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

Jen + Jake

Ceremony: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Reception: Hawk’s View Golf Club

Date: September 2nd, 2018

Tell us about your dress:

Buying my dress was a little different than most brides! I live in Washington and didn’t have enough money to buy a plane ticket to come home to WI just to look for a dress with my mom, sister, and bridesmaids. Instead, I found a bridal consignment store in Seattle called Blue Sky Bridal. I saw a dress on their website that I was interested in so I booked an appointment.

The girl that helped me was so nice! She helped me pick out a few dresses to try on, including the one I had seen online. I didn’t really love any of the other ones we picked out but I put on the last dress (the one online) and loved it! I really loved the back of the dress. I stood in it for probably 45 minutes while I called my mom, sister, and dad (I think) and sent pictures to my bridesmaids. I walked out of the store with the dress and the veil!

Describe your favorite moments from the day:

 It's so hard to pick specific moments and say they were my favorite because honestly the day as a whole was amazing.

Did you chose to see each other before the ceremony?

We did not see each other before the ceremony. If we had to do it again, I think we would do it the same way! Our ceremony was at 1:30 so we were still able to spend the majority of the day together. Plus, I think we both enjoyed spending time with our bridesmaids and groomsmen separately.

How did you two meet?

A mutual friend introduced us. The first time we met, all three of us went bowling and then to Applebee’s for half-prices apps. Jake’s opening line when he got in the car was “Hi, my name is Jake. I didn’t learn how to tie my shoes until the 5th grade.” That pick up line currently has a 100% success rate 🙂 Jake and I met on December 29, 2013 and officially started dating on March 22, 2014. It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over four and a half years already!

How did he pop the question?

In September 2016 we moved to Washington. We only spent about 10 days together before Jake had to leave on a two and a half month deployment. On December 23rd, Jake’s ship (the USS Sampson) returned home and I was waiting on the pier with other family and friends to welcome them home just in time for Christmas.

I noticed that Jake was the only one in his uniform and I had a feeling something was going to happen. Jake was the first person off the ship and I met him with a big hug. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was pretty neat because the entire crew on the ship was watching and cheered! And it turns out that Jake bought the ring in Auckland, New Zealand while he was on deployment.

How would you describe your overall wedding experience?

Overall, our wedding experience was everything we dreamed it would be. The day was great and everything went smooth. We had so much fun with our family and friends and we are just so grateful to have such a wonderful and loving support system!

What advice would you give other couples planning a wedding?:

Don’t stress about the little things! I spent time on a bunch of details that I didn’t even have time to take a look at. Don’t get me wrong, I was trying to take it all in and look at all the hard work that went in to planning the day, but there were some things that I would not spend so much time on if I did it again! Also, just have fun!

Remember that the day is about you and you choose how much fun you have! And on the same subject, don’t worry about whether or not your guests are having a good time. You can’t spend every minute of the reception with every single person, but your guests are just happy to be there with you! In general, your wedding is as fun as you make it (for yourself and your guests too!). Finally, if you set your expectations low, you won’t be as disappointed if something doesn’t go as planned. And on the other hand, you will be pleasantly surprised/happy when everything goes better than you had hoped!

What photography advice would you give another couple?:

If you can, schedule engagement pictures or a mini session prior to your big day! It helps a lot, especially if you’ve never been photographed before! You get a sense of how a photographer works and practice does make perfect!

How was your experience working with me?

Kara Reese Photography was amazing to work with! She arrived on time and was taking pictures right away! After the ceremony, Kara was so quick with the camera and our family photos went much faster than I thought. Kara also did a great job sticking with the list of pictures that we wanted.

One thing that really stuck out to me was that Kara was actually using the pictures I had added to a Pinterest board that I shared with her! This is a great tool for inspiration so I would definitely take the time to make a Pinterest board for Kara! Overall, our experience with Kara was awesome and I would highly recommend her to anyone that is looking for a photographer!

Kara was creative and organized. She was easy to work with and was flexible! Kara was also in a good mood and brought a positive energy with her that made working with her just that much better!

How did your wedding party do with photos?

The only thing we (the girls) talked about was how to hold our flowers (and I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty certain that Kara helped with this!). Our wedding party was really easy to work with and they are all very close friends or siblings. We all just had a great time and group pictures went smooth (and turned out great!!!).

What were your first dance songs?

First Dance – “One More Day” by Diamond Rio Father-daughter – “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart Mother-son- “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Crocker & Jennifer Warnes

What were you nervous about prior to your wedding?

I don’t think I was nervous about anything on our wedding day! You get to a point where there is nothing more that you can do to prepare for the day. If I had to pick something, I think I was actually most nervous about pictures and that’s because I knew that I would look back on them for the rest of my life. But they turned out so beautiful!

Other Vendors Jake & Jen loved:

Dress: Blue Sky Bridal (@blueskybridal)

Hair/Makeup: Neroli Salon & Spa

DJ: A Personal Touch DJ

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Haley & Caleb had a beautiful warm summer wedding! Fireman’s Park in Lebanon, WI was the perfect setting for this fun couple, and their family and friends had a blast! I want you to hear from them about our experience working together and the magic of their wedding day. Read this post for valuable advice and sweet memories from clients I cherish. Thank you!

Tell me about your dress, how did you know it was the one?

I found my dress at Bliss Bridal in Brookfield. I tried on about 11 dresses total but the dress I tried on first was the one I picked. It just felt like the right one there’s no other explanation.

How did you two meet? How long have you been together

We met at our current place of work and have been together for 4 years.

Where was your wedding?

Lebanon Firemans Park, Lebanon WI

How did he pop the question?

Quickly approaching Valentine’s Day Haley had a special plan in place to surprise Caleb. Little did Haley know Caleb would have the best surprise yet! The day before, after working third shift, Caleb came home and told Haley he had to go pick up her Valentine’s Gift. Four hours went by and Haley stared to get concerned. Low and behold Caleb was picking up Haley’s ring and at her parents house getting her father’s blessing to ask. Haley called and scolded Caleb as they had to work that night and he needed to get some sleep! Fast forward to the next day…… Haley had planned to take Caleb to Chick-fil-a as a joke to use a gift certificate. ( It was cold enough for food to keep in the car) Then go to a fancy restaurant and a concert to see Datsik in Madison. Caleb asked if they could leave earlier to do to stop at a park and go for a walk. Haley and Caleb stopped at Elver Park in Madison on their way to Haley’s planned festivities! Being that it was February all the walkways were flooded with water and left over snow. Caleb was determined however and saw a small bridge up the way from one of the paths. The two tiptoed threw the flooded water and made it it the bridge. The view was nice from the bridge and Caleb asked Haley to look out over the bridge so he could take a picture ( Posted as section photo). When Haley turned back around Caleb was down on one knee with ring in hand! Haley could not believe it!! With  red cheeks and tears in both their eyes Caleb asked Haley to spend the rest of her life with him, and as you all know…. SHE SAID YES!!!!

How would you describe your overall wedding experience?

The planning and set up was a lot of work and there were alot of things that went differently than what we had planned but in the end we were the only ones that knew. We had an amazing day, our guests had a great time and despite it being over 90 degrees it was still one of the best days of our lives.

What was your favorite moment from the wedding day?

Pulling up in the Limo before the ceremony and seeing Caleb surrounded by his best friends waiting to meet me at the other end of the asile. The windows were tinted so noone could see me, I remember tearing up with happy tears. – Haley

Watching the love of my life walk down the aisle towards me while surrounded by our family and friends, I remember thinking “Wow, I am so lucky.” -Caleb

What were your biggest concerns/fears going into your wedding?

I never went to the park the morning of the wedding to make sure all the last details were completed. So I had to put faith in the people that were there to make sure everything was good. Sure some things went differently that I had planned but everything worked out. – Haley

I was most nervous about saying my vows during the ceremony I get super nervous in front of people and screwed them up sooo bad during the rehearsal. The day of the wedding though despite my nerves I said them perfectly!- Caleb

What advice would you offer other couples planning their wedding?

The planning process can be hectic, and it’s a lot of work. Take help where you can get it and don’t obsess about every detail being perfect because the reality is, when the day comes, every detail wont be perfect and that’s 100 percent okay!

Did you see each other before the wedding?

Caleb and I saw each other briefly before I went to the salon to get hair and make up done, but after that we did not see each other until I came down the aisle. We wouldn’t have changed a thing about how we planned the morning of. Seeing each other in the morning and discussing last minute details eased both of our anxieties, but not seeing each other all dressed up prior made seeing each other while walking down the aisle more special.

Any tips on preparing for wedding party photos?

Make sure to communicate with people in staged photos about the timeline so they know when they are needed for pictures. We told everyone during the rehearsal that immediately after the ceremony we would be starting pictures and it was our expectation that they all meet and stay in one area so we did not have to be looking for people. But also remember that everyone is different and the day can be overwhelming so try to just go with the flow!

Any tips on preparing for wedding photos you'd like to share?

Know what staged photos you want and really talk to the photographer before hand. Caleb’s younger sister Josie has Autism and that was a key thing we discussed prior as she can get easily overwhelmed with large events like that. Right after the ceremony we focused on pictures with her and got some of the best photos that we have ever gotten with her. Last but not least, relax and have fun with them, pretend that someones not even taking pictures and enjoy the moments together.

How was your experience taking photos/working with me?

Kara was absolutely wonderful to work with. She took time to meet with us multiple times and asked lots of questions to get to know us better it made for a really personable experience. Kara is super creative and likes to explore new styles and technique when taking photos, these photos usually turn out to be real stunning worls of art. Kara’s photos all look elegant and beatuiful, we have gotten so many complements on all of our wedding photos!

Additional favorite moments form the Bride & Groom:

I loved taking more pictures after a storm had rolled through just north of where the wedding was! The sky gave the photos such a cool effect.- Haley

Haley and I snuck away from everyone for about 10 minutes and sat on a hill where no one could see us and just talked and looked around at everything and everyone. The whole day went so fast it was nice to have that quick moment to take it all in. – Caleb

We love to hear about other vendors, who did you enjoy working with?

We chose Sweet Talkin Treats in Watertown, WI to do our wedding cake and cupcakes and everyone just raved about how amazing things were! They were super awesome to work with!

We opted for a live band vs a DJ and we were happy with the choice, the band we had at the wedding was called the Dylan Doyle Band out of Woodstock New York, it was a band that we have seen many times and it made the whole experience a little more personable.

What songs did you dance to?

Our First Dance was “Baby I love your Way”- By Peter Frampton, Father Daughter Dance was ” Just Fishin”- By Trace Adkins, and Mother Son Dance was “My Wish”- By The Rascal Flatts.

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I hope you enjoy Matt & Alyssa’s wedding day as much as I did, hear from them how wonderful our experience was together.

Where was your wedding?

DePere/Freedom, WI. Old Saint Joe’s Church at St. Norbert College and Simply Country Barn.

How did you find your dress?

My mother in law and my mother went with me the day before mother’s day to shop for dresses. I already had in my mind what I wanted, lace ball gown with a sweet heart neckline. Super simple! We went to David’s bridal in Green Bay. The lady picked 4 dresses decided to try the one on I absolutely loved last so I’d keep my mind open. I liked the first 3, they were all incredibly beautiful and what I had come in looking for but just seemed like to much sparkle or to romantic for me. The last one was this plain all lace ball gown with the sweetheart neck line and it was perfect. Ended up sleeping on it that night came back on mother’s day with my mommas and bought it.

How did you two meet?

We met online and talked for a while before actually meeting. We made dinner together on our first date and watched a movie. We talked all night and went for food at Ma Fishers very late at night.

How did he pop the question?

Matt planned on asking me the annual family Brewer game. After finding the right time he popped the question at the start of the 8th inning.

Did you see each other before the wedding?

We did not see each other and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It just made coming into the church and seeing Matt more special and exciting.

What were your favorite moments from the day?

Seeing each other for the first time and also dancing and having fun with family and friends.

Any tips on taking pictures with the wedding party?

We had a pretty big party (16) so it was a little crazy trying to wrangle everyone. But they were pretty good and listening to directions. I actually didn’t tell them anything before hand just that we were taking pictures on the St.Norbert campus and that it was going to be very hot.

How was your experience working with me?

Perfect! We love you. You were so easy to work with and we felt so incredibly comfortable.

What photography related advice would you offer to other couples?

Take pictures with flower girls and ring bearers first (especially if they are little). By the time it comes time to take pictures with them they will be over the whole situation and want to get outta there ASAP. Also don’t forget to take pictures with your ushers! There a big part of your day to! Just make sure you know who all you want photos with and where.

What were the first songs you danced to?

Our first dance was Tennessee Wiskey by Chris Stapleton. My father daughter dance was to My Little Girl by Tim McGraw and Matts mother son dance was to a beautiful song called Mother by Sugarland.

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Caitlin & Shane are such a beautiful couple. The love that surrounded them on their special day is something I will not forget. I felt honored to be trusted to capture and tell the story of their gorgeous summer wedding. Special thanks to my second shooter for the day, Alex Good! Hear from the bride about their love story, special day, and our experience working together below:

How did you two meet?

Shane and I actually went to grade school together starting in 5k (or 5 year old kindergarten). In 5th grade, Shane actually had my mom as his teacher and I had the other 5th grade teacher. Shane and I also went to the same high school together with the exception of freshman year. We had always been in the same friend group and our siblings were the same age and also in the same class for all of grade school and high school. It wasn’t until the summer before junior year that we started hanging out and realizing that we actually got along really well when it was just the two of us a part from being in a group.

Where was your special day?

Ceremony at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa with the reception at Pioneer Creek Farm in Lomira, WI.

How did he propose?

During spring break my Junior year of college, Shane and I were invited to go to Marathon, Florida with my brother, Nathan, and his girlfriend’s family. Shane’s plan was to take me to a romantic beach to propose while watching the sunset with Nathan covertly taking photographs. We arrived at the beach to find dozens of senior citizens waiting for the sunset. As soon as the lady in charge handed us a copy of the song lyrics for the evening, Shane knew it was time for plan B. Plan B: While we were watching the sunset for the second night in a row, Shane started his proposal. However, since I did not quite realize what he was doing, I inappropriately changed the subject to how I wanted Nathan to take a nice picture of us. Little did I know, Nathan was already standing by with the camera to capture the engagement as it happened. So once Shane got back on track, and asked me to stand up, I realized what was happening. Shane made my dream come true by asking me to marry him in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Did you see each other before the wedding?

Shane and I decided we wanted to wait until I was walking down the aisle to see each other on the wedding day. I wouldn’t have changed it because I always imagined that was how it would go. I always wanted that to be Shane’s first look of me in my dress with my hair and makeup done.

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

It’s hard to pick just one favorite moment from the wedding. Everything turned out absolutely perfect! I especially remember just feeling so loved by all of our friends and family throughout the day. As I walked down the aisle and everyone was smiling at me, in the receiving line, during the toasts, and even during the dancing! At the end of the night, everyone formed a circle around us for one final song. My favorite moment was getting to marry Shane, but knowing that there is so much love surrounding us from our family and friends made it an even greater day.

When did you start dating?

Shane and I started dating on December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) so we had been dating for 5 1/2 years before we got married.

How would you describe your overall wedding experience?

Overall, I felt like the day went perfectly. I wouldn’t have changed anything. I loved every single moment of the day and didn’t want to leave! I just remember at the end of the night, after Shane and I changed, we ended up sticking around and talking with friends and family for another forty-five minutes. Spending this time talking was actually a great way to help digest the whole day! Also, the weather and location could not have been more perfect. We got married at our home church (that was where we went to school 5K-8th grade) and had the reception at Pioneer Creek Farm which is run by Shane’s aunt and is on his grandparents’ property.

What advice would you offer to other couples planning their wedding?

Do your best not to get stressed. There are so many things that can stress you out, but know that there is always a solution, and sometimes your vendors can help you if you are stuck. They have lots of wedding experience and may be able to offer advice or know how certain things work or don’t work at their venue. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I know it can be hard to delegate certain things, but figure out what you know you want, and what you are OK having other people help you with.

What photography related advice would you give?

Don’t be afraid to ask for certain photos that you know you want, but also know that the photographer is a professional so you do not need to ask for typical or common photos that they already know to take (e.g. the big moments such as first kiss, first dance, etc.). Also, decide before you make your wedding day schedule how much time you’d like for photos and if you’d like extra time for photos of just the two of you. This time needs to be accounted for to make sure there is enough to get everything done!

Any tips for taking wedding party photos?

I wanted to take all of the family photos at the church after the ceremony, and a few of the wedding party at the church, and then the rest of the photos at the reception. I think one of the most important parts of preparing the wedding party is simply communication. They couldn’t have known the plan without me telling them! Communicating with the wedding party leading up to the wedding day helps a lot with organizing the wedding party. One thing I would change or just one piece of advice: if the ceremony and location are in different locations, provide the wedding party with a meet-up location and time to help everyone reconvene quickly and efficiently which helps if you need to take more photos or if you are having grand march! This is something I didn’t think about in my preparations, but could have been helpful at the time. I also knew I wanted to take family photos first because we had a lot of family photos that needed to be taken. I actually created a tentative list just for my family members so they knew how many photos they’d be included in which helped them know how long they needed to stay for pictures and when they could leave for cocktail hour.

Tell me about your dress? How did you know it was the one?

I went dress shopping with my mom, one of my sisters, and my future mother-in-law. We went to David’s Bridal which is where my two sisters both got their dresses for their weddings. I knew I wanted to start there because of the range of price and style. I initially did not want a ball gown at all, but after one was picked out for me, I realized it was a more flattering style for me. I tried on a couple and after putting on my dress, it just felt like the one. It was comfortable, flattering, and it stood out from the others. The tulle bottom was a simple, yet the lace bodice was stunning. It was a combination I loved and the only thing I added was a thin jeweled belt.

Tell me about our experience working together!

Taken from my Google review: I was married on June 22, 2018 and had Kara as my photographer and had an amazing experience!! She is incredibly organized, kind, talented, and has fantastic communication (leading up to the wedding and during). She does a great job making sure she is hitting all of the important photos but also flexible if you want to pull someone in for a photo real fast and have her shoot it. The reason we chose Kara is because of her style, and it held true in the photos we received. The colors in my photos were beautiful and going through my album she really helped tell the story of my wedding day. I loved looking at the photos and knowing exactly what happened at that moment (e.g. knowing exactly what joke was told in a picture of people laughing). She also took pictures of the details from my wedding day which was important to me as well because those are the things I took time and care to plan. Kara is efficient and makes everything super easy. She returned my photos to me in less than three weeks.. which is crazy! For the quality we received, I would’ve expected at least double that amount of time. I am looking forward to having Kara shoot other things for me in the future (e.g. family photos, newborn, etc). She comes highly recommended by me and my family. I would say Kara tops the chart for quality, professionalism, communication, etc. and I feel very blessed she was a part of my wedding day!

We love to hear about other vendors you loved working with!

Florist: Bloom Floral & Event Design in Milwaukee, WI – The flowers and centerpieces for my wedding turned out even better than I could have imagined. They were beautiful and stunning. They were a little over my budget but close, and I asked for a lot of flowers so it was expected. Prices are comparable to other florists. Staff is very experienced and able to piece together ideas quickly and efficiently. Highly recommend! 

Caterer: Bunzel’s Meat Market in Milwaukee, WI – They served delicious food at our wedding and I had such a great experience with them! 

DJ: Johnny Ransom from Record Entertainment in Fon du Lac, WI – Great experience with this company. We chose them because of their solid reviews, affordability, and proximity to our venue. Turned out to be a great choice! Johnny was perfect for our wedding and has tons of experience to back him up. He not only plays music that the guests enjoy, he himself participates. He made sure everything went exactly as my now husband and I wanted it to go and has no problem making a last minute adjustment if needed. Thanks again Johnny for helping make our night that much more special! 

Reception Venue: Pioneer Creek Farm in Lomira, WI – (Google Review) Beautiful venue and great staff! The staff did an amazing job putting everything together and making sure the night ran smoothly. They were very efficient and friendly. I heard many positive comments by my guests throughout the evening about the venue and how breathtaking it is. So many great photo opportunities as well. We were fortunate to have a beautiful 70 degree day which made the day that much better. Owner (Shane’s aunt) is easy to work with and responds quickly. She is able to provide tips, suggestions, and advice based on her experience with previous weddings at the venue. 

What were you most anxious or fearful of going into the day?

The only thing I was a little anxious about leading up to the wedding day was being the center of attention for the whole day. The outcome was that even though people are watching you during the ceremony and at times throughout the reception, they are all people you know and love which made it a really comfortable day. Once the day starts, it really isn’t uncomfortable to be the “center of attention” because you are surrounded by people you love and you get to marry the man you love!

What songs did you dance to?

Shane and I danced to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Haley Reinhart. Father-daughter dance was “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw Mother-son dance was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

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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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