Country Weddings

I’m excited to post these wedding photos. About a month ago, I traveled to Chico, California from Bozeman, Montana to photograph the destination wedding day of Sara and Jason. These two lovebirds booked me well over a year out after her work friend found me and showed my photography to Sara during a internet search for Northern California wedding photographers during a long overnight emergency work shift (Sara is a veterinarian). Talking with with Jason and Sara on the phone we quickly bonded over discovering a mutual love of the outdoors, fly fishing and the occasional craft beer. These were my kind of people. I had been looking forward to their wedding day for a while. Our first time meeting was in the morning of their wedding day but it was like being reacquainted with old friends. I met up with them as they were getting ready at the Hotel Diamond in downtown Chico and photographed them as the day unfolded.

Their wedding was a fantastic DIY (Do it yourself!) event hosted at his mother’s farm property outside of town called the Double R RanchIt was put together with the help of friends and family who were successful in creating a charming garden farm themed wedding celebration. Dinner was served in the garden amongst the sunflowers and squash on wood tables made by the groomsmen. The barn itself had been just finished by the wedding party in time for the event. Everywhere you looked there was a personal touch. It was a beautiful day filled with warm weather and smiles. A fun weekend with great people! I am just thrilled for these two! Congrats to Sara and Jason and many years of continued happiness! -Mike Greener

To see all of their wedding celebration photos, click here.

 

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding day of two amazing people here in Bozeman, Montana. Courtney and Chris had their late summer outdoor wedding at the beautiful Springhill Pavilion just outside of town. It’s funny how some people come into your life. I first met Chris during a friendly (but intense) game of garage ping pong with mutual friends at my old place in town. Little did I know that a few months later I would run into his bride-to-be Courtney at the 2014 Bridal Affaire Bozeman Montana last February and we hit it off. From the get-go, I loved the energy these two brought to the table. Such endless positivity and smiles. I love a wedding couple that takes the traditional concepts of a wedding and instead go in their own direction to make it entirely an unique experience. Such was the case with them. Their wedding honored their friends just as much as the day was meant for them. They had all of their friends contribute and participate in some way to make their wedding day special. Some performed songs, others read poetry, spun fire and gave blessings. They even had a friend perform numerous AC/DC songs on a cello. By the time DJ Missy O’Malley cranked up the beats, everyone celebrated into the night dancing their faces off. It was a wonderful celebration and I was so thankful to be there to document the fun. A big thank you to Time Of Your Life Events wedding planner Genevieve Burmeister and crew for making it all flow so smoothly. I wish these two all the best. -Mike Greener

To see all of their wedding photos click here

A couple weekends ago I traveled down to the small Idaho town of Rigby near Idaho Falls to photograph the country garden wedding of Hope and Jeffery. I met the two last summer when I was photographing her sister Ashley’s wedding day in the Montana Bitterroot Valley. It was so great to celebrate another wedding with their family again. Hope and Jeffery had their wedding at her grandparents country garden home, a beautiful property covered with flowers, produce, horse pastures and cottonwood stands which left all onlookers to admire the artistic touch of two master gardeners. Her grandparents said they collected over 30 gallons of raspberries alone last year. I love seeing wedding couples take the idea of a wedding and make it all their own. These two were no exception. Hope and Jeffery were able to blend a country wedding with Jeffery’s Japanese roots. His relatives folded 1000 paper cranes and then hung them intermixed with lights all in a large cottonwood tree which made for a beautiful ambience. The food had a wonderful homemade touch. They had many mouths to feed since about 360 guests were invited. The riddle was solved by having a caterer make pulled pork BBQ. Rather then create an exorbitant wedding cake, they opted for a smaller wedding cake from a fancy bakery then the family cooks united and made dozens of homemade pies, a delicious personal touch to a wedding day food menu. Once bellies were full the night entertainment began. Drinks were poured and the moment the DJ cued the music, the dance floor got busy. Yard games, a photo booth and an epic candy bar assisted in keeping spirits and sugar levels high into the late evening. Smiles were seen all around. In all, it was a beautiful day and I was thrilled to be apart of it. I wish Hope and Jeffery all the best! -Mike

To see all of their wedding day photos, you can view them here.

The Wedding Team:

Cherz & Co. Salon – Hair and makeup by Kellie & Kristie Stolworthy – Idaho falls, Idaho

North Hi-Way Cafe – BBQ catering – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Master DJ – music man Tony Schmitz – Omaha, Nebraska

Montana! I love it! Especially when it means I get to make a road trip through the state to photograph a wedding up near Glacier National Park. A couple weeks ago, I headed north towards Bigfork, Montana where I photographed Cierra & Brian’s wedding day festivities at the Cougar Trail Ranch. These newlyweds have been making a life together working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but decided they wanted to marry closer to home, their friends and their family and opted for a Montana wedding. The place they found, the Cougar Trail Ranch, was in a classic northwest Montana setting complete with dense, surrounding lodge pole pine forests that opened into golden grass pastures bordering the property line. The big fancy house offered tons of space for the wedding party staging and it’s huge big windows offered this photographer great light to work with. Cierra, an old college rugby friend of mine, contacted me about a year in advance to book my wedding photography services and it was great to finally watch her walk down the isle to marry the boy of her dreams. It never gets old photographing the weddings of old buddies. The day went off without a hitch. As the festivities turned to dancing, I struggled to hold in my laughter at the sight of seeing some of the wedding guests cut loose and begin tossing kids into the air as they danced, celebrated and sang the words to every DJ song. It was one big, awesome Montana party! Such wonderful energy throughout. I had a blast documenting these guys. I wish them all the best for many years to come. -M

 

To see Cierra & Brian’s entire wedding click here.

I’ve been excited to post these photos for a while now. A couple of weekends ago, I drove over to western Montana to photograph the wedding day of Ashley and David at the fantastic Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack House and Barn in Corvallis, Montana. Ashley has been a longtime friend of mine since our time together attending The University of Montana and the two are making a living in Butte, Montana as social workers. You would be hard pressed to find a cuter couple. I had an awesome time photographing the fun throughout their wedding day. Thinking back on it makes me smile. The entire time I was hanging out with them, you could tell their excitement by the big grins they had on their faces all day. It’s such a fun thing to witness two people completely head over heels for one another. I think that emotion really shines through in their wedding photos. Having photographed at the refuge years ago, I had a pretty good idea of where my best images would come from. This place was a Montana wedding photographers dream. I used the rustic Montana farm backdrop to it’s fullest by exploring the variations of color schemes and trying to capture the feeling of their wedding day. It is such a joy for me to document the union of friends. I’m thrilled for these two and wish them all the best! -M

A couple weeks ago, I saddled up from my home here in Bozeman, Montana and hopped a flight bound for Charleston, South Carolina to photograph Josh and Elizabeth’s beautiful wedding day festivities. I love traveling for weddings! Photographing in new places all over the country is like an artist working with a brand new canvas and I couldn’t wait to start. It was my first time exploring the charming city and my first time being completely submerged in the throws of southern charm, cuisine and lifestyle that the folks in the deep south continue to proudly cultivate. It was pretty surreal walking along the historic streets and adorable old buildings that date back to the Civil War. For Josh and Liz, who hail from the suburbs of Chicago, it was that southern soul that they wanted to incorporate into their wedding celebration. The couple decided to have their wedding at the Creek Club at I’On in the small town of Mt. Pleasant just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The place offered a perfect setting along the banks of picturesque Hobcaw Creek for both the couple’s wedding ceremony and reception. A huge convenience not to be under estimated if you are ever planning your own wedding day. Despite ninety degree temperatures and full-on humidity, the day was packed with all the right ingredients of a gorgeous southern wedding day and the couple’s small gathering of friends and family celebrated their union well into the night hours. It was an incredible weekend with these two and I wish them all the very best! -M

To see Josh and Elizabeth entire wedding day photographs click here.

Whew what a ride! The last month has been busy with weddings and traveling back and forth to California. It’s great to have a little destination wedding photographer adventure on my weekends and it allows me the challenge of photographing in new places. Northern California never ceases to amaze me with all it’s buried treasures. I just finished up my latest photo story of Jenn and Chris’ Wedding Day that took place two weeks ago at the Ralston White Retreat in Mill Valley, California. These guys were a riot and were an absolute blast to photograph. It was also one of the most unique weddings I’ve ever attended. Jenn and Chris found me through the recommendation of some good friends of mine that saw me in action at a wedding a couple years ago. We talked about what they wanted out of their wedding photos and were looking for my documentary approach. These two were a wise couple who booked me early almost a year in advance and it was exciting to finally get to photograph it. As their website boasts, The Ralston White Retreat, “Is an old 1913 wedding venue for group retreats or special events nestled in the slope of Mt. Tamalpais which is located on 43 acres in beautiful Mill Valley, California.” It was a place of so much old fashioned character. I totally geek out to photographing in places like this. It was a very personable wedding to attend. The two had their ceremony outside in the front lawn which was followed by a relaxing cocktail hour that flowed into a lovely dinner inside the large house. Right away the group had great energy and I give personel props to their friends for their creativity as a pirate/ninja attack skit ensued forcing the groom to fight back “nerf style” for his fair maiden. It was totally random and awesome all at the same time. You got to love a group who still use their imagination and can play like kids. As the evening progressed I documented the guests laughing and playing in the Greener Visuals Photo Booth or get heavy into playing late night Garage Band video games. A great time was had by all and it was a pleasure to be apart of their wedding celebration. Wish you guys all the best. -M

To see all of their wedding photos, you can follow this link here.

About a week ago, I left the mountains of Montana to head over to Sonoma, California to photograph the long awaited wedding weekend of Molly and Brian. Back in mid May, I made the same journey to photograph their engagement session. Sonoma is a truly beautiful place. This time of year the famous grapevines are starting to bear their fruit and the surrounding valleys are covered in multi-layered shades of green. Molly and Brian live in Chicago, Illinois, not far from my old stomping grounds of my youth. Rather than soak in the midwest humidity, they decided to have their wedding out west and bring out all of their friends and family out to California for their big day. I met up with them Friday evening at the famous El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant in the heart of downtown Sonoma for their rehearsal dinner with close friends and family members. Here are some of my favorites from the evening. I’ve been busy working on all of their wedding day photos and will post them soon. More goodness to come. -M

To view all of the images from Molly and Brian’s Rehearsal Dinner at El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant go here.

The first wedding of the season is always an exciting opportunity for me. After I’ve having had the time to ferment on my previous 2011 wedding season, I always look forward to how I can push my wedding photography to a new level for the next year. In the weeks leading up to my first wedding of the 2012 wedding season, I’ve felt like a thoroughbred race horse at the starting gates. It’s an anticipation and excitement that I’ve come to relish over the years. So after a long year waiting and planning with Michelle and Brian, I finally had the pleasure to document their wedding celebration at the beautiful Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California a couple weekends ago.

Michelle and Brian met each other two years ago while attending a friend’s birthday party near their home in Los Angeles, California and cultivated a relationship with each other through the social media power of Facebook. Michelle is an elementary school teacher by trade and Brian works at SpaceX as a software developer for a company that is venturing into space exploration roles NASA has handed over to the private sector. After two years of dating, they got engaged, got their ball-o-energy Labrador mix puppy “Ali” and decided to venture north to the wine country to celebrate their wedding day. I made the journey from my newfound Graceland of Bozeman, Montana to my old stomping grounds of Sacramento, California and drove over to Sonoma to find friends and family of Michelle and Brian getting things ready for their afternoon wedding ceremony. The Cornerstone Gardens was really fun place to photograph. It was pure, visual eye candy for this photographer. Everywhere you looked, there were colorful artistic installations, sculptures and decorative gardens created by the world’s leading landscape architects surrounded by the famous grapevines of Sonoma County. The place was quite impressive and I had a blast exploring and photographing in it. I loved the energy this couple and their friends and family brought to the wedding day. Their enthusiasm and high spirits created a fun atmosphere to document in photos. Like all successful wedding days, Michelle and Brian had the help of many fine wedding vendors that helped make their union a seamless, gorgeous wedding event. My job was made all the easier with the help of wedding planner Kelly Cloney, of Kelly & Company Events who worked as the conductor/coordinator of the day making sure that everything ran smoothly. Michelle and her bridesmaids looked fantastic throughout the day. They had their hair done by hair stylist Justina Downs and their make up by Julianne Chai, of Pretty by Julianne. During the reception, the wedding party and guests dined on the delicious food from their caterer Amy Meadows, of Alex’s Catering and nibbled the delicious cupcakes made by Stephanie Scheff, of Kara’s Cupcakes. I’d like to thank my photo assistant Kris Holland for all of his help throughout the day. All the hard work and talent given by these vendors helped make Michelle and Brian’s wedding a memorable, fun day. It was the perfect way to start out the 2012 wedding season for Greener Visuals Wedding Photography. Here are some of my favorite photos from my time there. I wish Michelle and Brian all the best! -M

To see all of their wedding images, you can find them in my photo archive here

Whew! I’ve finally started to decompress from my fun, but busy 2011 wedding season. In my new found free time, I’ve been able to go back through my back log of vacation images and a few wedding assistant gigs that I have been meaning to process. Despite my busy wedding schedule this past summer in Sacramento,  I did actually get to attend one wedding as a guest. In between my Montana wedding and trip to Colorado for a Geekfest photojournalism summit back in early September, I hopped a flight to Chicago O’Hare Airport to return to my old stomping ground of Crystal Lake, Illinois for the wedding of my good ol’ high school buddy Karisa. I’m at that age now where more and more of my close friends are tying the knot especially all of my friends from high school living in the Midwest. It’s one thing to witness and photograph the wedding of my clients and another to witness the union of someone you’ve known since adolescence. Karisa is one of the few people I’ve managed to stay in touch with since graduating from high school. When I sought out the outdoor recreation bliss in the Rocky Mountains of Montana for college, she headed east to attend Dartmouth College to pursue her love of acting on stage. As the years have progressed, I’ve watched with excitement and pride as she has climbed that ladder of success in her craft. She is a Renaissance woman whose acting pursuits have branched into small movie roles, commercial shoots, on stage plays and comedy improv troops in the Chicago scene. So it’s only natural that the man she would fall in love with would be from that creative environment. Karisa met Scott when they were cast together four years ago on an Chicago improv group together called Counterproductive Lover. “We make each other laugh, so that’s absolutely a cornerstone in our relationship,” said Karisa. The group continues to regularly rehearse and perform long-form improv together and I even managed to catch a show of theirs a few years back. These days the two stay pretty busy working full time as actors. Scott is coming of his recent success with a show he was in at the famous Second City comedy club and Karisa recently finished up a commercial shoot for US Bank. From what I can tell, acting is not an easy road to venture so it give me a lot of joy to see these two making waves.

I was looking forward to their wedding day. It would be a good opportunity to visit with past friends and also because it would be the first time in a while that I could actually celebrate a wedding properly without having the obligations of producing wedding photos for a client. Karisa wanted to make sure I would enjoy the party properly and not be working it. Alas, you can’t take the photographer out of the boy. I couldn’t resist bringing along a camera and lens just in case I came across a scene worth documenting. And I found many scenes. In between socializing, dancing and drinking in celebration, I made a few wedding photographs that stood out to me during my editing session. I used the occasion to experiment a little but mostly I used it as more of a snapshot approach. Some things worked others not so much. But that was okay. I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Karisa and Scott decided to have their ceremony and reception in the beautiful backyard of her parents home in Cary, Illinois. When planning their big day, the emphasis was to have it feel very personable and reflect their style. Much of it was put together with the help of family and friends. Karisa designed the wedding invites and all other paper stuff which were then assembled and printed at home. The bouquets were made by family members. Instead of a DJ, they opted for the do it yourself iTunes playlist where they picked their favorite songs. This worked for a while until their computer crashed. (Something to think about for your own wedding entertainment). Luckily, there were no shortages of personel iPods around and her friends took turns spending the rest of the evening choosing songs to play and dance to. For other items at their wedding, they went for the professional approach. They had their wedding photography shot by Chicago based photographer and fellow WPJA member Allison Williams and their photo booth set up by their friend Rob Strong. Karisa and her bridesmaids had her hair and make up done by Jennifer at Jen J Style. The wedding was catered by a great Mediterranean buffet-styled grill called Roti. They also had the great idea for having a local food truck which allowed guests to make after dinner smoothies, wild game sausages, and coffee drinks. You could not have asked for a nicer day. I am so glad I was able to see it. Here are a couple photos that I made from their wedding day. I wish these two all the best! -M

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to return to Montana, my favorite place on earth, to photograph the wedding of an old college friend Christina and her new husband Ryan. I got to know Christina during my time tromping around the Big Sky state while attending The University of Montana in my pursuit of my degree in Photojournalism. In between my time fly fishing mountain streams and trying to make it to class on time, I came to know her through mutual friends and her involvement in the Missoula art scene. Christina, a Montana native, is a very talented painter and ended up getting her degree in the Fine Arts. From there, it was off to New York City for her where she eventually met her fiancée Ryan randomly at a friend’s apartment. Oddly enough it turns out that they both were from the same western Montana town of Whitefish located up close to the entrance of Glacier National Park. I’m always amazed at the curveballs of coincidence life can through at people sometimes. Two years apart in age, Christina and Ryan never new one another growing up but found each other in one of the biggest cities on earth. Go figure. As they grew closer in their relationship, the two parted ways with the “Big Apple” and have since made a life together living and working in Portland, Oregon. When it came to plan their summer wedding the location was an obvious choice.

On their wedding day, I awoke early to drive north of Missoula (where I had been visiting my parents) past the cherry orchards along Flathead Lake and eventually made my way northeast towards the entrance of Glacier National Park. Christina and Ryan chose a cute little 40-acre ranch just outside of Coram, Montana called Glacier River Ranch that was bordered by the gin clear blue waters of the Flathead River. There are few things in life more picturesque than a Montana backdrop and that day I couldn’t think of any. I arrived early so I could scout around the area and get a feel for the place. As family members were helping to set up, I decided to walk around the grounds for possible portrait locations. As I came around the side of a big ponderosa pine tree I startled a young black bear (about 30 yards away from me) and he quickly stood up on his hind legs to get a better view of the blond haired photographer that had interrupted his mid morning berry feast. Soon uninterested, it sauntered off until the delicious smells of a wedding reception food brought it closer to the wedding location so much so that the ranch owner had to scare it off with some warning shots of her deer rifle. Only in Montana. Love it. The rest of the day mimicked the visions of a good Norman MacLean novel. The late August weather was perfect and their afternoon streamside reception was stunning as the golden Montana light lit up the trees as it slowly made its decent behind Teakettle Mountain. Like any proper Montana wedding the rest of the evening was spent eating roasted pig, drinking fine wine and Montana microbrews and dancing to live music from a local string band. It was so great to spend the day photographing such a fun couple and an honor to be asked to photograph the wedding of a old friend. I wish them all the best. -M

You can view the very best images from Ryan and Christina’s wedding under my portfolio wedding stories section here.     Or…

To see the entire wedding take you can see them all on my Photo Archive here.

The California wedding season has begun! A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing two of my oldest friends tie the knot at a small vineyard-surrounded property outside of Hopland, California. I met Ashley and Trevor back back in 1994 when I was in sixth grader at North Junior High School in my hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was a big time of transition at that point in my young life. Junior High meant attending a new bigger school with new kids and multiple teachers, all of a sudden girls started being topics of interests for me and the other boys, we no longer had recess at school (a huge disappointment) and instead, we got our daily fun through games in gym class. It was gym class where I first met Ashley. She was this pretty, firecracker red head who had grown up playing softball and now was a lethal force against anyone playing gym class dodge ball. For all the other pubescent boys and myself it was an immediate infatuation. This girl could throw a ball better than most of us. I’ve been luckily to call her a friend ever since that day.

Now all grown up, I have long since left my Illinois roots and I’ve found that there are not many people from my hometown that have ventured out west of the Mississippi. Ashley and Trevor were some of the few who did. It’s funny to me how as you grow older in your life you never really know what friends will continue to be apart of your journey. Thankfully somehow, some way Ashley and I have remained in contact and have stayed friends throughout. I have had numerous opportunities to meet up her and Trevor (once they started dating) over the years. Their wedding day was a long time coming. These two are perfect for each other and I’ve always been impressed with their shared passion for the flavor of life both in cuisine and culture. Fast forward 16 years since the 6th grade, the two have made a life together working in the fine dining industry of San Francisco and many times they have offered up their apartment couch to me during weekend visits to the city by the bay. Trevor has quickly turned into one of the top up and coming chefs in the San Francisco bay area. I had the opportunity to photograph (and sample) some of his first restaurant dishes as he was starting out. I still dream about them. He graduated from California Culinary Academy in 2005 and quickly became the executive sous chef at Umami Restaurant and has since moved on to become the executive chef at Mission Beach Cafe over the last year. Trevor’s big news is that he just recently signed on to this new project, which will be called Chambers located in the Phoenix Hotel, a notorious destination for famous “rock n’ roll” musicians staying in the city. The restaurant is slated to open the first week of May and the food will be California cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. If it’s anything like his previous restaurants gigs that I have dined in, I have no doubts it will be a huge success. Ashley is balancing her time between being a head server and wine guru at the Betelnut Restaurant in Marina District of San Francisco while finishing up a major in Business Management with a minor in Economics at the San Francisco City College. I would not be surprised at all if these two opened their own fancy restaurant down the road. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

When I got their wedding invitation in the mail, I knew it would be a mini Crystal Lake reunion. They had their intimately small wedding outside of Hopland, California at the Mendocino Hill Event Center. It was really a beautiful ceremony filled with great friends and warm familiar faces. I attended this wedding as a guest but I decided to bring along my camera for fun. It provided a good opportunity for me to experiment and try out different approaches to shooting. Between catching up with old friends, laughing and telling stories over local wine and eating an assortment of fine cheeses and roasted duck, I managed to snap a couple pictures. Here are some of my favorite images I made of their wedding day. You can find more photos from Ashley and Trevor’s wedding here. It was so great to be apart of their special day. I wish them all the best. -M

Yay for weddings! Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel back to sweet home Chicago for an old friend’s wedding. Adam and his new bride April called me a couple months ago and asked if I would help document their wedding day. I always feel very lucky to be apart of the wedding day of old friends. This one was no exception. From the moment I arrived, it was literally a blast from the past and quickly turned into a high school reunion. After so many years away, living out in Montana and now California, I don’t get as many chances to make it back to home to visit. Adam and I played football together at Prairie Ridge High School and April attended school with my younger brother Eric. Despite a threatening Midwest thunderstorm, the wedding went off without a hitch. It was so great to see so many familiar faces all grown up. I had an absolute great time documenting these guys. Crazy, summer humidity and all.

Here are some of my favorite images from the day. I’m anxious to hear what you all think. This is a mere small sampling of the 4000 images I made that day. I suppose that is to be expected when you have so many old friends around dancing the night away. There are too many good people to take photos of. To see all of the photos from their wedding day go here. I wish these guys all the best. -M

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You know you’ve done something right when one of your past wedding couples refer you to their friends. I consider those gestures one of the highest complements a photographer can receive. It lets me know that I am doing my job well. Back in 2006, Abby and Johnny asked me to photograph their wedding in western Montana after hearing about my photojournalistic style through their friends and my former clients. It was the ultimate picturesque Montana cowboy wedding. Their outdoor wedding was held at this cute little ranch where the men were decked out in their cowboy boots and hats twirled the women in their summer dresses as they danced to the upbeat rhythms of bluegrass music. Summer was ending and with it the days grew longer. Because of it we were blessed with beautiful afternoon sunlight that made the dried wheat fields glow with a golden hue as the sun set over the Bitterroot Mountains. What more could a photographer ask for.