Alex + Derek: A Surprise Downtown Engagement

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Derek planned not only a beautiful surprise engagement, but stealthy photos as well!

As we waited for Alex + Derek to walk up to the designated spot at the Capitol Building, Ben was acting as my decoy photo subject, and Rob was a ways away with the telephoto lens. Once I made eye contact with Derek, I couldn’t really say anything to Ben without giving it away, so I continued to take photos of him, and then eventually motioned him to move over a bit, as Derek + Alex stopped on the steps of the Capitol, and Derek began his proposal (funnily enough, Ben didn't realize that the folks we were going to be photographing were there already, so he kept trying to get back in front of the camera!)

While I was too far away to hear any details, Derek’s words were clearly having an impact on Alex, and when he got down on one knee, her reaction was priceless. It was so wonderful to bear witness to this super special moment in the rich history that is their relationship, and to be able to capture that in a way they’ll be able to relive forever.

Check out the fun and super sweet photos below (and see if you can spot the moment Alex realizes they were being photographed)!

—Sam

 
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Lily + Aaron: A Lovely Wedding in the Park

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These two beat the pre-winter chill and had a sweet, simple, and intimate wedding in the park, followed by a fun night of celebrating at One Barrel Brewing

And boy was it cold! But Lily + Aaron were troopers, and the spiked hot cider didn’t hurt either!

Lily was stunning, surprising no one, and look at the detail on the back of her dress! Holy smokes was that pretty! I love details like that!

There were some beautiful moments (obviously!) but there were also the funny ones, like when Lily’s Dad was about to walk her down the aisle, and remembered he still had his camo hat on and tossed it into a nearby bush. There was Lily’s veil trying to hit Aaron in the face over and over again, and succeeding a few times too. ;)

Congratulations to Lily + Aaron, and thank you both so much for inviting me to come hang out with you and celebrate! If you’d like to check out their engagement photos (which I would recommend since they’re so darn cute!) click here.

—Sam

Here are some of the awesome wedding vendors who helped make their wedding day fabulous!

Ceremony Venue: Towne of Burke Park (Reiner Road)

After Ceremony Drink Venue: Brocach on the Square

Reception Venue: One Barrel Brewing

Florals: DIY!

 
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Tamara + Greg: A Luscious, Jewel-Toned Wisconsin Wedding

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Holy smokes, this wedding was GORGEOUS!

Tamara + Greg met on OKCupid and after a first date which consisted of a few beers and Battleship (Tamara won), they both knew something cool was happening! Now this awesome couple loves to travel together, and actually got engaged at a castle in Scotland (how is that for a story they’re going to be able to tell for ages!)

All of the little details that went into this wedding day were fantastic. From Tamara’s polka dot wedding dress (what?!) to the jewel-toned color scheme of the flowers and decor, to the cozy, high-backed chairs for the couple to sit in and the S’mores given out as favors, everything about this wedding was awesome.

Thanks for having Rob and I celebrate with you two!

—Sam

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

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Barn at Harvest Moon Pond

Officiant: Pastor Bob Riggert

Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero

Groom Tux: Michael Strahan Collection for JCPenney

Florist: Tamara (the Bride) & Eleanor Kahn Design

Event Coordinator: Aisle Less Travelled

Wedding Cake (except couple’s pie): HyVee

Catering: HyVee

Decor Rental: Event Essentials & A La Crate Rentals

 
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Andrea + Adam: An Intimate and Chill Madison Wedding

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Great things can happen when you both swipe right…

Yep, that’s right, these two met on Tinder, and hit it off immediately. One of the things that stood out to me on their wedding day was how freaking excited they were to be marrying each other, and how pumped their kids were as well! Both Andrea + Adam have 2 kids from previously marriages, and these 4 are already thick as thieves. All 4 kids stood up with their parents as the wedding party, and part of the wedding ceremony was a little bonding ritual of sand to symbolize the blending of their newly formed family, which I loved. :) It was so sweet and meaningful it brought most of the guests to tears!

Andrea + Adam were also kind enough to indulge me in stopping by my favorite local mural (Try a Little Tenderness, the Otis Redding mural on Willy St.) and also to pop by the UW Arboretum to do some photos with the last of the fall colors.

This wedding was one of my favorites of the year, as I’m quite a fan of intimate weddings, and I’m so excited that Andrea + Adam invited me to celebrate with them! Congrats you two!

—Sam

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

Ceremony Venue: Gates of Heaven Synagogue

Reception Venue: Wisconsin Brewing Company

Officiant: Rodney Spillane, Groom's Uncle

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Wedding Flowers: Dried Flowers Forever

Wedding Rings: Bride's ring - Handmade by Bride’s Uncle; Groom's ring - Chalmers Jewelers

Groom’s Suit: Men's Wearhouse

Wedding Party Dresses: Brides N' Belles

Hair & Makeup: Anaala Salon - Hilldale

 
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Shannon + Chris: A Sweet Wedding for Two Adventurous Spirits

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These two adventurers planned a wedding and an international move all at the same time!

Shannon + Chris met at Greenbush Bar in the spring of 2015 and hit it off quickly, bonding over being in the 99.9 percentile of height and a shared love of pizza, the outdoors, and getting in the last word. Chris loved Shannon's enthusiasm and sense of adventure, and Shannon thought Chris was endearingly goofy and smart, despite finding out that his basketball loyalties lay with with the Kentucky Wildcats (woo hoo!) and that he somehow despised chocolate. They continued dating that summer and it was full of rock climbing, concerts on the square, and visits to the zoo.

They also love traveling, and have traveled to 12 countries together - Watching the macaques in Gibraltar, sea fishing in Iceland, climbing a via ferrata in the Pyrenees, remaining civil over 2,900 km across Spain in a tiny smart car, and swaying around a mid-summer bonfire in Latvia. But it was right here in Madison, on a walk through Allen Centennial Gardens, that Chris asked Shannon to marry him.

These two adventurers also took on the adventure of moving to Bristol, England shortly after their wedding (the next week in fact), and I’m sure wherever their curious and adventurous spirits take them will be filled with love and joy! :)

Check out the photos from Shannon + Chris’ fun and intimate Goodman Community Center wedding and join us in wishing them the best with their move!

—Sam


Here are the kickass wedding vendors (with links) who helped make this wedding wonderful!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Goodman Community Center

Officiant: Court Commissioner Daniel Floeter

DJ: Erin Crowley with Musical Memories

Bridal Gown: Vera’s House of Bridals

Groom’s Tux: Lucca Menswear

Engagement Ring: The Diamond Center

Groom’s Wedding Band: TQ Diamonds

Hair Stylist: Thorp’s

Wedding Party Attire: Vera’s House of Bridals

Florist: Daffodil Parker (except for DIY centerpiece greenery)

Event Coordinator: Samantha Hintz with Wishful Weddings

Wedding Cake: Carl's Cakes

Catering: Working Class Catering (Goodman Community Center)

Decor Rental: A La Crate

 
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Fall Family Portraits at the Arboretum

They say behind every great family portrait is a mom threatening to end all joy forever if everyone doesn’t just behave and smile for like 2 seconds…

But honestly, I’ve found that when people are relaxed and having fun, no one has to threaten bodily harm to get great photos. ;) This is the third year that I’ve photographed this family, and it’s so neat seeing kids get older each year, and yet, as awkward as most tweens and teens find family photos, everyone is still laughing and having a great time, and I think that’s freaking awesome! I also love making sure parents get photos of just the two of them as well!

Many thanks for the fun times and good laughs, and enjoy the photos!

—Sam

 
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Fall Family Portraits for 3 Adorable Kiddos!

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There’s pretty much nothing more fun to photograph than kids (or adults) having fun in fall!

Have I mentioned that Fall is my favorite season? Anyway, I love fall family photos, and this year I got to meet this family’s newest addition, so it was extra special!

Check out these fun photos and start thinking about what you’d like to be doing for your Fall family photos next year!

—Sam

 
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Family Portraits at Home

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I love in-home (or in this case in-yard) family portraits!

There’s nothing that can beat the comfort level of just hanging out in your own space, particularly with a young child. Sunaina + Kyle were just getting ready to move out of state when they had me come over to take some family portraits before the big move.

It has been such a pleasure getting to know these folks since their wedding a few years ago, and I’m thrilled to have gotten to take photos of little Ryan, both when she was first born, and then just a few days before her first big adventure moving to a new state.

Take a look at this sweet and adorable family! <3

—Sam

 
 

Lynn + Brian: A Fall Engagement Celebration

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Secret Handshakes, Leaf Piles, and Kitty Cats, Oh My!

Lynn + Brian heard about us from their friends Mary + Tanya (you can see their wedding pics here) and since we adored working with Mary + Tanya, it was no surprise that Lynn + Brian have also been wonderful to work with so far! Their engagement session was so fun, and I love any engagement session that works in UW Arboretum, Willy Street, and cats!

Check out this adorable couple (and their clearly thrilled to be invited kitty cats)! We can’t wait for their wedding next year!

—Sam

 
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Lily + Aaron: A Fabulous Fall Engagement Session

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The Arboretum’s gorgeous fall colors were the perfect backdrop for lily + Aaron’s engagement photos!

Lily and Aaron both grew up in Janesville and actually lived only a few blocks from each other. They went to the same high school and worked in the same restaurant for a few years while in high school, and eventually started dating in 2012, moving to Madison in Summer of 2013, and they’ve been in the area ever since.

When they became engaged, these two knew they wanted a small, intimate wedding and to celebrate with their closest friends and family. For their engagement portraits, they were both a little nervous to be in front of the camera (which is totally understandable, as most adults are!) but pretty soon were having fun and goofing off, which is what I love taking photos of!

I can’t wait for Lily + Aaron’s wedding a few weeks from now!

—Sam

 
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Jen + Jason: A Couple's Session at the Arboretum

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This super fun couple hadn’t had photos since their wedding 9 years ago…

Which is something I hear a lot, and I love when couples decide they’re finally tired of not having any photos of each other and that it’s time for a session! Jen + Jason were so fun to work with. We laughed, joked about poop (because I’m a very mature adult-type person), and played rock, paper, scissors, which is just about as much fun as I could hope for in a session (and my cheeks hurt from laughing after we were done).

Hurray for getting couple’s photos! :-D

—Sam

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ashley + Geoff: A fandom-themed Wedding

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This spectacular DIY offbeat wedding was one-of-a-kind!

“This will be a nerd wedding!” was the warning I got from Ashley + Geoff when they first booked us, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint!

For two awesome humans who met at a zombie larp (what?!), they had the amazingly nerdy wedding you would expect, and it was glorious. Each guest table was decorated with a different ‘fandom’, from Harry Potter, to Dresden Files (yay!), to Conan the Barbarian, and everything in between. Their card holder was a hand-made sarlacc pit (complete with little skeleton bride + groom). Their cake was Star Wars and Alien themed. And the list goes on. I knew this was going to be a fun wedding!

Following the short and sweet ceremony, in which Ashley’s dad, dressed as Darth Vader, walked her down the aisle, we went to take photos inside the Cave of the Mounds, which was a first for me! I can now say I understand how to light cave shots, so that’s new and exciting! ;) Then we got to enjoy the brief reprieve from the rain and take some photos under a dark & stormy sky, which complimented Ashley’s black and white dress and black veil so damn well. I’ve never been so happy to see clouds!

You could tell everyone, including the two of them, were having a great time celebrating, and let’s face it, after the actual getting married part, that’s what a wedding is all about!

We are so happy to have been able to celebrate with Ashley + Geoff. Check out some of our favorite moments from the day, and a big congrats to these two!

—Sam

Here are the vendors (with links) that helped make this wedding day super kickass!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cave of the Mounds

Bridal Gown: Vera’s House of Bridals

Groom’s Tux: Men’s Wearhouse

Cake: Carl’s Cakes

Catering: JL Richards

 
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