Tamara and Russell // Engaged!

I first met Tamara on a beach. We were in the whitest girls in the entire Caribbean, which meant that we instantly bonded over constantly needing to lather ourselves in SPF. We were both on the island of La Isla Mujeres for her brother's wedding, which I was shooting alongside Brandon Werth! Brandon and I had SO much fun with this family and after all of the festivities were done, Tamara and I stayed in touch! We became great friends - we share an equal love for celebrity trash, white wine and the latest trends. But more importantly, we share a love for good style and good taste! Tamara has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and fans over the years, so when she asked me to photograph her wedding to her longtime-love, Russell, of course I said yes! I met Russell for the first time during their engagement session and I absolutely love these two together! They seriously have so much fun and are simply a perfect fit! The couple will officially be getting hitched on 12-12-12 this year; however, you'll see lots of this bride on the blog before then! This weekend, I am heading to San Francisco with Tamara and her bridesmaids for a photo shoot and I couldn't be more excited! We are bound to have a blast in a beautiful location..and not to mention, tons of shenanigans! But, more on that next week...

For their engagement session, Russell and Tamara went back to the place where they had their first date, the Kitty Cat Klub in Minneapolis. The two actually hadn't been back since that date, years ago, so we simply sat, reminisced and had a couple of drinks!

Congratulations to Tamara and Russell on their engagement! Can't wait for the big day!


WEDDING STYLE // Wearing Color

Jessica Biel wore pink and all of a sudden the wedding world is a buzz with colored dresses! However, celebrities and brides alike have been wearing color for years! There's no doubt about it that celebrity weddings set trends in the industry. I was just at Bridal Fashion Week in New York City and all of the major collections included sleeves and lace - clearly inspired by Kate Middleton's choice in her gown. An upcoming wedding that everyone is on-the-edge of their seats for is Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold's wedding. Her dress has been kept top-secret until Martha Stewart Weddings magazine will reveal all of the exclusive details in an upcoming issue. Because of the hype, her dress is bound to start trends. Many people think that the reason brides where white is because it is a symbol of purity; however that is not the reason behind this trend at all. In the mid-1800's and thru much of the 20th Century, wedding dresses were formal dresses that would be re-used for another formal occasion. Brides could wear any color, besides Red or Black, which were associated with prostitutes and mourning, respectively. When Queen Victoria was married in 1840, she wore white. This was very controversial, because white was the color of mourning in France.  Around the same time, the printing press had become quite popular, allowing photographs to be published, reproduced, and shared with the world. Yes - Queen Victoria was the first 'celebrity' wedding to set the trend of the white wedding dress. Brides all over the world began to wear white, and it also became a symbol of wealth to wear white, because if you could afford to wash and re-wear your white dress, that meant you had money. In the mean time, the middle class continued to wear color. It wasn't until the 1950's that the white wedding dress really became the mainstream choice for brides. It has become classic and timeless in our culture and I think it's fascinating that this statement came around because of celebrity trends and not necessarily religious or ceremonial needs.

I love color and I love the impact a colored wedding dress adds to the party. They have a little more personality and WOW factor for your guests; however, if you are choosing a colored dress, make sure it is absolutely a color that fits your personality, party, and theme. Brides who embrace colored wedding dresses can look radiant, but if all of the pieces don't come together, you could look back at your wedding pictures in 30 years and think you look like a bad trend...and no one wants that!

Color can be done absolutely beautifully and a good rule of thumb to make everything cohesive is to plan your color scheme and details around the color of your dress. Vera Wang's  Spring 2013 collection showed bright reds to deep burgundy and even straight black. Tara LaTour's latest collection incorporates her signature color-fading treatment, a periwinkle blue dress and even a copper number.

There's no doubt about it - color is changing the wedding industry. Below are some examples of some of those current dresses on the Market from Vera Wang and Tara LaTour. For those local brides in Minneapolis, there is an exciting event coming up for you to test-out-color! On November 7th, L'atelier Couture is hosting a fantastic party to celebrate Tara LaTour's latest collection. From 6:30-9pm, you can join the best of the wedding industry for a night of drinks, art, and colorful dresses! See the invitation below - we would love to see you there!

Kaylan and Matt // Engaged!

Kaylan and Matt are a couple who surround themselves with amazing people. They are always out and about - at a new restaurant, catching a show or grabbing a drink at their favorite brew pub! When it comes to their wedding, ever vendor they have involved so far is some how connected to them, which I think adds a great personal touch to their event! When I first met with Kaylan and Matt, we had a great consultation and I loved everything about the couple and their wedding. However, it wasn't until the end of the meeting that we realized that Kaylan and I were from the same home town! Beyond that, we knew a bunch of different people here in the cities and our circles just meshed perfectly! For their engagement session, we went to some of their favorite spots in the Twin Cities, including Indeed Brewing, I Like You and Bin Wine Bar!  


Congratulations to Kaylan and Matt on their engagement! We're excited to celebrate with you on the big day!



Allison and Beecher // Engaged!

Every once in a while, I get a phone call from people who have somehow been a part of my life, asking if I would be open to photographing their wedding. Maybe I've known that person since I was little or maybe they are a close and personal friend, but either way, I always feel honored that they have re-connected and reached out to ask me to document one of the biggest days in their life. For Allison and Beecher, this most definitely held true. I have worked with Allison and her agency, Ignite Models, countless times. I have great admiration for everything she has built and how she runs her business in the world of fashion - not to mention, I have always had an amazing experience with every single one of her models and talent. Beecher is also incredibly involved in running many events here in Minneapolis, in fact, you might even say they are a bit of a power-couple here in the city. Both of these two have seen some stunning talent walk thru their doors, and especially on the photographer front, so when Allison asked me if I would be their wedding photographer, it was just one of those moments where I knew our work, reputation and company were living up to the standards I have always wanted it to be! It has been really great to get to know Allison and Beecher on a more personal level. These two are absolutely fantastic together. Beecher adores Allison and I love seeing how calm, beautiful and confident Allison is with her man. It's always been Allison's dream to have her engagement photos during the fall, with a pop of fun color, which totally matches this couple's personality as well. They genuinely laugh together so hard that you can't help but fall in love with them a little bit! Allison and Beecher's wedding will be this spring in a super-fun destination...hint hint...there's a little bit of desert meets ocean involved in the theme!



Congratulations to Allison and Beecher on their engagement! To say we are going to have fun at your wedding is a total understatement!



Ashley and Eddie // Engaged!

Ashley and Eddie had known of one another for years; however it wasn't until after the first official time that they hung out that something changed. The two have been together ever since and have also made it a family affair! Ashley and Eddie are two of the most loving parents I have met, who are also raising three pretty-rad children! Everyone in this family is SO happy! For their engagement session, we brought along the kiddos and had some fun!  


Congratulations to Ashley and Eddie on their engagement! These two are literally, going to have one-awesome-wedding!


Lynn and Pete // Engaged!

As I've documented couples over the years, I think some of the most successful relationships come from those who are truly best friends. They are able to encourage, laugh, explore and experience life together, which is exactly what marriage is about, right? Lynn and Peter most definitely have this quality in their relationship and they also value the culture of their families. The couple will be having a Vietnamese Ceremony during their wedding day, which is one of my favorite ceremonial traditions in weddings! I had so much fun with these two during their engagement session...and who doesn't love a couple who can successfully dance to Gangnam Style?!?! Priceless...

Congratulations to Pete and Lynn on their engagement!



Three years ago, I started a workshop called ELEVATE. It was a dream of mine and I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at each and every workshop with our attendees. Now, I say 'we', because this workshop is all about the team of people that help me, either logistically to put this together and our guest speakers that take the time out of their incredibly busy lives to be a part of this event. ELEVATE is far bigger than just me and it takes our awesome crew to make it so special every single year. At the beginning of this month, 10 of us traveled out to New York City for the workshop. Every year, I love to host ELEVATE in a new location and inspiring space. We've been in the deserts of Palm Springs, the northern woods of Minnesota and the city streets of New York was the perfect location for this year. Why a new space every year? Because I want us all, the speakers included, to be in a place that fosters inspiration and new ideas. I also want it to feel like a complete retreat from our 'real world', so we can think outside of the box on our goals, ideas and stretch the limits of what-we-think-is-possible at home. Being in New York, this also offered us the freedom to do some cool things we have never done before at ELEVATE. We had an entire city at our fingertips and we totally took advantage of it! On day 1, we rented a studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York and had a full day of intense class time. On the second day, we were out and about in the city for a 'field trip' day. We had exclusive tours and talks at Ceci New York and Martha Stewart Weddings, which were incredibly inspirational. In between these events, we also had one-on-one mentor sessions with each attendee and some of the best conversations about life and the world of being both an artist and business person. My goal with ELEVATE is to keep the groups intimate, so each attendee can have individual attention, yet also have a diverse group to bounce ideas off of.

Our overall theme of ELEVATE NYC was about bringing Purpose and Intention in everything we do. Whether that is taking a photograph, how we structure our workflow, how we post to social media or how we approach a shoot, everything must have these two elements. Daniel Chin and Collin Hughes were my guest speakers for this workshop and it was SO great for our attendees to get different perspectives on all of our content. We are three very different photographers who all do things differently and yet, there is value in every single approach. During our field trip days, we talked to Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York about photographing details and how to be stronger shooters, as well as branding our businesses to send the perfect message to our clients. At Martha Stewart Weddings, we connected with Shira Savada, who is their Real Weddings Editor and talked about the submission process and being published in both print and blogs. All of our talks this week carried on the theme of Purpose and Intention and even though I was helping create the content, I myself, took away a world of inspiration from everyone's input, conversation and presentations.

I also have to take a moment to say a GIANT thank-you to our sponsors, who were so generous in their giveaways to our group! Thanks to: HoldFast Gear, Shawn Bielefeldt, Motibodo, Kelly Moore Bag, Black Rapid Strap, Photo Mechanic, Richard Photo Lab, Kelly Purkey and Fatty Sundays.

Last, but not least, I have to thank Chris Wegner, who was one of our attendees for making this SWEET video below! He totally went out of his way to document our time there and watching this is the perfect reminder of our week together! To all of our attendees that came to ELEVATE NYC - you are all such talented, amazing artists and people. There is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of your businesses is going to grow leaps and bounds in the next couple of years. Thank you for giving me the honor of teaching you and guiding you on your journey, but also for giving back to me and teaching me more than you know!

The ELEVATE Workshop takes place once a year, generally around the fall months. If you are interested in learning more about the next ELEVATE, keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook and our Website! To see more photos from ELEVATE NYC, check out the following links:

Sara Montour's Photos

Daniel Chin's Photos



Elevate Photography Workshop - NYC from Photogen Inc on Vimeo.

Kayla and Eric // Engaged!

When Kayla and Eric came to my studio for their initial consultation, I literally fell in love with this couple immediately. And when I say 'I fell in love' with them, I really mean it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever really met a couple that is like Kayla and Eric. They have a love that is so special, so rare, and so pure, it is undeniable. If there was an example of a couple who is destine to be together, it is most definitely these two. I know I'm not making much sense to you readers, because it really is hard to explain. When you are around Kayla and Eric, even for just a few minutes, you believe in love and if you are already in love, they make you want to love deeper. For their engagement session, we went to the farm where Kayla grew up. I had this vision of a wide open space for them. Both Kayla and Eric are professional dancers who are very active and on-the-go. They also have a very unique sense of style, that I absolutely adore!  


Congratulations to Kayla and Eric on their engagement! I can't WAIT for the big day!



Kelsey and Lee // Engaged!

Kelsey and Lee are simply perfect for each other. Honestly - they make perfect sense. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Kelsey and her family over the last few years and she belongs to one of the strongest families I have ever met. They love true and support each other in all of their endeavors and when it comes to choosing ' the one', they sure know how to seal the deal. If anything, being part (or just hanging out with them for a few hours) of the Lindemeier family teaches you not only how to love, but also what it feels like to be special. For Kelsey, she found something very special in Lee and he is the absolute, perfect addition to her family! These two are making plans and living life to the fullest, I just adore them and can't wait for their wedding day next summer!  


Congratulations to Kelsey and Lee on their engagement!



Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

Angela and Phil were not just getting married, they were officially embarking on a new chapter in their lives and joining together their families! During their ceremony, they brought up all of their children and included them to be just as much of a part in their marriage than the couple themselves. It was a very touching moment and one that I'm sure all of the kids will remember for their lifetime! Angela and Phil's wedding was a celebration of life, happiness and family. We had so much fun with them and our team of vendors on this day! Sarah Trotter of Lasting Impressions Weddings and Events, along with Sadie's Floral brought together a 'blingin'' space, which is absolutely Angela's style! Everything was bedazzled and sparkled! The event took place at WINDOWS on Minnesota and the lights of the city were simply gorgeous that night!


Congratulations to Angela, Phil and their new family on getting married! We were so happy to be a part of it!



VENDOR LOVE // Lindsay Piram Creative

Lindsay Piram of Lindsay Piram Creative headshotLindsay Piram is the genius behind her new company Lindsay Piram Creative. Lindsay has had a very successful career as an event stylist and is now launching her own company! Let me start off by saying that Lindsay is SO much fun! This girl knows how to throw a party and bring a ton of personality into your event. Whether it's a birthday part, a wedding or maybe you are simply looking for a stylist to collaborate with on re-designing your home, Lindsay is your girl! Her style is very bohemian inspired, with lots of colors and very design oriented. We wanted to catch up with Lindsay and hear all about her new direction and what inspired this incredible designer!




Q. How did you start Lindsay Piram Creative and how long have you been planning /designing weddings?

A. I started my event career in Miami in 2004 and have been planning and designing weddings and events in Minneapolis since 2007. I started LINDSAY PIRAM CREATIVE in January 2012. After working at a premiere event firm in Minneapolis for 5+ years, I decided it was time to go on my own. I was at point in my life and career where owning my business was the right thing to do. I can set the pace and take on events that really resonate with me as a designer.

Photo Credit: ATELIER JOYA

Q. What were the first steps a couple should take in designing their big day?

A. First off, I think it is important to discuss the overall budget. A planner can help you make sense of what things cost in our market and allocating amounts to different categories. This way, your designer is showing you things you can actually afford to have and that make sense in the big picture. Knowing what your budget is inclusive of is important too. Things change and your budget could go up or down during the planning, but having a range is helpful to work within. Secondly, I think it is important to reflect on your style as a woman {and your groom as a man} as well as a couple. I like to look at couple’s bridal registries to see what they’ve chosen. Is it modern? classic? whimsical? all three? These style preferences are really important to me as I begin to style and design your day.

Q. How do you help your clients choose your vendors?

A. We have amazing vendors here in the Twin Cities. It's not hard to do! When it comes to products and rentals, my job is to have my finger on the pulse of the inventory in our industry, locally and nationally, so that I know where to find what we need, at the price we need it at. That said, I help select vendors that I think have similar styles, personalities and their products align with the style we’ve identified for the couple. You cannot put a circle in a square ... the really trendy avant-garde photographer just might not be right for our traditional, romantic bride, and that's OK. We can find a photographer {florist, stationer, etc.} that just fits from jump.

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your weddings?

A. Inspiration is everywhere. The first place I look to for inspiration is the couple themselves. Interviewing them, getting to know them, seeing them in action together...that right there is golden when it comes to articulating who they are into their wedding day. I like to know the best meal they've ever had, where they met, their favorite films, the book on their bedside table. All this really helps me get going on their design. From there, I find personal design inspiration of course at museums, architectural digests, nature, theater. Children’s art really inspires me in its expressiveness. Flea markets, antique stores and restaurant menus inspire me. I follow some really amazing people on Instragram and love the rawness that comes through in their amateur photos. Wedding magazines don't do it for me, it's like wedding plagiarism.


Q. Describe the difference between a wedding planner and designer? Where do you fall in this?

A. I began my career as a planner who designed. Now I see myself as a designer who plans. Design to me is innate. It’s who I am. But of course, you cannot design without a plan. You can create a really amazing bar facade but if people cant get a drink, you failed. Both are equally important. Your wedding should look amazing but your guests should also feel amazing, and this is where planning and design collide.

Photo Credit: WWW.HOUZZ.COM

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day {money wise}? What were the priorities for your clients?

A. Every couple prioritizes things differently. We discuss this in our first meeting. Rank photography 1-10. Rank floral 1-10. Items with high rankings tend to get more of the budget because they mean more. Spend where you feel like you are getting a great return. Don't spend a ton on one thing because you think you should or are “supposed to”. Hiring a planner early on in your planning process will help you make sense of your budget and what things cost in real time. Ask questions, get quotes, compare and contrast.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Lindsay' Couple.

A. The perfect couple for LINDSAY PIRAM CREATIVE is one who appreciate design and what it can do for an event. A couple who want their personalities to emerge in their wedding and who want people to walk into the room and say “wow, this is so {Melissa and Dustin}”. A couple who pick vendors because they know they know.

Q. When it comes to choosing a venue, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

A. I've always said, pick a venue that you like as is. Anything we add is a bonus. Don't pick a venue solely on price or location if you hate the maroon carpet and brass sconces. I can't make those go away {oh, how i wish i could}. We can spend a ton of money covering them up, but at that point you should have chosen the venue that was a little further out of the way that you loved + a bus. What catering options each space has is important too. Some you can choose any caterer, a few from a list of preferred or you are required to use the in-house caterer. This is very important to consider when you are thinking of your event comprehensively, not just from the design perspective. Lastly, what comes with your venue is important to consider and can save you money {or cost you money}, depending. Are tables and chairs included? What do they look like? What are the labor, delivery and details? Ask questions and read contracts carefully.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Hire someone to take care of those details so you {or your mom, or your sister} don't have to! Its important to stay organized, manage your planning timeline and FOCUS ON WHATS IMPORTANT {i.e., each other!}


Q. What are some innovative trends in weddings right now?

A. A huge trend is creating living spaces within your space. To bring that residential quality to your event through furniture groupings, lamps and chandeliers. Its that pop of unexpected when someone walks into a tent and they see what looks like a living room. Its comfy and cool and helps people relax and enjoy. Long communal tables are very now {and have been for a bit}. They create an intimate atmosphere and from a design perspective, they look amazing. Custom, boutique bars, maybe just serving Manhattans, for instance. Cool signage, cool glassware, funky bar front. Its that simple attention to detail that really wows. Nostalgic nods:  s’mores, candy, popsicles, popcorn. All these treats we enjoyed as children and enjoy indulging in. Guests have fun with it and all can be presented in cute and clever ways. And mid-century anything. Its my current love and makes everything just a little cooler.


Q. Hiring a wedding planner and designer in Minnesota is a bit of a new concept. Why is this important?

A. A planner can help you every step of the way....keeping you in budget, managing your timeline, telling you what to do when. A planner will pay for themselves with all the money you save by doing things right the first time and the potential savings they can pass on to you through their relationships with local vendors. Day of, they allow you to enjoy and focus on things that matter...like your groom and your guests. A designer will help make your day you by sourcing and styling, ultimately illustrating the book of love you have written.

You can also check out Lindsay Piram Creative on Facebook.

Steph and Jordan // Engaged!

I've known this bride for a long, long time. We grew up in the same hometown and I've had the pleasure of documenting her sister's wedding a few years ago. Life is kind of a funny thing sometimes, especially when you grow up in a small town. When you come 'where we come from', mostly-everyone-knows everything-about-everyone; however, as we've all grown up and established our lives, it's crazy how paths cross later on down the road. Being a photographer, I have the privilege of being invited to document some of the most important moments in people's lives. It also gives me an entirely new perspective on people, whether I've known then for life or for just a few months! The Drake family is such a solid family. After having the opportunity to really get to know them more, it's clear that their bond goes deep. Steph is the youngest of three girls and I feel like ever since I have known her, she's been waiting for her prince charming. When I met Jordan for the first time, it was SO clear that she had not only found her man, but she had also found her best friend in life. Steph is beautiful and you can tell that Jordan respects his wife-to-be more than anything. Seriously - all you have to do is hang out with this couple for 5 minutes and it's obvious they have found their perfect match!

The couple actually met years ago in college. Yet, they were both dating different people, so nothing more happened. Years later, Jordan 'moved to town' for a job and phoned a friend to ask if there were any 'cool people...and maybe any cute single girls' that he knew of. Lucky for him, Steph was single and when they re-connected, they hit it off immediately. I could go on about how cool this story is, but one thing I love about shooting couples and this time in their lives is the mystery and unpredictable-ness in every client's love story. Timing was everything for Steph and Jordan and when the timing is right, magic happens!

For their engagement session, we did a little something special. Steph and Jordan are HUGE Vikings fans and we were able to get some time with the stadium to ourselves! It was super fun and when you look at the photos, pay attention to their jerseys...they may be custom...and the numbers just might correspond with their wedding date: 7.27.13! It bring an entirely new meaning to the term SKOL, Vikings!


Congratulations to Steph and Jordan on their engagement! And thanks for such a fun session!


FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS // An Interview with Shewanders

I first met Suzanne at a luxury wedding conference I attend, called Engage. We were kind-of-instant-best-friends. We bonded over art, life and the crazy business of wedding photography. Suzanne is a girl who dances to the beat of her own drum and is a true vagabond. Her photography has taken her all over the world and I just absolutely love this girl's philosophy on wedding photography. On her website, she writes this. " At Shewanders, we think we tend to see the sweeter side of life. We think it’s a powerful feeling to show someone else how beautiful you think they are through film.  Where words might fail us, photographs let us express how we feel. We are happy and we like happy people. We love to capture joy on film." I think this is the essence to life as a photography and why we do what we do! Read below to learn more about Suzanne, her company and her fabulous work!  


Q. How did you begin your journey in photography?

A. I began my photography journey as a seventeen year old valley girl. That summer I spent 3 weeks in England as an exchange student through the Rotary. It was so exciting to fly from the flat central Valley to a country with stunning architecture and such varied landscapes.  It was my second trip out of the country and I learned from experience that I could not describe Europe's wonders with my storytelling skills. So my mom gave me 2 throw away cameras with 24 exposures. I remember being on one of those red double-decker buses yelling and waving to the people below and being so excited. I saw some other girls on the bus taking pictures and remembered to get mine out. My friend Jen and I had someone take our picture and then I grabbed some of the city. When I returned home and showed my friends and family my prints from the drug store it was amazing. Instead of relying on my awkward storytelling skills to share my excitement with people, I had these pictures. They were so much more effective. I could tell they could understand me in a visual way that meant a lot to me. Suddenly, I knew I was on to something. I signed up for Photo 101 and the rest is history

Q. What made you fall in love with being a wedding photographer?

A. This one is easy, it took about 5 minutes. It turned out weddings and me were love at first sight. I photographed a childhood friend's wedding. I was in the getting ready room with her mom and sister. They were helping her get dressed. Her mom looked at her with so much pride. We were all crying. The ceremony and the importance of it all left me breathless. I've always had a soft spot for portraiture and dressing up. I loved that there was so much to photograph. The intensity of the day really worked with my intuitive shooting style.  I was hooked.

Q. You have a very unique and freeing vibe to your photos. How did you define your style as an artist?   Awkwardly.... Seriously, whenever anyone asks me what is my style I become the most tongue-tied and awkward person. I know.

A. I should have an answer but some how it seems like such a personal question. My style is finding a connection to our clients. I really pride myself on finding a way for them to feel comfortable in front of me and capturing the picture that their friends will say "oh my gosh that is so you". Can trying really hard be our style? I think I feel an unusual amount of pride in our clients over our shooting techniques. Maybe our style could be attracting couples with big open hearts who love each other and capturing them in beautiful authentic moments. It's definitely our goal to capture the sweetness in life.

Q. Being in the California market, it's quite flooded. What is your approach to marketing and finding your perfect client?

A. I'm a California girl and I love the talent in our market and the sweet sweet light we have on the west coast. We make huge efforts every day to attract the right client. We make a point to show images with joy and candor. Shewanders is for happy people in love. We try our best to send out signals to those happy people. We make huge efforts to reach out to like minded people in the wedding community. I really adore it when I get a call from Courtney at Brightly Designed letting me know that she met a great vendor that's talented and NICE. I swear it's like someone yelling Eureka. I relish the chance to collaborate with vendors who will go out of their way for their clients to create a day that is incredibly special. That is the golden ticket. If everyone involved is willing to really give all that they have to create a great day then gorgeous joyous images will follow.  A huge part of our marketing is referring good people to our clients. It's a nice way to show them that we care about how their wedding day goes and that we put a lot of thought into who we would send their way.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Shewanders' client.

A. The perfect Shewanders client is a couple who is madly in love. I can't even focus to answer this question. There are so many gorgeous memories floating around in my mind. I feel so grateful for these couples who have trusted us and open their hearts to us. I guess the really perfect ones have been the couples willing to be in the moment.

There is this really beautiful moment during the ceremony that I just live for. Some where 5 or 10 minutes in to the ceremony the couples face softens. It's almost as if all of the gorgeous decorations and music just disappear and they sort of realize... oh my gosh, I'm marrying you... It's you, it's my friend who I love, who proposed to me, and now here we really are. I marry you.  That look is the perfect look. Whether it's a smile or through tears. The couples who feel all of that, I think they are the perfect ones. Ha, try to put yourself in that moment and not get teary eyed.

Q. Where do you gather your inspiration?

A. I'm so inspired by wedding designers and paper products. I adore  Brightly Designed, Ashley Meaders, Luxe Special Events, Jen Likes, Jill La Fleur, Jess Gordon, Sitting in A Tree, Beau and Arrow, Jessi Haack...and other artists like Yoshitomo Nara, Baz Luhrmann, Richard Avedon, Sally Mann, Annie Leibovitz, Jonathan Adler, Prince. Destinations that I love returning to Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Sydney, San Francisco, New York. Destinations that I have yet to go to inspire me like nothing else. I can't wait to one day be sitting on the Galapagos Islands admiring all of the strange creatures, or capturing the moving landscape in Iceland or just making out with Mike at a bar in Russia. Mike inspires me just about anywhere doing any thing. Museums!! The SFMOMA, The Guggenheim in Venice, The Museum of Contemporary art in Sydney, San Diego Museum of Art, The Biennale in Venice, the little galleries in Havana, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Buenas Aires, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, oh and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. My friends and family near and far. I don't think I'll ever run out of inspiration.

Q. What do you see is a current trend when it comes to wedding photography?

A. More fun. I think everyone is starting to loosen up a little bit. I think that's a great thing.

Q. What advice do you have to photographers just entering our market?

A. Love it. Love it with everything you have. This is a great industry and passion is what fuels it. Love your clients, love your vendors, and love your craft.

Q. What advice do you have to photographers who have been in the industry for a while?

A. Probably the exact same thing. Sometimes our to do lists get overwhelming. Start over. Love your clients, love your vendors, and love your craft. Sounds cheesy but if you remember we are in the service industry and it's our job to care about our clients then loving your clients creates great work. Loving your vendors creates a great environment for everyone to work in. Loving your craft gives you something to take pride in and aspire to.

Q. What vendor relationships do you think are most relevant to the success of your business?

A. Although we need everyone to pull off a successful event, I adore strong wedding designers and expert hair and make up artists. Wedding designers keep us all on the same page, keep the friends and family happy, and make everything beautiful. Hair and Make up Artists can also make or break a day for me. My favorites ones show up on time, finish on time and keep us all on schedule. They also create natural beautiful looks that the bride is in love with. Thanks goodness for them.

Q. If you could photograph anyone, who would it be?

A. Our couples. I'm right where I want to be.

Q. What is next for Shewanders?

A. Another 10 years of photographing love!

Be sure to check out Shewanders on Facebook!

WEDDING STYLE // The Brooks Wedding

bride and groom at reception Lane and Edward are one of those couples that are SO incredibly beautiful and classic looking. They just look like they should be in old issues of LIFE magazine. They are both timeless and when it came to planning their wedding, they most definitely brought their sense of style and classic beauty to their event. Their ceremony took place in the Brook's backyard, which is right where Edward proposed! Their reception was at the Lafayette Club, which is one of Minneapolis's most classic and luxurious venues. I loved so many things about Lane and Edward's wedding, but most importantly, the details that Lane planned into her day to create some honest moments. For starters, after the couple's first look, Lane planned for the two to go on a private boat ride to exchange gifts. Now, this was not only a great photo opp, and a gorgeous boat, but she also added some lace-tied balloons to the boat to add a little DIY touch. Lane created a perfect backdrop for us to capture such a special moment! We caught up with Lane to talk to her about where she came up with some of her style ideas for their absolutely stunning wedding!


Q. I absolutely loved the style of your wedding, it was so timeless. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your wedding?

A. I missed the Pinterest launch by a few short months, so I actually had to gather inspiration the old fashioned way. I started with magazines, wedding blogs, and actually different photographers websites. You can find tons of wedding inspiration by looking at other peoples’ big day. I created my own idea pages by cutting out pieces of jewelry, colors, dresses, shoes, flowers, etc that really spoke to me. Once I had all the things that I loved in one place, it was so obvious to me what my style was. I made a lot of decisions based on those pages and showed them to all of my vendors so they could see what my overall wedding vision looked like.

Bride getting her hair done

Q. What were the first steps you took in designing your big day?

A. One of the very first things I did was find my bridesmaid dresses. I knew that I wanted bridesmaid dresses that were unique and ones that would allow each girl to look different but still similar. I actually went to Nordstrom’s, saw a collection of dresses from one designer and then ended up designing other wedding details around them. The flowers, the tablecloths, the invitations, all tied back to these beautiful dresses.

Q. How did you choose your vendors?

A. I did a lot of online research to start and then also asked around. I did not spend a great deal of time shopping or consulting with different vendors. In most cases, if I did a little research on the vendor first, when I met them, I knew they were the "ones".

Q. Both you and your groom added personal, hand made details for your day. How did these come about?

A. I saw a lot of DIY inspiration in the blogs and magazines and I wanted to add my own personal touch to the day, without being overtly DIY. So, I only did a few. My groom’s personal touches came about when we needed a solution for something and he just wanted to keep it simple by using what we already had.

Bride and groom in a boat with ballons

Bride and groom in a boat with ballons in black and white

Q. All of your bridesmaids had slightly different dresses. Why did you choose this?

A. I just really wanted everyone to feel special and look beautiful.

Bride and Groom wedding bridal party walking

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for you?

A. I admit, I splurged on quite a few things. I had a budget for everything when I started out and then as little things popped up, I decided that I was OK going over budget. I also cut out a lot of things that I originally thought I wanted, which made some of the splurges easier. I was really focused on what my guests would like to see and what they wouldn’t miss at all. When it came to transportation, which was an area where I exceeded my budget, I decided I wanted to create as much convenience as possible for my friends and family. If that meant busing them from downtown so they didn’t have to rent cars, then so be it! I would say that everything was a priority but entertainment and fun was at the top of my list.

Bride and Groom kissing in front of the Lafayette Club

Q. Why did you choose to have your ceremony on a private property? Why did you choose the Lafayette Club for your reception?

A. At first, we really struggled with where to have the ceremony. We looked at a few local venues but nothing really stood out and matched what I had envisioned for this very important part of the day.  We knew we wanted to be married outside (which brought its own natural beauty and meant we didn’t have to decorate). And we wanted to be married in place that was comfortable and meaningful to us. That ended up being my in-laws backyard, which was where we were engaged.  We knew from the start that we wanted to have the reception at Lafayette Club. Both of us grew up near Lake Minnetonka, but went to college out on the east coast.  For years we boasted about how amazing Minnesota was to our east coast friends and we knew we had to use this occasion to really show it off to them. Lafayette Club was the perfect venue to express why Minnesota is so beautiful and special to us.

outdoor wedding ceramony

Q. When it came to your actual wedding dress, how did you choose this? What about Eddie's tux?

A. I tried on sooooo many dresses and I liked them all! It was so hard to choose. What it came down to was really which dress matched the style of the day and which dress made me look unique and feel like a bride. Your wedding day is the one day where you get to wear a big, beautiful gown and I wasn’t going to miss out on that opportunity!

bride looking at herself in wedding dress in a mirror

Q. Aside from your vendors, who did you collaborate with to bring your ideas to life?

A. My best friend, my mom, and my sister. These three special ladies understood my style and encouraged me every time I had a new idea. It was so much fun to have brainstorming sessions with each one of them. They all spent time listening to me, sending me inspiration, and coming up with fun ideas of their own. Collaborating with them was the best part about planning!

wedding tablescapes

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Know what your vision is and really go for it. Every detail should have a purpose and make sure it’s worth the time and energy to get it there. Understand what your priorities are early on so you can eliminate what you don’t need and really go after what you do need. This is one of those great opportunities where you get to call the shots and be the designer, take advantage!

Bride and Groom walking to wedding reception

Ashley and Matt // Engaged!

Ashley and Matt are incredible. Seriously, I have had so much fun getting to know them and it's clear that they bring the fun and joy to everyone they meet! Ashley is a girl who has it all. She's incredibly smart and also drop dead gorgeous. She's a natural beauty who's smile goes on for days and then chemistry that her and Matt have together is undeniable! The couple met in college and when they first met as Freshman, Matt knew this was his girl. He pursued Ashley and four years later, Matt surprised Ashley with a proposal in Memorial Day weekend. Ashley and Matt have a very strong bond. They also support each other in the most amazing way. Ashley is currently in med school in St Louis and Matt is up here in Minneapolis focusing on his amazing job in the medical field. It's clear when you are around them that the distance has made them stronger, but also that they will go to the ends of the earth to support each other in their own individual endeavors. It also means that when they are together, there is nothing but fun, love, family and friends surrounding these two!


Congratulations to Ashley and Matt on their engagement! I can't wait for your wedding this coming summer!



Kate and Juan // Engaged!

Last weekend, I traveled to Chicago to photograph Kate and Juan's engagements! Kate was a bride who originally found me 'the old fashioned way'- simple word of mouth! In today's world, social media is the modern day 'word of mouth'; however, it always makes me happy to know that people are having conversations...maybe I'm old fashioned! Anyways, to make a long story short, prior to their engagement session, I had only met the couple via Skype. Many of my clients live all over the country and I do love the fact that we can connect face-to-face, no matter how far the distance is! I knew I really liked Kate and Juan from our online conversations, but it was SO great to get to know them more during our time together in Chicago! The couple met by happen chance. A few years ago, Juan was taking the elevator up to his apartment and saw Kate. He knew that he had to pursue this girl and his persistence paid off! It turned out that they lived in the same apartment building and before you knew it, they were in love! Kate and Juan are a great couple that clearly make each other incredibly happy!


Congratulations to Kate and Juan on their engagement! So looking forward to your wedding next year!



Mr. and Mrs. Siedband // Part 2

I began Part 1 of Jacey and Aaron's blog feature by saying that there were two beautiful elements to this wedding; the honest moments and gorgeous details. Today's post is all about the absolutely stunning details. Jacey and Aaron made a good move in the beginning of planning their wedding. They hired the best. In fact, during the dance, I asked the father-of-the-bride how the day had been for him and he said, " This has been absolutely spectacular. We hired the best and this is just stunning." Stunning, indeed. First off, Jacey chose a stunning Vera Wang dress from L'atelier Couture Bridal. It's one of those dresses that was a show-stopper and I personally love the fact that is a blush color! Yes, her dress made a statement, but it also tied in perfectly to the color scheme and theme of their wedding. Jacey wanted things romantic. Very, very romantic. Aaron is a musician and cared greatly about the music and overall guest experience. To make all of this happen, they worked with the lovely ladies over at Amy Zaroff Events + Design, who brought together some absolutely amazing details. Zaroff and her crew hired the best vendors to pull Jacey and Aaron's event together! Richfield Flowers and Events transformed The Depot with their gorgeous arrangements, BeEvents brought in some amazing chandeliers, and Linen Effects collaborated with Wild Flower Linens to create some stunning cashmere table runners and custom chair covers! The talented artists at Gateaux created a gorgeous cake and Cocoa & Fig rocked another dessert bar, complete with little Minnesota's & Illinois on-a-stick! (Jacey and Aaron reside in Chicago.)  Last, but not least, there was the band. Jacey and Aaron literally hired the best wedding band in the country, Starlight Orchestras. Valerie, the leader of the band, and her crew absolutely brought the house down with a night filled with amazing tunes!

One thing I absolutely loved about this reception was that it was a progressive dinner through out the entire night. The guests didn't just sit down for a couple of hours for dinner, but rather between courses, the Starlight Orchestra kept the party going with dancing and music in between! I loved this pace of a reception, because there was something always going on. The entertainment was endless.

I always commend clients who hire a team to produce their weddings. First, they are trusting the best-of-the-best to bring their day to life and when you give us artists that freedom, it works wonders! I also love this sense of collaboration among vendors, because we're all doing exactly what we do best and when all of that comes together, you are left with the most magical experience! Because they were in such great hands, Jacey and Aaron were able to entirely relax and enjoy their day together - and they, themselves, were able to have one incredible experience from start to finish! From the moment their guests walked into their intimate and romantic ceremony, to the moment they arrived at the reception to be greeted by a gorgeous tree-of-art, and all the way up until the last dance song of the night, the bride, groom and guests at this wedding were experiencing a whole other world. It was a world of love, luxury and life. It was one beautiful night!

Congratulations, once again, to Jacey and Aaron on their fabulous wedding! And a double-thank-you to all of our amazing vendors who worked so hard to give us such beautiful things to photograph all day!


Mr. and Mrs. Siedband // Part 1

Jacey and Aaron's wedding and two beautiful elements to it; honest moments and gorgeous details! I've decided to blog about their wedding in two parts to highlight each of these and also, because there are simply too many wonderful images to fit into one post. First, let me start out by saying that I loved everything about this wedding. The people, the vendors, the details, and our gorgeous couple - everyone was SO great to work with and it made the day SO much fun to be a part of! Even in our own little crew, we flew in Jeffrey from JNP Studios to shoot with us and it was a day of perfect collaboration with friends and clients. So, lets get back to the meaning of this first post - the honest moments. Our day started at the Thomas Charles Salon with the ladies and from the moment we arrived, I noticed that not a single person was stressed or nervous. Everyone was simply happy, relaxed and excited for the day to begin. I also noticed that everyone was taking time to enjoy the real moments that were happening and truly taking everything in. At one point I remember the mother-of-the-bride saying, "There's a lot of love here today. A lot of love." It's true. Jacey absolutely adores her new husband and it's very clear that these two are a perfect match! Jacey and Aaron are an incredibly fun-loving couple that makes you smile when you are around them. I remember during our final consultation, Aaron had just flown in from Chicago and had rushed to make it to our meeting. Once he arrived, we were in mid-discussion and he stopped everything, looked his bride in the eyes and said, " Hey. How are you? I missed you." That's when I knew they were going to have an amazing wedding!  Jacey and Aaron had a Jewish wedding ceremony that took place at Temple of Israel. It is a gorgeous synagogue and the team at Amy Zaroff Events + Design, along with Richfield Flowers & Events did an amazing job bringing a sense of romance to the temple. It was an intimate, candle lit ceremony that was simply stunning. I love Jewish ceremonies for so many reasons, but specifically for the tradition and customs that bring so much culture to their day.

Mazel Tov to Jacey and Aaron on their amazing wedding! Make sure to check out Part 2 and see all of the stunning details - and yes...we'll talk about that dress!


FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS // An Interview with Emily Steffen

Emily Steffen headshot Emily Steffen is a photographer I met a few years ago and have had the extreme pleasure of really getting to know over the years. Emily and I really bonded after she hired me to do a LOVEe Consult and since then, she has continued to pursue her goals, continued education thru workshops and has even endeavored into the world of film. I honestly could not be more proud of Emily and everywhere she has taken both her work and her company, while never compromising the things that are important to her in life! Emily's work is incredibly inspiring and has even been named the Best Wedding Photographer in the state of Wisconsin by Wisconsin Bride. Emily has become a great leader in our industry and is also such a cool woman with amazing energy and a passion to share her talent with others!



Q. How did you first start to photograph weddings?

A. Wedding photography combines my love of people, art and business. I realized this when I was shooting on the weekends for a larger company in the cities and started to fall more and more in love with the idea of photographing these events with the vision that I had… I wanted something full of emotion and full of life. I wanted to make my own vision happen, so I created a plan, paid off debt and dove in!  I have never looked back!

Q. What were the first steps a photographer should consider when deciding to become a wedding photographer?

A. The first steps to doing anything entrepreneurial would definitely be to nail down finances (or at least have a plan for them). This may seem like a lame answer, but when we are bogged down by the stress of paying bills it can put a MAJOR strain on the creative vision or goals for a business. You are more likely to compromise on ideals and enter into a never-ending stress-filled, downward spiral when you are doing something because it's simply a job. When your days are filled with passion and joy you will reach higher and go farther than you ever dreamed was possible!

Q. You've started to bring more film into your work. How has this transition been for you and how have you implemented it with digital?

A. The transition to bring more film into my work has been amazing! Not only is the color and quality of film something I love, but it has taken LOADS of time away from my computer. I've cut the amount of digital images from each wedding in half which means more snuggle time with my baby instead of editing! I have tried to seamlessly blend my film and digital work with the way I edit and also the way I present the finished work to clients by providing them proof prints! Shooting more film at weddings has really challenged me and forced me to think differently which I am loving!

Boston Terrier wearing a tie at a wedding

Q. How do you view your relationship with the vendors in your industry? Why are these relationships so important to you?

A. Other vendors ROCK! With an event like a wedding, everyone needs to realize that we are all a trivial part of the day when putting together a vision for a bride. From florist to cake and event coordinators to dress alterations, we are all a piece to the puzzle that will make up a bride and groom's perfect and special day. I view my relationships with other vendors as such so that I am able to work as a team even though we all may own different businesses. And let's just be real… being "Minnesota Nice" to vendors and working kindly goes a long way; you never know when your name might get brought up as a referral for another job!

Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration?

A. One of my most favorite ways to get inspired is from working in my studio space in my home! :) Sewing and knitting have always been close to my heart so with my sewing machine, loads of fabric and my sketchbook nearby, I just feel endless amounts of energy. Whether I am creating a new plush toy for a baby or designing a new quilt pattern, somehow this relates to my vision as an artist more than anything I've done before. I strongly feel that stepping outside of your main creative industry to find inspiration is KEY! I promise it will refresh you!

Q. Describe the perfect 'Emily Steffen' client.

A. The PERFECT Emily Steffen client is someone that is head over heals in love with their fiancé, ready to plan a joy-filled, happy wedding day with DIY touches, in a venue that has a personal connection to their story and will likely weave loads of creativity into their day! She likely sews, crafts or knits and has an appreciation for handmade items. She shops locally as often as she can and understands the value of a boutique experience! :) And most importantly, the minute she views my blog or website, she knows that I am THE photographer for her!

Bridal portrait

Q. What is one of the coolest weddings you have ever photographed. Why was it so special?

A. One of the coolest weddings I've ever photographed was a few years ago at The Enchanted Barn! The bride's best friend was also the groom's sister… her name was Jessie and she had passed away very suddenly from cancer just a year prior. Since she was such a significant part of Heather and John's lives, the couple had actually already gotten married in her hospital room just before she had passed because they simply couldn't imagine such an important event without her. And on the "wedding day" they had multiple ways to honor her and celebrate her life… because she had introduced them and gave Heather and John a chance to start their lives together!  They played a song that she had sung at another siblings wedding, they did Patron shots in her honor and Heather had worn a few pieces of her jewelry to celebrate her best friend! :) I don't' think there was a dry eye in the house for the majority of the wedding… it was a day full of celebration and memory for their best friend and sister who they had lost and a new family that had begun! It was AMAZING!

Q. What kind of work are you personally drawn to?

A. Personally I am drawn to work that oozes with a story! Images that, when put together in a collection or whole, can tell me something that I have never known or realized before. Be it a birth story, story about love, story of the everyday or a story capturing someone's accomplishments, I am a sucker for a collection with details and dialogue! It opens my eyes to the world around me and teaches me to find things everyday that is worth appreciating!

Bride and Groom kissing

Q. What are some innovative trends you are seeing in the wedding industry right now?

A. Inventive trends in the wedding industry… hmm… there seems to be quite a push towards making as many significant details for your wedding day as possible. And that is one trend that I can get behind. It's your love story and your wedding day so make it YOURS!

Q. You have recently won, for the second time in a row, the title of 'Best Photographer' from Wisconsin Bride. How has this effected your business?

A. Winning the "best of" from Wisconsin Bride magazine has been a GIGANTIC honor both personally and professionally. I feel like it has directly and immediately effected the amount of Wisconsin wedding inquiries I am getting; Wisconsin Bride Magazine is FABULOUS at promoting the contest as well as the results so it's made it's rounds on social media and online! It has also just been a huge personal accomplishment of mine; being named one of the best in the state is something to be celebrated!

Q. What is the best part about your job?

A. BY FAR, the best part about being a wedding photographer is the fact that is allows me to live the life that I've always dreamed about. I am able to be a small business owner, tailor my days the way I desire, walk my dogs when I want to, sleep in when I need to, travel, hug my baby whenever I want to, sew and more importantly I am able to be intimately invited into weddings to creatively tell the stories of other people! How amazing is that?! (and the desserts at weddings aren't too shabby either!)

Groom Kissing Bride on the shoulder in old truck

Be sure to check out Emily Steffen on Facebook!

Allison and Brett // Engaged!

Allison and Brett have a great story that is totally out of a movie! The two met years ago when they both moved into this very 'interesting' apartment building. It was a little bit goth looking, had a crazy landlord and was named, of course, the Moorish Mansion! The two met and soon became an official couple! (We even went back to the special location for their session below!) I first met Allison when she was a bridesmaid in her best friend Amy's wedding, a few years ago! I absolutely loved Amy and Eric, along with all of their friends! When I got the call that Allison herself was engaged, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be there to document the wedding day for these two! Allison and Brett are an amazing couple and it's been great to get to know them more, along with their adorable dog, Otis!  

Congratulations to Allison and Brett on their engagement! Their wedding is coming up in 2013 and will be the first at a new venue opening here in Minneapolis! I can't wait!