Fall, Orange, Real Weddings, Rustic/Vintage Style, Washington County

Kaitlyn & Matthew’s Rustic Country Wedding at Terrace 167

May 25, 2018
Kaitlyn and Matthew Get Married at Terrace 167 in Richfield

Kaitlyn and Matthew’s families had been friends for years before the two of them got together. Matthew proposed to Kaitlyn at the pub his family owns. “Matthew had his best friend call me over to the bar to tell me how they were switching soda products from Pepsi to Coca-Cola,” Kaitlyn says.” The friend claimed the Coca-Cola rep had left a couple samples, then he pulled out two glass bottles from beneath the bar and set them in front of Kaitlyn. “One said ‘Kaitlyn Marie’ on it — the other ‘Will you Marry Me.’” Shocked, Kaitlyn spun around to see Matthew down on one knee with a ring. “Of course I said yes!”

The happy couple planned a fall wedding with a country-rustic theme. Kaitlyn attended the Wonderful World of Weddings show for inspiration. The bridesmaids all wore fall colors, the men wore dark tan dress pants with white button-up shirts and suspenders. The boys and flower girls donned cowboy boots. For the ceremony, Matthew and Kaitlyn had a traditional Lutheran service, exchanging rings and “I do’s” in a church.

Kaitlyn says the best part of the ceremony was when the pastor likened marriage to how a softball is made. “Softball is Matthew’s favorite sport, and I enjoy going along and watching him play. It’s become a big thing for us.” As the pastor said, to make a softball, there are two pieces of fabric, stitched together to form one — just like two lives coming together in marriage.

Then it was time to celebrate! The reception was held at Terrace 167 in Richfield. The bride and groom say their favorite part was the last-minute grand entrance. “We thought about doing a grand entrance and decided against it. Then about 20 minutes before the time we were supposed to walk in, we decided we wanted to do one. Our wedding planner was able to pull it off! It was amazing and made it that much more special.”

Dinner was served buffet-style, with Salisbury Steaks, Chicken Souvlaki, and Chicken Scaloppini. There was rice, Greek potatoes, mashed potatoes, vegetables, fruit, and salad on the side. The full bar was tended by Terrace 167. For dessert, Kaitlyn and Matthew chose an assortment of mini brownies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and cherry, pumpkin, and apple pies. They also had a small, two-tier wedding cake for the traditional cake-cutting.

To decorate the space, Kaitlyn and Matthew tackled many DIY projects, with the help of family and friends. They made all of the centerpieces, including candles and table runners. They bought and arranged all of the flowers, with the help of their wedding planner and her team. Kaitlyn’s aunt made the head table covering and decorations, plus all of the bouquets of flowers for the bridesmaids, flower girl baskets, boutonnieres, corsages, flowers on the pews at church, and more. Kaitlyn even painted her pair of Toms wedding shoes.

Looking back, Kaitlyn says the moment that sticks with her most is the last song of the night. “Everyone gathered on the dance floor and danced in a circle around us, as Matthew and I danced together in the middle. It was great to see everyone having a good time and feel all the love and support from our amazing friends and family.”

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful Worlds of Weddings, Bridal Fair at Terrace 167
Make-up & Hair Hair Formations, Hubertus
Rehearsal Dinner Loggers Pub, Richfield WI
Ceremony Shepherd of the Hills, Hubertus WI
Reception Terrace 167, Richfield WI
Caterer Prime Minister, Thiensville, WI
Cake Designer/Dessert Aggie’s Bakery, West Allis, WI
Music/Entertainment Edge Entertainment, West Bend, WI
Transportation Terrace Express
Photographer Jamie Gellings Media
Gown David’s Bridal
Formalwear Men's Wearhouse
Rings JM Jeweler, Slinger, WI
Rentals Holy Hill Art Farm


Behind the Lens, Local Spotlight, Planning

Behind the Lens with
Kara Reese Photography

May 16, 2018
Behind the Lens interview with a wedding photographer

Interview with the Experts | Photography | Behind the Lens

Finding the right photographer to capture your day is such an important element in your planning process, so we created “Behind the Lens” to give you a more in-depth look at each of our photographers! We will be running a new post each month, so be sure to check back in!
Take a look below to get to know Kara Reese Photography….

Newly married kissing under veil

How did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you go about starting out?

Like many photographers, I had a love for art and photography that began in my childhood and teenage years. In high school, I always elected to take Photo as part of my class roster. I loved the smell of the darkroom and seeing my photographs come to life before my eyes as the prints went through each chemical bath. However, I never in a million years thought I’d be able to turn photography into a full time career. I actually spent a year in school at UW-Stevens Point on track to become an Elementary Education teacher. But midway through my second semester, I had a change of heart, and really felt led to pursue my photography business more seriously. I dropped out, and never looked back! I’ve been full time since 2014 and feel incredibly blessed to have a job that I adore and that provides for my family.

How long have you been in the business?

Since 2009

What are the qualities that make a successful wedding photographer?

A successful wedding photographer is someone who obviously has passion for what they do, but more importantly – a passion for making their clients happy. Great photography is nothing when it comes to business if it’s not paired with outstanding customer service.

Why do you love photographing weddings and engagements?

It’s the start of a new chapter. Weddings and engagements are infinitely happy times! Sure, wedding planning can be stressful – but above everything else it’s a wonderful celebration. I love being surrounded by the positivity and love that weddings bring.

Fall Wedding photography

How has your photography (style) changed since you started?

It’s become more refined and natural. There’s a lot of pressure to do everything you can to create your own shooting and editing style when you first start out. There’s some truth to that, but I found that I really just needed to focus on what I *liked* instead of what would make me different. From there, my personality was able to start to shine through – and now, not only do I love my photographs, but they showcase my style and personality naturally, and that sets me apart.

When choosing their photographer, what should a couple look for?

Someone who is friendly, caring, and above all client-focused. I treat my clients’ wedding days as an event that’s even bigger and more important than my own wedding day was. I completely dedicate myself to each client – not because I have to, but because I want to! I care deeply about their happiness and want to give them photographs that they’ll look back and smile at for decades to come.

Is there anything you wish couples would ask?

I wish more couples would ask my opinion on how to display their artwork from their wedding and engagement photos. We are living in a digital age, but there is something to be said for printed, heirloom-quality artwork. Computers, phones, and other digital media is constantly changing – but I bet your Grandma has a print or album from her wedding day somewhere.

How do you assist in keeping the wedding day running smoothly? Do you work hand in hand with the other vendors?

If my clients choose to hire a Wedding Planner or Day-of-Coordinator, I work closely with them to make sure everything is running smoothly. If my clients don’t hire either – oftentimes I will step in as a Coordinator and keep everyone on track with regards to their timeline (while simultaneously making sure I’m getting the photographs I need to!)

Groom hugs his bride outside

What is a typical wedding day routine for you?

The night before a wedding, I spend a few hours prepping my gear. I charge every battery I own, clean off lenses, take inventory of all my gear to make sure I’m not missing anything, reformat and line up CF cards so I can easily pop in new ones as they fill up with photos, make sure I have a printed copy of the couples’ timeline with important addresses and must-have photo lists, and finally pack my bags and set them by the front door. The morning of a wedding day is pretty relaxed since I do all the prep the night before. I eat a good breakfast, have a couple cups of coffee, get dressed and head out the door!











Blank Canvas, Downtown, Milwaukee, Modern/Industrial, Pastel, Real Weddings

Casey & Michael’s Modern Industrial Wedding at South Second

May 14, 2018
Casey and Mike marry at The Atrium in Shorewood with a reception at South Second Milwaukee

Casey and Michael met as first-year teachers at a charter school on the south side of Milwaukee. “We both had taken over classrooms mid-year and taught down the hall from one another.” On Casey’s first day, Michael gave her a tour of the school. They became instant friends, had their first date a few months later, and the rest is history! The two got engaged when Michael surprised Casey with a trip to New Orleans. “We were walking along the Mississippi River, watching the steamboats go by,” Casey says. “Michael started talking kinda funny. I remember being confused like, ‘What is he talking about?’ All of a sudden, he was down on one knee.”

Michael and Casey planned a modern, industrial wedding with a ceremony at the Atrium in Shorewood and a reception at South Second in Walker’s Point. Casey found her dress at Miss Ruby’s Bridal Boutique: “Shopping for my dress was such an amazing experience! The stylists at Miss Ruby’s are honest, helpful, kind, and patient. They helped pull so many dresses and allowed me to take my time. I found my dream dress because of this boutique!”

One of Casey’s favorite things they planned for the wedding was the ceremony. “It was unique and intimate and I loved it,” she says. Before walking down the aisle, Casey had a surprise note from Michael — on the bottom of her shoes! “I’ll never forget our photographer asking me to turn my shoes around, then seeing Michael’s handwriting on the bottom! He wrote, ‘Of all the walks, this will be my favorite. Today we will walk, tonight we will dance.’”

As the nerves kicked in, Casey’s dad had just the trick: “My family and I love Disney. When my dad and I were in the elevator on our way up to the ceremony, he opened his suit coat, and inside he had a Mickey Mouse pin. He said I didn’t have to be nervous; Mickey was for good luck.” Any anxious feelings evaporated for Casey when she locked eyes with Michael. “He held my hand through the entire ceremony.”

Michael’s Uncle Sean officiated and the seats were arranged in a circle, with the bride and groom exchanging their vows in the center, rose petals on the ground. At one point, Uncle Sean read marriage advice from Casey’s third-grade students — “oh how we all laughed!” Other unique readings included “Apache Wedding Tribe Blessing,” “I Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings, and “Union” by Robert Fulghum.

For the reception, the party moved to South Second in Walker’s Point, catered by Saz’s. “Michelle at South Second is a rock star. Throughout the entire wedding planning process, she was there to answer our questions. She is incredibly patient, honest, and helpful. The night of the wedding, I was never without a glass of champagne. Michelle and the staff working our wedding were incredible.”

As for the reception on the whole: “It was full of joy!” Casey says. “We had a cocktail hour to kick off the celebration with live jazz music, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks. The speeches by my dad, my sister, Michael’s brother, dad, and my mom were incredible. We laughed, we cried, and felt overwhelmed with gratitude to have such supportive family in our lives. The rest of the night was full of dancing!”

When asked the one thing she wished she knew while planning for the big day, Casey’s reply was simple: “I wish I would have reminded myself more often that, no matter what, it will be the perfect day!”

Rehearsal Dinner Belair Cantina Food Catered to Camp Bar in Shorewood
Ceremony The Atrium in Shorewood
Reception South Second
Catering Saz’s
Cake Designer Sweet Tooth Bakery
Donuts Metro Market
Flowers Milwaukee Flower Company
Music/Entertainment Sound by Design
Myles Hayes Music
Photographer Kyle Kelley Photography
Brandon Whitley Photography
Videographer Champagne Studios
Gown Miss Ruby Bridal Salon
Rings A Trio Jewelry Design



Ask the Right Questions, Flowers, Planning

Ask The Right Questions | Flowers

May 11, 2018

Flowers are an essential piece of your wedding! A great florist will work with your budget to provide floral options and styles suited to your taste. Your floral arrangements can be a great way to reflect your personal style or a theme or motif that is present in your wedding. Be sure to ask the following questions when selecting a Florist!

How can we maximize our floral budget?
How far in advance must I book your services?
Do you offer delivery? Is there a charge?
Will you set up at the ceremony and reception sites?
Can you move the flowers from the ceremony to reception?
Do you provide other kinds of decor?
Do you offer rental of decor?
Do you offer packages? What do they include?
For planning purposes, are you familiar with the layout at my ceremony/reception venue?
What is your cancellation policy?

Floral by Bank of Flowers | Photos by Nikki Kate Photography | Hair by Lexi Lee Hairstyling
Makeup by Melody Sopa Artistry | Gowns by Miss Ruby’s Bridal Boutique | Calligraphy by Four Things Paper

You will need to consider bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, aisle decor, alter arrangements, and cake table arrangements, as well as any arrangements for the welcome table, food stations, cocktail tables, and any other element you wish to enhance with flowers!

Bride’s bouquet• Bridesmaids’ bouquets• Flower girl’s bouquet or basket of petals• Toss bouquet

Boutonnieres & Corsages:
• Groomsmen’s boutonniere• Ring bearer’s boutonniere• Mother of the bride’s corsage• Mother of the groom’s corsage• Grandmothers’ corsages • Father of the bride’s boutonniere • Father of the groom’s boutonniere• Grandfathers’ boutonnieres• Officiant’s boutonniere• Ushers’ boutonnieres

Decor & Arrangements:
• Dining table centerpieces• Aisle decor• Alter arrangements• Place card table arrangement• Cake table arrangement• Food station table arrangements• Bar arrangements• Cocktail table arrangements

Recommended Area Florists:
Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop
Bank of Flowers
Belle Fiori
Creative Floral by Something Borrowed
Fantasy Flowers
Feisty Flowers
Lamm Gardens
Waukesha Floral & Greenhouse






Country and Private Clubs, Fall, Real Weddings, Washington County

Jacqueline & Mark’s Magical Outdoor Wedding at West Bend Country Club

May 4, 2018
Jacqueline and Mark get married at West Bend Country Club

Jacqueline and Mark’s road to “I do” spans decades. The two started dating when they were teenagers, after being introduced under a trio of birch trees at Jacqueline’s parents’ lake house on Silver Lake, back in 1976. “We were engaged when I was 19,” Jacqueline says, but the two youngsters ended up going their separate ways.

33 years later, Mark and Jacqueline reconnected — and three years later, Jacqueline asked Mark to marry her. One night while out to dinner, she had the server present Mark with a small, watch-sized box. “While he was opening the present, I professed my love for him and told him I couldn’t imagine my life again without him. The box had a wedding band in it — you can’t ask someone to marry you without a ring, right?!”

Jacqueline and Mark were married in 2017 under the same birch trees where they met 41 years ago to the day. Jacqueline’s favorite moment: “Mark saw me come around the corner of the house and he had tears running down his cheeks — at 58 years old — for this day that should have happened 41 years perviously.” This touching, intimate ceremony was followed by a larger one with all of the wedding guests, held on the patio of the West Bend Country Club.

On the day of the wedding, Jacqueline wore two dresses — one she found at Always a Bride in Grafton, and her mother’s dress from her marriage in 1958. “I know my parents loved Mark, and what better way to honor them than by dressing like they did 60 years ago. I wore my mother’s dress and Mark dressed in a tux that was tailored to look just like the one my dad wore.” After the ceremony, Jacqueline surprised Mark with a new dress and bouquet.

From the ceremony, the party moved right into the reception, which was also held at the West Bend Country Club. “The entire day was magical,” Jacqueline muses. “We had all of the photos taken at West Bend Country Club — on the lake, on the golf course, and in the country club — no extra stops. April, the wedding planner at the club, coordinated everything from the linens to the champagne. She made all the details come through perfectly.”

West Bend Country Club also catered dinner and cocktail hour. There was a social hour following the ceremony on the outdoor patio, with hors-d’oeuvres served on silver platters. Guests were then treated to a delicious sit-down meal, and for dessert, a cake with tiers of fresh red roses from Audra’s House of Cakes. “From the taste-testing to the hug we exchanged on our wedding day, Audra exceeded our expectations! The cake was delicious and beautifully decorated and displayed.”

One of Jacqueline’s favorite DIY touches was the dried rose petals used in celebration following the country club ceremony. “During the three years leading up to Mark and I getting married, he gave me flowers or roses every other week,” she says. “When our wedding planner told us we couldn’t toss rice or bird seed at the Country Club, she suggested rose petals — and the lightbulb went off.” Jacqueline had saved and dried Mark’s roses from the past three years. She put them in decorative bags for guests to throw. The photos from that celebratory moment are priceless.

Wedding Consultant Brian Kelm Productions
Dance Lessons Brookfield Ballroom
Make-up Artist Body Velvet, West Bend
Bachelor/Bachelorette party Pedal Tavern
Hair Stylist Jaime Alternate Image, West Bend
Rehearsal Dinner West Bend Country Club
Ceremony Location Lakeside at Our Home and West Bend County Club
Reception & Catering West Bend Country Club
Cake Designer/Dessert Audra's House of Cakes
Flowers Kewaskum Floral
Music/Entertainment Brian Kelm Productions
Photographer Tia Lee Photography
Travel/Honeymoon Service Amabassador World Travel, Brookfield
Gown Always a Bride, Grafton
Formalwear Men's Wearhouse
Rings Kessler
Party Rentals Equipment Rentals, Inc West Bend Party Rentals






Downtown, Pastel, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic/Vintage Style, Summer

Danielle & Nick’s Romantic, Rustic Wedding at Black Swan MKE

April 20, 2018
Danielle and Nick marry at the Black Swan MKE in a rustic romantic ceremony

Danielle from Long Island and Nick from Milwaukee met at a wedding in Seattle. “My college teammate married Nick’s good childhood friend,” Danielle says. “They had a hunch we would hit it off, so they sat us at the same table.” The hunch was dead on! Nick and Danielle got engaged during a trip to Northern Minnesota. A lover of the Great Lakes, Nick popped the question on the banks of Lake Superior.

The couple planned a romantic and rustic wedding at Black Swan MKE in the Third Ward. Danielle found her dress at Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique. The groomsmen donned light navy suits with blush pink ties, and the bridesmaids were dressed in shades of blush, champagne, and dusty rose.

Danielle’s brother, Bobby, performed the ceremony under a beautiful birch chuppah. “Four years earlier, I’d performed Bobby’s ceremony in New York,” Danielle explains. “We wrote and recited our own vows and had my sister-in-law and Nick’s long-time childhood friend speak as part of the ceremony. It was personal and sweet.” Following the “I do’s,” the bride and groom exited to Béyonce’s “Love on Top” to get the party started.

To decorate the Black Swan space, Danielle and Nick incorporated elements with a natural feel. “The linens were a mix of tan, café, and hunter green. “Peter from Black Swan made planning the space effortless. He was down to earth and made sure we felt like our night was truly special.”

The floral centerpieces were a mix of succulents, moss, and hydrangeas in wooden boxes with rustic lanterns.” The Flowers came from Alfa Flower Shop: “A fantastic vendor that we highly recommend. They work within your budget and create beautiful arrangements.”

A delicious buffet-style dinner was catered by Bubb’s BBQ and All Occasions Catering. “They were fantastic to work with, especially our coordinator, Wendi. She blew us away. She was so organized, kept the night moving smoothly, and really took care of us.” At the buffet, folks enjoyed chicken, mahi-mahi, beef tips, roasted root vegetables, and fingerling potatoes. “Something for everyone!”

To pay tribute to Wisconsin, Nick and Danielle treated their guests to cheese curds at every table. For dessert: Door County cherry pie with vanilla custard. “We wanted to give our guests the full Wisconsin foodie experience!” The late-night snack was one of Danielle’s favorites — a nacho bar. And one of Nick’s favorites, the Vodka Press, was the signature drink.

Following dinner came the dancing. Danielle performed one of her favorite songs with her bridesmaids, as a surprise to Nick. The song was “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. “It went right along with our wedding hashtag: #iwannaDANZwithsomebody.” To end the night, everyone gathered around the dance floor and sang along to Joe Cocker’s rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” What better way to end a picture-perfect wedding celebration than surround by loved ones, singing your hearts out?

Invitations Design from ETSY through VineWedding | Printing by Mandel Graphic Solutions Company
Rehearsal Dinner Pizza Man MKE on Downer Ave.
Ceremony & Reception Black Swan MKE in Milwaukee's Third Ward
Caterer & Day of Coordinator Bubb’s BBQ & All Occasion’s Catering
Cake Designer/Dessert Door County Cherry Pie from HoneyPie and Vanilla Custard from Kopp’s
Flowers Alfa Flower Shop
Music/Entertainment Sound by Design
Photographer The Pros Wedding Photographers
Gown Wtoo from Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique
Alterations  The Sophisticated Rose
Formalwear Men’s Wearhouse
Rings Gold Creations Ltd., Brookfield
Hair Brio Salon
Ask the Right Questions, Cakes

Ask The Right Questions | Wedding Cakes

April 16, 2018

Have you always dreamed of a classic multi-tiered white wedding cake or maybe a colorful modern design with multiple flavors and fillings?  Your wedding cake is not just a dessert, but an iconic and memorable symbol of celebration your guests look forward to!  In many cases the cake table is an elaborately designed centerpiece of its own.  By asking the right questions before selecting your wedding cake designer, you can ensure you’re not met with any surprises on your wedding day!  Be sure to discuss the following with a potential baker.

-Can I see examples of your cakes?
-Do you offer a tasting? If so is there a charge?
-Do you specialize in any certain styles or flavors?
-Is there availability for my wedding day?
-How far in advance must I book your services?
-How do you price your cakes?
-Is a deposit required? How much is the deposit?
-Will you deliver the cake to the reception site? Is there a delivery charge?
-Will you need space to prepare the cake at the reception? If so, how much time will you need?
-Do you have a cancellation policy?
-Do you have any recommendations for our venue type?
-Do you offer cupcakes or sheet cakes?
-Can I design a custom cake, or must I select from set designs?
-Can I customize my cake to match my wedding colors?
-Do you offer cakes that meet special dietary needs?
-Do you provide the cake stand? If so, is there a cost? Can it be returned after the wedding for a refund?

To see a full listing of talented wedding cake artisans click here!
Allo! Chocolat
Audra’s House of Cakes
Rich’s House of Cakes
Sweet Perfections Bake Shoppe

Historic & Unique, Real Weddings, Spring

Beth & Shannon’s Personal & Music-Filled Wedding at South Shore Pavilion

April 10, 2018
Beth and Shannon Marry at South Shore Pavilion

As musicians, Beth and Shannon met through the music department at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. After a cozy dinner at home on Christmas Eve, 2015, Shannon proposed. The couple planned an April 2017 wedding. “We didn’t have an official theme. We set out to have a wedding with all the things that were most meaningful, personal, and fun, without a ton of fuss or excess.”

Both the ceremony and reception were held at the South Shore Pavilion, a historic Milwaukee County Parks building with an exposed brick interior, stately wood-beam ceiling, and gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the South Shore Marina.

“We created the entire ceremony out of poetry, readings, and songs that are meaningful to us. Neither of us is religious, but we wanted a sense of ritual and reflection to the ceremony. Our good friend performed the ceremony, our family and friends did all the readings, we sang together, and read our own vows. We loved that it was simple, but unique and personal.”

The reception started as soon as Shannon and Beth walked up the aisle. “We had a Hawaiian food buffet, local beer, and a local folk duo perform, which made it casual and fun. As the night continued, we switched over to a DJ for the dancing.”

To decorate the space, the two turned to Belle Fiori for colorful, gorgeous bouquets and floral arrangements and rentals from Well Dressed Tables by Arena Americas. Beth and Shannon also tackled some DIY projects: “We repurposed Miller High Life chaser bottles for our vases, cut our own table runners from burlap, made votives from mason jars and beach sand, and built cairns from stones we collected here in Milwaukee as centerpieces.”

Dinner was catered by One Kine Grindz and featured a buffet of pork, chicken, and veggie stir fry, with sides like carrot slaw, macaroni salad, and fruit salad. “It was fresh and delicious.” For drinks, there was Lakefront IPA and Spotted Cow on tap, and a selection of wine and soda. “We opted for no formal cake, but ordered bars and cookies for dessert.”

During dinner, Shannon and Beth did an open toasting session. “People could speak up as they wished, and we encouraged people to sing songs with their table that had the word ‘love’ in them, if they wanted us to kiss. The entire event was a mix of the best parts of every wedding we’ve attended, plus our own personal touches.”

Rehearsal Dinner Urban Ecology Center with pizza catered by Transfer Pizzeria
Ceremony & Reception South Shore Pavilion
Catering & Dessert Ono Kine Grindz
Flowers Belle Fiori
Music/Entertainment Frogwater (local duo) and Milwaukee Airwaves
Photographer Nikki N Photography
Rings Nouveau Antique Jewelry in Cedarburg, WI
Rentals Well Dressed Tables
Behind the Lens, Galleries, Local Spotlight, Photography & Video, Planning

Behind the Lens with
Ideal Impressions Photography

April 4, 2018
Behind the Lens interview with a wedding photographer

Interview with the Experts | Photography | Ideal Impressions Photography

Finding the right photographer to capture your day is such an important element in your planning process so we created “Behind the Lens” to give you a more in-depth look at each of our photographers! We will be running a new post each month, so be sure to check back in! Take a look below to get to know Ideal Impressions better….

How did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you go about starting out?

My uncle was a Sports Illustrated Photographer and gave me his old gear when I was in JH. I shot a lot of B&W and processed it for free in my high schools dark room and won a national photo contest. Ended up heading to the Art Institute in Chicago and got a job working for a huge photo agency… The “new guy” had to carry this giant 1.2 megapixel digital camera all day that took 25 shots. I followed the masters around with their medium format cameras and shot my 25 shots when they told me to! At the end of the day I loaded them up on a computer and showed them at the wedding. Keep in mind this was 1997 and was quite the hit! The rest was history and I have the privilege of spending the best day of peoples lives with them every weekend!

How long have you been in the business?

I shot my first wedding when I was 16… I got a degree in education and taught for 15 years shooting weddings on the side and then started Ideal Impressions in 2006. We have been nominated Wisconsin’s Best photographers consecutively the last 10 years.

What are the qualities that make a successful wedding photographer?

100% customer service and the ability to capture amazing images in any situation. It’s a lifelong pursuit of passion.

Why do you love photographing weddings and engagements?

Is the best day of their lives. Clients make huge investments by hiring me, working out for months, dressing their finest, hair makeup, you name it… the entire day is about capturing this moment.

Bride with veil photo by Ideal Impressions

How has your photography (style) changed since you started?

I used to shoot medium format B&W film. With medium format you think simply but work much harder. Today I shoot with super sharp prime lenses and have a team of people doing individually and simply what they do best.

When choosing their photographer, what should a couple look for?

Hire experience and customer service. Your photographer needs to do what you want. To many self learned photographers are only capable of one style and all the images will look exactly the same. Its important that you find a photographer that is good enough to capture amazing images in any situation and with several different styles.

Is there anything you wish couples would ask?

This is a lifelong Investment, not a “purchase.” I love it when couples ask what I think they should get. This is their first wedding usually and I have been part of over 1000 weddings. Experience pays off.

How do you assist in keeping the wedding day running smoothly? Do you work hand in hand with the other vendors?

Our company, Ideal Impressions, has been in the business for over 10 years and know all the venues very well, we are the preferred photographers at more resorts than any other photographer in Wisconsin and know the locations better than anyone else. We work with most couples for a year planning the day and itinerary and have established a great system of pre wedding day routine to make sure that we are delivering exactly what the bride is looking for and often helping her to also discover it herself.

What is a typical wedding day routine for you?

Most weddings are 8-9 Hours. Couples have discovered that doing a first look makes the greatest investment of their schedule with the photographer. So often our team meets for breakfast before we start and walk through the day. Then we arrive and shoot getting ready photos for 1-2 hours and progress into the first look. We continue to blend Romantics with bridal party for about an hour and might travel to a second location for another 30-45 minutes if desired. We finish up arriving to the ceremony location to shoot family photos about 1.5 hours before the ceremony and finish with a 30-45 minute Break before the ceremony begins. At this point most of the photography is over for the clients and they can simply relax, spend time with their guests and enjoy their day. We move to a more journalistic approach and capture the rest of the day. Typically we finish shooting speeches and the dancing starts around 8pm. The first 3 dances finish in 15-20 minutes and the dance floor is packed. We continue to capture the dance floor for 45 minutes or so and typically are finished around 9 unless there is something happening later like fireworks or we are doing a photobooth etc… that we need to stay later for.






Classic Style, Fall, Historic & Unique, Real Weddings, Washington County

Kristina & Mark’s Simply Elegant Wedding at the Schauer Arts Center

April 2, 2018
Kristina and Mark Marry in West Bend WI

Kristina from Janesville and Mark from Wind Lake met at a Brewers game with mutual friends. “I was supposed to work, but my boss told me to go have some fun,” Kristina says. “Mark sat next to me and he didn’t leave my side that whole game! It was fate.” The two got engaged on Christmas in front of Kristina’s whole family. “Every year, Santa visits and gives us all Christmas pajamas,” she says. “When I opened mine, the shirt said ‘Marry me?’ I was shocked! It was the best moment and I was so happy my family could be there to see it.”


The theme of the wedding was simple elegance. “We wanted everyone to feel warm and relaxed at the reception. The whole room was filled with candlelight.” Leading up to the big day, Kristina attended the Wonderful World of Weddings show in Milwaukee and the Washington County Bridal Show. She and Mark landed on a ceremony at The Gardens Wedding Center in Allenton and a reception at The Schauer Arts Center and Wisconsin Automotive Museum.

“Our ceremony was everything I wanted it to be,” Kristin says. “My youth pastor, who I’ve known my whole life, officiated our wedding, and his wife helped keep everything in order. My favorite part was walking down the aisle. I had the biggest adrenaline rush!” As for Mark, everyone had teased him beforehand about crying — and sure enough, he cried. “It just made everything that much sweeter.”

For the reception at the Schauer Arts Center, the center shares a building with the Wisconsin Auto Museum. Guests were able to tour the museum during cocktail hour, before the doors opened into the reception room. “We were able to sneak in and see everything set up, and the soft glow of the candles, before everyone came in. It was a special moment. Jessica at the Schauer Center made sure everything was flawless. She made herself very available and allowed me to meet with her as many times as I needed leading up to the big day. I’m so thankful for her and all she did for us!”

Dinner was catered by All Occasions Catering. “Everything was so good! We did a buffet-style dinner, so everyone could choose what they wanted. All Occasions also supplied our linens and china for the evening.” For dessert, there was cake from Tamara’s: The Cake Guru. “I attended nursing school at UW Oshkosh and fell in love with these cupcakes,” Kristina says. “I had to have them for my wedding! We had eight different flavors because I couldn’t narrow it down to just a couple.” As a late-night snack, All Occasions served scrumptious pork shoulder and beef brisket sliders.

Some of Kristina’s favorite moments of the reception have to do with music and dancing. “My grandfather passed away a few years ago and we were very close,” she says. “He and my grandma loved the song ‘My Best Friend’ by Tim McGraw, so I did a special dance to that song with just her. I will always cherish that moment.”

Also, one of Kristina’s friends surprised her by flying in from the Dominican Republic for the wedding. “She’s an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She composed a song just for Mark and I and performed it at the wedding. Two of our other incredibly talented friends were backup singers. The song was perfect.” The rest of the music was left to the DJs at Muzic in Motion, who kept the dance floor hoppin’.

Kristina’s other favorite things about the day are rooted in things that make her relationship with Mark a special one. “Throughout our wedding, pieces of who we are were incorporated into the day. Our wedding colors were navy blue and champagne — a nod to the Brewers and how we met. I sat on Santa’s lap for the garter toss, as a nod to how Mark proposed. And our wedding was in the town where we planted our roots. We wanted our guests to feel all the love that Mark and I feel for each other.”

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful World of Weddings, Washington County Bridal Show
Invitations/Programs/Name Cards/Table Numbers Milo Roots, Milwaukee, WI
Rehearsal Dinner Olde Cedar Inn, West Bend, WI
Ceremony Location The Gardens Wedding Center- Allenton, WI
Reception Location The Schauer Arts Center and Wisconsin Automotive Museum
Caterer All Occasions Catering
Cake Designer/Dessert Tamara's- The Cake Guru– Oshkosh, WI
Flowers Heartfelt Flowers- Lomira, WI
Music/Entertainment Muzic in Motion
Transportation Partridge Family Bus Company
Photographer Ken Cravillion Photography
Videographer Carter Green
Gown Stella York from Brandi's Bridal Galleria, New Glarus, WI
Formalwear Amelishan Bridal
Rings Douglas Jeweler, Hartford, WI
Rentals Sassy Pants, West Bend & All Occasions Catering
Budget-Friendly, Holiday, Orange, Real Weddings, Spring, Theme Weddings, Washington County

Crystal and Dan’s St. Patrick’s Day Wedding

March 27, 2018
Holiday themed wedding

Crystal and Dan had a St. Patrick’s Day to remember! The couple was married on March 17th, 2018 and shared a festive celebration with their family and friends. The lively and cheerful ceremony took place atop a float at the Town of Erin Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade. The float was set up by Audio Therapy DJ Services, and featured a pontoon boat decorated with St. Patrick’s Day flare!

The couple attended the Wonderful World of Weddings show in January for a bit of inspiration. While the Bright and festive bouquets were provided by Creative Floral by Something Borrowed, a gift from Crystal’s Aunt Kathy.  The reception took place at Glacier Hills County Park Pavilion, where guests enjoyed traditional Irish fare such as corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, prepared by Crystal’s father, with help from the Sussex Inn. The spirited and joyous wedding brimmed with personal touches and festivity.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Dan and Crystal met through a family friend, when she was 15 and he was 21. “He obviously wasn’t interested then!” says Crystal. “But as time passed we ended up meeting again in some of the same social circles, my cousin is one of his best friends and was a big part of our union.”

When looking back on her wedding, one moment stands out as the most memorable. “When I hugged Dan just after the kiss and could not contain my tears, it was like all of the love we’ve ever had for each other passed between us in that moment and it was a feeling that I will never forget.”

Bridal Shows Attended Wonderful World of Weddings
Invitations Bride's friend Tija and Allied Digital Photo
Ceremony Location Town of Erin St. Patrick's Day Parade
Reception Location Glacier Hills County Park Pavilion
Donuts Sweet Rings
Cookies Dough Much Better Cookies
Chalkboard/Custom Signage Artist Andy, Allied Digital Photo & Bride's friend Dayna
Flowers Something Borrowed, Hubertus
Transportation Float: Audio Therapy DJ Services
Limo to and from the parade: Classy Chassis LLC
Photographer Azure Mahara Photography
Gown ModCloth
Formalwear OppoSuits
Rings Bartz's Party Store



Ballroom, Real Weddings, Rustic/Vintage Style, Summer, West

Shelby & Cole’s Classy, Classic Wedding at Pano’s in Brookfield

March 23, 2018
Shelby and Cole Marry in Pewaukee WI

Shelby and Cole met through a mutual friend and have been together for 10 years. One Christmas, Shelby had gone to Florida to spend the holiday with her grandmother, and after a chaotic day traveling home, Cole and Shelby’s parents met her at the airport. Cole told Shelby, prior to her return home, that he was going to give her a surprise of where their next trip would be. “At the airport, Cole handed me a letter to read, and he worked really hard to convince me to open it right away,” Shelby says.

“The letter ended with ‘Will you take this trip called life with me?’ And Cole got down on one knee!” To top it off, the piano player at the airport was playing the wedding march. And upon turning around, Shelby was greeted by two of her best friends, her aunt, uncle, brother, Cole’s uncles, grandparents, and more. “They had all been hiding behind newspapers and chairs! My best friends even recorded the entire proposal.”

Cole and Shelby went for a simplistic, classy wedding with a touch of modern-rustic flair. The ceremony was held at St. Anthony’s on the Lake, the parish where Shelby grew up and has also worked. “Having worked with Father Tony, we knew it would be very special for him to officiate our wedding. We made sure to book him two years in advance!” The two cherished saying their vows the most, but Shelby also says, “I’ll never forget Cole’s face when I walked down the aisle, and I’m so glad that our photographer Kara Reese Photography captured it.”