Ceremony & Reception Venue: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center | Florist: Bloom Floral and Event Design | DJ: Scottish DJ | Wedding Dress Shop: Casablanca Bridal, Style 2215 | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridal Boutique | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Videographer: Craig Sikora (Sikora Film Company) | Catering: From Scratch Catering
Ceremony:St. Bernard Church Madison,Wisconsin | Reception Venue: Best Western Premier Park Hotel | Florist: Mary Jean Erschen | DJ: SpotlightEvents | Wedding Dress Shop: Vera’s House of Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas | Videographer: Films Nouveau | Cake: The Cupcake Camper |
Ceremony Venue: Grace Lutheran Church | Reception Venue: Bartolotta’s Grain Exchange | Florist: Green Ivy Greeting & Floral | DJ: Milwaukee Airwavest | Wedding Dress Shop: Paloma Blanca | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Stationery: Minted | Videographer: Simply Love Films
Valentine’s Day. Very few know the reason for the Holiday, so being the history buff I am, I looked it up only to find several conflicting stories all deeply shrouded in mystery from antiquity. Thanks to some surviving hagiographical records, we’re able to compile the various records of a man or men named Valentine and combine them into one identity and merged with a pagan fertility festival which we celebrate today in the form of pink and red hearts and roses, chocolates, and possibly engagement rings!
I like to think that there is always a bit of truth in legends. In short, we celebrate a day named after St. Valentine who allegedly married young Christian couples in secret due Emperor Claudius II outlawing marriage because he thought that married men made poor soldiers. Accounts state that Valentine broke the law and also attempted to convert the Emperor to Christianity. This ultimately culminated in his demise outside the Flaminian Gate.
In later years, the Roman Catholic church would turn the story of a priest & a bishop into a patron Saint for bookkeepers and lovers alike. In an interesting personal twist, a common ancestor of both Katie and myself, poet Geoffrey Chaucer (16th great grandfather), may have single-handedly created the romantic tradition we know today with his work “Parlement of Foules,” in which he stated that birds and human find a mate on Seynt Valentine’s Day.
For whatever reason, we like to remind those closest to us that we love, care, and are thinking of them on this special day in February. I always look forward to the vintage cards my grandmother sends my children, a tradition she started with me and has kept over the last 30 years. I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have been loved by so many throughout my life. This is a gift I have often taken for granted. Not everyone is so fortunate and blessed to love and be loved in return.
My wife, Katie, knows wholeheartedly that I am not the biggest fan of this American Holiday, but maybe that was because I never understood the story behind and the personal attachment to its origins. As a believer, we embrace the very real possibility that our faith will have negative earthly ramifications for following Jesus. We’re blessed to live in a country where we’re able to worship how we like and marry whom we love.
Special thanks to all of our 32 Couples from 2016 for reminding us why we love what we do so much and Happy Valentine’s Day! – The Stokes
One of the most challenging aspects a photographer faces on a wedding day is finding the perfect location for portraits. Ideally, we like to shot these images in nice even overcast light, however, most times these images have to take place during the middle of the day when the light is most harsh. In the Northwoods, if you are outdoors, you fight the elements which include flying insects of all kinds, humidity, and heat during the summer. I personally am always thinking about how others are feeling – I want to make sure that brides and grooms that are in front of us are not only comfortable but look great too! You want their dresses 7 tuxes to stay perfect and yet at the same time want to take them on a hike through the woods. It is our preference to do these after the ceremony and as close to sunset as possible.
We work directly with our couples to help them plan their day around photography to ensure the best uses of their time and so they don’t feel like their entire day was spent in front of our cameras. We want them to have fun and come away with some gorgeous photographs that will stand the test of time and live on their wall or in their Heirloom Album. Similarly, this is why our collections include these options, because we want our couples to print their images so they don’t just live on their thumb drive or in their gallery.
I photograph my subjects how I would want to be photographed if I were them. In fact, that is how I do just about everything. How would I want this done or how would I want it to look if I were on the receiving end? I very much enjoy not only taking photos but being in them with the people I love. Life goes by too fast to not be photographed regularly and I don’t mean with your iPhone. When we do, we make tens of copies to share with family and friends to ensure at least one makes it to the next generation. As a curator of old personal photos, I have learned the value of a printed photograph and it is often the ones that were stored in the Family Bible that we have the privilege of holding one hundred years later. My wife grew up an oval convex framed print of her great-great grandfather on the wall, presumably a wedding portrait taken shortly before he died of the Spanish Flu around 1919. There was so much mystery behind the photograph; how did he die? Who were his parents? Where did he come from? It wasn’t until recently that many of those questions were answered. Had it not been for that photograph, his only living descendants might never have known he even existed. His own daughter new knew him.
I think of stories like these and realize that there are many such cases out there scattered throughout people’s family trees. It is our hope that our clients would realize the value of family and history and preserve their story for their descendants. We want your portraits to spark great conversations about the past and tell of a love that created an entire branch on your family tree.