what is xoBeautiful | see all xoBeautiful project posts

Erin’s story was the hardest to tell. I am not going to lie I was so very nervous to photograph her. Although after knowing her for a few minutes I realized she is stronger than I could have ever imagined. She was the one comforting me. Making me smile through the tears I was telling myself the whole day I would not shed.

 I am honored and blessed to share our sixteenth xoBeautiful project reveal.

Erin was photographed at a gorgeous Door County WI Wedding venue. 7501 Mariner Road – One of the most Luxurious Door County Waterfront Homes. A dream location for wedding photographers in Door County Wisconsin.


Erin’s Story in her words why she wanted to be involved in the xoBeautiful project:

This photo shoot means the world to me. My fiance and I were together 9 years and actually got engaged today (Jan 28th) two years go on top of a mountain top in Idaho doing our favorite thing together, snowboarding. It was beautiful!! We were to get married on June 21, 2014 but sadly he passed away in a avalanche last February. I had just gotten my dress the week before and we were to pick out rings when he got back from his trip out west. I love my dress but I never got to wear it. I am so excited that I get to wear it and show everyone how beautiful that day could have been.



Stunning Bouquet by Blossoms Floral of Door County


Cake by Flour Girl Patissier

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  • Jen Gannigan - May 27, 2015 - 4:58 pm

    I will forever be in awe of her.

When I launched the xoBeautiful sessions, many people had questions about what this all was, why I wanted to do this, and why it was so important. When things are so deeply in our own hearts, sometimes it’s hard to express fully the right answers to these questions. Today, as I share some of the first images from the sessions, I will try my best to explain.

I’ve done Pay it Forward sessions for a long time, and xoBeautiful is simply a new facet of something I’ve always done. Through the applications, I learned the stories of these strong, incredible women, and they inspired me. The goal was to empower women to claim their own beauty and strength … and of course, very few things make us feel as beautiful as our wedding dress. It all clicked.

Through these sessions, their stories are told. Some of them are painful, some of them are beautiful, and all of them are powerful and proud – and they should be. It’s been an honor to be involved in this project, and I’m sure you’ll see why. What you’ll see is not just where they’ve come from, but who they’ve chosen themselves to be now.

Many people are curious about the sessions themselves. My team focuses on pampering and honoring each woman throughout their session – seeing the glow they have and hearing how they felt like movie stars or royalty brings it all home. This is why these sessions are so important.

One of my favorite parts of the xoBeautiful is when I get to read the things their family member has written about them (we send this out before the session and family members prepare something and send it back to us). They suddenly see themselves through the eyes and hearts of the ones they love. There is something innately powerful about the words they hear.

To put it simply, the xoBeautiful sessions are all about showing women how beautiful they are and how amazing their story has made them. No matter how broken, forgotten, tainted or incredible their story is, this session allows them to rewrite parts of their story, on their own terms, and find their personal sparkle.



appleton-wisconsin-wedding-venue door-county-wedding-xobeautiful door-county-wedding-xobeautiful door-county-wedding-photography-wisconsinView full post »

  • Kate - March 27, 2015 - 10:29 pm

    This is incredible, Jen. Absolutely love this whole concept and how you brought it to life. I’m looking forward to reading each woman’s story.

  • Audrey - April 1, 2015 - 10:58 am

    I love this idea so much! What a beautiful heart you have to feature people’s stories!

  • Heather - April 2, 2015 - 10:54 am

    Beautiful images! They will truly capture each woman’s beauty!

  • Heather - April 2, 2015 - 10:56 am

    Beautiful images! This concept will truly capture each woman’s beauty!

Anne-Marie & Steven
The second part of their wedding day!
If you have not seen the first part click here

View full post »

  • J niznik - November 4, 2014 - 9:14 pm

    B & W or color all of your pictures look amazing!!

  • Kelly Stalpes - November 4, 2014 - 11:43 pm

    What a lovely bride and beautiful wedding! The pictures with the flags are an awesome touch :o)

  • Kim - November 5, 2014 - 2:17 am

    Beautiful pictures of a beautiful couple:)

  • Shannon - November 5, 2014 - 3:27 am

    Congratulations Anne Marie! Gorgeous bride and gorgeous pictures!

  • Liz Basadur - November 5, 2014 - 11:38 am

    Beautiful photos. Beautifully captured :)

  • Carolyn - November 5, 2014 - 11:45 am

    What beautiful pictures!!

  • Tristan b - November 5, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    You both look so fantastic these are fantastic pictures. Congrats once again.

  • Papa Boyd - November 5, 2014 - 11:01 pm

    I really look good in all my photos.

  • Stephanie - November 5, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    Absolutely adorable photos Anne Marie!! So honored we were able to share your special day!

  • Marianne Basasur - November 6, 2014 - 6:31 am

    Amazing photos amazing wedding – the flower girl and ring bearer are super cute :-)

  • Lisa - November 7, 2014 - 12:51 am

    Looks great!!

  • Lisa Skoglund - November 7, 2014 - 12:55 am

    What beautiful pictures of your wedding day!!!

  • richard macri - November 14, 2014 - 6:03 am

    Great photos

  • A Basadur - November 14, 2014 - 10:31 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!! The photos are beautiful and amazing.

  • Chris Basadur - November 14, 2014 - 6:52 pm

    Great photo’s, Really beautiful .

Anne-Marie & Steven
The first part of their beautiful Wedding Day captured at the Bride’s home where she grew up in Green Bay Wisconsin.
Check back next week for part two of this wonderful day!

wedding photographers in green bay wi artistic-wisconsin-photographer artistic-wisconsin-photographer wedding photographers in green bay wi wedding photographers in green bay wi wedding photographers in green bay wi artistic-wisconsin-photographer artistic-wisconsin-photographer artistic-wisconsin-photographer artistic-wisconsin-photographer artistic-wisconsin-wedding-photosView full post »

  • Ashley - May 3, 2015 - 9:46 pm

    I am absolutely in love with your photos I would love for you to be my photographer for my wedding. My hunny and I are getting married in either 2017 or 2018 so its a ways away yet but I want to make sure everything gets figured out ahead of time :)

    Thank you so much,

  • magdalene - May 4, 2015 - 10:44 pm

    You are so very sweet Ashley! I cannot wait to chat with you about your day! Thank you for your kind words. Please head on over to my contact form and submit your info. That way we can connect and start sharing your vision of the wedding day! xoxo Jen

Every couple I meet tells me their story. They tell me what they love, why they love and who they are as a couple. I then take them on a adventure. No two adventures are alike. No two couples are alike. I love that. I love exploring and really having the time of our lives getting a glimpse into their funny side, lovey side and adventurous sides.

We stopped at one of my favorite park settings in DePere. I made them dance, I may have sung songs. It was magical. : ) green-bay-wisconsin-engagement

They laughed until they had tummy aches.

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We drove aimlessly and I stumbled upon this beautiful lilac tree. green-bay-wisconsin-engagement green-bay-wisconsin-engagement

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And then, who knew Lambeau Field had such gorgeous flowers?


Oh and this one below, one of my favorites:) green-bay-wisconsin-engagement

And, they danced some more.


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Did I forget to mention that Steven proposed to Stephanie at Disney World. Yes! He surprised her at Disney. Um, can that be my story please. Haha! So I thought lets go to Bay Beach Amusement Park. Not even close to the epicness of Disney but its the thought that counts right!!??


Looking forward to their August Wedding at Heritage Hill in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


what is xoBeautiful | see all xoBeautiful project posts

I’m excited to introduce Molly, our seventeenth xoBeautiful project reveal. Molly was photographed at a gorgeous Door County Wisconsin Wedding venue. 7501 Mariner Road. Egg Harbor,  Door County, Wisconsin – One of the most Luxurious Door County Waterfront Homes. A dream location for a destination wedding in Wisconsin.


Molly’s Story in her words why she wanted to be involved in the xoBeautiful project: // Side note (from Jen) Molly is everything you could ever hope a true friend to be. I am blessed to have had her along on this journey.  There are many times I looked at her and thought “Thank god for Molly”. We laughed so hard we cried. We cried reading each woman’s stories. From what was “Hey Molly! Do you want to be a part of the xoBeautiful shoot” to Molly being there at every single moment of this crazy beautiful project. I am now honored to call her my friend. She has no choice, I’m a lifer now. Haha!!!


Bridal Gown from I Do Bridal

Ok.. Molly’s turn:
It is hard to describe the “why” behind why I wanted to participate in Magdalene Photography’s xoBeautiful project. It might have been the desire to be surrounded by strong, wonderful and inspiring women and remind myself how empowering it can be to feel beautiful once in a while. It could have been the opportunity to make these women feel amazing for a day. Or, it could have been the fact that I wanted to make sure my friend, Jen, could see her vision finally come to life. I find that most of my girlfriends, matriarchs in my family and even female acquaintances often struggle with loving their bodies and their overall general appearance. I know, it might seem petty and vain to some- but I think happiness and acceptance of others, even, starts with your own self-love.

At an age, where most kids are excited to have their shiny new driver’s license and the anticipation for a summer filled with independence might just kill them- I went through a summer of countless doctor visits and heart monitors. I won’t say that my medical issues were horrific, but they shook me and changed me from that moment on. I went my entire summer with a heart monitor placed on my chest and the echo of my doctor’s warning that a pace maker might be the end result ringing in my ears. Being 16 and facing the thought of my chest being opened and a small box being placed inside, is not what I thought I would be doing that summer. Luckily, it did not have to result in that. A simple change of lifestyle and medication would hopefully keep the beast at bay. However, most things in life are not that simple. My medication wreaked havoc on my body and my mind. I would gain 10 lbs. one week only to lose 20 the next. It caused me debilitating migraines, acne, mood swings and countless other side effects. My body was becoming scarred and weak and my self-esteem tanked. I don’t often speak about this time in my life because of the internal struggle I went through. To keep my parents and friends sanity, I would always tell them I was fine and that this was nothing we had to worry about. All while on the inside knowing that I was one more mishap away from a breakdown. I finally found the strength to simply give in and let myself accept the facts. My life, would not be the same. My hobbies, my activities, my life- would have this problem shadow it at times. destination-weddings-door-county-wisconsin

I’ve grown since then and I’ve learned to live with what I have. I don’t let it defy me, in fact, I rarely bring it up to people. I do have scars- I won’t be the “skinny” size I used to be and I even love my curves now. Do I still have moments of self-doubt? Of course. I wouldn’t be honest if I tried to lie on that one. Luckily, I do have friends, family and a very loving man to remind me of just how beautiful I am on the inside-out.
All of the women that were showcased in this project are amazing women who embody strength, beauty and perseverance. My story does not remotely compare to others, but the importance of this project is to realize we all struggle at times and yet we all seem to persevere. Life has a funny way of slowly knocking us down and it takes moments like a xoBeautiful project, to remind us all just how beautiful and wonderful we individually are. destination-weddings-door-county-wisconsin


Even though she has not had her wedding yet. She will someday be the most beautiful bride and I will be there to capture it all.

I was never a bride. I have never had a wedding day. But to twirl around in beautiful gowns with a wonderful soul like Jen from Magdalene Photography there to capture it all, was beyond words. Then, to help be her assistant and pamper and watch all of these women come to life in front of the camera, is truly something that I will hold very dear to my heart. I hope this project not only inspires but reminds us all how beautiful each of us are in our own unique way.


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As you may remember from my first post, I mentioned that I had loved ones fill out a fun survey about each lady. Molly’s friend, Nikki filled this one out for her.

Describe her in 4 words or less: Fabulous in every way!
Why do you feel she needs this day to feel beautiful and be a model for the day? Molly will always put others before herself, whether it is through her work or personal life. She doesn’t set aside the time to pamper and spoil herself even though she deserves it. Many may say that I am biased since I am her best friend but I believe that makes me the perfect candidate because I know what is best for her!
What makes her special? Her ability to make magic in the kitchen!
Does she have any nicknames? Mowwy
Describe a funny memory or moment about her. It is hard to choose from our long laundry list but my favorite would have to be our dance party. The shades were open, many classic songs were played, and interpretive dancing commenced. As Celine Dion, Katy Perry, and Whitney Houston played we did not laugh simply because we were making fools of ourselves but because I knew no one else understood me like Molly.
If she could spend a day with any actor/actress for the day who would it be and why? Daniel Craig because he is an attractive middle aged man.


Gorgeous Bouquet by Blossoms Floral in Door County

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what is xoBeautiful | see all xoBeautiful project posts

I will be revealing the story of each of these incredible women over the coming weeks. I invite you to come along on the journey, and find your own xoBeautiful with me.

I absolutely fell in love with this style of session, and will definitely be adding this to my session line up soon.

In the mean time, if you would be interested in taking part in an xoBeautiful session in the future, please fill out the information below – you’ll get an early bird discount! Or maybe you know someone who deserves to sparkle? You can nominate them through this form as well:

Venues : Destination Weddings Door County WIsconsin | Flowers: Blossoms of Door County | Wedding Dress: I Do Bridal, Peshtigo, Wisconsin | Dress Designer: Allure Bridal Gowns | Accessories: Sunshine Couture




I am so excited to announce this giveaway! Yes! I am giving away 6 hours of wedding coverage + a flash-drive loaded with your wedding images to one lucky couple. I want to give one deserving, awesome, very much in love couple some beautiful memories of the day they have always dreamed of. This giveaway is a branch of my Pay it Forward photography sessions. I have been blessed to photograph some of the most kind and generous people I know. In that I am fortunate to pass along the kindness to a very special couple.


// Here are the rules to qualify!

First, share this blog post as a public post (so we can see!) on your Facebook profile wall.

Second, comment on this blog post telling me about the last time you payed it forward or plan to pay it forward in the future.

Last, fill out this form for me to get to know you two better and about your wedding day. Wedding Photography Giveaway Form

Destination Weddings and out of state Weddings encouraged to apply!!! Highly encouraged. I love an adventure!!

Then, I will review all of the entries and a winner (or two) will be chosen July 15th.



  • Kaylee LaVesser - May 28, 2015 - 7:17 pm

    A few days before thanksgiving my fiancée and I donated 2 entire thanksgiving dinners to the Crivitz food pantry. It made us feel so good to help others we plan on doing it for thanksgiving and Christmas this year!

  • Rochelle L - May 28, 2015 - 7:43 pm

    We have a favorite server at our local BBQ joint. We recently found out that that he has 7 children! He told us last week that it was his second youngests birthday so we went out and bought all 7 of the boys presents so that none of them felt left out!

  • Bobbie Jo Knaus - May 29, 2015 - 2:40 am

    The last time I payed it forward is when me and my fiance went out to eat and we payed for an elderly couples meal! It’s a great feeling making someone’s day!

  • Alicyn Dwyer - May 29, 2015 - 10:23 am

    Paying it forward isn’t always buying a meal for someone or paying for someone’s drink in front of you. I think paying is forward is a great thing. It’s an act of kindness. It’s showing your compassion for even the unknown. I was waiting in line to pay at the gas station and there was a woman behind me me- she was counting change for gas- prepaying so she wouldn’t over spend because I guess that is all she had or maybe left her card at home-who knows. I didn’t know who she was- I was in a different town than normal- her kid kept asking for a chocolate milk, she kept saying no she doesn’t have enough for it. I was paying for some things and told my cashier I’ll be right back, grab a drink for the kid, went back up to the counter told her to put $40 on my receipt for the pump her car was at. I left the chocolate milk at the counter, she and the kid followed me out saying if forgot my drink. The looked back and said that’s not mine- and told them to have a great day and as I walked away she said “God bless you!” And was crying. I turned and realized that I truly was blessed to be able to “bless” and or make someone day. And I know through an act of kindness that she will be able to do the same to someone else one day- maybe not buy a meal or fill up a car but show compassion for the unknown.

  • Emily Stuht - May 29, 2015 - 4:50 pm

    The last time I paid it forward was at the grocery store when someone forgot their wallet at home and I paid for their groceries and helped them being their groceries out to the car with them.

  • Annette Marie - May 29, 2015 - 5:39 pm

    Ben and I pay it forward whenever we can. I like to pay for people behind me in line or someone eating alone. I usually leave before the person has a chance to notice. It doesn’t matter who it is it’s restoring faith in humanity!! Ben has a lot of knowledge with autos and has a big truck, so if someone looks stranded he usually will pull over to see if he can lend a hand. His response is usually “pay it forward”. I love that we see it and do it as a couple the most.

  • Megan Elston - May 29, 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Every year (and year round) I buy small gifts and necessities to send to children in need. A program called Operation Christmas Child is a organization I have fell in love with. You take these pieces you have bought or made and pack them lovingly in a shoebox and OCC send them all around the world to children whose lives could really be changed with school supplies and some toys. I spend all year finding tiny gifts and making crafts to pack away in these shoeboxes and especially love writing them a card showing them someone from the opposite end of the world cares. It is so fun and rewarding to think something taken granted for here (soap, toothpaste, pencils, etc) can literally change lives.

  • Brook Diece - May 30, 2015 - 4:30 pm

    My finance and I are both firefighters and I want to have bell at our reception that instead of people clinking glasses to get us to kiss they have to put money in a bowl and ring the bell. The money we get will be donated to a local burn camp.

  • Allison Sheedy - May 31, 2015 - 12:45 am

    We believe in doing good deeds whenever possible. In the past we have both volunteer to help many great causes like delivering meals to the less fortunate, participating in Christmas gift giveaways to buy presents for families who can’t afford them and visiting with elderly in the nursing homes. The most recent act of kindness we did was help our neighbors down the street. The husband was diagnosed with cancer, and very ill during treatments. We would go take out their trash, trim trees, mow their lawn and shovel snow. We wanted them to be able to spend as much time with each other, and not have to worry about the little things around the house. It is such a rewarding feeling seeing how much someone appreciates the little things you can do for them :)

  • Tiffany S. Kim - May 31, 2015 - 6:47 am

    I’m a high school vball coach. Every year I organize a practice for the glenbrook united team from our school. I help prepare them for the special olympics. I have my volleyball girls help run the drills and I enjoy every minute of those nights. Even after a long day of work and late night practice, my players and I stay after to share our excitement and love for the sport to these amazing individuals.

  • Chessa Hanson - May 31, 2015 - 7:12 pm

    The last time we paid it forward, we were out at a small diner for breakfast and happened to overhear our waitress talking about how she hoped she made enough in tips that day to buy her children some things she had promised them; however, it wasn’t looking good. I was a single Mom and I remember what that’s like. I saw her tear up as she was talking about it with her coworker. We looked around and the diner had very few patrons….so when our bill came, I looked at it, it wasn’t much. My fiancée and I decided we wanted to help, I asked the manager if the waitresses split their tips, or if they each got to keep their own. After finding out they kept their own, we left our amazing waitress a $50.00 tip and a note saying that we hoped it would help her keep her promise to her kiddos. Whenever we can we try to pay it forward, the world would be a much better place if everyone in it did so :). I’m always reminded of the movie, and that sweet boy!

  • Amanda McLain - June 1, 2015 - 6:50 pm

    Last year July I was checking out of the grocery store when I overheard an older gentleman not understanding why his debit card wouldn’t work. It was super hoy that week and he had bottles of water and cat food. As he was trying to decide what to not purchase and overwhelming feeling came over me and I paid remaining balance. Felt good to help

  • Casey yore - June 4, 2015 - 7:58 pm

    I have been giving my clothes, son’s clothes and household items away to people that need them. Also made some stockings last Christmas for 6 needy kids. Nothing to big but I bet it made those kids smile on christmas day (:

  • Erin Kearns - June 6, 2015 - 6:34 am

    The last time I paid it forward there was a fire in an apartment building. Someone posted on fb that they knew one of the families that was now homeless and they had children. I couldn’t help them all, but I had over 200 articles of clothing from my son that I was going to sell, but he happened to be the same size so I gave them to him. I have been given clothes for my kids in times of need and I felt it was only right I did it for someone else when I could.

  • Jason Paulsen - June 7, 2015 - 2:49 am

    My pay it forward story is thatI worked on an extreme makeover house in dundee wi. For the koepke family who’s father passed from cancer. It was an extreme blessing to be able to be there and help out with hundreds of others who were there to reach out to the family.

  • Sydney Ramer - June 8, 2015 - 2:24 pm

    I went to a charter school for the last two years of high school. At my old high school 98% of the students households are below the poverty line. So graduating seniors usually can’t afford to spend money on senior pictures. I have been doing photography since I was a freshman in high school and since graduating I have offered my photography services for free to the kids that attend there so they can have senior pictures. I know how it feels not to be able to afford them and I don’t want any kid to feel that way. But currently as an adult I can’t afford a wedding photographer. Multiple people from my church are pitching in to give me and my fiance an affordable wedding. A friend of mine is designing our wedding invitations and her husband is creating an arch for us. Her father is letting us get married in his backyard. It really just seems like God has really blessed us.

  • Alyssa Kolb - June 10, 2015 - 8:11 am

    Every year that we’ve been together, my fiance and I always try to pay it forward at Christmas time especially, but also throughout the year as well! I feel like everyone should feel love and happiness on christmas, no matter what their circumstances. Every Christmas, we take the money that we would use on presents for each other and spend it on those who otherwise wouldn’t have presents or even a friendly face to wake up to. We have donated clothes and toys to children who are in shelters or very low income families whose parents don’t have the means to give them a Christmas. And also we have made gift baskets to give to our local nursing homes for those whose loved ones are not with them for Christmas. I also like to pay it forward to the homeless in our community by giving “help bags” full of items like razors, soap, and gift cards to local restaurants. I like to do these things with the means that I have, because you never know when it could be yourself who is needing help!

  • Amber Haensgen - June 10, 2015 - 11:18 pm

    I pay it forward every month by donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. My brother was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago and is still getting treatment. By donating hopefully they will find a cure to cancer soon!

  • Ashlei Weise - June 19, 2015 - 10:31 pm

    The last time I paid it forward was just a simple trip to Walmart. A teenage girl couldn’t find her wallet in her purse. She was only buying a soda and some candy boxes but she was utterly grateful. Even helping a little can go a long way.

  • Jen // Magdalene Photography - June 21, 2015 - 11:43 pm

    Hi Casey! I am going through the giveaway submissions and I did not see your info. Just wanted to check in with you. Here is the link to fill out the form! http://magdalenephotography.com/blog/wedding-photography-giveaway-form/

  • Jen // Magdalene Photography - June 21, 2015 - 11:45 pm

    Hi Alyssa! I am going through the giveaway submissions and I did not see your info. Just wanted to check in with you. Here is the link to fill out the form! http://magdalenephotography.com/blog/wedding-photography-giveaway-form/

  • Jen // Magdalene Photography - June 21, 2015 - 11:47 pm

    Hi Kaylee! I am going through the giveaway submissions and I did not see your info. Just wanted to check in with you. Here is the link to fill out the form! http://magdalenephotography.com/blog/wedding-photography-giveaway-form/