This day started out with Loren thinking he was going camping with his bride to celebrate their 10-year Anniversary. Camping they did, but his wife Ellen had a little something up her sleeve first. The day started off fairly normal: a sitter was arranged for their three children, texts were exchanged wishing each other a happy day, and dinner plans were lightly discussed. However when Loren arrived to the gravel path leading to their campsite, instead of a tent bag to set up he was handed a suit to put on. Game-changer.
Instead of mosquitos along the path he found photographs and verses strung up with clothes pins and yarn. Signs led the way that asked the question: 'Will.....You.....Marry.....Me.....AGAIN?' Around the bend standing at the altar was his beaming bride! Loren's jaw dragged on the gravel as he stepped up to be led through their recommitment ceremony and communion. Instead of a unity candle, they made art together for their home. Their videographer friend Dan West along with his wife Heather were deeply committed behind the scenes to pull this surprise of a lifetime off. After the ceremony, the five of us had a little picnic to celebrate, then off we went to do an adventure-themed bridal session off into the fields and trees; a shoot that Ellen has dreamed of for over ten years with the Love of the life. I was overwhelmed with joy! These two are indeed a benefit and blessing to all the world.
This romance started long ago, but might have hit one of its pinnacles during a special canoe tip into the chilly waters of Lake Superior on our engagement session. Kaitie was showing off her adventurous side and Josh was keeping the day on track. I could see in that moment and the moments that followed, how these two are just made for each other. The wedding day would not be short on adventure either. Heck, let's just start this day off with Kaitie and Josh seeing each other for the first time on a Helicopter Pad staring at the skyline of Minneapolis. Brilliant! The talented Juilia LaCroix had to the planned and timed out to perfection as Kaitie made her way with her dad up the ramp to see her anxious groom. The emotion caught them both by surprise as they shared a long embrace and took several deep breaths. I cleared my eyes as well and we headed down to start the party with some of the craziest people I have met in a long time. We had a blast near the Guthrie and the ruins outside Mill City Museum! Calhoun Beach Club was breathtaking decked out by Russell at Wisteria to tie in the love these two share for Duluth and the North Shore. He nailed it! Guests phone cameras were out the moment they stepped into the room and again as the newly weds entered the room. As the rain came to bless the day, the warmth of the community in the ballroom would shine bright. Since neither offered to sing, we opted for kissing in the rain. Thank you both for your friendship, your loving families, and for letting me take my adventure shoes along wherever we go together. I am your fan.
The historic Minikahda Club knew it was opening its doors this day to a stellar couple. First of all, I am a HUGE fan of these two. Family is center for Mary and Austin. Their families have already become part of mine as Mary's grandma was the administrative manager for years for my father. On Austin's side, we would be bonding in Steamboat for another family wedding. Families couldn't get any more fun than these! There were so many special moments and exchanges that gave me permanent goose bumps. After an emotion-filled first meeting, their friends joined in on the fun and the party was on. This was the first wedding I have ever photographed that featured both an indoor and outdoor ceremony as the rains chased us from the deck creating a memorable moment for all the guests. The final vows were completed downstairs in front of the hearth and the two set out to celebrate with their best friends upstairs. Mary's taste was evident in all the fine touches to the ballroom, and guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves. At the end of the night, we did a bit of a rain dance outside to scare away any clouds. The beauty of the rain is that it made the photographs even better. My heart left full and happy for these new friends.
This journey has been nothing short of a miracle. I know that I will never fully understand the sacrifices families of the armed forces make day in and day out. I do know for Sandy and Casey, their life the past year has not been what they had planned. Blessed to be alive, Casey took a bullet to the face in service overseas to our Country. His jaw was wired shut for months as he healed with Sandy by his side. Adding to the difficulty, Casey laid his military buddy and best friend to rest; his 4-year old son walked in his place. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the church knowing what this couple has endured to be able to celebrate this day. What a happy day it was!
I met Sandy and Casey in a fabulous wedding in the vineyards of Temecula California and we have been bonded ever since. I was so touched that they chose their wedding date around my availability that I would do almost anything for these new friends. New Orleans was Sandy's old stomping grounds and the pair wanted to treat guests to true southern charm with plenty of flare! The weekend didn't disappoint! The rehearsal dinner started the festivities at a balcony along famous Bourbon Street and the energy carried through the entire weekend. Sandy was stunning in her dress that looked designed just for her! After an emotional first meeting in a colorful side alley, we tore up the city making stops along the way that included art viewing, park strolling, and even taking time to dance a jig with the street performers. Their friends joined in for some fun around the French Quarter. Following the ceremony, we all marched our way to the reception with the Second Line all the way to the WWII Museum where the party would explode. Images adorned the walls of those who had come before, complete with U boats and bombers. At night's end, we had fun playing mascaraed amongst the sea of sparklers as goose bumps and smiles were everywhere. I am a more thankful man today because of these two friends in my life.