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Wedding Inspiration from Kara

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Wedding Inspiration from Kara

Kara and Tyler are this amazing couple who moved to Wisconsin from Kansas City in the middle of their engagement, they planned a wedding in Wisconsin and invited their closest friends and family to enjoy their new home. Kara has amazing taste and put together a perfect wedding even with a last minute venue change to The lageret!  What a resourceful bride! it worked like a charm.   Major props to Kara and Tyler, I would take their wedding advice any day!  Enjoy! 


1. What was your favorite memory from the wedding?

Ah! This question is so hard because there were so many favorite memories shared, and so many captured throughout the day. But, one that stands out from the rest was the "first look" moment that Tyler and I had with one another. Leading up to the first look, the day was so hectic, with getting ready and getting everything in order before our guests arrived. But, the moment that I tapped Tyler's shoulder, and he turned around to see me for the first time that day, it was like time stood still, and everything stopped around us. It was finally just Tyler and me- and all that mattered was each other. We realized in that moment that it didn't matter if everything wasn't "perfect" like we had been planning for the past year, all that mattered was that we were going to get married. It was really special, and a moment I won't ever forget.

2. What could you have done without?

I agonized over all of the small details- like painstaking, agonizing - where I spent hours trying to make sure I found the right decor, like my lanterns. I searched high and low for the best-priced lanterns and other table decor, and even though I love my pictures with my lanterns, and table settings, it wouldn't have been the end of the world if we didn't have them, or if they would have been a little different.

3. What is your best advice for planning brides?

Sometimes paying a little bit more for the non-DIY is well worth the price tag. Some DIY is great! But, if you're going to DIY all of your wedding, make sure you plan well ahead and get all of your craft projects done at least a month before the wedding, otherwise, you'll be crafting the day before the rehearsal dinner and that's never fun :/

Also, do make sure you eat a SUBSTANTIAL lunch AND dinner!!! so you can still enjoy a drink or two without getting intoxicated too quickly after dinner

One more thing ;)

If you plan to have your wedding outside, definitely plan a "Plan B" well in advance of the wedding.

4. Looking back, what was the MOST important?

Enjoying your day. Take it all in. Trying to relax, and breath, without letting it fly by. It really goes by so quickly and it's easy to let the stress of the planning take away from the real meaning of the day, which is celebrating your love story and promise to each other with your friends and family!

5.  What did you plan/Book first? Dress, venue, Photographer ?

1) Bought dress

2) Booked venue

3) Booked Photographer

6. Anything you want to add!

Dani Stephenson is amazing ;)

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Friday Frames // Tis' the season for engagements!


Friday Frames // Tis' the season for engagements!

My email is so active right now with planning couples, the ring goes on and you can almost hear the "Eye of the Tiger" theme song playing in the background. The time has come, to plan your wedding!  Over the years you have seen ideas, you have had inspiration, you have a vision.  But now to execute it? Where do you start?!  I LOVE to educate future brides and grooms about photography options!!! There are so many money saving ways to put on a wedding, so many resources and ideas you may not know exist!  Below are some email conversations I have had over the years with initial emails from planning couples looking for a photographer, I have put the cold hard truth next to these questions.

Also added 2014 couples who had one shooter and either 6 or 8 hours of coverage, all happily married ;) 

1. "We are looking for two shooters"
If this is something you know you want, you have solid reasons for this or you have experience with two shooters, or have specific events going on at the very same time that one shooter couldn't possibly capture then I totally understand.  However, if you just "think" you need two shooters  (because more is better right?) or "heard" from Suzie Q you absolutely need two shooters, you should ask yourself why exactly? What's the importance of two shooters to you and your wedding specifically?  Because what worked for Suzie Q may not work for you and your wedding. I typically shoot solo, I usually bring an assistant to assist me with my bags, equipment and any running that needs to be done. I usually deliver between 500-800 photos on a typical 8 hour wedding day. A second shooter is great for different angles of the ceremony (usually swapping placement with me) and to catch more candid moments throughout the day. Also nice to get the groom getting ready or shooting groomsmen while I shoot bridesmaids. I still can do all that solo however.  I had couples state that their venue was large so they wanted a second shooter due to space. I understand that, but still, the bride and groom are the focus of the day and no matter how big the space, I will be near them. If your not on a budget, I would say go ahead with the second shooter if that fits your wishes, but if you are on a budget, I would consider bashing this idea and not make it a concrete requirement.  

Hard Truth: You should consider the idea that for the same cost, you could end up with two shooters with less experience combined than one shooter with a lot of experience. 

2. "We want 24 hours of coverage"
Ok, just kidding but more coverage probably makes sense to you in the beginning, again the more coverage the better right? However 12 hours of coverage will cost you more than 8 hours of coverage and what will happen in those 4 hours that you need professional coverage? 12-8pm is my most typical wedding timeline give or take, I have never felt I missed something big outside of those hours and I never had any complaints that something big was missed. The most important moments need to be covered by a hired professional. Getting into dress, first look, couple moments, wedding party, family photos, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and toasts, first dance.  Typically- all those moments happen within an 8 hour timeframe. I know that makes your wedding go by SO fast, but stick to the reality, It's going to go by fast no matter what. If your not on a budget, again- go ahead and add the extra coverage if it makes you happy!

Hard Truth: More is not better. If your on a budget, consider a 6 or 8 hour coverage timeline from your favorite hired professionals. I have shot a ton of 4 or 6 hour weddings! and Still a happy ending ;)

3. "We're on a budget"
I was a bride on a budget. I completely understand this concept with total honesty.  What you need to do is focus less on budget and more on priority.  Move your resources around a bit.  How important are those themed paper napkins? those monogrammed robes? or buying all those details for centerpieces?  For my own wedding I knew my photography budget would be the largest chunk of money spent outside of our venue/ meal because my photos were my priority. I was prepared for that. I shifted resources to make that happen. I deleted some items I "thought" I wanted ( I don't even remember what those were anymore). Did you know you can rent ALL of your decor? not buy it ? and it's affordable to rent!  Wedding photography in Wisconsin ranges from $1500-$6,000 + depending on coverage time, extras like prints and albums, second shooters, ect.. So be prepared for those numbers. 

Hard Truth: Keep your photography simple if your on a budget,  pay for one shooter that you love for X amount of hours that you can afford. Most photographers have several options for packages you can choose from. 

4. "We are overwhelmed booking vendors"
100% yes. This is overwhelming! You know you want a photographer, a florist, a band or DJ but did you know HOW many are out there?!?  Your emailing everyone who catches your eye but guess what....they email back! Now you have 17 emails from 17 different photographers, how are you to sift through this information and make a choice on only one?! I  know thats tough and scary and making these adult decisions suck. But really, your going to have to make a choice and probably pretty soon.  Did you know I get between 5-10 inquiries a week? most for the same wedding dates. Yes- it's true, other people are getting married on YOUR wedding day and may steal your favorite vendors.  Am I saying make hasty quick choices? absolutely not. (Please don't) But I am saying, if you connect with someone and they have the style, pricing and outlook your looking for, I would consider it a priority to commit to that person. (when its right)  I have people inquire with me all the time and then after some discussing we either go our separate ways or book the date.  

Hard truth: Either way, your going to have to choose a vendor at some point- Don't be afraid to make a commitment to the one that you love and connect with. 

5. "We will get back to you"
This doesn't sound scary at first, it's a casual, breezy answer- you have a lot going on and will get back to them when you have time. These vendors can wait a few weeks.  But remember what I said above, others are inquiring with your favorite vendors for YOUR precious wedding date! (How DARE someone else choose your date!)   I can't tell you how many times I have heard "The venue I wanted is already booked"  Please take my advice on this, there are some really advanced planners in the world!  (AKA brides on top of it) I have FIVE 2017 weddings on my books. FIVE! and they have been booked for a long while and it JUST turned 2016, so if your reading the latest bridal magazine timeline that says from 6-8 months to book your photographer,  you may find that's bad advice. Can you still find vendors? of course, remember how many you found? but will your top favorites be taken? maybe.  My advice is to book between 10-15 months in advance. So the phrase "we will get back to you" may hurt you in the long run. You may email your vendors back in two months after finals or after the holidays or after vacation and find that they have committed to someone else.

Hard truth:  Booking weddings is the photographers job, their source of income, their way of making a living, so they will probably go with whoever books the date first. 

I hope that you heard something helpful above for inquiring with a photographer.  Maybe at least it will help you think a little more concrete about what you really want for your photography.  If not, you got to see a few pretty photos right? 



High Five Friday // 2015 Wedding Season is here! // Mayowood Stone Barn


High Five Friday // 2015 Wedding Season is here! // Mayowood Stone Barn

Here I go, wish me luck. Today I kick off the 2015 wedding season! The Season of lots of driving, lots of coffee, pretty white dresses, glowing smiles, moments of anticipation, happy tears and laughter. Bring on the silly wedding parties,  gorgeous brides and dapper grooms, the late nights up editing, the social media sneak peeks, the dusk light, the tents and champagne and toasts! So long Netflix, social life and 8pm bedtime.  Hello heartfelt ceremonies, vendor networking and those moments that make all the hustle worth while.  Did I mention coffee?  

My Friday posts will likely become short and sweet here, extra blogging isn't on the menu of chaos I am staring at. But I will always have something to say so stick around- I'll be posting a lot more often than just Fridays!  Be sure to follow my Facebook and Instagram accounts to keep up on all the NEW wedding goodness this year! 

Just a quick Thank You all for being here, for commenting, for liking, for reading. Thank you for contacting me and considering me for your wedding, Thank You for telling your friends about me and sharing my website. Thank you to all my amazing past couples, you are all truly unmatched. I'm just really grateful I get to continue this amazing season of my life. 

The Allens, Married October 2013 at Mayowood Stone Barn