Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photo Shoot = Serendipity, Chapter one.

"the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for".

This post is for those of you who know my shop, have known about this crazy photo shoot that is not a real wedding... and for those of you at the real wedding wondering just what exactly happened  that caused one of the greatest Door County weddings of all time.
(at least I think so)

Last year I got a call from Molly Michel of M Three Studios.  She is a fabulous destination wedding photographer based out of Milwaukee.  We have worked on a couple of weddings together in Door County.  Molly's wedding photography has been published in many magazines and blogs.
She was very interested in doing a photo shoot around a black wedding dress that I had mentioned in a post, all while the cherries are blooming.
  It wouldn't be a real wedding, we would pull together top notch Door County wedding vendors, do what we do best as a team and hopefully get it published.  This would feature our work (hopefully getting us work)... or at least get Door County out there in our own way.

The team:
 I style... or rather decorate events.  I work with event planners and brides.  We come up with the themes and ideas, then I put it all into place.  
  (To put confusion to an end, I do not rent out my barn.  We have held weddings and hosted parties for dear friends, but we don't rent it out as a business... well we do, but you can only use it on Tuesdays from 6 pm to 8pm, there is no parking, there are barking dogs... for the mere sum of 10,000.00)

Sarah Basch, Flourgirl Patissier, Cake and dessert
Claire Erickson (hand painted signs)
 (home and interior designer, and wicked caterer)
And many others... so many!

One of the few sub zero days we had last winter, we met at Helene's house to get ideas rolling.
We decided that the theme would be prohibition.... Great Gatsby meets Downton Abbey... meets Bonnie and Clyde.
Molly would come up with the dress and models, but we needed a story to inspire.

How about a slightly spoiled, sassy mafia princess marrying a sweet, totally smitten... with an edge... illegal liquor delivery man?
Because Helene and I are "persnickety" (to put it nicely)  we started wondering about local people that we knew who could look good and "work it" in front of a camera.

The previous December we hosted a Christmas Ball at our house.  We invited everyone we knew.
I remembered one couple in particular... she had on a fabulous gold, vintage satin jumpsuit (70's?) with wide legs and a stole, he had on a very uptown, blue leisure suit with a red and white striped scarf.  (yes, I used uptown and leisure suit in the same sentence)

Enter Jesse and Rachael, a real life "living together" couple.  Not married.  At the time, I only knew them to say hello or wave to. They are:  Jesse, chef at Waterfront in Sister Bay, and Rachael, school psychologist at Sevastopol and Gibraltar.  Let me also tell you that they have the farm just up from me where they are raising goats, making cheese and soon opening the new creamery in Sister Bay.

I thought they might make a great "bride and groom".  Good looking, but not in the typical way.  They were hands down, game on!

*Enter our son Ben, who is adopting two of the little baby boy goats (keeps them from going to "Europe"), which means they are staying at our house.*
We would shoot the ceremony and dinner in my orchard, and then shoot the reception at the Dr. Robert Wahl (famous beer chemist during prohibition) homestead in Fish Creek.
(google it people.... the silo is still standing where the look out tower was for the police)

Hang in there, pictures will be coming.

Fast forward to about three weeks before the photo shoot.

We are worried about the blooms...will they or won't they? 

I yelled "come in" to the knock at my door.  (Actually I'm not sure if there was a knock or just an appearance)  Ben, my youngest was chatting with me when Rachael came in.
"I'm afraid to ask this, but if I didn't I would regret it.  I will totally understand if you say no... after the shoot, could Jesse and I really get married?"
I met Ben's gaze... both of us dumbfounded, yet intrigued.  This is DC lore in the making.

 We all knew the photo shoot needed to come first and I needed to check with Molly.  After all this was her idea, and she was the link to bringing work our way.  Maybe this isn't a good idea.

Molly,  "Sure.  Here's the time line of what we will need throughout the day.  We can have them back to the orchard by 7:3o and get them married".

I was taken by surprise at Molly's generosity.  She would even shoot the real wedding.

A couple of days later, a rather giddy Rachael "appears" again.  "Let me show you a picture of the dress I'll be wearing at the real wedding".  BHLDN.  Hello.  "It is supposed to be delivered today or tomorrow".

20 minutes later I actually hear the car skid into our driveway, high heels clicking.... "It's here!".  And in runs Rachael, wearing the wedding dress of her dreams.   Probably my favorite memory of the entire event.  She was beaming, John came down to see her and was beaming.  I was beaming. 

Hugs all around, this was going to be a special day.  For all of us.

So, the day begins.... 

(I need you to know that these pictures are rough, mostly behind the scenes.  If we want to get our work published, (and get work) the real photos from Molly cannot be on any social media... can't be seen anywhere.)
 Let me just tell you about Kari Pudlow.
She started at 11:30.  She was "on" the minute she arrived and was still "on" at the end of the day.
If you are looking for a stylist that is going to stay with you all day, style your hair like you've always dreamed of, put on make up that looks natural yet gorgeous, keep the touch ups coming, talk you through the day, tell you just how beautiful you are... and make it happen... she's your girl.
 Gives you choices and accessories.

 And of course that is our bride Rachael, taking it in.

Meanwhile, we needed to set up the "dinner" table.  I would say that Helene and I intermingle a lot of what we do, which on this day was wonderful.  We would have a table in the orchard.  Build an arch of sorts with a chandelier hanging over  loaded with flowers.  Also a great setting of gorgeous dishes, printed paper menus and beautiful food.  Here's the start.

My Dad, Dan Nipper.  I always knew he was a wonderful carpenter, but only recently became aware of his artistry and dead on eye.
Yes, the table will go under and the chandelier is hung.
Just look at those blossoms we knew wouldn't hang on.
 Jesse didn't need to show up until 2... so he decided to come over and hang out, with goats in the side car.  Wait, those goats are Earl and Clegg.  Ben's babies.  Too much fun.  Lovely, busy, chaos with everyone on board.  Happy.

 This is Ben's arrival... he had no idea the goats would be there.

.....part two coming soon.


  1. Can't wait to read part two! What a lucky bride and groom to have such a storybook setting! The goats in the side-car sure made me smile.


  2. I love hearing your behind-the-scenes perspective on it all. So much I wasn't part of!


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