I first heard from Danika sometime last year - when I very first started offering wedding services again. She was one of the very first people who filled out my questionnaire - and my favorite part was that she answered all of the questions (don't worry to my clients who don't, I don't hold a grudge). I immediately reached out to schedule our consultation, and we both decided a FaceTime all would be ideal.
I am pretty sure I was a total mess during our FaceTime call, with kids screaming and running around the background - but she didn't mind. We talked about our kids, we both have a daughter in the similar age range. I got the best feeling about them as a family and new we were a good fit for her wedding in October.
Moving on, I sent her over a couple fun questionnaires for her and her fiancé, Cody to fill out. I'm just going to share with you Cody's answer to the question, "Was there a specific moment you knew you were going to marry Danika?":
"Couldn't of been more proud of myself bringing her to a family dinner at a restaurant, there have been a lot of moments that I know of - but one that stood out the most was when my parents said, "You finally met a woman that likes you - for you."
and, Danika's answer to "Tell me about a time Cody made you proud."
"Watching him hold our daughter for the first time and seeing how good of a father he is."
When we got together for their complimentary engagement session, I was able to see just how important their family bond is. They were surrounded by such a light energy, and interacted so purely together. Sophia has the most kind-hearted free spirit, and I can tell that's because she is surrounded by more love and happiness than most.
When I arrived at the wedding, I was so excited to see all of the beautiful foliage surrounding Duck Puddle Campground. I knew that we were truly going to capture some MAGIC between the love I know this family shares, and the colors - there was no way we could fail. Walking into the Lake House where Danika was getting ready, there was a lot of hustle and bustle happening - which is the norm for weddings. I knew Danika was a little nervous, even though to her and Cody - this was all just technicality (since they've already grown and built together for what feels like a lifetime). Her face was a little flush and she just had the general look of wedding jitters, especially when she was telling me about the eventful night Cody had for his Bachelor party - but I'll leave that their story to tell.
Danika lead me to where the boys were getting ready, and they decided they didn't need to start really getting themselves prepped until about 15 minutes before the ceremony. I'm going to tell you now, that they undersold the time it would take to put on a multi-piece suit. I'm also going to let Danika and Cody be the ones to tell you why Cody may have needed a little under eye make up (refer to previous tidbit about the bachelor shebang).
And, they even managed to finish up (with time to spare) before the ladies were 100% done. I scooted on back to the lake house to grab some of the finishing images before they officially - officially became The Poland Family.
Once the girls were all prepped and primed, I moseyed my way over to the arbor where they would be exchanging vows, and placed myself in prime photograph position - ready for some tears.
While Cody and Danika may have held it together, it was hard for me to maintain composure watching them finally make their official vows.
And, finally they are announced as husband and wife - and ALLLL the hugs and cheers.
Cody and the boys ran off to their cabin - presumably for a quick moment of relaxation, and then we knocked out some portraits with the gorgeous foliage.
And, of course - a few favorites of just the lovely couple.
I think that my favorite part of all weddings (other than a vow exchange) is the reception. There is always so much fun and laughter, and of course Cody and Danika's was no different.
The garter throw and bouquet toss had EVERYONE in the house rolling.
Something really special about Danika and Cody's reception was that, not only did they do the typical first dance's - they also included their daughter in a family dance. I thought that was the most genuine part of their whole day, and I feel so grateful to have witnessed the whole thing.
The dances included a sweet daddy/daughter dance for Danika and her father, a joyful mother and son dance between Cody and his mom - and of course Danika and Cody's first dance as husband and wife.
Our time ended with the couple cutting the cake - and Cody listening to their daughter Sophia who politely asked him not to smush it in mommy's face.
Overall, this wedding - was only a formality. This family has been a family since the moment Cody and Danika laid eyes on each other. Congratulations to the Poland's.
rings from Day's Jewelers
flowers from Shelley's Flowers
venue at Duck Puddle Campground
wedding sign from Seaworthy Sticker