WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER AND MENTOR FOR CREATIVES BASED IN THE BOURBONNAIS, ILLINOIS AREA
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Over the past year, I have been looking forward to Courtney and Todd’s wedding day. These two are some of the kindest souls I’ve met, and everyone that knows them knows this to be true!
From getting to photograph Courtney as a bridesmaid at her cousin Erin’s wedding last year to their very first email to me just days after the proposal to their chilly winter engagement session to giving Courtney and Todd the biggest hugs on their wedding day and every moment between… I love this couple dearly!
These two have known each other since they were kids – growing up in a small town together. Todd’s mom is a teacher and tutored Courtney and her older brother when they were growing up. During the time her brother was getting his lesson, she would play with Todd and his three younger brothers. Then, when these two were in middle school they started to “date”. Courtney ended up breaking up with Todd when they were young. He will never let Courtney forget how she broke his heart back then. Courtney always tells Todd it worked out in the end!
In college around the Fourth of July, their paths crossed again and they officially starting dating – long distance. Courtney was attending Central Michigan University and Todd was attending Eastern Illinois University. A couple of their family members had been trying to connect them that summer. But it wasn’t until Courtney was out that night listening to her brother’s band play that she found out Todd was single. They ended up hanging out in the same friend group all night. As the night came to a close, Todd texted Courtney right away and the rest feels like history. I love how Courtney and Todd told me that timing is everything! God knew what he was doing bringing these two back together after their first middle school love. 💛
You know I love proposal stories! After graduating college, these two moved to Georgia for jobs. So, Todd and Courtney were home from Georgia for a weekend visiting family. Since they ended up visiting the weekend before her nephew’s birthday, the family planned a “little gathering” so they could still celebrate his birthday… Little did Courtney know – there was a bigger plan!
Once everyone arrived and Courtney helped her nephew unwrap gifts, there was still one special gift left. But it turns out her nephew was helping her open this one. There was a note that said – “Courtney, let’s get this party started.” Then Todd grabbed Courtney’s hands as they stood up. She said she blacked out for a second while he was giving a speech. Then the next thing she knew he was down on one knee! Courtney was sobbing and couldn’t even say yes… So, she just shook her head yes before he put the most gorgeous ring (with one of her grandmother’s diamonds!) on her finger. And the celebration (and wedding planning!) with family and friends began. Now, Courtney’s family still jokes that she never said yes!
Now, Courtney and Todd call Indiana home and are loving being closer to their family and friends. Oh, and P.S. – these two really love craft beer, tacos, and pizza… So you know Kyle and I get along well with these two! Wink, wink!
On the morning of Courtney and Todd’s wedding, Kyle and I arrived at the bride’s grandmother’s home where all the ladies were getting ready for the day! The morning started out with storms and rain, but the skies cleared late that morning for nearly the rest of the day – we were thankful. As the ladies finished up hair and makeup, I loved photographing the bride’s pretty little details… From her shoes to the invitation suite to her grandmother’s something blue ring to Erin’s borrowed clutch to their wedding bands. These details were so thoughtfully selected and meaningful. Love, love, love. 😍
Before we knew it, it was time to travel to their early afternoon Catholic mass ceremony at the most beautiful church. This was my second wedding at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Beaverville, Illinois, and it did not disappoint. Courtney told me that as soon as she stepped foot into the church years ago, she knew it would be where she got married. And being at the church for Courtney and Todd’s wedding day brought me back to my early days of wedding photography and the first wedding I photographed there back in 2013. So much about my work and business has changed since then, but the church is still just as breathtaking and beautiful. It’s truly a cathedral in a cornfield!
Courtney and Todd’s ceremony was sweet, and I loved taking some time for photos in and around the church with the couple and bridal party after the ceremony. The cloudy day gave us so much to work with – everything really did come together for these two! As we wrapped up photos at the church, it was time to travel to Dunning Park in Iroquois, Illinois where the reception was taking place. I loved using a little old barn backdrop for some bridal party photos at the park. The dusty blue, touches of pink, navy, greenery, and gold were so beautiful in this scenery. I definitely think the location brought together the elegant and rustic touches of this wedding day perfectly!
And oh yes, the Dunning Park Pavilion was the perfect reception spot for these two! Courtney told me that she loves that it feels like you’re walking into a barn at the park pavilion. She’s spot on with that! And best yet? Her brother’s wedding celebration took place there, too. I love the sentiment!
When I asked Courtney and Todd what the most important part of their wedding day was to them, they told me this… The most important thing for our wedding day is to be surrounded by all the people that helped mold us into the people we are today. On top of that, we want to be able to look back and see the memories created on that day. We want to capture all the love and fun times that occur on our day and be able to pick up our album and jump right back into that day years later. To be able to show our kids and grandkids our big day!
I think these two shared that very wedding day and so much more with their loved ones!
Courtney + Todd – We adore you two! Thank you for sharing your love story and asking us to document the first day of the best days of your life.
Bride’s Attire: Elite Bridal – Champaign, IL | Bridesmaid Attire: Show Me Your Mumu | Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Hair: Jessica Calmese + Samantha Gooding | Makeup: Makeup by Ellen Gilmore – Kankakee, IL | Jeweler: Solomon Brothers | Getting Ready Location: Bride’s Grandmother’s Home | Ceremony: St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Beaverville, IL | Reception Venue: Dunning Park Pavilion – Iroquois, IL | Day-Of Coordinator: Kaitley Davis | Florist: Sheila’s Sunny Bloomers – Cissna Park, IL | DJ: Epic Entertainment – Carlinville, IL | Transportation: Lafayette Limo, Inc. – Lafayette, IN | Reception Rentals: Sunrise Tents – Onarga, IL | Videographer: Reagan Gooding | Catering: The Longbranch – L’erable, IL | Cake: Terri Smith | Invitations + Paper Goods: Minted | Favors: SipHipHooray
P.S. – Wanna read more love stories and get wedding inspiration? I love sharing more wedding days here!