While I am covering Lynn & Josh’s wedding day today, Laurie will be on duty for the second straight weekend to cover Jody & Jason’s wedding and reception at the Bridgewater Club. Consultant Kay Krober of Kay Krober Invitations and Celebrations was kind enough to refer Jody to us, and Gloria Boyden of Events by Design will be on hand to help run the show. Sunny Moon will be spinning tunes at the reception to keep the party rolling. It’s always a kick to already know how the night is going to go and how much fun the couple and their guests are going to have, long before they realize it themselves!

I already covered Jody & Jason’s rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Thursday night. As we walked through the ceremony in the outdoor tent, it became obvious what a stunning view of the golf course and all the beautiful leaves the guests are going to have. If the forecast is correct, this should be a perfect fall day. After a brief stop at the couple’s house to show her family and friends the photomontage video I created for them, we all went to the Levee in Noblesville for some delicious roasted chicken in an intimate sports bar atmosphere. The couple cut and served a sinfully delicious chocolate groom’s cake later in the evening. Jody & Josh are such a kind and down-to-earth couple, so I expect Laurie to have a wonderful time working with them today.

Update (11/2/06): Laurie updated me yesterday on Jody & Jason’s wedding, and it sounds like everything went beautifully to match their perfect fall day. Kay, Gloria and Sunny all reiterated the same thing at the Perfect Wedding Guide luncheon I attended yesterday. Jody’s ears must have been burning, because she called me later in the day to chat about what a great day she had. After a laid-back start to the reception, Jody’s friends gathered on the floor for a group picture, and Sunny swooped right in with the perfect song to keep them and the rest of the crowd glued there the rest of the night. (A classic Sunny Moon trick!)

I’ll need to start the blog entries for today’s weddings before the fact, since once I’m done covering Lynn & Josh’s wedding tonight, it’s straight to bed to rest up for our early flight to Kauai. Hopefully, I’ll remember enough about the weddings when I return to go into a little bit more detail.

Lynn & Josh will be exchanging vows at Bethlehem Lutheran Church today. For whatever reason, the other two ceremonies that I have shot there have been for two of our all-time favorite clients, so I consider that church a good-luck charm. Then we’ll move on to the reception in the lodge of the Riverwalk Banquet Center and Lodge, our first reception in that specific building since about ten years ago when the Riverwalk was called the Crystal Yacht Club. I’ve met photographer Mike Bizila on a few occasions but never worked with him before, so it’ll be fun to get to know him. I have worked with DJ Mark Allam several times over the years, but it’s been awhile since the last time. He used to get the microphone out and actually sing Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” perfectly, so much so that I once absent-mindedly tried to chat with him while the song was playing, forgetting that he was singing live! We’ll see tonight if that’s still part of his repertoire.

Update (11/2/06): Now that it’s after the fact, I am happy to report that everyone involved in this wedding – the couple, Mike Bizila, Mark Allam and the Riverwalk staff – was a pure joy to work with. I got some great shots of Mark hamming it up to “Play That Funky Music” in a 70’s disco wig, among other moments that Lynn & Josh missed that they’ll be glad to see on video. The night’s good vibes definitely set the perfect no-worries tone for my departure for Hawaii the next morning.

Aloha? Oy!

Sometime this week, I was planning to share my excitement about my vacation coming up next week in Kauai, but I’ll have to admit that yesterday’s earthquake in Hawaii has me a little bit freaked out. If it would’ve hit exactly one week later, we would have experienced it first-hand and likely been stranded at the Honolulu airport. Fortunately, there were no casualties or tsunamis (we’re planning lots of beach time), and it looks like it’s all over for now, knock on wood. I’m sure I’ll have no problem ramping my excitement back up. All it takes for me is to look at the picture below. (And that’s just our hotel’s swimming pool!) It’ll be a special trip not only because I’m always excited to get away with the wife and kids, but also because we’ll be spending a few days with my mother, who lives in Thailand and will meet us there. It’ll be a fun Saturday videotaping Lynn & Josh’s wedding knowing where we’ll be headed the next day!

Angela & Martin – 10/14/06

While I was covering Maureen & Don’s wedding and reception in Carmel yesterday, Laurie videotaped Angela & Marty’s wedding day downtown, and by all accounts, it was quite a day to remember. Angela has shown a great attitude throughout the planning process despite being thrown a few curveballs, and she definitely surrounded herself with wonderful vendors to see her big day through. The ceremony took place at the State House, with beautiful decor provided by Gene Huddleston of Detail + Design and superb overall organization by Teresa Gift and the rest of the EventFull Planning crew. The couple surprised their guests with a gospel choir performance at the end of the ceremony, which interestingly marks the second time this year we’ve covered a State House ceremony with a surprise gospel choir performance at the end.

I’ve been very fortunate to have my good friend Laurie Buschmann available to shoot about one wedding a month for IndyVisual during our peak season over the past few years. As a full-time producer for WISH-TV, she brings plenty of talent and smarts to the weddings she covers, and a good example of this took place during a short break after the ceremony area cleared out. Laurie asked the choir for a quick encore performance, which gave her and photographer Jessica Strickland (who referred the wedding to us) the opportunity to get some great close-ups that will add some nice cutaways for the edited video.

She then went across the street to the Westin to cover the cocktail hour and reception, with music provided by the talented duo Dave & Rae. I’ve edited several videos that they’ve performed in, but for various reasons I’ve never been the one to videotape them, and I’ll have to enjoy them vicariously again this time. From what I’ve seen in the receptions I’ve edited, they do a great job of sounding like a full band with only two people!

Update (11/2/06): I was going through photographer Jessica Strickland’s blog to find a good sample image from Angela & Marty’s wedding day to post here, and needless to say, I had a hard time picking one out from the many gorgeous choices. (Thanks a lot, Jess!) This one spoke to me:

Maureen & Donald – 10/14/06

Maureen & Don enjoyed a beautiful wedding mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel yesterday. They were such a nice, easy-going couple to work with, which always makes the day more fun. It’s amazing how much that church has changed since I first worked there about ten years ago. When I returned there a couple of years ago, I hardly recognized it, especially the altar and narthex. The ceremony was what I’ve come to expect there, lots of flowers courtesy of McNamara Florist, lots of singing and lots of incense. Gloria Boyden of Events by Design is also a member and wedding coordinator there, so she must really enjoy helping couples in her church plan their ceremonies and overseeing the rest of the wedding staff, all of whom were very sweet people.

The reception brought me back to the Ritz Charles (who referred the wedding to us) just six days after my last visit there. The atmosphere was casual, with an emphasis on quality time and mingling with family and friends. I was impressed with how “real” the couple was in general about appreciating the true purpose of the day. They did not even cut the cake, which was a first for me in over 500 weddings. It was funny how Matt Lee of Matthew Gordon Photographer and I almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves when we learned that. But I do get a kick out of seeing something different every week, which is what makes it so much fun. Adding to the evening’s casual vibe was down-to-earth local music scene legend Carl Storie and his band, who warmed over the crowd with some sunny 60’s and 70’s nostalgia, typified by their performance of Carl’s national hit “Dancin’ Shoes.” Just thinking about that song makes you sway, doesn’t it?

Update (11/2/06): I happened to run into photographer Matt Lee at a Perfect Wedding Guide luncheon at the Oak Hill Mansion today, and he told me that Maureen & Don’s proofs were now up on his website. The shot below was taken shortly after their first glimpse of each other at the beautiful Coxhall Gardens. I didn’t learn until shortly after I returned from my vacation in Kauai that Maureen & Don were honeymooning there at the same in the resort right next door!

Julie & Justin – 10/8/06

I had a blast covering Julie & Justin’s wedding and reception yesterday at the Ritz Charles. It was a very emotional day, as both of them have weathered so much adversity in recent years to get to where they are today. Even the mother of the bride had to recover from injuries from one recent accident and survive yet another last week just to be able to walk the aisle. This is one resilient group of people! I loved how the ceremony was tailored to include Justin’s two children as a significant part of their union. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the four of them went up to light the unity candle. I spotted photographers Stacy and Mary and chapel coordinator Anne Clidence all getting a little misty-eyed, and I’ll admit getting a little lump in my throat myself.

The reception was the first that I’ve shot in the Ritz Charles’ permanent outdoor pavilion. In fact, I didn’t even notice the structure was new until consultant Tonya Shadoan of Circle City Planners (who referred the wedding to us) pointed it out to me. I had shot one there two years ago in their big “tent,” and this new structure looked exactly like it! The whole space was beautifully designed, with lots of apples everywhere, including the tall centerpieces. (My chocolate-caramel apple favor was a hit with my kids later that night.) The Ritz Charles, Tonya and designer Julie Acheson of Royal Creations all did a magnificent job! DJ Brian Jones of Indy Sounds was thoroughly professional, and much of his dinner music was exactly the same music I like to use when editing our videos. But stealing the show once again was the happy couple, whose heartfelt speech – acknowledging the anniversary of Julie’s own adoption and remembering family members and firefighters from Justin’s unit who had recently passed away – had us all misty again. They’ve definitely “earned” every ounce of happiness that they will share with each other!

Update (10/12/06): Here’s a cool photo from Julie & Justin’s wedding day that I found on Stacy & Mary’s blog. There’s also a photo of me on there, so view at your own risk! 😉

I’ve had a few “thank you” notes piling up on my desk for awhile now, so as I prepare to videotape a Sunday ceremony and reception at the Ritz Charles, here’s a sampling of what our clients have been saying lately:

From Cathy & Marshall VanNahmen, regarding the video from their 6/24/06 wedding: “Bob – you did an absolutely phenomenal job putting our wedding video together! Thank you so much for your dedicated effort and quick turnaround in getting this to us. We positively love it! Also, our friends couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved the picture slideshow we showed at the reception – it turned out wonderfully as well. You have been so terrific to work with, and even better, so genuinely sincere and kind to us in every encounter. Thank you for an amazing memory we will cherish forever! We will recommend you to everyone we know!

Sincerely,
Cathy and Marshall VanNahmen

P.S. My mom is already saying she’s going to keep a copy of the video in the safety deposit box, just for safe keeping! :)”

(Quick sidebar: Here’s why I love the end of that e-mail. There was a time early in the life of my business when one of my relatives was questioning the “importance” of what I was doing for a career. He felt that I should have been a chemist! My proud response was that not many people are lucky enough to be able to say that they provide a service that means so much to their clients that the finished product goes straight to the clients’ safety deposit boxes.)

From Sissy Allen, mother of the bride regarding Kristin & Zach’s 7/9/06 wedding: “Thank you so much for all you have done! We feel so blessed to have had you working with us to make Kristin & Zach’s day special!”

From Mike & Debbie Cobb about their wedding video from 10/8/06: “Thank you very much for being a part of our wedding. Your participation made it an even more magical day for us. We really appreciate and thank you for the professionalism and consideration you demonstrated during our event. We have truly enjoyed watching our wedding video and look forward to sharing it with family and friends!”

From Jordan Schmitt regarding Jordan and Matthew’s video from 8/19/06: “Bob – I got the video today…it is WONDERFUL!!!! You really did an excellent job capturing the day! Thank you SOOOO much! I love it! I’ll definitely be recommending you to friends in the years to come! Thanks again!”

September and October are my favorite months to videotape weddings due to the cooler weather, the beautiful outdoor shots, and of course, the football that awaits me the next day as a reward for a hard but fun day’s work. And fun it has been these past two weekends!

Courtney & Zach’s September 23 wedding at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church marked the third wedding that we have shot for the McCracken family, so it was nice to catch up with our former clients and count kids. I was pleasantly surprised to find David Takayoshi of Line 11 Images, whom I had known but never worked with, working alongside photographer Eric Graf from Louisville. While waiting downtown for the wedding party to arrive at the Columbia Club, I ran into consultant Michelle Rogers of Accolade of London, Jeff Reed of the band First Impression and Larry Seidman‘s associate photographer preparing for a wedding on the first floor. (Too bad they didn’t also hire me to shoot their ceremony – I probably could have fit it in while waiting for Courtney & Zach!) I also spotted photographer Mark Dutkevitch getting some shots at the church next door. I wonder how many wedding parties go through the Monument Circle area in a single Saturday. After a few photos on the Circle, we all headed to the 10th-floor ballroom, tastefully decorated by Alan Thompson of McNamara Florists, for a night of good food and big-band music by Chicago’s Bobby Schiff Band.

Last weekend brought me right back to St. Joan of Arc for Emily & John’s ceremony, and I immediately recognized the white and gold ribbons blowing in the wind as the work of Majestic Events. That bundle of positive, creative energy known as photographer Jessica Strickland (who referred the wedding to me) was there to greet me as well, and the day’s upbeat vibe never let up from there. I followed the bridal party and Jess to Holcomb Gardens afterwards for some laughter-filled photo ops, then moved on to the Montage to capture (and partake in) the customary hospitality of Joe Husar’s staff. After a nice breather and chat over dinner with the Stricklands and DJ Jason Fritz of Pro-Sound Entertainment, Jason kept me busy the remainder of the night by keeping the dance floor so packed by the young crowd that I could barely navigate the area to get my shots. In fact, I don’t recall Emily ever leaving the dance floor…

I spent the past week finishing up Latosha & Adrian’s wedding video from August 19, which Tony Cardinali shot for me while I was covering Jordan & Matthew’s wedding in the Evansville area. The ceremony was at New Life Worship Center, which I thought I’d never been to until I saw the footage and realized it used to be Traders Pointe Christian Church. The reception was at the Children’s Museum, which made me envious of Tony since I’m a member there and LOVE it! I also completed most of Catherine & Michael’s video from their August 26 wedding in the Cincinnati area – that one should be done tomorrow morning.

While all this has been going on, I’ve also been helping my church (St. Luke’s UMC) duplicate and print about 2500 DVDs for our latest capital campaign. I’ve also met with several brides and filled up even more dates for 2007, which is shaping up to be another record year for IndyVisual. The blessings just keep on coming!

Five more video clips
I’m editing videos faster than I can blog! Here are the five most recently completed video clips as promised…

Debbie & Mike had an intimate ceremony in the chapel at the Ritz Charles, followed by a spirited reception in the main building. Jennifer Montoya of Majestic Events provided the elegant bursts of red roses (my favorite!), Dave Cohen of Jerry Goldberg Photography captured the day’s many highlights, and DJ Brian Whitis kept the lively crowd glued to the dance floor.

Debbie & Mike’s Highlight Segment – 7/15/06

Ilona & Geoff were married in a beautiful outdoor setting at the Eiteljorg Museum. Rebecca Raymond of Event Fantastic (who referred the wedding to me) coordinated the events of the day with the Eiteljorg’s Sarah Bean, Rue de Fleur added a touch of European elegance to the decor, Andreas Nemitsas brought his personable style to the photo sessions, and veteran band Zanna-Doo brought a touch of local rock scene history to the night.

Ilona & Geoff’s Highlight Segment – 7/22/06

Dave & Kim’s wedding and reception proved to be a perfect showcase for the Oak Hill Mansion’s outdoor facilities, as they exchanged vows in the wedding gazebo before celebrating in the reception pavilion. I enjoyed working with photographer Sue Huffer and consultant Julie Doyle for the first time, and it was a kick to see my former financial planner Randy Pierson behind the DJ console.

Dave & Kim’s Highlight Segment – 8/5/06

Laura & Greg were a fun, spiritual couple to produce a Love Story video for, and returning “home” to the IU campus to cover their wedding weekend, including a ceremony at my former church, was a real treat. Consultant and florist Cathy Teeters transformed the Bloomington Convention Center, while photographer Kip May captured it all and the wonderful Wendy Reed Band entertained the crowd.

Laura & Greg’s Highlight Segment – 8/12/06

Jordan & Matthew were married in the Evansville area, joined by a huge busload of guests from Minnesota. The hayride from the church provided ample opportunity for the group to get loosened up for some humorous photos at the family farm nearby. I declined to ask what was in the bucket that everyone was taking a sip from at the reception, but it was a family tradition that led to some great reaction shots for the video.

Jordan & Matthew’s Highlight Segment – 8/19/06

Weekends don’t get any better than this time of year for me. After spending Saturdays covering the best day of my clients’ lives, I spend Sundays either at the Colts’ home games as a season ticket holder or watching their road games on TV from a couch or sports bar. I’ve been going to their games ever since they moved to Indy, and I’ve endured some pretty lean years, so their current success has been quite a ride. So while many of my fellow vendors are toiling away showcasing their services at the Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Montage this Sunday, I’ll be on the 50-yard line with three guests – my oldest son Matthew, my visiting father-in-law Steve, and my brother-in-law Todd (whose wedding I was in back in May). Now that’s a fun day! Alas, I’ll miss their next two home games, one on 10/8/06 because of a Sunday wedding, and the other on 10/22/06 because of our departure for a vacation in Kauai. I’m sure I’ll get over the disappointment. 😉

I’ll have four more highlight segments to add here shortly. I’m not quite sure how I accumulated all of those in just the past week and a half, but we’ve definitely been going non-stop in the editing suite lately. I’m looking forward to videotaping a wedding this weekend for the third McCracken daughter I’ve covered since 1999. Hopefully they won’t compare their videos too closely, as new technology and creative growth have allowed us to improve our work year after year. This will be my first of two straight ceremonies at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, and my first return to the Columbia Club since four straight weekends last fall.