LGBTQ wedding at Starved Rock Lodge Utica IL :: Gay Wedding Photographer Illinois

{Disclaimer: Gay weddings are not a different category from straight weddings but we use extra terms simply for google search to find us so more couples get to our site. See our post about it here. But I guess the truth is, gay weddings are a little bit different. There is a special emotion in the air for a gay couple getting married. There is a special joy about finally being able to celebrate two people who love each other who previously couldn't celebrate it officially. Seth & I are honored to be a part of a gay couple's wedding and will continue to fight for equality for all. }

VENDOR SHOUT OUT: Finding Eminence (florist), Guys on the Radio (DJ), Starved Rock Lodge (venue), Jane Schomas (Officiant), Mo @ Starved Rock (cake).

NOW: Kevin & Stewart. Oh man, what a day. First of all, we met a month ago at their engagement session (Have you seen it? Cat shirts. GO SEE IT.) We hit it off and knew we were going to have so much fun at the wedding. We arrived at Starved Rock to find the great hall looking green with amazing florals from Finding Eminence Farm. Moss and wood rounds and wildflowers and the entire place was amazing. We shoot 20 weddings a year at Starved Rock and I honestly can't remember one that seemed so earthy. I loved it and it really reflected these two. 

We had decided to go to Kaskaskia Canyon. It's a pretty easy hike and while it is usually muddy, it was pretty dry. I was a little worried about it being crowded like it was when we got back there. So we took a few by the wall and waited for it to clear out. Then we had about 15 minutes all to ourselves except for some random noises coming from the cave.....

There are a couple little spots along the way where we can stop and get a photo op. Seth likes these roots so we stopped there and then at Council Overhang. 

Since they had wildflower favors, we had to swing by the field. (They burnt this prairie early this year and it's starting to come back.....) I think I am going to actually take my favor out there and throw mine in the field. Then I can call it the Smith-Valetine field and all future couples can thank these two for their pretty flower field pictures!! 

Time to get married! While I was editing these pictures I teared up a bit thinking about what these men said to each other. I think it's because as a parent this is what I want my children to find in a partner, someone who makes them come alive and be fully themselves. Someone who makes them feel loved and appreciated and supported. These two found it and are it for each other.

Back to cocktail hour and then cutting the cake. Good thing too because it was reeeeeeally hard to wait to eat a cupcake. A cupcake??? Sh-yea, right, are you mental? I had all of them. :) And they were amazing. 

Here was one of my favorite parts of the day. They took a minute to just talk about each other and thank each other. I LOVED THIS. Kevin knocking on wood was my favorite. :) Here's to many happy years together. Keep thanking each other. Keep bragging about each other. 

And then we danced the night away. It was such a great day that really focused on their relationship. Although it looked beautiful and amazing, the day felt like it was all about Stewart and Kevin. It was a lovely day to celebrate their love. And in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE. 

Mike & Chelsea

Another day another wedding at Starved Rock but this one was extra special for two reasons: 1. Chelsea works for Starved Rock and we know her since we are alllllllways there and 2. the groom didn't want to see the bride until the ceremony. We hadn't done that in awhile but it is always fun. 

So we started with some getting ready photos and then the girls around the lodge. Going hiking in the park is fun but it's a lot of work and if you don't want to do that, the lodge has some beautiful spots!

If the couple doesn't want to see each other, that means I do them each separately as well as individuals with their parents and siblings. Then we just have a few group photos after the ceremony and can focus most of our time on their portraits. We had a really good time with this wedding party too. They were all awesome. Some fun stuff happened with these guys.....

Usually before we had to the ceremony, we can take a few details photos while everyone hides and rests (or has a beer at the bar!!). I loved the flower that Emilie at Flowers Plus in Streator did. The mantle, the bouquet, the centerpieces all looks gorgeous. I really loved the trail mix favors as well. Perfect for Starved Rock!!

Time to get married!! I like having the dad and bride stand back but they had to stand waaaaay back since Mike hadn't seen Chelsea yet. I love dad standing back there holding the train. It was a short and sweet ceremony with a little hiccup which made everyone laugh at the perfect time when they about to start the tears. It was perfect and so sweet. 

A couple group shots. Again, these guys had me laughing so hard and the girls were making chelsea smile so well!!

And then we had 45 minutes for pictures and I think we got done in about 30 and had a few minutes to spare. We have some spots we like to use that are out of the way of hikers. We like to get the couple away from everything and just let them have a few quiet moments together.....with our cameras clicking from behind the bushes......

And then it was time to party. Some cake, some awesome toasts, some amazing dinner and we were off to the races. Guys on the Radio had awesome uplights which I love for pictures. They really make things pop! 

Congrats to Mike & Chelsea and their families! What a perfect June wedding! We had a great time and look forward to being photographers turned friends. :) 

Ottawa - Marseilles -LaSalle Family Pictures : Illinois Portrait Photographer

I haven't posted a family portrait session in awhile! At least, not on the bloggity. I post on Facebook a lot more even though Facebook limits our posts. Sidenote: comment and like posts from small business pages on Facebook. It really, really helps boost our posts without us having to pay $10 everytime. :) 

Back to it, I am so glad to share this beautiful family with you and especially glad these are my friends. They are such a sweet and loving family and we are so happy to live life alongside them. 

If you are looking to get family pictures, look no further. (JK-there are lots of awesome togs out there. But if you happen to like our style, yay!) We are SO CLOSE to giving another $500 to a family fund recipient! All family session deposits go into a fund for families going through adoption, surrogacy, fertility treatments or any other expensive way to expand their family. So if you want to get on our calendar, get some pictures with your beautiful children, AND help out a family who wants what you have, shoot me a line. 

OK-on to the pictures. 

Here you go. Norems, we sure love you guys!

Chicago Catholic Wedding & Michigan Shores Club Reception

We don't go downtown too often and yet this spring we found ourselves with two chicago weddings in a month!! We don't love the traffic or the crowds or the expense, but damn, Chicago has some beautiful places to shoot! :) 

This wedding took place at St. Francis Xavier in WIlmette. It is a beautiful church and the bride teaches at their school so it was extra special. In fact, some of her students even sang and it was just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen!

The bride dressed at the hotel and the groom dressed/bowled (yeah, it's like that) at the Michigan Shores Club. Charlie from Charlie Hilbrand Films met me to film the girls getting ready and I am so excited to see his video. I was so appreciative of his attitude and I think we made a great team to capture this moment.

At the church, the girls were hanging out in the back room and the windows, while beautiful, gave it a yellow glow. I used this opportunity to get a cool shot of the flowers with the yellow. :) We moved Karen into the hall for her to read her letter and it ended up being the coolest thing. Then Karen took a minute to see her dad and I love when we can make this happen. I like to throw mom in the shot too and give you a few minutes together to breathe in the moment. Then it's time for a special walk down the aisle. 

I mentioned it on Facebook, but Karen's dad was able to be at her wedding and escort her down the aisle because of a generous organ donation. I'm tearing up just writing that. I love that Karen & Rob made sure to make special mention and offer prayers for the donor's grieving family that they would feel comfort and peace knowing they enabled this family to have this oh so special day. Please, random reader, look at your license and make sure you are a donor. And a thank you to those who do donate and their families. It's such a gift. I mean, look at this dad and his only daughter. 

Knowing that the church was special to Karen & Rob, we did a few extra ones around the grounds and I am so glad we did. It is a beautiful place and I know it will be a centerpiece for their life and family as it grows. 

Then down by the lake. Since it was a gorgeous day there were so many people there. (To be fair about 30+of them came on the trolley with us!) but I had to clone out a lot of people. :) We tried to get a few with the lake behind them but because we were so far away it was a little challenging. Thankfully we had this grove of trees so we got some there. All of the picture were taken in about a 10' square. :) 

So I hardly ever post detail photos. Maybe a couple. The dress and shoes usually but not too often. Mainly because I don't want to attract couples who want lots of details pictures. (That's an entire post I need to make.) We focus on the people over the stuff. We just aren't editorial photographers. BUT Michigan Shores Club is freaking gorgeous. So I have a FEW to post here.... don't get used to it. :) 

The toasts were so heartfelt & lovely. And then the first dances. It was pretty packed in the room because so many people love Karen & Rob and I hope they remember how many people came to celebrate them!

I have already posted SO MANY pictures because this day was so full of love so I just couldn't pick out reception dancing photos! But there was lots of dancing and fun to celebrate the newlyweds!

So that's a wrap for Chicago for the spring. I don't think we will be downtown again for a while but it is beautiful and for a couple like this, we'd be up for it! :) Congrats to these families and we hope you enjoy the pictures and remember this beautiful day for years to come!

Vendor shout out:

St. Francis Xavier Church Wilmette

Planner: Anna, Elle Rose Events

Videographer: Charlie Hilbrand Films

Hair/Make Up: Mario Triccoci, Old Orchard

Flowers: Four Finches

Band: High Society Orchestra

Cake: Michigan Shores Club

The Huggenstatters :: Central IL family photographer

I love those Facebook quizzes where you answer all kinds of strange trivia about yourself. A lot of them are about who you were as a child or teenager. Often times they ask who have you known the longest. Here is my answer: Leslie. I love that Facebook has kept us connected all these years and that I can see her family and she can still be answers to my questions. 

I love our family session with the Grabs every year. The kids are hilarious and it's so fun to see my old friends. Delilah is really a crack up and she keeps me on my toes. This year, Leslie, decided to go big and fancy so they dolled up and off to the Soderstrom Castle we went. 

It was so fun and the kids were so good with lots of hugging!

Les-I love that we still laugh together and remember all the good times. I'll love you forever. LYLAS, mar

Family sessions are super fun and chill. We just wander around and take lots of pictures. We play some games and sing some songs and just capture your family as they are. I love seeing pictures that totally show their little personalities. They usually last about an hour and they come with a bad day guarantee. Little ones just sometimes have an off day and despite my best paw patrol efforts, they can't be encouraged to be in the pictures. If that happens, we call it and reschedule. It happens to even the best kids. :) So get on the calendar and get in the picture with your family! :) 

Nature Engagement Session :: by Associate Photographer :: Stephanie

So you might know, we have an associate photographer, Stephanie, and her husband, Jared, taking weddings for us for 2017. It's been awesome. We have so many inquiries that we can't keep up and it's great to have another trustworthy and amazingly talented team to serve more couples. I am in the process of blogging their first s.m|p wedding from a couple weeks ago but Stephanie sent me a couple from her engagement session with Hollie and Josh and I HAD TO POST! I love them!

Stephanie said she had so much fun with these two and thought it was special how encouraging and loving Josh was to Hollie during the session. (We photographers notice those little things) Like how Josh was constantly telling her that she is beautiful and that they just seemed to gel together. WHICH IS OBVIOUS once you see these pictures. 

Without further ado, here is a sneak peek at engagement pictures by Stephanie:

(And if you want Stephanie and Jared to shoot your wedding/engagement-let me know!)

Madonna del Strada & Hotel Allegro Chicago Wedding Photography

It's difficult to even begin the process of blogging this wedding. I usually end up with about 100 pictures to showcase the day, and I have over 160 chosen for this wedding. It's hard to even find the words to put with this amazing, unique couple that weren't said at the wedding. So instead of starting with Ruth & Paul, I'm going to start with Ruth and me, Mary. 

I try to very cautious and specific with what I post on our website and Facebook page. I really want clients who want what we offer instead of clients who want us to copy their favorite photographer they couldn't afford. I post candid shots and showcase our natural posing style photos because I want couples who like that. I often retell the story of a groom who received his wedding pictures and exclaimed, "I don't remember them even taking this many pictures. Those two are straight up ninjas!". It's been our motto for almost 10 years. So when Ruth said she wanted us to do our ninja thing, my heart skipped a beat. I love that she wanted us to capture the day as it was happening. I remember meeting with her and she mentioned that she just wanted lots of pictures with her mom and sisters while she was getting ready. THAT is what I want to capture. While a cute picture of your shoes is fine, I just cannot spend hours taking pictures of details ignoring the interaction between you and the people who love you the most in the world. They are all together. In one room. For one day in your life. I don't prioritize a picture of the flower centerpiece over that. My goal is not to be the next real wedding editorial in a bridal magazine. My goal is for you to remember your day, your family, your friends, your new spouse and re-live the emotions via the pictures. Ruth got it. Then I met her family and I understood. Their connection was evident and  their tribe was priority. I watched as they carefully cared for Ruth and her veil and her dress and made her day about her and Paul. It was lovely to see and so fun to photograph. We started at Hotel Allegro which is a badass hotel in Chicago, where they tapped the first keg after prohibition. It is beautiful and unique and I loved all the little pockets for pictures! Blue walls are my favorite. Just can't resist 'em. 

And then there is Paul. Oh my goodness. He is such a sweet man. You know that old saying about choosing a man to marry who loves his mother. CHECK. MATE. Paul and his parents were just about the sweetest thing I've seen. As an only child, he didn't have the same dynamic as Ruth's family with 5 kids, but he had the same connection with his family. It is no surprise that these two fell in love seeing that their families are so full of love. Paul loved people. It was so evident in the way he treated his parents and in the way he looked at Ruth and even in the way he interacted with us. He shares happiness with those around him. I watched him get up after dinner and give his groomsmen a minute of his time before rushing to eat. He truly cares for the people in his life. 

While the guys took over the lobby, we took a few outside. As I was posing and taking these photos, both moms were right behind me saying how much they loved the shot. Mom approval for the win. So I made sure to get a couple with the moms too, for good measure. 

Off to the church! These photos are literally back to back in time. We set up a special moment for Dad & Ruth to see other and then I went back in the chapel to find Paul and his parents together. I have said it before, but I will say it forever-make time for your parents on your wedding day. Don't rush through it. They may not demand it as they work to get everything perfect so make sure you stop and hug them. Extra love to parents. Include them in more photos than just the ones at the front of the church. I had 9 bridesmaids and I talk to 3 of them still. I wish I had more pictures with my parents. 

Time to get married! Madonna Del Strada Chapel has specific rules about where we could go in the middle but I loved that they let us move up and down the side aisles during the service. 

The Madonna Del Strada Chapel is on the lake. ON IT. It is gorgeous. Windy, but so beautiful. Made for some awesome pictures. This wedding party was hilarious and even though I made them wait an extra 12 minutes, they made the best of it "watching that cool dog". :) Thanks guys. Next time TELL ME when you start the timer and I'll do better. 

Also sidenote: the close up photos are mine and the further back ones are Seth's. I included both for a few shots so you could see how we work through photos by getting two different shots at the same time. :)

The reception was amazing.The Bluewater King Band was awesome. I'll have to post it. Ashley Lafleur did a great job of organizing everything and we had a great time celebrating. I loved hearing everyone's toasts and I gotta admit, Tracey's questions are becoming a staple in our home. :) 

I LOVE when people dance at weddings. Yea, it makes for good photographs, but ultimately I love when people are happy and are together. I loved watching everyone dance the night away and even caught my new best bud, Jack, giving Grandma a twirl off to the side. So if you attend a wedding, just dance, people. Or take Seth as your date and with few beers and he'll be jamming to Whitney Houston in no time. :) 

What a glorious entrance to married life for Paul & Ruth and such joy as they begin their life together. Thanks for choosing us, for loving our ninja skills (hopefully they live up to their legendary status) and for letting us be a part of the tribe for a day. I am sure there will be more Berres weddings in the future and I expect to be there as you welcome more people "to the beast". Love to you all! Lots more photos to come (yes even more!!) Thanks to the rest of you for sticking it out for one of my longest blog posts ever!! 

Lakeside Engagement Session Ottawa IL Engagement & Wedding Photographer

Sometimes at weddings, guests will ask us to take their photo with their phone, which is totally fine, but often times we end up taking one with our camera as well. That happened last year:

I remembered Jake because this group of groomsmen was so hilarious and when I dismissed them back to the bus after pictures, they all took off running in tuxedos and it was hilarious. I was so excited when DaNae emailed me. Sadly we already had a wedding on their date, but since Stephanie had decided to work with us shooting as an associate, we are able to work with them for their wedding. So Seth and I shot their engagement session yesterday (whoa-look at me on top of things- just don't look at my messy house and unbathed children) and Stephanie and Jared will shoot their wedding this fall. 

Jake's family owns property right behind where Seth grew up so it was funny to hear them discuss it. It's awesome that they saw the potential of this land and built a beautiful house around a lake that made an awesome backdrop for pictures and will be gorgeous for a wedding. 

Here are a few of my favorites. I went all kinds of hipster with the wood pile, but I just couldn't help myself. :) 

I am so excited for these two and look forward to many photos shoot out at the lake. (and maybe a bbq or two?!?!?! we'll bring beer!) I'm so glad we met them at z&s's wedding and had such a good time. 

It also feels good that when a wedding party who worked with us chooses us for their wedding. I'm glad people like our photos and know that we have fun with it. Stephanie is very similar and has a great personality. Their outdoor fall wedding is going to be beautiful!! 

Lifestyle Newborn Session

I love building relationships with our clients, not just because they are super rad people and I just like being around them, but also because it means that we get to be there for so many big moments in their life. 

As we were prepping for taking some photos of baby Brock, Courtney & I  were talking about their engagement session and wedding and it was fun to think back and remember those happy times, especially because she is so good about printing and hanging pictures. I loved seeing so many familiar pictures around their home. Seth and I feel truly honored that so many people choose us to be their photographer and we love hanging out with all of you. 


Brock is SO cute. SO SO CUTE. And he is a little snuggle bug. Like Dad's littlest cutest football. Most first time dads take a little while to be comfortable holding a newborn, but not Kyle. All those years of keeping the football safe gives him a leg up on everyone. Brock obviously felt so comfy in dad's arms and keep giving us sleep smiles. 

So here are a few from their newborn session yesterday. I was so glad to be able to capture this time in their life and provide some new material for those frames in the house. :)

Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Park Engagement Session

A lot of people ask me if we can do engagement pictures with the waterfalls at Starved Rock. Sure, we can. But I warn you, the reason there is a waterfall means there has been rain which also means....mud. Lots of mud. 

But still people take me up on the offer to hike through the mud for some pictures and honestly, they always are beautiful and worth the effort. It has been super rainy here this week so the waterfalls are flowing in every canyon in Starved Rock but the river flooded limiting parking and the trails are crazy muddy. 

So we opted for Matthiessen State Park just down the road. It was fun to get Nora & Ryan out for a few pictures to capture their engagement. They were cracking me up with their fun loving nature and Ryan being so excited for a picture reward pizza afterwards. I think Seth was wishing he could have Bianchi's pizza as a reward for taking the pictures. :) 

We had only spoken on the phone when they booked us for their wedding so it was really fun to meet in person and get to hang out for a bit. Really looking forward to November at the Barn at Hornbaker Gardens for their wedding! 

Yorkville Nature Winter Engagement Session by Seth Morris Photography

Devotees will remember the family with 4 boys who I have dubbed the most loving family I have ever seen. I love this family. I want the secrets to raising kids who not only get along but genuinely love each other and their family. I'm so thankful to have met this family and now we get to shoot another epic Libman wedding.

"My name is James. But you can call me Jimmer." Off the bat, Nate ( NOT James) stood out as a fun loving guy. He was so goofy and hilarious and we had a great time at his brother's wedding. So much that he just HAD to propose to his girlfriend of 8 years right away just so he could get his pictures taken again by us. :)

I remember when Jimmer called me to say he was engaged and needed a wedding photographer. I was so excited and still thought to myself, I wonder what kind of woman marries Jimmer.

Enter Jimmer 2.0- Connie. She is so perfectly matched and the two of them together are the kind of relationship I think everyone really wants. They are so goofy and silly and fun and so loving. I have never laughed so hard at a session. Ever. In 10 years. It was obvious that they were in sync and it was beautiful. 

And so, here are some of my favorites from Nate & Connie's session. The future Mr. & Mrs. Jimmer.

Downtown Maternity Session :: Uptown Normal :: Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

One of my biggest regrets was not having Seth take some real maternity photos of me. At the time, I felt (and who are we kidding-looked) huge, but now looking back, I remember being pregnant fondly. Not fondly enough to do it ever again, but it was a nice little stage of life and I wish I had a few non iPhone-in-a-mirror pictures. So I really encourage women to get out there and grab a few shots. For nostalgia. You don't ever have to hang them up in your house, but honestly, I know your child is going to love that photo someday. You anxiously awaiting their arrival and already loving them more than you can understand. 

I include a little mini maternity session with our newborn session. You don't need 2 hours of maternity pictures and if you want to get out your nude jumpsuit and floral crown like queen B, maybe you find a different photog. :) I try to keep it super simple and fun. Not lots of props and signs and outfits and locations. Just a few with your partner so you can really remember......

And without further ado, Julia & Richard. The smiliest, warmest, totally awesome & wonderful people. We shot their wedding and BOWLING reception a few years ago. Yea, that's right. Bowling. Like I said, AWESOME. They are having a little boy here soon and I can't wait to go snuggle and photograph him. 

I love urban settings, especially in winter when everything is kinda dead. But the colors in uptown Normal are some of my favorites. 

So if you are looking for a lifestyle photographer, here I am baby. Shoot me a line and let's get out there! 

Chicago Engagement Session :: Board of Trade Lasalle Street Pictures

Seth & I include engagement pictures in our wedding package. We love to get an hour or so to just spend time with you and get to know you a little better. It gives you a better idea of how things go for portrait time and it is a great way to capture your relationship as it evolves into a marriage. We have lots of locations near us or in the 'burbs but occasionally a couple will want to do incorporate downtown Chicago if they live or met there. 

Amanda & Dan met in Law School but they live downtown. In fact, they both work on Lasalle Street so it was important to use this session to capture their love and their life as it is now. I LOVE that idea and we were glad to have a decent weather Sunday morning to wander around for some shots. Here are a few of my favorites! 

Starved Rock Winter Wedding :: Utica IL :: wedding photographer know who is a lot of fun......teachers on a three day weekend. :) 

This was the winter wonderland wedding of John & Gina, except we were missing the winter part. It was 70 degrees this lovely February day and we took full advantage of it. Lots of love and laughter outside in the sun and we had a great day celebrating their wedding at Starved Rock Lodge. {Gorgeous flowers by one of our favorites, Flowers Plus}

J&G met outside the lodge so we could wander around for some portraits. Luckily, even in the winter, the lodge has some beautiful spots. I particularly love the greens, the lodge itself, the bridge and even the cabins. I try to change it up for backgrounds and get a few at different spots. 

So then we grabbed the crew and went around for a few more pictures with the wedding party. And these adorable kids were just the best. I particularly love the one of them hugging. That's a framer for sure! Also I want to say that Gina was in love with EVERY dog that passed us, which happened about every 3 minutes since it was 70 degrees. So I finally asked someone to let us borrow their dog for a picture. I think that was Gina's favorite picture of the day! :) Oh the lengths I will go to please a client!!

It was pretty muddy on the trails from the weather but Gina & John really wanted to get some of the scenery from the canyons so we snuck quickly to grab a few shots with a rock wall! 

And then it was time to get married! It was a beautiful ceremony and the new Mr. & Mrs. were official! {Note-check out the uplighting from Guys on the Radio. It makes a huge difference so cut those silly embossed napkins out of your budget and get uplighting!}

So I want to pause here to talk about cocktail hour. We usually do family pictures right after the ceremony at Starved Rock and then head into cocktail hour for mingling. This is a good time for Seth and I to take a few shots. Seth took some detail shots of the room, the rings, the centerpieces ect and I took shots of the people mingling. While these aren't ever pictures I expect to be a big canvas on the mantle, I do think they are nice to have to remember the people who love you and came together to celebrate your marriage. I love catching people smiling and laughing or even, in this case, John's daughter talking to Gina's grandpa. Little moments like this are important and being able to be in 15-20 minutes of cocktail hour really enables us to capture them.

Notice the uplighting again. Just sayin'

So then it was time to introduce the new Mr. & Mrs. Thomas and get things rollin' I said, those teachers were ready to party! 

And a special thanks to these two Guys on the Radio for getting the party going. We always have fun working with them! 

J&G-we are so happy for you two and we had such a great time enjoying the weather and your day together. Don't forget that our couples get a discount on family pictures so as that beautiful family of yours grow, give us a buzz. I'm sure I can find more random dogs to be in your family pictures! :) 


Wedding & Reception at The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens, Princeton, IL

I seriously love New Year's Eve weddings. They are so fun. 

I love them as much as I love shooting at the Barn at Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton, IL. It's a wedding photographer's dream. 

So here is a little preview of pictures from New Year's Eve. I have had a loooooong night with crying children and exhaustion and internet going in and out while I'm trying to binge watch hulu....REAL PROBLEMS PEOPLE. So I'm skipping over writing commentary. I know you are all disappointed my charming personality isn't going to accompany lovely photos. :) 

I'll add it later until then here are some beautiful people....

Wedding & Reception at The Danada House Wheaton IL, Photographer

So I'm trying to catch up here so let's throw it back to a September wedding at The Danada House . It is one of my FAVORITE venues. It's beautiful at every turn. Then you throw in this couple and this wedding dress and you have perfection. 

The couple met at the hotel before heading over the the house. It ended up being perfect for these Cubs fans meeting in front of the big ivy wall. 

So then we headed over to the Danada House and had some bridal party pictures. This bridal party was HUGE. One of the biggest! But thankfully everyone paid attention and were super great during picture time. It's hard to organize and pose big groups but I like the challenge!

So once I get the bridal party pictures done, I dismiss them so we can focus on the couple. I like their attention to be solely on each other. Hard to do that with 25 people watching. So the bridal party went inside and we had some time to wander the grounds and let Laura & Rich spend some time together. 

The Danada House is beautiful and the reception area is so pretty! This was a pretty rocking party!!

Ottawa Illinois Wedding Photographer | 807 Lasalle St.

So let me start by saying I found this new blog software and this is my first attempt with using it so let's see how this goes. 

But I cannot wait to share these photos because I love this woman and her family dearly. This wedding is from last November and the happy couple left for Australia right after the wedding so I actually got their pictures to them right away and then kinda forgot about posting some.....oops. It was a busy fall, ok? 

Anyway, Kristen has been babysitting our kids while we are out taking all your photos and we just love her. The kids get so excited for her to come over that they voluntarily clean up so they have space to "play games with Kristen". Yea, so for real, her moving to Australia is a loss to parents of America! But thankfully she found Daniel and he is just the real deal. He is a super cool guy and you know what, he ADORES her the way she deserves. It was fun to see them interact together. Let me show ya..... here we go: Kristen & Daniel -best day ever....

Kristen dressed at her parents' house and it was so full of emotion and love. I felt special to be there and I was just the photog. I may have teared up a bit along with everyone else. #tears Meanwhile Seth took some getting ready photos of Daniel and then headed to grab a pint. And THAT sums up the difference between guy and girl getting ready photos!  

Time to get married! Being that Kristen is a talented singer, it came as no surprise that their ceremony had lots of beautiful singing. My favorite perhaps was when Daniel's German parents showed off their newly learned English to sing a prayer for them. It was so touching. #moretears

Daniel had one requested photo so I was happy to oblige and I even gave the instructions in German: 

küsse deine Frau

One of my favorite photographers talks about taking a walk around the block. Luckily we had perfect weather (as we almost always do the first week of November) so that's exactly what we did. All these photos were taken within 1 block of the church and reception. 

We took a few with the bridal party and then sent them to the reception. I like to have time with just the couple without distractions so they can really just be together. The bridal party was barely out of the park and these two were in their own little world. And that's exactly what I want. I tell everyone, it's the only time you are alone the entire day. Enjoy just being together. 

So Nordstrom weddings are some of the best. But this one, got me all teary eyed again and again, especially when Daniel's mom sang to him while we watched his baby pictures behind her. #majortearsforthismama For real, it was so beautiful and luckily I got off a couple shots between the tears. I also just love when everyone sings That's What Makes You Beautiful to Kristen's cousin. It's tradition and I love it. We ended up staying until they left since we were basically hanging out and dancing with our friends. So we were able to get some shots as they left Kristen did a "Father of the Bride" final hug with her dad.....and cue the #finaltears.