Low-light Weddings

About a month ago, this Montana destination wedding photographer ventured out to Murrieta, California to photograph the wedding day of two artistic friends Rex and Tandy.

There are few things in life that bring me more joy than being able to photograph the wedding celebrations of dear friends. This wedding was particularly special for me to document.

Rex and I have been close childhood friends since elementary school. What started as a shared love of artistic endeavors, would go on to foster countless visual creative collaborations in our formal years growing up.

It was with Rex at my side where I first discovered the possibilities of what could be created with a camera. Together we explored our surroundings and even going as far to build a darkroom in my mom’s spare closet. Soon we were off to the races chasing this new creative rabbit hole. Little did I know then that those times with him would be the beginning of my life-long pursuit of exploring the photographic medium. I wouldn’t be the same person without knowing him in my life.

Rex also followed his creative muses through life. He went on to graduate from art school and now makes his living in the Vancouver, Washington area working as a video game designer. A few years back when I heard he had found himself an equally talented creative partner in Tandy, a successful illustrator, I knew he had found his person.

I could not have been more honored when they asked me to photograph their wedding celebration on Tandy’s family property in Murrieta, California a few weeks back.

Their California wedding day was a lovely, intimate DIY wedding staged at Tandy’s mother’s home where friends and family worked together to transform the newly renovated yard into a special and memorable wedding atmosphere. Cute, homemade gray and yellow decorations added a lovely pop of color the green surrounding landscape.

As the sun set over the valley, they said their vows witnessed by their close loved ones and their cheers as they kissed to seal the deal. The rest of the night we laughed, told stories, ate homemade pies and danced the night away.

Here is a selection of favorite photographs I made throughout their day.

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

I could not be more excited for these two. I wish them a lifetime of happiness! -M

Spring in Montana is a sight to behold and yesterday could not have been a better setting for my couple Camille and Matt’s wedding day celebration at the Springhill Pavilion just outside Bozeman, Montana. The warm spring rains promised in the weather reports failed to dampen the day. Not that it would matter. Instead, the wonderful combined family energy of Wisconsinites and Montanans raised the level of a wedding celebration to a new high bar.

This was a group that shrugged off uncertain weather, raised their Coors Light libations with smiles and focused on the task at hand, celebrating two special people through hugs, laughter, songs, and dance.

I met Camille at a fishing friend’s house over ten years ago when I was working weekdays at newspapers in Northern California and spending my weekends chasing steelhead in the multitude of incredible Pacific Coast streams nearby. She was raised splitting time between Montana and Alaska, where she’s spent every summer since she was a little girl at her family’s fishing lodge on the Nushagak River in Bristol Bay. She began guiding at a young age, enveloping herself in fly fishing and the great outdoors. When I met her, Camille was about to graduate high school and buzz in the fishing circles was that she was already quickly becoming one of the most successful women anglers in the United States. Presently, she is dominating the internet dividing her time advocating to protect against the Alaskan Pebble Mine efforts, working as Alaska & Christmas Island Program Director for Yellow Dog Flyfishing and living her dream traveling the world with a fly rod in hand.

It was only natural that she would find a partner with the same passion for the outdoors. Through her I got to know Matt – a kind, caring and incredibly talented hunting and outdoor lifestyle photographer based here in Bozeman. As I’ve gotten to know them both more over this past year, I am convinced. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a better pair of people so perfectly suited for each other.

It is was only natural that they fostered their love of the outdoors to help style their wedding day. Yellow flowers intermixed with whitetail deer antlers accentuated the venue as their wedding guest dined on wild game appetizers and sipped local Montana wine and microbrew. Their mutual love of fishing was noted by cute artwork details of fly fishing files for the table settings and bridal party flair. The day was a wonderful, complete representation of all that was important to them in their lives.

Their wedding celebration at the Springhill Pavilion was such a fun experience. These photos are some of my favorite highlights from their big day.

To view the entire wedding day photos and purchase your own special memories from the day, follow this link to see all of the goodness.

View the entire wedding

I could not be more thrilled for these two newlyweds! Congrats Camille and Matt! Thank you so much for letting me and my photo team be apart of your special day! Wish you guys a lifetime of happiness! -M

One of the best perks of documenting the love is that every once and a while, I get an opportunity to travel to photograph the wedding of friends. At the tail end of April this year I had the honor of flying back to my old stomping grounds of Chicago, Illinois to photograph the wedding day celebration of my old family friend Matt and his lovely bride Liz. Growing up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, I grew up knowing Matt and his family through our local church and the family social circle. A few years back I was able to photograph the wedding of his brother Nick in California so when I learned that Matt and Liz were to be married, I was completely honored when they asked me to photograph it. It is such a treat for me to be able to document the weddings of old friends.

These two lovebirds decided to marry in style in the heart of The Windy City. We started the day getting ready at The Godfrey Hotel and from there took a trolley around the city taking in the sights, dodging the spring rains and making creative portraits along the way. Their wedding ceremony took place at Holy Family Church one of the oldest Catholic churches in the city. A beautiful gothic looking building. As the day transitioned into the celebratory reception, we finally landed at Salvage One, a 60,000 square foot vintage Chicago warehouse covered in fantastic antiques. Great food, laughter, and some epic dancing made the night truly one to remember. I was so grateful to be a part of it. Here are some of the highlights from their wedding day. What a fun weekend. Wishing these two a lifetime of happiness. -M

To see all of their wedding photos click here.

 

Had a blast photographing the fun at the destination wedding celebration of Kim and Preston this past Saturday at the Big Yellow Barn in Belgrade, Montana. Warm weather, a couple in love, great people, excellent Montana barbeque, and cupcakes and an assortment of epic dance moves made the day not only memorable but one heck of a good time. I’m hard at work editing through all the wedding photos of the day but wanted to share a few that have stood out so far. Congrats to the newlyweds Kim and Preston! So many more fun photos to show you all. Stay tuned…M

Whew! What a weekend! I just flew back from photographing Matt and Liz’ Wedding Day in downtown Chicago a few days ago. Despite a little midwest precipitation, the day was a fantastic celebration, a wonderful reunion with old friends and spirits were high. I had a lot of fun with these two exploring “The Windy City” with their crew of close friends. I’m hard at work getting all the awesomeness edited and toned but I wanted to share a quick preview of some images that have stood out to me thus far. I’m excited to show you all the rest. Stay tuned. Congrats to the newlyweds! -M

 

After celebrating the holidays with friends and family here in Montana, I jumped right into my 2016 wedding photography season to photograph and document Kiera and Collin’s Gallatin River Lodge wedding day outside Bozeman, Montana in early January. A small gathering of their loved ones gathered to help them celebrate their union at the comfortable, the top-rate fly fishing lodge just outside of Bozeman, Montana. Kiera and Collin were a blast and were up for anything. When wedding couples have their wedding day in Montana it goes without saying that you need to have some portraits taken out in the majestic Big Sky scenery. In this case, we all braved the chilly 10 degrees Montana winter weather for a series of quick portraits around the perimeter of the lodge. Despite being freezing cold, these two were beaming ear to ear with smiles. It’s so much fun to photograph people in love. I had a great time with these guys and their crew. A great way to kick off the New Year! Wish these two all the best, -M

This past Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of photographing Courtney and Jordi’s wedding day at The Woodlands in Bozeman, Montana. I’m just thrilled for these guys. A beautiful calm early Fall day amongst the pine trees. We had a great time earlier in the year when we made some engagement photos. These two are a lot of fun and I’ve been looking forward to their wedding day celebration. I’m busy editing through all the great moments from their wedding day but for now, you can check out a preview of wedding photo standouts so far. Many more wedding photos to come. Stay tuned… -M

I wish all Septembers in Montana could be as nice as this year has been. Over this past weekend, I photographed the wedding of Sara and Cory at the Springhill Pavilion near the base of the Bridger Mountains. In a rare window of opportunity, the smoke from the summer wildland fires eased off giving way to a clear blue sky day and calm warm conditions. A perfect backdrop to a wonderful wedding day. I’m busy editing through all the awesome. Here is a preview of some photos that have stood out to me so far. Many more wedding photos to come. Stay tuned… -M

As a wedding photographer, I love traveling to new places where I get to explore, be creative and make storytelling candid photographs. It is so much fun. A few weeks back I traveled out to the cute little town of Pony, Montana where I spent my day documenting the rustic country wedding day celebration of Samantha and Jonathan at the beautiful (and new) Y Knot Barn in Pony, Montana. Such a cool place for a wedding. It was a gorgeous venue with a great expansive 360 degree Montana view. These two were all smiles. It was a classic DIY cute country wedding. These two newlyweds were also up for a little adventure. With the help of the generous Y-Knot Barn owners, we were able to acquire a couple four wheelers and rode them (wedding dress and all) to an overlook in the valley where we made some pretty epic portraits. We returned to the barn for an evening of BBQ, laughter and country dancing. A fun Montana wedding day. Wish these two all the best! -M

To view all of the wedding day photos, click here.

Bobbijean & Chris Wedding Day in Yellowstone National Park

I recently photographed Bobbijean & Chris’ Wedding Day in Yellowstone National Park. What a cool experience! It’s not every day that I get to photograph a wedding in the most famous national park in the country. I’m excited to show the full celebration but for now, I give you a preview of a few favorites so far. I’m hard at work editing the whole lot. Many more great wedding photos to come. Stay tuned… -M

In addition to photographing Emily and Matt’s wedding celebration, they also hired me to set up my photo booth at their reception at the Odd Fellows Hall in Davis, California. Photobooths are a great way to add some fun to the wedding reception. It’s amazing the positive energy it can bring to a wedding celebration.  Their wedding guests were able to trigger the booth remotely themselves which meant I could continue to photograph the festivities elsewhere. The results are often a surprising and hilarious discovery and random creativity. I’ve made it a rule now never to have beverages around my computer while editing photobooth images. Too funny. You never quite know what you will get. This crowd did not disappoint. What a fun evening! -Mike Greener

To see all of the photo booth images, follow this link.

A couple weeks back I was asked by my friend Catrina, of Catrina Maria Designs and The Venue Vixens, to photograph the social meet up of the Association of Bridal Consultants Sacramento chapter meeting. The quarterly event brings wedding planners from throughout the Sacramento area together for educational and networking and was held at new CAVERNA 57 wine cellar in Sacramento. My job was to document the evening while also photographing the new venue for an upcoming Venue Vixens review. The place was so new that much of it’s landscaping wasn’t finished so I was forced to get creative about how I composed my shots. Once the venue shots were taken care of, I started to document and socialize with the guests. I love these types of events for numerous reasons. It’s a very welcoming educational scene, it allows everyone to experience the different, new concepts of floral displays and venue set ups, it’s a good opportunity to sample the foods and beverages of the local vendors (which can be a good reference when suggesting food vendors to potential wedding clients) and best of all it is a perfect place to network and to meet with like-minded friendly people in the Sacramento wedding industry. Overall the evening was a lot of fun. The CAVERNA 57, when completed, will be a great little venue for small intimate weddings or social events. Definitely worth checking out. -M

After I spent the first half of the evening photographing the 2011 Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event VIP Black Carpet portraits at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa, I wandered the venue documenting the fun. The annual event is put on by my wedding planner friend Fearon, of Fearon May Events, in association with Real Weddings Magazine as a chance to show case the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region to local brides and grooms in numerous themed vignette table top design settings.  Each room within the spacious resort vicinity had a different theme that introduced brides to an assortment of different design possibilities they could apply to their own wedding. Fearon also asked that I photograph two rooms for future publication in the Real Weddings Magazine including the Moroccan Lounge and A walk down the Aisle room. One thing I really liked about the venue setup was that each room was so unique from the others. The Moroccan Lounge offered an outdoor setting where guests could warm themselves by a fire while watching a belly dancing demonstration or enjoy a freshly rolled cigar from Casilla Cigars while being entertained by a Egytian music duo. It had a surreal feel to the place with lots of pink and blue color tones throughout. The Walk down the Aisle room offered a very different feel. It had a more subtle yet elegant feel to it with plenty of candles to light a centered room alter surrounded by flowers and guest chairs. It was a great intimate setting to it that would be perfect for brides considering a small family wedding ceremony. After guests had a chance to wander through all of the decorated rooms and sample the desserts and foods from the selected vendors, the remainder of the evening was spent socializing and dancing to the music of the Mother Mayhem band. Overall the event was a huge success and a lot of fun. I was proud to be apart of it. Until next year. -M

To see of the event photos you can view them on the Lavish and Fabulous website here.

When Erin & Ryan hired me to photograph their wedding weekend in the Denver, Colorado area, they made it apparent to me that it was going to be a huge celebration. The two have made a successful careers working in Palo Alto, California – Erin at Facebook and Ryan for the AGC of California and they wanted a wedding that could accommodate all of their friends coming in from all across the country. After the last three and a half weeks of processing their wedding photos, I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest weddings I have photographed. My day began with an early morning start with Erin getting ready with her bridesmaids at the home of her aunt and uncle in Parker, Colorado. It was a huge, beautiful custom-designed mansion complete with antique furniture and big windows that cast in a lot of natural light. It really set a nice scene for the pre wedding preparations. It reminded me of being in some fancy European castle.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, photographing Erin’s wedding was a mini reunion for me because I knew her and many of her bridesmaids from high school in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was so great to see them all again. As the girls got ready, they sipped champaign, laughed over old high school stories and helped Erin get ready for her big day. Once they were finished with their make up and hair by the stylists from L Raymond Styles Hair Salon, they got situated into their black, designer dresses from Rent the Runway and we were able to do some Vogue fashion style formal portraits. As the wedding start time approached, we loaded up into a stretch Hummer and made our way to the church. Erin and Ryan decided to have a more traditional catholic wedding held in the Ave Maria Church in Parker, Colorado. It was there that my hired assistant Justin Edmonds, a photojournalism friend and fellow Eddie Adams Workshop Rust teammate, arrived and we worked together to document the story of their wedding day. Having a second photographer to help photograph a wedding allows me to have multiple angles and to provide a much more thorough coverage of my client’s wedding day. It really makes a huge difference and if it’s something you are considering for your own wedding day, I can’t emphasize benefits enough. He was a big help.

Erin got a lot of assistance with all of the wedding details and decoration ideas from her wedding planner Stacy Pisani, of Alexan Events. Where the wedding ceremony followed a tradition catholic undertone, the reception was a stark contrast of hip, luxurious style and design. A large air conditioned tent was setup in the backyard of Erin’s aunt and uncle’s house where you could find a full dance floor with DJ music from Scratch Weddings, a club style lounge with couches, table settings and chairs from Event Rents, an assortment of gourmet food stations from Epicurean Catering and fine wines from The Wine Experience Café scattered through out. It was an incredible evening complete with delicious food, a fun, Greener Visuals photo booth that I set up and the guests danced well into the early morning. These guys know how to have a good time.

This is a sample of some of the photographs from their wedding day. You can see all of my favorites from the day under my wedding stories section hereYou can view and purchase all of the photos from the day here.

Wishing Erin and Ryan all the best with their new life together. Congratulations!

 



The second part of my duties as the NACE event photographer focused more on the hard work of the other vendors. Like I mentioned in my last post, the monthly events are a time for the vendors to educate on topics but also show off their strengths in what that particular vendor does. Here are some of the scenery images I made of the green layout and concepts from Catrina Maria Designs. I asked Catrina, who specializes in sustainable event planning to explain a bit about what she was striving to accomplish with her beautiful green table inspirations pictured above.

“The table inspirations where done in a variety of four looks. We were inspired by the traditional and expected ‘green’ look that we called ‘hippy/earthy.’ We dressed each table up a bit from there to cover your softer and more elaborate side of the earthy look, your urban look, and finally, a soft, more romantic feel that many brides can relate to.
1. Earthy table-woods and touch of kiwi green. All eco-friendly elements on the reclaimed wood tables. Recycled pots with succulents, and herbs.
2. Rustic table-woods, pewter, clay (brunt orange) and kiwi
Clay pots nestled in grapevine heart. Mix of organic flowers in burnt orange and cream with herbs and succulent accents.
3. Urban Square table- Grey and kiwi patterned linen, other natural elements in a modern feel (wicker, glass…). Gray cinderblock “vases” filled with organic flowers and organic greenery.
4. Romantic oval tables- Natural ekru and ivory hemstitch, rustic metals, glass Tablescape of Burnt orange recycled glass containers and metal accent containers. Ivory flowers and green accents. Add recycled ribbon accents.
5. Cocktail Tables – recycled paper flowers by Beatnik Artist. Made from old books that have recycled into art. Soy candles throughout
Lounge furniture through Classic party Rentals. Their eco line is made from recycled stuffing/padding and flax exterior in burnt orange and kiwi green.”

As the saying goes…the devil lies within the details. It was great to see all of the clever, sustainable concepts that everyone brought to the event. There were the staple green items like using organic produce but also the not so common items like bowls and plates made from compostable bamboo. It’s those little things that make the difference. I was impressed.  So much creativity and so many great ideas to build off of. Again, thanks to all of the vendors who went all out with the May NACE Green event including Ambience Floral Designs, Jackson Catering & Events, Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts, Classic Party Rentals, Pamela Pamperin, Harpist and Extreme Productions for all of their hard work. -M