couples

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

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.

Rockford, IL Wedding Photography | Ryan & Katie

Rockford, IL Wedding Photographer

Katie & Ryan are both sentimental, family-oriented people. From Ryan wearing his grandfather's wedding ring and tie pin, to Katie's & Ryan's moms surprising Katie by attaching pieces of their own wedding dresses to her bouquet, almost every element of this day was filled with special meaning. After dating for just over 9 years, both Ryan & Katie's families became very close, and it was a beautiful thing to witness the relationships that have grown and the joy they all shared over Ryan & Katie's marriage. 

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This was one of my favorite moments from the day. Katie was having a sweet, private moment with her mom to give her her mother-of-the-bride gift along with a thank-you card. When Katie's mom went to read the card, IT WAS BLANK. So someone out there got Katie's card to her mom (did you guys ever find out who got it????)! It was such a perfect, hilarious moment!

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Another favorite moment: Katie's first look with her dad. 

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Ryan kept kissing his mom on the forehead during the mother-son dance, and I cried at the sweetness of it. I also cried while editing the images. Aaaaaaand I'm kinda tearing up right now, for crying out loud!! I hope this is me with my boys some day. <3

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Hair: Kelly Bolander (bride's sister), Dolce Vita

MakeupDolce Vita

Florist: Hy-Vee

Wedding Dress: Wolsfelt's Bridal

Suits: Ducky's Formal Wear

Ceremony & Reception: Franchesco's Ristorante

Donuts: Hy-Vee

DJ: Pro Sound Productions

Videographer: Shawn P. Boyle

Favorite wedding day memory:

Katie: My favorite wedding day memory was the first look with my dad. He is definitely not an emotional person and it took me completely by surprise when he cried.

What they would have done differently:

Katie: I would keep everything the same! The day was exactly what I had always hoped and dreamed it would be. I have had a lot of years to picture my wedding day and I loved everything about it!

Best piece of advice for brides and grooms:

Katie: I would say that you do not need to spend a lot of money to have the perfect day. I did a lot of things myself and with the help of family and everything turned out great! Also, if you are interested in doing a first look, DO IT! It took a lot of stress off both Ryan and myself because we were able to see each other and it was incredibly calming. I loved having a moment just the two of us and it also made walking down the aisle a lot easier.

Honeymoon:

We will be going to Hawaii in March.

Final Reflections

Katie: Everyone that was involved in the planning and execution of my wedding was amazing. I surrounded myself with some of the best people. Everyone was so positive! I am so happy and I am loving married life already :)

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 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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