Caiti and Jake’s Berkshire Wedding in Downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Windway Kohler WisconsinKasey and Ben PhotographyWinter Wedding Sheboygan WisconsinKasey and Ben PhotographyKohler Wedding PhotographersSheboygan Wedding PhotographersThe Black Pig RestaurantSheboygan Wedding PhotographersNortheast Wisconsin Wedding Photographers

We’ve been looking forward to Jake and Caiti’s wedding since before they were engaged. Let me explain… With no experience beyond stories told by his uncle, Ben always dreamed of sailing. It was something he was drawn to and always wanted to try. When I came across the Sheboygan Youth Sailing Center and saw classes that fit our schedule, I signed him up! And thus began two summers of hour-long post-work commutes and Ben coming home excitedly telling me about everything he had learned. (If you know Ben, everything was a harrowing tale!)  It was there that he met Caiti and Jake, his sailing instructors. Sailing had brought them together and planted them in Sheboygan, and although they were not yet engaged, Ben offhandedly passed Jake a business card.

This was five years ago, and for five years that little card stayed tucked safety into Jake’s wallet until the day he pulled it out and sent us an email. When I realized who they were (these super cool people Ben had gone on and on about) I was so excited. And when we met and I got to hear about the wedding they were planning, I was over the moon. A sunset wedding in winter at The Berkshire in downtown Sheboygan? Yes, please! We chatted more about their plans, and the wedding was everything we love best, a small, intimate affair truly focused on who they are as a couple. Winter weddings are automatically dreamy, but adding in some vintage neon, a stop at Riverbend Country Club, and a fresh dusting of snow, and it was downright perfect.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Caiti’s getting ready location was changed the morning of the wedding. Last minute changes on a wedding day are never ideal, but thanks to Caiti’s friend, Winter, the getting ready location was saved! The bridal party was given access to the Frank Lloyd Wright house, Windway. Everything about the space was beautiful and it was the perfect spot for Caiti to bond with her girls, get into her dress, and share her first look with her father and Jake himself.

The Berkshire Sheboygan Wedding

The wedding ceremony was held at The Berkshire Event Venue in downtown Sheboygan. Lights were strung overhead and, as the couple said their vows, the sunset shone pink through the industrial windows behind them. The mood was perfect and it was felt by all the guests. To honor their sailing history, Jake and Caiti performed a knot-tying ceremony. As the guests were ushered out, we snuck outside for some photos under the lights of the alleyway then met up with family for portraits. Everyone enjoyed cocktail hours, dinner, and moving speeches by parents and friends. The evening concluded with cake and dancing.

We are so happy Jake kept that little card in his wallet all those years so we got to witness such an amazing day! Congratulations, Caiti and Jake, and cheers to many years!

Vendors:

  • Venue: The Berkshire, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Photography Stops: Windway Estate, Kohler, Wisconsin and Riverbend Country Club, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Dress: Stone Manor Bridal, Grafton, Wisconsin
  • Suit: Art Imig’s Clothiers, Kohler, Wisconsin
  • Floral: Bare Buds Floral Design, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Hair and Make-up: Salon Aura, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Rings: Scroggins Jewlers, Sheboygan
  • Cake: Better Sweet Bakery, Plymouth, WI
  • DJ: Infinity DJ, Sheboygan, WI

Personal Post: in gratitude for puddles and potholes

Potawatomi State ParkDoor County, Baileys HarborOutdoors Maple SyrupI am so ready for spring. Even more than past years, I feel as though I’ve spent all of February trapped inside breathing the same stale air and dreaming of warm weather. Usually winter doesn’t stop us from getting outdoors — hiking in state parks, sledding, skating, etc, but this winter brought such frigid temperatures that even our regular outings seemed daunting. There are only so many layers you can put on a baby.

The unusually cold days and heavy snow means our spring activities will be delayed (no maple syrup tapping for a few more weeks *sigh*). Yet I am still excited for any sign of spring. This morning as I left the house I was thrilled to see my flooded driveway because, even though the inch of standing water is not ideal, I’m just glad it’s no longer an inch of solid ice. I guess that’s what it means to be in a position of gratitude. We have are given an option: we can be mad because the puddle gave us wet feet and the newly-revealed potholes made for an annoying commute, or we can be thankful for above freezing temperatures and melting snow. It’s not always easy, but I know which option I want to choose.

Kiddos can be a good reminder of this. For Juniper, the sound of water dripping down the drainpipe was enough to elicit raised eyebrows and an excited gasp of air. I can only imagine how thrilled she’ll be to see birds return to the yard, buds form on the trees, and snow melt down to a level that she can actually walk on top of it (we’re not there yet!) She will remind me what is amazing, and she will remind me to be grateful for all of it.

So as we splash our way through the rest of this wet, dreary March, I’m going to appreciate my flooded backyard (warmer temperatures), the baby who stays up too late (longer days), and all the yard work yet to come (things are growing). Because life is just better when we live in gratitude.

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More like this: A Midwesterner’s Spring, Making Maple Syrup, or The Gift of Curiosity. Film scans above ^ from winter and spring activities in February and March 2017 in Door County, Wisconsin.

Tips for Safe and Beautiful Winter Photos

Snow winter photos wequiock fallsHere in Wisconsin the winters are long and it really gives us two options; we can stay inside for months on end, or we can learn to appreciate the snow and tolerate the chilly temperatures. For many people (Ben included) the prospect of winter sports like skiing and ice fishing make the season something to look forward to, but for the rest of us, we need something else to help us through. For me, that something is the cozy factor.

Like most people, I love warm, summer days where the light is long and jackets aren’t required, but one thing winter does better than any other season is provide us with a reason to snuggle close to our loved ones. Winter is wool blankets, candles in the windows, and silent, snowy nights. As a photographer, winter gives us so much to work with — there are the snowflakes clinging to tree branches, families snuggled under blankets, couples holding one another close, and kiddos playing in the snow. Everything is intimate, the closeness amplified by the cold temperatures.

Winter Photos in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Although winter is our slow season, we photograph weddings and portrait sessions all year long. February is our favorite month for winter photos as it usually offers plenty of snow (more than plenty this year!) I know there are many people considering having photos done outdoors in the winter, but there are worries holding you back. So I thought I would take a moment to talk about our process and how we keep the experience safe…

  1. Sometimes Cold is Too Cold

There are limits to when it is safe to be outside for extended periods of time. Just like a rain date in spring, we keep “cold dates” in winter in case the temperature or windchill are unsafe. If it’s a couple’s session, 15 degrees many be tolerable, but if it involves young family members, we are better off waiting for a warmer winter day.

2. Pay Attention to Footwear

Cold, wet feet are the end of a session, so prepare by choosing appropriate footwear, namely boots. There are so many options for cute boots and socks for adults and kiddos alike, that there is no worry of finding something that will work well in photos and still keep you warm and dry.

3. Take Breaks

Every session we photograph takes place a few hours before sunset to ensure the most flattering light. In winter, we build in a little extra time knowing that we will need to take breaks every ten to fifteen minutes to keep everyone comfortable. We also choose locations where vehicles can be parked nearby or where there is a heated building just steps away. This way when the cold starts to bother, everyone has a moment to warm their hands and reset.

4. Watch Out for Extremities

Fingers are usually the first thing to get cold. Although most people choose not to wear gloves in photos, we suggest having them along to slip on between photos. We also recommend hand warmers in each pocket. It’s amazing what a difference they can make!

Family Photographer in Green Bay

We love getting the perfect shot in falling snow with a snuggling family, but safety always comes first. We would never put you or your loved ones at risk by choosing a remote location, or pressuring anyone beyond their comfort zone. Feel free to CONNECT with us to talk about your vision for a winter session and how we can make beautiful, unique photos happen while keeping everyone safe.

10 Best Door County Venues for Small Weddings

Small weddings are our absolute favorite! The short guest list usually means the day is more intimate and shows couple’s personalities. Brides feel less inclined to follow traditions that don’t suit them, and couples get to better enjoy their wedding day free from major stressors!

Door County is a great spot for small weddings whether you’re planning an elopement, small wedding, or destination wedding. Since we photograph in Door County regularly, we thought we would compile a list of the best small wedding venues in the area so you can get an overview and details on each before jumping website to website!

Door County Wedding Photographers

1. Wineries

Even if you don’t know much about Door County, chances are you know that the peninsula is dotted with wineries from toe to tip. What you may not know is that these wineries often open their doors to small weddings.

Simon Creek Winery, Sturgeon Bay, WI

  • Outdoor weddings can be held in green space near the creek (see photos above).
  • Ceremony tents are allowed.

Stone’s Throw Winery, Baileys Harbor, WI

  • Outdoor weddings can accommodate up to 150 people in the green space, or smaller groups on the patio or in the sculpture garden.
  • Indoor weddings can accommodate up to 80 people in the Barrel Room or Tasting Room.

2. Garden Gables

Garden Gables, Sister Bay, WI describes themselves as Door County’s premier DIY wedding venue. It’s romantic, whimsical, and charming with an outdoor stone bar, concrete band stage, indoor barn area, and outdoor gazebo. Everything about this venue is unique and perfect for weddings with a boho theme or a rustic vibe.

  • Open June through September and can accommodate up to 200 guests outdoors or 100 guests indoors.
  • There is a cottage space with restrooms available for wedding preparations and two multi-stall indoor restrooms for guests.
  • Only four miles from downtown Sister Bay.

3. State Parks

Until we were invited to photograph our first state park wedding at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, I had no idea they even rented for weddings. But with all the water views and gorgeous wooded areas, it’s a great choice for your warm weather affair. Some parks even rent shelter areas to be used for simple receptions!

Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek, WI

  • Only small weddings are permitted. Two enclosed shelters are available for rent and can accommodate up to 50 people. Other than the shelter rental fee and vehicle stickers, there is no fee for holding your wedding at Peninsula State Park.
  • There are some locations where tents are permitted.
  • Wedding locations include Weborg Point (see photos above), Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Welckers Point, Sven’s Bluff, Eagle Panorama, and Eagle Terrace.

Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, WI

  • Some facilities are reservable including the picnic shelter on South Shoreline which seats 30 and the Amphitheater located in the center of the park near the campground which seats around 60.
  • A tent can be set up outside of the picnic shelter for outdoor ceremonies.
  • There are areas that are not reservable, but weddings can also be hosted there, (see photos above) just contact the park for details.

4. Gordon Lodge

Gordon Lodge, Baileys Harbor, WI may be Door County’s most popular wedding venue. Their unique grounds feature so many options from an intimate beach wedding, woodsy views, or indoor spaces, you can customize to your heart’s content. Onsite catering and lodging is a big plus for this venue as that is not easy to find in the area. The water views are unbeatable and the food is incredible!

  • Amenities include onsite catering and lodging, private beach, and equipment rentals (bicycles, kayaks, and paddle boards for exploring).
  • Gordon Lodge’s Event Center seats 250 without encroaching on dance floor, and the Boathouse is perfect for smaller weddings which can seat 50-60 based on wether you choose to do plated dinner or banquet style.
  • Ceremonies may also be held outdoors on the green space where Lake Michigan and North Bay meet.

5. Woodwalk Gallery

Art, wine, and beaches, that’s what Door County is known for! Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, WI is an active art gallery and a beautiful venue featuring a historic barn, landscaped trails, and multiple outdoor wedding locations. They are also known for their friendliness when working with couples to plan their wedding!

  • Although known mostly for small weddings, Woodwork can accommodate outdoor groups up to 250.
  • There are many outdoor options for ceremony including a garden lattice and vintage silo (see photos above), or you can hold your wedding inside the historic barn. A tent may be set up barn adjacent to make the transition indoors easy for your guests.
  • There is a getting ready space onside for wedding preparations and indoor bathrooms are available for guests.

6. Horseshoe Bay Farms

Although mostly know for its larger weddings, Horseshoe Bay Golf Club, Egg Harbor, WI is set up well for smaller affairs in their Beach Club venue. Centrally located, Horseshoe Bay Farms is only a short drive from Sturgeon Bay where many of the peninsula’s amenities and lodging are, or guests can plan to travel north after your wedding to explore more of what the county has to offer. Murphy Park is just across the way which is a beautiful stop for photos with a pet-friendly park and warm bathing beach.

  • At Horseshoe Bay the Members Clubhouse seats up to 200 indoors for dinner, the Private Dining Room seats 35, and Horseshoe Bay’s Tent Pad is an outdoor venue with seating for up to 140 guests.
  • The Beach Club is it’s own small venue along the shores of Green Bay with rooftop deck, patio, and indoor venue space with seating for up to 70 guests.
  • Horseshoe Bay is also known for their signature cocktails such as Door County Cherry Mojitos or Horseshoe Bay Old Fashioneds to add a personal touch!

7. Stavkirke Church

If you’re feeling adventurous, an island wedding might be for you! Stavkirke Church, Washington Island, WI is a small wood chapel surrounded by woods (see photos above). It was build by local craftsman to honor the Scandinavian roots of the island and based on a church in Borgund, Norway from 1150 AD. Washington Island does require a ferry from Gills Rock, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but your guests will appreciate the weekend getaway. No guests? Washington Island is the perfect spot for an elopement, just don’t forget to pack you swimsuit!

  • Great for elopements and small weddings of 30 or fewer guests.
  • Just around the corner from famous Schoolhouse Beach, perfect for photos.

8. Bjorklunden

Bjorklunden, Baileys Harbor, WI is a 440 acre estate on the quiet side of the peninsula. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the “bay side”, choosing a location along the “lake side” is a good option. Bjorklunden is actually a small music school (a branch of Lawrence University) but they do rent multiple spaces for private events and weddings.

  • The most popular option for weddings is Boynton Chapel which is a wood stav church built in 1939. It can accommodate up to 36 guests.
  • There are multiple onsite lodging options available (including a studio apartment space) as well as indoor spaces for food and events.

9. Landmark Resort

Although not exclusively for small weddings, Landmark Resort, Egg Harbor, WI is a Door County staple, voted “Best Wedding Venue” by Door County Magazine. In addition to their well known reception site and lodging options, The Landmark also has two outdoor ceremony locations including the Egg Harbor Terrace (see photos above) and Flagship Garden offering views of the bay.

  • Best known as a reception hall, the Landmark also offers outdoor ceremony venues and a smaller restaurant space (Carrington Grill) perfect for intimate weddings.
  • In the banquet space, The Landmark can hold up to 200 guests. The State Room seats 80, and there are smaller rooms to accommodate groups up to 40.
  • 284 condominium suites are available for rent for you and your guests so they can make a weekend of it. Book hospitality suites, distribute brunch vouchers, or even host a fish boil for your guests!
  • Outdoor ceremonies can hold 120-200 guests.

10. About Thyme Farm

About Thyme Farm, Baileys Harbor, WI is a gorgeous barn venue on the “quiet side” of the peninsula. It is surrounded by fields and lush green space. If you are thinking a barn wedding might be for you, but want a place that is already prepared to host, About Thyme is that venue. They are set up for DJ and band equipment, have a built-in bar, and chandeliers throughout the main of the barn with Italian bulbs lighting the back of the barn.

  • About Thyme boasts amble parking for up to 75 cars and the option to leave vehicles overnight if you are shuttling guests to lodging.
  • Wedding ceremonies can be held indoors or outdoors.
  • Indoor restrooms able to accommodate a full guest list.
  • Barn can seat up to 200 for dinner.

Honorable Mentions:

We didn’t want to make this post too overwhelming and there are so many great places to get married in Door County! If you didn’t find your hidden gem listed above, we suggest you check out Silver Poplar Studios, Birch Creek Music Center, Hillside Inn, Bridal Chapel of Door County, or Whistling Swan Restaurant. There are also many more restaurants that can host wedding receptions.

If you are considering an elopement, we suggest checking out a bed and breakfast (like the Chanticleer B&B cabin elopement pictured above) or a public park or beach area like Cave Point County Park.

We hope this guide has helped guide you through your planning process! We love Door County and it’s been such a pleasure to work with the people at these incredible venues to make beautiful, memorable wedding days. If you have questions about a venue or want to meet up and chat about your wedding photography vision, send us a message HERE.

Kavarna Coffeehouse on Broadway, meet the new owners, Kayla & Mike

As is the case for many Green Bay locals, Kavarna Coffeehouse tops the list of places we want to hang out. In my college years, it was a luxury to gather with friends over board games and lattes; in my newly married years it was a short bike ride from my home and a place to connect with the hubby and work on our various creative pursuits; and as a new mom it is the coffeehouse that has a play area (ingenious!) to keep my roaming 15-month-old occupied while I get to dress cute and interact with adults. No matter your age or your reason, Kavarna is the place. It’s full of positive energy, natural light, playful architecture, and, of course, scrumptious treats.

Green Bay Coffee Shop

The news of Kavarna changing hands may have come as a shock, and you might be fearful that your favorite spot is going to lose all its best qualities. But the new owners, Kayla Viste and Mike Hastreiter, are friends and clients of ours, and we are happy to say that is not the case. “We love Kavarna for all the same reasons the average person loves Kavarna,” Mike says, as we sit down over coffee. “And we wouldn’t come in and get rid of all the things we love. That just doesn’t make sense,” he states simply.

Mike was born and raised in Green Bay, and went on to college at UWGB where he earned his bachelors and masters and met Kayla. Kayla grew up in Door County, and, after earning her bachelors at UWGB, attended UIC for her graduate degree. While attending college, Kayla worked as a barista at local coffee shops and found she loved the atmosphere. “All throughout my schooling working at those places, I always dreamed of owning my own coffeeshop,” she says.

Years later, the couple began making plans to enter the world of entrepreneurship, and Kayla reflected back on her experience as a barista, which drew them to owning a coffee shop. When they found out Kavarna was for sale, they knew it was the perfect fit.  “I love that Kavarna is community center that brings people together and that is a really good feeling we want to keep going,” Kayla says.

Both Kayla and Mike have management and food service  backgrounds “We’ve done the parts but not the sum,” Mike muses, thinking about the job ahead. “But we are really excited to take over and try this out.”

Kayla and Mike live in De Pere where they raise their 11-year-old daughter, Dezi, who is into music and sports. “She is super excited. She wants to be super involved…Perhaps more involved than she can be at this point,” Kayla says. “She won’t clean anything at home, but she’s super pumped about wiping tables here,” Kayla laughs. In their spare time the couple enjoys creative pursuits, baking, and home-brewing. They recently began making their own kombucha and plan to introduce their homemade kombucha in a “kombucharator”. “It’s just going to be another option for people to enjoy in addition to our chilled teas,” Mike reassures customers who may fear their favorite drinks being replaced. “We just want to maintain the quality and keep things consistent. Our main goal is going to be working with and perfecting what is already here.”

Kavarna itself has happy memories for Mike and Kayla. “I remember coming here with friends for what we called ‘Kavarna-burbia’ with my friends. There’s this board game called ‘Suburbia’ and we would meet here and everyone would get food and drinks, hang out and play,” Mike reflects. “I think that’s the kind of place [Kavarna] is for a lot of people.”

Kayla and Mike plan to run Kavarna full time. They believe a business as big and community-centered as Kavarna requires all their attention. “We’ll be here, we’ll be around and hopefully people can get to know us,” Mike says. “We strongly believe that if you’re going to own a business, you should be all in. We want this to be our living. We want to be here when we’re needed, you know? Who could have a better office than this anyway?” jokes Mike.

There are no big changes on the horizon for Kavarna, but there are a few small things to look forward to. Other than the introduction of fresh kombucha, they are looking at making a few upgrades to the play area and starting a new arts program. “We are also super excited about introducing Dark Roast Art nights where adults could come for arts and crafts night,” Kayla says. “Our general hope is to work with local artists to provide this,” Mike adds. The adult classes will take place in the evening (possibly monthly or bi-monthly) and occasional daytime classes called Light Roast Arts will offer STEAM programming for parents and children to enjoy together.

We finished our chat by talking about favorite coffee drinks. While Kayla loves lattes best, Mike confesses that his drink favorites change month to month, “I feel like I’m affected by season, but I think my favorite overall coffee drink is light roasted coffee,” he pauses. “But I like to do geeky things with it like pour-over combinations.”

Whatever your favorite coffee drink, Kavarna will still be there to serve it. You can be sure we’ll be there as well, devouring tortellini pasta salad and chocolate chunk cookies, and chasing a bald baby who likes to wander around scowling at strangers. Cheers!

New Franken Maternity Session

What a dreamy evening we had for Kori and Dan’s maternity session awaiting the arrival of their first baby, a boy named Dax. The couple was hoping for a waterfront session and after discussing a few options and sharing sample photos, we decided on Bay Shore Park in New Franken. It gave us the opportunity to capture bright, warm golden hour photos in the woods, then take the session down to the bay for a water view. In the heart of summer with a long, warm evening winding down, we thought it would be fun to end the session in the water. Kori and Dan were up for the adventure, and we got the opportunity to photograph the most romantic pregnancy photos with sun-flare and waves splashing on the beach!

Baby Dax is now out and about in the world — smiling and checking off baby milestones! Congratulations, Kori and Dan!

 

Green Bay and Door County 2019 Photography Classes

Here it is — my 2019 photography class line-up! I have one teen class next month and three adult classes over the summer and early fall. Taking Control in Manual Mode is the most comprehensive class for beginners and involves a lot of hands-on learning, detailed visual guides, and practice time as well as one-on-one and group critiques to help you feel confident behind the camera.

Lightroom: A Beginners Guide to Editing Your Images is the most popular class, selling out each year! In this class we will learn about workflow, how to organize your images into catalogs, how to safely store and back-up, as well as how to batch edit your images to save time and make corrections to light, color, cropping, saturation, and more!

Overcoming Difficult Light in Photography is new this year. It’s an intermediate level class for students already comfortable with their cameras. We will talk about difficult lighting situations: bright noonday light, sunsets, back-lighting, strong side-light, and low light, and how to account for them. We will use various tools including reflectors, diffusers, led lights, and flash. This will be a fun introduction to lighting. SIGN UP FOR PSA CLASSES

If these classes don’t cover a topic of interest to you or don’t work with your schedule, contact us about setting up a one-on-one mentoring session where I will tailor content to your skill level and interests, and we can work around your schedule. LEARN MORE

Every year I announce my teaching schedule here first! If you don’t subscribe to the blog, but would like to be the first to see where I will be teaching, enter your information in the sidebar and you will be the first to know! It’s 2019; let’s take the plunge and learn something new!

Cozy Cabin Family Session

The new year has rolled around, and we’re busy making plans for next season, but as we do, we have a few favorite sessions left to blog. One of those is Amanda’s cozy log cabin session as part of our Limited Edition Seasonal Sessions we hold each spring and fall. Amanda is our web designer, and very talented, so we’ve had the pleasure of working with her as her photographers and as her clients. This session was her family’s first official family photos and it was a blast! Jameson is smart and funny, full of brilliant ideas, and clearly has lots of love for Amanda and Jason. We loved teasing and joking and making images together! Cheers!

Downtown Green Bay Senior Photos

Soren and Erik’s senior session was planned for downtown Green Bay to provide us with an urban landscape for their high school yearbook photos. Twin brothers, Erik and Soren attend Notre Dame Academy where they love to play music, participate in German club, and spend time skateboarding and mountain biking. They liked the idea of a downtown location and we love the clean lines, texture, and creamy neutral tones that photograph so well. With a final year filled with IB classes, their academics are keeping them busy, but will set them up well as they prepare to head off to college next year. Best wishes for the future, Soren and Erik!

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