Valparaiso 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

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

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

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

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!!

Geneva, IL Wedding Photography | Dan & Anne

Dan and Anne's wedding will forever live in my heart as the wedding at which I cried and laughed the most out of all the weddings I've ever photographed. Their ceremony was sweet, genuine, and most of all, hilarious. They weren't afraid to be themselves and share their hearts, which was truly a beautiful thing to witness. 

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We only had an hour between the ceremony and reception for all of the photos (wedding party, family, just Dan & Anne), and since it was early March, that meant it was dark by the time we were able to photograph just D&A. It was dang cold, but these two were so great and I'm really proud of the images we got in the dark with just the lights from the surrounding buildings.

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A paraphrase of my favorite line from Dan's brother's toast, "It was difficult to find a Wolverine quote on love. Very difficult. In fact, there isn't one.

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Ya'll know how much I love a hoppin' dance floor, and this group did not disappoint! 

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Congrats again, two! Blessings!!

Ceremony & Reception : Riverside Receptions

Favorite wedding day memory:
The ceremony because we had so many cute mistakes that showed our authentic relationship to our guests.

What they would have done differently: 
Better game plan for getting all stuff we brought to the venue home, I didn't really assign anyone to help and you are so tired at the end of the night.

Words of wisdom:
If you don't have a videographer, find some friends who might be comfortable capturing the most important moments for you.  There is so much you don't see either because of nerves or distractions.

Honeymoon:
Hawaii!! Oahu and Maui, most likely to be good weather and stuff to see and do.
 

Shout out to Carrie for second shooting this one with me!! 

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Sycamore, IL Newborn Photography | David, Michelle, Leah, Addy, Eliza, & Anna

Sweet little Anna was born at the beginning of February and, you guys, she is such a little doll!! Just wait until you see her cheeks! The temptation to squish them was almost too much to handle, but I dug deep and restrained myself (mostly because my hands were cold). ;) Those of you with baby fever may want to use extra caution while looking through the rest of this post because, seriously. Doll baby. 

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That little babe is already so cared for by her 3 older sisters!!! 

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I know I talk about this every time I post a session like this, so excuse me for beating a dead horse, but I just can't get enough of in-home sessions!!! The day of this family's shoot happened to be one of the colder days we've had here in IL this winter, and who wants to go outside in the cold with a 2-week-old?!?!? When I was photographing Anna by herself, Leah, Addy, & Eliza went off and played with their toys. AND everyone is more comfortable in their own home. Win-win-win!! I could come up with a few more great reasons for an in-home session, but I don't want to take the focus off of how STINKIN' CUTE THESE GUYS ARE. 

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One last soapbox moment and then I'm done. I love squishy posed baby pictures, and I have some of my own kids framed in my house. I follow photographers who do that type of newborn photography so well and I have so much respect for them. BUT. The images I love most of my kids as little newborns will always be the ones that show them as they were naturally. How they held their hand a certain way when the slept or how they stretched. The little things that change so quickly because babies change so quickly. Those are the images that really speak to my heart and are the images I aim to capture for my clients. I mean, this session was just two weeks ago and I'm sure Anna already looks different!

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David & Michelle, congrats again on your sweet little darling and thanks for welcoming me into your home!!! Blessings!!

Chicago, IL Engagement Photography | Mike & Erica

Nothing can warm up a chilly, gloomy Chicago day like photographing an adorable couple in love! I'm actually starting to enjoy photographing engagement sessions in the cold...forces people to get all close and snuggly without too much prompting from me. ;) In all honestly, though, Mike and Erica didn't need the cold to force them because these two were snuggling before I even told them to! 

Fun fact before we get to the pictures: I'm photographing Erica's brother's wedding this July (Geoff & Stephanie), and then Mike & Erica's wedding in December! I'm so stoked!! It's gonna be a great year!!

ANYWAYS. Feast thine eyes upon these two cuties! 

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St. Charles, IL Engagement Photography | Dan & Anne

These two were the smiliest, laughiest couple I think I've ever worked with. Dan & Anne met doing improv in Chicago, and I'm pretty sure Dan's mission in life is to make Anne laugh continually (and once you see how adorable Anne's smiling face is you'd hardly blame him). From our time together earlier this month I can attest to the fact that his mission has been a success! I've photographed a handful of improv and theater couples, and they've always proved to bring the fun (meaning I laugh the entire time), so I'm very much looking forward to kicking off my 2017 wedding season with these two in March! 

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Congrats, you two, and see you soon!! Thanks for braving the cold with me!! 

Valparaiso, IN Engagement Photography | Isaiah & Kimberlyn

Hey, Northern Illinois, what in the WORLD is up with December this year?!?!  We've had snow every weekend in December (with more on the way this weekend), and crazy windchills that don't usually happen until January! Don't get me wrong, I'm all about a white Christmas and all that, but this is a bit too much for someone who's cold all the time! I am NOT a fan, my friends!

ANYWAYS, all that to say that my session with Isaiah and Kimberlyn was originally scheduled for the first weekend in December, which is usually pretty mild here in the Midwest (yes 32*F is mild 'round these parts). Instead, we ended up getting 5 inches of snow, and since I was supposed to meet them out in Chicago (an 1 1/2 hour drive for me), we had to cancel. We rescheduled for this past weekend, and it. was. cooooooooold! Normally I don't shoot sessions if it's below 30*F, but we needed to do this shoot before the end of the year for save-the-dates, so I made an exception and trucked on out to Valparaiso, IN! It was a whopping 20*F with a windchill that made it feel like a balmy 11*F, but these two handled it like the pros they are! We kept the cars running and jumped in them frequently to warm up and BAM! We made it happen! *insert punching fist emoji here* 

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I just want you to keep in mind that it felt like 11*F. Look at how freaking natural they are!! <3

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Isaiah & Kimberlyn, THANK YOU for your flexibility and being willing to freeze your tushies off to make this session happen!! See you guys soon! Blessings! :D :D :D

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photographer | Brandon, Amber, & Ava

It's hard to find the words to express just how much these two mean to Seth and I. We've know Brandon and Amber for around 10 years and they are two of our closest friends. We've walked through so much life with them. We've taken trips with them, had countless late nights talking and playing games, laughed until we couldn't breathe...they're our people! But there's been some pretty tough stuff, too. Around 6 years ago they started trying to have kids, and 6 years ago on Christmas Amber had her first miscarriage. Obviously, Christmas since then has been a difficult time of year for them. After years of trying and one more miscarriage, B&A made the decision to start the adoption process. Through a whirlwind of crazy, God-ordained details, within about two months, Brandon and Amber were holding their daughter Ava in their arms. Ava was born December 7, 2015, just a few weeks before the 5-year anniversary of Amber's first miscarriage. Ava means life, and what a beautiful, sweet miracle of a life she is! I wish I could go into more detail about just how amazing Brandon and Amber's story is and all the ways in which God worked to bring about this adoption, but there's so much I'd end up leaving out because there was so much that happened. These two need to write a book because this short account doesn't do their incredible story justice! They've been a wonderful example of what it looks like to have unwavering faith in God, and anyone who knows them knows what a privilege it is to be friends with them! So, it's with great joy that I share these images with you all. Happy Birthday, Ava!! You are such a blessing and we love you!!

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Belvidere, IL Family Photography | Chris, Karissa, Bennett, and family

You guys know how much I love extended family sessions! It's such a special thing to have multiple generations of a family in one photo and to be able to document the legacy of two people. This family is extra special because I photographed Chris and Karissa's wedding in June 2015, but now that family has grown by one! Mr. Bennett joined the family in June and he is just as sweet as can be!! 

Aside from family pictures with Bennet, one of the reasons for our shoot was because Karissa's parents are selling their home, Karissa's childhood home, so she wanted to have some images of the whole family in front of the house before it sells. 

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Bennett was enamored by the leaves rustling in the wind on the tree behind me...nothing could break his stare, haha!

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We headed over to Belvidere Park for the second part of our shoot. Fall was really showing off with its beautiful colors and amazing light. 

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Grandpa is the best at getting Bennett to laugh!

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Wanna hear something crazy? Last week I posted Scott & Sharon's family pictures and shared about how I photographed their engagement session in October 2014, wedding May 2015, and now family pictures with their little one in October 2016. Well, I just checked dates on Chris and Karissa: Engagement session October 11, 2014, Wedding June 13, 2015, and this shoot was October 23, 2016!! Serious deja vu over here people!! So good!!

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Thank you so much to this entire group! It was so good to see you all again! Thank you so much for trusting me with your memories!! <3

Dekalb, IL Family Photography | Dave, Sarah, Ben, Danny, & Isabel

This is one of my favorite families EVER to photograph!!!! They've been with me since a year after I started my business, and I love being able to see how much these kiddos have grown each year. BTW, you NEED to check out their previous sessions!! (201120122013, and I did photograph them in 2015 during my mini sessions, but I just realized I never ended up posting those...oops!) I can't believe how much they've changed over the years!! The highest honor a photographer can receive is to be booked more than once by a client, and I'm so grateful for the trust Dave and Sarah have put in me each year to document their family! 

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See you guys next year!! Blessings!

Chapel in the Pines, Sycamore, IL Wedding Photographer | Chris & Monica

Chris and Monica eloped in October and traveled up from Bloomington, IL to have their ceremony at Chapel in the Pines in Sycamore. I've photographed a good amount of elopements and intimate weddings, but this was definitely the most intimate! Besides the officiant and his wife, I was the only other person present! I was honestly getting a little emotional during the ceremony just thinking about how special it was to be able to witness something so private! It was a wonderful reminder of just how important my job is, documenting important moments in the histories of those who hire me. Chris and Monica, thank you two so much for trusting me with your day!!

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DeKalb, IL Family & Engagement Photography | Sam, Megan, & Hayes

October was jam-packed with adorable family and engagement sessions, and this team was no exception! Sam and Megan are getting married in July 2017 and it was great to be able to get to know them more at their engagement shoot! 

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Megan's son Hayes joined in for a few family pictures! 

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See you guys next year!! Blessings!!

Bloomington, IL Family Photographer | Scott, Sharon, & Charles

I'm soooooooo stinkin' excited to share this session with you guys!!! I photographed Scott and Sharon's wedding back in May of 2015, and it was SO good to see them again AND to meet their sweet little man, Charles!!!! It truly is a special thing to be able to photograph families as they grow! It might sound weird, but when I photograph someone's wedding, and then have the privilege to photograph them as they grow their family, I kind of feel like a distant Auntie. Like, I was there for Sharon and Scott's wedding, now I get to meet their little guy and squish his cute little cheeks, maybe next year I'll get to chase him around while I try to photograph him, and when he's 18 I'll embarrass him by talking about how I knew him when he was thiiiiiiiiiiiis big and all he wanted to do was eat a leaf!! Good ol' Auntie Chrissy!! 

That was weird and random. ANYWAYS. Pictures!! :D

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Isn't Charles such a charmer?!?!

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Ollie was slaying it. 

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Random Fact: I photographed this session on October 15, 2016. I photographed S&S's engagement session October 25, 2014. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! (And yes I looked it up because I'm cool like that.) So much has changed in two years!!

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That drool. <3

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Ellwood House, DeKalb, IL Wedding Photography | Nick & Katherine

My 2016 wedding season ended on a major high note with Nick and Katherine's wedding back at the end of September. It was such a sweet and intimate day filled with lots of love! I really couldn't have asked for a better way to end the year!

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It was so wonderful to have my husband Seth shooting with me at this wedding!! He used to shoot every wedding with me, but he has a full-time job and as our family has grown it's made more sense for him to be at home with the kids on the weekends. Still, I really enjoyed working with him again! He crushed these getting ready images with Nick!

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I was obsessed with Katherine's necklace. So pretty! 

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After the first look we headed over to the Ellwood House for a few wedding party images and then the ceremony!

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When I first met with N&K they mentioned how much they loved an image I took of another couple in front of these lattice windows back in 2014 and that they would really like to have a similar one on their day (see this post for the original picture).  Mission accomplished!!

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You know I love when we have time for some golden hour portraits!

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There were a lot of sweet, heartfelt toasts. So much love in that room that night. 

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Katherine said that because of the close quarters of the reception area (inside the Nehring House), there would more than likely not be any dancing. Apparently there's something about "We Are Family" that people just can't resist!! I LOVE these dancing pictures! 

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Congrats again you two!! Thank you so much for the honor of including me in your day! Blessings!! 

(Click HERE to see their Chicago engagement session!)

Hair: Dolce Vita Salon and Day Spa

Florist: The Petal Boutique

Wedding Dress: Alex Kay Designs

Bridesmaid's Dresses: RenzRags

Suits: Men's Warehouse

Ceremony & Reception: Ellwood House Museum

Caterer: Inboden's

Cake: Sweet Dreams Desserts

DJ: David Hill and Company

Favorite wedding day memory?

Nick: Walking down the aisle after the ceremony had finished. 
Katherine: It's hard to pick just one. For the ceremony, I enjoyed our handfasting unity ceremony. For the reception, I was a big fan of listening to and giving toasts as well as dancing to Shout with all our guests. 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Nick: I would have coordinated with the DJ better to make things flow smoother.
Katherine: I would have designated one person to field all the questions people asked me right before and after the ceremony. During those moments I was so overcome with emotions that I couldn't remember what I had told people in advance. It made it harder to focus on how special a time it was.

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms?

Nick: to know what you want and not let the opinions of others influence your planning. 
Katherine: The earlier you can stop planning and coordinating, the better. I can't stress enough how much I wish I had printed directions out and given them to a designated person so that I could be fully present and relaxed on my wedding day. I think this extends beyond just the responsibilities of the wedding too. I wish I could have tied up professional obligations earlier so as to spend a couple of days relaxing before all the festivities began.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

La Jolla, CA - a community within San Diego. From there we were able to visit Joshua Tree National Park, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, La Jolla Cove and the San Diego Zoo. It was a blast! It was very relaxing and exactly what we needed to reconnect after partying for four days with friends and family. 

Final Reflections:

Nick: Enjoy every moment of your wedding because you only get to do it once.
Katherine: We kept our wedding party small and I think this was a wise move. It was fewer people to coordinate with and I couldn't imagine having anyone besides my two closest friends near me just before the ceremony. Those are some pretty intense moments and I cherish how intimate they were. 

Once again I was so grateful to shoot this wedding with my husband, Seth! Love you, babe! 

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Photographers don't even know how to be in pictures. 

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I just love these two!!!

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DeKalb, IL Portrait Photographer | Kim

You guys, I'm SO excited to introduce you to my friend Kim! She is one of the kindest, gentlest, most caring people I've ever known. When she told me about 7 years ago that she wanted to be a doula, I knew right away it would be a perfect fit for her! She was there for the birth of all 3 of my kiddos and I wouldn't have had it any other way!! It's been such a joy to watch her use her gifts to empower women in childbirth and it was an honor to photograph these headshots for her new website!! (Her site's not ready yet, but be sure to check her out and like her on Facebook!) 

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You can try to be cuter than her, but it's just not possible. 

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