Ryan & Rachel are an incredible couple. Their steady, deeply considerate affection for each other resonates through every encounter you may be blessed to have with them and extends to the people around them. For more on their love story, click on over here. Their day began at the Stade home, filled with sunlight, laughter and the occasional happy tear. Rachel descended the stairs to the delighted smiles of her family and bridesmaids, before being whisked away to the church and her eager groom. The church was beautifully enhanced with some of our favorite flower arrangements ever – provided by Erin of Event Floral. After a heart-felt ceremony, the bride and groom made a quick get-a-way in a fantastic antique car. After formal church photos the bridal party was taken by an old fashioned Trolley and transported in style to the grounds of the Ellwood House for wedding photos. After a laughter-filled time of photos, the new Mr. & Mrs. climbed aboard the trolley with our final destination of Aquaviva Winery and a stunning reception. The entire day was meticulously coordinated by Amanda of La’Di Events and could not have been more seamless. The vineyard was just showing glimpses of a new summer’s crop – it was a perfect backdrop for the new couple to have a few quiet moments together.The Aquaviva dining room was candlelit, filled with flowers and overflowing with delicious smells and of course, wine! The night was filled with beauty and lots of dancing to the stellar sounds of Hey Jimmy – Rachel is a talented musician and the music at her wedding and reception reflected both impeccable taste and equally talented friends. Ryan & Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us, it was truly an honor and we pray God’s richest blessings in your new life together.
Derek and Melissa met about 8 years ago through mutual friends. Melissa was leaving for college in 18 days, so they weren’t sure how a long distance relationship was going to work. Thankfully, their love for each other was strong enough and here they are 8 years later!
Since Melissa is such a big kid at heart, Derek set up an Easter egg hunt for her on Easter this year. It took her a while to find the last egg, but when she did, she also found that Derek had hidden her engagement ring inside it! And the wedding planning began!
We started their engagement session at Ferson Creek Park in St. Charles where the trees were a rainbow of colors and the smell of fall was in the air. After a little while there, we took a short drive over to Pottawatomie Park. As the sun was setting, it lit up the trees and they were a glowing golden color. Just walking around the park with Derek and Melissa, it was obvious how much they love to joke around and make each other laugh.
About 5 years ago, Derek went out to dinner with his mother, little did he know, he was going to meet his future wife there. As fate would have it, Brianna was their waitress. One thing led to another and their love story began in that restaurant.
Every year, Derek and Brianna attend the Montgomery Fire Department parade and gathering for all the family members of the fire department. Santa comes for all the little kids and calls their name for them to come up and open a gift. Every year it was a running joke that Derek was going to put Brianna’s name on a gift for Santa to give to her. Last year, her name was called and she was very hesitant to go get the gift, but she went up not realizing Derek was walking behind her. It was then that he got down on one knee and proposed.
Just by spending a little time with the two of them, you can tell that they love to spend time with one another and always seem to have fun together no matter what they’re doing. They also spend a lot of time joking and laughing together.
We started their engagement session with some fireman photos then moved on to some more casual photos as well. Hoover Forest Preserve was beautiful, as the leaves had just started to change – and the lighting was incredible. Some of the most beautiful light I’ve ever photographed in! We are really excited for their wedding on October 3 next year- can’t wait to see what hints of the fire department they will incorporate into it!
Chris and Alina’s wedding day started at Long Grove Community Church. Alina, her mother, and her bridesmaids were excitedly preparing for the day. Chris, his father, and his groomsmen were relaxed, chatting about fantasy football and enjoying the morning together.
All of the details for their wedding were exceptional. Nothing was overlooked. Alina’s mother is a florist and she worked very hard preparing all the perfect flowers for the wedding – they looked and smelled amazing! Chris beamed with joy as Alina’s father walked her down the aisle. The couple exchanged looks of pure love and joyfulness throughout the ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the couple released doves as a sign of peace.
The reception took place at the beautiful Armour House at Lake Forest Academy. It’s an absolutely gorgeous venue. Everywhere we looked was one beautiful sight after another. When you add the exquisite florals from Alina’s mother, it made everything that much more beautiful, unique and special for Chris and Alina’s wedding day.
We were able to take the bridal party around the grounds for photos. It was fun to watch Chris and Alina just relax with their closest family and friends. Then we got some more personal time with just Chris and Alina and let them have some quiet moments to themselves. The smiles on their faces said it all.
Sincere. Steady. Unshakeable. All words that perfectly reflect Matt & Kelly’s relationship. In the hours leading up to their wedding you could see ‘steady’ joy as they counted down the minutes until they would see each other at opposite ends of the aisle. Their family and close friends surrounded them as they carefully made sure every last touch was in place.WeThere were a few unexpected twists to the day and schedules had to be altered – missing place cards threw one last little wrench in the day, but Matt told Kelly he would take care of it and instead of kicking back with the guys he plowed through their guest list the hour before the ceremony. Once she knew Matt was taking care of things, Kelly relaxed and it was one little way that he proclaimed his love just as loudly as the diamond he would shortly place on her finger. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and the day was perfect for an out-door ceremony. White Eagle Country Club was a stunning venue that set the scene for the shining bride as she met her groom on a flower strewn path – flowers compliments of Matt’s tiny niece!This wedding was unique for me as a photographer as Matt is Tammy’s brother. I was very ably assisted by Dallas (http://www.dallasarthurphotography.com) and it was fun to see my hard-working business partner enjoy her brothers big day. Her little guy was a hit as the ring bearer and he definitely knows how to make his Uncle smile!Sent off with cheers from their bridal party, Matt & Kelly stole a few moments together and Tammy joined me to catch her brother and new sister enjoying their new status.The new Mr. & Mrs. Neitzer were welcomed to their reception with a flurry of well wishes and some enthusiastic announcements – followed by cutting their fantastic cake.As dinner drew to a close, Matt whisked his bride to the dance floor. Kelly’s brother had the honor of the first bridal dance and Matt’s mom joined him for a special dance.Matt & Kelly, it was such a honor to be a part of your day. I loved watching you lean into each other – for support, out of deep love and genuine thankfulness. May the years ahead be incredibly full and blessed!
Dallas, thank you again for your great assistance, truly!