past three years. They fell in love over the sushi dinners (sometimes multiple times a week), the netflix binges, listening to records, and taking their dog Yoko for walks. And that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. There are big moments in love, yes. But if you truly love someone, you really feel it in the little moments.
Wisconsin Elopement Wedding Photographer-43.jpg
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin
intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

There are three states in the US where you can marry yourselves. Wisconsin is one of them. So you better believe Joanne and Adam did just that. And their ceremony was beautiful and personal and heartfelt and unique.

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

I trampled through the snow for this shot and had wet socks the rest of the day #worthit

intimate winter wedding the alexander house wisconsin

And then Adam humored us and let us shoot the crap out of some portraits.

Can you say babe couple?? You ain't lookin too bad either Alexander House!

I don't even care that this photo isn't "technically" good. emotion > perfection