WOW. Can I just say, wow? Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton, Illinois is my new favorite local venue. It is seriously gorgeous, beautiful, picturesque, a photographer's dream and the staff is amazing. I am going to rave about it but the pictures will tell you that it's truly an outstanding venue. AND they can do your flowers. Gorgeous.
But first we started at the Clarion Church in LaMoille. This is a beautiful church. I loved the wood and the stained glass window. They had a great room for the bride to dress and lots of light which is great for us natural light photographers. Seth bought me a new camera and a couple of lenses and I am LOVING them for getting ready pictures. I love getting a first look with Dad, too. When I can organize it, I always try to recommend doing it. It's so fun to have a moment with him. Erin had also told me that walking from the bridal room to the church was an important picture to her so I could make sure to be in position. I liked shooting from the tree, not just because it was 95 degrees and that was shady, but I like the framing of it. Plus mom & sis made the shot too.
I try to remind the parents and bridal party to SMILE when they go down the aisle. It seems like everyone would remember but they don't. This bridal party, however, followed instructions so well and were all so smiley. They looked fantastic. Also side note if you are a guest and sitting on the side of the aisle, you should smile too. You'll be in the pictures.
This church was beautiful, but they must have been on the mailing list when the church carpet warehouse had a sale on bright red carpet....why do so many churches have this exact carpet?!?!? That does affect the color of the pictures but our goal when photographing in a church is to make it look how it looked. So the red carpet stays red. Thankfully they had so many other gorgeous features to distract from the carpet.
So we were off in the heat to Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton. Seth & I had never been there. This happens a lot. We got there about 10 minutes before the bridal party and we scoped out spots that we wanted to use. Since it was so hot, we really wanted to keep everyone in the shade especially those guys in tuxedos! As we turned in, we saw the fence and just knew we had to use it! So we waited to stop the party bus when they arrived and grabbed the bride & groom for a few shots.
Then we took the bridal party around for some shots and I just loved using the rocks behind the reception hall. It was great to split up everyone and although it wasn't in the shade, everyone was a trooper to get the shot done!
Wandering around the gardens was awesome. Literally everywhere we turned we could have done an entire session. I tried to choose several locations for a couple reasons: 1. a different feel for the pictures (flowers then trees then gazebo then barn) 2. so we could ride in the golf cart and get a little breeze in between pictures 3. to use different colors around the gardens.
And finally, a very pregnant and hot wedding photographer (me) got inside the ac and was thankful for another beautiful backdrop for the reception. The staff was friendly and efficient. Everything was terrific and we had a great time at the reception. Can I just say, if you are in a wedding and paid for the dress/tux, did the hair and makeup, posed for all the pictures....let loose and HAVE FUN?!?!?! Everyone's entrances were great and fun and then they all danced! This bridal party wins the prize of Most Fun! The Guys on the Radio did an excellent job as the DJ (as they always do) and they are our go-to recommendation around here. They are seriously fantastic and I love how the mix the music and keep the party going.
Let me just take a moment to say, I love the dollar dance (when it's not drug on for an hour). It really gives you a chance to talk to people as well as get a picture with everyone. Seth and I set up camp and try to get a shot of the bride and groom with each person. Although these probably aren't the pictures you are going to put on the wall, I think they are important because they are memories with the people you love.