CHEERS to 2011!
2011 was a pretty amazing wedding season. It’s weird to even look at some of the photos taken in January because it seems like so much has happened since then. A big thanks to my good friend and assistant Karin Newstrom for carrying my gear, pretty much doing everything that I tell her, getting me drinks and dinner at receptions, not to mention taking some of the most amazing photographs – and all with being sweet, professional, and with a smile. Karin – lots of this season’s success has everything to do with you there as my support and your gorgeous photos. I know I get all of the credit when the photos hit the blog and gallery, but you deserve lots of it. Thank you for everything, friend!
Here are some of my favorite portraits from 2011, and a little memory I have from each of the wedding day!
Jenna & Alex: What an adventurous weekend! Unlike this winter – last winter was a very snowy one. Their wedding was in Fergus Falls on New Years day. Karin and I left super early the day before to be safe and I’m thankful we did- we arrived just as the heavy snow started to fall… who knows if we would have made it to the wedding if we left any later. That weekend the main highway that would take us back east to Minneapolis was closed – so we stayed in Fergus Falls an additional night. That weekend Karin and I spent New Years Eve together in our hotel room eating junk food and watching hours of TLC. I know this could sound like a lame New Year eve party, but it’s one of my favorite memories of the year!
Marnie & Steve: The ceremony. It was absolutely stunning -a truly unique experience I will never forget. It was an outdoor wedding on the coast of Lake Superior on Jan 15th, around sunset time. I love how the cool and warm hues of winter sunsets mix for really dynamic photographs. I’ve tried photographing with gloves on, but I don’t like it – so I braved this ceremony with bare hands. By the time the ceremony was wrapping up – my fingers were literally shutting down- I couldn’t feel them and they were shaking… but mind over matter – I willed myself to keep clicking the camera and made it through! Completely worth it – the photos are stunning and I was able to warm up with coffee and pie shortly after. :)
Melissa & Steven: Two memories from this day! Melissa hugs. I was treated so kindly I felt like I was part of the wedding party. Melissa gives the best hugs and truly made me feel like a special part of their day, too. My embarrassing moment – I had to parallel park in downtown St. Paul to get into the ceremony site. Correction: I had to parallel park in front of the ceremony site, in front of the bridal party and family. :) I avoid parallel parking at all costs – and it shows… it took a few minutes longer to park than it should take anyone… I was so embarrassed! :)
Karen & Brad: Ohhh the memories! Karen and Brad are friends with my good friends from Viveria! Alan was in the wedding and Naomi was double duty part of the wedding and my 2nd photographer for the day. Every Thursday this crew gets together for happy hour…. last year they invited my husband and I and we’ve been going ever since. It’s been so fun getting to know them and Brad and Karen are becoming two great friends!
Katherine & Seth: I remember the reception – this dance floor was PACKED! I dare say one of the best dances of the year. The Hora dance was one of our highlights of the year – we had a blast photographing it!
Beth & Scott: Beth works for Ghirardelli… and on two accounts before the wedding I received a surprise box (yes – entire BOX) filled with armfuls of chocolates. It’s so humbling to have such a sweet client (ha! yes, bad pun totally intended) and they were just as nice throughout the wedding day. I have nothing but warm fuzzies from their wedding day!
Terra & John: The weather! Now, don’t get me wrong – rain or shine, we can totally rock wedding photos. It doesn’t phase me a bit. However, Terra and John had a beautiful outdoor tent reception planned, as well as a photo op planned around a barn… so we were all looking forward to that! That morning though, it was raining. Not just raining – down pouring! Then, all of a sudden – just as we started to do our formal portraits, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun came out! We were able to rock some sunny outdoor photos by the barn. It was a beautiful and perfect May wedding day – and it didn’t even start to get stormy until later into the dance. Win!
Shayla & Steven: *Swoon* the details of everything and ceremony were absolutely stunning… candlelit ceremony at the classic St. Paul Hotel. Perfection. Shayla is a super organized and detailed person and it showed in the planning. They were able to get ready, get married, and have a reception all at the same venue which made the day super relaxed and fun!
Caitlin & Kevin: As I was touring their venue – a random guy rode his bike up to me and said “Hey – I’m a pimp!” and then rode away. I still get a kick out of this. What was he trying to accomplish with this statement? Soliciting his services? Or simply an informative statement? Caitlin and Kevin were so relaxed and nice… nothing but fond memories from their day! They also had mini cheesecakes for their reception which was pretty awesome. We were able to photograph the dance under the dome at the Millennium Hotel: sunset + city lights + dance photos = happy photographer!
Charlie & Maria: I adore Charlie & Maria!!!!!! Everything about this day was perfect, perfect, perfect. Amazing Minnesota June weather and sunset photos. You can see it in their photo they are so sweet and in love… you had to tear me away from portrait time. I couldn’t get enough!
Erin and Sam: When I walked into Erin’s room that morning – J.Crew outfits, and bags all over the room. The Nautical details of this wedding were incredible. I died and went to wedding photographer heaven!
Maureen & Marty: Just as I was about to take their extended family photo Maureen shouted “everyone say Betsy Wall is awesome!” (Or something like that… the exact words escape me, but it was to that effect). It was the most flattering thing. Of course something I never expect – it was the biggest compliment ever and I’ll never forget it! :)
Andrea and Brad: They had a first look moment and Brad went in to give Andrea a big hug. Then I heard him say quietly to Andrea, “smile big for the pictures!” (or something like that). It was a funny moment that cracked me up… but hey – thank you Brad for the good effort. It totally worked and your first look moment photos rock! :)
Amy & Jon: Amy and Jon had a really neat Zen ceremony at the Minnesota History Center. Amy totally rocked out some cowboy boots with her wedding dress and I was really looking forward to that. Embarrassing moment of the day: when organizing everyone for group photos, I told them to “meet me under the airplane”. If you’ve been to the history center before, you will see that there are three floors – with an airplane suspended above the third floor, above a tunnel and balconies that overlook the bottom floor. Everyone followed my directions perfectly – by gathering directly below the airplane on the first floor… but in my mind I was thinking on the 2nd floor, which isn’t technically below the airplane. It took me a couple more weddings at the History Center to realize how I was miscommunicating. Oops!
Kelly & Gerald: My friends Kelly and Gerald had a stunning outdoor wedding in Le Sueur. This is a photo with grandma Mary. It’s so sad – as I received news Mary passed away shortly after their wedding. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to take this photograph. Before the ceremony I was hanging out at the front of the aisle waiting for the processional to start. I was standing right by Mary, and she was so fun to talk with… she was joking about taking her photo for the cover of a magazine. She was totally up for photos, and even our short conversation left me smiling, laughing, and in a great mood. Clearly a wonderful woman who is loved and miss by many.
Emily and Matt: This moment happened just before I took this photo – actually. The day was completely clear and perfect – that night it started to get a little windy and a storm was firing up over the St. Paul skyline. We had our umbrellas set up to take this photo – but then it got windy and we heard tornado sirens. I had visions of my equipment flying into the river, rain, and tornadoes – so Karin and I gathered the gear and ran like heck to take cover. False alarm though – we were back and took this photo within a few short minutes! ;)
Erin & Ben: One thing we really noticed was how exceptionally nice Erin and Ben’s family and friends were to us… which didn’t surprise me given the demeanor of these two! They also had fancy root beer floats for dessert – win!
Amy & Mark: The ceremony site was breathtaking. They were married at Mississippi Dunes – with a ceremony site nestled within the woods overlooking the Mississippi River. Everyone this day was so relaxed and had lots and lots of fun…. I wouldn’t ask any bride to do portrait sitting in wild grasses, but I had a feeling Amy and Mark would totally be up for it. They were – and it’s one of my favorite portraits of the year!
Landrey & Christian: Look at this beautiful August day – perfection! Ohhh the decisions we photographers have to make, especially on wedding days. We decided to swing by the Walker Sculpture Garden for a quick photo. I followed the limo in my car, and when we arrived needed a place to park. Lots of places in Minneapolis tend to be super busy – especially on a Saturday afternoon on such a nice day. I parked in a nearby lot with a pay machine… I walk up to it and find there is an uber long line to get my ticket… I’m standing there panicking a little: I can stand in line, while my bridal party waits for me and we lose precious portrait time, I risk having to deal with a ticket, or option #3 – cut in line. So I decided to speak up to everyone in line “Hey everyone… um, so I’m a wedding photographer and there is a bridal party waiting for me by the cherry spoon… we’re in a bit of a time sensitive situation, so I’m wondering if you all wouldn’t mind I cut in line, for the bride and groom on their wedding day?” I’m sure they were all wondering – “what the heck.. who does she think she is?” The person in the front of the line gestured me to step in, so I did. I felt so awful, but I had to do it.
Wedding photographers always find themselves in odd situations. Wedding photography is a little unique – as we are doing our job under lots of uncontrollable constraints – locations, weather, timelines, hundreds of different people and vendors with different personalities… sometimes we have to hold up traffic, do fancy aerobic moves, crawl in the dirt, or even break social norms to get the shot. I always try and do the job without stepping on toes, but sometimes a girls gotta do what girls gotta do!
Jeanne & Ben: …. and yet another embarrassing story (seems like I have a lot of them!) I got to know Jeanne and Ben pretty well, and felt comfortable asking them this very important question: at your reception, when I’m done with photos – may I bust a move to Michael Jackson’s Thriller? They were totally up for it… so yes, I openly admit online – I practiced the dance. I had visions of doin’ my sweet zombie moves and getting everyone to join into what would become a packed synchronized dance floor. So then my moment comes…. I hear the song, and out I went! At first people were like “oh man, so awesome!” But then within seconds I realized: Thriller is NOT a good party dance. It’s too complicated, too fast, and very confusing! Quickly it became people trying to join me, but losing track of the hard to follow steps.. and then it was just me attempting to re-sync my steps with the song- with a handful of people watching, while everyone else went back to dancing on their own. Then I fizzled with embarrassment and escaped the dance floor. Lesson learned – if I’m going to do the thriller dance, it’s best kept to myself in my own home. :)
Brooke and Yak: Photographing a good friend’s wedding – really fun and a huuuugggeee honor, but equally nerve wracking! Thankfully everything went perfectly, and nothing but good memories from that day. All of my good friends (all who worked and met at the computer help desk in college… nerds!) flew out to California to attend “braks” wedding. It was kind of surreal and so much fun to party it up with my old college friends in Santa Cruz!
Megan & Lee: Possibly two of the most relaxed and easy to work with people ever! Weather wise, it was a quintessential early Minnesota Fall day. The lighting was amazing- slightly overcast with enough light filtering through to give the photos a little more “pop” than a solid overcast day does (in the photos above, I can see it in Megan’s hair and the blue sky behind them). They hired a pretty amazing musician, Dan Rodriguez… his music was one of the highlights of the wedding day!
Katie & Adam: I scouted out the church that morning and then jumped my the car to meet them at Rush Creek. I’m sitting at a stoplight and then I look left – it’s Katie and her family also heading to Rush Creek! For a quick minute in side-by-side cars we said hello and talked about how excited we were for the wedding day. I heart Katie and Adam and loved every minute of their wedding day! (Photographer talk – loving the reflective lighting in the right photo – great eye sparkles, you two!)
Katie and Mike: A groom with Ray-Bans – YES! The decor of this wedding was really quite stunning – creams, golds, champaigns, browns, and even some pheasant feathers. Really unique and so, so beautiful. Katie’s father surprised them by joining the band and playing guitar and singing. Such a fun moment!
Julia and Marshall: Bacon!! haha We had fun photographing the bridal party and laughing while quoting Marcel the Shell and yelling random words like “bacon!” At the end of the dance I was able to put the camera down and dance with my friends to Michael Jackson and Ace of Base music. SO FUN!
Victoria and Lambert: The St. Paul Cathedral! I had been wanting to photograph here for so long, and this was my chance. Wowza is it a massive place, and absolutely stunning! For early November, we lucked out on weather. So it was a little windy – I’ll take it. It was sunny and beautiful and everything we could have hoped for the last wedding of the season!
… and that’s it! As I type this I can hardly believe I’m wrapping up the 2011 wedding summary. I feel so incredibly blessed, and am so humbled with the amazing support that my friends, family, and clients have given me. Cheers everyone – and here’s to an equally fantastic 2012! :)