couples

Washington Park, Springfield, IL Wedding Photography | Jon & Chelsea

Washington Park, Springfield, IL Wedding Photography

In September, I had the privilege of photographing Jon & Chelsea’s wedding down in Springfield, IL and it was such a delight! They planned a very intimate wedding at the Washington Park gazebo with around 20 of their friends and family members, and it was truly a sweet time. In Chelsea’s words a few weeks beforehand, “The goal of our wedding is to have fun, enjoy ourselves, and get married! We are not into the "frills" or fussing/worrying. :) Keeping it simple, meaningful, and relaxed!” From my perspective, mission accomplished! Everyone was so laid back and wonderful, and I really enjoyed being able to photograph the connections Jon and Chelsea have with their closest people.

I’m excited to do something a little different with this post. In times past I’ve included a little “post-wedding interview” at the end of my posts before the vendor info, but I thought it would be nice to ask my couples some deeper questions about how they met, went about planning their day, how the day went, etc. Every wedding and couple is different, and we’ve come along way from the traditional wedding, so couples tend to make more decisions based on sentiment and who they are as a couple, which I find so interesting. I’m going to include Jon and Chelsea’s answers to my questions scattered throughout this post, and I hope that you find it as intriguing as I did!

How They Met
Jon and I met while we were both working at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL. We had been friends for years prior to actually dating. I knew Jon was “the one” when I picked my son up from daycare one day and the first words out of his mouth were, “Mommy, where's Jon? See Jon?” I knew that if my son approved, I probably had something pretty special with him.

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Jon’s Outfit
I wanted something that looked classy and that I could drink beer in!

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The Venue
Our ceremony venue was chosen primarily because we wanted an outdoor wedding in a place that would suit an intimate, smaller wedding.

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The Dress
My “perfect” dress was actually found by accident and very last-minute! I had originally ordered a dress online and I didn't love the way it fit. So I committed myself to losing weight in hopes that I'd eventually like how it looked. A few weeks before the wedding, I tried the dress on and I still didn't love it. My matron of honor suggested we just go browse a local bridal shop and see if I really liked anything off the rack (and within my tight budget). Surprisingly enough, after trying on 3 dresses, I found “the” dress! It had a neckline I would have never sought after and I wasn't sure about the shape, but when I put it on, I knew right away I loved it. And it was cheap!!! Haha. :)

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The Ceremony
Our ceremony was intimate and simple-- exactly the way we wanted it! My brother officiated, and we only had our closest friends and family present. I was thirty minutes late to my own wedding due to my makeup artist running behind (she was so worth the wait though!!), and my son decided that having a full blown toddler tantrum was a better idea than walking his mom down the aisle (that's what I get for planning a wedding during naptime!). Oh, and I forgot my flowers at home. Haha! But all hiccups in our day aside, it was absolutely perfect.

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Sentimental Touches
The most sentimental part of my outfit was definitely my rings-- both belonged to my mother who passed away in 2011. It was so important to me to include her somehow, and now I have her with me every day.

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The Reception Venue
Our reception venue, a dive bar in our little town, has more meaning to us-- it is where we had our first date (and MANY after that) and has become our second home. The bar regulars have become an extended family to us. We know it's obviously not the fanciest place to hold a wedding reception, but to us, it was the perfect place to celebrate with those that we love.

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The Reception Decor
Our reception was entirely DIY, done by our friends at the bar. They wanted to put it all together and surprise us, and they did a fantastic job! Our colors were any shade of blue (go Cubbies!!) so most of the decor followed that. Decor was simple and handmade and spruced up the dive bar a little bit (if that's even possible!).

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The Party
The party was WONDERFUL. A group of our friends smoked some pork and all our side dishes were homemade, so we spent the night drinking beer, eating great food, and laughing with everyone at the bar. It was so laid back and relaxing and exactly what we envisioned our night to be. At the end of the night, we walked home (our house is only a few blocks from the bar) in the rain. I was in my wedding dress, carrying our wedding cake, and jumping in puddles. Haha. And we spent the rest of the evening at home with a few bottles of wine and our closest friends all camped out in our living room. I wish that night could have lasted forever.

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The Photography
Jon met our photographer in high school, and when he showed me her portfolio online, I was like YEP, SHE'S THE ONE. I was SO happy when she had availability the day of our wedding, as we only had 4 months to plan and were very worried about finding someone. Couldn't have asked for a better photographer!

The Honeymoon
We are taking a small road trip to Nashville, TN the first weekend in October. We are "winging it" and have no set-in-stone plans. :)

Anything you would have changed?
Even though we had some hiccups along the way, I wouldn't change a thing. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but it really was one of the best days of my life. Our way was intimate, relaxed, and a whole ton of fun. Exactly what we wanted. :)

Advice for couples planning their wedding:
RELAX. Things will go wrong, but it's so much less stressful if you just roll with it in and enjoy it. A laugh or two can fix an awful lot. ;)

Officiant: Brian Wilson (bride's brother)

Makeup: Tahnee Callaway

Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal

Rings: Chelsea- They belonged to her mother; Jon- Enso silicone ring

Shoes: Flats from David’s Bridal

Ceremony: Washington Park, Springfield, IL

Reception: Longbranch Tavern, Athens, IL

Cake: Made by personal Friend, Lacey Clark

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, IL Wedding Photography | Phil & Kelly

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, IL Wedding Photography

Well, apparently I post long wedding posts now because this is the second wedding in a row where I just can’t cull my favorites down to less than 200 images! Oh well! ;)

If I had to pick a word to best describe Kelly and Phil’s wedding day, it would be “SURPRISE!” Every single moment of their day was chock-full of specialness, and everyone was surprising everyone. Here’s a list of things I can think of just off the top of my head: Kelly surprised her mom and dad separately with gifts; Kelly’s mom surprised Kelly with a gift; Phil surprised Kelly with a gift, and vice-versa; Phil used pop-up cards to surprise Kelly with her gift and during the ceremony (both cards matched the Japanese Garden theme); Kelly’s sister & sis-in-law did a special musical speech; Kelly is a dancer, so Kelly & Phil, and Kelly & her dad planned special choreographed dances for their guests enjoyment; The groomsmen had a specially choreographed dance; Kelly’s friends from Stagecoach Theater planned a special song during the reception…aaaaaaand I *think* that’s about everything. WHEW!! Phil, Kelly, and their families are deeply sentimental and worked so hard to make their day special for everyone involved. It certainly paid off!

Before I jump into the pictures, I wanted to add that I photographed Kelly’s sister Katie’s wedding back in October 2017 (and their newborn pictures last December!!), so it was wonderful to be back with this crew again!!

PICTURE TIME.

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Check out their engagement pictures HERE!!

Hair: Jessica Martinez & Evelyn Gonzalez

Makeup: Lisa McGinnis & Elenia Dokos

Florist: Lisa Hardy & Shelley Johnson

Wedding Dress: Wolsfelt’s Bridal Aurora

Rings: Custom designed by Phil, crafted by Andre at Michael Hill Jewelers

Shoes: SheSole

Bridesmaid's Dresses: Azazie

Suits: Ducky’s Formal Wear

Getting Ready Site: Staybridge Suites

Ceremony: Anderson Japanese Gardens

Reception: Tebala Event Center

Caterer: Mary’s Market

Cake: Hy-Vee

DJ: Amp Event Professionals

Videographer: Nick Acosta

Second Photographer: Maggie Wright

Monte Bello Estate Wedding Photography, Lemont, IL | Tim & Marisa

Monte Bello Estate Wedding Photography, Lemont, IL

Sooooooooooo SO excited to share this wedding with you all!!! Fair warning, though, at about 230 images, it’s the most images I’ve ever shared for a wedding post (insert gritting teeth emoji here). In my defense, there were so many beautiful moments from Tim & Marisa’s wedding day that I really couldn’t narrow it down and still do justice to their story. So for those of you who hate long blog posts, I’m sorry (BUT NOT REALLY).

I photographed Tim & Marisa’s engagement session in Washington DC back in May, and I knew then that their wedding at Monte Bello Estate was going to be something special. Most of their relationship had been long-distance, and I’ve found that weddings of long-distance couples are more often some of the more emotional ones. That was certainly the case for these two. Well, three if you count me because I think I cried almost as much as the two of them over the course of their day. One of my favorite moments of their day was their first look when teary-eyed Tim kept saying “Oh my gosh!” over and over. It was the sweetest thing.

Fun fact about Monte Bello before moving on to the images: it used to be called Narnia, so there are lots of fun little details from books throughout the estate (my favorite being the front door!). NOW IT’S PICTURE TIME.

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