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Susan & Eric were married on a perfect day in May on a private farm in Butternut, Wisconsin.  My trusty side kick, Whitney, accompanied me to this wedding, and we were so excited to make the drive up north.  Northern Wisconsin is just beautiful- there’s something about the woods and the calm serenity.  I love it!  As we approached the farm a series of handcrafted signs led the way, until finally we spotted the gorgeous red barn in the distance… What an amazing spot to become husband and wife!!

The bride and groom planned the most fantastic day filled with special moments, a unique ceremony, and fun and vibrant personal details.  I had tears in my eyes during the ceremony, and it was especially touching that Susan’s dad was able to meet her at the entry of the barn, and escort her down the aisle.  Susan is the youngest in a big family of 8 siblings, and the last to get married.  Her dad wasn’t sure if he would be able to walk down the aisle, but he joined Susan and gave her and Eric big hugs at the altar!  Both sets of parents blessed the rings before the bride and groom placed them on each other’s fingers.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed sweets and lemonade on the lawn, before we headed to Norwood Pines Supper Club in Minoqua for cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing.

I’d be remiss not to mention my amazing friends, Kelsy & Butch, a husband and wife film photography duo from Wausau, Wisconsin.  Kelsy is Susan’s niece and one of her matrons-of-honor, and introduced me to her sweet aunt.  You can catch photos of Kelsy & Butch below! Butch is the one holding the polaroid camera!  :)  Thanks also to Evolutions In Design for the stunning florals, and Bob Holl, who provided many laughs and entertainment as the MC and DJ at the reception.

Congratulations to the happy couple!  I hope for you a life of bliss, love and adventure!!  Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your day!

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  • pam cisney - Beautiful!

  • Rita Smart - Wow, these wedding pictures are breath taking. Nothing like a country wedding. So simple, so beautiful. Kathy and John Schroeder, what a blessing you are, to share your beautiful home / barn for special occasions. I don’t know the wedding party at all, but want to let you all know that you did a beautiful job of planning this special day.

  • Rhonda - Absolutely beautiful photos of two very special people on an amazing day!!!


Greece.  I love this country.  Every visit has been fantastic and there is so much to explore.  I learned about Meteora from a past groom who is a professor of Geogolgy at Boston College.   To put it mildly, he is obsessed with rocks (!!) and had spent some time during his PhD program studying in Greece.  The geological landscape is unique in the world and when he was describing it to me (over a bottle of wine on the gorgeous cliffs of Capri, Italy) I vowed I would go.  Meteora is famed for six monasteries that are built into the shear sandstone cliffs.  You can read more about it here.

Meteora is a bit off the beaten path.  It’s in the middle of the county and not nearby any major cities, at least by European standards.  We decided to make the 7 hour driving trek in a rental car from Sofia, Bulgaria.  What an adventure.  We were ill prepared, not even thinking to have a few Euros on us.  (Which is necessary in rural Greece where ATMs are not a’plenty!)  We were without data on our phones and didn’t even have a map.  We somehow made it to Meteora (signs in Greek are hard to read!) and even more astonishingly stumbled upon our hotel (among what seemed like hundreds!) without having to ask for directions! :)

Meteora was everything I dreamed it would be!  It is the perfect place to hike, explore, have picnics on rock cliffs, drink wine on rock cliffs, enjoy leisurely meals of delicious fresh Greek food, and to just relax.  The monasteries seem to grow out of the cliffs and it is just a spectacular site.

On the way back to Sofia, we stopped for a short visit in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki- a beautiful port city on the Aegean Sea.  It’s a 4 hour drive from Sofia and I’ve visited the city several times before.  We wandered the markets and enjoyed an amazing lunch.  A few photos below were captured there.

Can’t wait to go back to Greece!

{This trip was part of a month long adventure across Bulgaria, Istanbul & Cappadocia, Turkey, and Russia.}

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Perhaps the most frequently asked question from brides is, “What time should we start pictures?” Or some variation of the same query. I understand the confusion. When I was planning my own wedding, I wondered the same thing. Photos were of utmost importance and I wanted to ensure that we had ample time to capture all of the pinterest-worthy moments I was dreaming of (side note: Pinterest was not yet invented back when I got married!). I work with all of my clients and their planners to create a customized timeline, but perhaps this will serve as a start for planning your day.

First a few ground rules:

1.  I really, really recommend hiring an experienced and professional planner.  They’ll deal with all the logistics on your wedding day, so you (or your families) don’t have to.

2. Plan for delays. Even the best-laid plans will encounter a few hiccups throughout the day. Maybe you’re like me- perfectionist (to a fault!!) and organized down to every last detail, but it’s hard to dictate all the many things beyond your control on your wedding day. Weather. Failed transportation. Ripped dresses.  Forgotten rings.  I’ve seen it all happen, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Not in the least!

3. Include transit time. Even if you’re not driving from location to location, organizing a bridal party or families and asking them to walk outside the venue takes time!

4. Plan in advance so you can enjoy your day. But when the day comes, let it all go. Your emotions will come through in your photos, so try not to stress and leave it up to the professionals you hired to make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible.  Your job is to get married and have the time of your life!

So, let’s start from square one.

This time of day is perhaps my favorite. I love the anticipation as the couple preps for one of the biggest days of their lives. It’s so important, I plan to do a separate blog post just for this! If this time is important to you too, it’s crucial to allow adequate time. I recommend 60-90 minutes. My second shooter, assistant, and I always make sure to arrive well before our scheduled start time, and when the start time comes, we’ve already scouted locations, have found the best lighting, and we are ready to shoot. We typically start with detail shots- and it takes time to stage all those shots of your meticulously planned details. We get shots of the dress hanging, the shoes, the veil, the rings, the jewelry, the bouquets, the invitation suite and any other paper goods. We get scene-setting shots of the exterior and the location. We aim to capture details of everything to really set the scene for your day. After and/or while we’re capturing details, my second shooter and I split off- her to capture the groom prepping, while I stay to document the bride. When possible, I recommend that the bridesmaids and mothers dress before you so they’re looking polished and pretty for photos of you getting into your dress.

If we have a few minutes to spare before the first look- I love to capture a few portraits of the bride, freshly made up!

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In planning your timeline, we’ll discuss when we’re going capture the portrait photos. For many couples, we do this before the ceremony.  Often times, it just makes sense logistically.  Some couples want to enjoy their cocktail hour.  Some want to calm pre-ceremony jitters. Whatever the reasoning, if you opt to see each other before the ceremony, we’ll set up a special “first look.”  Prior to your wedding day, we’ll discuss the perfect location and my team will set this up in a way that allows us to capture your emotions and reactions at that exact moment. After clicking away, we can slip away for a few moments, so the two of you can share private time together- perhaps one of the few opportunities on your wedding day.

Laura Ivanova Photography | Laura Ivanova Photography |

This is another favorite time of day for me. Portraits are my favorite, and I aim to keep them lighthearted and fun. I’d rather see you interacting with each other vs forcing posed smiles. But I’ll still guide you every step of the way! An hour is ideal for portraits for the two of you. This allows for time to walk (or drive) to different locations and allows for lots of variety.  Brides, you may find it helpful to have one friend with to help with your dress, carry your lipstick and make sure you’re looking your best.  However, I wouldn’t recommend having too many people around.  It’s typically easier to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera without a lot of spectators.

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I recommend 30 minutes for each the bridal party and the families. Perhaps more for larger bridal parties (6+ bridesmaids and 6+ groomsmen) or larger families involving step families and lots of different combinations of people. Shot lists can stifle creativity, but for this portion of the day, I always develop a specific list with my clients. I want to ensure we capture all the important people. My assistant helps with organizing and arranging so this portion of the day flows as smoothly as possible. While I capture the portraits, my second shooter watches for fun moments happening off to the side. Again, we try to keep things lighthearted and fun- we don’t want this to be an hour of torture, but rather a way to document all the people you love most in the world! We discuss locations and logistics prior to your wedding day, and have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.  Once we determine a specific start time, if you’re worried about your attendants or families being late, tell them to be at the designated location 15 minutes prior to the actual start time- with bouquets and bouts already pinned.

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The highlight of the day. I recommend finishing photos a minimum of 30 minutes prior to your ceremony start time, so you have time to rest and relax as your guests begin arriving. This is a great time to drink water, have a snack, freshen up your makeup, and just take in the moment. Ceremony length can vary greatly, so be sure to discuss timing with your officiant and/or planner.

After the ceremony, don’t forget to factor in the receiving line, if applicable. Receiving lines seem to be becoming less and less common, but should you (and your parents) opt to have one, plan 20-40 minutes. Whether or not you have a receiving line, remember that it takes time to pack up and depart. Allow at least 10-20 minutes for gathering belongings and boarding transportation, if applicable.

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Remember those two hours of portraits we discussed? For timing/location/logistical purposes, some couples opt to do a portion of their photos after the ceremony (in which case, less time is needed before the ceremony). Some couples don’t want to see each other prior to the ceremony. Some couples want to stop by a special location en route to the reception. There are varying reasons, but post-ceremony is always a fun time to capture photos. The pressure is off and the mood is celebratory.

Logistics of this time of day vary greatly. Some couples host the ceremony and reception in one location. Some involve travel. Between myself and my second shooter, we make sure that we’re covering all your guests at cocktail hour and getting the beautiful detail shots of your reception setup (preferably before the guests arrive).  During this time, we may also ask for your rings or get any details shots we may not have had time for in the morning.  Relax and enjoy a specialty cocktail!

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We make sure to capture all the candid and emotional moments during your reception. Check with your venue coordinator and planner for specific timing. After dinner and dessert, we recommend 30-60 minutes of dance coverage, as we want to be sure to capture the important first dances, and some of your guests dancing as well. Dances typically start about 1.5-2 hours after the first course is served- more if space must be cleared for a dance floor.

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When possible, we love to sneak out with the couple for 10-15 minutes of sunset photos. It’s such a beautiful time of day and we love to utilize the gorgeous lighting.


How does this translate into a timeline? Here’s an example. Email me to discuss your specific wedding day.

12:00 or 12:30 getting ready
1:30 first look and couple photos
2:30 bridal party photos
3:00 family photos
3:30 rest and relax while my team and I prep for the ceremony
4:00 ceremony
4:30 ceremony ends
4:45 transport to reception
5:00 cocktails
6:30 dinner
8:00 first dance
8:30 or 9:00 photography coverage ends

  • Andra - This is wonderful! My clients often ask me advice on this (even though I’m not a photographer!), so it’s awesome that I have something to direction them too :) Thanks for sharing!


In April & May, I spent four weeks traveling abroad in Eastern Europe.  My husband grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, where his parents and grandparents still live and every other year we make a trip to see them and visit his home country.  My sister-in-law and her husband also joined us from Arusha, Tanzania, so the entire family was together!  This visit was unique because after a week alone with my family in Bulgaria, three of our friends from Minneapolis joined us to visit.  It was quite an adventure! Our time in Bulgaria was spent exploring areas off the beaten path, where most American tourists would never get to visit!  I think my friends would agree that the highlight of the trip was a visit to an old Bulgarian psychic, who lives in a remote mountain house outside a tiny village in rural part of the country.  We had to hike up a mountain to see her!  And it was unanimous- her readings were spot on!  I had last seen the psychic in 2008 and her reading proved to come true, so I was eager to introduce her to my friends!  Besides for that, we spent time wandering the countryside and exploring small towns and villages, in addition to time in the capital  city of Sofia.  We had tons of traditional, fresh food and salads.  Thanks to my mother-in-law for being an amazing host and cooking us the best meals of the trip!

{This trip was part of a month long adventure across GreeceIstanbul & Cappadocia, Turkey, and Russia.}

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Want more?  Check out: Bulgaria 2012 | Bulgaria 2010 | Bulgaria 2008