Oconomowoc Milwaukee Madison Wedding Photographer | Kara Reese Photography » a film-inspired documentarian approach to wedding photography - serving Wisconsin

Kellie & Ian’s love story sounds like it’s straight out of a novel. They met one summer on his Grandmother’s horse farm. They had to stay strong through long distance between Wisconsin & Colorado. But my favorite part? He proposed to her on top of a mountain at sunset. Could it be any more romantic?! You can see in these images from the farm that these two are inseparable and madly in love. I cannot wait for their wedding next year! 

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I have a soft spot in my heart for high school sweethearts — that’s where I met my husband Kris. Anna and Nick were friends for several years before that transformed into the sweet love that you see here. We had a lovely evening at Retzer Nature Center, which is actually the location of their wedding reception! They chose to wear their favorite colors. I think Anna’s outfit looks stunning with her engagement ring. Summer engagement sessions are some of my favorites, and I am so excited for their wedding! A tip from Anna: she had her bridal hair trial right before our session. Such a smart way to get a dual purpose out of your hair trial!

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Amanda + Kyle

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Amanda for a long time and one of the things I love most about her is her ability with words. Her background in journalism and writing in response to my questionnaire perfectly captured the day and the beginning of their love story.

Location of Wedding: Schauer Arts Center and Chandelier Ballroom – Hartford, WI

December 2017

1.)	How did you two meet?

We met on OkCupid, chatted for about a week before having our first date. Amanda actually noticed Kyle on OkCupid a few months before actually reaching out to talk to him. She thought he was way too handsome and out of her league. They officially met at Barriques, a coffee shop down the street from where they live now in Madison. They hit it off so well that, when Barriques closed the night of Feb. 1, 2016 they headed up the street to The Flying Hound. Between the coffee shop and pub their first date lasted almost 5 hours. They both knew the other was special after that initial date.

2.)	How did he (or she!) pop the question?

Kyle popped the question on Jan. 22, 2017 after previous attempts were thwarted by fate. He wanted to propose at Christmas 2016, but Amanda’s ring hadn’t arrived. He thought to do it on New Years, but the ring had still not arrived. Amanda thought it might happen on their special anniversary trip to “Hamilton” and Disney World in Feb. 2017, but Kyle wanted to catch her off guard — which is especially hard to do. Kyle suggested they go on a nature walk in the Arboretum in Madison on Jan. 22. Something Amanda had wanted to do for NYE. It was a mucky and gross day. It was icy all along the nature paths and the two got their pantlegs covered in mud. Amanda suggested they go back home, but Kyle insisted they keep going on the trail. He wanted to take Amanda to her favorite spot in the nature preserve, a lovely little pond where wildlife often hang out. When they got to the pond they spent a few minutes looking around the beautiful wintry nature. When they decided to turn back, Kyle got down to tie his shoes. Amanda was very concerned he was going to lose his balance on the dock and fall in the water. While Kyle was tying his shoe he announced, “since I’m down here anyway…” and pulled a ring box out of his pocket. Amanda was stunned. She was speechless and just stared at Kyle. Eventually he stood up and asked “is that a yes?” and Amanda nodded while crying. They embraced and headed back down the mucky trail.

3.)	What was your favorite moment(s) from the wedding?

The vows. Kyle was so excited to use ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ in his vows and Amanda very much wanted to tell everyone the story of her and her grandfather when he told her about his wedding before he passed away. We also loved our lightsaber battle grand march. It was a way to incorporate Kyle’s fandom into their otherwise very theatrical event. And the photos turned out so fun!

4.)	How long have you been together?

Since Feb. 2016. Kyle did “officially” ask Amanda to be his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, however, so the two consider that their dating anniversary.

5.)	How would you describe your overall wedding experience?

It was beautiful. Despite the things that went wrong which we had no control over (the reception venue boiler catching on fire and having no heat for our reception) we had everything we could’ve wanted. There is no experience quite like having people you love from all parts of you life gathered in one room.

6.)	What advice would you offer to other couples planning a wedding?

Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior about your decisions. If you want to have the craziest, most off the wall wedding of all time, go for it. Like Amanda’s grandmother wisely said, “if you want to walk down the aisle in a swimming suit, do it. It’s your day.’

7.)	What photography-related advice would you offer to a couple?

Communicate everything with your photographers. You might think you’ll remember that super special photo you want on your big day, but I promise you that you won’t. You’ll be too busy greeting everyone or having fun to remember to take a picture with your great-great aunt or whoever. Trust your photographers. It’s why you hired them.

8.)	Tell me about the dress. Where did you find it, how did you choose it, how did you know it was the one?

That dress was everything I never thought I wanted. I went to Vera’s in Madison with my mom and my bridesmaid Amanda to look at dresses, but not necessarily buy one that day. We looked at 10 dresses and found one that was fine. We were going to settle on that. As I was saying how I wouldn’t be the bride who sees a dress and cries, my shop attendant snuck in with a dress, hung it up and snuck back out. I looked at the dress hanging and began to get teary eyed. I put it on and got more teary eyed. My mom cried, I couldn’t stop smiling and I knew it was the one. I thought I wanted a simple, vintage dress and ended up in a lacey, gorgeous vintage inspired dress instead. I don’t regret it a bit. It was like a work of art.

9.)	How was your experience taking photos/working with me on your wedding day?

How could I possibly summarize this? I knew from the moment we got engaged that we needed Kara to be our photographer. I’ve always loved her work and her as a person and knew if anyone could make our wedding into a set of gorgeous images it was her. Ever since college when I gained weight I’ve been so self conscious about having my photo taken. But there wasn’t a single moment during our wedding when I felt that way. Even photos we have from angles I wouldn’t consider “my best” are beautiful beyond reason.

10.) Did you see each other before the wedding? If not, did you like waiting or would you have rather done it differently? Tell me why or why not!

We did a first look. I can’t imagine not doing one. As soon as our first look was over ALL of my nerves were gone. I had a hard time walking down the aisle without crying, but I would have been a mess if we hadn’t done a first look.

11.) Any tips on how to prepare for the wedding photos?

Relax. Your favorite photos might be like mine, completely spontaneous moments captured forever just for you. Like laughing at something silly happening or making funny faces with your best friends just because.

 12.) We love to hear about vendors you love. List any vendors here and feel free to share your experience. Be sure to include the name of the vendor, their profession, city/state, site or Facebook page and how your experience was!

MEGAN HOLSTINE, makeup artist, Hartford, WI. I will sing her praises everywhere. She was a dream to work with. She made all the ladies look so, so beautiful. I credit her 100% with making me feel as beautiful as Kyle always says I am.

 13.) What were you most anxious, nervous or fearful about regarding your wedding day and what was the outcome?

Crying through my vows. I didn’t! I have no idea how, but I didn’t.

14.) What’s one piece of advice you would give to other couples for planning their wedding?

As hard as it is, enjoy it. I genuinely miss planning my wedding even though parts of it were stressful. Please enjoy it. Bond over it and share the responsibilities.

 Laughter is the most beautiful part of any marriage, and I know these two will have lots of it. I am so lucky to call them friends and I feel honored to have been a witness to their wedding day.

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Stephanie + Andrew

 

 Most couples fear rain on their wedding day but when Andrew saw Stephanie walking down the aisle the skies quickly opened up with the warm October sun. The West Bend Country Club was a beautiful venue for an autumn wedding. Working with a couple that has been together in love as long as these two is a special treat for any photographer. They are such a strong team. The effort and thoughtfulness  they put into creating this perfect day for each other was visible in every detail.

When asked what advice they would give other couples, communication was at the top of their list. This couple suggests that having a clear plan for the day will alleviate unnecessary stress. Having vendors they felt confident with, like Tricia Clarke Makeup and their DJ Josh , made the whole day go smoothly. When asked about our time together Stephanie and Andrew wrote: “With every additional time we met with you, it was only cemented further in our minds that you were absolutely the right photographer for us. Working with you was a breeze, and more importantly, fun. [You] were incredibly accommodating. I know there are things we would do different if we had to go back and do it all over again, and one of those would have been to also have you shoot our engagement photos.”

I was honored to have been able to capture these beautiful moments for a couple that is so genuine and fun.

 

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Fate was definitely smiling on me when my path crossed with Patrik & Kristin! I initially met them shortly after the birth of their son Parker, when I did his newborn photos. During his newborn session, we chatted about how they were planning their destination wedding in Mexico, and I half-jokingly said if they need a wedding photographer, they knew where to find me… 😉 I was so thrilled to come along for this beautiful part of their journey! Now Sapphire was an absolutely amazing resort, and we had SO MUCH FUN hanging out with Kristin & Patrik and their families. I am so grateful to call these two my friends!

See below for some photos and a little interview with the bride 🙂

1.)	How did you two meet?

Working together at Chilis! 🌶 we got together randomly was definitely one of those wasn’t looking but somehow happened things!

2.)	How did he (or she!) pop the question?

At my parents house! Not very big or grand but just how I wanted it!

3.) What was your favorite moment(s) from the wedding?

Being in paradise with our closest friends and family! The food was amazing and I felt like everything went smoothly and I didn’t have to worry about anything! I definitely loved the nerves I had in Mexico because I didn’t think I would with already being “married.”

4.)	How long have you been together?

We have been together 5 years! Got married on our 5 year anniversary! So he wouldn’t forget the date!

5.)	How would you describe your overall wedding experience?

I loved every second of it! From going to the whitnal beer garden with our closest friends who couldn’t go to Mexico with us to traveling across the country to have more of our closest friends and family join us! We had such a great time and we would do it again and again the same way!

6.)	What advice would you offer to other couples planning a wedding?

Do it the way we did it… go to Mexico! I know it isn’t for everyone but having a wedding coordinator included in our price was so helpful! He made sure everything went smoothly and made are wedding day planning as easy as possible!

7.)	What photography-related advice would you offer to a couple?

If you know what kind of photos you want taken do not be afraid to voice it ahead of time to the photographer! I was messaging with you for what months a year haha we had a great time walking around doing that because we both kind of had ideas and let each other know!

8.)	Tell me about the dress. Where did you find it, how did you choose it, how did you know it was the one?

I got my dress from Eva’s bridal in oak creek! I went in there simply stating I want as light of a dress as you have since it will be super hot in Mexico! They had only a few but once I put that one on and added the “bling” and veil I knew it was the one! I felt amazing in it and I loved how I looked!

9.)	How was your experience taking photos/working with me on your wedding day?

We had a blast! I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I was so thankful to have a familiar face down there following everyone around! Especially the 6AM day after wake up call!

10.) Did you see each other before the wedding? If not, did you like waiting or would you have rather done it differently? Tell me why or why not!

We did not see each other before the wedding but we did do first look no look pictures! I wouldn’t do it differently because I feel I teared up just as much as he did excited to see him and how he looked! Even though i picked it all out! 😂

11.) Any tips on how to prepare for the wedding photos?

Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest! I loved looking at pictures on there and getting ideas! Don’t be afraid to know what you want. Get as many pictures as husband as wife as you can. These are pictures you will have forever and the only memories you have from that day!

12.) Any tips that you have about preparing your wedding party for the photos? What did you tell them, how did you get them to cooperate, what did you do or what would you have done differently?

Just make sure they don’t go wandering off! We would have loved to have more wedding party photos but one went missing for awhile!

13.) We love to hear about vendors you love. List any vendors here and feel free to share your experience.

Well now sapphire was amazing for everything! I literally miss people we met there! Ivan was clearly our favorite as we searched for him haha! You clearly were the most important “vendor” to us! We love you guys and are so thankful to have met you!

14.) What were you most anxious, nervous or fearful about regarding your wedding day and what was the outcome?

Tripping walking down the stairs and sand! I’m sure i would have been just as nervous if it was on flat land! Haha! But that’s what daddy’s are for!

15.) What was the first song you danced to as husband and wife? Father-daughter dance? Mother-son dance?

Husband wife H.O.L.Y by Florida Georgia Line Mother son just the two of us by Will Smith Father daughter the girl you think I am – Carrie Underwood Mother daughter Mama’s song by Carrie Underwood

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