Thank you to all the couples we met yesterday at TCWA’s: The Wedding Fair. 

Engagement Photography: James Ramsay

Locations: Alma, Wisconsin | Buena Vista Park | Groom’s family barn.

As I drove South toward Alma, Wisconsin for the engagement shoot with Katie and James – I couldn’t help stopping along the highways and byways to get a few shots of cattle on a hill at sunrise. Almost on cue, the last animal trotted along the top of the hill before disappearing. This is why I love being a wedding photographer.

After I finished impersonating a National Geographic photographer, I continued driving South to my destination, an absolutely stunning location the couple suggested.

Buena Vista Park is aptly named  as it overlooks the town of Alma, Wisconsin right on the Minnesota border near the Mississippi River.  Even large semis look like ants from this bird’s eye view. Stop reading now if you’re afraid of heights.

Katie and James stopped at a park bench before walking toward the edge of the bluff. Speaking of which, check out our version of the movie, Cliffhanger. I promise an actual couple was not in any real danger during this photo shoot.

See the church below? That is the church they later got married in, St. Lawrence. After spending time on the bluffs, the couple had fun playing on a swing set in the park. It often works for photos to have a playful activity during your engagement shoot. Much more fun than just standing there wondering what to do!

A quick drive down some exciting dirt roads with frogs crossing and we did some more shots in front of the family barn, which the couple later transformed magnificently for the wedding reception! We did a few photos with dramatic natural light in the barn before doing silhouettes in the large barn doorway, which James was nice enough to reposition perfectly for the composition of the photo.

James entertained us by relating stories about tumbling down the hay loft as a child while working or playing in the barn.

Barn weddings are getting more and more popular, but not all of them can be as personal and sentimental as this.

Next update: Photos of how the family barn was transformed for their wedding!

Engagement Shoot Location #1: Black Bear Crossings

Engagement Shoot Location #2:  Como Park

Engagement Shoot Location #3: Como Golf Course

Photos and Story: James Ramsay

We did several locations around the Como neighborhood of St. Paul for Kathryn and Brett’s engagement shots. I grew up visiting Como Park and it hasn’t changed much over the years. Although many of the large oak trees were lost in a wind storm centered in the neighborhood a few years back, Como is still like a little Lake Calhoun in some ways. Less people, shorter distance around, perfect for running or biking laps if you’re the physical fitness type. There are lost ruins, bridges, the Como Park Zoo, the Conservatory, Black Bear Crossings, a carousel of dancing horses, and of course the lake and Como Golf Course. The lovely couple suggested a possible golf theme for their engagement photos, and we just went with it and never looked back. We got to see a 360 degree panoramic view of the sunset over the course. I liked the couple’s idea of symbolizing their wedding date with a six and seven iron for a possible save the date. And check them out doing the Tiger Woods thing, bouncing their golf balls on their clubs. Total pros I tell you. Since we weren’t technically on the PGA Tour for this shoot, we even did putting redemption as Brett brilliantly sunk the shot.

Enjoy this photographic journey of Claire and Jerik’s Prairie Fairie Wedding at the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul. They were the first couple to book their wedding reception at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in Downtown, St. Paul. Highlights included live music by the talented Javier Trejo and friends, yummy food by Brasa, reception music by DJ Del 6 and three of the couple’s favorite bands playing the Amsterdam.

Wedding Venue: Dodge Nature Center

Wedding Reception: Amsterdam Bar and Hall

Live Music: Javier Trejo

Reception DJ: Del6

Wedding Food: Brasa

Men’s Fashion: Heimie’s Haberdashery

Wedding Photography: James Ramsay

As summer changes into fall, fall changes into winter. This is a great time to think WARM thoughts with one of my favorite summer weddings. Megan and Joe got married on Lake Minnetonka. There is just something about Lake Minnetonka that feels elegant. If you look closely you may notice a traditional dance, modern wardrobe, and some really cute penguin lollipops that the couple got for their guests! Here the story of Megan and Joe’s wedding day in pictures.

Photos by James Ramsay • Dress by Posh

A French photographer, Beatrice De Guigne, has brilliantly executed one of the most clever concepts we’ve seen in some time. She created a real Barbie + Ken wedding. Then photographed it. It wasn’t easy!

“I had to spread the photos on three days, about 2 hours a day. And a final session of 2 hours for editing. Before that it took me weeks to find and collect all the accessories, to simply prepare the wedding!” – Beatrice De Guigne

While Beatrice had to play bride, wedding planner and wedding photographer, she managed to pull it all off without a hitch. Maybe there is a lesson there. Her sense of humor and patience went a long way.

“I was also asked how the dolls were standing up? Well all alone! Have you ever tried to stand up a Barbie? It’s a pain! As us, they have a balance must be found at every change of position. Fortunately Ken is a bit more stable (he doesn’t wear heels!), But I had to spend 5 minutes on each pose just to keep them standing up! ” – Beatrice De Guigne

For the full portfolio of Barbie and Ken’s wedding photos, Beatrice has them all online. As of this story, they even had a six month anniversary photo shoot already. You guessed it – Snowball fight!

She continues to be featured by Barbie Collectors and blogs around the world. Congratulations, Beatrice! You deserve the recognition. Barbie has never looked so good. And what a happy ending!

You can find her website here.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

-Photos used courtesy of Beatrice De Guigne

There has been a rumor floating around like a Springtime breeze that TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” has been looking at Posh Bridal in Semple Mansion as a possible location to shoot a future episode. It’s true! A local video crew headed by John at J Walter Anderson Photo and Video shot some video and photos back in January to help TLC see all Posh has to offer in the way of personality and atmosphere. All the ladies of Posh were happy to expose their views on the wedding industry, people and stories of the ups and downs of the bridal market. TLC is considering a “Bridesmaids Edition” and Posh Bridal Couture is in the running. They are just waiting to hear if “Say Yes to the Dress” will say yes to them. Here’s a brief look at the video shot back in January.

– John Anderson

J Walter Anderson Photo and Video

Sometimes a detail shot of the ring can say a lot. Marie and Ehrick had a great idea for a shot of her engagement ring. It felt a little dangerous to put an engagement ring on railroad tracks, but made for a romantic and timeless image. Luckily we had about a mile of visibility in both directions. Some jokes were made about the elegant ring becoming flat as a smashed penny! So with Ehrick on watch and Marie helping make some last minute adjustments to the angle of the ring, we managed to pull it off. Some lyrics come to mind.

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

A smile from a veil?

Do you think you can tell? – Pink Floyd

Photos by James Ramsay

Mary Bumblebee had a rock and roll wedding at First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed. Mary set this shot up for her early morning wedding day photographer, James Ramsay, weaving the ring into the laces of her converse. This was a creative, fun way to capture her ring and highlight her awesome shoes. Mary was thrilled with her hair and makeup, done onsite at the hotel by Kira and friends at Muse. Mary is in the wedding industry herself and runs Bumblebee Personal Assistants.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

Pat and Kelley showed up for their themed engagement shoot ready to rock.

Couldn’t resist getting a photo of Kelley in the alley with her red leather jacket.

I had Kelley approach Pat as if he was on break from playing a set. It didn’t hurt that Pat was actually playing guitar and one highlight from the shoot was when Kelley spontaneously sang the lyrics!

A better view of the guitar and of Kelley’s reaction to Pat playing one of her favorite songs.

I told Pat to do his best imitation of a rock star posing for a CD cover, while Kelley played the role of photo assistant.

Kelley peaked out from behind the reflector as she played the part of flirty photo assistant.

After we arrived at St. Anthony Main, Kelley changed her dress and we noticed an industrial brick loading dock that made an interesting “set.”

This shot was Kelley’s idea. It’s always great to collaborate with couples during an engagement shoot.

Anyone who has seen myself or my wedding photography mentor, Noah Wolf, shoot knows that every once in a while we are known to say, “Give me some sass!” It’s vague on purpose to allow people to interpret it however they want. Kelley pulled off a classy pose.

As the couple changed outfits, the story of their relationship revealed itself with their body language.

A horse drawn carriage magically appeared from across the bridge, and immediately Pat and Kelley realized what a great opportunity it was for some cool photos.

It felt a little bit like the magic of Cinderella with the horse and carriage spontaneously driving by. I call these moments, happy accidents.

Photos by James Ramsay Photography

Many brides choose a fabulous theme for their wedding. It’s more rare for you to choose a theme for your engagement photography.  Pat and Kelley knew the first step was planning out a theme with their photographer. Since Pat was a musician, we went over a few ideas and settled on a rock and roll theme. Kelley was nice enough to play the role of photo assistant as well, which was a fun idea we came up with on the spot. The couple also brought a change of outfits to be more formal for some of the photo session. This guaranteed them a variety of looks for save the date cards, place settings, guest book material, and prints for the wall of their trendy Lowertown, St. Paul apartment. Sometimes improvising leads to the best photos. For example the horse and cart was a complete coincidence, but we put ourselves in a position to succeed. It was an amazing bonus to an awesome evening of engagement photography. It seems like something out of a fairy tale.

-James Ramsay


Brides Like Us