This beautiful same-sex styled shoot from Carina Photographics and a team of amazing Minnesota vendors features a real-life couple, Mary and Lisa, who had originally married at a Justice of the Peace in Canada eight years prior, when same-sex marriage was illegal. The photo shoot took place at a property owned by a same-sex couple, Tim and Bruce, who spent more than 25 years creating a gorgeous, formal English garden as their weekend retreat. The lush, green and manicured garden was the perfect setting for the shoot, which was inspired by a loose combination of Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden.


When we were first asked to do the shoot, we thought it was too good to be true. We would have loved professional wedding pictures but thought that opportunity had long passed. We were excited by the offer of being the models for the stylized shoot but really had no idea what it meant. When we heard from Joanna about setting a date for the shoot (over a year from the time we were invited to do the shoot), we couldn’t believe it was really going to happen. We thought we would wear our dresses; do our own hair and make-up and meet for a couple of hours to take a few pictures. We had no idea about what was really going to happen. When we got a call from Casey (our wedding planner) we got a little nervous. Whoa. This was big time! When we heard we would have professional hair and make-up as well as head pieces customized just for us, we were surprised and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. (All good, by the way.) I know for me I took the approach of feeling honored and grateful to have the opportunity and to just be myself. It was exciting to have all of this attention placed on us (the brides). Everyone I was meeting who was involved in the shoot made me feel so special. I really felt like this was my wedding day all over again. When I saw how Lisa was transformed from my life partner, a mother, a friend, to a bride again, I felt like the luckiest person on earth. Wow! To be able to recreate those amazing/powerful feelings you feel on your wedding day not just once… was truly unreal. The photo shoot allowed Lisa and I an opportunity that many young parents and professionals do not get – the chance to reconnect and remember why we married each other in the first place. I felt the same natural high I felt the day we actually got married 8 years ago.

At first I was really nervous since I didn’t know what to exactly do for the photo shoot, but Joanna, Casey and Mike made us feel so comfortable. It felt like we were hanging out with old friends we had known for a long time. As the day went on I remember feeling a bit sad about the anticipated end to the day. All of these people put time and energy into this shoot, and while we know they all had goals they wanted to get from the photo shoot, I couldn’t help but leave feeling like they had done it all just for us. This was the dream ‘faux’ wedding we never had and our new friends were there to document it! – Mary