How to have an Awesome Wedding Part 4

**Welcome to our ‘How to have an Awesome Wedding’ series. This series is about what we wish someone would have told us when we were planning our wedding. Its also because we like to photograph awesome weddings. Feel free to accept or disregard anything we say. Maybe we’ll give you some great ideas, maybe you’ll want to drop-kick our face. Either way, thank you for being here, for reading our thoughts and seeing our images, for caring enough to come back to this blog regularly. We’re thankful.

TIME. On a wedding day especially, time seems scarce. There’s always hours of hair and makeup and breakfast and golf and waiting. Always WAITING. But once the day “starts”, meaning once the bride has seen her groom, its a non-stop frenzy of pictures, family, details, and friends who keep trying to hug you even though the ceremony is ABOUT to start. “Go sit down,” you say. But they don’t. They ramble on for 5 minutes while you’re trying to line up and have some sort of emotional connection with your Father who has recently showed up at your side. Anyway, I digress. I spent from 7am-5pm without seeing Ben on our wedding day, and it was agony! Our photographer Janine still shot some amazing images, but then our guests had to wait an hour and a half to eat.

The point is, brides, would you rather spend 5 hours at a salon with your bridesmaids and 10 minutes alone with your soon-to be-husband or the other way around? And grooms, would you rather golf for 3 hours at 6am so by the time you do see your soon-to-be wife at 4pm you’re a cranky mess? I vote for the not cranky mess, personally.

And I’m telling you all of this for one very important reason, and its a secret that other photographers probably won’t tell you. Here is it…… ready…… the secret is it takes TIME to create fantastic, interesting, memorable, transcendent images of you on your wedding day! It takes TIME for you to connect. It takes TIME for you to take deep breathes and be present on the most important day of your life. It takes TIME away from your family and wedding party so you can focus on each other and let all that anxiety die down. It also takes TIME for us to compose images that aren’t a cheap copy of another photographer’s work. If your wedding photography is important to you, you must set aside time to let us create images you’ll cherish forever. These images will be used to remember you long after you’re gone, thats how important they are! I’ll be honest, we can make great images in a time span of 10min. But our best work from weddings has been when we’ve had hours, not minutes to work with.

With a bazillion photographers out there its easy to forget that some of us are artists and photography is a creative process. And our creative process takes TIME.

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Well That was a Great Weekend

I want to sing LOVE SONGS to those chairs and ottoman. I got them from a dude on Craigslist and spent more money than I’ve ever paid for something on Craigslist, but $625 seemed reasonable for two gorgeous down-filled chairs plus ottoman. I took a chance on the crummy photos and just paid for them through email, and then my saintly parents picked them up for me. Maybe if I had seen them in person I could have talked the guy down a bit in price, because the rosey wood looks pretty bonkers next to the amazing mossy green velvet, buuuuut I don’t care. I’ll probably whitewash the wood in the near future. Anyway … I LOVE THEM.

Speaking of my awesome parents, they also gave me this huge vintage buffet for our dining room.

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How to have an Awesome Wedding Part 3

**Welcome to our ‘How to have an Awesome Wedding’ series. This series is about what we wish someone would have told us when we were planning our wedding. Its also because we like to photograph awesome weddings. Feel free to accept or disregard anything we say. Maybe we’ll give you some great ideas, maybe you’ll want to drop-kick our face. Either way, thank you for being here, for reading our thoughts and seeing our images, for caring enough to come back to this blog regularly. We’re thankful.

The wedding of Luke and Laura on the soap opera General Hospital in the early 1980s incorporated the unity candle and showed the world how beautiful and simple the custom was. This international broadcast marked a huge upswing in the request and use of unity candles in modern North American weddings.

This is the most concrete answer I could find when searching for the history and hugely popular use of the unity candle. A soap opera people!! Apparently there is no definite origin, it just came from a mixture of ceremonies from many different faiths and rituals. Which is cool. And literally thousands of wedding ceremonies in the last 50 years have added meaning to this ritual. But heres the thing: does it mean anything to YOU?

The easiest way to write a form letter is to copy and paste, make a few name changes and you’re good. But weddings aren’t form letters. Just changing the names (and sometimes the pastor can’t get that right) and calling it good is not a wedding ceremony. Which brings me to the Unity Candle. Use it, treasure it as part of your service. But make sure it means something to you. If it doesn’t, if it falls into the ‘form letter’ category, ditch it. Replace it, don’t replace it. If you love music, sing songs. If you love the ocean, mix sand. You could leave it out completely. Ben and I washed each others feet. That came with some funny challenges….like Ben trying to get his socks back on.

Either way, don’t spend 5 minutes of your wedding ceremony staring awkwardly at a burning candle that you don’t give a crap about.

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Chairz

Total Palm Beach glam squad. First, let me just say that I’ve been completely obsessed with the famous banana leaf print for, I do not exaggerate, my entire teenage and adult life. I have big plans to splurge and use it in our condo, but I have to save a bunch of pennies and come up with some free time first. Anyway, because this is a fantasy world, I’ve made some giant drapes out of it, which flank imaginary french doors, not shown (because they are imaginary).

I think the yellow chair works so well in here, because it’s quirkiness plays off all of the other quirky things, but it still manages to be grown-up enough for the serious sofa. This room makes me think of lounging around in a bikini in really cold air conditioning.I don’t understand that either.

Here are your sources!

Paint: Peachtree by Behr; Sofa by Herman Miller; Coffee table, Side table, yellow chair, Prattware lamps, flokati rug  and coral all available at Chairish; Sheepskins from Ikea; Campaign Bookcases from One Kings Lane; Braided rug from Restoration Hardware, Chandelier from Wildflower Organics; Painting by Jenny Andrews.

How to have an Awesome Wedding Part 2

*This series is about what we wish someone would have told us when we were planning our wedding. Its also because we like to photograph awesome weddings. Feel free to disregard any of our sarcastic comments. But as you know this is our blog, so we get to be as sarcastic as we want!

#1: Let your groom buy his own suit for his wedding!!!

Tuxes are gross. They look nice, with that vest and tie and all that. But lets think about the last person who wore that tux. Especially if its prom season. It probably ended up on the floor of some cheap hotel room with Zima bottles littering the floor. See? Gross.

As the bride you get to spend all this time and money searching for the perfect dress for your wedding. It devalues the experience if your $2000 dress is standing next to a $75 tux that a pimply high school kid wore last weekend. Buy a suit, or wear your dad’s suit, or your grandad’s suit. It has character and history, two things that help make an awesome wedding. So lets go with that.

How to have an Awesome Wedding Part 1

First off, lots of people can have awesome weddings for lots of different reasons. Since this is our blog, we get to tell you what we think is awesome. When we got married, no one gave us permission to not follow the rules of wedding planning. Don’t get me wrong, we had a killer wedding, outdoors in rural Nebraska. It was amazing. But, we also spent a lot of time and money on things that really didn’t matter. But we thought “this is what you do when you plan a wedding.” So this series is about what we wish someone would have told us when we were planning our wedding. Its also because we like to photograph awesome weddings.

What is an Awesome Wedding?

An awesome wedding is about you, your connection, your commitment, your complete focus on each other and what you’re creating together. An awesome wedding is intentional, it has meaning, and it has a purpose for everything.

What is not an Awesome Wedding?

Well, we can’t say for sure. But this is our snarky view of things.

Feel free to accept or disregard anything we say. Maybe we’ll give you some great ideas, maybe you’ll want to drop-kick our face. Either way, thank you for being here, for reading our thoughts and seeing our images, for caring enough to come back to this blog regularly. We’re thankful.

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Alison’s Gown: the Design

Holy smokes. I started working on the new collection the other day. Aaand. Ohmigod. I think I need to share a little sneak peek ALREADY. I mean, that would be like no self control AT ALL, but I’m not very good at keeping my own secrets.Anyway, let’s first talk about Alison and her gown before I burst. She came to me with a file full of inspiration photos, and each image was more feminine and romantic than the one before. Just oodles of gowns blowing in the breeze and the lightest, most gorgeous fabrics. Obviously, we needed to do something incredible for this girl.

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10th Year

Its hard to believe, but this is my 10th year photographing weddings. Ten years!! In that time I think I’ve photographed somewhere around 150 weddings. Its been incredible watching people make the most profound commitment they will ever make, many of those with my husband Ben working along side me. I’ve been taught and inspired and encouraged and critiqued by very talented photographers, and I’m grateful for their words and passion that kept me going the last 10 years. The most profound changes in my life, however, have been over the last three years. We became parents first to our daughters Cora and Ruby, and then to our twins Louis and June. Four kids in three years people. (If you’re wondering how thats biologically possible, they’re adopted). Over the last year especially its become much harder to work 9-5 and miss Saturday adventures with them. My husband is a rockstar dad, he’s biked all over the city with our kids this summer, they went to every park and farmers market, ate lots of donuts and corn dogs, and had the best summer ever. And I was able to photograph some amazing couples and have photo adventures of my own. But as my kids (and me) are getting older, I want to be able to ride along on those adventures and not just hear about them at the end of the day.

So…(big breath) this will be my last year photographing weddings.

Scary right? I’m a little scared myself but its a decision I have to make, and I know it’s the right one. But wait, what about photographing kids? Babies? Families? Seniors? YES! I will still be working very hard capturing families playing and loving each other. I’ll also be working on personal projects, the most important being finishing my home darkroom and getting to know film again. Film is where my passion for photography was born when I was 15 and I’m anxious to explore that forgotten part of myself. I’m excited to capture more adoption stories and re-engage with the non-profits that make Lincoln great. There is definitely still a lot ahead for me (including a few more weddings before I finish out the year).

I want to take a moment and thank a few people. First, Janine. You were not only the best wedding photographer for Ben and I, but you were a kind and patient teacher. You gave me my first professional camera and spent three years teaching and encouraging me. You made the last 10 years possible. The end. Thank you for trusting and believing in me, for putting up with my big mouth, for sharing lots of ice cream and popcorn, and for teaching me how to do this amazing job.

Second, Ashley and Jeremy. You both inspired Ben and I to take this job and turn it into an incredible journey. You showed us how to tell good stories and how those stories make us better. Thank you for being our friends, for showing us true things, for leading by example what “Don’t Give Up” means.

Third, friends and family. You hired us. You said the nicest things about our work. You babysat our kids. You provided bottles of wine. I always felt supported and encouraged. Thank you.

Fourth, our couples. I’m honored that you chose us, let us in, and inspired us. You made the magic happen, not me. Thank you. I hope your images can speak loudly to you in dark times and remind you to celebrate in the midst of the ordinary.

Lastly, Ben. This was never your passion as much as mine but you sacrificed six years to shoot with me. I miss our wedding “dates”. I miss climbing on your shoulders to take the big wedding party shot (clients know what I’m talking about). I miss dancing the last dance with you when we were so tired we could fall over. This year wasn’t the same without you by my side and I love our family enough to accept change when it needs to come.

So, I wanted to share the lovely faces that I’ve been able to photograph over the last seven of my ten years. Here they are…and be kind, textures and other weird edits were very cool seven years ago.

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Fall 2016 Collection: the Inspiration

So now that I’m doing custom work exclusively, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the next collection is going to be. I had originally thought I would do just one showpiece gown each season, but I’ve got way too many ideas in my head, so now it’s going to be a showcase collection. And whooaaa am I excited. There are so many factors that go into designing a collection for retail – you have to consider ease of reproduction, costs, how flattering the style will be on hundreds of women instead of just one – and it’s not easy. It also means a lot of the more envelope-pushing ideas have to be put to the side, because they’re just not doable within those parameters. But designing a collection of showcase gowns? It’s not any of that, and I’m practically out of my mind with ideas. This is some of what’s inspiring me …

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My Blog

Welcome to my new space! Thank you so much to those of you who made the jump over – and a giant hug to all new readers – I’m so genuinely happy to have you here. As my business and tastes have grown and evolved, I’ve longed for something a bit cleaner and fancier, and I’m really so excited to announce a new blog, new website, new studio AND some major business news.I’m incredibly humbled by the emotional connection so many people made to my former blog, and I promise it’s still li’l ol’ me – just with an updated look. I mean, everyone needs a new outfit every now and then, right?

The earlier stuff will remain online, in case there’s anything you’d like to reference, and here I’ll be focusing on designing for my custom clients, decorating our new home, and sharing anything else I think deserves a bit of a freak out. Like, for instance …The real big news. My brand of gowns has been evolving in the most exciting way. I’m so grateful for the success and attention the retail line has received, and having recently spent a great deal of time looking over previous photoshoots and marketing materials, I’ve realized just how proud I am of what we’ve achieved. It’s hard for me to believe I sewed those first collections on our dining room table. And in the midst of all of that chaos, I was fortunate to work with so many truly wonderful women on custom gowns – building relationships that mean more to me than I could ever say.

What I love most is the custom work – designing something unique for one woman, every time. It’s a very emotional process and that’s where my passion lies. This is next-level stuff for me, and I’m completely thrilled to announce that my studio is now focusing exclusively on custom gowns – beautifully-crafted pieces that are always one-of-a-kind. I’m still based out of Chicago, but I’ll be making trips to Los Angeles for personal consultations and I’m also willing to travel for the ultimate VIP experience.

We’re going all the way with this, tootsie pops – only the most posh treatment for my girls.I hope you like the looks of it around here, and you’ll join me on this new adventure. If you’d like to receive posts by email, there’s a little form in the sidebar, and don’t forget about me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’ve also got a new YouTube channel, and can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in the works – feel free to subscribe and be one of the first in on my fun plans there. As always, thanks so much for all of your love and big hugs and kisses to you all!