Maija + John // Backyard Wedding // Vesper Wisconsin

Maija and John are just good freaking people. They're the kind of people who honestly deserve happiness. They are funny and family oriented and from the moment you meet them they feel like your oldest friends. I'm obsessed with them. Whatever. I said it.
Maija and John balance each other out so well it's hard to believe there was ever a time when they weren't together. They are best buds who love traveling, seeing live music, and drinking beer. So yeah, they're my kind of people and I knew their wedding was gonna be pretty damn amazing. Honestly I would have been pissed if they had let someone else photograph it ;)

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Prep pictures are always some of my favorites. I love watching my couples hang out with their closest people. The excitement is contagious. 

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I had to climb onto the window ledge in my socks to hang Maija's dress up... totally worth it.

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Maija and John met at Jennings, so obviously they had to have their first look behind the bar. I 100% support this decision. 

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Weddings are.stressfuuul. Plain and simple. But the moment Maija saw John she went from anxious to totally and completely relaxed. That's why first looks are the best.

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This wedding party though!!! I already told Maija that I want her and John to have a party with their girls and guys so I can hang out with them again.

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Maija and John whispering and laughing during their ceremony!! I'm NOT crying!

I already said this but weddings are stressful. So I'm totally fine with breaking for drinks.

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I love seeing backyards get transformed into pure magic. All the greenery and cake on every table. Yup. It was gooooood.

I don't mean to brag, but my mom made those cakes. And those sugar flowers. If you want the most gorgeous and most delicious cakes. Pam is your lady!

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I hound all my couples to sneak away from the reception so we can take more awesome pictures. And obviously so they can make out.

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I only spent approximately 15 minutes off of the dance floor. Because these are the most fun photos and I like to party.

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YMCA Camp Alexander Outdoor Wedding // Allicen + Zeb // Wisconsin Rapids

Brace yourself. You're about to be bombarded with the sweetest dog moments and the most gorgeous bride + groom portraits ever.
I couldn't have asked for a better way to kick off my wedding season. From our first meeting I knew this was gonna be a good one. Allicen and Zeb are two of the sweetest, most laid back people you'll ever meet. They made me and Hannah feel welcome all.day.long. I love couples that are partners and team mates. These two hunt and fish together and raise their pups and genuinely just have the best time with each other and their group of friends.
Now if you're in Wisconsin you know that we got hit with snowpocalypse about three weeks before this wedding. So I was a little nervous. But Wisconsin pulled out all the stops and gave me one of my favorite kind of days. Overcast and not too hot not too cold and some light rain in the evening. Not only that but Camp Alexander is my favorite venue in Wisconsin Rapids. It's gorgeous and right on the water and feels super laid back and cozy. So it was perfect for Allicen and Zeb. Everyone had a beer in their hand and dinner included the most bomb mac n cheese and the dance floor was insaaane (I might have done a knee slide because BSB was playing... whoops.). It basically felt like a very romantic, legit, grown up version of the last night at summer camp. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else but it's the only way I can describe it.

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I fully support anyone who forces their dogs to wear wedding attire.

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These pictures of Karoo watching Allicen are hands down my favorite "getting into the dress" photos I have ever taken.

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I'm sorry guys but Lou stole the show during the ceremony. Like best groomsdog. He's so proud it makes my heart hurt!

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I honestly didn't even realize we took this many portraits... I just went nuts. Proof that Allicen and Zeb must like me a little bit or they're just the most accommodating and sweet people around. 

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Ok. Just another thing that made me cry... May 12th also happens to be Zeb's parent's anniversary. They celebrated 34 years of marriage and Allicen and Zeb surprised them with a special dance and their own cake to cut. 

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My feet hurt for about a week after this wedding. I am so so insanely grateful that these guys let me be a part of their day. And not only that but they, their families, and their friends made me feel so welcome and handed me drinks and food and danced the night away with me. I couldn't love this crew anymore. Zeb and Allicen - You two are the real deal. And I'm sorry but I expect you to call me up everytime you're back in Nekoosa. Take care of each other xoxo

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.