In any profession, it can be tempting to get into a routine and go through the motions. As a wedding photographer this would mean treating all couples with the same generic approach. Showing up on wedding day with the simple goal of capturing the moments around you, making sure not to miss the iconic moments such as the first kiss, cutting the cake, and first dances. When your time is up you head home for the night and then begin sorting and editing the images, another task that can become very repetitive. This entire routine is something I work hard to stay away from. I am striving to break away from this generic version of wedding photography and regenerate the idea of visual and written storytelling to give couples a true experience.
Our lives go by so fast….so, it is my intention to document the stories of those I work with to freeze time and to share these stories with others to offer inspiration, knowledge, and happiness. I fell in love with photography because of what it stands for, not because I know how to work a camera. To me, photography tells a story and holds a memory that may otherwise be forgotten. It captures history.
As I continue to work in the wedding photography industry, I will strive to make my couples feel like they hired someone who is truly invested in their happiness and future together as a couple. To make them feel that I am a guest at their wedding, a friend, but still working extremely hard every moment of their celebration. My dream is to have every person I work with feel just a tiny bit more beautiful and successful after working with me. More beautiful in their own skin and in their relationship, and more successful in knowing that they are someone that matters in this world – that their presence and love makes an impact on everyone around them.
So now, with my intentions laid out before you…let me introduce you to a wonderful couple who became the guinea pigs of my first attempt at documenting their wedding via visual storytelling. Matt & Kelsey Hughes.
“As soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen” -Winnie the Pooh. Little did this bear know when he said this quote, he was defining the relationship that would form between Kelsey Miller and Matt Hughes. Kelsey and Matt first met during a Packer game at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon in Milwaukee in December of 2014. Matt first thought of Kelsey as interesting, with a fun side that attracted him to ask for a second date. Kelsey’s feelings were mutual, and she couldn’t believe how fast the first date went by because conversation came so naturally. Kelsey and Matt grew their relationship because they found they shared a love for so many similar things. Although this couple can’t agree on who said “I love you” for the first time, they do both agree that the feeling existed early on in their relationship without the pressure or need to have even officially said it out loud. What could possibly be the next step in a budding relationship such as this? Well, getting a puppy of course! Kelsey & Matt, being the true up north individuals they are, ventured out for a road trip across the state to pick up their first puppy, Elle, in the bitter cold on a February afternoon. After several stops on the way home for puppy bathroom breaks, Kelsey & Matt returned home with a new family member after midnight. They remember & cherish this trip as a stepping stone in their relationship. It made them realize that they wanted to do more crazy adventures together, even when the journey can be a bit rough. The payoff was definitely worth it. Over time, they brought another puppy, Lizzie, into their home and have since had many more relationship building experiences as they continue to raise their puppies together.
Kelsey & Matt love to explore the outdoors together. The peacefulness and separation from the world allows their relationship to flourish even more. One specific backpacking adventure truly proved the resilience these two have to get through life together. Kelsey & Matt decided to embark on a 20 mile, 3 day, backpacking hike in the north woods of Wisconsin. Upon arrival at their drop off location, the introductory trail guide was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt…in the middle of July. Kelsey & Matt, wearing a bit more typical summer clothing, were a bit concerned as to his clothing choice and wondered what was in store for them. After beginning their journey for about 1/2 mile, they realized why their guide (who was no longer with them) wore what he wore. Mosquitos. They covered them from head to toe. Together, they decided they were going to walk the entire 20 miles that day to escape the misery of being eaten alive. They couldn’t turn back, because their vehicle was waiting for them at the end point. With no other option, they relied on each other to motivate one another and support each other until they reached their stopping point. Poison ivy, mosquito bites, & an unforgettable experience were the souvenirs for the trip.
Whether it be a few margaritas on a weekend date, snuggling their dogs, backpacking, a walk through the park, a random “I love you text” during the day, a hug when they both return home after a long day at work, a glass of wine to unwind, or spending the holidays with family — this couple finds the joy in every big or small adventure they endure together. I find it absolutely perfect that Matt proposed to Kelsey on Christmas day. The cozy feelings we all get on Christmas morning…could it be any more exciting? As Kelsey opened the last gift with just her, the puppies and Matt, she turned around to find Matt on one knee. Matt asked Kelsey to marry him and she said yes! The planning and excitement began as they shared the news with family & friends throughout the holiday season.
The stress of wedding planning can often be overwhelming, but I found that Kelsey & Matt handled and made decisions with one another in such a way that they seemed more excited than overwhelmed. There are endless vendors to choose from in all areas of wedding planning, and these two chose a great team to work with (see vendor list at end of post).
The wedding day began on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 at the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay, WI. Kelsey and all the girls were getting their hair and make-up done while all the men were getting dressed just down the hall. Just knowing how close together these two were that morning, but not seeing each other, made the anticipation even greater. Harry Potter helped to settle the nerves while Kelsey got her hair done. Once her hair and make-up were complete, Kelsey felt like things were moving quickly! Kelsey & Matt exchanged their wedding gifts which led to smiles & admiration for the perfect choice in gifts. Matt gifted Kelsey a sign sharing their most memorable dates while Kelsey gifted Matt customized tumblers. Matt recalls, “In the morning I was thinking about all of the planning Kelsey did with the hair and the makeup, the flowers, the dresses, the bridesmaids, the mothers, the transportation, and that I just wanted Kelsey to have a nice relaxed morning.” The bride & groom details were photographed and soon everyone was in route to Simply Country Barn in Freedom, WI for the 1 pm ceremony.
An icy snowscape greeted guests as they found their way into the barn to be seated. The smell of winter was still present, but the heaters helped to warm the space. Matt greeted guests and enjoyed the moments leading up to the ceremony as calmly as he could. Matt remembers just being in awe of all the guests that came to a barn in the middle of Wisconsin to celebrate their marriage. Just below, Kelsey was getting dressed in her wedding gown and shaking off all the pre-ceremony nerves. After a heart warming bride reveal to her bridesmaids, we were all headed up the stairs for the long awaited wedding ceremony! Matt remembers, “Down the aisle, I had no clue what Kelsey had planned for her hair, make-up, or dress. I had my pockets packed with tissues because I was afraid Kelsey was going to cry and her make-up was going to be messed up. Turns out the maid of honor needed it more than Kelsey! My very first thought was, ‘she’s more beautiful than I could have imagined.’ And my second thought was, ‘she’s really keeping it together! She’s barely tearing up.'”
A personalized ceremony was provided by Ben Hable‑Guild. Guests were greeted from San Jose to Washington DC, from Portland to Kentucky and from south Milwaukee to Plymouth and everywhere in between. There were tears, laughs, smiles and a sweet kiss with applause to seal the deal. As Ben shared, “Marriage is a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two identities which diminishes neither, but enhances both.” Together, Matt & Kelsey agreed and walked away as Mr. & Mrs. Hughes. Prior to wedding day, Matt had been most nervous about the ceremony going smoothly and Kelsey was most nervous about saying her vows without making a mistake. All the nerves were put at ease now that the wedding certificate was signed and family shared their excitement with the newlyweds. After some family photographs, the wedding party ventured outdoors to capture the beauty of the snowy day in some unforgettable group images around the barn.
Another thing Kelsey & Matt share is their love for the Green Bay Packers – meaning it was only fitting to head to Lambeau Field for a few drinks and photos to truly commemorate their wedding day. A group of grown men with matching socks is truly a moment just asking to be unfolded…lots of laughs and youthful flashbacks were brought to life as this group of friends pranced around the Lambeau atrium! After a bride & groom dance on the indoor 50 yard line, the group shared a large toast before heading back to the Tundra Lodge for the wedding reception.
From the hand made decorations to the “help yourself nacho bar” and all the way to the customized wooden guest book…the ballroom was designed to represent Kelsey & Matt. Guests shared stories and laughs leading up to the wonderful grand entrance of the wedding party. Still a man determined to surprise his bride, Matt shared a welcome message with the entire room from Gilbert Brown, former Packer player, who personally congratulated the couple on their wedding. The speeches shared by Kelsey’s maid of honor and Matt’s best man celebrated the childhood memories that made these two who they are now, and what brought this couple together. Matt’s brother & sister also put together a presentation honoring Matt’s love for Ghostbusters, complete with ghost blasting equipment and all! Kelsey’s father again welcomed and thanked all in attendance as he shared his love and excitement for the new couples beginning.
The rest of the evening was pure celebration. The newlywed couple danced, laughed, talked, and made unforgettable memories with all those around them.
“Matt, I want you to remember that I am always going to be your best friend & wife, that I love just being around you, and that I am always going to support you. I’m excited to see what adventures are ahead of us and to see us grow even closer.” Love, Kelsey
“Kelsey, I look forward to having another milestone or event to celebrate with you. I am excited to always have an anniversary to celebrate with you and a wonderful wedding to look back on.” Love, Matt
With household projects and future vacations already in the works, Mr. & Mrs. Hughes are well on their way to a happy and love filled marriage. It is with pure joy that I say it has been a wonderful experience learning about the two of you, meeting your loved ones, celebrating your past and future and capturing your wedding day. I wish you nothing but adventure and love! Sincerely, Morgan
Limo Service // ELS
Bridal Gown // Tie The Knot
Bridal Hair & Make-Up // Mint Salon
Groom Suit // Dubois Formal
Ceremony // Simply Country Barn
Reception // Tundra Lodge
Floral // Ebb & Flow
Cake // Uncle Mike’s
Entertainment // Matt’s DJ Service
Photography // Morgan Lynne Photography