meghan lee harris

When Brittany’s two friends came to her saying she *had* to meet this guy Zach cause they’d be a perfect match, she originally wasn’t interested in getting set up on a date at all. She would soon be moving across the country for a job, but with a little persistence she eventually gave in and agreed to meet him! They met at Firefly in Wauwatosa for a fancy first date (and little did she know what would then ensue the next couple months)! Fast forward a few weeks later and Brittany moved to Texas, (this would seemingly put a damper on their future plans, right?) but her and Zach kept an open mind and agreed they’d try long distance for the time being.

A month after Brittany moved, Zach came to visit and they spent an amazing week together in Austin, having quality time enjoying all the things they discovered they love to do together like hiking, eating all the bbq and tacos! and daily adventures all around the city. Looking back, they consider this time spent in Austin the week they fell deeply for eachother! The day Zach left to go back home, Brittany decided she would also be heading back with him! She jokes, “It wasn’t a very “long” long-distance relationship 😉 ”

Zach proposed in winter 2020 in the middle of a giant snow storm (he was determined to make it happen!), in front of the same place they had their first date. They were married last July in what I truly believe was the hottest day of the year! (right guys!!?) Thank goodness for The Covenant at Murray Mansion being so gorgeous on the inside, we spent 99% of our day inside with AC and popped out very briefly for photos!

They now enjoy even more discovered activities together, like their love for fitness, going on Harley rides, Badger games, traveling to new parks, kayaking, hammocking, reading, and spending time up north.

It was such a blast getting to know them & relive their stunningly romantic day! Vendor list below – Enjoy!

VENDOR LIST:

Wedding Dress: All About The Gown // Bride’s Shoes: Bella Belle // Hair/Makeup: B. Beauty Bar // Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal + Azazie // Florist: Northgate Floral // Caterer: Culinary Infusion // Cake: Bake by Kayla // Band/DJ: Silver Spoon // Videographer: Mina George Films // Menswear: Jos A Bank

April 29, 2022

Brittany & Zach’s The Covenant at Murray Mansion Wedding | Racine, Wisconsin

When Brittany’s two friends came to her saying she *had* to meet this guy Zach cause they’d be a perfect match, she originally wasn’t interested in getting set up on a date at all. She would soon be moving across the country for a job, but with a little persistence she eventually gave in and […]

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Let this wedding be proof that your Plan B can be JUST as beautiful as your Plan A.

It was a sunshining day at Villa Terrace, starting with Brenna slipping into her satin ballgown dress in the museum, to the first look down the terrace steps, the family first look in the courtyard, and wedding party photos on the lawn below. Everything was perfectly on track, smooth-sailing, AMAZING! Guests arrived and wow’d as the ceremony commenced, and everyone witnessed Brenna & Charlie say I do with the most stunning backdrop of Lake Michigan. Seriously this day was gorgeous (can we also take a second for Bird and Bumble with these florals?!?) Afterwards guests grabbed some champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the courtyard as the strings played and set the tone for a romantic evening that truly felt like being whisked away to Italy.

This day was designed and led by Morgan with Blue Fancy Events and I’m so glad she, her assistant Eve, and Megan with Villa Terrace were on deck. While we were busy getting our shots they were keeping a watchful eye on the weather report, and when the forecast called for chance of rain, they perfectly (and quickly) switched the outdoor reception plan to inside. Would you even know this wasn’t the original plan?? I was so impressed. It’s always so hard to make the rain call. “Do we play it safe? Do we risk it?” Luckily in the end the right call was made. And just as all the tables and decor were placed indoors and candles lit, down came the rain.

Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and Brenna & Charlie were able to carry on with their dance outside as planned. But this is why I am always so thankful when working with a planner. I know they’ve got everything covered down to a science and allows everyone else (vendors included) to be at ease and in-the-moment! Brenna and Charlie were super go with the flow amidst all changes of plans, and never let anything stop them from enjoying their special day. This is the best advice I can give. Let go of perfection and realize that your day will be beautiful no matter what. I know it’s easier said than done, but on your wedding day, do release all control and expectations. Focus your attention on the here and now. These small moments will become your entire day. Pay attention to the beauty that surrounds you and let your emotions run free. And remember, you get to walk away from it as husband and wife. That in itself is a perfect day!

Thank you so much Brenna & Charlie for allowing us to be a part of your day! For the full list of talented vendors, scroll to the very end! Enjoy!

VENDOR TEAM 

Wedding Planner & Designer: Blue Fancy Events – Morgan Liddell // Venue: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum // Caterer: Ball N Biscuit // Gown: Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique // Rentals: TOC Vintage Rentals // Florals: Bird & Bumble // Officiant – Sonja Coster // Hair: Sweet Ginger Hair // Makeup: Makeup by Esa // Ceremony/Cocktail Hour Strings: Memorable Music Ensembles // DJ Services: DJ Anthony Deustch // Cafe Lights: Milwaukee Airwaves // Bagpiper: Piper Mike //Dessert: Sweet Demise Dessert Catering

April 22, 2022

Brenna & Charlie’s Romantic Villa Terrace Wedding | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Let this wedding be proof that your Plan B can be JUST as beautiful as your Plan A. It was a sunshining day at Villa Terrace, starting with Brenna slipping into her satin ballgown dress in the museum, to the first look down the terrace steps, the family first look in the courtyard, and wedding […]

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Off season means finally getting to do the other part of my job that I love so much, SHARING weddings! It’s safe to say the past two years have been a whirlwind for the wedding industry, and so forgive me that I’ve gotten a bitttttt behind on blogging! But while redoing my website recently I realized that I had not yet blogged Haley & Brad’s wedding from summer 2020 and couldn’t help but take a moment to share it with you today!

Beside it being an absolute sauna outside the day was incredible!! (but seriously, my lenses fogged up for the first time EVER – the humidity this day was no joke!) Thankfully Jillian Niemann was on deck for hair/makeup and kept Haley and the girls looking FLAWLESS all day long. Haley’s classic Sophia Tolli gown from Fifi’s Bridal was simply stunning, and paired elegantly with her ivory bouquet from florist Petals ‘n’ Bloom. Their venue Grand Geneva was situated on top of a golf course looking down at a small lake and it created such a heavenly backdrop for photos. I’m in love anytime there’s an illusion of being in the rolling hills and having different textures to play around with (in Wisconsin we take it wherever we can find it ;)!) After their sweet first look moment down by the lake, we took the golf cart around to meet back up with their party for photos at the top of the hill! The energy was high and no one fainted from  heat exhaustion! Woot!

Due to 2020 Covid times, they switched up their Fiji honeymoon for a mix of some national bucket list spots: the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, & Lake Tahoe to which I jotted down some Tetons hikes I still need to check out! From standing next to eachother with different dates during high school homecoming (hilarious photo to prove it!), to reconnecting on the bus ride back to college after Thanksgiving break their freshman year, to then standing next to eachother at the altar…these two happily said I do! Haley & Brad, you guys make such an adorable couple and it was such a joy to photograph your love! Enjoy!

April 19, 2022

Haley & Brad’s Lake Geneva Wedding Day at Grand Geneva

Off season means finally getting to do the other part of my job that I love so much, SHARING weddings! It’s safe to say the past two years have been a whirlwind for the wedding industry, and so forgive me that I’ve gotten a bitttttt behind on blogging! But while redoing my website recently I […]

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In 2021 we:

  • loved the doggies
  • went on two trips
  • worked every other second

 

The end.

No but for real 2021 was a year of actual exhaustion 😅. Looking back it’s such a blur of working 60+ hour work weeks, while  simultaneously doing my best to take advantage of this downtime our world’s been given and focus on some personal growth. I’m trying to make this not sound all sound such a downer haha but TBH….I’m tired, emotionally and spiritually. Good news is that the season of wedding reschedules is over (hooray!), our other work obligations seem much more manageable and healthier heading into the new year. 2022 seems like it’ll finally be the end of the emotional rollercoaster whirlwind that was 2020 & 2021. A return to normalcy 🙂

But through the grind, were able to say goodbye to so many things that were holding us back or no longer serving us, mentally and physically. Things like credit cards, car payments, our trailer (goodbye home on wheels!), and are enjoying this new thing called a savings account. Yanno, making up in my 30s for what I did in my 20s. We’re SO thrilled to now be in a healthy position to buy a home this year, which we will begin the process next month. It took us forever to even figure out if we will be sticking to our Wisconsin roots or venturing off to the dreamy California, but we **finally** got some clarity (you’ll have to keep reading to find out!)

All the hard work in 2021 seems to be paying off. I can feel myself taking a deep sigh of relief. Some years are glamorous, and some years are those in-between, get in the zone and focus on your responsibilities type of years. After the past few glamorous years of travel, this year of staying put was SO necessary. And as someone who likes to always add adventure and new things and thrills, I’m very proud I finally put myself in check, and prioritized the hard things first.

Iceland

When we did have a break, we took full advantage! This year we finally crossed off our first international trip, to Iceland! To put mildly, it was INCREDIBLE. Hands down our favorite of all our travels thus far, and honestly there is too much I could say about Iceland to fit into this recap. So if you want the full breakdown, check out the 10 Days around Iceland blog where I dive into things like “Why Iceland?”, our packing list (did everything with no checked bags, also didn’t bring any of my professional cameras -eep! Can ya tell?). I include our 10-day Itinerary, why we choose to vancamp vs hotels, so many photos, and some of our most commonly asked questions. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland or have it on your list, definitely check it out. Otherwise here were some highlights of our trip!

Wedding Season

We returned to the height of our wedding season in July which brought us all over the state, from Milwaukee to Eau Claire to Up North. We even got to photograph a wedding just 10 minutes away from our house – so rare!

We always love a good road trip, and this year our drives to/from weddings became extra important. Our schedules were so busy in summer and fall that oftentimes the only time Alex and I could breathe and reconnect with one another was on these drives. 90’s jock jams anyone?

It’s already been two months since our last November wedding and I’m already missing the high and connection and purpose it brings. I know a lot of people won’t relate to this feeling, but as a wedding photographer, nothing beats arriving at the venue on a wedding day, walking in and greeting the beaming couple. We get to forget about our own lives and for that day, all our energy is refocused into capturing the JOY of another’s! No matter what is going on in our lives, weddings always feel like a mental release. There is truly no better energy to be a part of every weekend. This year, I think everyone was just so happy to finally reach this day and see extended family and long distance friends again, the energy was extra contagious!

Looking ahead, I am excited for a well-balanced 2022 season. I’ve found I truly love sticking to 10-15 weddings each summer because I can focus so much more on each couple with much more intention, so we continued with that mindset into 2022. We are now currently booking into 2023 and have some incredible venues and even a destination out to the East coast on the books! We are so excited to continue doing what we love and can’t wait to meet and work with all of you!

And of course, a very special thank you to all 2021 couples. It’s been quite the ride for some of you! We are so thankful to have been let into your special days, every couple blew us away with their kindness, grace, and warmth. I wish I could share so many details of each but this would get verrrrry long! So I’ll stick to just highlighting each couple 🙂 Cheers to another beautiful year of weddings! We all made it through the past two years of reschedules and everyone was happily married! Yay! Here’s a look back:

 

We also photographed some engagement sessions, lifestyle sessions, maternity photos, and a surprise proposal!

SWEET SUMMERTIME

In between weddings and editing, were so many backyard hangs. Grilling hamburgers, throwing the ball around in the yard, and getting out on the water as much as we could!

F I V E  Years Married!

We celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary in August by renting an airbnb in our favorite spot in all of Wisconsin. I almost don’t want to say cause it’s our secret spot!! If you’ve never been to the driftless area of Vernon County and you love rolling hills, you need to go! Ontario specifically holds a lot of meaning for us, so many memories of camping and Kickapoo River canoe trips! This is Amish country, so if you like having lots of things to do just be aware that this is more a place to seek out if you want some peace and quiet and nature. The rolling hills are so surprising, it reminds us of being in Tennessee. After a weekend of fully unplugging, it made us seriously want to live out on the country. We are always happier with less and less choices brings more peace and simplicity. We bought food at the only grocery store in town, and made all our meals. We watched the sun set and lightning storms and the sun rise. We hiked and kayaked and watched on top the hill the amish return home below us after a long day’s work. Cows moo’d and it never felt so…..soothing LOL. So typical Wisconsin, how could we ever leave this state?

 

2021 CULTURE

It wouldn’t be a 2021 year recap without mentioning alllll the other things that made up the year: NFT’s and Crypto becoming mainstream, Netflix shows like Squid Games & Bridgerton bringing in millions of views, conversations on mental health and normalizing therapy were at an all time high, the first same-sex dance couple were paired on Dancing with The Stars, Brittney is free!!, Chris Harrison exits Bachelor Franchise after defending racial insensitivity (as a long time Bachelor viewer this was HUGE), the realness of Cancel Culture, the Capital riot and Biden is president, continued polarization and The Social Dilemma documentary continuing to bring social media issues to light. The government finally confirms UFO’s are real and no one reacts lolol, burnt out workers, everyone (EVERYONE) is short staffed, workplaces reinventing the new workplace normal. The production and delivery of vaccines and boosters and reopening borders for travel, Jeff Bezos space flights begin, weather is more extreme and California is on fire….

Which leads me to our…

Cali Road Trip: From Vegas to Tahoe, Along Scenic Hwy 395

We just so happened to plan a trip through Cali along their current fire zone. It was a brilliant idea! To be fair, we had no idea when planning how badly the current fires would actually effect our trip. The month leading up, we knew there were some seriously bad fires just south of Lake Tahoe that did end up dying out thank goodness. There were still awful fires taking place further south in Sequoia National Park, but being that Cali is a large and long state, we truly didn’t think that we would be affected all the way up north. Turns out, when there is wind, we were way wrong.

California Fires are no joke, and although this trip was not quite at all what we had planned (for reasons I won’t mention like getting smoked out of Mammoth Lakes area where we planned to spend 3 days, poor visibility in Lake Tahoe, cancelling Yosemite due to air quality conditions – AGAIN lol some day we will get here, and lastly, having no good hiking air or visibility of the Sierra Nevada mountains the entire drive home – this was the main reason we chose this particular 395 highway road trip). For someone who is faint of heart and always thinks they’re going to die, this turned out to not be the best choice of location lol. If you’re trying to visit this California mountain area, it may be best to do so in June when fire season is less in full-swing.

After our first two nights in Vegas (one to sleep after a late flight, and 2nd night enjoying the night life), we were excited to hit the road. First up, Death Valley National Park just outside Vegas. We *finally checked this one off our bucket list* after being near this area so many times. If you are are on a road trip, and it’ll be faster to drive through it, definitely do it because although the connection in the park sucks, and the name of the place sounds frightening, it definitely offers some interesting landscape and views. Would it be a place I’d seek out more than a couple hours? Mmmm. Probably not. If you’re into photography definitely wait til sunrise or sunset. We traveled midday in the hot sun and the colors in Artist’s Palette definitely weren’t as vivid (normally it looks like pastel chalk covered the mountains).

As mentioned, there’s NO connection or radio stations whatsoever for four hours or more, so you’ll have to sing songs for like 4 hours, and then 4 hours more as you travel on the 395. This is a very desolate area so make sure your gas tank is full and you bring plenty of water in case of a breakdown. Especially at the end of the main road through the park, there is a lot of uphill climbing, and after spending 4 hours in one of the hottest places on earth, we definitely can understand why cars break down. There’s even a 15 minute section where they advise you to turn off air conditioning to avoid overheating. We took in the views and were very happy to make it out (alive) and with no car problems!

We drove along the gorgeous 395, with the Sierra Nevada mountain views waving to you along the left, and passed by the charming small towns. Stop in Lone Pine and check out the Alabama Hills if you have time. These rocks remind me of Joshua Tree and there are some picturesque views of Mt Whitney! We also highly recommend checking out some hiking around Big Pine, as seen in 2020’s Cali road trip. We were short on time so we kept going.

As we were finally approaching our first main location, Mammoth Lakes, we realized the mountains were looking really hazy. We kept traveling up the mountain, and the light between the trees was so eerie as the sun was setting. Almost like a heavy glowing fog in between the trees. I wish I would have stepped out for a picture. When we got to the top of the hill at our resort, the air was now thick and gray. No one was there except for one parked car, a complete ghost town. Out of curiosity, we covered our mouths from the smoke filled air and walked into the lodge entrance (half expecting it to be closed). The front desk man was busy answering calls on whether or not they were closing due to fires, and assuring people that he wasn’t sure, (LOL), and as far as he knows, they’re open. I wanted to leave due to my gut instinct, but we had spent $$ on this nicer resort lodge so we checked into our room, thinking maybe we’re just from Wisconsin and this is Cali-normal.

After 15 minutes kicking our feet up in bed, we realized our noses and eyes were actually stinging. Okay….probbbbably not healthy lol. So we looked up the air quality online and saw the chart below. We were at 172 – the highest on the chart for the entire area of California and definitely not healthy, and nothing freaks me out more than not being able to breathe. It was too late to fully leave the Mammoth Lakes area, I certainly didn’t want to drive in the mountains in the dark to reach Tahoe. But at the very least, we decided to go back down the mountain where the air quality was much less intense and I felt I could sleep the night.

 

The next morning, we lucked out with the air being good enough to get a morning view of Convict Lake followed by a little hot springs soak. There are so many hot springs in this area we would have loved to explore them all! We continued up to Lake Tahoe where we were optimistic air would be clearer. I forgot how beautiful the drive into Tahoe is, it felt so good to be back especially after the place almost burned a month prior. We checked into our hotel and decided to listen to some live music and grab a bite to eat at our favorite Base Camp pizza. The musician felt connected to Alex’s dancing enthusiasm lolol and after the show, he came up to talk to us.

We got into talking about the area and how we were considering moving here. And he basically told us how terrible the fires and evacuation process has been on him. He laughed and said rather seriously, we should sit tight in Wisco cause soon everyone will be relocating to us in the midwest. I left this conversation realizing this dream of living in California, would always stay a dream. The entire past couple years since visiting California for the first time, I dreamed of moving out here. And during quarantine when everyone was relocating and able to work from home, we actually were truly considering it. So much so that this vacation was actually half us deciding where (which mountain towns) we might want to live. There’s just not a ton of mountain hiking in Wisconsin LOL, and being such lovers of hiking and mountains it made sense to move to them. But it finally all clicked after this conversation from this local.

As beautiful as my California dream was, my gut instinct was telling me this is not where we want to invest or be right now, or even long term. I came to the realization I could not live in a place that I didn’t feel safe majority of the time. I’d much rather live where the clean air and water is. After months and months of long talks and agony over wanting to make up our minds, the smoke ironically gave me clarity. Wisconsin now felt more appealing than ever. We can always just visit Cali on vacays and it’ll be all the more reason to appreciate the mountain hikes when we are able!

So our mountain trip through Cali Hwy 395 filled with alpine lakes hikes and hot spring soaks suddenly was cut very short and turned into us bumming around Vegas not knowing what to do for the last 5 days of our trip (ps: turns out, one night on the Vegas strip is **definitely enough**). But it felt good to finally have this clarity and peace of mind so in a way this trip served a huge purpose. And we were still so happy to get some time away and in the mountains. We got to explore new hot springs along the 395 and revisited some our favorite Vegas hikes. I think we’re ready to hang up the Cali towel for a little while, but eventually we’d love to come back for a second try when there is less fire risk and check off more hot springs & hiking trails we had initially planned!