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Rachel & Dan | DIY wedding At Lakefront Palm Garden

September 23, 2010

Rachel & Dan are hard to define in just a few words or a single blog post. English teachers and fiction writers both, they seem a little shy when one first meets them. But hang around awhile and you’ll notice big, easy smiles and comfortable, intimate relationships with friends and family are a big part of what define them. They have eclectic tastes that privilege sustainable materials and the handmade. This was evident on their wedding day in everything from Rachel’s dress to the bamboo shoots that greeted guests at the reception. I learned quickly that Champagne and music make them happy and they are blessed with a lovely and talented family. Dan’s sister played the violin and Rachel’s amazing Aunt Mary made not only ALL the dresses for the bride and her bridesmaids, but also the bouquets, boutes and Rachel’s hair piece. By the end of the day you could have told me Aunt Mary had hand cobbled Dan’s leather shoes and I would have believed it. It doesn’t end with Aunt Mary though: A family friend made the cake, Dan’s mom made the adorable flower girl dresses and all the girls’ necklaces were a mix of heirloom and new beads restrung or newly designed by Aunt Nancy.

Rachel’s dress was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, crafted from tiers of vintage and collected lace and the bridemaids’ dresses – made from sustainable bamboo jersey – were all the same, but configured in every different way to the taste of each wearer. Dan’s bright green socks made me smile all day and little pops of whimsy kept appearing: buttons instead of flowers, the optional nature of shoes, a “groomslady” dress and dinosaur tie pin…Bright, natural, totally Rachel & Dan, that was the day.

Rachel and her bridesmaids traveled upriver by boat to the ceremony, sipping Champagne and enjoying the gorgeous weather along the way. Just before disembarking at the Rowing Club Rachel addressed her pre-wedding jitters with a little bubbly.

Rachel & Dan chose Lakefront Brewery for their reception, a selection that guests always appreciate since it usually means fun is on the menu. They also opted for my Photobooth! (blogged here a few weeks back.) I loved their props and everyone availed themselves of the fun. Dan stayed most of the night on the dance floor and his boogie made me want to dance, too.

Rachel & Dan’s day pulled me through so many emotions from beginning to end. I felt the intimacy of getting ready with friends and family at the hotel, the freshness of a summer boat ride, the anticipation of seeing one another for the first time, the comfort of going bare foot on your wedding day and *really* stopping to smell the flowers. I felt privileged to be a part of all of it and for anyone who needs an Aunt Mary I’ve got her number.

The Details

Bride’s Dress and Head Piece: Made from vintage lace and bamboo jersey by Mary Kartz (aunt of bride), inspired by http://www.ktjean.com/
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Made from bamboo jersey by Mary Kartz, inspired by http://www.butterbynadia.com/
Menswear: suits purchased from various thrift stores, ties by Etsy seller Tux and Tulle
Flower Girls: Made by Sharon Vice (mother of the groom); adapted from a pattern called “Claire” by Portabellopixie Boutique patterns
Her rings: Green Karat
His ring: custom made by Etsy seller Titanium Knights
Bride’s necklace: Late grandmother’s pearls, restrung by Nancy Russell (aunt of bride)
Other jewelery and bridesmaids’ jewelery: Designed and made by Nancy Nancy Russell (aunt of bride)
Bouquets: picked up from West Allis Farmers Market the morning of the wedding
Boutes: Made from fresh herbs and buttons by Mary Kartz
Ring Bearer Pillow: Designed and made by Claire Kartz (cousin of the bride, junior bridesmaid)
Cake: Designed and made by Joan Gaska, friend of the family
DJ: Midwest Sound
Jazz Quartet: Gabriel’s Horns
Paper: all paper items were made by the bride and her maid of honor from paper from Broadway Paper
Ceremony site: Milwaukee Rowing Club
Reception: Lakefront Brewery
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. susan lassiter permalink
    September 23, 2010 6:35 am

    What a beautiful summer wedding…..love the boat ride to the wedding. Beautiful photos!

  2. Cathy Boerner permalink
    September 23, 2010 4:35 pm

    Heather, I loved watching your energy at the wedding and reception and think your photos are beautiful! It clearly shows that you use your insightful nature to know just how to create images that actualize a couple’s inner and outer beauty. Rachel and Dan’s day was gorgeous from beginning to end and your pictures bring the day back to life with each viewing.
    (P.S, Rachel loves you and couldn’t stop raving about you during and after the wedding!)

    Cathy

    • September 23, 2010 4:54 pm

      Thank you so much for your awesome comments. It was a gorgeous day and I’m honored to be a part of their memories!

  3. September 24, 2010 7:51 am

    Your description of the couple and their day is both accurate and thoughtful. It’s refreshing to see a photographer take such good care of a couple’s special day and pay such close attention to the details that they planned for months. Also: your photos are lovely. Beautiful light. And way to catch some great moments between Rachel, Dan and everyone else.

    Sidenote: I, too, want a photobooth in my apartment. Maybe I’d actually do it for parties. Please tell me which lens you had on the photobooth camera and remind me what the setup was like. Two umbrellas? White backdrop? Is that it?

    • September 26, 2010 11:47 pm

      Aww. Thanks Michelle…For the photobooth I used a 17-40mm L series from Canon on a 5D full frame sensor. And yep, I use two umbrellas with a constant light source but you could use off camera flash or even strobes. White backdrop on a stand. And Voila’! The secret is in the participants 🙂

  4. Jena Hopper permalink
    September 27, 2010 8:49 pm

    This wedding makes me so jealous! Reading your descriptions and looking at the pictures really make me want to meet this couple =) I can’t wait until you work your magic on our day!

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