“Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Find your greatest weakness – and know that it is inextricably related to your greatest strength. Persnickety is also detailed, know-it-all is also knowledgeable, Too-cold-to-be-outside has lead to many great gatherings.

And thus was born Febgiving – replacing the frigid cold that separates us into our individual homes with a reason to be together. We took the best holiday (Thanksgiving) and grafted into the worst of the midwest (February). Because the below zero weather may keep most us from biking, jogging, and picnicking, but it can’t keep us from gathering, from laughing, and from eating.

Every  year we wonder if our friends will make the trek from other parts of the country (yes, like California, New York, Boston, DC, Nevada, Madison – places that are more commonly referred to as “destinations” than Minneapolis). And then inevitably our house is as full as our kitchen – we bake savory shortbread, we had a custom branding iron designed with a febgiving logo so we could brand a turkey, we roast vegetables and make mashed potatoes, and argue over how many desserts is “too many” (hint: we require at least 2 pies, everything else is negotiable)

This year felt especially joyous – we spent extra time styling and planning, we had 20 some out-of-towners, we had amazing food, we had so much fun.

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I love maternity sessions when we can get out in the city, and this 80 image panorama for Juliana’s session shows why – bringing in a little hint of the buildings, the fullness of the trees (just ready to bud – spring is in the air) and this loving couple. Excited to share more.

“I promise that I will frustrate you, and I promise that I will be there”

This was a vow that has really stuck with me – funny and honest. Which is something I absolutely love about Val and Jon – they are bitingly funny, enjoy being silly, but ultimately are very honest with those around them and with each other. Rarely am I so happy for two people to have found each other, but Val and Jon’s wedding at Willowdale Estate was lovely, loving, and a really fun time.

There was dancing (both classical ballroom and some vintage Michael Jackson moves), there were warm chocolate chip cookies, there was sun, and cheese, and laughter. And I couldn’t imagine a happier way to celebrate this union.

Yes, marriage brings frustrations. Along with all the good stuff, there will be silly fights and 10 feet of snow to shovel (a tough winter for Massachusetts!), but a promise to be there for the other is a strong barrier against the chaos of a lonely world, and shoveling is easier with company.

 

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Shooting frequently in the same places can either be a challenge or a repetition. I feel so lucky to have clients who get married at the Loring Pasta Bar and Varsity Theater- no matter how often I shoot there, there is always a new angle to find and bring a different perspective. I love the dark moody-ness and the wacky eccentricities of the space, and the combination of vintage and post-apocalyptic warehouse. Sometimes you find the southern charm, sometimes the french noir, sometimes the modern color, but always something new. And so for Jess and Luke, the Loring and Varsity was all vintage charm – a classic, garden party casual that extended right until the dancing started – and then it was 90s block party all the way, including Jessica’s amazing hip hop trio with her siblings to end the evening.

 

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When your friends and family are in Seattle and New Jersey, they might consider the winters in Minneapolis a deal breaker. Those of us who live here realize it is an asset – just cold enough to keep away the masses, just long enough to build a season around, and the perfect excuse for knit mittens and fur lined coats. Bethany + Stamatis have certainly embraced the winter here, so it was the perfect season to for their engagement photos – a little frozen tundra, a little Scandinavian knits, and a lot of fun. Of course, we did have to reschedule at least once due to the cold advisories.

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I was able to celebrate for multiple days with Anne + Jeremy. This was one of my favorite moments – just a little alone time surrounded by their guests and a lot of lights.

  • Kathy Schwalbe - Very nice! Can’t wait to see more!
    Anne’s Mom

  • Anne Schwalbe - I added your blog to my feed reader months ago. I flipped through this post this morning and thought, “aww, so pretty, I hope our cafe lights turn out like that!”. Then I recognized Jeremy and immediately teared up! You so accurately captured this moment. <3