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!

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!!

Geneva, IL Wedding Photography | Dan & Anne

Geneva, IL Wedding Photography.

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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DeKalb, IL Engagement Photography | Kent & Karen

DeKalb, IL Engagement Photography.

I had a fun, chilly time with Kent and Karen last month! We evaded geese while wandering around the NIU campus, then caught an incredible sunset at The Ellwood House! Hands and faces may have been numb by the time we were finished, but no amount of cold could keep these two cuties from smiling through it all. 

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

Sycamore, IL Newborn Photography.

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

Chicago, IL Engagement Photography.

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

St. Charles, IL Engagement Photography.

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

Valparaiso, IL Engagement Photography.

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

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photography.

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

Belvidere, IL Family Photography

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

DeKalb, IL Family Photography.

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

Chapel In the Pines, Sycamore, IL Wedding Photography.

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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