I’m so excited to share this session!!! Kim initially reached out to me inquiring about a mini session in celebration of her and husband’s 10 year anniversary. Of course- I was super excited to help plan this simply because I love celebrating love. But, early on she mentioned surprising him: In. Her. Wedding Gown!!!
I was over the moon and squealed with delight like a young girl! I absolutely adore surprises and I couldn’t wait to plan the details with her- we jumped right in and started plotting! It very quickly turned into a special project we secretly worked on together. Since we are in central Wisconsin and it’s the dead middle of winter, it took some creativity to plan an outdoor surprise session; the biggest question was how do we get Chad (her hubby) to a park in the middle of winter without him getting suspicious?
After some thought we decided to send him on a scavenger hunt around town to a few locations that hold a special place for them. Kim prepped her clues as I did some scouting for a good location and worked out the logistics of the actual session. She thought her birthday would be a good day to plan this; the kiddos would be at school, and a special birthday lunch request would give her a reason to ask Chad to get dressed up and fancy.
The morning of the session came and I think Kim and I were both a little nervous. She wanted to ensure he found all the notes and they didn’t blow away or something, and I didn’t want to miss that special moment between them or spoil the element of surprise, worried he would see me first. She left the first note under her pillow and went to a friends house to get ready. (I mean to work, because she had to work- wink, wink). After planting her notes all around town, she sent him a text suggesting there was a note under her pillow that would tell him where she wanted to have lunch that afternoon. Little did he know it was about to send him around town and lead him to Kim waiting in her wedding dress and a photo shoot!
We thought a local park where their family spends a lot of time together was the perfect location for their session. Let me tell you- the weather we have had this winter made the shoot even more interesting. Thankfully, the ground was covered in snow. But, thanks to a couple of mid-January thaws, there was about 2 – 3 inches of ice under the snow, making the park incredibly slippery, difficult to navigate, and dangerous to trek on in many areas. I hid Kim behind a smaller pine right in the path we knew Chad would take and I found the thickest tree trunk I could to hide behind (not an easy task with a hip holster, two cameras, winter gear and an ice-y ground under your feet).
Chad started on the path exactly on time as planned; this is where my nerves kicked in. I have to be completely honest right now and say I was so worried he would see me before Kim. I didn’t want that to happen, but here we were in a quite, empty park. I made calculated decisions to take as few but necessary photos as he came down the path, mindful so he wouldn’t hear my shutter. As he approached, I silently moved around the tree in the opposing direction to keep myself hidden, while signaling Kim to come out from behind her tree and walk towards him. I didn’t know if we could pull it off.
Kim walked around from the tree that was so cleverly disguising her and and slowly revealed herself. Chad responded full of smiles and laughs, “Wow, look at you! What are you doing?!”
IT WORKED!!!! PHEW! It was so perfect; he never had a clue as to what was going on and Kim was the first thing he saw. I have so say, my nerves settled right away as tears came to my eyes and they shared a familiar hug they have known for years now. Their embrace was youthful and full of joy, it was a deep love and serene understanding of each other, and maybe even some curiosity was wrapped in there. They were obviously so very comfortable and relaxed and didn’t look cold at all – despite the frigid 3 above zero windchill. The love I witness on a wedding day is always filled with excitement. It is so beautiful, passionate, young, raw, free and fierce. But let me tell you; after babies, a few states, and years of spending time with the one you made the ultimate promise to, love has the capacity to do something else. It evolves and continues to grow into an unimaginable thing we all hope to share and often find little to no words, struggling to express it.
It is so very obvious to me the calming, gentle, yet strong love Kim and Chad share, and I tried my best to document it. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this surprise. I cannot express how much joy I find in love and capturing it; no matter the circumstances of how it started, the journey it has been on, or they way it has evolved and grown. To me, love is the most amazing thing we experience in this life and capturing it is something truly special.
Congratulations on your anniversary Chad and Kim, here’s to many more exciting adventures and years! A few of my favorites form your surprise session: