I met Emily and Kent at the Mad City Bridal Expo in March of 2017. They were eagerly planning their wedding, and I remember Kent asking specific questions about my camera equipment, which totally threw me off because I had been discussing mainly lace and glitter all day. Their inquisitive, friendly nature drew me to them as a couple.
For their engagement session, they invited me to experience the Epic campus near Madison. If you have not been there, I highly recommend going for a tour. The campus is divided into themes with beautiful plants and buildings. We wove through the different biomes, capturing great images that truly showcased them as a couple. The day was steamy and the sun set beautifully.
Fast forward a little more than 9 months to their wedding day.
It is the snow storm of April 2018 - the one that dropped record snowfalls in the northern parts of the Midwest and made a mess of the roads here in Southeastern Wisconsin.
I arrived to the Park Hotel, where Emily and Kent were getting ready, an hour early - the sleet had already started to fall and the roads were slick, so I figured better safe than sorry. Emily's bridesmaids greeted me warmly in the conference room as they finished up their hair and her maid of honor, Natalie, brought me up to Emily's room.
She admitted that being left alone had gotten her nerves worked up.
Having that extra hour allowed us time to get relaxed shots of Emily and her troupe getting ready, with plenty of time for the same with Kent and his crew.
One of my favorite plans Emily came up with was to do first looks with her bridesmaids, all her moms, and her dad. These quiet, simple moments were touching. Goosebumps and tears riddled me with each one. From the excitement of her bridesmaids, to the genuine joy from her mom, step-mom, and mother-in-law, to the overwhelming love from her dad, the day was already proving that Emily and Kent are a loved couple.
We had planned in advance for the bad weather and had permission to shoot at the Overture Center for the Arts. Kent, myself, and Emily's two godsons were shuttled over to the center to prepare for their first look. We used a staircase to complete the first look, with Emily being sure-footed in her wedding day Nike sneakers.
The staff at the Overture was beyond gracious and helpful in directing us to the Rotunda for beautiful shots. With the open architecture and big windows on the building, I was able to use only natural lighting.
Being the steadfast people they are, Emily and Kent even braved the weather for iconic capitol shots from State street. Then, we convinced the bridal party to do the same. I always appreciate a willing group.
After pictures were done, we headed over to the Brink Lounge. On first entry, it looks like any other lower-level bar that hosts live music. Walking into the event space, though, I was wowed by the beautiful spiral staircase that led up to private areas for Emily and Kent to hang out in before the ceremony.
The ceremony was sweet and meaningful, and followed by a reception filled with speeches that spoke volumes to the character and love Emily and Kent have.
One thing I have to make note of is the dessert tower. Not dessert table or tray. TOWER. This thing smelled like sugar and I was basically drooling anytime I stood near it. Then, Emily brings out the "treat yo self" banner and my Parks-and-Rec-loving-heart danced a little dance.
Speaking of dances, normally I gush over the couple's first dance, but Emily and Kent, as always, kept things unique...so I have to give this one to Emily and her dad, who whipped out a surprise choreographed dance with classic songs. They had me at the Wobble.
At the end of the night, genuine concern for my well-being from all the guests and Emily's family convinced me to spend the night in Madison (even though going home and sleeping in my own bed sounded wonderful after a long day). After almost eating it while getting out of my Uber by my car, I checked right in to the Park Hotel.
Things always go wrong on a wedding day. Emily and Kent were missing a large group of relatives and friends who could not make it due to being snowed in (for those of you who do not live in the Midwest, for any of us to say it is too bad to drive means it is seriously nasty out). While bummed, they understood, and were glad people stayed safe.
Emily and Kent, it was an honor working with you on your wedding day. I wish you all the happiness and trivia wins!