Rock Cut State Park Family Photography | Chris, Karissa, Bennett, & Family

Rock Cut State Park Family Photography

I've had the pleasure of photographing Chris & Karissa four now times over the past 3 years! From their engagement session in 2014, to their wedding in 2015, then again last year with Karissa's family after Mr. Bennett joined the scene, and now this year with Chris's side. Never gets old getting to watch families grow over the years while preserving their histories!

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DeKalb, IL Engagement Photography | Sang & Brenda

DeKalb, IL Engagement Photography

I met up with Sang and Brenda last month just two days after the season changed to Fall for their engagement pictures. I know that you're probably thinking, "Ahhh Fall, such a great time of year! I love the nice crisp feeling in the air!!" Well, in this case, you're WRONG. It may have been Fall, but it was a scorcher!! 95*, muggy, July-type weather. The ole Midwest sometimes doesn't know what to do with itself when the seasons change. Whatever. We still got some rockin' images that I'm really proud of and I can't wait to photograph these two again in June when they get married!

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Kilbuck Creek Wedding Photography, Monroe Center, IL | Brandon & Stephanie

Kilbuck Creek Wedding Photography, Monroe Center, IL

I'm not sure I've ever photographed a wedding that was as culturally diverse as Brandon and Stephanie's. Brandon is Japanese by way of Hawaii, and Stephanie is Mexican and Irish. To honor their unique backgrounds, they had a bag pipe player lead their recessional, a mariachi band play during cocktail hour, 1,001 gold origami cranes at their reception, and a banzai toast during dinner led by two of Brandon's family members. I'm a huge fan of couples making a wedding their own, and these two did that to the fullest and I'm stoked to share some of my favorites with you all!

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Florist: The Petal Boutique

Wedding Dress: Alexis Kay Designs, Dekalb, IL

Suits: Black Tie Formalwear

Ceremony & Reception: Kilbuck Creek

Cake: Sweet Dreams Desserts

DJGo 4 It Entertainment

Invitations: Minted

Second Photographer: Brittany Meeker

Big Foot Country Club Wedding Photography, Lake Geneva, WI | Dave & Ali

Big Foot Country Club Wedding Photography, Lake Geneva, WI

Dave and Ali were married on a perfect day back in August on a day was filled to the brim with love and laughter. Also, I got to ride in a boat while photographing people for the first time, so that was a pretty sweet first for me! :D

Here are some of my faves from their day!

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Ali, my daughter was watching me edit some of your bridal portraits and said that you're beautiful. She's just saying what we're all thinking! ;)

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Congrats again you two! Blessings!!

Hair: Angelina Manna & Ashley Jo Lawrence

Makeup: Lisa B Makeup

Florist: Lily Pots

Wedding Dress: Lazaro, from Bella Bianca Bridal

Suits: Suit Supply

Ceremony & Reception: Big Foot Country Club

Cake: Bittner's Bakery Lake Geneva

DJ: A Personal Touch

Videographer: Leap Weddings

Second Photographer: Brittany Meeker

Favorite wedding day memory:

My favorite memory was seeing Dave as I was walking down the aisle. I instantly felt calm and relaxed once I saw his smile ear to ear!

What they would have done differently:

I would have allowed a little more time for getting ready. Give yourself a little extra time then expected.

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms:

Get all the major important things planned first and out of the way! Then take a little break and enjoy your engagement! And as the day gets a little closer focus on the small details.

Honeymoon:

We went to the Caribbean island St Martin!

Naperville Wedding Photography | Geoff & Stephanie

Naperville, IL Wedding Photography

When I envision what my 5-year-old daughter's wedding is going to look like far (far!) into the future, I imagine it looking much like Geoff & Stephanie's wedding: full of class and glam, and all that is pink and sparkly!! Stephanie's details were a perfect reflection of who she is, a balanced blend of fun, beauty inside and out, and nostalgia. Stephanie is warm and bubbly, with an infectious joy and enthusiasm that is hard to resist (amiright, Geoff?? ;) ;) ;) ). It's impossible to not have a good time around her and Geoff, and throw in the people from their insanely fun wedding party (some of whom were in Marta & Anthony's wedding last year!!) and it was no surprise that their wedding day was a rockin' good time!! 

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Congrats again you two!! Blessings!

Geoff & Stephanie's Chicago Engagement Session

Hair: Ashley at Zano Salon

Makeup: Brandi Koerten

Florist: Christina Butler

Wedding Dress: Martina Liana, from Bella Bianca Bridal

TuxesMen's Warehouse

Ceremony: St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church

Reception: DiNolfo's Banquets of Homer Glen

Cake: Artesa Bakery

DJ: Liam from Admit One DJs

Second Photographer: Carrie Holbo

Favorite wedding day memory?

We had so many favorites! During the ceremony, Deacon Joe read aloud the love letters we had written to each other before our wedding day. They were so heartfelt and our family and friends loved hearing them. Another great part of the day was when we were on the party bus going to and from photos. Despite the lack of A/C on our sweltering wedding day, our bridal party still had a blast. We have such an amazing group of friends and it was wonderful to spend some time just hanging out with them.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Stephanie: Definitely not. It was perfect.

Geoff: I don't think so. Nailed it!

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms?

Stephanie: Stress happens. Not everything is going to be exactly how you planned or envisioned your big day together. Make the choice to let problems and hurdles roll off your back those last two weeks before the wedding and the day of. The end goal is to marry your best friend and you want to enjoy every moment.

Geoff: Get stuff done early. It'll make the end of planning way easier and less stressful.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Riviera Maya in Mexico! We decided to take a serious vacation instead of traveling. After all of the planning and the big day, it was wonderful to arrive at our all inclusive resort, Valentin Imperial Maya, with everything paid and taken care of. We did check some items off of our bucket list though! A whole day was dedicated to exploring Chichen Itza's Mayan ruins and cenotes. We also learned how to scuba dive in Cancun!! That was probably our favorite part. Take us backkkkk!

Rockford, IL Wedding Photography| Matt & Anna

Rockford, IL Wedding Photography

Two of my favorite things are books and The Office. If I'm not reading something, I'm not happy, and about 85% of what I say is a either a reference or direct quote from The Office (which leaves about 10% for Friends, Arrested Development, Parks and Rec, The Room, and Doctor Who, and about 5% for my own original talk). That may seem like a random way to start out a wedding blog post, but bear with me. In Matt and Anna's engagement session post, I talked about how these two were my bookish soulmates because at our initial consult I discovered that I share some random book loves with both of them. That combined with the fact that they are quite literally two of the kindest souls out there led me to believe it was a match made in wedding photography heaven. So you can imagine my immense joy when during wedding party pictures, I bring up the scene from The Office where Michael falls into the koi pond and the groomsmen were like, "WE WERE JUST REFERENCING THAT!" (Also not as random as it seems...we were taking pictures on a little bridge over a koi pond). You guys, if I ever photograph a wedding on a mountain top or in Scotland, it won't matter because THIS WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVORITE WEDDING. Books and The Office. The bar is that high, people!! (Although, if you're reading this and are planning a wedding on a mountain top or in Scotland, that would be pretty cool, so let's talk. ;) )

ANYWAYS. You came for the pictures.

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Congrats again, you two!! Blessings!!!

Hair: Jenny Musselman

Makeup: Haley Skora

FloristEvent Floral

Wedding DressThe Crystal Bride

SuitsMen's Warehouse

Ceremony: The Church of Saint Mary, Sycamore, IL

Reception: The Radission, Rockford, IL

Cake: Doris Garland

DJ: Luxe Productions

Second Photographer: Brittany Meeker

Favorite wedding day memory?

Both of us agree that our favorite memory from our wedding day was just after we had walked down the aisle as husband and wife and went into a small room just outside of the chapel. All we could do was laugh and kept saying to each other, "Wow... we are married now!" It was fantastic to have a few moments together to try to absorb the emotions and happiness of the day.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Nope! Everything went perfectly (even when little things weren't actually "perfect") and we couldn't have asked for a better day!

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms?

The day goes by so fast!! Chances are if something isn't exactly how you wanted it to be, you and your new husband or wife will be so excited to just be married that you won't even notice it. Relax the day/night before your wedding, and the morning of, just think about the person you will be spending the rest of your life with.

Final Reflections:

Chrissy was AMAZING to work with and really helped us capture the special moments of our day. We all had so much fun!!

Pheasant Run Wedding Photography | Sam & Megan

Pheasant Run St. Charles, IL Wedding Photography.

Sam and Megan were married on a perfect June day at Pheasant Run Resort. Megan is one of the most laid-back, kind, and caring brides I've worked with--all qualities that not only make her a dream bride, but I'm sure make her an excellent nurse! Her and Sam have the type of quiet love that runs deep. The kind of love that doesn't need to be constantly screamed from the roof-tops or proven with grand gestures because it's a steady, reliable, ever-present current. It's impossible to be around these two and not feel it, and it was a true joy to be able to photograph it!

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Congrats again you two!!! Blessings!

Ceremony & Reception : Pheasant Run Resort

Flowers : Meagen Lee Floral

Second Photographer : Carrie Holbo

North Ave Beach Engagement Photography | Tom & Laura

North Ave Beach Engagement Photography.

Tom and Laura are currently living New Orleans, but since they're originally from the Chicago area it only made sense for them to do their engagement session in their home state, specifically in the city which holds so much nostalgia for them from the past 10 years of their relationship. The two of them were so stinkin' cute and giggly during their shoot, and while they tried to tell me that they were super awkward in pictures, I challenge you to find a single awkward photo of them in this post! Spoiler: THERE AREN'T ANY!

I have to admit that I wasn't sure this session was gonna happen. We had been having some crazy off and on storms all day, but I took a chance and made the trip out to Chicago anyways and I'm SO glad I did!! I think it stopped raining about an hour before our shoot, and about 10 minutes after we wrapped up, it literally started down pouring! Talk about perfect timing!! So we didn't get our beautifully lit sunset pictures at North Ave beach that we had initially planned for (or more accurately, that I had initially planned for ;) ), but honestly, the storm that was rolling in as we neared the end of the shoot created a moody & romantic set of images that just might be my new favorites!

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Tom & Laura, congrats again and best of luck as you continue to plan your wedding!! Blessings!!

Cantigny Family Photography | Chad, Stephanie, & Beatrice

Cantigny Family Photography.

I know I've said this before, but one of the best things about being a wedding and family photographer is having the opportunity to follow a couple over the years and take part in so many of their important and exciting milestones. Chad and Stephanie are one of those couples!! I just checked, and I photographed their engagement back in December 2012, and then their wedding in September 2013! WHAT?!?!? Wasn't it just last year?!? I seriously don't understand time. 

Well, it was time to photograph these two again, and this time they brought their stinkin' adorable wee one, Beatrice, who just turned one!! It was so much fun wandering around the Cantigny grounds with this sweet family!!

 

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Thanks for spending the morning with me you guys!! Blessings, and until next time!!

Cantigny Wedding Photography, Wheaton, IL | James & Andi

Cantigny Wedding Photography, Wheaton, IL.

James and Andi are the epitome of my ideal couple: they are insanely in love with each other, they value their relationships with family and friends, and they were able to roll with whatever came their way on the day of their wedding.

Things happen at almost every single wedding I photograph that have the potential to "ruin" things (I use that term loosely and truly for lack of a better description because I'm of the very strong opinion that as long as the couple gets married, nothing is ruined no matter what goes wrong). Sometimes hair and makeup runs late (and by sometimes I mean 90% of the time), sometimes a bus is an hour and a half late (true story), and sometimes the zipper of a wedding dress breaks 4 seconds before it's time to head out for the First Look and it takes many hands and safety pins and minutes to make things presentable...which is what happened to sweet Andi. She was great through the whole thing, her girls were amazing and calm as we tried to trouble-shoot the situation, and we got that sucker pinned together and then headed out for the First Look and wedding party pictures. There was even time before the ceremony for Andi's mom to quick sew the zipper back into place. Bam!

Faulty zipper notwithstanding, James and Andi's wedding day was a beautiful one. The Cantigny grounds are gorgeous and were the perfect backdrop for them to exchange their vows. I typically cry at some point during the wedding day (the father-daughter dance gets me every dang time!), but Andi's dad got me real good during his toast when he brought up the scene from Father of the Bride when George Banks saw his grown daughter as a little girl sitting across the table from him telling him she was engaged. GAH! There were many more heartfelt and genuine moments during their day and was an honor to capture their first few hours as husband and wife.

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Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Ceremony & Reception: Cantigny Park

Cake: The Sugar Path

DJ: Jordan Chapman

Second Shooter: Brittany Meeker

What's your favorite wedding day memory?

Our favorite memory was definitely doing our first look. In the midst of all the pre-wedding chaos, it was so nice to have a moment to ourselves to breathe and share all those wedding day emotions together before our ceremony started. Not to mention, once the ceremony did start we both had such a calm peace wash over us. Best choice we made all day!

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Andi: As the bride, I would've done a better job making a timeline for myself to get as many little details (favors, program ideas, centerpeices, table numbers, etc) done as soon as possible!

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms?

James: for the grooms - do what you need to do to support your bride as she plans the wedding she wants. When the day comes you'll be able to enjoy all her hard work. And take the time to just adore her throughout the day.

Andi: delegate as much as possible! Figure out what is most important to you and take care of that first. Then find where you can cut costs and when people offer to help, take them up on it! You won't regret having extra hands!!

Honeymoon?

We took two weeks for our honeymoon (AWESOME idea as we had a very long engagement), and spent some time the first week relaxing at home and exploring some fun spots nearby (1-2 hours away from home) and then on to Hilton Head island for a week to relax, refresh and escape a little just the two of us!

Final Thoughts:

Have confidence in the wedding you plan...no matter how much stress and anxiety may be going into the planning - it will be a GREAT day. Our wedding day turned out to be a PERFECT day. In every way. And having an awesome photographer like Chrissy to capture it was the best! She is such a calming presence and makes you feel so comfortable - not to mention she takes the best pictures! We are SO excited to see how our wedding day pictures will turn out!

Valparaiso University, IN Wedding Photography | Isaiah & Kimberlyn

Valparaison University, IN Wedding Photography.

When I photographed Isaiah and Kimberlyn's engagement session back in December it was a frigid 20*, so it was only fitting that their June wedding day would be the exact opposite at about 90* with, like, 10,000% humidity! Despite the sticky heat, there were so many sweet moments that unfolded during the course of their day: when Kimberlyn's dad saw her for the first time (and made me cry, btw); Isaiah and Kimberlyn's first look; when Kimberlyn hugged her mom after walking down the aisle to her almost husband; Isaiah, his mom, and Kimberlyn's mom all crying together and hugging during K's first dance with her dad. Those kinds of moments are why I love my job so much! Pumped to share these with you my friends!

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Congrats Isaiah & Kimberlyn!! Blessings!

 

Hair: Breanna Chermak (sister of the bride)

Makeup: Amy Koziorowski (bridesmaid) 

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Bridesmaid's Dresses: Amazon

TuxesMen's Warehouse

Ceremony, Reception & CatererValparaiso University

CakeNancy's Cake Appeal

DJPrecision Sound

Second Shooter: Gisselle Creech

Chapel in the Pines, Sycamore, IL Wedding Photography | Matthew & Tiffany

Chapel in the Pines, Sycamore, IL Wedding

When I first spoke with Tiffany about her and Matthew's plans for their Chapel in the Pines elopement, she had her heart set on having the ceremony outside. So when I showed up and the sky looked like it does in the image below, you can imagine how doubtful I was that it would actually work out! I was praying like crazy that Tiffany would get the wedding of her dreams, and lo and behold, it happened!! It drizzled a bit while they were saying their "I do's," but we not only made it through the ceremony, we were able to squeeze in about 5 extra minutes around the grounds of Chapel in the Pines before the clouds completely opened up and we were forced to head to M&T's home. Which, by the way, not mad about. You'll see why. 

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Congrats Matthew & Tiffany!! Blessings!!

Chicago, IL Family Photographer | Jaden & Cassandra

Chicago, IL Family Pictures.

I'm so excited to share just a few of my favorites from my session with Cassandra and Jaden a couple weeks ago!! They're about to take a huge step into the world of fostering and wanted to do a shoot in one of their favorite cities to commemorate this amazing new chapter in their lives. Their love of the Lord and obedience to Him through this process is inspiring and I can't wait to see what He does through them. What a privilege it was for me to be able to document this time for them!!

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Praying for you guys as you enter this new stage of life! Blessings!!!

Chicago, IL Family Photography | Adam, Karly, & Eleanor

Chicago, IL Family Photography.

So excited to share some of my favorites from my recent session with this family! It's no secret that I LOVE in-home sessions, so you know I'm all about these images. Eleanor was such a sweet peanut and I couldn't get enough of her cute little face (trust me, you'll see what I mean)!

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Adam and Karly live two blocks from Wrigley Field, so we just had to walk down and grab a few images in front of the ballpark. We were lucky enough to be over there right as a game was just finishing up, and the Cubs had won, so there was much excitement and celebration in the air. 

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Adam & Karly, thanks for inviting me into your home! It was a pleasure spending the afternoon with you all! Blessings!!

Millennium Park, Chicago Engagement Photography | Matt & Liz

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL Engagement Photography.

I had a great time getting know Matt & Liz a little more last month during their engagement session! We started off by wandering around the Chicago Cultural Center before heading out to Millennium Park (thanks for holding off, rain!). I can't wait to photograph these two again when they get married in September! (Doesn't September sound like forever away??? It will be here before we know it!)

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See you guys in September!!