Loft on Lake, Chicago, IL Wedding Photography | Michael & Caroline

Loft on Lake, Chicago, IL Wedding Photography | Michael & Caroline

If I had to use one word to describe Michael and Caroline’s wedding day, it would be chill. They intentionally padded their day with lots of down time, and you could tell it was the right choice for them by how relaxed they were the entire day! I spent the first part of the day at Caroline’s parent’s home in Chicago (Michael was getting ready at his and Caroline’s apartment), then M&C had their first look at Humboldt Park, then back to Caroline’s parent’s to cool off from the humid 90* weather and do some final touch-ups before it was go time. Our time at Caroline’s parent’s house was some of my favorite time spent at a wedding ever. It was peaceful, with an edge of excited anticipation, but not the crazy fluster and flurry that often happens in the typical bridal suite before the ceremony. While we were there, Caroline’s mom gave Michael and Caroline a Polish blessing, which was such a sweet and emotional moment and I felt so privileged to document it. Their wedding ceremony at the beautiful St Hyacinth Basilica was perfect, and their Loft on Lake reception was out of this world with the 90’s cover band Fool House bringing it on the dance floor. It was such a great day and I’m excited to share these images with you all!

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Congrats again you guys! Blessings!!

Check out their Chicago Engagement shoot!

Ceremony: St. Hyacinth Basilica

Reception: Loft on Lake

Cake: West Town Bakery

Band: Fool House 

Second Photographer: Laetitia Donaghy

Favorite wedding day memory?

First look photos were absolutely amazing and fun, it was nice just having a moment where we could focus on each other for a bit without a ton of people around.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Been more thorough in our planning earlier in the process. We left a lot of details to figure out late which ended up working out well but added undue stress to us.

Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Take your time and do everything together, make sure you're clear on every detail and everyone is on the same page.

Honeymoon?

We will be doing a trip to the Greek Islands, Croatia and possibly Malta next year.

DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer | Craig, Liz, & Annabelle

DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer

In just a few short weeks my baby sis is going to have BABY!!!! It’s been quite an exciting year-and-a-half for this clan! Back in April 2017 Liz married Craig and became stepmomma to darling Annabelle, and she also finished up her nursing degree and got a job in the field. Then they found out they were pregnant around the same time they closed on a new house (she announced her pregnancy to me while we were packing up their kitchen, haha!)! So many good changes! I’m so excited for them and can’t wait to snuggle my newest niece!!

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Naperville, IL Wedding Photographer | Paul & Kristen

Naperville, IL Wedding Photography | Paul & Kristen

Paul & Kristen may have been married on a dreary day, but their day itself was far from it. Kristen was completely unfazed by the rain, and mercifully the clouds parted at the exact moment we needed them to, allowing us to get out for a few pictures before they closed again and let loose for the rest of the day. Their ceremony was perfect with their sweet personal vows, and their rip-roarin' reception could have won an award for number of guests continually on the dance floor at a wedding! Most of all, I'm so happy for these two because they were finally able to bid adieu to long-distance dating and are now enjoying their relationship in each other's continual presence out in Seattle. <3 

Now on to some of my favorites from their day!

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Hair & Makeup Total Images Bridal

Florist: Eden Floral Design

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Bridesmaid's Dresses: David's Bridal

Suits: The Black Tux

Ceremony & Reception: Noah's Event Venue, Naperville, IL

Caterer: Cuisine America

Cake: Sam's Club

DJ: Backthird Entertainment

Second Photographer: Carrie Holbo

Odyssey Country Club, Tinley Park, IL Wedding Photography | Nicholas & Marial

Odyssey Country Club, Tinley Park, IL Wedding Photography | Nicholas & Marial

The first time I photographed Nick & Marial was actually waaaaay back in 2016 when they both stood up in Marial's brother's wedding (Joe & Christine!! Check 'em out!!). I love showing up to a wedding and seeing a bunch of familiar faces, and it was so good to see this family again!! They are such a tight-knit group and do their best to make everyone around them feel welcome and included.

This wedding may have been a record for me with tears shed at a wedding. Basically if anyone cries at a wedding you can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to cry as well. So I cried during Marial's first look with her dad (like, fogged up my glasses, cried). I cried during her dad's speech. I cried during Nick's dance with his mom. And I cried while Marial's grandparents were dancing during the anniversary dance because her grandpa kept kissing her grandma on the forehead and it was quite literally the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed. I'm actually a little teary right now thinking about all of those moments again! I blame my kids. KIDS MAKE YOU SOFT, PEOPLE. It's not a bad thing. ;) 

ANYWAYS, now some of my favorite images from Nick & Marial's perfect day!

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Oh hey there, Joe & Christine!!!

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Hair: Lisa Murphy

Makeup: Stefanie Severino

Invitations: Shutterfly

Florist: Gary Gudino from Randolph Floral Design

Wedding Dress: Allure from Eva's Bridal

Bridesmaid's Dresses: Vera Wang from David's Bridal

Suits: Men's Warehouse

Ceremony: Our Lady of the Woods

Reception: The Odyssey

Cake: Delicious Creations

DJ: Rolling Sounds Entertainment

Videographer: Forty One Films

Second Photographer: Calynn Berry

Favorite wedding day memory:

Marial: My favorite memory is when I was walking down the aisle and saw Nick waiting for me by the altar. I get goosebumps just thinking about this memory!

Nick: My favorite memory is when Marial came down the aisle towards me.

What they would have done differently:

Marial and Nick: If we were to do anything differently, if would be to try and set a few minutes aside for ourselves and close family members. The day FLEW by and we both wish we had more time to take a couple of pictures in the photobooth with one another and celebrate with our close family.

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms:

Marial and Nick: Don't sweat the little stuff, because in the end it will all be worth it! Also, try to plan and prepare for everything far in advance if possible so that you do not have much to do close to the wedding.

Honeymoon:

We went to an all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, called Valentin Imperial Maya. It was absolutely paradise and we loved every second of it!

Final Reflections:

Marial and Nick: Don't regret a single moment, because the day will be over before you finally know it!

The Hollows, Cary, IL Engagement Photography | Joe & Missy

The Hollows, Cary, IL Engagement Photography | Joe & Missy

From my very first communications with Missy, I knew I was going to love spending time with her, and my engagement session with her and Joe further confirmed my initial thoughts! She's bubbly and adorable and I think it may actually be impossible to be around her and not smile. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Missy and Joe wandering around The Hollows and getting to know the two of them more, and I simply cannot wait to photograph their wedding next month!

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Hotel Baker, St. Charles, IL Wedding Photography | Sang & Brenda

Hotel Baker, St. Charles, IL Wedding Photography | Sang & Brenda

I jumped into my wedding season with Brenda and Sang's wedding at the beginning of June, and it was probably the most refreshing beginning to a season I've ever had. Brenda and Sang are two of the kindest people I've ever worked with. Every interaction I've had with Brenda and Sang, from my initial meeting with them, to their engagement session, then their wedding, and all the communications in between has been a joy. They're the kind of people that make you feel really good about yourself, which in turn makes you want to make others feel good about themselves. They had smaller guest list, about 60 people, and it was about 60 people who are just as kind and caring as Brenda and Sang are, so I left feeling like a million bucks. I never expect to be anything more than a vendor to guests, because that's what I am and it's totally cool (For real! This introvert has no problem with being a fly on the wall!), but some of their guests engaged me in some genuine, interested conversation during the cocktail hour and it really meant a lot to me! So thank you to Brenda and Sang, and their guests for making me feel so cared for!!!

Now on to what you really came here for. ;) 

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Congrats again you two!! Blessings!!! <3

Rockford, IL Newborn & Family Photography | John, Jackie, Dylan, & Lucille

Rockford, IL Newborn & Family Photography | John, Jackie, Dylan, & Lucille

I just photographed this family back in the Fall, and it was great to see them again as they welcomed darling Lucille into their family on May 17 (which is a pretty darn good day to be born, if I do say so myself!  ;) ). Lucille was just 8 days old when I photographed her, and she was such a content little babe!! 

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Isn't Jackie absolutely radiant for just having a baby?!?!? AND they were moving literally the day after our shoot! Talk about a supermomma!!

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Dylan cracks me up. He was all about these pictures, as you can see. 

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I also photographed John & Jackie's wedding. I love being able to follow these family from their very beginnings!!

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To John & Jackie, congrats again!! You're great parents and it was so good to see you again! <3

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photography | Brandon, Amber, Ava, & Ella

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photography | Brandon, Amber, Ava, & Ella

About a year and half ago, I posted a blog about our good friends Brandon and Amber and their 5 year struggle to have a baby, which led to them adopting their daughter Ava as a newborn. Well, about 5 months after I posted that blog, we found out that Amber was expecting!! Sweet Ella was born December 19, 2017, about two weeks after Ava's 2nd birthday. I'm so happy for these guys and in awe of God's redemption of what was once thought to be impossible. <3

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North Ave Beach, Humboldt Park, Chicago Engagement Photography | Mike & Caroline

North Ave Beach, Humboldt Park, Chicago Engagement Photography | Mike & Caroline

Spring in the Midwest was its usual unpredictable self this year and got off to a chilly and snowy start, so I was very thankful when my shoot day with Mike & Caroline for their engagement session rolled around and it was sunny and in the 60's! Of course, depending on where you are in Chicago, sunny and 60* means windy and 50* (I'm lookin' at you, North Ave beach), but there was no snow, rain, or sleet, so I was content. 

It was a pleasure sharing that day with Mike & Caroline, photographing them and getting to know them more before their wedding day this September. We hopped around the city and hit up a combination of special and iconic locations from the place that started it all for these two (Benchmark in Old Town), to the North Ave skyline and Humboldt Park, and ending on their rooftop (with another amazing view of that Chicago skyline I might add!) where we were joined by their adorable pup. (Thanks again for driving, Mike, and to you as well Caroline for your navigating skillz!!)

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Algonquin, IL, Engagement Photography | Daryn & Lillian

Algonquin, IL, Engagement Photography | Daryn & Lillian

Kicked off my 2018 engagement season with these two cuties, and it feels so good to be back behind the camera! This is actually the third time that I've snapped pictures of Daryn & Lillian, although it's technically the first official time. D&L were guests at both Geoff & Stephanie's and Mike & Erica's weddings last year (Daryn is Geoff and Erica's cousin!)! I'm pretty sure this is the most I've ever gotten to photograph one side of a family before and I'm LOVING it!! It's actually going to feel a little strange next year if I don't get to photograph someone from this family!

Daryn and Lillian did so great for their first official time in front of my lens, and I can't wait to photograph their wedding this September!! 

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Lake Tahoe, California Wedding Photography | Mike & Erica

Lake Tahoe, Truckee, CA Wedding Photography

If there was ever way to send out 2017 with a bang, flying to California to shoot Mike & Erica's wedding was the way to do it!! This wedding brought about a few firsts for me...first time flying for a wedding, first time going to California (which was AMAZING), and first time photographing a couple in the mountains (ALSO AMAZING)...all experiences I'd love to repeat and made me even more thankful for this crazy wonderful job I have! Erica found me through Geoff & Stephanie (Erica is Geoff's sister), whose wedding I just photographed in July, and being able to photograph two siblings' weddings in the same year is another rare opportunity that I could get used to (and I get to hang out with them all AGAIN when I photograph Geoff's cousin's wedding this September!)! 

Mike & Erica are a fun-loving, spontaneous, caring couple who make you feel like you've been friends with them forever. For planning a long-distance wedding without any family in the area of the wedding to help and oversee things (M&E live in Chicago), I have to say that their wedding was a dream. Every single aspect of the day went off perfectly, down to the weather (it was about 45*F for their outdoor ceremony!!), which is almost unheard of even when you're planning a wedding minutes away from where you live. And M&E are so laid back, that even if anything had gone wrong I can't imagine that it would have been met with anything other than a continued excitement that their day had finally arrived. 

Well, I think it's time to move on to the images, how about you?!?! ;) 

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Mike's dad was his best man. <3

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Oh hey there Geoff & Stephanie!!

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Hair & Makeup: Michelle DeeAnn, Christi Reynolds, & Lea Buehler

Ceremony/Reception: Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe

DJDJ Brock

Favorite wedding day memory:

We both think that our first look was our favorite memory.

What they would have done differently:

We can't think of anything that we would have changed!

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms:

Our biggest piece of advice is to make your wedding your own. Spend time and money on the things that are important to you and skip the things that aren't important or are causing too much stress (for example, we didn't have programs for our ceremony). We also really loved having a sweetheart table. Although we were both initially against it, we ended up loving it. It gave us time to be alone on such a busy day.

Honeymoon:

We spent 23 days in Australia and New Zealand. It was absolutely the trip of a lifetime.

Final Reflections

Our advice is to pick your vendors carefully and then trust them to do a great job. It will make your life easier not to try to micromanage every last detail and will allow you to have the most fun on your wedding day.

Rock Cut State Park Family Photography | John, Jacqueline, & Dylan

Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photography

Another sweet bride & groom turned mom & dad on the blog today!! I photographed John & Jackie's wedding back in 2015 but now they're back with Mr. Dylan!! Dylan is a sweet and gentle little dude with an old soul and I had a great time hanging out with him and his parents!

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See you guys next time!! :D :D :D

Rock Cut State Park Family Photography | Joe, Kelley, & Alice

Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photography

YOU GUYYYYYYYYYYSSSSSSS!!!!!!! I am SO excited to share these images with you all!!! This couple is very near and dear to my heart because Joe & Kelley's wedding was the VERY FIRST WEDDING I EVER PHOTOGRAPHED!!!!! They took a chance on me when I was wet behind the ears and I will be forever grateful! And I gotta say, after just scrolling through those images for the first time in awhile, I'm still incredibly proud of those images! 

So that was 7 1/2 years ago (!!!!), and now these two have a sweet little babe, Alice, who is absolutely darling and the obvious joy of their lives. It was so great to reconnect with these guys and photograph them in this new stage of life!!!  

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

DeKalb, IL Family Photographer

Another year, another shoot with this crew!! I'll never tire of getting to see how much these kiddos grow, and my oh my, have they grown up!! If you feel like taking a stroll down memory lane with me, just check out their previous shoots!! (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016) This year they were joined by their newest family member, Mylo and he is such a sweetie!

We shot out at Camelot Christmas Tree Farm this year and it was nice to change it up from my usual places. The property is so peaceful with the trees and the little lake, and paired with shooting at my absolute favorite time of day, I left our shoot feeling recharged from beauty of it all. 

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Ben (who is a freshman IN HIGH SCHOOL NOW!! What is life!?!?!?)

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Danny

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Isabel