In the thick of this Wisconsin winter, about half of us are feeling sluggish and bored, and half of us are still feeling extra motivated about our New Year's resolutions that are coming along great. Thankfully, I belong to the latter group this year! For us photographers, especially in colder climates, January through March are "the slow season" - especially if you don't own or rent a studio space. Normally, that would be the case for me... But for 2020, I decided to do things differently. I decided to utilize the "slow season" to grow my business and take on shoots I normally wouldn't, whether because of logistics, fear, or lack of time. I found out about a styled wedding shoot being organized by Timeless Events on January 18th, and I was so in! With 2020 being my first year diving into the wild world of weddings, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to build my wedding portfolio prior to my first 2020 wedding, which is currently early this summer. I was also ecstatic about meeting and working with other talented local wedding vendors - and this shoot had some great ones! If you follow my business on social media, you've probably seen some sneak peeks already. This shoot has been one of my favorites I've ever done, as the velvet textures and rich jewel tones go really well with my editing style (if I do say so myself)!
So without further ado, here's Velvet Gems!
First things first, let me introduce you to our super adorable, just-married-in-real-life, Bride & Groom models, Whitney and Ryen Lein! These two have such lovely chemistry and I absolutely loved photographing them! They were so laidback and easy to work with. Whitney's beautiful wedding dress is from Strike Bridal Bar (keep reading for more details on them) and Ryen rocked a purple velvet tux that was so cool and unique.
And then there was the venue...so dreamy! This styled shoot took place at a new venue in Oconomowoc called, The Carriage House at Lac La Belle. It held its very first wedding in August 2019, so it's brand new! I'm obsessed with the wood beams and chandeliers giving it that barn venue feel, but with better natural lighting thanks to the white walls and abundance of windows. Photographing this venue was incredible, and I hope to return there to photograph a real wedding one day!
To put the spotlight on one of the many vendors I loved working with that day, let me introduce you to Pour Inc. Milwaukee! This event bartending vendor took over The Carriage House's bar with their expertly-crafted boozy creations that would be perfect for any winter wedding! Just look at that cocktail above...they totally tempted all us other vendors!
Following the theme of boozy creations...Pour Inc. also crafted these pink champagne drinks, which I LOVED. They photographed so well, and I officially want a champagne toast with these at my own wedding one day (you'll see that's a recurring theme for this shoot). This also leads me to introduce our two lovely bridesmaid models, Hailey Mirkes (in blue) and Olya Dempze (in green). You'd never know these two had never met before, they look like besties, right?! They were so fun to work with and down for all my ideas, and even had some awesome pose ideas of their own! And can we just talk about their velvet dresses for a minute...STUNNING!!
All linens, from the fabulous emerald and ruby tablecloths to the champagne waterfall napkins, were provided by Tera at Windy City Linen. The image above is one of my favorites from the day as it encompasses the "Velvet Gems" theme so much! These colors are to die for. (Please note: I do not know the exact names of these linen colors - ask Tera!)
I'm sure by now you've noticed the stunning floral arrays from this event, provided by Sunborn Gardens - a Madison flower farm. The colors went so perfectly with the Velvet Gems theme, and being a floral and greenery lover myself, these really caught my eye!
So you probably can't tell, but I was a BIG fan of the centerpiece! ;)
Lisa from Sunborn Gardens helped safely move it from table to table so I could get allllll the different angles and backgrounds!
You may have noticed a sweet little teal menu peeking at the bottom of the collage above. Yes, we even had stationery at this styled shoot! These beautiful paper pieces were provided by the lovely ladies at Taylor Design Stationery. They even brought different options, including a red velvet menu. I couldn't help but snap some shots of it, too!
As we head back out to The Carriage House's outdoor patio area, I have to tell you about a stunning vintage gray velvet sofa rental we had at the shoot from Vintique Rentals Wisconsin! Sooo pretty. If you're not a photographer yourself then you may not know it, but these vintage velvet sofas are making a BIG comeback and almost every photographer I know wants to snag one! But they're rare and often costly, so not the easiest prop to obtain. Renting is a super smart way to go if you'd like one of these at your wedding!
FYI - I realized during the editing process I never got a photo of the sofa by itself *insert crying emoji here...because I can't on my PC.* I'm still sad about it. But I think even from these, you can see that it's one fabulous sofa. Note to future self - bring a shot list to your next styled shoot, Sarah!
I spent a lot of time on the patio thanks to cute furniture, heat lamps, & adorable string lights. Now feels like a good time to shout out the bride's stunning wedding dress. The dress, along with accessories, were provided by a super sweet, modern bridal bar in Milwaukee called Strike Bridal Bar. Tbh, it's on my own list as a must-go place to try on wedding dresses when the time comes. I love their concept & the experience looks so fun on their Insta. Whitney stayed warm on this brisk January afternoon with a white faux fur wrap!
And yes, a train and a long bridal veil meant the dress had its own supervisor for the day!
Above is one of the more *creative* shots I got that day, with the bridesmaids toasting over the newlyweds. So cute! I believe this was one of the bridesmaid's ideas for a shot, and I was all for it! This was one of the last photos taken that day as I was the last photographer to hang around at the shoot for any last-minute ideas, like this one! Videographer Chris from CR Films was another vendor who stuck around until the very end, and I captured a few Behind-The-Scenes shots of some of his video captures.
All in all, Velvet Gems was such a fun styled shoot and I'm so glad it could be the first styled shoot I've ever attended! Kristen from Timeless Events LLC did such a great job planning, designing, and coordinating everything so every little detail went together seamlessly. I hope to have the pleasure of attending another styled shoot organized by her in the future!
Keep an eye out over here on my blog, because it's my slightly-lofty goal to blog EVERY 2020 wedding I photograph! Other event photography as well (I have an exciting one coming on Valentine's Day...it involves dogs!) and maybe even some regular sessions too. Thanks for the read! Full Vendor List with Links: Photography | Sarah Zakula Photography LLC Design, Planning & Coordination | Timeless Events Venue | The Carriage House at Lac La Belle Wedding Dress & Accessories | Strike Bridal Bar
Cocktails | Pour Inc. MKE Linens | Windy City Linen (Tera) Vintage Sofa | Vintique Rental WI Live Artist (not pictured) | Kristen Kieckhaefer Studios Videographer | CR Films Models: Bride & Groom | Whitney and Ryen Lein Bridesmaids | Hailey Mirkes and Olya Dempze