DIY

Bailey + Mason: A Romantic Orpheum Theater Wedding

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Bailey + Mason had a romantic as hell wedding at the orpheum in madison, wi

When asked to tell a little story that gave me a glimpse into what their love was all about, Bailey said frankly that she was reminded Mason was the one every time he put up with her puns (and vice versa) and I think that says a lot about how much these two value having a good time together (and a good laugh because puns are hilarious)!

Hanging out with the Bailey’s side of the wedding party during the getting ready portion of the day was nothing short of magical! We sang along to Toto’s Africa (as one does) and just generally had a ball. When it was time for the first look, Bailey made her entrance via that awesome staircase in Orpheum’s grand lobby, and then we were off for some fun rainbow colored wedding party photos, including a guest appearance from Woodford, their Chow/Lab mix!

The ceremony was gorgeous (I’m gonna be honest, I wasn’t sure how hard lighting would be in the balcony of the Orpheum, but it was pretty sweet and if any of you are considering getting married, there, you should do it!) and the reception was fun and funny and filled with joy; All the things a wedding reception should be, including some pretty hilarious toast pranks!

Enjoy the photos of these two, and join me in wishing a big congratulations to Bailey + Mason!

- Sam

Here are the vendors (with links) that helped make their day A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Ceremony + Reception Venue: The Orpheum

Officiant: Casey Keyes (bride’s cousin)

Bridal Gown: Vera’s House of Bridals

Groom’s Suit (and all wedding party suits): Generation Tux

Wedding Jewelry: Luo Jewelry

Hair Stylist: ANiU Salon and Spa

Makeup: DIY by the Bride!

Florals: DIY

Event Coordinator: Sarah Davidson with Harmonious Union Events

Wedding Cake + Desserts: Bloom Bake Shop (2 small cakes) and Costco (sheet cake)

Catering: Blue Plate Catering

 
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Krystal + Jake: A Lego-Themed Madison Winter Wedding

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Doesn’t this wedding seem wonderfully Frozen-inspired?

Krystal+Jake had a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L winter wedding day. It was cold as all get out, but so worth it, because just look at these first look photos and wedding party photos in that pretty February snow! Also, check out Krystal’s awesome use of a veil-turned-wedding-cape cuz holy smokes. <3

These two sweethearts also let us throw so much glitter at them to get that fun confetti shot, laughed and celebrated with their friends and families, and danced the night away. We loved how affectionate Krystal + Jake were with each other all day. They were so fun to photograph!

We are so honored to have been able to celebrate with Krystal+Jake, and take a look at their wedding day below!

—Sam

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

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Goodman Community Center

Officiant: Kayla Francis (friend of the couple)

Bridal Gown: Vera’s House of Bridals

Groom Tux: Men’s Wearhouse

Wedding Jewelry: TQ Diamonds

Wedding DJ: Aaron Jai

Florist: DIY

Wedding Cupcakes: HyVee

Catering: Blue Plate Catering

 
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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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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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Helen + Dylan: An Intimate Wedding in the Woods

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This awesome, offbeat wedding took place at Hoyt Park in Madison, WI

On what was easily the hottest, most humid day of the year so far, Helen + Dylan said "I do" under the shade of a beautiful grove of trees in Hoyt Park. It was a fun, quirky, and short ceremony, followed by scones, juice boxes, and celebrating with delicious vegan fare at their near East side apartment! 

Thankfully everyone survived the heat and had plenty of energy left over to to laugh, eat, and dare each other to freestyle rap as a toast! 

Helen wore a blue wedding gown (have a mentioned how much I love non-traditional wedding gown colors?!) with a 100+ year old Obi from her family's time spent living in Japan. Their ceremony incorporated readings in English & Japanese, as well as readings from the Bahai faith. While I don't know Helen + Dylan well, it seemed to me as though they created a wedding day that was perfectly suited to the two of them, which we love! 

Congratulations to Helen + Dylan, and thank you so much for inviting us to celebrate with you on your wedding day! Also for the food. WOW was that good! <3 

-- Sam 

 

Here are the wedding day vendors that helped make Helen + Dylan's day so awesome! 

Ceremony Venue: Hoyt Park 

Reception Venue: Helen + Dylan's apartment

Florals: Abundance Acres Flowers

Wedding Gown: Purchased used and altered by Bride

Wedding Tux: Jazzman

Cake: Cara Moseley of The Green Owl Cafe

Catering: Lao Laan Xang of Willy St

Rentals: Benches from Mickelz Rustic Wedding Rentals

Celtic Harp: Rachel Avery

 
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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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Erin + Eric: An Intimate Backyard Wedding

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diy Lavender accents, a handmade dress, and some super tasty vegan pizza and cupcakes made this wedding all the more magical

Erin was working in IT at a hospital out in New York when she first met Eric. He was assigned as the Epic support for her hospital. They were long-distance friends for years, until 2016, when they both made their feelings known, and began dating long-distance, and eventually, Erin (and her 2 pups) made the move to Madison! Then, on a romantic weekend getaway in fall of 2017, Eric proposed (Erin obviously said YES) and the wedding planning started! 

For their wedding day, they wanted a small and intimate backyard wedding at their house, with their closest friends and family (and their beloved dog Daisy) celebrating with them! And they wanted their first look to be at the Epic campus in Verona, given how instrumental Epic was in their life together! Then they wanted to eat pizza, drink tasty drinks, and eat cupcakes, and I'd say they knocked all of those goals out of the park! 

It was so awesome to celebrate with Erin + Eric! You could tell when they recited their self-written vows just how much they mean to each other, and how happy they are to be 'officially' starting their life together as a married couple. Also, I LOVE that they had pizza at their wedding, cuz let's be real, who doesn't like pizza? 

Congrats to Erin + Eric, and thanks for letting me celebrate with you! 

--Sam

Here are all the amazing vendors (with links)that helped make their day magical! 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Their house! 

Officiant: Mark Stuart (Family Friend) 

Wedding Dress: Custom Made Gown by Kate McKay (Bride's BFF)

Wedding Suit: Macy's

Bride's Jewelry : Custom Made by Kate McKay (Bride's BFF)

Groom's Wedding Band: Boone Rings (Etsy)

Bride's Engagement Ring: Raven Fine Jewelry (Etsy)

Bride's Wedding Band: Chalmers Jewelers

Hair & Makeup: Abby Paljieg (Groom's Sister)

Cupcakes: Bloom Bake Shop

Pizza: Roman Candle

 
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Andrea + Phil: A 10 Year Anniversary Session

 
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Andrea + Phil had a delightful mix of fancy af and punk rock elements for their 10 year anniversary session 

When Andrea contacted me about photographing her 10 year wedding anniversary with Phil, she was clearly a woman with a plan. She wanted a dress that was reminiscent of the wedding dress she wore on 4/19/2008, when she and Phil were married, she wanted Phil in a grey suit, she wanted to hit up special places near the Capitol building and near the Memorial Union Terrace, and she wanted to cap off the celebration with champagne and cupcakes! Needless to say, I was on board immediately

Not finding exactly what she was looking for in the dress department, she ended up making not only her dress (which was really a satin thigh-length, corset-backed sheath dress with a removable tulle skirt) but also the cute faux-fur wrap pictured below, because she is basically a wizard. She came fully prepared too, with a rolling suitcase of goodies, including champagne & cupcakes, toasting glasses, and extra shoes for when the heels got to be too much, plus a little sewing emergency kit for quick fixes on the go. 

We got extremely lucky with weather, and to be honest, given that Thursday morning I was literally shoveling my driveway just to be able to get my car out, I did not think that it was going to be very pleasant out, but it ended up in the upper 40's by the time our session started, and all was well! 

Phil + Andrea were so fun to work with (we are so blessed to work with such amazing couples!) and it was really cool to see how excited they were to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. I wish more folks would get into the spirit like that! After we finished champagne and cupcakes at the Memorial Union Terrace, they dropped me back off at the parking garage, before heading off to dinner, and I will guarantee they were the best dressed couple in whatever restaurant they went to! 

Happiest of 10 year anniversaries to this awesome couple! 

--Sam 

 

Guest Post: Carla + Dylan on Self-Officiating Their Wedding

 
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From Carla + Dylan: 

When we started planning our wedding we had a few priorities, the most important being that we were not going to have anything there we didn’t find meaningful or fun. Our idea of a wedding was the two of us entering together on equal footing to declare a shared decision to spend the rest of our lives together in marriage. We wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us.

We did not start out thinking we were going to self-officiate our wedding. There was someone we had in mind, but life happened, as life often does, and plans change. We found ourselves in need of an officiant.

We’re not sure where we first came across the idea of self-officiating. Carla was following numerous blogs during the planning process, and the most likely contender is Offbeat Bride. Something about self-officiating resonated with us. We were marrying each other, why should we need someone to marry us? In this very personal matter, whose words could be more binding than our own?

There was a fairly brief discussion and we decided it felt right. We were doing this.

Then came the hard part: figuring out how to have a wedding without an officiant. We were already planning on writing our own ceremony. There’s a lot of information out there on that, with the rise in popularity of having friends or family officiate. We just hadn’t planned on writing a ceremony on hard mode.

As people often do these days we turned to the internet. There is a shocking dearth of information about how to self-officiate your own wedding! Hours of strategic Google Fu yielded next to nothing and led back to the same few blog articles and forums we’d already poured over. What we wanted was detailed information from another couple who had successfully done it. What we found was the same repeated legalities.

We even tried messaging people from online wedding planning forums who had asked about self-officiating and who hadn’t received any good answers. A few replied, but those that responded didn’t have any information we hadn’t already found and none of them had gone through with their wedding yet. It was… frustrating.

With the help of A Practical Wedding’s guide to writing your own ceremony, we sat down one sunny morning on our deck and wrote our script. Their guide laid out very nicely the different parts of a “typical” ceremony. We took the parts, scrapped almost everything we knew or had seen before, and created the wedding we wanted. The words were all us, our voices coming through in the writing. We managed to narrow down our readings and we divided up the script between the two of us, turning it into a little bit more of a conversation than a proclamation. We rehearsed the script a couple times together and it felt so right.

We’re happy to share the script with any other couples out there interested in self-officiating! (And have done so already with a few online searchers who, like ourselves, reached out on forums to find more information.)

It should be noted here that neither of us are shy people. We both loved doing theater in high school and have no problem with an entire room full of people listening to us speak at great length. (Just ask anyone who has ever heard Dylan hold court when telling stories.) This approach to self-officiating may not resonate with those who hate public speaking, but there are other ways to do it. Some couples have an emcee to guide the ceremony while they speak what they deem the important words only.

The only words spoken by others in our ceremony were a reminder before the procession that The Happy Couple would be sad if they saw any phones or cameras, five readings (yes, that was after we narrowed down - when you write your own ceremony there’s no one to tell you that you put in too many readings, not that we feel we did of course), and brief responses from our parents.

We could gush over our script all day, but here’s a few highlights:

  • Asking each other’s parents for their joyful support of our marriage.

  • Asking each other to take one another as spouses.

  • Pronouncing ourselves as husband and wife.

  • The closing line (which Carla is particularly proud of): “We’re going to kiss now.” You have to picture her saying that just before we tossed our ceremony scripts over our shoulders and went in for a kiss. (Note from Rob + Sam: This was epic, check out the link to their wedding pictures below!) 

Logistically speaking, we got married at Blue Mound State Park’s amphitheater. We brought in our own sound equipment and had two microphones set up next to each other on the stage, one for each of us to use. After those standing with us made their way in we walked up together and took the stage. Entering together, on equal footing, to declare to our friends and family we had made this decision.

Self-officiating is not that common around here and we don’t personally know anyone else who has done it. What we were prepared for, but didn’t happen, was a lot of questions from our family and friends. We didn’t build an explanation about self-officiating into the ceremony as we had read about some couples doing, and we didn’t have programs to talk about it either. There was simply a sign upon entering which listed everyone who would be appearing in the ceremony. It listed Carla and Dylan as “Officiants”. We did field a few questions in the planning process, but most of our friends and family are pretty open-minded and no one really questioned our decision.

What others have told us about their impression of and experience at our wedding aligns exactly with our goal: it was the most “us” it possibly could have been. Everything there reflected who we are in some way and looking back it’s really hard to say we would have done anything differently. No regrets, especially about self-officiating. We can’t help but smile when we look at the pictures and remember it all. It was perfect.

From Rob + Sam: 

Carla + Dylan's wedding was a joy to photograph! If you'd like to see our favorites of their wedding photos (and we strongly encourage you to check them out!) click here

If you're thinking of self-officiating, make sure to check with your local registrar of deeds in the county you're getting married for any legal requirements you'll need to comply with. This post is not intended to give legal advice. 

Lastly, if you have any weddings that you've seen of ours where you'd love to hear the couple's perspective, email us at robandsamphoto@gmail.com to let us know which ones! We'd love to have more guest posts and would love your input on which ones you want to see! 

 

 

Carla + Dylan: An Outdoor Amphitheater wedding

 
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A DIY WIsconsin wedding at blue mounds state park

Carla + Dylan had exactly the kind of wedding they wanted, organized by themselves (they're whizzes at spreadsheets and planning!) and some very helpful friends. They were married in the outdoor amphitheater at Blue Mounds State Park, with the reception to follow at Brigham Park. 

One of the most unique aspects of Carla + Dylan's wedding (besides that the fact that the bride handmade her dress, and she and her friends and family hand crocheted the bouquets and boutonnieres for herself, Dylan, and their wedding party pals) is that they self-officiated. Yep, you heard that right, they not only married each other (yay!) but they married each other, which was really cool, and something Rob and I had never seen before! 

These two, both former theater kids, weren't shy in front of the camera, and we had a great time following them around for the day, as they danced, laughed, joked, and kissed their way through their wedding day. 

Carla + Dylan have written a guest blog post about their experience and decision to self-officiate, which you can check out here!

--Sam 

 

Lindsey + Chris: A Luxe meets Rustic WI wedding

 
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Before Lindsey + Chris' wedding, I wouldn't have thought that luxe and rustic would go together as descriptive terms, but boy was I wrong! They were married on Lindsey's parent's property (the yet to be named property is hopefully going to become a wedding venue in the future and we CANNOT wait!) The attention to detail and thoughtful little nuances that made Lindsey + Chris' wedding day super special and personal, as well as the energy those two had together, just blew us away. I could go on for days about the gorgeous and colorful details of the wedding day, the electric way that Lindsey + Chris interacted, and how loving and happy all of their friends and family were to celebrate with them, but I'm going to let these photos speak my 1,000 words for me. 

-- Sam