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The water is vast, like marriage, beautiful and quiet, yet, rocky and deep. It was a crisp Fall morning at Larsmont Cottages, Two Harbors and the fog and chill seemed to linger on top of Lake Superior.  The softness of this photoshoot was captured with natural beauty and fineness from Trisha of Xsperience Photography. Jenny wore a Victoria’s Secret top and a long lace Maggie Sottero skirt that was as elegant as it was seductive.  Adding dimension and a touch of color, the shoot was complete with a floral bouquet from North in Bloom.

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I love simplicity. I love a relaxed environment. And I love when the stillness of nature makes us slow down and just breathe and feel. Sooo…why am I a wedding photographer?  Well, I also love a good challenge!

Let’s be honest…when I blog a wedding day it may seem as though all the details just naturally fell into place, the bride was always laughing and smiling, the groom loved posing for picture after picture, and the bridesmaids were actually all hanging out in the dressing room with their arms around each other telling jokes that created a perfect candid moment; BUT there is a lot more to the story. When you have a list (sometimes a very long list) of photos you want, but you also have a very important event happening that same day, which happens to include hundreds of your friends and family members and months or even years of planning (note: this is how Bridezilla was created), you may feel a bit overwhelmed. We create a timeline to help with this feeling, but it’s still a lot of very important things to fit into a short amount of time.

After shooting over 200 weddings, I learned that it’s impossible to get every shot on the Bride’s Pinterest Page and sometimes you have to settle for the church parking lot at high noon if you want outdoor light. So I decided I would be happiest if I specialize in elopements from here on out!! Or wait, is there a way to capture the big day in all it’s glory, plus get some stress-free alone time with the bride and groom, in a beautiful setting, during the evening golden hour (we photographers like to call it)? My photographer friends on the West Coast say YES! They are called Bridal Shoots.

I only get to share a sneak peek of Tracey and Zach’s knee-deep in snow bridal shoot, because these two beauties will be featured in The Lake Bride Fall/Winter 2018 Issue along with more information on What a Bridal Shoot Is and Why Every Couple Should Consider One!!

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Seriously, how does one narrow down images to just a handful of highlights when you are at a wedding for 9 action-packed hours? There’s never a dull moment when Kristy and Alex are in the room! Aside from the genuine love they share for each other, the giggles and laughter was a true demonstration of their friendship. See for yourself…

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Cara and Justin had a whirlwind romance before exchanging vows September 27th of 2002. Fifteen years later they find themselves on a frozen lake in a frigid 9 degree evening, with winds whirling once again, reminding them of the romance that began a beautiful journey and gave them two amazing children.

Getting married is the easiest part of a marriage. Yes, it is stressful and a huge decision that impacts your future greatly; but saying yes to the proposal is exciting, planning is exciting, and the wedding day is fun. Your love deserves to be celebrated as you begin your forever together, but 15 years of marriage…now that really deserves to be celebrated!

Since winter is so unpredictable here in Minnesota I wanted to keep their Anniversary shoot simple.

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Imagine it’s your wedding day. The day forever takes on a whole new meaning. The day you have prepped, planned and re-planned for the past year and a half.

You wake up at 6am after a restless night full of nerves and equal amount of excitement. You head to the salon where you sit for 3 hours with your bridesmaids. Then your anxiety kicks in as you realize you’re running 15 minutes late to meet your photographer at the church. You apologize and the photographer assures you that everything will be just fine, but you still feel rushed to get your dress on. Then the dress is on. You take a moment to breathe and realize that in a few minutes your husband-to-be will see you looking your finest. You see each other and suddenly it all feels so real. All that planning and styling is right there in front of your eyes, all your family and wedding party waiting for their turn to be in photos, and the weather outside is anything but warm. You have a shot list about 3 pages long and your vision is outdoor Pinterest-worthy photos. You head outdoors and your excitement instantly turns into frustration because your beautiful complexion is now red and chapped from the bitter cold, the wedding party would rather be in the warm indoors, and the flower girl is crying. You tough it out and settle for indoor photos the second half. After an hour and half of smiling, the groom is beyond done with photos and you’re starving because you didn’t have time to eat breakfast. You feel anxious thinking about the 200 people staring at you for the next hour. But you did it…you’re now married! You want to have a moment with your new husband, but that’s going to have to wait because now you have to hug all 200 people. Soon (well about 45 minutes later) it’s party-time. Yay! Social Hour, dinner, cake-cutting, first dance and bed…or wait…there’s still 4 hours left to dance.  But bed sounds so great right about now.

Now imagine…You wake up after a full nights rest. You eat at the breakfast buffet. You enjoy a mimosa while your Dad cracks jokes to your soon-to-be-hubby about getting cold feet. You send the guys off to get ready and have a beer, while you and your awesome photographer fix your hair, take a few candids and detail shots, then put your dress on. You are filled with nervous excitement, but still feel relaxed because today you’re marrying your best friend. You have your first look and all those wedding day feelings are just as real as if you had been planning this day for years (even though it took a few weeks). There are tears, hugs, a scenic drive, and at last you’re on top of the world saying your vows. ok…maybe not on top of the world, but you are up pretty high in the mountains! It’s chilly, but within 20 minutes you have all the pretty pictures you had envisioned. You have an appetizer, a beer, feed some nosey ducks by the lake, snap a few more lakeside photos for fun, and then head back to enjoy a nice meal as newlyweds. You wish your friends and family were there, but you know you’ll celebrate with them in the near future. As they look through your album, they feel as if they were right there beside you. You share your stories and you party…because you have enough energy to do so;)

An elopement isn’t for everyone, but if the first scenario makes your heart race, as it did for Mindy, then ease the stress and just enjoy each other. Hire a photographer who is willing to research beautiful locations and create a style that suits your personality. Still have fun dress shopping. Still plan a reception back home…because they’re fun! And make sure your big day is documented so your loved ones can witness the two of you becoming one.

Here is how Mindy and Brandon celebrated their start to forever…

She wore a stunning gown from Macy’s with hair piece and fur donated by AW Bridal (because they’re awesome!) along with some boots to show off her cowgirl style. He wore a vest and tie from Burlington and almost lost her ring in a game of poker at the Peppermill Resort and Casino…ok that may have just been posed for a picture;)

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Imagine it’s your wedding day. The day forever takes on a whole new meaning. The day you have prepped, planned and re-planned for the past year and a half.

You wake up at 6am after a restless night full of nerves and equal amount of excitement. You head to the salon where you sit for 3 hours with your bridesmaids. Then your anxiety kicks in as you realize you’re running 15 minutes late to meet your photographer at the church. You apologize and the photographer assures you that everything will be just fine, but you still feel rushed to get your dress on. Then the dress is on. You take a moment to breathe and realize that in a few minutes your husband-to-be will see you looking your finest. You see each other and suddenly it all feels so real. All that planning and styling is right there in front of your eyes, all your family and wedding party waiting for their turn to be in photos, and the weather outside is anything but warm. You have a shot list about 3 pages long and your vision is outdoor Pinterest-worthy photos. You head outdoors and your excitement instantly turns into frustration because your beautiful complexion is now red and chapped from the bitter cold, the wedding party would rather be in the warm indoors, and the flower girl is crying. You tough it out and settle for indoor photos the second half. After an hour and half of smiling, the groom is beyond done with photos and you’re starving because you didn’t have time to eat breakfast. You feel anxious thinking about the 200 people staring at you for the next hour. But you did it…you’re now married! You want to have a moment with your new husband, but that’s going to have to wait because now you have to hug all 200 people. Soon (well about 45 minutes later) it’s party-time. Yay! Social Hour, dinner, cake-cutting, first dance and bed…or wait…there’s still 4 hours left to dance.  But bed sounds so great right about now.

Now imagine…You wake up after a full nights rest. You eat at the breakfast buffet. You enjoy a mimosa while your Dad cracks jokes to your soon-to-be-hubby about getting cold feet. You send the guys off to get ready and have a beer, while you and your awesome photographer fix your hair, take a few candids and detail shots, then put your dress on. You are filled with nervous excitement, but still feel relaxed because today you’re marrying your best friend. You have your first look and all those wedding day feelings are just as real as if you had been planning this day for years (even though it took a few weeks). There are tears, hugs, a scenic drive, and at last you’re on top of the world saying your vows. ok…maybe not on top of the world, but you are up pretty high in the mountains! It’s chilly, but within 20 minutes you have all the pretty pictures you had envisioned. You have an appetizer, a beer, feed some nosey ducks by the lake, snap a few more lakeside photos for fun, and then head back to enjoy a nice meal as newlyweds. You wish your friends and family were there, but you know you’ll celebrate with them in the near future. As they look through your album, they feel as if they were right there beside you. You share your stories and you party…because you have enough energy to do so;)

An elopement isn’t for everyone, but if the first scenario makes your heart race, as it did for Mindy, then ease the stress and just enjoy each other. Hire a photographer who is willing to research beautiful locations and create a style that suits your personality. Still have fun dress shopping. Still plan a reception back home…because they’re fun! And make sure your big day is documented so your loved ones can witness the two of you becoming one.

Here is how Mindy and Brandon celebrated their start to forever…

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Erin and I had been chatting back and forth for a few weeks trying to come up with the perfect location to create a memorable engagement shoot for her and Tyler. We finally found a date where all three of us were available and decided on their family’s lake property in the woods. Well…plans change!

The snow was coming down in giant flakes and I instantly went into photographer mode. I made my 12 year old daughter model for me, but in typical 12 year old style she only gave me 5 minutes. I was grateful for her cooperation, but not completely satisfied. I knew Erin and Tyler were spontaneous so I threw it out there, with my fingers crossed, that we meet up in a couple hours and take advantage of this gorgeous Minnesota winter evening. Ironically exactly one year ago to the date they got engaged so it seemed like the perfect time to document their love. They hurried home from work, got ready in record time, and this is what we got…

We will be trading in the snow for white sandy beaches when we celebrate their wedding in Mexico next May!

 

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This is one of those times you’ll be scrolling through and catch yourself smiling the whole time. The kids were so fun to capture. They had moments of tears and moments of giggles and hugs…and often 5 minutes apart (why would a wedding day be any different than a normal day right:)

Abby and Adam exchanged vows in Abby’s hometown church in Pierz, MN January 20th. We were blessed with a beautiful 38 degree day. After the below zero temps we were experiencing, it felt like Spring time! Abby said “Everything went so smooth, well, besides when everyone left for the reception and we realized we didn’t have our keys so we had to hitch a ride with our photographer.”

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Serenity: The state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled. The beach of Azul Grand Resort and Spa in Ixtapa, Mexico offered just that. The golden sunset combined with the sound of the rolling waves set the tone for this editorial shoot.

Sometimes you choose a Destination Wedding because you want your wedding to be unique, fun and elaborate; and sometimes you choose a Destination wedding because you crave Simplicity. You want your day to be simple, relaxing, beautiful and yes, affordable. That is the direction I took this editorial shoot.

I received this beautiful A-line, Princess V neck, Chiffon gown from JJ’s House in exchange for an honest review and some pretty pictures. The simplicity and price made me think of the minimalist destination bride so I crossed my fingers and hoped my sister would be willing to model it for me on our family vacation. She reluctantly agreed if it fit. It did:)

JJshouse.com is a one stop shop for brides, bridesmaids and mothers-of-brides looking for a custom gown. Their online store JJshouse.com allows you to view a gown in a number of different colors and gives you the option of a standard size or customizing to your shape. This particular gown was a standard size 8, but I would recommend the custom sizing. As for the quality, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the exact style I would normally choose for my muscular, broad shouldered sister, but I loved the hint of see-through beading on the sides and it flowed beautifully with movement. Plus (and this is a big plus) I didn’t even have to iron it! I hung it when we arrived in Mexico and it was wrinkle free when we put it on. The other positive is the dirt washed right off after the shoot!

p.s. I would suggest doing your photoshoot or wedding on day 2 of your trip.  It gives you day 1 to prep, day 2 to celebrate (before the sunburn and hangover), and the rest of your time to relax and play.

I knew the style of the shoot was to go simple, but every bride still wants a little something special. At least that’s what I thought when I saw this beautiful hair piece @captivatingbeautyhairandmakeup while scrolling through Instagram. I definitely recommend visiting this website to see the magic Tracy and her team creates: www.captivating-beauty.com.

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Last January Danielle and Andrew took a little trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It wasn’t turning out to be the trip of Danielle’s dreams as she was sick pretty much the whole time. It made Andrew hesitant to pop the question, but he couldn’t wait any longer…sick or not, he took Danielle on a morning walk to watch the sunrise on the beach. “He got down on one knee and we both started crying. It was the perfect moment with just the two of us in such a beautiful place. It was exactly how I wanted it.”

Their wedding is planned for June 9th of this year and their sweet little surprise, Rowen, will be standing next to them!

 

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