Getting behind the camera is definitely one of our favorite things to do but writing about our experiences with every couple we meet fills our soul.
Being a Chicago based wedding photography company we have become well versed in the areas surrounding us and the local venues that we love. An area we were not familiar with is Freeport, IL. I have to be honest, when this couple first contacted us I definitely had to pull up a map to see where it was. It was over a two hour drive, but man was it worth it.
Meet Catherine and Jake, two amazingly accomplished individuals that match their brain power with incredible personalities. From the first day we talked to these two Rue and I knew we would be a great fit for each other. Listening to their plans of bringing a backyard wedding up a few levels to a grand event with the finest details made me want to capture it even more.
Jake made my job so easy. From the second I stepped into the room I felt like we were on the same page. He was so laid back, even though he tried to tell me he was nervous. Nothing seemed to bother him and his go with the flow mentality made the entire event go so smoothly. There is so much going on during these times and so much to think about but he took every minute he could to truly enjoy the time with his groomsmen and appreciate everything that was taking place.
Catherine was equally as laid back and go with the flow. The only times I remember seeing her without a smile on her face were the times we asked her for a more serious look for a photo. Even then, I think she really struggled turning that smile off, and that thing was contagious. Every person from bridesmaids, to parents, to guests, and vendors couldn’t help but grin every time she walked by.
The day was flawless of course, but that was not by accident. Alexandra and Brianna from Weddings by Danica were on site to coordinate everything. They handled everything like the true professionals they are. We appreciate great coordinators and so did Catherine and Jake. Catherine said, “They both did a fantastic job directing everyone both days! I highly recommend them to anyone that’s looking for a day of coordinator!”
Also, what wedding reception is complete without a great MC? Catherine and Jake hired DJ Harsh as their DJ and I have to say out of all the weddings I have been to, Harsh is amazing. His personality, style, and ability to make the party happen was incredible. He was there the entire time to help us make announcements and get everyone on the dance floor when it was time. Catherine said, “DJ Harsh! He stayed on for an extra hour and even stayed to enjoy the party. He did a great job making sure our music was how we wanted it! It was a pleasure working with him!”
After the wedding dust has settled and the bride and groom come down off their wedding day high we like to take a minute to ask them how things went and what advice they have for future brides and grooms.
What was your favorite part about wedding planning?
Watching everything and everyone come together at the end. I was really impressed with our vendors!
What advice do you have for future brides and grooms?
It’s never too early to start planning!
What is your favorite memory of the day itself?
Walking down isle and seeing Jake there.
Every single wedding we photograph is unique. Some may be at the same venue or use the same vendors but there are always little things that make it stand out in its own way. Take the time to plan your day and surround yourself with quality vendors that will make your wedding day memories even better.
Engagement photos at Morton Arboretum are just magical!
The Morton Arboretum holds a special place in our hearts. We have been there many times over the years but the most memorable time was when we had Cora’s one year old photos taken there. Every time we drive past the location it brings me back in time. Every couple we bring through there gets to hear us get all sappy describing what it was like and how we miss those times.
Ashley and Joe were no different. We met them at the gates and they hopped in with us for the tour around Morton Arboretum and the story of our daughters one year old photos. It is always an interesting conversation because I remember what I was like before I had kids, tired of hearing about other people’s kids! They didn’t seem put off by it at all though.
The best part about engagement photos at Morton Arboretum is that you can drive around this park and having almost every look any couple could ever want in one session. Do you want photos in the woods? Morton Arboretum has that! Do you want photos by water/ponds? Morton Arboretum has that! Do you want tall grass or meadows filled with flowers? Morton Arboretum also has that! The possibilities of this place are endless.
Rue and I definitely have our favorite locations but we are always up for something different. If you are up for an adventure, let us know!
Anyone who has had a consult with us knows how we feel about printing your wedding photos after the big day but for those of you that haven’t heard our talk, here goes!
Rue and I have been married for a little over eight years at this point. We printed a handful of photos in relatively small sizes from an online lab to hang on our wall. We didn’t know much about printing or print labs at the time so we went with one of the first places we were able to find on Google. We had the digital files of our photos so we didn’t think much of it. Neither one of us felt it was important to get an album or go any further with print. We thought we had what we needed. We were never educated on the importance of this stuff.
Flash forward a few years and the laptop that we had ALL of our wedding photos on started to have problems. We had issues accessing the photos and could not find more than eight of them. Our photographer didn’t offer any type of photo back-up so we didn’t have them anywhere else. A few years and two kids later we found that old, broken, computer in our basement collecting dust. I realized that we never actually got those photos off of the computer and that they were likely gone.
I am no computer genius by any means but I was able to find the old downloads tucked far away in the corners of technology and extract them to our new computer. So much stress was lifted off of my chest when it finally worked. So many years had passed and the fear of losing them forever was now gone. We backed them up the same way we do client photos so they are never going away.
This experience has changed the way we look at physical items like prints and albums. We want to educate every couple we work with about our mistakes and why printing is so important. The grand photos we print now from a silly day at the park or the beach far exceed the quality of our wedding photos that we printed. I love seeing my kids huge smiles in a 20”x24” frame on our wall but seeing Rue in her wedding dress in the same frame would make my soul happy.
We have been offering some print items from the beginning but have just recently added frame collections as well. We want to be that one stop shop to encourage as many people as possible to print their photos. Those real moments that we capture deserve to be showcased on your walls and you deserve artwork that you can display for eternity.
Covid has definitely changed the way we all do things. Some of us have been affected more than others. Some of us take it more seriously than others. Regardless of your personal views, it is here and we all are dealing with it in our own ways. In all the negativity and division that came in 2020 we wanted to try to take some positives into 2021 by reflecting on what changed for the better during this time. One of the ways we have seen positive changes in the wedding industry is the emergence of more small weddings. These smaller, more intimate, events have just seemed so special. There is so much more focus on the couples themselves, their immediate family, close friends, and the reason everyone is there that day – To celebrate the love of two individuals that want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives.
Meet Mr. and Mrs. Funk. Two adorable love birds that contacted us last minute for an intimate backyard wedding at their home in the Chicago suburbs. During our initial chat on the phone they said they were hoping for a little snow to really make this a winter wedding. They didn’t get the snow they asked for but they did get a pretty good winter alternative being partly sunny and forty degrees in December.
We spent about four hours with these two with the “getting ready’ photos, bridal portraits, groom portraits, ceremony photos, and a 1 ½ hour session at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, Illinois. We wanted them to have their full wedding story told through their photos so they could re-live this day for the rest of their lives every time they look at their wedding album.
The love between these two is obvious. The way they look at each other, talk to each other, and seem to be always touching. It was such an emotional event because of how emotional they were. Everything was about just being together and celebrating privately as newlyweds. They waited to read their vows until they were alone at the forest preserve, had their first dance alone at Fabyan Woods, and just really seemed to enjoy every single moment they had with one another.
The Gathering Barn Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Waking up this morning, I was surprised by the amount of snow I found outside my suburban Chicago home. It was just a light dusting, and it was already starting to be melted away by the steady rainfall, but for a moment, I was taken back to November 8th, 2019 when another unexpected snowfall occurred.
We were referred to Missy and Kyle from another client (and friend) and we immediately hit it off! Missy and Kyle laughed their way through their engagement session and we were already getting antsy thinking that we had the honor of being their wedding photographer. I can still remember how excited Missy was while talking about the engagement and planning her vision for the wedding. The engagement session was flawless, but how could it not be with such a gorgeous couple?! I was mesmerized by the amount of love they shared between each other in those moments.
Next up: the wedding day!!
I remember the day so vividly, leaving Illinois to drive up to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Our destination was The Gathering Barn, the venue for Missy and Kyle’s Wedding. Missy had a vision of being outside on the beautiful property for their wedding and their photos, but the weather had some other plans. It was bitterly cold and the light blanket of snow made your feet just wet enough that after a few minutes you couldn’t feel your toes anymore. It seemed as if her wedding vision may be changed.
Most brides would have been disappointed, but not Missy, she was determined to make her vision come to life. The bridal party and groomsmen assembled inside their own bridal suites on separate sides on the property. The natural light flowing through the windows in each suite made for the most beautiful photos, and thanks to the propane heaters, we all stayed warm (and a little light-headed).
After the ceremony, the sun was in the perfect place for golden hour photos. Missy, undeterred by snow, wore her little jelly flats and walked around the entire property with us to capture as many moments as possible. I know I couldn’t feel my toes and fingers and I was much more covered than she was from the cold weather that day. Even with the snow, cold weather, and changes to the “plan,” Missy had the day she was so excited to have for so long.
After nearly getting frostbitten, we all went inside to warm up and enjoy some delicious food and dancing. The reception was also at The Gathering Barn and they surely delivered a wonderful space. The venue was large enough that no one felt crowded and with the cold weather outside it was a cozy retreat for the evening. Dinner was fantastic, the speeches were tear jerkers, and the desserts by Poppy Cakes were to die for. It was a day any bride, although somewhat unexpected, would love to have.