How do you create a wedding day worthy of a real-life, modern day rom-com love story? I remember scrolling through Instagram and seeing a post where Elena wrote in the caption "The day I met him I turned to him and told him I wanted a diamond ring too as my friend was showing off her new engagement ring. All I'm saying is sometimes dreams really do come true". That's the kind of love that they have. And somehow, Elena and Andrew found a way to capture that essence tenfold and pull of a perfect wedding day beyond my wildest dreams.
As soon as I met Elena and Andrew we instantly connected and by the end of the day they felt like best friends I'd known for decades,.. And I'm sure as you scroll through these photographs you'll understand why! The warmth they radiate is unmatched and they have the sweetest friends and family who embraced me the second I arrived. Their story truly melted my heart and getting to become a part of it meant so much to me. These are moments and friendships I'll savor for a lifetime.
The details - sleek, warm and sophisticated
Elena and Andrew made their love official at a stylish, modern ceremony and reception at The Whim in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've shot more weddings at The Whim than I can count (and have been enamored by every single one - it's such a beautiful and unique venue!) but I've never seen it brought to life in such a creative way that was true to them. Elena and Andrew transformed the space with a warm fall palette, unique yet on-trend details like a cut-out backdrop, customized neon signage and dried florals (which Elena arranged herself - she is so creative and talented!) that perfectly suited the fall season. We couldn't have been a more perfect match for eachother: my photography aesthetic is neutral and minimalistic so the artistic choices they made for their wedding complimented my style beautifully with crisp whites and pops of red hues (see: Andrew's suit, which may go down as my all-time favorite groomswear!) that made their photographs bold and intentional. It was a dream for me to shoot and edit!
Elena's wedding dress was hand-selected from a&bé in Minneapolis, Minnesota - a beautiful, modern white form fitting wedding gown with a sweetheart neckline that felt like it was MADE for her. I'm always recommending to my wisconsin and minnesota brides to check out a&bé because they carry the most gorgeous range of modern and indie wedding dresses (and are extremely size inclusive!) so if you're a bride who's in love with designers like rue de seine, made with love, madi lane, vagabond and alyssa kristin you NEED to schedule a visit to their minneapolis showroom as part of your wedding planning!
Get your Pinterest board ready, because the second you see these beautiful and unique details I promise you'll fall in love.
The First Looks (And why I loved these ones so much!)
Elena and Drew chose to break tradition and opted for a First Look (if you're not familiar with what a first look is, it's when the bride and groom meet eachother in private before the ceremony so they can intimately soak in eachothers attire and spend a precious moment together before they say 'I do' - these are becoming increasingly popular as we near 2023 and wedding timelines are becoming more personalized!) and it was an unforgettable moment to capture. Seeing Drew's face as he turned to face Elena (who also added her own cheeky spin!) was one of my favorite highlights of the day and I'm so grateful I got to preserve that memory for them for a lifetime.
Not only did the Bride and Groom have a first look moment, Elena also chose to stage first looks for her family and friends so they could see her in her bridal gown before the ceremony, too. I LOVE family and friend first looks just as much as Bride and Groom moments, because even though your wedding is about you two, it's also about celebrating the people who care the most about you and helped you on your journey to the aisle. They're reactions and emotions that should be equally as cherished!
When couples ask me about first looks, even though it breaks 'tradition' my answer is always "Yes!" if that's what feels perfect for you. It's not just because a first look allows me to capture raw emotions in a more intimate setting (sometimes it's hard to be expressive in front of a crowd!) but because it's 2023 and I think the approach to ceremonies should be less about formalities, tradition and ritual and whatever suits YOU, Wedding days can be incredibly stressful, so always opt for a timeline that allows you to feel comfortable and in a mindset where you're relaxed and able to celebrate all the love that surrounds you.
I've included all of the tear-inducing, heart-skipping moments below, and I hope they'll inspire you to consider having. a first look for your wedding if that feels representative of you. Have tissues at the ready!
The portraits: A perfect balance between intimate and fun
And finally... Elena and Andrew's wedding portraits!
I LOVED capturing these portraits because they show off how beautiful inside and out the two of them are, and they also encompass everything wedding photographs should be. What makes the most memorable wedding portraiture isn't perfectly posed photographs, it's capturing moments focused on feeling and fun - the memories that you'll talk about and remember for the rest of your life.
I was so grateful to share these intimate memories with Elena, Drew and their family and friends: Moments of laughter, silliness, beauty and real emotion, I spent all day restlessly excited to get to spend time alone with them away from the crowd, and it was worth every second.