Sometimes, I meet a couple and immediately want them to be my best friends. Kayla and Jason were definitely one of those couples.
First off, they both share my love of the outdoors. And, they’re both philosophers. In fact, that’s how they met. Their online dating profiles matched because they both described themselves as looking for an intellectual, deep-thinking, outdoorsy partner.
On one of their first dates, Kayla and Jason went mountain biking through Petrifying Springs Park, a park close to both of their homes in Kenosha. It quickly became one of their favorite things to do together. So, they, of course, wanted to take their wedding portraits there. They also love beer and board games, so they knew a stop at the Petrifying Springs Park’s beer garden was in order too. They were excited to do half of their portrait session holding those big beer steins.
That’s what’s so fun about Kayla and Jason. They’re both down-to-earth people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Kayla really wanted a simple backyard wedding, and Jason wanted to wear dark denim jeans. Extravagance and opulence weren’t really their thing. Their ceremony was held in a bridesmaid’s backyard, and they literally had one of the quickest ceremonies I’ve ever photographed. The wedding literally took less than 10 minutes from walking down the aisle to being married. Jason was beaming the entire day. I think he’s one of the most loving and affectionate people I’ve met. His eyes were just always on Kayla, and he was just so excited.
I think Kayla and Jason proved a point that weddings don’t have to be held in big extravagant made-for-a-wedding venue. I absolutely love those sites and they make for beautiful pictures, but if you have a friend with a big backyard you can always go this route and potentially save yourselves a lot of money and still put together something very stylish and a bit more DIY.
After the ceremony, the entire wedding party went to the park, where we took photos on a wooden bridge and went deeper into the woods for photos of just Kayla and Jason. It was late October and the fall colors were mind-blowing. We took some photos with beautiful colors and that romantic lost-in-the-woods feeling to them.
I loved Kayla’s dress, which was a sheath-type dress that really showed off her height and made her look absolutely lovely. I usually ask brides to hold the bouquet in front of them, which usually looks great for ballgowns or trumpet or A-line dresses, but Kayla was different. I had her hold the bouquet with her arm extended all the way down, following the shape of her dress. It’s one of my favorite bridal portraits because of how unique it is from some of my other bridal portraits.
After the park, we went back to the site of the ceremony and had the reception in a tent with heat lamps since it was starting to get cold. It was one of those weddings that I didn’t want to end, and, after my photography time ran out, I stuck around to join the party for a bit. That’s a moment I’ll always remember.