Friday, September 28, 2012


The didn't want to see each other before the ceremony so they went back to back and held hands instead. Adorable. 
The rings of generations of women in Jenna's family. 
Yes... I pray for your weddings. 
When the flowers wither, the dress is stored, the honeymoon suitcases are unpacked, and you're waiting in line to get your name changed on your license, all that was the wedding begins to settle. Now before that begins to sound anti-climatic and maybe even a bit depressing let me assure you, you're about to start the good stuff. Marriage is so much better than a wedding. And I love me some weddings! (: 
Living life both in the good and in the difficult with one another will be some of the most rewarding, challenging, and life-shaping experiences you'll ever go through and I pray that your weddings when all is said and done will turn into a marriage.    

For today's wedding I said a big prayer for the weather!  With a 100% chance of rain, and an outdoor wedding in the gardens you better believe I was prayin' for the weather to hold out. 
And you know what...? It did! 
For real the live radar was all bad news with the exception of this little clear spot just over our wedding at the beautiful Cantigny Gardens. Of course if you're having an outdoor ceremony you're hoping for good weather but this place is incredible and I was so glad we got to explore the gardens for the perfect spots for some amazing wedding pics. 

Today was a good one. Amazing bride & groom, wonderful bridal party, and the start to more than just a stunning wedding but a beautiful marriage. 
Congrats Chad & Jenna!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Celebrating 40 Years Well-Loved

As I've sat at my desk not-blinking for the past several minutes my sleepy body awaiting a seemingly never-ending to-do list in this wedding season debating whether to take the non-existent time that I have to write this. When it occurred to me. This...This debate of time, priorities, choices,  is quite literally what this post is even about. Daily, we make seemingly insignificant choices. Ones that aren't life-changing in and of themselves but when you look back to another chapter in life you're more able to see just how far you've come. For better or for worse.

We hear those vows (or at least I do a couple times a week) and often with teary eyes, the bride & groom's emotions promising "for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness & in health" will carry more weight than the daily actions they give each other. Again, it's not usually the grand obvious decisions that are the tricky ones. It's not when a spouse has cancer, it's when they have the flu and you fall behind on well...everything. It's not the will I or will I not feed my family? It's the question of whether you'll go to that soccer game or school play.

I also think it's more easily heard the for "poorer" part without giving too much weight that the for richer may actually happen. But when we're blessed enough to live in the for richer do we slow up to be with those we've promised? Too often its' not the case. Generally, I find we paddle even harder, climb even faster, motivated with the taste of success on the lips the words often out the mouth become: "I don't have time for this." We'll find time to say, buy a house, have a kid or two, get that job, but when broken down to the daily decisions of doing "Whose turn is it" the battle of fairness is a brewin'...

A couple weekends ago my family paused to celebrate a pretty-big milestone. My parent's 40th wedding anniversary! Wow! One of the things at the party was a 50 foot time-line of photos & tid-bits about our life as a family. From mom & dad's first date, to our various houses, and pets, to now generations later grandchildren (not from me) (: Beyond the nostalgia of it all what struck me the most and is one of the things I most admire about my parent's is the personal sacrifices they have made to make their marriage not only survive but flourish in a way that brides & groom's are hoping for when they stand hand in hand vowing such promises.

I can testify that that it wasn't always easy for em. They had to choose...And day after day... Year after year that's what they have done. Chosen to love each other more than themselves. Chosen that even if it's not fair they'll sacrifice anyway. Chosen to trust that advice given by the other is given in love. Chosen to trust that the Lord's plan for them even when times get crazy is always the best. Chosen to re-align themselves, their marriage, and our family to the core of the gospel. Chosen to unconditionally love one another and us especially when it's undeserving. Chosen to celebrate life's little successes; Often with banners, kazoos, pom-poms, and lots and lots of whistling! They have chosen for over 14,600 days to be united as one. For better for worse. And because of all of this they both stand blissfully blessed in the for better.

I love you mom & dad. Glad I got to take a day away from weddings to celebrate the greatest marriage I know. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mini-Sessions!!! Killer Deal!

I'm a sucker for a good deal. Now I'm not one of those where I'll buy a llama fur coffee holder (why that was the only example I could come up with I don't know. Pretty sure it doesn't exist. Or at least it shouldn't) just because it was a dollar but more often than not the clothes I get the most compliments on are usually cheaper than a footlong from Subway. Full of analogies today aren't I? And not very good ones. Okay... I got one for you. I once bought a floor length gorgeous gown for $8. Granted, it was 14 sizes too big for me but with the magic of my sewing mother we sized it down and got a steal of a deal. Ready for a heartbreaker example? Once saw a rocking chair (of debatable style) at a thrift store and couldn't tell if I loved or loathed it. Of course once I decided I loved it it was no longer there. So naturally now that I can't have it I want it and I start doing my research on where I could get it. Ready for this....? Turns out it was a one of kind and was worth $28,000! ARE YOU SERIOUS!?

All that to say, I don't want you to miss out on some killer deals we now have.

We are now introducing....Mini Sessions!!! Okay, you may not be stoked yet but hear me out.

Normally, a portrait session with us would run you $350 and if you wanted the disc it would be $99. Which before I carry-on know that this is still an option if you want. But a mini-session... Is $50! Holla!

How It Works: 

"Like" Melissa Marie Photography on Facebook to check up on any and all mini-sessions we have coming up as well as availability, and changes to any existing mini-sessions. You would also reserve your time-slot on the mini-session event wall on Facebook.

Mini-Sessions come in 15 minute increments. For 15 minutes it's $50. Need more time? No worries, you can add an additional 15 minutes for $25.  If you have kids I'd recommend getting two slots.

The session will be at a designated location. i.e. a park, the beach, a farm, etc. you come for your time-slot, we rock out some amazing pics, we'll have 10 of them edited for you in the coming week or so and if you want a disc you can purchase it for $20 or....que killer deal can get a friend to sign-up for any of our mini-sessions (make sure they note your name on FB) and your disc of image is free!

Getting excited yet!!?

Here's our upcoming mini-session(s) 

Fall Family Mini Session- 
Oct. 13th, Buffalo Creek Park in Downtown Long Grove. 1-4PM. 
(Can add more time-slots if need be) 
Has prairie grasses, converted barn shoppes, a little bridge with a creek, a big wooden gazebo, a covered bridge. So many super cute fall spots! Feel free to bring your lil' ones in their halloween costumes to get some adorable pics!

People already have been asking for more so here's two more sessions we're thinking of. Give us some feedback on if you're interested in these other ones and we'll add em in! 

*******(Potential add-in sessions)******* 
Fall Mini-Session-
Sat. Nov. 3rd most likely in the Wheaton area. 
The weather will have a nice chill by this time so cozy up in your best fall gear!

Holiday Card Session
Sat. Dec. 1st location to be determined
You'll get your images back in a matter of days so plenty of time for holiday cards! 

Remember to "like" Melissa Marie Photography on Facebook so you don't miss out on any details of this killer deal that we'll do periodically through the year! 
Share the photo love...Link this blog to anyone you think may be interested. 
You just may get your free photo disc! 
Gosh I love a good deal. (: 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perfect Day in the Country...

Once in awhile the weather just calls my name. The perfect crisp fall day calls for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and a walk amongst the changing trees. On a rainy day in spring,curling up on the couch with a soft blanket, a mug of coffee, and a magazine watching the storms roll in is so cozy. Summer? Obvious one right? Hello day at the lake with a BBQ as the sun-sets! Even winter, when there's a big snow storm my man-child of a husband ( I mean that in an endearing way, love that about him) and I will put on our snow pants. Yes... We're adults that own snow pants and walk amongst the snow covered trees. And of course build a snow fort. 

Well today... Today could not have been more perfect weather for a day in the country. Deep blue sky, huge white fluffy clouds, and just enough sun that I quite honestly would have taken a blanket from my car trunk and laid it out for a nap in the field. From rickety old barns, to fields of wildflowers my day with Jason & Kate was a dream. Absolutely loved it! And no doubt now that these two are comfortable with the camera we are going to rock out some killer wedding photos this weekend! 
Here's to hoping for perfect weather. (: 

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Beautiful Anchor of a Legacy...

It's kinda unfair that there were so many beautiful moments, details, & people at this gorgeous wedding at one of my favs Independence Grove in Libertyville. From a dramatic sky rolling over the prairie grasses to a ceremony completely immersed in the gorgeous garden, I was lovin' life. But ya know what was my favorite moment? That Vicki was my bride cuz she's crazy stunning!? Mmmmk. Fair enough. You know what was tied for my favorite moment of this wedding? Outside of the glamour of what was no doubt an absolutely beautiful wedding was in an unassuming hotel room before the hair, before the make-up (thank goodness!), before the day got in full swing this moment was anchor for the day. A time that I'm pretty sure I'll remember for the rest of my career and more importantly one that Vicki will cherish for the rest of her life?
The moment where it was just Vicki, her sister, and her mother, huddled together while the bride opened a little box with one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever seen. A pocket from Vicki's late-father's favorite Harley Davidson shirt holding notes & well-wishes from her sister & mom. After a few tears we pinned it underneath Vicki's dress. People sometimes say these are sobering moments but I think they're perspective shifters. It can be easy to get caught up in the what-nots of a wedding day and not really end up thinking too much of what is soon-to-be a marriage. I think there's no greater way to honor our loved one's than to love un-circumstantially, to be gracious even when it's undeserved, to be so generous with what has been given to us that it overflows to others, and to live a life that is so undeniably passionate that we ourselves are continuing to be a living-legacy of those who have gone before us. Adam & Vicki... May you be this for each other. 
Thank you for letting me be a part of capturing this beautiful chapter in your life! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


People always say "Like a kid on Christmas day" when referring to excitement but Mindi & Michael are Jewish. There's not a secret Hanukkah term that implies being absolutely ecstatic is there? None the less, there may not be two people more head over heals, holy cow lets get the party started ready to get married than today's bride Mindi & her groom Michael. Some brides shed a tear in anticipation Mindi jigged. Is that a word? Spell check didn't correct it so I'm gonna stick with it! And Michael...Lets just say every girl wants to be adored the way Michael adores his beautiful bride. They are an amazing balance of over the top fun, and an undoubtable sense of genuine love & respect for one another. It's nice to see LOVE outshine all the beautiful details that a wedding brings. 
And for love to outshine details like these is somethin'. Cuz Mindi's accessories were fab and the cool factor of the furniture in the Hotel Sax was ridiculous. From beginning to end we were honored to be a part of your special day. 
Keep having fun...
Keep adoring each other...
And both on good days and ones that are difficult remember this day: 
It was a good one!
So happy for you guys!