Chelsea and Ryan wished for a winter wonderland wedding and that’s exactly what was received. Snow-capped trees, a romantically-lit sunset ceremony, fur shawls and white boots, a beautiful satin gown and dotted bead veil. Wintry neutrals and greenery decorated the newly remodeled venue Fete, that overlooked the snowy landscape and frozen pond beyond. Wooden floral bouquets (that looked so soft and real!) and coffee bean favors welcomed guests to their table. And the craziest kickoff to a dance party I’ve ever seen by Milwaukee Buck’s Rim Rockers. After their wedding they set out to the incredible Swiss Alps, all around a perfect day and celebration for this winter lovin’ couple!
Happy One Year anniversary, you two!
Wedding Dress Designer / Store: Mori Lee / Amelishan Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Macys, Sperry boots and Jounree collection Edna Pumps
Jewelry: Olive and Piper
Hair: Lexi Miaskowski – hairbylexilee.com
Makeup: Kelly Schubel – lustrousmakeup.com
Bridesmaids Dresses: Amelishan Bridal
Florist: DIY – Sola wood flowers
Cake/Dessert: Cupcake Wonders
Band/DJ: Sound by Design: Max Dodge – soundbydesign.org
Caterer: Machine Shed
Rentals / Furniture / Decor: DIY Decor
Jeweler: Chelsea engagement ring – Ryan’s Great Grandmas -100 years old, wedding bands from the Jewelry Center.
Menswear: Men’s Warehouse
Chelsea and Ryan wished for a winter wonderland wedding and that’s exactly what was received. Snow-capped trees, a romantically-lit sunset ceremony, fur shawls and white boots, a beautiful satin gown and dotted bead veil. Wintry neutrals and greenery decorated the newly remodeled venue Fete, that overlooked the snowy landscape and frozen pond beyond. Wooden floral […]
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It’s going to be impossible to remember 2020 without looking back and remembering first and foremost, the Pandemic that turned our worlds upside down as we tried to grip onto any sort of normalcy. Add in an increasingly tense political atmosphere and the battle of two Americas, and BLM that had so many of us awakened of the systemic racism that exists in our country. With no distractions, and everyone tuning in, 2020 forced us to see the hard and uncomfortable truths in our society, and rather than continuing to turn a blind eye, actually become a part of the conversation. To do the work, to unlearn and to relearn. The best word I can come up for 2020 is “monumental” and for so many reasons, I know this year will be remembered for centuries to come.
Aside from everything going on in the outside world, it wasn’t always heavy! We welcomed a sweet floofball into our home, turned the key to our first non-apartment and non-wheeled living space. Celebrated 14 couples on their wedding days after lots of rescheduling and shifting and downsizing and re-imagining, and met my newly engaged 2021 couples! I turned the big 3-0 and we set out to California, spending 10 days scenic driving & living out of a converted van. I discovered the glorious world of podcasts while working from home haha (okay where have these been my whole life?! they kept me so feeling so entertained and educated and inspired each and every day!) I used the extra downtime I was given to try to process my feelings on a more regular basis, instead of always distracting myself. And I ended this year with a deep dive into self-discovery — understanding my motivations, fears, and everything in-between (aka I hopped on the Enneagram bandwagon & now am convinced I have been fully “seen” – where are my Type #7’s at?)
Anyways! I should probs share a few of the kajillion photos I’ve taken this year right?! Here are our top highlights that made up our 2020!
Whenever I am going through something uncomfortable (aka a pandemic), I have a tendancy to busy myself with distractions. Not being able to travel or plan any future trips, I of course figured out how to bring adventure into our own living room! So meet Lennon aka “Lennie.” The perfect dose of happy distraction that lifted our spirits and kept us entertained all throughout those first months of lockdown – and onward! Our hearts grew 10 times bigger this year, and I seriously can not imagine getting through quarantine without this sweet boy and his mouth-breathing, slobber tongue, and playful cuddles the entire time! It was our first time raising a puppy together, and gotta say – I think we’re pretty good at parenting!? Gosh I miss these little legs.
When the world shut down in March, immediately all I could think of was my brides, my weddings, what will happen to this year?! Will it be cancelled? Every couple had to make some hard and emotional decisions and I am so proud of each and every one for handling this year with so much grace. Some chose to wait it out and risk keeping their dates, hopeful they’d be able to still happen. Many had to cut their guest lists, some to just 4 people! Others chose outdoor and intimate venues in backyards or parks. And others rescheduled to later in the year or 2021 to be able to celebrate their day as planned when times would be safer. There was tons of shifting and re-shiftiing but in the end we were lucky to still be able to serve 14 couples on their wedding day! Along with meeting some of our new 2021 engaged couples 🙂 Despite everything, love wasn’t cancelled this year and it was another successful, beautiful year of weddings!
A look back on all the couples we celebrated this year:
CHELSEA & RYAN | 1.18.20 | FETE OF WALES | WALES, WI
MEGAN & SPENCER | 6.20.20 | CHAIN O’ LAKES | WAUPACA, WI
HALEY & BRAD | 7.18.20 | GRAND GENEVA RESORT & SPA | LAKE GENEVA, WI
MELISSA & ERIC | 7.25.20 |BURLAP AND BELLS | BLACK RIVER FALLS, WI
CAITLIN & BEN | 8.08.20 | POP UP WEDDING | VILLA TERRACE ART MUSEUM | MILWAUKEE, WI
KATIE & JOSH | 8.08.20 | POP UP WEDDING | VILLA TERRACE ART MUSEUM | MILWAUKEE, WI
EMILY & RUDY | 8.15.20 | BACKYARD WEDDING | ELKHORN, WI
RAQUEL & TIM | 8.21.20 | INTIMATE PARK WEDDING | EAU CLAIRE, WI
LISA & MARK | 8.28.20 | MONONA TERRACE ELOPEMENT | MADISON, WI
AMELIA & TYLER | 8.29.20 | THE CARRIAGE HOUSE | OCONOMOWOC, WI
KATIE & ZACH | 9.05.20 | ST. JOHNS ACADEMY & CHENEQUA COUNTRY CLUB | DELAFIELD, WI
BRIANA & DYLAN | 9.19.20 | LILYDALE | CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI
ALYSSA & BRANDON | 10.09.20 | THE ATRIUM | MILWAUKEE, WI
KAITLYN & MICHAEL | 10.17.20 | WHISTLER’S KNOLL | HORTONVILLE, WI
And the new engaged couples we got to meet!
HAILEY & BRETT’S COFFEE SHOP ENGAGEMENT SESSION | BOXED & BURLAP, LAKE GENEVA, WI
BRITTNEY & ZACH’S NATURE STROLLS ENGAGEMENT SESSION | DELAFIELD, WI
LESLIE & LUKE’S ENGAGEMENT SESSION ON THEIR FAMILY LAND | WATERTOWN, WI
SARAH & ANDREW’S HARTMAN’S CREEK ENGAGEMENT SESSION | WAUPACA, WI
Special thank you to all the couples who made up this 2020 wedding season!
I entered the first two weeks of the year bedridden with some “unknown virus.” Hands-down the most miserable illness of my life, and looking back I had every single symptom of COVID. But I occupied my time by putting together a 2019 blog post on our adventures while spending a year on wheels, and creating a 2020 vision board. One of those visions was finalllllyy booking our first overseas trip. Destination?
I C E L A N D
I spent my days in bed planning out our itinerary: snorkeling between two tectonic plates, vanlifing around the island, endless waterfall and craters and volcanic activity, a world of lime green grass and black sand. Whale watching and remote camping, and hiking on top of Glaciers and into Ive Caves. This world looked like another planet and I was so giddy with excitement to turn the big 3-0 in such a magical way. Life was feeling too good. Something had to go wrong.
Well, a couple months later, the world literally shut down — eep, no big!?!? I remained hopeful but every week I would check Icelandic Air’s website for the latest press release with no good news.. Come June when we still weren’t allowed in the country, I had to admit it just wasn’t going to happen for us. It was onto a Plan B.
My days in June were now so filled between getting up at 5am to run and wear out a four month old Lennie so I could work a few hours peacefully at home before he’d wake up. And then I’d have to run with him again at lunch to exhaust him yet again so I could work the afternoon. Evenings I still had to spend all my free time wearing out Lennie and as soon as he would give me moments to breathe I’d bury myself into quickly re-imagining an entire 10-day trip in just two weeks time.
We shot our first wedding of the season at the end of June, and just a few days afterwards we were headed out west to California, back to the golden state that we still had so much left on our bucket list to see! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave my growing baby puppers behind, but Alex and I were so excited to have some time just the two of us again and felt beyond lucky to go on an adventure that didn’t involve our backyard!
We spent the next 10 days escaping reality and living out of a campervan and exploring all the scenic spots in central California, The Sierra Nevada Valley, Lake Tahoe (turned the big 3-0!), drove through Napa and San Fran and down the coast. Finally checked off our Highway 1 bucket list, camped near Big Sur, and completed our trip by spending the Fourth in one of my favorite places – Joshua Tree (View our full Cali trip HERE)
After our Cali trip, we returned home to what finally felt like a normal “busy season” again. Our world was slowly opening back up and weddings were happening again. Our growing puppy started to make it known that we needed a bigger living space to continue to grow our family. A few weeks later it was August, and after 10 years living in small apartment spaces or on wheels, we finally upgraded to a home ** with a fenced in and private backyard. Oh the glory!!! We had so many weddings stacked up this month from spring postponements, along with working our other fulltime jobs, but we grilled out in the yard and had fires and enjoyed our newly domesticated life as much as we possibly could before the inevitable cold weather would come!
With almost all our weddings of the year taking place in August, my months of September and October were spent in an editing haze, keeping up on my timeline for delivering galleries while shooting our remaining four weddings and balancing that with our other jobs. The air outside became super political and heated and it was harder to balance all that was going on in our society and work and keeping social lives. I tried to make sure I gave myself enough rest & relaxation – which ironically is not actually physically resting, but usually involves social activities and getting outside in nature.
We took the dogs to Rib Mountain at the peak of fall colors, I got to see a different side of Appleton and it’s scenic river walks with my sister, and we took a much needed girls trip to La Crosse where we hiked the beautiful bluffs along the Mississippi River. These times in nature and with loved ones are the moments that truly nourish my soul the most and allow me to reset.
This year was heavy. And up until the last months I rarely allowed myself to process anything as it was happening – kind of like I just disassociated it. My life was busy and if I sat and thought about things too long it became too much for me. I couldn’t watch the news, and I could barely go on social media. In these times I turned inward, to my closest people, and focused on self-care. I didn’t realize that by not allowing myself to process my emotions I wasn’t truly practicing self-care. I was just escaping via other distractions. But with no more weddings in November and December, I found my mental capacity beginning to open up again and then all at once.
I started to really work on self-care through Enneagram and therapeutic podcasts. And I honestly have never felt more seen and heard. I recognized I have this wired-in need to endlessly achieve, and an inability to rest. That I am constantly focused on the next great experience or finding new ways to live the most meaningful life. And that this can also be a way of escapism. When life gets dark, or confusing, I love to alter that energy into something positive, and when I can’t turn a bad situation into an enjoyable situation, I escape to find joy and fulfillment elsewhere. Buying a puppy on a whim, planning our next trip, busying myself with home projects, anything to get me focused back on happiness and excitement.
I now understand that my biggest fears are being deprived, feeling trapped in negative emotions, or feeling loss of control. All of which made up 2020. 2020 was the most challenging but necessary year for my journey to growth, because through forcing me to give up control and forcing me to stay put, it allowed me to just BE here in the moments that make up my life. That it’s good to sit in the uncomfortable sometimes, as it allows us to fully listen and learn.
Come November, I found so much joy decorating our new home for its first Christmas and carefully planning out gifts for loved ones. We drove around and looked at all the Christmas lights in the area, made sugar cookies for the first time (and almost broke our teeth) watched so many holiday cookie challenge shows and Christmas movies (Klaus being a new animated fav!) Started collecting my Christmas Village set and broke last year’s new tradition of getting a real Christmas tree (we were scared Lennie would eat it LOL). When Christmas Eve and day came, we enjoyed necessary time with loved ones both in person and virtually.
I enter 2021 recognizing that it’s not an escape from the uncomfortable reality of 2020. For me it’s a continuation of constant self-growth and understanding. No concrete goals I need to achieve, just some fun ideas I’m *hoping* to be able to do! and if they don’t, I know I’ll be okay with that too.
A few things I’m gonna put out into the universe, in hopes they will happen:
On a day-to-day basis I never feel like I do enough, and it’s not until I look back on an entire year that I realize woah- our lives now look so different. And although it takes a lot out of me, it’s why I find writing these year-in-reviews to be so necessary. A time for me to sit back and reflect and open my eyes to the truths that have been happening all around me and within me for the past dozen months. See what has changed, am I any different? What lessons have I taken away? It gives me a moment to feel proud. Especially in this year. Cause despite being in a pandemic, there was SO. MUCH. GOOD. So much growth. And not in the ways I was expecting, but in the ways that were needed.
I know going into a new Year can bring up pressure to be better, to set goals, and to achieve. Especially if you’re at all like me. But no matter where you are at going into this new year I want to remind you :
You are already enough. Remove pressure to endlessly achieve. Give yourself time to process things around you and heal and learn and grow, always. Continue to make self-care a priority. It’s okay not to have concrete plans going into 2021 but to instead just see where your ideas take you. Wherever you feel pressure, I hope you release it. And wherever you need more care and attention, I hope you receive that.
Cheers to surviving in this Pandemic , friends and happy new year!
It’s going to be impossible to remember 2020 without looking back and remembering first and foremost, the Pandemic that turned our worlds upside down as we tried to grip onto any sort of normalcy. Add in an increasingly tense political atmosphere and the battle of two Americas, and BLM that had so many of us […]
VIEW THE FULL POST
Emily and Dustin are the sweetest likeminded, adventurous duo that I’m SO happy to have met. Starting from a waterfall proposal and their idea to do an engagement session at Parfrey’s Glen (hiking boots necessary!) We fell in love with them immediately and their up-for-anything energy and have been loving getting some new adventure ideas through them over the course of the years!
Fun fact: Em ended up breaking my personal record with her girl squad of *twelve* (yes twelve bridesmaids!) The morning of would not have been the same without them, they created such a feel-good energy from the start, gifting her a thoughtful scrapbook and ooing and ahhiing finally seeing her in her dress! Even leading up to their wedding day I lost count the number of “happy wedding week” shoutouts she received. Emily & Dustin are clearly loved as a couple by so many & it doesn’t take long to know why!
Throughout the morning Emily was surprised with little notes from Dustin, to ensure she felt special all the moments leading up. The final hidden note came to her as she was about to put on her wedding shoes and her dad walk her down the aisle. They didn’t see eachother prior to the ceremony but they did exchange gifts. And can I just say I looove photographing these moments? Sometimes letters are overwhelming to read in front of a media crew, but gifts instantly provoke emotion at the first sight of them, a memory, an inside joke, or a token of appreciation and can be just as expressive. (If you’re a bride-to-be, consider it cause they make the sweetest photos and memories to look back on!)) Dustin had secretly kept a rock from their first date hidden away all these years, and included it as a part of his gift to Emily. They were married in the barn and as dusk came upon us, guests found their seats at the harvest tables, with the tastiest cupcakes for dessert! The dance lights came on and the party commenced!
Nowadays they recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary and are busy enjoying their new home together and new pup Clay! Which they got around the same time we got ours so we loved getting to compare puppy notes! Thanks guys being such an amazing couple to work with the past couple years!!!! <33 We’ve loved keeping in touch!!
Here are the highlights of their day!
Emily and Dustin are the sweetest likeminded, adventurous duo that I’m SO happy to have met. Starting from a waterfall proposal and their idea to do an engagement session at Parfrey’s Glen (hiking boots necessary!) We fell in love with them immediately and their up-for-anything energy and have been loving getting some new adventure ideas […]
VIEW THE FULL POST
In honor of Alyssa & Brandon’s wedding day today I just had to rewind and share with you their incredible engagement session. Right off the bat I was taken back by these two’s style! I was wanting every new sweater Alyssa came out wearing – and those black booties! They started off with bold colors, and I loved this change of pace from the neutrals I typically shoot! Alyssa & Brandon popped so perfectly with the beautiful fall backdrops downtown Milwaukee was displaying this day! Behind the scenes it was brutally cold – 40 degrees in October! – with super gusty winds. These two made it work, and they strolled all around the city of Milwaukee with their dog Finley, freezing our butts to death but all for good reason cause these two look incredible! (we did have to break in the Public Market & warm up with some 10am wine 😛 before braving the gusty shores of Lake Michigan!) All around such a quintessential Milwaukee day. Congrats you guys and I am so excited to celebrate you today!! And stay tuned for our round 2 – this time with a white dress and tux! Eep! I have a feeling they’re gonna be one *stunning* new Mr. & Mrs.!
In honor of Alyssa & Brandon’s wedding day today I just had to rewind and share with you their incredible engagement session. Right off the bat I was taken back by these two’s style! I was wanting every new sweater Alyssa came out wearing – and those black booties! They started off with bold colors, […]
VIEW THE FULL POST
I was so giddy with excitement when I saw Jordan & Zach’s wedding inquiry come through! Jordan had found me through her sister Danielle who I lived with back in the early days of College 09! Jordan & Zach were planning a unique destination wedding set in the charming small town of Charlevoix, Michigan at this incredible rustic, castle setting. We got to meet them a few months later for their engagement session and we had SUCH a great time getting to know them and explore Devil’s Lake with them – their love is just so obvious and made it all incredibly photogenic. I was counting down the days to do it again for the big day!
Fast forward to September 29, 2019 and we got to see this beauty of a venue in person. Honestly could have taken a kajillion photos of the venue alone, it was s-t-u-n-n-I-N-G! But beyond the pretty venue sets, the timeless lace gown, the flowy veil and sparkly heels, Jordan and Zach and their undeniable love (for not only eachother but their son Lincoln) were what wow’d me most. A true modern fairytale and I’m so excited to share it on their 1 year anniversary!
Hope you enjoy the highlights and scroll to the end for the full list of vendors who made this day possible!
Venue: Castle Farms – Charlevoix, Michigan / Wedding Dress: Vera’s House of Bridals / Shoes: Badgley Mishka / Hair: Vogue Salon / Makeup: ALH Beauty / Bridesmaids Dresses: Vera’s House of Bridals / Event Planner / Coordinator: Angela Sauve / Florist: Thyme Hill Designs / Dessert: Sugar me Sweet / DJ: Rusch Entertainment / Caterer: Grey Gables / Invitations: Minted / Rentals & Decor: Thyme Hill Designs / Jeweler: BR Diamonds / Menswear: Macy’s/Jos A Bank
I was so giddy with excitement when I saw Jordan & Zach’s wedding inquiry come through! Jordan had found me through her sister Danielle who I lived with back in the early days of College 09! Jordan & Zach were planning a unique destination wedding set in the charming small town of Charlevoix, Michigan at […]
VIEW THE FULL POST
I will be in touch soon.