There are two things I love most about Green Bay, their botanical garden & of course – the Green Bay Packers. Okay and the zoo (but that’s irrelevant here). We met up with Ashley & James on the most beautiful Thursday at the end of September, our first time shooting at the botanical garden (and hopefully not our last!) I make a promise to Alex every football season that we will absolutely NOT shoot any sessions that would interfere with his Packer games. Scheduling a session for a Thursday I completely thought we were in the clear, until the day or two prior when Alex was like “…wait…the packers play Thursday this week. Love, you realize we’re driving to Green Bay, during rush hour, right before a packer game?” Woops woops woops.
For those that don’t live near Green Bay and have to use Highway 41, let’s just be clear…it’s basically impossible to get anywhere (on time) the 5 hours before and after a Packer game. Luckily, we took some back roads and were able to arrive at the session on time to meet Ashley & James. And one of the reasons why I love Ashley & James? When asking what they were doing for the packer game tonight they nonchalantly broke the news “We’ll be going to the game!” Like as in….2 hours from now?? You’ll be at Lambeau Field? “Yeah, we brought extra clothes to change into!” LOL Alex and I couldn’t believe it. Here we were worried we wouldn’t be able to watch the starting kickoff in time. Now it was a matter of, we gotta get this session going so these two can get to the game on time!
We did this entire session in maybe 50 minutes. It was the fastest engagement session we ever shot, with the most outfit changes, but also one of my favorites EVER. Ashley & James were so easy and fun to work with and allowed us to get so many different shots in a short amount of time. And I loved loved loved Ashley’s outfit choices. We even had the same white dress ;)! Add in the fact that we were at this GORGEOUS garden…can I just say gardens are one of my all time favorite places to shoot? I just love the variety of backdrops and colors it offers. And of course, the whimsy romance. These two are also Game of Thrones lovers so it was super fitting that there was a “Hobbit House” inspired structure (okay technically it’s a restroom, BUT for the sake of this whimsy romance vibe let’s pretend it wasn’t. shh!)
I wish we had more time with them here, but also I’m glad we didn’t because I would have ended up with wayyyy too many photos than I already did 😛 Also need to mention that Ashley & James are so sweet and have really been such a light during all this COVID mess and rescheduling. They were one of my couples affected by it all and although having to postpone until 2021, we were entirely surprised when we saw a full payment for their wedding balance come through well in advance. And on top of that they wanted to plan another session with us (this time including their fur babes), to continue to pay it forward. You know, it really just plain sucks that all this has happened, but Alex and I are just so amazed by all the grace our couples have shown during these difficult times. It makes me even MORE anxious and excited for when the big day finally does arrive. More than ever these couples deserve to be celebrated.
Ashley & James – we are so excited to continue to work with you this year & cannot wait to meet the rest of the fam this coming weekend! Enjoy their engagement pics from last Fall!
There are two things I love most about Green Bay, their botanical garden & of course – the Green Bay Packers. Okay and the zoo (but that’s irrelevant here). We met up with Ashley & James on the most beautiful Thursday at the end of September, our first time shooting at the botanical garden (and […]
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Carly & Dan’s wedding day was a colorful nod to the 1900s glamor age, mixed with both vintage and modern touches. Carly absolutely stunned in her Rue De Seine gown, with intricate white lace detail and nude underlay. “Modern bohemian” meets “vintage speakeasy era” all in one – and my favorite part, the TASSLES!
Their venue, set at the historic Maxwell Mansion, also added to this day’s charm. The guys got ready downstairs in the apothecary bar, tying their bowties while sporting their navy tuxedos and black smoking shoes. It was easy to feel whisked back into time. Meanwhile the girls were upstairs stepping into their mismatched gowns, each one in silk or suede, and a jewel-tone of their choosing. The mansion was just as charming on the outside as it was inside, offering a blank canvas for their outdoor lawn ceremony and tented patio reception. With the help of Relics Rentals, the couple brought in a victorian loveseat, and vintage books, candelabras, and mismatched goblets to decorate the harvest tables while the hanging greenery from Flowers for Dreams gave the tented reception an “al fresco” feel.
Carly and Dan added in one more GRAND historic element to their day, renting out the Yacht Polaris – a charming vintage charter boat of Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Together, with their wedding party, they were able to slow the day on down, pop the bubbly, and spend the early afternoon relaxing, celebrating, and cruising the lake before the nuptials and the rest of their wedding guests arrived. Overall, such a unique and quintessential Lake Geneva wedding day. Carly & Dan, thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your wedding day. It was one for the books!
As seen on Wisconsin Bride.
Carly & Dan’s wedding day was a colorful nod to the 1900s glamor age, mixed with both vintage and modern touches. Carly absolutely stunned in her Rue De Seine gown, with intricate white lace detail and nude underlay. “Modern bohemian” meets “vintage speakeasy era” all in one – and my favorite part, the TASSLES! Their […]
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My wedding season was supposed to begin *TODAY!* with Raquel and Tim’s apple orchard wedding, but were one of my affected couples that had to postpone due to COVID. In honor of their original wedding date I’m sharing with you their adorable Engagement session, set in downtown Eau Claire from last October. I absolutely adored Raquel’s idea for meeting at this rooftop patio while they enjoyed some bubbly, celebrating their new engagement and a fun-filled weekend in Eau Claire – a city which they have grown to love so much. We were blessed with GORGEOUS temperatures and a sunny day, and after walking the downtown area, headed over to Banbury Place where we strolled on bridge overlooking the Chippewa River and beautiful sun shining through the greenery.
Speaking of greenery, this couple is proud parents to 20 some plant children, and when they told me there were two new bundles of joy waiting in the car we OF COURSE had to bust them out for a family photo. And don’t you think all 20 would make great wedding guests? 😛 Anyways! Hope everyone is having a wonderful memorial day weekend. Leave some love and well wishes for this quirky and sweet couple on this day that was supposed to mean something different ♡. I hope they still find a special way to celebrate, and can’t wait to meet up with them again in another couple months!
My wedding season was supposed to begin *TODAY!* with Raquel and Tim’s apple orchard wedding, but were one of my affected couples that had to postpone due to COVID. In honor of their original wedding date I’m sharing with you their adorable Engagement session, set in downtown Eau Claire from last October. I absolutely adored […]
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I’ve been watching our new show Big Little Lies on Hulu, and it has me missing (read: pining, obsessively longing, constantly reminiscing in daydreams) our time spent in California last winter. Can I even say “last winter” when it’s been 16 months ago? It feels so strange thinking that much time has passed, but I refuse to give in and say “two winters ago.” Leaves a bad taste in my mouth and REALLY sets it in the realization time flies way too fast, especially during these strange new quarantine times. It’s also weird how last winter (did it again) we were exploring the US on a travel trailer, and this past winter, we were sheltered in place. Looking back, it really was the most magical place, California, and it’s been at the forefront of my mind every single day since we left it. In an honest way I feel like my soul was left somewhere out there and just begging me to return to it. Is it just a California state of mind, like they say? Either way, it turns out there’s a reason so many songs are written about this piece of our country, and I am 100% part of the “someday I’ll head out west to live in California” tribe. I’ve now convinced myself I will inevitably live here (or spend a great deal of time here) someday, someway, in this lifetime.
When you think of Cali, your mind probably pictures the beaches, palm trees, and surfers. Beautiful villas perched on coastal cliffs, like The OC, Malibu, or Monterey, overlooking the bluffs and beaches blow. Or you think of beautiful people doing interesting things, the celebrities, the LA vibe…Hollywood glam. So many films are set out there, being so close to LA – the film making capitol of the world and with that attracts some of the world’s most interesting and artistic people.
But there’s so much more here. So much more to it’s nature. You can literally have it all when in California. The mountains, the desert, the forest, and the sea. On the northern coast you have coastal bluffs, sea rock formations, Giant redwood trees, crisp and clear air. Wine countries in Napa Valley and pristine aqua waters of Lake Tahoe. National Parks like Yosemeti and Sequoia/Kings Canyon and heading in the southern region you’ve got the desert. Desolate, vast, and the undeniable feeling of being “free.” Already having done the Northern region, this is where Alex and I spent majority of our time while road tripping through with our home on wheels. The weather is a comfortable 70 degrees here in the southern part in December and January. And to my pleasant surprise, it’s not all flat and dry. In the desert, there are plenty of mountains that cast purple and blue hazy shadows, and I found myself admiring them while *soaking* in the desert hot springs. In the Palm Springs region alone there are a three national parks/preserves for desert lovers, Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park located near the Mojave Desert (a beautiful drive from Palm Springs to Vegas that I highly recommend). Driving through the Joshua tree, exploring the eerie abandoned Salton Sea and witnessing the darkest skies + brightest stars I ever knew were even imaginable. The cayotes howling in the distance. It was easy to fall madly in love with the desert, so different than everything we were used to back home in Wisconsin.
Southern California desert has this unexplainable charm, and it’s funny that this engagement session with Janelle & Brian that I’m about to share (also featured on “Southern California Bride”) was our very beginning point of our entire 6 month sabbatical out to the southwest. Before we even KNEW all it’s magic. We had just completed a grueling two-week-long trek getting from Wisconsin to California, slowly hauling our home on wheels behind us (which was, by the way, the same size as our Suburban). We were about to live under 150 square feet for the next 6 months and we picked Indio, CA – for reference, the town Coachella takes place, as our first two-week stationary stop and where we would be meeting up with Janelle & Brian for our upcoming J-tree photo session. Also if you were wondering (you probably weren’t) that our Suburban was the only Suburban we came across in the entire Palm Springs area.
Upon arrival to this shiny new place called Palm Springs, California we realized right away we weren’t in Kansas anymore, and had actually stationed ourselves into the hollywood getaways for celebrities (who are looking to get out of LA for the weekend). Our first “errand” was a trip to Home Depot so we could continue making progress on our home-on-wheels (which we didn’t quite complete it’s remodel before our trip). I was dazzled by the fact that every single female worker looked as if she was on a movie set. I had never seen such perfect makeup and eyebrows. Let alone on every woman. And why were they all so gorgeous? Like SO gorgeous. Nothing against Wisconsin women (I am a Wisconsin woman). But let me tell you, I am clearly NOT in Wisconsin anymore.
We stayed in this area for 3 weeks, mostly keeping to ourselves at our RV park we were bunkering down in, waving and making small talk to all the passerbys who wanted to know what kind of camper we owned. Was it vintage?! Everyone wanted to take a peek at our unique looking rig. I still had some photos to edit and sendoff before Christmas, so each day I was also working a LOT, finding public libraries, barnes and nobles, coffee shops. I’ll never forget my first Barnes and Nobles trip, I was sitting with my coffee and wifi, laptop plugged in at my table. And an old man sat down at the table next to me. Deep into my work, I barely noticed or glanced at him, but subconsciously noted his presence). It wasn’t until another old lady met up with him and sat down across from him and they started mentioning working with Jennifer Hudson and “swearing to her she’d get an Oscar for her performance” did I (as nonchalantly as I could) glance their way. Was I in the presence of greatness? Her producer and his wife/ladyfriend/old coworker/mistress? I’m not sure, but never have I ever from Appleton WI seen people in their 70s looking this put together. You see older celebrities on TV all the time, game show hosts, older actors. But seeing them in person, botox and all, and then realizing 50% of the people out here look this way, you really realize you really are NOT in kansas (Wisconsin) anymore.
At any given moment I wondered “Am I walking by a celebrity or a person who is really really rich and can afford to look good?” I also wondered what people thought of me, make-up less, dressed in $2 flip flops and TJ max leggings and some old Tshirt, unshowered. But I had to remind myself: heyyyy, cut the crap ya goof and this silly pressure you place on yourself. You’re not from here. You’re not supposed to fit in. Your purpose is solely to enjoy yourself. You keep doing you, showerless and all. You’re on an extended personal sabbatical out west. You’re technically glorified camping for the next 6 months and gaining more experience and knowledge that could ever be monetized. They will never see you again, and you can be whoever you want.”
I decided not to care about a lot of things on this trip. And it was the most freeing feeling.
Yes – California is filled with fascinating people with wildly different priorities from the midwest. And while Alex disagrees strongly with their materialistic behaviors, I found them to add to the overall California charm and sense of wonder. No two month stay in California would be complete for me without at least one trip to LA and running into at least one celebrity. The day before Christmas, (also the day we ended up getting stranded and broken down – but that’s another story for another day) we headed to Larchmont Village, a little suburb area of LA. A friend of mine who used to live 0ut here gave me this tip when I asked “where is the surest place to run into a celebrity?” It’s a quiet street with some boutiques, amazing vegan brunch restaurants, and there happened to be a farmers market going on. A place for celebrities to do their everyday things, away from the touristy areas of Hollywood boulevard. We were there a total of on hour (maybe less) and ran into 3 celebrities circling these two blocks: The Property Brothers & their wives and children (we walked out of brunch at the same time, their restaurant was the one over from ours. Alex had to literally remind me to stop jumping up and down like an idiot while frantastically whispering OMG THE PROPERTY BROTHERS blurbbablurbb sdklgjdsl PICK MY CHIN OFF THE FLOOR akdskgjlsd WUT”, Jillian Jacobs – from a few quirky shows and movies we’ve watched, and my favorite LOL memory: Chris Kattan walking straight into Alex’s belly in a Rite Aid pharmacy, too buy with his head down into his phone (anyone remember the movie Night at the Roxbury with Will Ferrell, or the good ole SNL days like this “more cowbell” skit?) I grew up watching him on my clunky TV in the early 2000s and I might be the most excited person ever to have run into Chris Kattan. WHO is Chris Kattan? Well now you know.
I had no idea how much I would end up falling for California. But I did know before arriving that I was absolutely mystified by images I’d seen of the Joshua Tree. It seemed they were popping up everywhere on my instagram feed (problems of following too many traveling photographer accounts), and calling me to come out and see them myself. The way these trees wind and tangle in its own self and twist certain ways. Each one unique. It was the top place on my bucket list of places to shoot, and with perfect timing in life, Janelle & Brian who knew I was planning a long trip out west, contacted me to do their Cali engagement session while they’d be vacationing there. Guess which place we chose? 🙂
We really couldn’t go wrong anywhere in this massive National Park, but we decided to spend most of our time near the northern entrance where the Joshua Tree and the big rock boulders were most prominent. I only wish we had more time, as an hour and a half just doesn’t do this place justice. I’m pretty sure we shot til our cameras (and our ISO levels) couldn’t take it anymore. The cool thing about this engagement session was Janelle & Brian are another Wisconsin wedding photography husband/wife duo who I was so excited to finally meet after months of talking back and forth. We had wanted to meet up for headswaps but the timing never worked out. And we both thought it was so funny it took going all the way out to California to finally meet face-to-face! To this day we still stay in contact almost on a weekly basis – a lot of times when I’m booked I’ll refer the couple to Janelle and vise versa, and it’s also been so nice having someone to always talk shop and bounce ideas or just vent to during stressful times such as these new times we are finding ourselves living in just a year later. It’s also a huge reason I find myself longing more and more for the days where we had this kind of freedom. I never thought this kind of freedom could be taken away, that there’d be a day where travel was restricted, parks shut down, and where the only people you should mingle with are the people in your own household. Where you are advised not to leave your own house unless necessary. Quite the opposite world we are living in now, and I now know to never take THIS kind of life for granted, ever again.
We had so much fun getting our makeup done and getting in pretty dresses, hopping in the suburban us 4 while Janelle and I talked all things travel + photography. I don’t think Alex and Brian could keep up with us – we were so excited to finally meet LOL I don’t think there was a single moment of silence our entire afternoon. We had both scoped it out, separately, the couple days prior for our own pleasure and to prepare for our session. But it was still just as magical for all us 4 driving through the second time, this time having company to share the enjoyment. What pictures can’t show, is how the trees look as you’re driving through. Each a different twisty shape, and while in drive they almost appear as if they are dancing for you, each one flagging you down for attention, or waving to you and welcome you into their world (there’s probably a reason Jim Morrison spent a lot of time here back in the day, writing all those songs. You can be sober as a bird and this place is incredibly rad) Pick a good album, roll all your windows down, and enjoy this whimsical scene straight from a Dr. Suess book. OR climb the jumbo rocks and find a good view for a picnic.
While the main focus was Janelle & Brian’s engagement session, we managed to also do a little “photo swap” and Janelle gave Alex and I some beautiful pictures in perhaps my favorite place on all the EARTH 🙂 And our only nice pictures of us two taken on our whole 6 month trip. I’ll always look back to this day with a smile. Finally meeting this amazing couple. Driving through the park & popping out of our cars a million times with each new turn and cool view (it was all a cool view). Their incredible company and vibe and how they were in the midst of planning a destination wedding in Iceland – where we are heading *hopefully* next. There’s so much we have in common with Janelle & Brian and I’ll always cherish this day two photographer husband/wife teams from Wisco met up and explored this neck of the woods.
Fun Fact: Joshua Tree only grow here in the Southwest, and Jerusalem. They have to be at the perffffect elevation and temp, otherwise they don’t reproduce. With temperatures rising, they predict Joshua Tree won’t be around in a few generations…which literally breaks my heart. Go see them and tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this place is pure magic.
This was supposed to be a brief summary about an engagement session we shot at Joshua Tree, but I can’t help myself when it comes to California. There’s just so much to say I could write an entire book describing everything we saw and felt and experienced in our two months here. Maybe someday I will. But for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll leave you with just this overview. And if you ever need a place to go and see a lot, seriously let it be California. You may not have time to see it all in one trip but you have enough at your disposal to make any trip to California worthwhile. The vast desolate desert, LA culture, the whimsical Joshua Tree to the towering Redwood Trees , the rocky coasts and bluffs, Malibu, Monterey, Napa, Lake Tahoe, Yosemeti, Death Valley, Sequoia, Mojave.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far!
PS: For more travel inspo and our road trip out west – I’ve put our entire (condensed) year-in-review HERE 🙂
I’ve been watching our new show Big Little Lies on Hulu, and it has me missing (read: pining, obsessively longing, constantly reminiscing in daydreams) our time spent in California last winter. Can I even say “last winter” when it’s been 16 months ago? It feels so strange thinking that much time has passed, but I […]
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With the world being a little heavy right now, I thought it’d be the *perfect* time to begin sharing all the remaining weddings from last summer. Kicking it off where I left off with Danielle & Andrew’s White Oak Chapel wedding from last August – at one of the cutest cottage-chic venues I never knew existed so close to my hometown!
Little fun side note: I met Danielle while working in investments (back when photography was my side hustle!) She was placed in the desk right across from me, and after her sitting with me one day for training we immediately we hit it off as friends. Danielle has this bubbly energy that is so contagious and you can’t help but feel in a good mood when around her. I’m not big into aura’s but Danielle’s aura is clearly yellow (her favorite color). She exudes light, and life, and truly brings sunshine to anyone’s day. Suitably, her favorite flower is the Sunflower, so she incorporated these into little touches and floral aspects throughout the venue and her bouquet. When I arrived to the cabins it was a HOT sunny morning, which later ended up turning into clouds and downpour. But no matter the weather, the party and celebration raged on. The clouds cleared into the evening and guests were able to enjoy the outdoor patio at Cobblestone Creek in between dinner and their dance.
Danielle and Andrew – thank you for being honestly one of the chillest, happiest, easy breasy couples I’ve ever worked with. Throughout their entire wedding planning it was so evident they never lost sight of what was most important. They didn’t overly stress about timeline, or little details, or what ifs. And when I think back to this wedding, I just remember their energy, their beaming expressions, their outpour of love for eachother and their guests…it was evident throughout their entire engaged journey that THIS was the most important to them. Bringing family together to celebrate their commitment to eachother and officially starting their new fam of 3. Which leads me to the sweetest moment of their day, when Andrew invited Lilly out to the dance floor to share a first dance and Danielle couldn’t help but join in at the end. They may have only “officially” became a family this on day 8/03/2019 but if you’re asking anyone looking on…it was clear their strong foundation was already built many months prior.
I adored this day so much & I’m so happy one of my dear friends found her soulmate and happy ever after, and what a privilege to get to photograph it.
Enjoy their preview of this cottage-chic/rustic wedding day! Leave them a kind note and check out their full vendor list below!
Photography: Meghan Lee Harris // Ceremony Venue: White Oak Chapel // Reception Venue: Cobblestone Creek // Wedding Dress: Valley Bridal Elegance // DJ: Superior Sound Entertainment // Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse // Jeweler: Kessler’s
With the world being a little heavy right now, I thought it’d be the *perfect* time to begin sharing all the remaining weddings from last summer. Kicking it off where I left off with Danielle & Andrew’s White Oak Chapel wedding from last August – at one of the cutest cottage-chic venues I never knew […]
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I will be in touch soon.