Madeline and Neal’s Happy and Relaxed Spring Wedding in Downtown Stillwater

Madeline and Neal’s love story began at the Science Museum of Minnesota: he worked there and she joined as a volunteer, and their maid of honor even played a hand in encouraging them to connect because she knew they would be an amazing match (as she reminded guests during her toast at the reception!)  They are a sweet and friendly couple - they’re both thoughtful and easygoing, they love nature and animals and their community. Madeline and Neal went on to get engaged while camping at Gooseberry Falls State Park, and they planned a relaxed, happy wedding day in the heart of Stillwater.

Getting ready at the Lowell Inn

Much of their wedding day was held at Lowell Inn, a historic space right in downtown Stillwater. We started the day by taking getting ready photos with Madeline, her bridesmaids, and mom at the inn. It was a super mellow and cozy atmosphere. Taylor, the maid of honor, hopped into the room’s hot tub to pop a bottle of champagne for a toast, and I love the happy moments of everyone cheering her on in these photos.

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Ceremony at her family’s church

After getting ready, everyone moved to First United Methodist Church in Stillwater and had a little downtime there before the ceremony began. This was the home church for Madeline’s family and I loved that they had such a meaningful connection to the space.

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How I approach photographing an indoor ceremony space

A question I get from a lot of couples is: are you comfortable photographing an indoor wedding in a church with not very much natural light or a lot a wood?

While I share a lot of outdoor photos because I love nature, I am super  comfortable working in indoor settings. In many ways I approach indoor ceremonies similarly to how I would approach a scene outdoors: I am focusing on the lines and architecture of the building in a similar way that I would a big field or grand tree. I know that those spaces convey meaning and story to the couple and I am still looking for the emotional and iconic moments.

I use some of my technical skills to compensate for the lack of bright natural light with the way I use my camera settings. For the family portraits at Madeline and Neal’s wedding I pulled out a flash so that I could have really clear, bright lighting where as the pictures during their ceremony have a warm tone that feels more cozy and emotional than the formal portraits.

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Portraits with their wedding party

As guests made their way to cocktail hour at the Inn, we hopped outside to take advantage of the beautiful spring day and get photos with the wedding party before doing a few pictures just with Madeline and Neal. Since they hadn’t done a first look, this was their chance to be alone and have a quiet moment during the day and also get portraits of the two of them. We drove to a spot that I had scoped out ahead of time overlooking part of the river valley and near a street with some really radiant flowering trees.

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Their wedding reception at the Lowell Inn in Stillwater

Madeline and Neal joined their guests for cocktail hour after a few photos outside of the inn, and then it was time to move into toasts and dinner. After dinner we slid back outside for some sweet portraits at dusk. One of my favorite pictures is Neal spinning Madeline on the patio. Her skirt flew out with so much texture and Neal looks full of joy just taking her in. It was a really lovely moment of them being so happy and calm together.

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I also love these two pictures of them laughing and kissing during their first dance. Their guests in the background, the connection between the two of them: there is so much emotion in this moment! Madeline and Neal had a ton of people join them dancing, so they had fun and high-energy end to their celebration.

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Madeline and Neal, thank you for welcoming me into your wedding day. It’s been such an honor to get to know you both. I’ve loved meeting your sweet furry friends, getting to know both of your kind hearts, and celebrating alongside your friends and family on your day. I had such a lovely time documenting this part of your love story! Thank you for everything.

A big thank-you also goes out to all the other vendors who helped bring Madeline and Neal’s day to life!

Reception venue: The Lowell Inn

Ceremony venue: First United Methodist Church in Stillwater

Florist: Hudson Flower Shop

Dessert: The Cakery

Alyssa L-K