Carrie + Tom: A Fun Library Wedding with Trivia!

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This wedding replaced first dances with some kickass Geeks Who Drink Trivia! 

Carrie + Tom have just about the greatest 'meet cute' story you've ever heard. They actually became roommates when they both moved up to Madison to work for Epic, and lived together for quite a while before they started dating! They bonded over Vincent Price movies, Edgar Allen Poe, wonderful Wisconsin beer, and surreal cartoons. They eventually decided to start dating (all while still being roommates)! 

How is that for a great way to start things off? 

For their wedding day, they definitely did it their way, including having Geeks Who Drink Trivia in place of dancing! (It was so fun to see the tables competing for first prize!) They also had a custom house crest (House of Crowlack) designed that combines their two last names into a SUPER sweet and mythical house beast! 

Congratulations to Carrie + Tom! It's been so wonderful getting to know you two and we are thrilled to have been able to celebrate your wedding with you! If you'd also like to check out their Engagement photos, click here

-- Sam 

Here are the vendors (with links!) who made their wedding day A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Madison Central Library

Officiant: Dr. Jo Carter (friend of the couple)

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Tux: Lucca Men's Clothing

Trivia: Geeks Who Drink (Hosted by Devin Renner) 

Florals: DIY! 

Cupcakes & Cake: Bloom Bake Shop

Catering: Willy Street Co-Op

Tea Favors: Matcha Tea Company

House of Crowlack Design: Rhea Ewing

 
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Erin + Chris: A Modern Vegan Wedding

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This illinois wedding was fun, stylish, and full of joy! 

Erin + Chris have been together a while. Neither of them are the kind of people who enjoy being in the spotlight (that's a common theme for our wedding clients!) and they were both a little nervous about having a day that was so intensely focused on the two of them. They wanted to make sure their guests had a lovely time, that their wedding was sustainable (100% vegan catering and compost piles), and most importantly that the ended up married at the end of the day! But it would be impossible for their loved ones not to love these two and shower them with attention, so I'm glad they held up so well and had a blast doing it! 

These two sweethearts met in high school homeroom in the north suburbs of Chicago and have been dating since they were 17! They went to separate colleges and eventually moved in together in Columbus, OH, before they were able to move back to Chicago together, to start their life with their rescue kitties and start their wedding planning!

Erin + Chris' sunny and light-hearted wedding day was everything you could want in a wedding. Congrats to these two as they start the next chapter in what is sure to be an amazing adventure! 

--Sam 

Here are the vendors (with links) that helped make their wedding day awesome! 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Elawa Farm

Officiant: Jessica Erwin (friend of the couple)

Wedding Dress:  BHLDN

Wedding Rings: Family Heirlooms

DJ: Just Press Play Productions (Zach)

Hair & Makeup: Chroma K8 Hair Salon (Mary M)

Chuppa & Ceremony Chair Florals: Ooh-Ahh Floral

Other Florals: DIY! 

Cupcakes & Cake: West Town Bakery

Cake Decorating: DIY! 

Tent and Table Rental: Big Top Tent & Party Rental

Catering: Fancy Plants Catering and Kitchen17

Composting: Healthy Soil Composting

Alcohol: Binny's

 
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Jenny + Jason: An Adorable Dino-Themed Engagement Session

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Okay, so it wasn't all dino-themed, but there were dinosaurs and cats and eskimo kisses, so obviously it was pretty rad! 

Jenny + Jason met while working at Best Buy/Geek Squad. After several weeks of not quite knowing whether or not they were flirting, they both figured it out when Jason asked Jenny to go with him to GenCon (a board game convention in Indianapolis, IN). From there, they were pretty much on the same page about that whole flirting business, and 6 years later, Jason proposed to Jenny at GenCon (they go every year) and she obviously said yes!

Besides loving all things board-game related, Jenny also shared with me when we met for the first time that she was thinking of themes for their wedding, and 'Elegant, Classy, but with Dinosaurs' sprang to mind, and I was instantly sold! I love a good dinosaur-themed event and I love weddings, so clearly I cannot wait for theirs!

Jenny + Jason are so laid-back and fun to be around! They love cider, board games, and their cats (who made a special guest appearance, however reluctantly, in these engagement photos). So without further delay, here are the photos from this super fun engagement session! 

--Sam 

 
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Mary + Tanya: A Romantic Downtown Madison Wedding

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A sweet and enthusiastic wedding celebration!

Mary + Tanya met at a New Year's Eve Party in 2016 and started dating after their first real hangout at the Crystal Corner Bar on Willy Street (a Madison staple!) I think the story of their engagement, in particular, really tells you just how excited these two were to start their life together! The couple took a vacation to Florence, Italy, and even though Tanya had a ring waiting back home, and a proposal planned involving the their kitten, she was so excited that she spilled the beans about the proposal one night in Florence, after a particularly romantic Rick Steve's "Renaissance Walk," audio tour. They picked out a placeholder ring at one of the many gold and sliver shops along the Ponte Vecchio and celebrated by eating gelato everyday until returning home. 

That enthusiasm carried over into every aspect of their engagement (check out these FREAKIN' ADORABLE engagement photos by clicking here) and into their wedding day! We see a lot of amazingly in love couples, and you could tell how incredibly devoted Tanya + Mary are to each other in how excited they were to see each other for their first look, how they held hands, and looked at each other all throughout the day, how they both teared up during their wedding ceremony, and how much they danced and laughed and celebrated at the reception! 

It was an honor to celebrate with them, and we are wishing all the happiness in the world! Congrats Mary + Tanya! 

--Sam

Here are the vendors (with links) that helped make their wedding day awesome! 

Ceremony Venue: First Unitarian Society

Reception Venue: The Madison Concourse Hotel

Wedding Dress: Brandi's Bridal 

DJ: Jukebox Bandstand (Austin) 

Cupcakes & Cake: Bloom Bake Shop

Catering: The Madison Concourse Hotel

 
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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month

 Photo by the fabulous Krista @ Hove Photography! 

Photo by the fabulous Krista @ Hove Photography! 

Getting Used to a New Normal...

I'm late to the game this year. May is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month, and even though it's my first year with an official diagnosis, I've found myself without much time to sit down and think about what I wanted to write to help bring awareness to this rare (or at least rarely diagnosed) genetic condition. 

First, let me start by saying that, broadly, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a group of inherited connective tissue disorders that impacts skin, joints, blood vessel walls, the digestive system, and basically most every other part of the body as well. The defining characteristic of all types of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a genetic defect in how our bodies produce and repair collagen. Which, before knowing what I know now, wouldn't have sounded like that big of a deal really. And I would have been very wrong. 

Collagen is found everywhere in the body, and therefore, nearly every system of the body is impacted in some way. And because of the wide variety of systems that are impacted, no two people with EDS have exactly the same symptoms, making the syndrome incredibly hard to diagnose. The average amount of time for a person to be diagnosed with EDS from the time they first begin discussing the seemingly unrelated symptoms with their doctor(s) is twelve years. Let me repeat; TWELVE YEARS. I've been lucky in that way. While I've had many (many!) years of odd and uncomfortable symptoms, from the time my health started to nosedive a little more drastically to the time I was diagnosed was less than a year. So in that respect, I feel very fortunate. I certainly went through many years though where I was essentially told that there was nothing wrong with me, or that perhaps I was just tired because I was a mom (*insert giant eye roll cuz overt sexism*). Having a diagnosis now at least allows me to plan, as best I can. 

There are currently 13 known sub-types of EDS. I have been diagnosed with the most common sub-type; EDS Hypermobility type (or hEDS). Common symptoms of this particular sub-type of EDS include extreme joint hypermobility (and here I thought being flexible was a good thing), chronic joint pain, chronic fatigue, frequent dislocations and partial dislocations, easy scarring, easy skin tearing, poor wound healing, digestive issues (I'll leave that broad, but it's rough), and a whole host of other things, including comorbidities such as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachychardia Syndrome (which is super fun, let me tell you). 

Now for the bad news. This is a genetic condition. There is no cure (no seriously). Taking collagen supplements won't help because my body produces faulty collagen. Eating a different diet might be good for me, but it won't cure EDS. Exercising, in some cases, can be downright harmful, so I have to be very careful how I get my physical activity, and really listen to my body. More bad news... This is a degenerative condition. While no two individuals with EDS have the same journey, it's not being negative or overly pessimistic to say that, over time, my health will continue to get worse. My best hope is to use the best practices currently available (physical therapy, occupational therapy, regular massage, regular low to no impact exercise, knowing my limitations with physical activity, etc.) to slow the decline as much as possible, and do what I can to maintain as good of a quality of life as I can, for as long as I can. I'm really working hard on it (which in and of itself is exhausting). 

I don't say any of this to get sympathy, and DEFINITELY don't mistake this for an invitation to give me suggestions on what herbs I should be taking (my treatment plan is something my doctors and I work hard on together, and I'm not inviting anyone else to the party), but I want to spread the word about this rare and often misunderstood condition, because the more I learn about EDS, the more I think it's not quite as rare as it seems, and it could be just that it's rarely diagnosed. Awareness is key to more research, and better outcomes for those of us living with EDS. 

If you'd like to learn more about EDS, here are some excellent resources: 

  • Hands-down, THE best explanation of EDS I've found that's in plain language. This is something I've sent family and friends to help them get a better understanding of what EDS is and the impact that it has: https://slingsandarrowsofoutrageousfortune.wordpress.com/eds101/
  • The Ehlers-Danlos Society, which provides a wealth of resources for both patients and their doctors and other providers: https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/awareness-2018/
  • The Facebook support group. Which I know sounds weird, but let me tell you, there are SOOOOO many weird things that happen to your body when you have EDS that it can be immensely helpful to talk with folks who really get what you're going through: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152615741473177/

If this is something you too are living with, just know that there are people out there going through the same thing. Find those people, because we help each other get through the really tough days. If a loved one of yours has EDS, do everything you can to educate yourself about this condition, so that you can be a loving support for them, and make sure you have someone to talk with as well!

And lastly, if you've made it to the end, thank you. This is a tough journey to be on, and the more awareness we can raise, the better. Please share, and get the word out, both in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month, and any month of the year. 

--Sam 

Sharayu + Ajinkya: A Stylish Pre-Wedding Session in Madison WI

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With the wedding in India just a month away...

Ajinkya + Sharayu are working hard on wedding and travel planning, but wanted to make sure to have some pre-wedding photos taken in Ajinkya's adopted city of Madison before the big day! 

We met on Willy Street by Machinery Row bikes (isn't that an awesome building?!) and walked around the area taking photos by the lake, by some of the neat old buildings, and in front of some gorgeous blossoming trees! Sharayu + Ajinkya were great sports about playing games and having fun while taking photos, and also about making sure I didn't get hit by any cars or bicycles in the busy Willy Street area while we were photographing! Once we were done there, we headed down to the Capital for some photos, just as the sun was getting low. These two were a blast to photograph, and so sweet! I'm so excited for them as they make the final preparations for their journey to India and for their wedding ceremony there! 

Good luck you two! 

--Sam 

 

 
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