Caitlin + Nick : A Minnesota wedding on the Farm

This wedding was especially close to my heart.  Caitlin is the daughter of one of my cousin’s on my mother’s side from Minnesota.  You got all that? Good.  I have known her since she was a little girl and to be able to join in on her wedding day celebration was such an honor.  My mom and I even decided to make a girls road trip out of the weekend and had a blast together.

I knew when Caitlin contacted me and started describing the wedding details, that this day would be personal and unique.  They were married at a little white chapel close to the family farm where the reception would be held right after.  Surrounded by a lot of family and friends, these two created such a perfect day that embodied everything they wanted.  Isn’t that the dream for every couple? 😉

Here is their day –

Vendors :

Caterer: Parties Made Simple

Bride’s Hair : Salon Willow

Cake : Hyvee Bakery

Dress : White Rose Bridal

Dress Alterations : Renee Horn in Eyota,MN

Church: Sumner Center UMC

Reception Venue : Groom’s Family farm, Chatfield, MN

 

We had arrived the night before so I could scope out the church and family farm and I couldn’t wait to come by the next morning to start documenting this day.  Both Caitlin and Nick got ready at his family farm house (in separate rooms of course), and I was immediately greeted with big smiles and hugs.  I hadn’t seen most of this family of mine for years and it was a fun mini-reunion before I got down to business. 😉They were truly blessed with the most gorgeous day!Beautiful Caitlin all grown up. You are stunning lovely! <3We had a quick lunch break and this bride was NOT messing that dress up!  HAHA Loved her John Deer apron. 😉  She even wore it later during dinner. Right before the first look in the front yard, my Cousin Kate helped put the finishing touches on the bride.Caitlin’s sister Abby is the sweetest…and funniest…bridesmaid.  She had me laughing all day.Just GORGEOUS!!!I loved her detail!

Can you believe that background?!  Those trees surround the entire property!  It was easy finding spots for pictures….anywhere!
Through the kitchen side door, I found Nick hanging out with the guys, ready to start as soon as I walked in.  It was so nice out, I immediately took him outside.All dressed and ready to see his bride to be, I placed him in front and had the girls bring out Caitlin.They were both so anxious to see each other…Get ready for the sweetest first look reactions EVER!  The biggest smiles, and lots of tears.  Nick got emotional without realizing he would and these two were laughing through it all.  So much happiness!<3 <3 <3 In comes the BFF with the BOT (box of tissues) 😉I love when my couples want to do a first look!  We had so much time for pictures before their ceremony and became ahead of schedule the entire time. It was perfect because we were ALL relaxed and just had fun.  Isn’t that how EVERY wedding day should be?!

Are you kidding me with this property?!  I was in photographer heaven!When I say we were in farm-town, I’m not kidding.  Country roads as far as the eye can see and no one around.  It was so quiet and peaceful and it was all there for us to use for pictures.“You guys, it’s your wedding day!”

Caitlin’s excitement made EVERYONE so happy all day! Earlier, when scoping out the farm, I saw this stop sign and didn’t read closely.  I actually assumed it was a stop sign at the property for safety reasons. HA!

It reads : ‘Stop! The party is here!’

HA!We took pictures all over the property.  This was near the backyard by the open farm fields. And then our beautiful wedding party joined in!This was such a fun group of people!  I love photographing smaller wedding parties when its friends and family.  They all just wanted to have fun and were up for anything.  Sisters!  Caitlin and Abby are so sweet together.  Abby looks up to her and was such a helpful bridesmaid.  Such a sweetie! <3The beautiful ladies and their purple details. The dapper gentlemen.Ok guys, give me your best GQ looks…

EVERYONE was laughing at this!Star Wars fans?  Haha, loved these socks!A short drive down the country gravel roads and we all made our way into the little white chapel for the ceremony.Even after they did a first look, these two still had they eyes stuck on each other and their reactions were so sweet.

Many say you lose the tradition behind seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, but I think it ADDS to it.  The initial nerves are gone, and you are just ready to be married.  AND you get to spend more time together.  But look at these two, eyes only each other…PERFECT.So many sweet moments during this ceremony, and they never stopped smiling at each other.I love when couples get a few moments to turn around and look out at everyone who came to witness their day.  Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time…Mr. & Mrs.!!! (LOVE Caitlin’s face!)MARRIED!!! WOOHOO!!!Congrats you two!!!And back to the family farm we go to celebrate!So many fun details at the reception…The family helped to decorate the barn and they did such a wonderful job.  I kept saying how much people would pay to get a wedding venue like this back home! It was a beautiful rustic wedding!Loved the addition of lavender everywhere.They had snacks and drinks inside, and bags and games outside. And here they come! Congrats to Caitlin & Nick!!!Do you see the John Deer apron again? 😉 HA! With how clumsy I am with chocolate ice cream…let’s be honest…most food, I should probably wear an apron every time I eat!The BM and MOH gave some of the sweetest and heartfelt speeches.He had everyone laughing!The best part about this wedding was how laid back the entire day was.  Like I said before, we were ahead of schedule the entire day, but regardless if we weren’t, Caitlin and Nick planned a day where people could come, visit, eat, relax, and just enjoy the evening without any agenda.  People mingled, caught up with family they hadn’t seen in a while, and walked around the farm grounds.  I even got to hang out and talk with my own family members there in between taking pictures. <3

And throughout it all, Caitlin and Nick could stop and ask for pictures with anyone around…even the silly ones. 😉
One of the main wedding traditions done was the first dance with their parents.  They hadn’t planned to do a first dance as a couple, but Doug, Caitlin’s dad, passed the baton mid-dance and it was the sweetest thing.I’m so glad they had the chance to get a first dance together.  It was so beautiful to watch.
As we were waiting for the expected storm to come, there wasn’t exactly a ‘sunset’ for evening pictures, BUT we had the clouds!And the open field, and the cutest couple ever who never stopped smiling and laughing. 🙂<3 <3 <3“You guys, look at that sky! It’s amazing!”

Caitlin’s reaction looking back is priceless. <3But seriously, LOOK AT THAT SKY!!!I love these next two photos.  I kept asking, can you believe you are married?!  Their excitement and happiness was so fun to photograph.And I think little sister Abby was happy for them too. 😉They had planned to leave the reception a little earlier to meet a bunch of friends for a celebratory drink in the downtown area.  Talk about perfect timing!  Just as their truck was being backed up for the exit, the rain started to fall…A quick photo and these two newlyweds were off to celebrate the night away!

A little about Caitlin & Nick & their wedding *

Q.  When did you meet?  Where?

A. We met at Chatfield Senior High. I moved there my junior year 2012, Nick was a senior, and it was a small school where everybody knew everyone. We started dating after his graduation (of course we couldn’t make it easy)!

Q.  When did you get engaged? Where?

A. November 27, 2013 the day before my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving! We were in Chatfield at his parent’s house.

Q.  How did the proposal happen?

A. We were at his parents house for Thanksgiving break and were getting ready to move to River Falls, WI together where Nick was going to college. We walked out to my truck parked in the shed to get the card table I had bought for our rental house. I went to open the door and he said wait, when I turned around he had a piece of paper in his hands. He read me a beautiful letter about how our relationship had grown, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Obviously I said YES!! After we got the ring on we realized we had an audience of barn cats!

Q. What’s one thing about your spouse that made you realize you wanted to marry them?

A. N: Her down to earth personality.
C: He was so respectful from the start and always treated me right.

Q.  What was the most important aspect for you two when planning your wedding?

A. We wanted a relaxed feel where people were comfortable, could visit, play some games, and just enjoy the day with us.

Q. How did you choose your wedding venue(s)?
A. Sumner Center UMC has a lot of history with Nick’s family and it was an easy choice given we live in Chatfield. The reception was held at his parents house where Nick purposed.

Q.  What was your favorite thing about your wedding day?

A.  C: Getting to have all my family and friends in one place to celebrate!

N: Getting to spend the WHOLE day with Caitlin.

Q.  What were the first dance songs?

Newlyweds (this was a surprise from Nick, we didn’t plan on having a first dance) – Tangled up in you by Stained
Parents (joint dance) – Beyond the Sea by Jack Lawrence

Q.  If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

A. We wouldn’t change a thing!

Q. Where did you (or plan to) go for your honeymoon?

A. We stayed at Delta Lodge on Lake Everett in Iron River, WI. It was so beautiful and such a good time to relax!

Q.  Can you give any advice for future couples planning a wedding?

A. Stay true to each other, if your’re not into the huge party and glam don’t do it but hey if that’s your thing go big or go home haha. And one more thing that is hard to hear especially during planning is don’t sweat the small stuff because in the end no one remembers the napkins or the bows on chairs, if its not working let it go. The things your guests remember is how wonderful the day was and that they could share such a joyous day with you.

Q. How did you hear about ME – your photographer? ?

A.  You’re my cousin and could be more proud and thankful to have you be apart of our special day!!

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Thank you for sharing! And thank you for letting me be a part of your gorgeous day! It was truly an honor to be there to witness this and photograph your day for you two.  I wish you all the joy in the world for years to come and many, MANY years of blessings!  Lastly, lots of LOVE and LOTS of laughter!

HUGS

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Maddie, Emily, and Brad : Summer Family session at Lilacia Park

I was BEYOND excited when I was contacted for a family session with these 3.

I photographed Emily & Brad’s wedding back in 2013.  They were gifted a session with me during Christmas and this year, we finally got to meet up for it.  But not just anywhere.  We planned to take photos in their home and at Lilacia Park in Lombard.

The best part?  It was the same spot we took their wedding portraits so you know what that means….COMPARISON FUN!  We all know I love a good comparison.  (Scroll through to the end to see those) 😉

We started out by playing in the living room with their adorable daughter Maddie.  This girl and her cheeks.  I couldn’t get enough!

Oh and those EYES! <3 <3 <3

She had the most stern look and wouldn’t crack a smile for anyone…

HOW CUTE IS THIS SWEETIE?!?!?!

Mom and dad knew exactly how to get her laughing though.

She was loving her pop-up book!

 

Can we talk about her outfit for a second though? I kept saying I wanted an adult version of it!

Such a gorgeous day for pictures!

Love these sweet moments.

<3 <3 <3

And THERE is that big cheek smile! 🙂

Maddie’s favorite thing to do apparently?  Sit in the car with dad.

HA!

She couldn’t get enough of sitting in there and honking the horn…it really is the little things people.

Oh, and of course running away from mom and dad. 😉

A few blocks away is the gorgeous Lilacia Park where we walked around…and pretty much went wherever Maddie wanted.

It was beautiful out!

We started walking around all of the same spots mom and dad did on their wedding day…

This is probably my favorite picture…EVER!

If there ever was a picture that defined the hashtag #MOOD

Happy girl with her snacks. 🙂

Remaking their same wedding day photo…(keep scrolling)

I love Maddie’s look here. Like Miss Liz, you still here? ha!

Our main wedding day remake photo! Love this!

Oh Maddie, you are the epitome of fun!

What a gorgeous day with a beautiful family!

Thank you all for hanging out with me and remaking some of my favorite wedding day photos.

Maddie makes them even better now! (And of course a lot cuter!) 😉

Check out the fun comparisons below…

Until we meet again guys! Thank you for the memories!

HUGS!

Carrie + Michael : Sunset Engagement in Lincoln Park

I LOVE Lincoln Park! I especially love meeting up with couples to shoot their engagement sessions there.  It’s so pretty around the lagoon area, just south of the zoo.  There really isn’t a bad spot.

I was waiting up at the Grant Statue (yes, the Grant statue is in Lincoln Park and the Lincoln statue is in Grant park…go figure.), and walking up comes Carrie and Michael, dressed to a T!

Side note : I couldn’t get over the fact that Carrie looks EXACTLY like my favorite Disney Princess : Aurora!

I mean come on, she does right?! I was in Disney girl crush heaven! HA!But seriously though, these two had one EPIC photoshoot!

Every picture was beyond sweet.  I gave a little bit of direction, and they did the rest.

How adorable are they?!This one makes me so happy! 🙂When no one else is around on a gorgeous day at a regularly busy spot…you take LOTS of pictures and fast! 😉Carrie, you are stunning!I couldn’t get over the afternoon light we had.  I’m a sucker for that golden glow!No joke people, there was NO ONE around!  I actually started to think we were missing out on something! HA!

I couldn’t have planned it out more perfectly.  So thank you EVERYONE for staying away! 😉That sky and THAT LOOK!  You two are such a gorgeous couple!ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I started shooting an editorial session and didn’t even plan to!We started to make our way over to North Ave. Beach because it was gorgeous out…and leave it to me to stop my couples literally EVERYWHERE..even on a crowded bridge looking over rush hour on LSD.Seriously, no one around!

(JK, there were LOTS of people along the lakefront in this picture, but magic photoshop skills always helps!)

😉One of my favorites for sure!

I love the way Michael is holding her and his look, and Carrie just looks so content. <3<3 <3 <3A short walk along the pier and the sun started to set……and we got the most unbelievable clouds in the sky!SO BEAUTIFUL CARRIE!!!<3 <3 <3We ended the night with a few dip and lift shots…these got some BIG laughs out of Michael! HA! So much fun!You two!

THANK YOU!

Thank you for trusting me and following me around the city.  I couldn’t have asked for a better session.

You are so sweet together and I cannot WAIT for your wedding at the Knickerbocker next July!

Until next year,

HUGS!

Unicorns & Tea Time : The DiCaro Family

“We will have our tea party set up in the front yard when you arrive.”

I always know Jenny pulls out all the stops when it comes to decorating and dressing up her family for our shoots together.  Last year, we did a very colorful city session on the Lake.  This year, as I drove up, the girls were wearing the sweetest dresses, cowgirl boots, and sipping tea.  Yep!  They had a full blown tea party set up in their yard and everyone, including dad, took part.  It was the sweetest morning shoot.

Can you tell Maddie likes to ham it up for pictures?  Just wait…keep scrolling…

<3

These girls are the sweetest!

<3 <3 <3

How about a dance party in front of the tea party?

🙂

A few pictures in front of their new home.

This girl! I could have done a whole shoot of JUST her!

Pretty ladies.

Off to the horse farm we went where the girls have lessons…and this beauty was all dressed up and ready for a closeup!

A real life unicorn! 😉

So pretty!

How fun to do a photoshoot with their horses!

Thank you all for such a detailed and eventful session! I loved getting to see your new neighborhood!

Until next time,

HUGS

Sarah + Fred : St. Louis Wedding at Rocking J. Ranch

Meet me in St. Louis they said.

Sarah & Fred’s wedding day was nothing short of unforgettable.  From the traditional service to the gorgeous ranch venue, these two planned out the most beautiful wedding day.  When I asked them what they wanted out of their day, they both agreed they wanted a stress-free, laid-back, and FUN day.  I personally had a blast and I KNOW the people on the dance floor did too…keep scrolling. 😉  Their smiles never left and we lucked out with no rain all day.

Sarah + Fred :

“We wanted to get married in St. Louis because that’s where I lived and his family was closest, so it was easiest. We chose the church because it’s where I was a member while living in St. Louis, and we chose the reception because of the price and we thought the barn was cool, plus they already had a set menu and DJ and photobooth person and all that so it was less work for us.”

* * *

I knew Sarah through college friends as we both attended Concordia in Chicago.  When I got to meet her and Fred together for their engagement session at North Ave Beach and in Old Town, I couldn’t WAIT for the wedding day.  I always watch how couples interact with each other when we are discussing the planning and the details.  These two made each other laugh, smile, and genuinely happy throughout our time together.  They made taking beautiful pictures of them extremely easy.

As I had never been to the St. Louis area before, Jeff and I decided to make a Memorial Day weekend trip out of it.  We had a BLAST! 🙂 I got to scout out both the ceremony & reception venue’s the day before and stay after the wedding to explore Forest Park…(make sure to visit it one day)…and even make our way up into the St. Louis Arch.  But the best part was getting to photograph the sweetest of couples in a new town.  I love experiencing new places!  Add in a wedding and it’s perfect. Thank you Sarah & Fred for making that possible!

Here is their day –

Vendors :

Flowers : Always in Bloom

Altar flowers : Ardell Burchard Fresh Art, LLC

DJ and Photobooth : Mid-West Music STL

Makeup : Mynerva O’Toole

Hair : Tirzah Clerc

Church: Village Lutheran Church

Organist : Jacob Palmer

Violinist : Tom Winter

Reception Venue : Rocking J Ranch

Reception table centerpieces : Adel Strauss and friends

Bartender : Crystal Mowery (bartendingservicesetc@gmail.com)

Dress : The Ultimate Bride

Suit : Macy’s

I LOVED all of the color in their day.Sarah got dressed upstairs in the church…Love these smiles! (you can’t tell they are related, can you?) 😉Officially dressed and the tears come out. <3Sarah, you are such a natural beauty with the most infectious smile!…while Fred and the guys were downstairs.If there ever was a suit made for someone…looking good Fred!And just outside the church prior to the ceremony, under the trees, they did their first look.

They were both so happy! 🙂🙂 🙂 🙂I couldn’t get enough of their colors…and those flowers! I’m obsessed with peonies! <3How pretty is this spot?!The wedding party joined us shortly after.Fred and his nephew were so cute together.After a few family portraits outside it was time to get these two married.Having a worshipful ceremony was very important to them. <3And what better place for this than in the church Sarah attended while living in St. Louis.MARRIED!Right after, we left the ceremony to drive out to Rocking J. Ranch for their reception. I loved that the road was called Bridle Trail Ln. 🙂They even had the horses out for the guests to visit!The grounds here were GORGEOUS!

A perfect spot and sky for pictures.You two = #couplegoals

<3 <3 <3Watch out Sarah, that one’s hungry! HA!Whatcha lookin at?!

😉Love that both the horse and Fred were watching Sarah during her bridal portraits. HAHA! <3And into the big and beautiful barn we went to celebrate…Now introducing Mr. & Mrs.!!!These pictures of them side by side as kids was a surprise to Fred. 🙂When you have a barn wedding, a game of bags is necessary, right?! 😉So many good sweets!These speeches were so sweet and funny.

Sarah’s dad gave a very heartfelt welcome and speech. <3Cheers to the bride & groom!!!Instead of a first dance alone, Sarah & Fred invited all married couples on to the dance floor for an anniversary dance.  The DJ then went by number of years to have people exit the floor if they had been married over that number. Sarah’s parents lasted the longest. <3Then everyone was invited back on for a HUGE dance party!These people did NOT disappoint!Fred for sure knew how to CUT A RUG with his friends.And his family dancing to Van Halen’s JUMP was one of my favorite parts of the night!The night ended with a bonfire & smores outside, & sparklers for their grand exit…How fun is this! What a way to end your wedding!Congratulations you two!That was such a blast!

* A little about Sarah & Fred & their wedding *

Q.  When did you meet?  Where?

A.  We “met” online (eHarmony) in April last year (2016), which led to emailing, which led to skyping, then we finally met face to face in July.

Q.  When did you get engaged? Where?

A. December 9, 2016 in Chicago, just outside the south exit of Lincoln Park Zoo

Q.  How did the proposal happen?

A. We had spent the whole day in Chicago, visiting the Christmas market, the bean, the Hancock tower, etc. (basically I took him to all my favorite places because he had never been and Chicago is my favorite) then went to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the Christmas lights. We were both FREEZING so we hurried through the park then exited on the south side where there was a beautiful view of the city all lit up. My phone had randomly died earlier in the middle of requesting an Uber, so I asked Fred if he would take a picture of the skyline with his phone for me. He said something like, “Sure, I can do that, but first you have to take off your left glove.” Lol. He then got down on his knee, held out the ring, and asked me to marry him (among other sweet things I can’t remember).

Q. What’s one thing about your spouse that made you realize you wanted to marry them?

A. His faith in God.

Q.  What was the most important aspect for you two when planning your wedding?

A.  Having a worshipful ceremony was the main thing we cared about–in regards to the reception, we just wanted it to be as stress-free, laid-back, and fun as possible.

Q. How did you choose your wedding venue(s)?
A. We wanted to get married in St. Louis because that’s where I lived and his family was closest, so it was easiest. We chose the church because it’s where I was a member while living in St. Louis, and we chose the reception because of the price and we thought the barn was cool, plus they already had a set menu and DJ and photo-booth person and all that so it was less work for us.

Q.  What was your favorite thing about your wedding day?

A.  Besides the service, I’d say having all of (or most of) our friends and family in one place.

Q.  What were the first dance songs?

We just had the one dance (anniversary dance) and it was “Better Place” by Rachel Platten

Q.  If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

A. I’d hire someone to plan and coordinate everything, because that was the most stressful part! And if i had all the money in the world, I’d turn it into a whole weekend affair so that we could actually spend time with everyone who came for it.

Q. Where did you (or plan to) go for your honeymoon?

A. Live Aqua resort in Cancun and it was awesome!

Q.  Can you give any advice for future couples planning a wedding?

A.  Don’t worry about what you think other people will want/like and just do whatever you want because it’s your wedding and it doesn’t matter what other people think!

Q. How did you hear about ME – your photographer? 🙂

A.  You did the photos for my good friends Jenna and Wheaty’s wedding and have been doing their family photos every year and I’ve just always loved your style!

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Thank you for sharing! And thank you for letting me be a part of your gorgeous day!  I loved St. Louis and I am so grateful I got the opportunity to be a part of your story there.  I wish you all the joy in the world for years to come and many, MANY years of blessings!  Lastly, lots of LOVE and LOTS of laughter!

HUGS

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Thanks for the hilarious photobooth picture together! 😉

Liz - Your light in the barn is incredible!! Love the navy blue suits and the horses! So much fun!

M o r e   i n f o
M o r e   i n f o