Lake Lawn Resort, Wisconsin Wedding | Keith + Elizabeth

Where to even begin?  Sometimes when you meet someone, you know instantly that there will be a friendship.  You just click with each other and know it was meant to be!  I met Elizabeth at a bridal show back in January.  She came by with some of her bridesmaids, one of whom promptly knocked over my canvas display and broke the easel!!  Elizabeth was pretty mortified but it was a perfect ice breaker and we all had a great laugh at the whole situation! I still tell that story! hahaha

Fast forward a few weeks and I got to have an in person consultation with Keith and Elizabeth.  They are literally the sweetest people you will ever meet!  I immediately noticed a necklace that Elizabeth was wearing.  It was silver, with 2 fingerprint pendents.      I have the same one.  Its my dad’s thumbprint that I’ve worn everyday since my dad passed away.  As it turns out, Elizabeth lost both of her parents and wears those fingerprint necklaces as a remembrance piece.  At that point in the conversation, it really did feel like I was meant to be a part of their day, and more importantly to capture the joy of their love.

Keith and Elizabeth’s wedding day was one of my favorites!  The love that surrounded them was unparalleled and there were so many sweet ways that Elizabeth incorporated her parents into the day.  Elizabeth’s brother walked her down the aisle and her uncle’s shared her first dance (which was SO fun!)  It was a little chilly outside, but they made their pictures look effortless!  Overall, the day was beyond amazing.  I felt so welcomed by both families and I’m so excited to share a glance into their day!!

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Lakewood Forest Preserve Engagement Session | Kara + Gabe

This engagement session gave me ALL the feels!  The light, this couple, the RING, it was all perfection.  Kara and Gabe met through a mutual friend and they are some of the sweetest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  We had so much fun with the engagement session and I had a blast getting to know them better!

I knew we would be a great fit when I heard about their proposal story!  They went on a family vacation to San Diego in March and Gabe’s mom suggested they all get family pictures done.  Kara thought that was a wonderful idea because they hadn’t has professional photos done in a while and even JOKED to his mom that it would be a great time to propose!!!  Well, little did Kara know that was EXACTLY the plan!  Gabe had arranged from the beginning to propose to Kara during those pictures so they would have beautiful photos to look back on of that magical day.  How SWEET is that?!  Any guy that would hire a professional photographer to capture their engagement is someone I want to work with!  I love that Kara and Gabe are so passionate about documenting their love and I can’t wait until next year when they tie the knot!

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Veterans Acres Park Engagement Session | Casey + Taylor

When I first met Casey and Taylor at a tiny local coffee shop, I knew we were going to be a great fit!  Taylor has just the sweetest personality and it’s so obvious how in love these two are.

Taylor requested an engagement session with more a forest/wilderness vibe and I loved that idea!  We settled on Veterans Acres Park in Crystal Lake and WOW! I’ve never been there before and it is absolutely gorgeous.  So many mature trees, a huge pond and some super cute walking paths!  I got there early to scout out some locations and found out that access to the board walks wasn’t possible because of all the rain we had recently.  I was bummed, but found some other amazing spots to use.  The weather was perfect!  When Taylor got out of the car, I was SO impressed with her outfit!! She had this amazing flowy skirt on with a black and lace top.  It was perfection! And Casey’s outfit complimented Taylor in the best way.  Seriously, these two were outfit goals!  (not to mention Taylors gorgeous HAIR!!! <3)

The only thing I didn’t account for was how quickly the sun was going to set behind those huge trees.  We lost light pretty quickly and made the decision to come back in a week to finish it up with the second outfit.  I’m so blessed to have such amazing clients who value photography in the way these two do!

We got back at it a week later and were finally able to access the boardwalks….and it was so dreamy!  The light, the willow trees, the bridges…it was everything dream engagements were made of!  Even though we all got eaten alive by these mutant mosquitoes, it was about 90 degrees and they were in fall outfits (how cute are those black and grey outfits they are in?!), they made it work.

Taylor and Casey, thanks for trusting me and being so flexible!! I had the best time with you both and can’t WAIT for your wedding next year!

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Navy + Maroon Destination Wedding | Katelyn + Evan

Love. What a simple word with huge implications.  Its amazing to me how a tiny, four letter word can sometimes hold the weight of a thousand words.  Many of us strive to find it, long for it to surround us and bring us peace.  Those of us lucky enough to find it in a partner, hope and pray that it sticks.  We hope that through love, we can conquer the most daunting situations.  I’m not sure I have ever seen love as tangible as the connection between Katelyn and Evan.  Not only in their connection to each other, but to all those that surround them, support them, celebrate them.

I met Katelyn a few years ago when I hired her to choreograph one of my musicals.  We had a pretty instant friendship and I have enjoyed getting to know her through that creative outlet.  When Katelyn got more comfortable in our friendship, I started to hear about Evan.  Listening to Katelyn talk about Evan is so much fun.  I felt like I knew Evan just from how Katelyn described them.  Outgoing, funny, full of life and joy, it was so obvious how much Katelyn loved Evan.  When Evan proposed, I remember I was on a bus with my show choir kids (kids who know Katelyn).  I screamed out “OH MY GOSH!!!” and immediately told all the students.  Needless to say, there were lots of cheers and yelling 🙂  The students love Katelyn as much as I do!

Meeting Evan for the first time during the engagement session was like meeting an old friend that I’ve known forever.  There was a comfortable bond that we all shared that made the engagement session one of my favorites ever!  You can check that out here!  After meeting Evan (and Albert, of course) I knew the wedding was going to be so special.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, and I’m preparing to fly out for my first destination wedding, heading to Kansas and Katelyn’s hometown.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to Kansas before, but it’s pretty similar to where I grew up in Ohio.  Lots of open land, crops, farms….it felt right. Katelyn and Evan’s wedding took place at Katelyn’s childhood home.  They transformed the HUGE backyard into a fairytale wedding venue, complete with twinkling lights in the trees, a wedding canopy for the ceremony, a food truck, and Photo Booth.  It was amazing to see so many people working together to create a truly magical day.  Katelyn and Evan have so many friends and family that covered them in love throughout the process and especially on their wedding day.  I got to meet some new friends, including the videographer team from Kingmon Creative, who flew out from Seattle, WA.  They are friends of Katelyn and Evan’s as well, so having a media team that knew them personally really made this day even more special.

That brings me back to that tiny, four letter word.  Love.  With Katelyn and Evan, its tangible.  Its a connection that can’t be explained, but is so overwhelmingly present.  I am beyond lucky that I was able to be a part of this day.  It will forever live in my heart as one of my favorite weddings.  Katelyn and Evan, thank you for living your truth.  Thank you for allowing us to witness your love.  I wish you all the best!!!

Love is love is love is love is love.

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Purdue Engagement Session | Mitch + Kelly

I am SO excited to share this engagement session!! It was a long time coming as weather was a huge factor!  Kelly and Mitch wanted their engagement session taken on Purdue University’s campus.  Of course, I was thrilled to have that opportunity!  It was about a 4 hour drive for me, so we wanted to make sure the weather would cooperate.  We chose a date and of course, when that date came around the weather called for storms allllllll day 😦  But just our luck, after canceling the weather turned out to be gorgeous!  So we rescheduled.  The new date comes and again….calling for rain.  We decided to go for it anyway and off to West Lafayette I went,  camera and clear umbrellas in tow.  The evening ended up being gorgeous even with the intermittent showers.  It made for a interesting and FUN session!

Kelly and Mitch met on their FIRST day of college!! I can’t get over that! They are one of the sweetest couples I have had the pleasure of having in front of my camera.  We took a very relaxed approach to the session, and they gave me a tour of the Purdue campus.  I’ve only been there once for an Ohio State Football game (GO BUCKS!) but didn’t really get a chance to see the campus.  WOW!  Purdue is one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve been too.  There are so many fun places to take pictures and Kelly and Mitch took me to all their special spots.  We had the time to really get to know each other and I can not be more excited for their wedding next March.

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Downtown Wheaton Engagement Session | Elizabeth + Keith

I’m a little behind on the blogging as summer has come through the house full force!  After my mom spending a month with us, a week in Ohio, and a short, romantic, get-a-way for Michael and I, I’ve been playing catch up!

But let’s get right to it!  I’m happy to introduce a new NC couple, Elizabeth and Keith!  I met Elizabeth at a bridal show this past January.  It was a last minute decision on my part, but turns out to be one of the best I’ve made!  I will NEVER forget the moment I met her.  She was with a few of her friends, one of her girlfriends knocked over one of my display pictures! Haha! I should add that one of the other vendors had set up a margarita machine (genius!!).  Elizabeth and I just laughed as she apologized (it was really no big deal!) but it was a great icebreaker.  I knew we would be a great fit!

In talking with them, planning their engagement session, they wanted to incorporate some urban backgrounds in addition to a more traditional garden setting.  I was excited for the challenge and we decided downtown Wheaton would be a great place to start!!  I had never photographed there and didn’t realize how many amazing spots there were!  So many nooks and interesting backgrounds.  I will definitely be going back for other sessions!

We ended the session at Cantigny Park, also another location I’ve never been too.  We got extremely lucky because as we were leaving Wheaton, we got caught by a train and sat for a good 15-20 minutes, so we were rushing on time.  We got through the gate literally as they were closing the entrance for the evening!  We got in and got some amazing shots.  I really enjoyed my time with both Keith and Elizabeth and can’t wait for their October wedding!

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Independence Grove Blush + Mint Wedding | Josh + Nicole

Oh my gosh, you guys!!!  I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Josh and Nicole on their wedding day at Independence Grove in Libertyville, IL.  I have been looking forward to this day for MONTHS!!  Nicole is a former student of mine and when I was just starting out my photography business, she reached out for engagement pictures.  One thing led to another and they hired me to capture their big day.  I have been prepping, learning, and acquiring new equipment leading up to June 15th and it was MAGICAL!

Nicole’s attention to detail has always been one of my favorite things about her.  Even as a student, she was focused, hardworking and didn’t take short-cuts.  Seeing her as a young woman, getting married had me SO emotional.  I admit to tearing up more than a few times throughout the day.  Her colors (blush pink and mint) were so complimentary and the way she wove these throughout the day created such a cohesive look (which made my photographer heart sing!!) Her dress was a combination of two dresses and her mom told me that the dress shop will now start making this dress because of how gorgeous it is!

I loved watching each of them interact with their friends and I have to say that the groomsmen were some of the BEST behaved group of guys I’ve photographed in a while (THANK YOU!!!).  The ladies were so much fun and made my job easy!  It helped that I also had Nicole’s sister, Monica and Josh’s sister, Emily as students as well!! (it was like a little reunion!!)

Josh and Nicole were high school sweethearts, and while I had Nicole as a student, I didn’t know Josh in school.  Maybe a passing moment at a choir concert… But watching the love that Josh has for his bride is all I need to see to know that Nicole is in wonderful hands.  The support from their friends and family was tangible throughout the day, from the bridesmaids circling up around Nicole when we saw the groomsmen coming (SO funny!!!) to the funny and loving toasts from their Maid of Honor and Best Man.

One of the most touching moments for me to witness was the dad’s giving their speeches and prayers.  After losing my dad so suddenly, I know that this part of the day will always be emotional on a personal level.  The way Nicole’s dad spoke about her and the life she had growing up, to how he watched the love of Josh and Nicole grow….it did me in.  When Josh’s dad stood up to talk about welcoming Nicole into the family as another daughter (he has 4 now!!), it was the sweetest moment.  But the end of both father speeches is what hit me hard.  Each dad ended their speech with a prayer, but an interactive one.  They asked that all the family and friend outstretch their hands to cover Nicole and Josh as they prayed for love, patience, forgiveness, laughter, and togetherness. It was such a powerful moment and not one that I will ever forget.

Josh and Nicole, you have so many people supporting you, loving you, and praying for you.  I pray that you always lean on each other in the hard times and that you rejoice together in the best of times.  I love you both.  Thank you for trusting me with your day and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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I am OBSESSED with these Kate Spade keds!  I want a pair for everyday!

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The daddy/daughter first look had me in tears.  Such a sweet moment!

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One of the groomsmen suggested the “Flying V” formation…of course my answer was YES!!!

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This is the Maid of Honor, Brooke, and her reaction as Nicole was walking down the aisle!!

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Married!!!

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These guys are so fun!!!

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I love this veil shot!!

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One of my favorite images below!

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Covered in prayer.  It makes my heart melt.

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Below, Nicole’s sister and one of Josh’s sisters sang their first dance song!  Lots of tears!

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Vendors:

Venue: Independence Grove

Dress: Jasmine Bridal

Tux: Men’s Warehouse

Florals: Trellis Flowers

DJ/Entertainment: Memory Makers Entertainment 

Cake: Oak Mill Bakery

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Catering: Catering by Michael’s

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Marta Mardosz

 

McIntyre Family | A Smash Cake Session

This family is so so special to me!  We’ve known them for years and I’ve been able to capture many moments for them including their maternity session, a 6th month session and now a TACO cake smash session!  This was SO FUN…seriously.  This little dude is so chill and relaxed that he made my job easy 🙂

One of the best things about the session was that I was able to put my new in home studio to use for the first time.  I had all my lighting set up, the back drop assembled; it was awesome!

I knew I wanted to do some family shots of them outdoors, and it was SO HOT (seriously, like 94 degrees out).  I promised I would get them out of the heat in about 15 minutes and they were such troopers!  We were sweating so much, but you can’t even tell by those smiles and that sweet little ones chubby cheeks.  After we headed into the studio to cool down, we got little man all set up with this fun backdrop.  He wasn’t a huge fan of the cake at first, but got more into it because daddy was right there to help.  And finally, mommy got in on some of the fun.  Overall, this session was amazing and will hold a special place in my heart!  Enjoy this cuteness!!!

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An Engagement Session | Josh + Nicole | Lake County Forest Preserve

This couple probably looks familiar!!  I did their first engagement session quite a while ago but decided I needed them in front of my lens one more time before their big day!  They were my very first engagement session and between then and now, I have invested in some new equipment and education.  I have learned so much from other photographers and I really wanted to test out my new skills!!  It worked out perfectly that Nicole had her hair and make-up trial the same day 🙂  She was absolutely stunning in her mint dress (that perfectly matches her mint and pink wedding theme!!)  So we met at McDonald Forest Preserve in Lake Villa and found the prettiest white trees!

Somehow by accident, we figured out that these beautiful trees would shower petals if it was gently shaken and inspiration hit!  I immediately called my husband, Michael and asked him to come and assist me.  He brought our twins, and they hung out watching videos in the back of the van while Michael put his tree shaking skills to use.  It created such a wonderfully magical effect and those were some of my favorites from the whole session!  Thanks Nicole for going along with my crazy ideas! Ha!

To say I’m excited for their big day is an understatement. They are getting married in just 25 days at the beautiful Independence Grove and we are ready!  Nicole and Josh, I can’t wait for June 15th!!

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A Family Session | The Hoyts

I had the absolute pleasure of working with the Hoyt family last weekend!  We were originally scheduled for Sunday, but the weather reports kept going back and forth calling for rain (not surprised, right?!) so we decided to bump up the session to Saturday and we had GORGEOUS weather!  Independence Grove is one of my favorite places to take families because it has such a great variety of locations.  Even though the trees weren’t completely bloomed, I just love how these pictures came out!

Both Steve and Dara are teachers so we had lots to talk about and Steve even worked at the school I’m at currently! Small world 🙂  But these two adorable sweeties, really stole the show.  Little man was so talkative about his cars, his favorite movies, and pointing out everything he saw!  The little lady gave us a run for our money and wasn’t too interested in taking pictures but we got a few of that sweet smirk!  Once mama brought out the snacks, we were all happy and giggles!!

Dara and Steve, thanks for trusting me to take your family pictures!  I loved working with you and your little ones!

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