Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chicago Magic...

There's a magic vibe about Chicago. Especially around Christmas. And just as I begin to wonder why I don't come into the city more often my 45 minutes of trying to find a parking spot and $22 a hour parking fee reminds me. But ya know what? Today was totally worth it. There was a slight chill in the air, Christmas lights everywhere, and a beautiful couple that's as sweet as can be. 
Took a little while for us to find our comfortable groove but before long we're dodging taxi's and letting thousands of Christmas shoppers be more of a prop than a distraction. 
No doubt their wedding will be gorgeous. 
Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Never Fails...

Goodness knows I'm a home-body at heart but in theory if I were to move to another city Milwaukee would be one of the few on top of the list. No I didn't say Boulder, or Seattle...You heard me, Milwaukee. It never fails. You can literally find a ridiculously cool building, artsy store, or mega sweet coffee shop. Icing on the cake? No traffic, and oodles of available parking. Umm... Yes please. 
Well, today we hit up two of my Milwaukee favs. One of them was new & shown to me by today's couple Peter & Emily but no doubt I will return to this place every time I head north. I've never been to seattle but one thing that's super iconic and is something I've always wanted to take a pic of is their Public Market sign. Well who knew little Milwaukee has their own little slice of word art. Looks like I'm in the Northwest but only drove a couple hours. Inside this massively awesome loft is everything you could ever want. Love love love it! 
What's to love more than the market? Alterra of course! I may have a slight obsession with this coffee shop. I may have even contemplated going up north for the day just to spend some time in this piece of caffeinated heaven. It may even be my favorite shot of the day. Nothing crazy. No skyscraper, or hustle and bustle of a city just a warm everyday type of shot. 
Plus this is where Peter & Emily first met. (: 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

He's Always Been Faithful...

Okay...Let me preface this post with the fact that she's due in just over a month and we literally had to tell her to push out her belly because she didn't look pregnant. 
Her belly is mine after I've eaten a Pizza.... Just sayin'... (: 

In all seriousness though... Watching, talking, and praying for my dear friend Lindy as she's gone through the ups and downs of waiting for the blessing of this child has not only brought my friend and I closer together but it's taught me life-long lessons about trusting the Lord and not making assumptions about people's journeys in life. 

Upon asking them to write something personal on the chalkboards I had a silent "amen" upon reading what they wrote: "He's Always Been Faithful." Most people will never know the journey it's been for Kyle & Lindy as they've hoped and prayed for little Landon and I will never know the depths of it but it has been absolutely amazing to see how they've trusted in the Lord more than their circumstances. 
May this lesson that they've walked in so faithfully remain in the joys and trials ahead in life as they build their family.

Lindy- From college dorm room laughter, to bridesmaids, to life-long friends, you are dearly loved! 
I may not be a mom but you need anything you just ask.
I mean that. 
Love you girl. (: 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big Italian Family...

Between engagements, weddings, more engagements and more weddings I've fallen in love with this big Italian family. You ever have one of those friends growing up that eventually you got to the point that you no longer rang the door bell, you just let yourself in and called out "Hello?"This is that type of family. But you don't have to have known them since you were five you love them from the first time you meet. Mom, sister, grandpa, the whole gang is there for everything I love it. 
I also love that the family is expanding. 
Michael Anthony joined the crew about 5 months ago and as you can see...He's a little cutie!
We're out of siblings to marry off in this group so looks like I gotta hope that they have more kids so we can keep meeting together and having fun with some pics. (: 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beautiful People....

The first words of my inner-monologue upon first meeting: "Holy crap, they're beautiful!" I'm not easily flustered and I know it sounds ridiculous to say that I was but....I was. I had one cheesy "pick-up" sounding line after another. "Are you sure you haven't done this before?" "Are you sure you don't have a secret career in modeling?" Lame...I know! But do you see them!? 
I mean I was gettin' cuddles, eye contact to camera, killer body language. 
I was gettin' gold people. Gold!
What a freakin' fantabulous day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I always recommend couples to first think if there's any spots that have meaning for them. Like for me and my now husband it was an old gazeebo. Not the prettiest place persay but we would talk till the sun came up there. Shoot, no joke, he learned to crochet so he could make me a blanket to convince me to stay out there longer. (:
It's the local coffee spot, the movie theatre, the old jalopy car, it those things that have the memories. 
So if we can capture a glimpse in time like that, it's been a great day. It just so happens that today's couple Chad & Jenna's "place" was at the beach. 
Memories & a ridiculously sweet background, uhhh... yes please. (: 
Though I shoot here all the time I absolutely loved getting to capture an amazing time in life for Chad & Jenna at a spot that they will always cherish. 
Looking forward to the big day! 

With legs dangling over the sidewalk wall this is where they had many of their dates. (:
I love that...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nerf Guns....

Remember several weeks ago my "blue wall" post in which  I mentioned how fun that couple was? Yeah...I showed up to their wedding to Nerf guns...! Not kidding... How great is that? 
So I think it goes without saying that the couple is as laid back as it gets! But something you or even most anyone who even attended the wedding wouldn't know is that along with all our silly moments the bride, Brianna, would tear up in anticipation of seeing Logan for the first time or that at the end of the night Logan gave me a real appreciation hug. Sure your wedding is supposed to be fun but it can be so much more than that. It can be a recognition of just how many people love an support you. It can be a day that for once others can give back to you for all that you've done. It can be a day that gratefulness can whelm your heart. Logan & Brianne got that...To me, that's the most enjoyable part of a really special day. 
Congrats guys....!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Years Gone By...

You know you're getting old when a "kid" you've known since they were in 6th grade is now getting married.

You also know you're getting old when someone at the wedding goes: "You took our prom pictures! That was like 4 years ago!" 

Oh geesh... (: 

Yes... I've known today's bride Lindsay for nearly half of her life at this point. I was her youth leader, her "stay out of trouble while you're parents are away guardian", and I'd like to think, her friend. Lindsay's always had a smile that's infectious and a personality that's as vibrant as it is endearingly charming. But the thing I'm more proud of is to see her grow in maturity. She's always been responsible but I feel like she's finally come around to not only seeing but acting on all the wonderful traits we've said she's had all along. 

She's strong...
She's loyal...
She's sweet...

And one of the most photogenic people I know. I took her prom pictures remember. (: 

So today has been wonderful in that I not only get to see her step into another amazing chapter in life with Mike but I get to capture some pretty sweet memories along the way. 

Some highlights: 

For one... They really could make a soundtrack out of her ceremony. My goodness!
Second...Um...Are you seeing the picture that I'm seeing? Uh... How cute are they!?

Third... I adore their bridal party! They were so fun! 

I literally have never seen the ENTIRE wedding dancing from the very first song. I thought to myself: "There's no way this can last like this!" Uh... It did!
With that, shout out to some pretty great DJ's with 6:7 entertainment.  
I also want to give a shout out to IndyVisiual for hookin' me up with some extra pics! 
Super generous of you! Appreciate it!

Lindsay... Congrats my dear. Good things come to those who wait patiently! Be sure the Lord is the center of your life & your marriage! 
Mike... I have no doubt you'll take great care of Linds. (: 

Congrats guys!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Row of Trees...

Several years ago there was this little back road that had an infinitely long drive-way perfectly lined with trees and rustic farm fences. The street was on my route to church so each Sunday in the fall I'd go nice and slow to see if the leaves down my dream drive were just right for a picture. I ended up doing that for 6 years straight. No joke. Never did get it right. But have no fear, IKEA had a picture that was close enough. (: 

I feel like this row of trees has been a similar feat. I always come with high hopes and for whatever reason whether the sun is too bright or moms are having picnics on the lawn it just hasn't worked. 
(To it's full potential) But I think this is the best one yet...
Take That IKEA. (: 

This is totally random but I feel like every time I blog my post has a good color scheme goin' and then I fall in love with a picture that just doesn't match. Hence the pic below. But can you blame me? It's like a little secret garden. And how cute is this couple!? 
They seriously were absolutely amazing to work with. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

True Winner...

There's few people that are as competitive as me. Now I don't get mean & people totally wouldn't know it but I may or may not get internally peeved if I lose at Mario Kart or need to take a walk if I lose to my most prestigious gaming talent, Monopoly.
(Which I've literally lost twice in my life at that)
With that all being said today's groom and a college friend of ours, "Cake" hands down no doubt about it is more competitive than me. I never see him happier than when he wins a game of Ping Pong or shuts out a solid team in goal during soccer. 
That was until today....
I have never ever, EVER seen Cake as happy than at his wedding. 
You could just tell: His eyes squinted when he'd try and take in how gorgeous Danielle was. And he'd tear up trying to declare how appreciative he is of his parents. 

Now that doesn't negate his competitive spirit all together. They had their wedding at Pinstripes. Which is not only ingenious to have a wedding there but it's so Josh & Danielle!  Who doesn't want to go bowling and play bocce ball during cocktail hour?
Okay... You can un-furrow your brow. 
It's fancy bowling and bocce. Like...Really fancy. 
And their food is killer. 

So Cake can win a game of Bocci and celebrate the big day? 
Talk about a win win! (: 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Mae...

So one afternoon I got a call from a wonderful family who I had not yet met and I heard about their newest addition to their family "Mae" who they adopted in....May! 
I cannot even begin to tell you the miracles that have literally happened in my life because of my own adoption 20+ years ago. After spending a bit of time with Mae I could see physically she's not where a lot of two year old are (YET!) but it honestly bonded me more with her. I was predicted to never to walk or talk...On every single report card of my life it said: "Melissa talks too much" and I not only walked but went to college on a soccer scholarship. 
All that to say, the love of a family can go a long way and I'm incredibly happy for them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm Cool With Blue...

Not gonna lie I was mega bummed when I first saw that my favorite wall was painted. That was until Logan & Brianne...It was perfect...
Classic yet at the same time not at all.
Kinda like them! 
They have these super cute mannerisms that they totally don't even know that they do but then can have me laughing in fits with a funny comments or random move I didn't expect. 
I did however expect our lets call it: "Bust a move" sesh to be great. 
And it was. (: 
You know what else will be great? Um...Their wedding! Which is just around the corner! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Been Awhile...

Yeah...I know. Ridiculous right? Haven't seen a sunset like this in years. Well, gotta be honest, I didn't really "see" it until I started editing. Sunset pics were of prime importance to today's bride Lindsay and with a snug time-frame I may or may not have been a little pre-occupied with making sure we just got her pics before the sun fully went down. After editing thousands and thousands of pictures a week (Crazy I know) to find pleasant little surprises like a ridiculous sun-set that you didn't fully get to embrace the first time around is what keeps me excited day after day. 

It's also been awhile since I've loved a wedding band so much. 
Well this wasn't your average wedding band and in fact they're not a "wedding band" at all. Not too many people would name themselves "Spoiled Rotten" if they planned to play for weddings. (: 
Haha....But seriously....They were amazing! 

Gorgeous sunset...Venue with not only a panoramic view of lake michigan but is just steps from the water...A band that was legit...and a couple that's even greater than all these things. 
Another great day for the books. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

According To Seasons...

You ever have a long sleeve shirt that you only wear in the fall? In theory, its just as usable in the spring when temperatures are similar but no...theres certain things reserved for certain seasons. 
What? Like its not feasible to have pumpkin pie in July? 
Or fireworks in January? 
No date on a calendar can keep me from my pie. (: 

Same seems to be true of fall photo shoots in Long Grove and winter receptions at Chevy Chase. Sure I shoot in long grove's quaintness often. Are you kidding me? It's as cute as it gets! But there's nothing like Long Grove in the fall. And there's nothing like Chevy Chase in the winter. Well, that is until now.
 I had no idea their were stunning gardens in the back yard. 
Hello gorgeousness!

You really can't go wrong with either spot and you for sure can't go wrong with today's couple. 
They're great.
I'm so lucky this is my job. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Go Big or Go Home...

For such a tiny girl there is no goin' small when it comes to today's bride Tina.  From start to finish "BIG" was the name of the game. 

She had the biggest bridal party... 
16 on each side not including flower girl & ring bearer!
Despite 41 people in theory being insanity they were absolutely amazing to work with they were easier than most smaller groups!
Plus they were so fun. (: 

Biggest Hair... 
She'd say: "I need more hair! More hair!" 
She turned out stunning. 
(No surprise there!) (: 

Biggest Centerpieces...
I honestly think if they were on the ground they'd be taller than me. 
Which in a sense isn't sayin' much but for centerpieces!? 
They were gorgeous.

Biggest Candy Table...
No exaggeration they could have opened a full on candy shop with the selection they had. And it's not just oh a little bowl of jelly bellies here and some Tootsie rolls there, they had full on every flavor of every candy you could think (including cotton candy!) in massive containers. 
As in a child could sit in it massive. 
Sorry weird analogy but that's all I got. (: 

And last but certainly not least she had the biggest party goin' on.
It's pretty inevitable that after most weddings the guests chant: 
"One more song! One more song! One more song!"
No lie, at this wedding it went: 
"One more hour! One more hour! One more hour!"
Several hours later in the wee hours of the night 
the party was just as strong as it started and it was an absolute blast!!! 

I adore this family and was so glad I got to be a part of the day. 
Congrats guys!
The groom, Vinnie is a firefighter. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Joliet Union Station...

Where did these people come from!? 
And by "these people" I mean my bride Erin & her groom Jon. 
I hope you know I'm saying this lovingly but for a couple with such quirky personalities they flip the switch to elegant Italian Vogue Wedding edition pretty darn quick when a camera is on em! 

They're sarcastic....Yet genuine.
Layed back...Yet willing.
Tough...Yet Sentimental. 
And all around an absolutely wonderful couple. 
So glad I got to share in their day!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Okay...I've never done this but throughout the years of weddings I've come across many celebrity look alikes. From Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, to Shia LaBeouf, (All from the same family, no joke) But today... I had a first for a certain celebrity and  it's definitely a first for me to point it out on the blog but after the fact that it took me a couple hours to figure out "who it was" she looked like I gotta point it out now. (:
Not that I watch the show or anything because that would be embarrassing (to admit) but from the many seasons of me "not watching"(: the Bachelorette I think Deanna was the most stunning and today's bride  Joanna could be her twin. Well, maybe her even prettier younger sister. (: 
She's one of those girls that when you walk in the room you go: "Dang, she's gorgeous." Her sweet & kind demeanor is equally stunning. So needless to say following this chick around all day was pretty great. (:
(Am I right!? or am I right!?)

It was also a first for me to do back to back ceremonies for the same bride! (: 
Yes...Yes I did just say two ceremonies. 
Made for a busy day but the more you spend time with their families the more you see just  how right of a decision that was. 

And last by note least...Joanna was marrying Nick who is Greek & one of the traditions is to write two single ladies names on the bottom of your wedding shoes and whichever name rubs off is the next one to get married. That's just about as true as catching the bouquet but it's little fun tradition that I've never seen before. 
Congrats Nick & Joanna!