Monica + Scott // Wedding at The Howard // Oshkosh Wisconsin

I always say that the vibe of the day is more important than the location and the couple's mood is more important than the decorations. But when you've got a gorgeous classy venue AND a kick ass couple it's reeeaaaal good.
I knew Monica and Scott were my kind of people the first time we met. They are goofy and easy going and compliment each other so well. Theirs was the first wedding since the eagles club in Oshkosh became The Howard. I'd say it was a pretty good premiere

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Every last detail was freaking perfect. And that romantic 1920's backdrop. God bless.  

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This. This right here is why I'm always encouraging couples to do a first look.
Scott's reaction is the best ever.

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The Howard is basically every photographer's dream come true. We took almost all of our pictures inside and thank goodness because this day was a hot one.

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I'm so so freaking glad I had my right hand lady/assistant extraordinaire/sister Hannah second shooting with me this day. She's like my other half and gets all the shots I would get if I could be in two places at once. 

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Hey couples! Just a word of advice, always always always sneak out after dinner. You'll want some time alone, the light is super pretty, and you'll probably be a little buzzed and more relaxed in front of the camera. I'm just here to help.

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And they told me Grandma doesn't smile for pictures ;)

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Every wedding day needs some cigar action

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. 

Stephanie + Michael - Wedding

It seems like ages ago since I met Stephanie and Michael for the first time. We sat at a small table in a super busy starbucks and talked about them, how they met, their wedding etc. I knew right away from their love of all things nerdy we were going to get along just fine. 
Fast forward to their wedding day... I walked into the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee and my jaw seriously dropped. This place was seriously a photographers dream. So much character, so many places to shoot. Add to that, all of Stephanie and Michael's amazing details and some overcast skies... and boom... perfect pictures. Even if it weren't for all that, this day would have been spectacular. Stephanie and Michael are sweet and funny and super easy going. And you could just tell by the way their family and friends interacted with them that they are just one of those couples everyone loves. I'm so so glad I got to capture their big day.

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