Sticks Warehouse Wedding (Des Moines, Iowa): Sarah and Tanner

In this industry, there is only one great, more intimidating honor than shooting the wedding of another wedding photographer: shooting the wedding of two wedding photographers. After all, not only do we know all of the ins and outs of the industry, but before even beginning our search we’re already familiar with the work of hundreds of photographers. So I was already excited to head to Des Moines to shoot Sarah and Tanner’s wedding, but it got even better, because wedding photographers really know how to throw a wedding. It can be a tough balance to plan something incredibly soulful and personal and wild and crazy all at once, but all of the notes were perfect. As someone who has lost his father, the love and honor given to the memory of Tanner’s father made me really happy that cameras can autofocus even when you’re tearing up. The details of the wedding were so well-thought-out, personal, and numerous that I even included some of them here, violating my general “details are for the wedding planning blogs” rule. I, of course, am a sucker for photography-related centerpieces. And the party pulsed with energy and vitality, a release for a couple for whom it was finally their time, a celebration to take part in, not record. Thank you so much, Tanner and Sarah, and thank you to Stephanie Marie Photography for doing a great job as 2nd shooter.

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Sara Kelly Johns - Your work is truly worthy for the honor of shooting two photographers’ wedding, Ryan! GREAT photos of a really special wedding!

Chris Brock - You rocked this wedding. Trying to figure out if you brought a big flash and how you lit the reception. Looks so good.

Peter Johnson - Amazing Ryan, fantastic work!

Phyllis Biastro Reinert - Just incredible Ryan. Never able to say anything short of that either!

Mary Jo Akeman - Gorgeous

Caroline Godkin - Love that night portrait.

She said “Fine”!

DN1 1491 as Smart Object 2

She said yes!

OK, technically she said “fine,” a private joke given that Tatiana says “fine” way too much, but you get the idea. We are going to go down the same crazy roller coaster as our clients, and we are already understanding this wedding business in different lights. Like sure, diamond rings are a massive industry scam perpetuated by devious corporations … but oh my god we love ours — it’s like a constant dance party on Tatiana’s hand — and when Tiffany & Co. asked if we wanted to trade it in for a properly sized ring we said “No, resize THIS one!” And we realize how important photos are in a different way. As soon as I knew I was going to propose to Tatiana in Montreal it was obvious that I would hire the incredible davina + daniel | wedding photography to capture the moment. Daniel sent me this last night and even with everything we paid I almost don’t even care if there are other photos or amazing portraits — this is a perfect moment from the THIRD time I got down on my knee showing how happy we were once the reality of the situation started to sink in.

The proposal: I had a lot of grand ideas, but honestly I just couldn’t wait. I wanted to do this the very second after we shot our last wedding for the year. Tatiana knew that months ago, I booked the travel for a trip that would take us through 3.5 days of vacation in Montreal before spending Thanksgiving with our families. She didn’t know that I’d booked our hotel at the Ritz-Carlton, Montréal, or dinner the first night at the incredible Maison Boulud Montreal. I’m not generally a flashy, free-spending person, so she would have known something was up … so I had a plan. I ALSO booked us rooms at the Best Western down the street for last night. That way we could come off the plane and get all dressed up “for dinner” at a restaurant at the top of Parc du Mont-Royal — a restaurant that does not, in fact, exist.

I have never been to the spot, which Daniel picked, and Tatiana has never been to Montreal at all, so Google Maps led us astray and we had to not only climb up a dark muddy mountain trail in our fancy clothes, we had to crawl over four different chained off pathways to get there. All the while I’m sending and receiving secret texts from Daniel to make sure he knew where we are — and of course me, photographer that I am, makes us wander to a spot without people in the background, a beautiful reflective rainy ground, and at least a bit of ambient light, which was in short supply.

I turned to Tatiana: “It’s been a wonderful year and I’m so happy to celebrate it. But I have a few surprises for you! First of all, we’re not staying at the Best Western tonight, we’re staying at the Ritz!”

“What???”

“And we’re staying there every night!”

“Wow, wait, what?!?!”

“And there’s actually no food here, that restaurant behind us is actually a closed-off government building. Our dinner is back at the hotel.”

“Wait, what? What??”

“Also,” (and here I began to cry, as I knelt down to my bag to pull out a white-wrapped turquoise Tiffany’s box), “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, the best person I have ever met, and I want to spend as much time of every day for the rest of my life with you that I possibly can.”

“WHAT!?!?!?! WHAT?????? WHAT????”

Daniel’s video light turns on, and man, those things are bright when they are aimed at you, and we hear cheering and the sounds of hundreds of shutters, but it a ll seems to fade into the background. I wanted her to be surprised before the ring was out, and boy did that happen. She was still in shock probably an hour later while we were doing portraits, but so thrilled. We haven’t stopped smiling for the past 18 hours, and our cheeks are starting to hurt.

We are so happy to begin our forever, to let each other and the world know that we are totally, one hundred percent committed to each other in every way, and can’t wait to spend the last half of this week celebrating with our family.

Thank you to Davina and Daniel (and associate Chris) for the amazing photo, thank you to my mom for coming with me to pick out the ring and being the best all-around, and thank you to Kyle Hepp for being my on-the-ground recon, finding out Tatiana’s thoughts on proposals in general. (Her thoughts on having a photographer there? “Absolutely not.” Public proposal? “No, just on the couch.” Sometimes you have to be a bit rebellious.)

We are just going to bask in our engagement right now and no wedding planning — the only thing we know is that there will be a good dance party. No other details.

Emily Porter - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

Andy Stenz - Many congrats to you both!

Kristi Wright - Awww this is adorable. Seriously teary eyed reading this. So happy for you both!

Johanna Hietanen - This is so awesome!! Congrats!!!

Alice Yucht - Congratulations!!!

Nadine Latief - Ahhhhh yessssss! Congrats you two!

Neoh Soon Hueng - Hi Ryan, congratulations. This is good story telling. Keep the marraige strong.

Nathanael Tan - Awesomee

Joe Kriv - Congrats!!!!

Love is Work Made Visible (literally)

De Seversky Mansion wedding

Lawrence built these letters himself with foam-core and Christmas lights, in addition to handcrafting exquisite wooden signs, tables, and hand-painting dozens of luminaries for the grounds of his De Seversky mansion wedding on Saturday. Speaking as a guy, Lawrence, you’re blowing the curve for the rest of us.

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II