From Minneapolis to Chicago & just about every region in between, we have captured couples this past year. One common thread that ties them all together is their mutual love for each other and thrill of a great adventure. Many of them have a great passion for the outdoors and enjoy taking in every moment of it together whether it be fishing, hunting, jogging, hiking, or camping. While some live in the big city, they often have roots here in the Northwoods or Central Wisconsin and it is their down-to-earth personalities that make them all so easy to get to know.
Katie and I are an open book. We may share with you much more than you ever hoped to know when it comes to life, marriage, and raising a family during one of our meetings; our story stretches back over nearly 20 years. Many of our couples met online or through mutual friends while in college or grad school. In our initial hangout dates with our couples, I like to ask how our couple met and more often than not, one will look at the other and hesitantly say, “Online!.” I then reassure them that they are not alone and it isn’t weird. We think online dating or long distance relationships are great! They’re often driven by strong communication and algorithms designed to match people based on their personalities and interests. Gotta love psychology!
Dating can be rough. I know that Katie and I wouldn’t know where to start. We’re so very thankful that God matched us when we were pre-teens to become best friends and it wasn’t until nearly a decade later that we would say, “I do.” It is so neat getting to have conversations with couples from around the country who are willing to open up and share a part of their story with us. Even more so, it is is an honor when couples entrust us to capture one of the most important days of their lives. We feel privileged to be able to spend our weekends with such extraordinary people who place a premium on their wedding experience and their marriages as a whole. They know this [marriage] is a once in a lifetime event and they want to embrace it for all it has to offer and hold dear to every passing moment; because they know it will fly by so very quickly.
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Hold on to one another and invest as much time in your marriage as you will on planning your wedding day! Life is truly made up of all the little moments and you will remember the times that you slowed down and intentionally reflected. Make time, better yet, schedule time to be alone without your phones, screens and the like and simply be present with one another. Listen. Be quite. Just exist in one another’s presence. That feeling of complete comfortability combined with butterflies is what we all wish for in a soulmate. Take a walk, ride a bike, go on the trip you always wanted. Sometimes life gets a hold of us and once it does it is hard to step off the merry-go-round. If you’re the journaling type, which we hope you are, take a few moments out of your week to put pen to paper. Write it all down, the good with the bad. When you look back and reflect, you will want to be as true to yourself as possible – and to your future generations who read your words you will want to provide wisdom. Share your mistakes, your frustrations, your passions and your regrets. Life is short, but also precious – so cherish and revere it. #liferevered. Make memories and dream big!
“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
We’re so thrilled to be featured on Green Wedding Shoes today!
photography: James & Katie Stokes // planning + design: Et Voilà Events, Allison Feltz // venue: Forest Springs in Westboro, Wisconsin // florals: Fawn Mueller // hair + makeup: Bella Zenn Salon & Spa (Chelsea Zenner) // cake: Creative Crumbs // dress: Jenny Yoo
2015 was a blur. Filled with fleeting moments like these. Looking over our past year in work it is hard not to break into song… 525600 minutes. RENT fans know what I’m talking about. “How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?” For those of you who now have that song stuck in your head, you’re welcome! Anyway, I find that question both haunting and challenging at the same time. Time is the universal currency and it is in limited supply. A concept Mr. J. Timberlake helped me grasp thanks to his movie “In Time.” Side note: If you haven’t figured out that Katie and I are movie buffs, well, we are! What else do you do during late night Lightroom marathons?
Putting this post together is never easy; life is messy and it’s filled with ugly crying, but also belly laughing with pig snorts. Those are my personal favorites. My life, had it been captured to the degree we capture a wedding day, would be filled with candid raw emotion and a full toddler tantrums to boot.
When we pull our digital shoebox out 20 years from now, we want to cry, laugh, and then cry some more – all the while seeing the beauty that is in the chaos – the imperfection, those in between moments. We will ask, “where did the time go?” as we look into each other’s now middle aged faces, filled with more laugh lines I hope. I know I will wish we could go back to in time, yet we know the best is still ahead. I wonder what advice my older self would give to me now. What things will matter then?
The beauty is truly in the journey, not the destination and your wedding is one day of adventure you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life! Katie and I have a total of 40 images from our wedding in 2007. We have one on display in our home. Our goal, our passion, is to capture a wedding like it was our own and treat every couple as if it was us. Our style is James & Katie; it is what we would want had we the opportunity to do it all over again, we wouldn’t but we joke about it.
I can tell you that we were concerned with things that now we laugh about. I wish we had spent more time together and less time worrying. It all turned out and after 8 years of marriage we’re still figuring things out, we don’t have it all together, but we have each other. That makes everything worth it and we wouldn’t change a thing.
Happy 2016! We have so much to be grateful for. Live a #LifeRevered.
This year instead of heading out west, we decided to go Nort’! This July 7th, Katie and I will be celebrating our 8-year wedding anniversary. We honeymooned in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and thought it would be fun to show the kids some of our favorite destinations and give them a history lesson in J&K. We stayed in a quaint little cottage near the beach on the Les Cheneaux Islands at the Hills Point Resort. We took day trips into St. Ignace and Mackinaw City to walk the pier and visit Fort Michilimackinac. The kids were able to play in the sand and explore in the kayaks – really just be kids. Katie and I hope one day to bring all of our children and grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan. Our lives have changed so drastically over the last 8 years. We an only imagine what life will look like 10, 20, 30 years from now. We’re so thankful for the opportunity to escape for a few days during the year. Vacation rarely is relaxing, but it is always an adventure!
Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July! We’re so very blessed in this country – may God continue to bless this Nation and our children.