What your wedding day is really about (or) professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom

Bride in dressing room of Overture Center is having a private moment before the first look with groom


// professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom

So I am at the recent wedding. Doing, you know, my thing- wedding photojournalism and stuff. I’m hanging out with the bride and her friends. Ladies are about to be done with getting ready. Emily and I are about to head out for the first look with Andrew (her future husband to be).

At one moment Emily looks me in the eye and says “I’m very nervous. I’m really really  nervous.”

I pause for a second. I look at Emily. I know I need to respond. What do I say?

“Well Emily…” I begin slowly…


I often ask myself what it’s all about. You know, what wedding day is about? How people see it? I mean technically it’s a ceremony where two people or a couple are united in marriage. But what else?
Timeline? Shoes? Dancing? Friends and family? Tears? Laughter? Beautiful weather? Princess dress? Helluva amazing party? All the love in the world? 5 tier wedding cake? Bartender that makes best Old Fashioned in Midwest?

A nice mix of everything?

Does anybody ever think about a wedding day as just a day? Like just another day in life? Expensive one, but just another day. Not a day filled sugarcoated with fairy tales and princesses, but a day filled ordinary people. Imperfect ordinary people.

Wedding dress will get dirty. Sparkly sandals won’t be nearly as comfortable as initially anticipated. DJ will get drunk. Wedding pictures outside won’t happen because of rain. Best man will get into fight at the after party. Food will be served cold. Mother of the groom will turn into momzilla. Stressed out maid of honor will take too much Valium. Limo driver will get lost in downtown after football game traffic Armageddon.

And when imperfect real people will look back into their wedding day 5 years from now, they, hopefully, will laugh at all those small things that went wrong. Because it’s just life. And life happens. And it’s happening right now. And we’re breathing it in.

And we often get so obsessed about the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey. We discard those small little imperfections that happen to us we find along the way as a bad thing. And yet these imperfections, these small bumps in the road is what the journey is about.

So here’s my professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom: Live in the moment. Take it all. Enjoy every little bit of it.


So I look at Emily and give most honest yet (hopefully) comforting advice that I can give as a true wedding photojournalist: “Emily, there’s nothing wrong with being nervous. It’s an intense moment you’re about to experience. So it’s OK to be nervous. Heck, it’s event OK to be REALLY nervous. Who wouldn’t be nervous in this situation? I know you’ll be fine. I know you’ll get married today. So, enjoy the being nervous part. Enjoy every little uncomfortable moment of your wedding day. Because that’s how life is- an exciting journey filled with lot’s of uncomfortable, and yet amazing, moments. Now let’s go find the man and let’s get you two married.”

And off we go to find her man.


how Amy and Jason’s did it right: family backyard wedding madison wi

people are giving high-five after drinking alcohol shots out of the ski shot at the family backyard wedding Madison WI

Amy and Jason both been in the restaurant and food industry for well over a decade. Having spent so much time in the food industry they’ve made friends with incredibly talented people- bartenders, chefs and other service professionals. And when Jason proposal and when Amy said “Si Señor”, they knew right away they had themselves plus a pool of incredible people to draw from to help put their family backyard wedding Madison WI together.
However the fact that the couple managed to put a nice helping team for their DIY family farm wedding in rural Wisconsin didn’t mean Amy and Jason will sit back, relax and enjoy wedding preparation show. I knew these two for quite a few years now, and I knew how dedicated and restless and hard working they both are. It was clear from the very beginning that everybody will work hard, including Amy and Jason, to make that wedding day unique and awesome.
When I showed up at the hotel on their wedding day there were signs all over the room indicating all hard work while putting that wedding together. Jason was still wearing dirty clothing as he spent his morning at the family friend’s farm doing final wedding preparations. Amy was talking about all types of sausage they made (classic Wisconsin brat, spicy Andouille and a German Leberkäse) night before at their friend’s commercial kitchen.
Amy and Jason got married at the bottom of small hill under the big tree. Jason’s brother was the officiator. Wedding ceremony was nice, short and sprinkled with few smiles and few tears.
Real cheese cake made of variety of cheeses was the way to go for dessert. Somewhat unusual, but it really shouldn’t be. Wisconsin is America’s is dairyland after all.
Due to the fact that big percentage of guests were from food/restaurant industry and most of family folks seemed to be pretty straight forward party animals I had my own expectations for the reception part. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Booze helped people to celebrate life for many centuries. But add a ski shot that Brian and Grant from Death’s Door Spirits distillery brought along, and you got yourself another level of fun.
Dance floor at this family backyard wedding Madison WI was bouncing; people were enjoying fresh September night and outdoor garden illuminated by with candles, LED’s and torches.
Bottles were passed around on our way to after party in Maduro cigar bar later that night. We closed the bar, i walked them back to the hotel, and took pictures of them making out in the dark.
Amy and Jason they did their homework indeed. No slacking. No corner cutting. Everybody on Amy and Jason’ had on their team were dedicated in making this family backyard wedding Madison WI special. It was an exciting day for everybody.
See more pictures from this DIY family farm wedding here.


getting ready in Madison Wisconsin Hilton hotel bride and groom rings in boxes friend of the bride is fixing bride's hair bridal party is ready in Hilton hotel Madison WI bride’s parents see bride on a wedding day Holton Monona Terrace hotel surroundings, tents and wedding vendors getting ready for outdoor wedding reception Guests lining up for an outdoor wedding ceremony groom cries while listening to wows during wedding ceremony in rural Wisconsin outside of Madisonplane passinbg by during wedding ceremony first kiss during outdoor wedding ceremony in rural Wisconsin outside of Madison guesta are laughing at the wedding reception in friends farm guests are doing ski shots sausage is being grilled for the outdoor wedding reception greens are being prepared chicken coop in farm's backtaard guests are laughing at the outdoor wedding reception in rural Wisconsin outside of Madison bride and groom standing in the field lit by the sunset during the golden hour guests are laughing at the outdoor wedding reception guests playing outdoor lawn games at dusk in friends and family farm during wedding reception bride’s and groom’s friends are helping in the mobile kitchen during wedding receptionfamily backyard wedding Madison WI outdoor garden setup and decorations at night time bride’s and groom’s friends are helping in the mobile kitchen during wedding reception guest has funny face while opening a bottle of whiskey bride and groom performing first dance during wedding reception in rural Wisconsin outside of Madisonwedding guests are hugging on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsin group of groom’s friends is performing a dance at the family backyard wedding Madison WI in rural Wisconsinfamily backyard wedding Madison WI guests sitting in garden refrigerator truck and ski shot in the darkwedding guests are hugging on the dance floor at the wedding reception in rural Wisconsin snacks are being passed for wedding guests before the departure drunk wedding guests dancing in the bus way back to Downtown Madison WI bride and groom are making out in the dark alley on their way to the hotel






Le roi est mort, vive le roi!

a mockup of Paulius Musteikis portrait while wearing Queens and Hearts wedding photography partial logo

Today is a semi official day when Queens and Hearts went to the graveyard. 4 years into its existence , website’s heart beat stopped and heart rate monitor went continuous “Beep-beeep-beep-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep”.
It all feels weird, scary and exciting at the same time. And particularly because I am doing it all intentionally.
I had quite a few buddies and other wedding photographers asking the same question: “Why?”. And my answer to them was: “Because life is too short not to be who you really are.”
Because the end of one journey means a fresh new start to another. Because it’s time for new challenges, new friendships and new adventures. I have no idea how this chapter in my life will go, but I’m fucking stoked about it!
I say “Cheers!” to my all previous clients, colleagues and friends who were on board with me for the last 4 years. I am very much thankful to have you all. I am honored for all your trust. I am honored for all intimate moments you’ve let me be around. I couldn’t be where I am without you all!
And now the new chapter.
I say “Let’s do it!”.
The King is dead, long live The King!


Paulius Musteikis portrait and an announcement about Queens and Hearts wedding photography website being rebranded and replaced by Paulius Musteikis Weddingsphoto by Jurgis S.

same-sex Madison, Wisconsin wedding ceremony that almost happened in Minnesota

an example of wedding photography style: photojournalism. groom and groom having a private moment

Every time I see Tom’s and Brad’s wedding ceremony pictures, I remember the fact that their same-sex wedding ceremony almost didn’t happen.
For initial consultation I’ve met them at café Zoma in early 2015. We clicked. They liked my take on documentary wedding photography and I

Every time I see Tom’s and Brad’s wedding ceremony pictures, I remember the fact that their same-sex wedding ceremony almost didn’t happen.
For initial consultation I’ve met them at café Zoma in early 2015. We clicked. They liked my take on documentary wedding photography and I liked the couple. We talked life, we talked weddings, and we talked same-sex marriage injustice. Same-sex marriage was still illegal in most of the states across the US, including the State of Wisconsin.

But same-sex marriage was legal in neighbor State of Minnesota. So Tom and Brad initially had a plan to get married there one day earlier. And bring their friends and family together for a big same-sex wedding Madison WI celebration in Madison Children’s Museum afterwards. Their same-sex wedding plans had a lot of uncertainty.

And then June 26th, 2015 came. And super fucking awesome news came out of Supreme Court: same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states in US.
Suddenly everything felt right and Tom’s and Brads wedding day future just became 100 times brighter.

While initially October 18th wedding ceremony was planned in Minnesota, after all it happened on Madison Children’s Museum rooftop. And it happened with the bang!

Surrounded by friends and family, hundreds of smiles, beautiful Madison’s Downtown rooftop views, and gorgeous sunset was everything this gay couple dreamed about.

And as wedding photographer Madison WI, I was very proud to witness this significant moment in United States LGBT history.
See more images from Tom’s and Brad’s same-sex wedding here.


Wisconsin State Capitol cupola roof is being lit by morning sun on early Saturday morning Gay couple chatting with farmers at Dane county Farmers Market on early Saturday morning groom is getting his flower boutonniere pined in gay couple talking to each other before their wedding ceremony on the Madison Children’s museum roofwedding guests are smiling during same-sex wedding ceremony in Madison Children’s museum groom and groom are getting emotional during their same-sex wedding ceremony on the Madison Children’s museum roof groom and groom are holding their hands during same-sex wedding Madison WI ceremony first kiss during LGBT wedding ceremony in Madison Wisconsin Downtownfriends and family are observing same-sex wedding ceremony in Madison Wisconsingay couple is departing their ceremony on the Madison Children’s museum roof wedding guests are joining groom and groom on the dance floor at the Madison Children’s museumgroom and groom are running inside giant hamster wheel during their LGBTQ wedding at the Madison Children’s museum in Wisconsin wedding guests are hugging and laughing at the Madison Children’s museum during LGBT wedding reception mother and father of the groom are cheering dancing newlyweds wedding guests are dancing outside view of the Madison Children’s museum building at night time

 See full gallery from Tom’s and Brad’s Childrens Museum LGBTQ wedding >>HERE<<.


Rehearsal Dinner: Cooper’s Tavern
Morning Photo Session:
Farmers Market
Madison Children’s Museum
2nd Photographer: Lauren Justice
Floral: Daffodil Parker
Wedding Coordinator: Harmonious Union Events
Bar: The Roman Candle
Reception Music: Aca Music And Entertainment
Catering: Bluephies


Thanks a bunch for stopping by and reading Tom and Brad’s love story! Are you planning your LGBT wedding? Looking for honest, real and LGBT friendly documentary wedding photographer?  If so, shoot me a message! I would LOVE to be part your tribe!