50th Wedding Anniversary |A Sister Bay Door County Session

Sit back and enjoy this Door County large family session captured in honor of 50 years of love and family set on a property with so much history and character the day after the first snow of the Winter season.


“Our parents were married on November 27th, 1965. This year, they would celebrate 50 years of marriage on the day after Thanksgiving. Impossible to buy a “gift” for (what could they possibly
need?), my sister and I knew we wanted to mark the day in a special way. None of our families have much experience with having professional photographs taken, and frankly, I don’t like having my picture taken. But, we knew this would be a chance to capture what is really important to our parents . . their family. It was decided we’d meet at my husband’s parents’ cherry farm in Sister Bay. Our families have enjoyed summer vacations there.2016-01-08_00012016-01-08_00022016-01-08_0008As I watched my parents seated in an old well-loved mohair sofa with their Grandchildren in the background, tears welled in my eyes. They looked at each other; you could see the people they are now and the young couple they once were. And in the distance, the idea of the family, their cherished grandchildren, that would be someday. If not a single photo turned out, the experience of being together in this way would have been enough.2016-01-08_00182016-01-08_00162016-01-08_0017

This special place has such a deep and rich history. It was the birthplace of my husband’s father and homestead of his grandparents, a dairy for many years, then a cherry farm. On it, “cherry cabins” stand painted now in colors of the homes we saw on a trip to Norway. I marvel still at the thought of families coming to make them their temporary homes while hand-picking cherries during the harvest years before shakers were commonplace. One building with its beautifully weathered boards once held the thresh machine in the days when crops were grown here for dairy cows. And around corners, trails trimmed for walking into the surrounding woods and orchards. We love this place.


Even more, we love our parents and families. Having a photo session on the actual day of their anniversary was a good call. We’d contemplated waiting for a different season. We wondered what we’d have to work with given bare trees, and on that day, frigid 20 degree temperatures and a trace of snow. Cassie immediately saw endless potential for beautiful backgrounds. She noticed amazing changes in the sky and worked quickly to make good use of the scenery. We kept warm by dashing into a running vehicle. Cassie expertly pulled different groupings of our families together in varied spots all over the property to capture meaningful, relaxed, laughter-filled and beautiful moments. Door-County-Family-Photographer2016-01-08_0020When my grandparents came to the farm to meet my future husband’s parents more than 20 years ago, my grandpa recognized the silo on the property. It was one he and his crew built in the Door/Kewaunee County area when he returned home from WWII. For all of us, the silo signifies a little piece of him so we chose to have photos taken near it as well as the other painted sheds on the property.2016-01-08_00212016-01-08_0022Door-County-Family-Photographer2016-01-08_00242016-01-08_0025

Fifty years ago, our parents’ wedding photos had been accidentally left in the developing solution, all overexposed. Other than a few snapshots taken by guests, they had only their memories of their wedding day. Now, we have given them and our families the tremendous gift of capturing a love and life well-lived.”

Jenifer Kirchman Hilander and Christine Van Hulle

Thank you Jen & Chris for choosing me to capture your family on this very special occasion for your parents but also for all of you!  The entire group was so much fun to work with and so ready and willing to go with my ideas. Yes, this property had so much to offer, a photographers dream in regards to backdrops and natural props. The chill in the air came with the first dusting of snow for the season in Door County~making the results of the session even better and so worth the cold 🙂  I know that your parents will cherish the memory of you all together in Door County to honor their love, dedication and years together. Marley & I had a wonderful evening with all of you.


Due to my love of history, Door County and old things~ I thought it appropriate to share the following link with everyone. The buildings on this property in Sister Bay are so charming and it is so cool that the silo had been built by family so many years ago. Enjoy!

Sister Bay Historical Society

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