Where to begin with these two. What a joy this day was, for them, for me, for everyone involved…Cora and Kelly are a very special couple. They both wear their hearts on their sleeve. They both give so much of themselves to their community. They are both sophisticated, engaged, intellectually rigorous…while also somehow being lighthearted, free spirits who seem to bubble with laughter whenever they’re together.
This was THE perfect day for an outdoor wedding at Orton Park. It was warm and sunny with a cool breeze coming off Lake Monona. The capitol building shone across from where they were married. They had a private first look together in the woods, where they were able to shake off the inevitable wedding-day jitters and be silly together before greeting their guests. Kelly looked so handsome in her tailored blue suit, and Cora was stunning in a diaphanous gown that captured the sunlight wherever she walked. They were both SO excited for this day, and their excitement was contagious. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face the entire time.
This whole experience was a testament to the quality of people Cora and Kelly are. Their families and friends were fun-loving, supportive, kind…it was difficult to find someone NOT smiling at any point throughout the day. One of my favorite moments was a Quaker-esque tradition during the ceremony: they asked for everyone to close their eyes and be silent, and if anyone wanted to speak words to or about the couple, they should stand and do so. Guests rose and said their piece, and you could have heard a pin drop. Every word soaked in; hearts swelled. In the middle of a wide-open park, this ceremony managed to create its own little bubble so engrossing I was surprised to see random people in the way-background in some of my photos. I had forgotten anyone else was nearby.
So much delight inside, afterwards. The speeches were thoughtful and moving; our mutual friend Linn played a couple songs, including for their first dance, and people went wild on the dance floor as early-evening sun slanted golden through the open windows. People cracked up over lawn games and polaroid cameras, and everywhere I turned, people were hugging, leaning in, and reminiscing together.
We stole away from the party for a few sunset photos, and the couple was relaxed, perhaps a little buzzed, and adorable. Somehow, in the midst of a day totally about and for them, they managed to articulate their gratitude for me—a detail that pretty much sums up their true generosity of spirit and love for other people.
This wedding was so special. It was also the last wedding I shot in Madison last year after living there for eight years, and it was the quintessentially perfect Wisconsin summer night. It will live in my memory always. So grateful to have been part of this story.