Natalie and Ben made an absolutely gorgeous wedding on an equestrian farm in Oconomowoc. It was so beautiful that you’d almost think it was a themed wedding.
When I think of theme weddings, I usually think of something the bride and groom specifically created non-organically and involved the guests and decorations.
This wasn’t a theme wedding, but in some ways it felt like that, just because of the location.
This wedding set in the heart of summer was at a Intergrity Farm in Oconomowoc, an equestrian center.
From the moment I heard about the venue, I was really excited to shoot this wedding! Everything was at the farm, from getting ready to the wedding to the reception.
See Natalie actually worked at the equestrian center and trained and rode horses, the type of horse riding you usually only see on TV where horses and riders jump over poles of varying heights and look very elegant and you assume are located only in England.
When you drive into Integrity Farms, the first thing you see is a row of apple trees on either side of the road leading up a long driveway.
The actual wedding was set in a grove of trees that ran in between two horse arenas. The horse arenas were separated by fences made of thick white wooden boards and the trees ran in straight lines down the length of the fence.
Therefore the trees and fences made a natural runway for the bride to walk down into where a wedding arch was set up for Natalie and Ben to stand under when they were married.
The reception area then was under a large outdoor white tent in the horse arena. The reception was decorated with a rustic country theme, complete with horseshoes, wood stump seats and a stunning old-fashioned couch and chair set up for lounging outside the tent. I really loved that old-fashioned early 1900s furniture creating a separate isolated lounging area that was apart from the general reception seating.
That was the scene and it made me very excited to shoot the wedding!
When I arrived, I started out by spending the early part of the day with Natalie as she got ready for the wedding day. She got her makeup done and I took pictures of the shoes, the dress, the rings and the bouquet among other things.
Since I had plenty of time before the actual wedding, I took a little bit extra time to shoot the rings. In this case I felt like I really got the best and most elegant ring shot I’ve ever gotten at a wedding.
In the past I’ve incorporated shoes or the bouquet or so on and so forth, trying find cute ways to add elements to the rings. For example, at this wedding I saw Natalie and Ben really enjoyed salvaging these old, cool looking objects. Things you might find at a flea market or a garage sale and then you can incorporate that into a new-modern meets salvaged object.
So, one of these objects was an old-looking lemonade clock with wire hands, so I put the rings on the metal hands and took some pictures. I do stuff like this all the time, but the new idea that happened with Natalie was something else.
I started off with the rings in the living room where Natalie was getting ready and like most weddings there was a lot of wedding clutter in this room and a lot of people so it was going to be hard to create a clean simple background to make the rings pop.
But, what I did notice was that above Natalie’s head as she was getting her makeup done was a chandelier with a ring of light bulbs. As a photographer you really pay attention to lights, so those lights were creating really interesting looks.
Well, I couldn’t very well suspend the rings in midair to take a shot with these lights in the background, but what I did see was a plain mirror with a black border. So, I took the mirror, wiped it down and put it on the table below the lights.
After placing the rings on it, I was able to reflect the out-of-focus lights on the mirror and create, really a super-intriguing image of the rings.
Of course, once Natalie put her wedding dress on, we were able to switch to bridal portraits and there were a couple which really made me proud. One was more of a snapshot with Natalie, but she had picked up her dog, Brooklyn, who gave her a kiss on the nose.
I snapped the picture and got one where the puppy had his full tongue out on the bride’s nose and it’s just such a fun impromptu picture, that it makes me so happy.
The other shots that worked were photos of Natalie holding on to her mom and her sister and I think they showed a really neat moment between family and her before the wedding. Her mother, in particular, started tearing up and it was quite touching!
Once we got to the actual wedding, everything was casual with many of the wedding guests standing up and filling out the grove of trees watching the couple get married. I flittered in between all the guests grabbing up photos and thought the backdrop of Natalie and Ben was one of the best I’ve ever worked with at any wedding.
We took formal portraits after the wedding ceremony right next to a wooden fence and taking those photos outside worked really well with nice soft lighting in the shade and a beautiful background to make all the people pop in the pictures.
A couple shots I really remember from the reception are pictures I got late at night of the lights running along the fence and an overall shot of the venue with the lights really making everything look amazing. Also, one of my favorite photos was a dancing shot of Natalie dancing during a fast time having a great time and Ben and Natalie’s sister in the background watching her dance. It was a bit of a goofy picture, but really makes me smile and happy that I captured it.
A lovely summer wedding in a lovely location with a lovely couple.