UW Eau Claire Davies Center Wedding Reception Andrew Samplawski Photography

Meghann & Stan

Meghann and Stan were married on August 18 with a gorgeous ceremony at St. Raymond’s Church in Fall Creek followed by a reception at UW Eau Claire Davies Center. It was so much fun to be the wedding photographer for this summer celebration of love.

Meghann and Stan’s 8/18/18 Wedding

I love when weddings have special meaning to their dates, so I was not surprised that 81818 was a popular wedding date! There’s no excuse to forgetting your wedding anniversary when you choose such a memorable wedding date! That morning, Jeff, my second shooter, and I started out at St. Raymond’s Church in Fall Creek, WI. When we arrived, Stan and his groomsmen were having guy time and hanging out in the parking lot while the girls were inside the church getting ready for this momentous occasion.

An Emotional Fall Creek Ceremony at St. Raymond’s Church

St. Raymond’s is a truly stunning Catholic church. It has a grand, elegant steeple and gorgeous stained-glass windows. Meghann and her bridesmaids got ready in room inside that had such amazing light. In a moment of amazing luck, the sunlight streamed in through the window in such a way that you could see the subtle reflection of hands on her bridal gown. It was magical, I couldn’t believe our luck. It was clearly a sign of good things to come for the day ahead. 

All the ladies had a wonderful time getting ready together, sporting matching jumpers and enjoying some relaxing moments together before the ceremony. I took the opportunity to capture some wedding photography detail shots of the rings, flowers, gown and her exquisitely embroidered cathedral veil. Meghann decided to do a letter exchange with gifts for each of her ladies. Each gift was accompanied by a heart-felt hand-written letter. There was a waterfall of tears, but it was so clear that there was so much love for these women who loved and supported Meghann. In turn, the ladies presented Meghann with a gift as well, an amazing pair of rose gold earrings. The gifts continued as Meghann presented her mother a gift from her and the groom, a ‘Mother’s Ring’ with birthstones for each of her children. It was very emotional.  The bride and her sister presented their father with a special tie for the wedding. Not only was it a very handsome tie, but they had a picture of the two of them sewn into the back, keeping his girls close to his heart. These sentimental, happy moments were such a privilege to capture. It makes being a wedding photographer so worthwhile to be a part of these amazing family moments.

Meghann’s gown was, in a word, exquisite. She looked from coast to coast to find this gown and it was incredible to see her in it. She even went to see Monte himself at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta, of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta. And, let me just say, her search paid off. She looked amazing. Once she was dressed, we did a big reveal to all the ladies. Again, it was such an emotional, beautiful moment to capture.

In a bit of a contrast to the emotional morning with the women, my second shooter Jeff was with Stan and the groomsmen having a relaxed morning together. They were all having a blast, getting some fun wedding portraits of the guys all together outside. 

Once everyone was ready, we staged a series of first looks. We did a first look with Meghann and her brother, which was important to her. Then, once that happened, we had a first look with the father of the bride, while her sister, brother, and mother looked on. It was beautiful. No matter how many first looks I photograph, it’s the ones where a father sees his little girl all grown up for the first time that really get to me. 

At this point, the church coordinator was getting very concerned about the timeline, so she hurried everyone into the church and the ceremony finally got started. Finley, the flower girl, handed out white roses to every woman sitting at the aisle. It was a different thing that I hadn’t seen before, but it had a truly elegant effect. The bride was escorted down the aisle by her brother halfway, and then was met by her father and mother who escorted her down the rest of the aisle to the altar. Everyone embraced as they handed off Meghann to Stan.

Father Derek presided over the ceremony and pronounced them husband and wife to the delight of everyone present. I loved how Meghann and Stan decided to do a dismissal as everyone exited the church. That way, they were sure to see everyone who was attending and to thank them personally right there at the church.

Afterwards, we did wedding portraits with the family portraits at the altar and then we adjourned with the wedding party to do more portraits. I loved the variation of color in this wedding. Meghann chose to have her bridesmaids in a gradient of colors, ranging from different colors of pink to a glitzy, glamorous nude for the attendants closest to her. It was a stunning effect, especially considering this was a very large bridal party. But with how sweet Meghann and Stan are, it was no surprise they had a big wedding party! Everyone hopped onto a bus to celebrate together and we drove over to Phoenix Park for wedding party pictures with that gorgeous cathedral length veil as a prop in many pictures.

A UW Eau Claire Davies Center Wedding

After the portraits we got back on the bus and moseyed over to the UW Eau Claire campus. It gave us the opportunity to get some candid photos of the bride, groom and their loved ones. Upon entering the reception, there was an elegant curved staircase. I didn’t miss the opportunity to take some bridal photos of Meghann with that spectacular veil before their grand entrance as husband and wife. 

After dinner, I stole the bride and groom outside up onto the Davies Center rooftop after dinner. There was an amazing sunset and I jumped at the opportunity to capture their first sunset as husband and wife. Inside again we went for their first dance. The ballroom was transformed with beautiful uplighting by the UW Eau Claire event staff. Bride danced with groom, bride danced with father, Stan danced with a special family member. To transition into two families, the bride and groom danced with one another’s families to show how the two families were becoming one. It was beautiful to witness.

Meghann, with one more surprise to share, surprised Stan with a special video slideshow of pictures of them through the years. And then, it was time to dance! All Occasions DJ entertainment for the evening and they ensured that there was a jam-packed dance floor filled with friends and family.

At the end of the evening, Meghann and Stan had something truly unique planned. They invited family and friends up to the roof of the Davies Center. There, they carefully lit paper lanterns. Together, Meghann and Stan held the paper lantern as it filled with hot air. Once the lanterns were filled, the guests released the lanterns up into the night sky. It was like something right out of a movie, watching these lanterns traverse the sky with their twinkling fire lights. It was so special. 

Overall it was a great day and I am excited to share some of their wedding photos here. Meghann and Stan, thank you so much for asking me to be your wedding photographer. I will never forget your beautiful wedding day.