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  • Hello! My name is Mandy. I am a Photographer serving mostly Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, but willing to travel anywhere! Photographs are important to me, and if you are considering me as Your Photographer, they are important to you as well. I am very fortunate to have clients who trust me to document their lives, and I take that job very seriously. My work has been featured in Memory Makers Magazine, and Northwest Quarterly. In 2009, I was one of FotoDC's top 100 FOTOBAMA finalists in which I had my photograph of the President prominently displayed in Washington DC's Newseum, as well as published in a book. To Learn a little more about me and my photography philosophy and style, click on the link below.

Planning a Disney World Destination Wedding- Disney World Wedding Photographer

I was so excited to find out that my recent Disney Bride Ashleigh was going to be interviewed for The Disney Wedding Podcast. The podcast is a great resource for Brides planning a Disney Wedding, but especially for those planning a Disney Destination Wedding. In her interview, Ashleigh shares what it was like planning for such a big day from so far away.  She shares her experiences from communicating with vendors, to making decisions about wedding day details, to how she planned experiences for her traveling guests. If you are thinking about or planning a destination wedding, no matter what location, take a listen here. I think you will find some valuable advice. I was especially excited that Ashleigh talked a bit about her experience with hiring me as her photographer and about the working relationship that we formed during her planning process. Thanks so much Ashleigh for the wonderful comments!

Also, if you are a Destination Bride, Disney or otherwise, know that you may not be bound to the photography package offered at the Resort/Destination. There often is the option to choose and bring a long your own photographer. Having someone who is better able to meet your personal photography needs/style and customize you photography experience are a huge benefit. I think more and more photographers are looking to do Destination Weddings. I am definitely one of those who would love to do more of them. And, because I don’t do many local weddings Dec.-March, I’m hoping to find more Winter Destination Weddings. Because of this, I often offer significant discounts to Destination Weddings that take place during those months.

So….If you are a planning a Winter/Spring 2015 Destination Wedding let’s chat. Or if you are a Disney Bride and are considering bringing in an outside photographer, contact me. I would LOVE to shoot another Disney Wedding and will have some special incentives for you if you mention Ashleigh and Ally’s Wedding.:)

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to check out more of Ashleigh and Ally’s Photos Here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Engagement Photography-Kate+Ulises

It’s Wedding Wednesday ya’ll!! (I have ancestors from both Texas and Oklahoma, so I have inherited the right to use the term ya’ll.) It’s Wedding Wednesday and I’m digging into my archives to share a FANTASTIC Chicago Engagement Session from this past Fall. Being on the cusp of Spring, I thought that we mid-westerners could use a bit of reminding what green grass and sunlight actually looks like. It’s been so long, but I have to believe that it will all be coming back someday.  Looking through Kate and Ulises images, I’m reminded that I DO indeed love this place I live in. For it’s beauty (albeit only half the year) and for it’s people (the people are awesome year round.) Kate and Ulises are just such people. They were so great to work with and by the end of the session I felt like I had made some new friends. Originally they had contacted me about just doing an engagement session. Although they currently live in Chicago, their wedding is taking place in Detroit. Both Cities have a special place in their hearts and they loved the idea of having photos in each. I was so excited to photograph them in Chicago, because it is a city that I too love. We had a good time shooting around some of their favorite spots and by the end of the session, I was begging them to book me for their Detroit wedding as well. Just kidding, I didn’t beg. But, I did inform them that I’d be willing to travel for their big day if they were interested in booking me. They were!!! And now I’m so excited to be photographing them this fall in Detroit. Kate and Ulises, thanks for choosing me. It’s been so great getting to know you both and I can’t wait for the big day!

 

We started the session at the L (or EL depending on which you prefer) Train near Lincoln Square. I love that they chose to wear their Detroit t-shirts for some of the photos.

 

 

Sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable for couples when we start out, because I’m asking them to show a lot of PDA in public. But, I loved their attitude about it all. They did not hold back. They’re in love and they don’t care who knows.:)

 

We also walked around Lincoln Square for a while.

Then we boarded the L for a bit. Gotta include some shots on the L if you live and work in the city.

 

 

Afterward, we headed down to the Lakefront and took advantage of the beautiful evening light. We got so lucky on this day. We’d had a string of cold days earlier in the season, but this day was gorgeous!!

This is usually my favorite time in an engagement session. The couple gets so used to me being their personal paparazzi by now that I think they start to forget I’m even there.:)

So in love.

Would you look at that. Green Grass and leaves on trees. You remember what that looks like Mid-west.

 

 

We ended the evening right a long the water with the city scape in the background. Such a beautiful view of one of my favorite cities. Such a great couple to work with!!

 

 

 

 

Looking forward to the Big Day Kate and Ulises!!

Disney World’s Sea Breeze Point Wedding-Destination Wedding Photographer- Ashleigh+Ally

I don’t even know how do begin to describe my thoughts and feelings about this wonderful couple and the amazing opportunity that I had to photograph their wedding day. Even still as I pour over their images, 3 weeks later, I can’t even believe that I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful job. A job that can take me 1,400 miles from home, to one of my favorite destinations, to photograph a couple who themselves traveled over 4,000 miles to be married in one of their favorite destinations. It was somewhat adventurous for both myself and the couple to make this happen and if you’d like to read more about how we made that happen click here. I’m just so thankful that Ashleigh and Ally have an adventurous spirit and that they were willing to take a chance on a crazy girl from Wisconsin who said, “Hey choose me to photograph your Disney Wedding!” I’m so glad that they did because it was truly a magical day.

 

The day started with the groom and his best man getting ready at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. That was my first time there and I loved it.

 

 

Ally and his best man Mark were so calm and collected. Even though they had quite the task in getting all of the details of their outfits on properly. How cool are their kilts?

 

After spending some time with the boys, I headed out to the villa where the girls were all getting ready. It was a beautiful setting and a perfect place for them to all get ready. I also met up with their Videographer, Tyler of Beyond Videography, for the first time. I have to give him a shout out for helping me hang her dress while photographing it. Your help was appreciated Tyler!!

 Speaking of her dress!! Oh my, so amazingly gorgeous!!

 

Ashleigh and Ally chose not to do a “First Look.” But Ashleigh wanted to capture the looks of her brother and bridesmaids (which consisted of her and Ally’s sisters) seeing her for the first time.

I thought it was perfect and so sweet. That was the moment that I realized how incredibly special the day was going to be. And, afterward I drove to the ceremony site seriously thinking about how much I love my job!!

 

 

Here are just a few details from the ceremony site. Disney’s Boardwalk area is so colorful and such a fun venue for a wedding.

At Sea Breeze Point, there are two long arbor covered walkways on each side of the gazeebo. The bride walks down one of those instead of down the middle isle. At first I was wondering how that work for getting those first shots of the groom seeing the bride for the first time, as I’m usually a bit closer to each of them during that moment. But, I LOVED this set up and you’ll see why in the next few photos.

 

How wonderful is it that I could also capture the mother’s expressions as well????!!!! Seriously future brides, consider a side entrance for your wedding! I’d say Ally was overwhelmed by his gorgeous bride wouldn’t you?

I creep on all of my Bride’s Pinterests during their planning, just to get to know them and their style better, etc…And I know that Ashleigh had commented on one of her photos that she hoped that she looked just as happy on her wedding day. Well, she definitely did.:)

I also loved how happy her brother was for her.

One of the things that really struck me about Ashley and Ally’s wedding day (and whole week for that matter) was that they were most intent on making it an amazing experience for their family and friends. I was just so impressed with that. It seemed like everything they planned was more about making sure that their guests were having a wonderful time. So, they surprised them with some fun elements throughout the day. The first one was with Minnie and Mickey showing up for the cake cutting and photos with guests!!! I’m telling you, it was probably the most fun thing I’ve photographed. The shrieks coming from grown women (and men-Ally’s dad pointed out to me) were priceless. Ashleigh’s sister was just beside herself and Minnie really grabbed onto that fact. She kept going back to her over and over again.

Minnie is quite the ham. She really knew how to work the camera!!

After getting LOTS of photos with the celebrities, we had a few moments for some portraits. I just could not get over how beautiful Ashleigh looked. Like old Hollywood Glamour, I thought.

Afterward we headed up to The Attic, which is a quaint little loft above one of the Boardwalk’s Hotel buildings. It has so much color and personality and was the perfect setting for the two of them to spend some quality time with their guests.

 

Another surprise that they had planned for their guests was having a caricaturist there. He was AMAZING!!! Everyone enjoyed it so much!

I don’t know if it is a Scottish Wedding tradition or not, but the speeches were the best wedding speeches I’ve ever heard! They were all so well thought out and you could tell that each person really took their job seriously and wanted to make sure it was special. My favorite’s was Ally’s sister’s speech. After standing up, she cued the music from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She then RAPPED the Entire Story of Ashleigh and Ally’s dating engagement and wedding. BEST WEDDING SPEECH EVER!!!! Everyone’s reactions were priceless.

After the lunch, we had some more time for portraits and group photos. And lots of fun with balloons!!

 

I’ve come across a lot of helpful groomsmen before, but Mark takes the cake. Literally. Not only did he hold bags, bouquets, balloons, etc… but he held my wrapped up piece of “to go”wedding cake the entire time!! Thanks for all of your help Mark!!

 

Sweetest Couple Ever right?

After a few hours of break, I joined up with everyone again for Ashleigh and Ally’s last surprise of the day. I of course knew what the surprise was, but their family did not. I had the privilege of photographing their private Dessert Party in Epcot. It was so much fun to ride a long with some of the family members as we drove to the undisclosed location and then were led into Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. They were all so surprised and It was the perfect way to end their Day.

 Before I end I just have to reflect a bit. When Ashleigh and Ally booked me to photograph their wedding, I was so excited to shoot in Disney World. I mean, I LOVE that place and I think that everything Disney does is top notch. I knew that it would be an amazing experience. And it was. But, what I was reminded of with this day was that it is THE PEOPLE who make the day amazing and beautiful!! I believe that their day could have taken place in a junkyard and it would have been just as beautiful and magical. That is just how lovely and happy, and sweet they and their family and friends were. By the end of the night, the fact that we were at Disney just kind of faded away to me. It was just a reminder to me that the wedding day is all about the people. The couple in love, and the people who love them.

Thank you again Mr. and Mrs. Dow for choosing me to document such a special day. I had the time of my life getting to know you and your families.

March 18, 2014 - 1:33 am

Tina Pierce Nelson - So Special!

March 18, 2014 - 7:10 am

Daisy McKinney - ❤️❤️❤️❤️

March 18, 2014 - 8:54 am

Ally Dow - Just breathtaking photos Mandy, thank you so much!

March 18, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Craig G. S. Johnstone - Absolutely tremendous!

March 18, 2014 - 8:58 pm

Valerie - Dear Mandy , Thankyou so very much, < Now with your Beautiful photography and capturing story telling all can see and enjoy the Beauty and Magic of Ashleighs and Ally's wedding day!!!

I have been stuck for Words to describe to our Family and Friends how " Out of this World " the day and evening was :-) Ash and Al sure did Spoil us to the Max :-) Everything was just Mega Beautiful and full of excitement .

Thankyou once again for your marvellous work Love and Hugs to you and your Family xxx Val,Wills & Casey.

March 18, 2014 - 9:09 pm

mandyhenry - I’m so glad that you all love them and that you feel I captured the day well. It was such a special experience for me to be a part of. I loved meeting you all!!

March 18, 2014 - 9:10 pm

mandyhenry - Thanks Ally! Glad you love them so far. :)

March 18, 2014 - 9:10 pm

mandyhenry - Thanks Tina! Sorry again that we didn’t hook up while there!

March 19, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Ashleigh Christiemas - <3 <3

March 22, 2014 - 11:32 am

Lynne Arrol - Congratulations Mr and Mrs Dow!

I’m delighted for you and thrilled to see the stunning photographs of your amazing day. You all look incredible and your lovely photographer, Mandy, has managed to capture the love and happiness which shines through in her record of the whole day.

Hope Kirsty’s Wedding Rap for you was recorded. It sounds brilliant!

Every happiness for a wonderful future together,

Love Lynne Arrol xx

March 26, 2014 - 2:21 am

Isabella Mc Kinney - Absalutley beautiful special love it xx

March 26, 2014 - 2:24 pm

Escape Wedding Spotlight: Ashleigh & Ally | Disney Wedding Podcast - [...] today’s show, recent bride Ashleigh Christie shares the story of her Escape Collection wedding at Sea Breeze Point, with a reception at the [...]

Walt Disney World Wedding Photographer- Wedding Wednesday

I’m goin’ rogue here folks. Today’s Wedding Wednesday Post contains not a single wedding photo. What it does contain, however, are plenty of fun photographs from the place where my next wedding will be taking place. A place that makes millions of people happy every year. A place that, from the moment that I learned hosted weddings, has had me dreaming of photographing a bride and her groom there. A place that is truly one of MY Happiest Places on Earth. In three weeks I will be taking my 3rd trip to The World (as we Fanatics call it) to photograph and unbelievably sweet couple on their special day. I am beyond the moon excited and I just had to share a little bit about the couple, as well as few of my favorite photos from my last trip there in 2012.

So a bit about the couple. Ashleigh and Alistair are traveling all the way from the UK to have there wedding at the Disney Boardwalk Area’s Sea Breeze Point.  Reminiscent of a turn of the century coastal boardwalk, it is full of color and charm and I’m just a tad excited to be photographing the couple there. They have chosen to use the Disney Movie UP as their theme and I can’t wait to see all of the details they have planned. I mention frequently that I love color and utilizing it in my photos. I think with the Boardwalk, the elements they’ve chosen, and their sweet personalities, we are sure to capture some beautifully colorful and happy images.

You may be wondering how I got connected with Ashleigh and Ally since they live all the way across the pond. Well, I’ll tell you in a bit here. But first a fun photo.

 

My Daughter Abra gives Disney World and the UK “two thumbs up.” Funny Fact. During this particular trip to The World, Abra was OBSESSED with the UK (mainly due to a certain love affair with a certain boy band called 1D.)

 

 

 

I was happy to introduce my mom to Disney World this trip. She is hooked and will be coming with me again in a few weeks.

So, how did I meet the lovely couple? Well, I frequent a Disney Message Board  (nerd alert.) The board is just a great resource for planning trips, finding out about discounts and promotions (like free dining) and learning about new features in the park (like new ride openings etc…) Right after we had returned from our trip in 2012, I went on the board to try to drown my Post-Disney sorrows (you know cause the real world sucks comparatively) when I came across a post. It was a post from Ashleigh about getting engaged at the new Be Our Guest Restaurant. The Be Our Guest Restaurant was a brand new restaurant opened in the Magic Kingdom that is basically like dining in Belle and the Beasts Castle. We had actually just eaten there as well and It was one of the highlights of trip. So of course, I had to read her post. Her post contained their story and  photos of the proposal. In it, she also mentioned that they were going to have the wedding at Disney and that she was considering using an outside photographer (non Disney Staff) for the photos. I don’t know why, but I was just instantly drawn to their story and I contacted her about them using my services. It was actually something out of character for me to do, but I honestly just felt prompted to do it. I’m so glad that I did. It has been really fun getting to know Ashleigh better over the past year, and I feel so honored to their photographer. In honor of Ashleigh and Ally’s Engagement story, I thought I’d share a few photos of the awesome spot that Ally chose to pop the big question.

Here are a few of us waiting outside for our turn to be escorted into the castle. I have to note here that in order to even get reservations for this restaurant I had to stalk the message board for weeks in order to find out the day that reservations would start to be taken. Then, I had to wake up at 6 in the A.M. and stay on hold ( with two phones actually) for almost 2 hrs. before I got through to reservations. So, you can see how utterly impressive it was that Ally was able to pull this off for Ashleigh!

The inside has 3 dinning rooms-The West Wing, Belle’s Library, and The Ballroom. All the elements are so impressive, from the fading rose, to the snow falling outside of the ballroom.

We got to eat in The Ballroom.

Half way through dinner, the Beast makes a grand entrance.

Abra claimed that the napkins actually smelled like roses. lol.

We had noted on the reservations that we were celebrating my mom’s birthday while there. As a treat, she got some of the famous “Grey Stuff.” It was delicious.

All of our food was really good (somewhat of a french inspired menu.) But, these cupcakes were some of the best I’ve had. My mouth is watering right now. Only 3 more weeks before I can have another!

After dinner you get to take a photo with the Beast. So much fun.

Just a few more photos from our trip.  One of our favorite parks is Epcot’s World Showcase. We love visiting all the countries and Abra loves these phone booths. Here is why. They are working phone booths, so people call them all the time and you can just chat with them (I know, in what other place would this be o.k? But, somehow it’s not AS creepy at The World.) I had given my husband (who was at home) the #s to call and then texted him to call when Abra was at the booth. So, she got a surprise call from her daddy. Then, she stayed and talked to stranger after stranger (mostly other kids on their cells nearby watching) for a long time. When I finally pulled her away she said, “I love talking to strangers.” I’m a terrible mom.

If you wanna creep on someone at Disney right now in fact, you can call:

Left phone booth- (407)827-9862
Center phone booth- (407)827-9863
Right phone booth- (407)827-9861

Tempted aren’t you?

 

Have to take a photo with this guy each time.

Marry Poppins giving my mom a lesson in etiquette.

This is not a very attractive photo of me (man, I have a big mouth!) But, I love it because it showcases how great the characters are. I don’t remember why I thought this was so funny, but kudos to my mom for capturing it so perfectly! Maybe she should be my assistant.:)

Just a few from my favorite time in the parks. Nightime. Shows, lasers, fireworks. You can’t go wrong.

 

Thanks for sticking with me internet. Next time I post some Disney Photos, they will include the bride and groom!!

February 6, 2014 - 7:00 am

Ashleigh Christiemas - Ah our first blog post (sort of)! I love your Be Our Guest photos – beautiful!!