Steamy Splashy at Fort Desoto :: with Hannah and Parker

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Steamy Splashy at Fort Desoto :: with Hannah and Parker

Sarasota is a home away from home for me and David. We go there when we need to get away, relax, and not think. Too hard, anyway. Perhaps read a good book. Don't get me wrong, when we want an adventure Europe and visiting my family are awesome, but sometimes, after a full wedding season, or in prep for one, we just need to clear our minds, and Europe is too much figuring of things out. So, when I need to get some margin back, or create some margin, and sone head space for some hectic times, that's when we go to Florida. I think it has something to do with the fact we spent a 2 week honeymoon in Longboat Key after we got married, and that David's grandma Shirley has a condo there, so things just really seem like a 2nd home, full of good memories. :) 

Fun fact - Hannah was actually a bridesmaid in Emma and Jeremy's NP wedding! And that's how we met first! :) See if you can pick her amazing freakin' braid from the wedding crew crowd! 
Fun fact 2 - We were actually going to do this session in Nokomis, I even drove there to scope things out the day before, but due to a fierce Red Tide (never seen this many dead fish in my life!) and the fact you could't even take one breath without coughing we moved things closer to Clearwater, where these two live. 

They suggested Fort Desoto in St. Pete. Cool. I'm game. Perdy and semi-secluded? Sounds just like what we needed. As you gather - this was my first time at Fort Desoto, and I fell in love! Gorgeous area! Loved the North Beach, I arrived early to scope it out a bit (you see a pattern here ;)), and while driving around getting an idea on the area, David took the wrong turn, putting us in the Fort Desoto Campground. Not exactly the plan. But. Once I saw a few awesome camping sites, complete with birds, baby raccoons (OK, those buggers are adorable when small and less pesky!) I was kinda hooked on people's awesome tents and every variety of hammock! Almost borrowed one of the said hammock for photos... Forgot. Remembered now as I write this. Oh well... Anyway - I made David do a loop so I could see every single campsite, because let me tell you - if camp sites looked like these, I'd be into camping!!!!!
Once we drove by the camp site #36, I was in love! The swooping tree, the picnic table, magically backlit, it was freakin' love at first sight!!!! No matter it was like a 10 minute drive from where we said to meet, I was bringing them back here! So glad we did it!!! And all because of a silly wrong turn ;)

And... might I add it was 100 degrees, 100% humidity, we were all sweating balls, so all this frolicking you see, that's some easy going people right there, and one adventurous photographer! ;) Ending in the water seemed fitting and welcomed by all! I followed them into the waves right in my romper, and man.... it was glorious! 

To Hannah and Parker - you two are fun! I love your easy going spirit, your up for anything fun personalities and... your hair. Thanks for playing lovers!!!! - Ester :) 

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Intimate Elopement at the Blaisdell :: Alyssa + Blake

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Intimate Elopement at the Blaisdell :: Alyssa + Blake

When planning of a wedding is too much, and the day seems to be getting farther and farther away, an elopement might just be the way to go. Alyssa and Blake got in touch for a 2019 wedding and after doing some soul searching decided on a smaller and more intimate gathering at the Blaisdell Mansion, about 2 weeks later... And... it couldn't have been more perfect! Surrounded by the closest family, it was romance, love, and the most important thing of all - getting to at last start their journey as husband and wife. Cheers! Congrats on taking the plunge! Wishing I had gone the same route as you two and eloped with my babe (skipped the whole hassle, and too much left-over cake). If I had a do-over, that would definitely be the plan... Who knows. Maybe... vow renewal?! Shhh..... let's not jinx it ;) Anyway, congrats to the freshly baked - Mr and Mrs Anaya!

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Vows in the Park :: Emily + Phil

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Vows in the Park :: Emily + Phil

Unforgettable. Each couple leaves a trace of a sweet memory behind as I leave a bit of myself as well while I document the evolution of their love. It's something different every time, and it's got nothing to do with a favorite portfolio shot, although that's often how those portfolio shots are born - out of that favorite, unique "thing". Each couple is so different, with different venues (or same venues yet a completely different feel), varying budgets, unique floral and table arrangements and tastes, different priorities, lighting, weather, moods, and attitudes. It all flavors and becomes part of their story.

When it comes to Emily and Phil I'll always remember their sweet and intimate exchange of vows in the park, after their first look. They didn't want an audience, they wanted that first chance to really say and really listed to what the other had to say, an elopement before their wedding, if you will. With wedding days packed and eventful, there isn't always time to squeeze everything that's possible in, so choices are made to see what truly matters to each couple. These two really cared about that alone time, and that little moment will forever be something I think about when I recall their wedding day. And, a good day it was. Truly unforgettable, in fact. Congrats Emily and Phil, you two really are an amazing match! -- with love, Ester 

PS. A huge thank you to my 2nd shooter Ivy, for capturing the guys getting ready, and some other fun angles and moments from the day! 

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles :: Dani + David Engagement

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles :: Dani + David Engagement

Planes, trains, and automobiles, and by that I mean Grandpa's vintage Chevy truck, 4-furry paws, a horse, s'mores and firefly lights! We brought it all! I love when couples really bring some uniqueness to their session! Dani and David were full of love, cuddles, and inspiration, and we had A BLAST!!! Thanks for thinking out of the box, and creating right with me! :) Love you guys! Send me all your friends! :) - with love, Ester 

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Romantic Bloom Lake Barn Wedding :: Afton + Jake

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Romantic Bloom Lake Barn Wedding :: Afton + Jake

They were just a bit concerned that it was going to rain, and in their defense it was suppose to storm that day (passing thunderstorms). And so it did rain. Some. At just the perfect moments, as it usually happens. IF they had really stressed out about it, it would have been borrowing trouble, and all kinds of worries for nothing. Instead we had fun! We let the bit of rain be part of the adventure (a welcomed one, since it cooled off by like 15 degrees from the scorching close to 100-degree heat index ;)). We darted for cover inside when needed, and found a perfect spot for all the photos. Honestly, we did not miss out on anything, and the day went way too fast, as they said after. "We hoped we took all the things in a bit more" Afton said. And sure, the dress got a bit dirty, it always does! But, as far as I'm concerned, this couldn't have been more perfect, and the crazy amazing golden hour we got as the sun dipped, was pure magic. 
So, cheers! To going with the flow, being up for anything, and to trusting that your photographer kinda, sorta, maybe just maybe, knows her shit ;) (LOL pardon my French) and will direct you rain or shine. Thanks for having me! Thanks for the vote of confidence. Thanks for being awesome, and... I'd do it all over again!! -- Ester 

PS 1. Check out the absolutely amazingly butt-kickin' arbor the bride's dad made! I mean come on! I want that thing in my house!!! :) 
PS 2. A huge thank you to Bloom Lake Barn owners, they are amazing people, and their love and frankly serving spirit and caring shows in everything they do and every interaction! Love that venue! 
PS 3. A huge thanks for my sidekick Nicole for nailing the guys getting ready shots! :) 

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Maple Ridge Farm Boho Wedding :: Andrea + Ryan

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Maple Ridge Farm Boho Wedding :: Andrea + Ryan

This day was pure magic. Everything from start to finish. Let me tell you a bit about it...

The cat incessantly kept walking through the details I painstakingly tried to arrange to be even. I tried to get him inside and out of my hair. Screaming followed. Apparently that's a barn cat, not an indoor cat. Ooops. ;) Back to the point, though. We couldn't have wished for better weather, views, or moods. Andrea got ready at their house in Taylors Falls, and this place... could have basically made the most fantastic bridal suite. No better spot to do the first looks (both of them, since dad was part of the festivities too!) Everything from table decor to the dessert table setup left me (and everyone around) drooling. And, what a fun touch - the wild flower seeds as favors! If you're looking for some inspiration for a bohemian style wedding (whether it's here in Minnesota or elsewhere), check out some of the fun reel below! 

Thanks for having me guys, it was a pleasure working with you two! Congrats to these Onstads on tying the knot! :) -- with love, Ester
PS. Thanks to my sidekick Taylor for tackling this awesome day with me! The groom getting ready and guys' wedding party photos are by her. 

Wedding Dress - The Wedding Shoppe 
Wedding Coordinator (+setup) - Naomi Anderson Events + Design 
Makeup - Styled by Abbi
Bouquet - Bachman's

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Barefoot at Bloom Lake Barn :: Ally + Gabe Boho Wedding

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Barefoot at Bloom Lake Barn :: Ally + Gabe Boho Wedding

Ally and Gabe are two lovely people after my own heart. Anyone getting married barefoot gets my vote. Boho wedding, gorgeous greens, intimate setting, guests seated on home-made and stained benches, it all just spells a-m-a-zing! It was such a pleasure to share this day with them, from the first moments of getting ready and drooling at their details, through the sweet moments of everyone surrounding them in a prayer of blessing and protection, into golden rays of the golden hour and first dances. We toasted with kombucha (yes please!), and chomped down some Glam Doll donuts. Some of my favorite people, on a beautiful day, at one of my favorite venues. A day to remember that will also stick out in my memory as exceptional, and one I wish I could repeat. Maybe with the next couple willing to go barefoot in a breathtaking setting. All boho vibes welcome. Meantime, cheers to these amazing memories and Mr and Mrs Reiter. Thanks for having me :) - Ester 

PS. The day was tackled with my awesome friend and 2nd shooter Nicole. The shots of guys getting ready and some side angles are by her. She rocks! :)