It’s Emma’s childhood home. Her parents moved in there, slightly spontaneously, when she was a mere ten months old and her sister was two years old. A gem of a home on Lake Monona.
Her sister keeps tabs on Emma, subtly checking in to see how she can help or make Emma more comfortable. Exchanging smiles, speaking with eyes, the way best friends communicate.
Her sister-in-law (to-be) quietly and beautifully makes things happen around the home. Not needing to be showy, just genuinely wanting to help. Bring flowers over here. Help Mike get ready over there. Like a choreographed dance, with the grace and poise, too.
Her mother recounts stories of when the girls were younger, how their family traveled the world. She would find deals on flights and they would make spontaneous trips; Paris for a 4-day weekend, why not? Buy tickets two days before they go? Yes. Emma smiles. She was always smiling. So grateful and soaking up the joys and subtleties of the day. She kept telling her family how much she loved them and appreciated them.
So much joy.
Mike greets family and friends, making sure everyone feels welcome and has what they need. It’s almost as if he forgets that people should be serving him, it’s his wedding day! He can’t help it. It’s what he does.
The nervousness of Emma’s father, who would officiate the ceremony, was present — yet he was calm. He would simultaneously give his daughter away, while keeping it all together enough to stand in front of the crowd. He did it well, with passion and great execution. A lawyer by trade, but a father. This day, an officiant for a few minutes, but still… a father. Giving his daughter’s hand to Mike.
Weddings like these are where we do our best. We cannot emphasize this enough. Ok, so maybe we don’t even take better photos (or maybe we do, because we’re in the inner circle — we can get close and not feel like intruders), but the moments just exist so that all we have to do is document them. We can’t create real joy or excitement. When it’s there, we’re drawn to it — and you can’t stop us from capturing that type of joy. When we leave weddings this intimate, it’s kind of emotional for us. Will we ever see these people again? We hope so. We just took part in one of the most exciting days of their lives… and now we just… leave. It seems so odd. Like we can’t say goodbye enough.
28 guests, including us. I think we have said it before but just to say it one more time, the smaller the wedding, the more loved each guest feels. Ok, we could totally be wrong about this, but it was so obvious and beautiful how Pam and Brian showed their appreciation and love on their wedding day. Nothing was overstated, nothing was chaotic, it just worked, and for us it felt really really special to be a part of it. Thank you, dear Pamela + Brian, for inviting us in and letting us document you. And your podium. ;)
Aistis + Meghan first met when Meghan, an agricultural satellite geographer, came to Madison from Boston to actually see agriculture. :) Their first date was a bike ride. And Madison is now their home. Aistis is in residency to become a family doctor, and a quarter of their 100 wedding guests are also on that same path!
There’s always so much we want to say about a wedding but… we’re not writers, we’re photographers ;) so we’ll just tell you two sweet memories from their the ceremony:
– Shortly after reciting a poem written by a late family member, Aistis’ father sat down and was then handed the rings for part of their ring warming ceremony. For a brief moment he touched them to his forehead. It was one of those moments that was so short that we can’t really believe we were able to capture it. Yet that small moment was so telling to the deep love, respect, and hope for his son and new daughter.
– Sweet baby Audra (who was born just five days after our little Rio!) wanted to make sure she was part of the ceremony. She let out a few baby cries in the middle of it and Meghan instinctively walked over to calm her, simply by letting her see her mama’s face. After a short cuddle followed by an applause, Audra was handed over to grandma and the show continued on. :) We find it so beautiful and refreshing when real life breaks the mold of perfection and when the participants (in this case, the bride and groom) just accept, respond to, and savor it.
Also, fyi — when a wedding day starts with friends at the water, we want to be there for that. :)
Stephen and Jenna met while working in a NYC restaurant shortly after graduating from the same culinary school. Steve is from New York state originally, while Jenna grew up in Wisconsin and they currently reside in San Francisco.
When we asked these guys to describe what their wedding might be like, they said the theme would be “kegs, pig & pie”. :) Somehow, the theme for all the weddings we’ve photographed this year also seems to be mosquitos, sweat & rain – yikes! Thankfully, we have couples who deal with these elements with smiles on their faces… and mosquito bites on their backs. ;)
Without further ado, Jenna + Stephen at Lussier Family Heritage Center:
We love weddings that take place at venues we most likely will never be able to photograph again. Triglav Park will probably be one of those venues, since a couple needs a bit of an in to have a wedding there. Thankfully, Mara’s Slovenian heritage was the necessary connection to be able to get married at this beautiful, secret, unmarked gem, just outside of Milwaukee.
Something that hits us every wedding season, almost inevitably, (and honestly, almost every weekend) is the nervousness that the rains might ruin the day. Here’s the normal scenario: the forecast in the week leading up to the wedding shows clear skies, then it creeps to 30% chance of rain, then it sometimes takes a turn for the worse, leaving the couple/family/photographer/planner all checking the radar to decide if the ceremony should be moved inside or not. Since we photograph mostly outdoor ceremonies, we see it happen almost weekly, yet the rain never actually ruins the day! And in this very special circumstance, we might even argue that the rains *made* the day — truly, we’ve never seen such beautiful sun-drenched rain on a wedding day before.
So here’s a pro tip — if your photographer urges you to head out to a wobbly dock just as the rain is starting to come down, trust them. ;) Sam and Mara get lots and lots of bonus points (as well as non-reproducible photos) because of their willingness to fully embrace the rain – yay!
Here’s a little glimpse into their day — their lakefront ceremony, bocce-playing, BBQ-ing wedding at Triglav Park: