Shagway Arts Barn Wedding


This wedding was exactly WHY I love this job.

Sydney and Andy planned things quickly, having known each other FOR A LONG TIME and had only their closest friends and family in attendance. They poured their hearts and souls into this amazing day and the photos show truly how much everyone loves them. I WILL LET THEM take it from here <3


The Beginning: AKA how you met, fell in love etc. 

Andy and I met twelve years ago in 6th grade band class, but our family history stretches back even further than that. My parents lived in the house behind his grandparents in our hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan, and our eldest siblings went to school together. Our friendship was almost inevitable. Although we technically started our relationship in junior year of high school, Andy was my first ever boyfriend in 7th grade (and we were each others’ first kiss!). We have always kept the notes we passed to each other during class from this time in our lives.

We were together for 5+ years by the time Andy proposed in October of 2017. Andy proposed to me near our first waterfall on the Fiery Gizzard trail during our trip to Altamont, Tennessee. Eight eager months later, after celebrating our 6 year anniversary, we got married at the Shagway Arts Barn on June 23, 2018, in Ludington, Michigan.

shagway arts barn weddingbride getting shoes on bride getting help with the veilkiss from brother


We got married at the Shagway Arts Barn in Ludington, Michigan. The barn is on a beautiful property that was the absolute perfect size for our wedding party (approx. 40 people – though, it certainly could’ve handled a few dozen more very comfortably). Nancy, the owner of the venue, was incredibly helpful and very easy to communicate with whenever we had any questions. The ceremony and dinner were held outside, and dancing during the reception was held inside the barn. There were plenty of great photo opportunities outside as the property is surrounded by lush forest and fields.

shagway arts barnoutdoor wedding michigan

The Decor: 

We didn’t hire a wedding planner, and we were sooooooo ridiculously moved by how willing and enthusiastic our family and friends were to help out with our big day. Part of the reason we loved Shagway, was because it offered a beautiful canvas for us to craft our outdoor wedding the way we’d envisioned it. With that said, ALL of our decorations were transported via five vehicles and one very long trailer all the way from Kalamazoo or Battle Creek, Michigan, where our parents live. The long trailer was used to transport eight stunningly beautiful farmhouse tables, handcrafted by the brides’ parents, Rick and Tammy Bicknell. So, to simply say that blood, sweat, and tears went into making our wedding such a perfect day would be an understatement. Our wedding day was the result of hard labor, months spent planning, and some very memorable weekly dinners at Sawall’s of Kalamzoo with the grooms parents, Jeff and Lori.

Additionally, All Occasions floral design of Ludington was fantastic in terms of making our wildflower dreams come true. I remember hearing some doubt from others when I told them I didn’t have a color theme for the wedding, but I had full faith that Wendy and Cheryl would find the perfect balance of elegance with wild, natural colors– and they did not disappoint! I loved my bouquet so much!!

Bride’s Dress

After doing some bridal-related Pinterest research, I knew that I wanted flower-applique on my dress, and the plan from the start was to get something ethereal and unique. I went to one other bridal store in Michigan before discovering BHLDN upon further internet research. I immediately made an appointment for a bridal consultation at their Chicago location. I brought my Mom, Tammy, along for the ride, and we were SO in awe of the store’s interior, and especially their bridal suite! Caprice, the awesome gal who helped me discover my dress, greeted us with canned champagne (who knew!) to enjoy while I tried on gowns. About four dresses in, I fell head over heels for the Ariane gown (in all her glory). It was unlike any other dress I had tried on before– it had all my flower applique dreams while still incorporating my childhood ballgown fantasies I didn’t know I still dreamed of. I love it so much. I never thought that I would actually consider framing a dress before now.

Groom’s Suit

The first thing I knew about my suit was that I wanted it to be similar in color to a suit that Jim Carrey wore when he presented an Oscar in 2014. Feel free to Google.

Because it was an outdoor wedding and in the middle of summer, I wasn’t 100% on board with the velvet material his suit was made of. I ended up going with a super comfortable, and breathable suit from J. Crew that I’ll continue to wear for special occasions in the future. All things considered, my wildflower corsage pocket square was probably my favorite part of the outfit. All Occasions in Ludington, MI, did an awesome job putting it together!

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

The ceremony was absolutely perfect. Even though we did a first look, it didn’t keep us from tearing up a bit! We were incredibly lucky to have such helpful, and hands-on family members taking part in our big day. My Dad, Jeff, was my Best Man, Sydney’s brother, Ricky, was her Man of Honor, our cutie baby nephew, Leland, was our ring bearer (with my sister and brother-in-law, Courtney and Nat, acting as co-ring bearers (; ), and both of our mothers were the most lovely and beautiful flower girls you’d ever laid your eyes on. One of our best friends, Christian Elliott, acted as our officiant and he did an incredible job – balancing light-hearted humor with his own thoughtful insights on our relationship. Another one of our best friends, Alex Tobin, did all of the sound for our ceremony AND reception. After we shared our vows beneath the archway handcrafted by Sydney’s father, Alex queued up “Lovers in Japan” by Coldplay as we shared our first kiss (we timed it so we kissed RIGHT when the main piano riff started). It was an awesome send off for our honeymoon which we happily spent in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hakone!).

flower moms

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

Andy and I also did not hire a DJ. We created a public and collaborative Spotify playlist months before, which our friends and family added songs to leading up to our wedding. Some of our favorites were “The Good Life” by Kanye West, “Yeah!” by Usher, and of course, “Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones, the song we chose as our first dance. Andy shared a dance with his Mom to one of their favorite group’s songs – the Carpenters’ “On Top of the World.” And last but not least, my dad and I had a blast choreographing and mixing our very own surprise mashup for our father-bride dance. We decided to make a go of it no more than two weeks before the big day, and I’m pretty proud of the end result. I loved dancing with my Dad to Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” as much as I loved dancing with him to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Once you set a date, start planning and ironing out details as early as possible. Even little things here or there add up every couple days. There will always be stress, but if you give yourself enough time, all will be good. Take up your family when they offer to help, you’ll be happy to shed some weight from your own to-do list, and it’s an unforgettable bonding experience with your loved ones.

Your Photographer:

Rachel was incredibly fun and made it easy for us to relax during our engagement shoot and the big day. She was a hit among our friends and family at the wedding and added a great energy to such a special day. We love the creativity she adds by including GIFs, and her attention to detail really makes her photos stand out from other photographers. We’re so happy we met Rachel and that she was apart of our wedding day!

Share on FacebookTweet this PostPin Images to PinterestBack to Top

Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens Wedding

The Love Story:

We met through our family friend or Alex’s cousin Minu. Initially, we were texting, which then turned to phone /Skype conversation. From getting to know each other for over a month we realized that we liked each other enough to meet up. Alex who lives in Maryland wanted to meet me in Michigan while I was on spring break. Me, on the other hand, wanted to visit Disney World so I asked him to meet me in Orlando. That way if things don’t go too well between us we will be surrounded by things that we can both enjoy as it was our first time at the place. Few days before our trip Alex surprised me with tickets to Disney World, I was thrilled that he was not opposed to the idea and it felt like we were both taking a leap or a chance. To us, the short time in Florida felt like an adventure and everything so unreal. We realized that we want our relationship to grow even though it’ll be long distance. We saw a future with us in it.


Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens is a beautiful place where guests would have a wonderful time strolling around and exploring the garden. It’s a great place for pictures, and someone may even discover a place for playing golf frisbee.

The Decor:

Katie who works for Apple Blossom helped me to pick out the centerpieces and arranged them for the reception. The theme was blush and gold to create charm and elegance for the wedding.

Bride’s Dress

The dress I bought is sweetheart neckline, ballroom style in ivory, Oleg Cassini collection, picked by my mother and sister in law at David’s Bridal. It was the last dress I tried on that day and when I was asked to close my eyes and picture myself walking towards Alex wearing it, I said yes to that.

Groom’s Suit

The grooms suit was from Express, slim khaki wool-linen blend jacket.

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

Flower girls were the crowds favorite, as they ran away from the aisle and later chased down by their mothers. It was supposed to rain the whole day but two hours before the start of the ceremony the rain stopped. The vow we took made us almost cry. Overall everything went smoothly and on time.

Smita’s crown got caught in a twirl and I had to do some hair fixing REAL after her dance <3 

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

The last call of the night was with Chris Brown’s Forever. At some point, we saw Smita’s dad and our cousin Shiuley putting on sunglasses and dancing to a Hindi song with Shiuley on the lead.

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Don’t worry about every single detail on the day of the wedding just enjoy the day with your loved ones. Do have a day of coordinator.  Don’t go cheap on food. Hire Rachel as your photographer.

Your Photographer: 

Amazed by Rachel our photographers’ energy. She was amazing and even helped me out with the bustle and a lot of other small details at the reception besides taking pictures and telling us how to pose.


Thank you for viewing this Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens Wedding gallery! Rachel Kaye Photography is a  West Michigan based wedding photographer who loves a great destination wedding. Rachel Kaye specializes in off-beat natural light wedding photography. Rachel Kaye Photography provides the best wedding photography services for the coolest kind of couples. Those who want to tell their love story in a natural, documentary style with amazing service. Rachel Kaye Photography tells unique stories through gorgeous natural looking photographs and fun, quirky, animated GIF’s.

For more information on how to tell your wedding day story or engagement/love story please contact Rachel Kaye

Love and Light, Rachel Kaye



Share on FacebookTweet this PostPin Images to PinterestBack to Top

Journeyman Distillery Wedding

Y’all. This wedding is what dreams are made of. And it’s not because of what you think…. this day was seriously 95 degrees and out of control sunny. THIS DAY WAS AMAZING BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED. It was seriously so magical. I am obsessed with this family (second wedding with this crew) and their ability to party through all the chaos.

Journeyman Distillery was a perfect backdrop for Alli and Steven’s wedding day. THANK GOD FOR AIR CONDITIONING, OPEN LIT SPACES AND AMAZING FOOD AFTER A HOT HOT DAY. I will let Alli and Steven take it from here….but I will be interjecting and adding some things in as they were really chill about answering my questions 😛


The Beginning: How You Two Met and Fell In Love

Alli & Steve started out as best friends hanging out doing everything together in Chicago. We realized there was nothing that we did not want to do without one another and still don’t! Our friendship is so strong and that’s what it takes for a successful relationship <3

Bride’s Dress

Lacey and elegant.

(I agree! It was soo gorgeous and the light pink lining just added this extra touch of glam that I have obsessed over, personally 😛 I WISH I KNEW WHERE IT WAS FROM!)

Groom’s Suit

DAPPER with a classic look. (Sexy as ever lolol jk)- Alli


Old rustic warehouse converted into a hip cool whiskey distillery (Journeyman Distillery). We loved how it was a hidden gem in the tiny town of Three Oaks Michigan. 

linnae floral

The Decor: Aka who helped, if you had a theme what was it, anything special about your decor?

Words of Sarah Rhodes Boyce Wedding:

Cool, welcoming and relaxed will be the focus on Alli & Steve’s Wedding Day. With the surroundings of the countryside of Three Oaks and the lakefront in New Buffalo, we have created a color palette that reaches both areas perfectly.

Calming, natural and soft colors will be the focus of the palette. A breezy light blue meets a deep dove grey and a cool blue-green. Things then warm up with a trio of pinks: poppy coral, antique rose and muted blush

Alli & Steve:

We really wanted people to feel happy and relaxed on our wedding day. We said throughout the whole planning process if we have good people, good drinks and good music then this wedding will be a total WIN in our eyes. And we nailed that 🙂

journeyman distillery wedding

The Ceremony: How did it go? Anything special?

The ceremony was perfect. Not too serious and very heartfelt.

just married journeyman distilleryjourneyman distillery entrance

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

Our first dance was our favorite song of all time- we had so much fun dancing to it. We both left at midnight drenched in sweat from all of the dancing. The venue told us they have never seen the floor shake that much or seen that many people on a dance floor at one time at Journeyman. We were so happy to hear that!!!! So perfect.

(TO NOTE: Their first dance was to a song by the band Dispatch, one of my absolute favorite bands, who I am actually going to SEE PERFORM TONIGHT!!! Is this a coincidence? If it is it’s really cool but I think we should just be BFF’s honestly lol)

first dance sundance studios wedding

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Don’t take anything too seriously and do not let little things get you worked up. Everything falls into place and if something doesn’t go exactly as you planned, it does not matter. You have everyone you love by your side and you just married the love of your life!!!! How bad could that be?!!!

Your Photographer: Tell us all about them 😉 What you liked or didn’t like. All the deets from the day of:

LOVED RACHEL. I cannot say enough about her. In the 95 degree heat she was so so happy and full of energy. She made everyone laugh while getting sh** DONE. She is so efficient and also made us feel like the most important people in the entire world. I would recommend her to anyone planning a wedding.

(I would also like to note that these are some of my favorite humans and also that their videographers TINKY WEDDINGS are also some of my favs 😛 I even included some BTS shots of them doing their thing)


Planner – Sarah Rhodes Boyce Weddings

Beauty – Natalie Russell (makeup), Leah Walker (hair)

Pie + Cake – FROEHLICH’s

Band – Bluewater Kings

Florals – Linnea Floral

Officiant – With This Ring 

Venues – Marina Grand Resort, Journeyman Distillery


Thank you for viewing this Journeyman Distillery Wedding gallery! Rachel Kaye Photography is a  West Michigan based wedding photographer who loves a great destination wedding. Rachel Kaye specializes in off-beat natural light wedding photography. Rachel Kaye Photography provides the best wedding photography services for the coolest kind of couples. Those who want to tell their love story in a natural, documentary style with amazing service. Rachel Kaye Photography tells unique stories through gorgeous natural looking photographs and fun, quirky, animated GIF’s.

For more information on how to tell your wedding day story or engagement/love story please contact Rachel Kaye

Love and Light, Rachel Kaye


Share on FacebookTweet this PostPin Images to PinterestBack to Top

St. Joseph Michigan Wedding Photographer

Ok y’all this day was EVERYTHING. Becky and Sean are just the bee’s knees and Sydney (of Sydney Marie Photography) and I had the greatest time ever with them bopping around St Joseph Michigan. We LOVE THEM. I will let the two of them take it from here because I have no words. They are amazing.


Your Love Story:

Sean and Becky first met during Becky’s last semester of undergrad in Professor Fishback’s Math 360 class at Grand Valley State University. As usual, Becky picked a seat in the back of the room where, hopefully, no one would bother her. Sean picked the seat right next to her. For the first few weeks of class, conversations were minimal. Then, it came time for the first big project. Professor Fishback encourages partner work, and after announcing the project, Sean turned to Becky and asked, “Do you want to be partners for this project?” Becky hates partner work, but she didn’t want to be rude, so she responded, “sure.” Immediately after leaving class she called her dad to complain about the guy who sits next to her asking her to work on this project with him. After all, Becky hated letting other people take credit for her hard work. As the semester continued, Becky and Sean became math partners. They completed all homework assignments and projects together (well, Becky completed them while Sean kept her company). They bonded over funny math pickup lines, marching band, and a few other common interests. At the end of the semester, Becky graduated and moved back home.

After graduation, Becky and Sean stayed in touch. They began to text constantly every single day which eventually led to late night phone calls and Skype sessions. Over time, their friendship grew and blossomed into something more. On March 16, 2013, Sean asked Becky to be his girlfriend using a game of hangman. Since then, they have continued to grow closer each and every year. They developed new hobbies and interests together including wine tasting, exploring new restaurants, visiting new breweries, and identifying the best coffee shops in town. They have had adventures both big and small including trips to Disney World and multiple weekends in Traverse City, MI. While some couples would have crumbled under the rivalry, Sean and Becky’s love grew even stronger when she went away to graduate school at THE Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). They even got a cat together, even though Sean wanted a dog. Ultimately, on March 17, 2017, Sean asked Becky to spend the rest of her life with him. On May 19, 2018, they tied the knot and made it official in St. Joseph, MI. They are excited about their future together and cannot wait to see how their love blossoms in the years to come.

Becky’s Dress

Ever since I was younger, I had always dreamed about wearing a ball gown style dress (most likely from the Disney Princess collection) by Alfred Angelo. When it was time to start looking for my dress, I scheduled an appointment at the Alfred Angelo store in Grand Rapids, MI and picked out all of my favorite styles to try on during my consultation. The day before my appointment, Alfred Angelo announced their bankruptcy and closed their doors. I was devastated. As I drove to my parent’s house in tears, my mom scheduled me an appointment at a local bridal shop that carried the Alfred Angelo Disney Princess collection. The next day we went, and I found a dropped waist ball gown in that collection that I liked, but did not love. Because this seemed like my only chance to have my dream of being an Alfred Angelo Disney Princess bride come true, I purchased the dress off the rack. That night, I cried again: although I liked the dress, I did not love it.

The next weekend, I went to a local bridal shop by my home in Naperville called A Joyful Occasion. The owner’s daughter, Kelly, was my consultant. After hearing my story, she pulled every dropped waist ball gown they had in their store. When I first put on the Kenneth Winston, I was surprised because it seemed like a dress I would never have picked for myself. When I came out of the dressing room, I told my family I was not a fan of the dress, but my dad said that he really liked it. Later on, I put the dress back on for my dad and realized that it was everything I didn’t know I was looking for. I loved this dress, and I felt like the princess I wanted to look like on my wedding day. Kelly and her mom, Susan, at A Joyful Occasion found my perfect dress and made my wedding day dreams come true. My dress made me feel beautiful and sexy on my wedding day, and Sean’s reaction when he first saw it is something I will never forget. 😉

Sean’s Suit

We decided to go a more modern route and did custom suits from Jos A Banks rather than tuxes. Doing a custom suit we were able to design the guys’ look exactly the way Sean wanted and chose a sharkskin grey, 3-piece, slim fit suit. The groom’s accessories were navy blue because that is the color that represented him in the wedding. We wanted the groomsmen’s accessories to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, but the bride picked an “eggplant” colored bridesmaid dress which was a very difficult color to match in men’s suit accessories. We searched for weeks to find the groomsmen’s ties. We were unable to find affordable pockets squares that matched, so we had the bride’s mother and sister make pockets squares from fabric that matched the bridesmaids dresses exactly. The groom’s favorite part of the entire ensemble was the matching goofy socks he bought for himself and all of the groomsmen. That way there was a little bit of Sean’s style underneath everything. Not only did the men look dapper on the wedding day, but all of the guys now have a custom fit suit to keep after the big day! We think they will definitely be put to good use. In fact, we’re pretty sure we’ve seen the best man in his suit outside of the wedding already. 😉

sean reacting to beckys dressst joseph michigan wedding photographer


It didn’t take us long to pick out our venues for our wedding. The first venue we picked was our reception venue, Shadowland Ballroom. After deciding on a physical location (St. Joseph MI), we spent weeks researching potential venues in the area like every couple does. We decided to set up an appointment to meet with Nicole at Shadowland Ballroom first. As soon as we walked in, Becky was sold. The room was large and open with plenty of room for dancing. The “sunset room” had glass French doors that allowed the natural light to come in and provided a nice view of the surrounding park. The patio was lit up with lights, and Becky could already picture how beautiful that would look the night of her wedding. All of this just over 600 feet from Silver Beach.  As soon as we left the meeting Becky said “so, do we go back in and lock this down before we lose the date?” Sean told her “We cannot sign with the first place we visited, we have to shop around.” We didn’t shop around. On Monday, we called and put a deposit down. The venue was perfect for us.

 For our ceremony, it was very important to us to get married in a Church. Because we are not from the area, it was difficult to find a Church that would allow non-parishioners to get married. Lucky for us, we found Saron Evangelical Lutheran Church. Pastor Joan Oleson was very welcoming and opened her doors for us to be married there. The Church was very close to Shadowland which was an added bonus. We still get compliments on how much our guests enjoyed our venues and the beautiful choices we made.

st joseph michigan wedding photographer

The Ceremony: 

Our wedding ceremony was the perfect blend of religion and personality that we were hoping for. Pastor Joan did an amazing job at giving us a ceremony that was tailored to us. We were able to customize our ceremony to include the exact wording that we wanted. She spent a few hours over the course of our pre-wedding sessions really getting to know us as a couple, and she used the information from those sessions to make our ceremony personal and special to us. Some of our favorite parts of the ceremony included the option to honor family members who were no longer with us as well as Pastor Joan’s sermon about us as a couple, our love story, and our future together. The ceremony was fantastic and reflected our values and love for each other in a magnificent way. Our guests still comment on how beautiful it was.

st joseph wedding photographershadowland ballroom wedding

The Decor: 

Since the Church for our ceremony was already elegant and traditionally decorated, we chose not to add any decoration to this space. In order to save money, we decided to DIY all of the décor for our wedding reception. We started with the centerpieces, and our first idea was very different from the final product. Our final centerpieces not only incorporated our color palate (eggplant, navy blue, and silver), but they also incorporated some of our favorite activities together. We painted wine bottles silver, and instead of table numbers, we turned our engagement pictures into wine bottle labels and gave each table a different picture. Our table cards were wallet size engagement pictures placed inside a wine cork, and guests matched the picture to identify the table they were seated at. We painted wine glasses purple and blue, and then we filled them with water and floated a candle in them. The third piece was a beer bottle which we covered with silver glitter and tied a purple bow around. The entire setting was topped off with eggplant tulle around the pieces and loose stem flowers inside the wine bottle that were provided by our florist, Andylous Flowers.

For the head table, we frosted wine bottles and filled them with lights. We then placed these around some more of the painted wine glasses with candles. For the center of the table, we painted “Mr. & Mrs.” signs and used Becky’s bridal bouquet as the center floral arrangement. The Bridesmaids bouquets were used to fill out the remainder of the table. Our favorite decoration was a wine barrel that Becky and Sean bought impulsively to have guests sign during the reception. They plan to turn this barrel into a table that they can keep in their home to always remind them of their wedding day, and all of the amazing people they shared it with.

DIY-ing all of the decorations took a lot of time and work. Luckily, Becky’s sister and maid of honor was there every step of the way to help through the process. Besides her (and a little help from the bride’s parents), Becky and Sean spent months putting together all of the decorations that were used in the reception. Finally, some of their closest friends worked very hard the day of the wedding to make sure their vision was executed perfectly. shadowland ballroom wedding

Reception/Dancing/Music: All the fun!

For our wedding reception, we wanted to throw a once in a lifetime party. Thanks to all of our vendors, we were able to make that happen. Our reception venue, Shadowland Ballroom provided our tasty appetizers and dinner. They also provided the alcohol or the bar, allowing us to feature and enjoy some of our favorite local drinks such as Vandermill ciders, Bell’s Oberon, and our favorite local wines such as Gravity’s Michigan Magnetism. The best part of the bar, however, was Shadowland’s house special sangrias: white strawberry sangria and red berry sangria. The bar choices were definitely a hit with our guests! Our baker, Country Cottage Bakery, provided our gorgeous wedding cake and yummy desserts. We even rented the Silver Beach Carousel for half an hour so that our guests and wedding party could have private carousel rides. The carousel rental gave us the experience to remember and also provided some very memorable pictures.

After dinner, the dancing began. We wanted the dance floor to feel like a club, and our DJ’s at 27 Entertainment, delivered just that. Once the dance floor opened for dancing, the party didn’t stop. Even at the end of the night, when there were only about 25 people left, we were still having a blast on the dance floor. Our reception was, without a doubt, the night to remember that we were hoping for, and all of our guests still talk about how great of a time they had. We are eternally grateful to all of the people that helped make our day special. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding.

(HI! It’s Rachel, just gotta chime in here because I was BLOWN away by how fun and amazing your DJ’s were. I work with SO MANY DJ’s and the ‘dancing DJ’s’ were my favorite of all time. Who knew having your DJ dance around w/ your guests would make it that much more fun! Shout out to them cause they rock)

shadowland ballroom

Your Photographer: 

There is not a single bad thing to say about our experience working with Rachel. She is an amazing photographer and a true professional. The proof is in her photos. She is so fun and quirky, and makes the photography experience something that you will never forget. Our wedding party and family members still comment on how awesome she was to work with. On our wedding day, our photo locations did not work out the way we planned (for reasons beyond Rachel’s control), and yet she made the best of what we had to work with. We ended up taking pictures in a random parking lot, and although it may not sound romantic, the pictures still turned out beautiful. Rachel (and her second photographer Sydney) were worth every penny. They captured our special day in a way that will allow us to relive all of our favorite moments for the rest of our lives. We cannot wait to do future business with Rachel!

(Rachel again, omg you guys make me want to cry!!! You can see how fun and quirky I am above 😉 I am ALWAYS dancing with your guests to get those good shots (and sometimes I have to take a little dance break as seen above :P)

Any Advice for couples planning their wedding?

Weddings can be expensive and everyone wants to tell you how your wedding should go. Remember that this day is about the two of you. Spend your money on the things that are going to make or break the day for you, and don’t spend money on the things that don’t matter. Tune out the noise and ignore what everyone says you are supposed to do. This is your day, and as long as it is what you want, everyone, including you, will have a fantastic time. Take it in and enjoy it. The day goes by very fast, but the memories you make will last forever.

Share on FacebookTweet this PostPin Images to PinterestBack to Top

The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms Rockton IL Wedding

This was such a freaking great day. Despite some sprinkle rain showers (we got VERY lucky….. it was supposed to be just completely storming the entire day! it DID NOT), everyone in this wedding had the BEST DAY EVER!!! I got to take along my partner in crime Matt to help me shoot this and he just did the greatest job ever! Hanging w/ Kaitlyn + Eric and all their bestest friends (and family!) was the most fun <3 I will let them take the day from here:



Eric and I met at Argonne National Laboratory, where I still work and Eric used to work before he moved on to become a Police Officer. Eric describes it as knowing he needed to be with me from the first moment he saw me. I, of course, didn’t pay any attention to him for about 1.5 years. Until one day Eric and I got put on an assignment together. He was a security officer and I work internal security. When we were put on this assignment he was so nervous and pretty much messed up everything that I went back and told everyone how little he knew (not knowing he had a huge crush on me). Long story short we end up at the same drinking hole one night after work, shared the BEST kiss ever and the rest is history. I swore I knew I was in love after just one kiss. Cool thing is, my parents met at Argonne as well and we got married just 4 days after their 30th wedding anniversary.

Our engagement was pretty awesome too. Eric was graduating from the police academy and I threw him a surprise graduation party with all of our family and friends. Eric thought we were just going to dinner with our parents and siblings and he had planned to propose at dinner that night (our families had to keep 2 surprises a secret). When we got to the house and everyone shouted surprise Eric was extremely confused and happy and I thought all of the surprises were done for the day. The party went on for about 4 hours before Eric gathered everyone to give thanks for coming to celebrate him, (I was still clueless at this point as he is giving his speech). The speech then turned into a proposal to me in front of all of our friends and family. I can honestly say I have never EVER been surprised in my life because I’m too much of an investigator, but I was and my face sure showed it!

The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms in Rockton, IL is TOP NOTCH. I do not have ONE bad thing to say about this place. I found this venue and fell in love, it was exactly what we were looking for. Rustic/glam. It had all the natural feel we wanted and the staff there knows how to run a successful wedding. We wanted the wedding closer to our home, but we couldn’t pass this place up and we are so glad we didn’t. The ceremony was supposed to be outside which I’m still a little bummed about, but we can’t control the weather and it turned out beautiful inside.  The food was also amazing!

The Ironworks Hotel in Beloit, WI also deserves a shout out. We had many of our guests stay here and I felt like it was such a great touch to our wedding. The décor and structure of the hotel were so cozy and made for great photos. The hotel staff was also more than accommodating and they allow dogs so 5 stars in my book! Eric’s mom (Becky) also took time to make favor bags for everyone staying in the hotels we booked, which turned out super cute and the guests were so appreciative(there was alcohol in them ;)).

I got my dress from Bella Sposa in Tinley Park, awesome boutique!!! I brought my mom, mother in law, one of my best friends/bridesmaids (who was super hungover lol) and we face timed in one of my other best friends/bridesmaids form Colorado. My sister/MOH couldn’t make it this morning. It was the second dress I tried on and I was in love. To be honest I was most in love with how comfortable and light it was and felt like I could groove all night in it. I also felt like it was simple, yet stunning, and Eric is all about me in simple things. I felt so romantic in it too! I, of course, tried on several others but kept going back to this one. I ended up buying it, but kept second guessing myself because it was hard to believe I found my dress in like 5 minutes at the first bridal shop I went to. Nonetheless, I was so pleased with it and got so many compliments. I decided to do no veil so the back of the dress could be seen because it was just so beautiful. I can’t remember the designer (because I just really just don’t care about things like that), but the color was ivory and the underlayer was a gold/pink/sable color depending on what light I was in.

We ordered the guys suits on, super affordable and so many options I highly recommend.  We decided against tux’s because we wanted it to be more lax. We wanted a brighter navy blue and we definitely got it! When Eric’s arrived he said he felt like Ron Burgundy and the Channel 5 News Crew and I died laughing!!! I think he was a little nervous about how bright it was, but they looked so so awesome the day of especially with the gold dresses.

We wanted to go pretty simple with the décor. The Pavilion is so beautiful by itself we didn’t want to cover that up. I had Event Floral do pretty much all of our décors. We used a lot of natural greens and whites as well as some accents of blues and blush. They did 3 different types of centerpieces which I loved having the contrast. They also changed up much of the ceremony décor last minute when I moved the wedding inside and it turned out better than I imagined!

Eric’s brother, Drew, is an amazing artist so Eric built our main focal centerpiece as well as our welcome sign out of wood and stained them. Drew then took time to paint them both. Drew painted a big “M” and “Mason” on the main piece that was on the fireplace. And he didn’t just paint it he did like an ombre white to gold to match our colors. It looked beyond amazing and people have even asked us to make one for them. I love it because it is in all of our photos and we will hang it in our home.

Kaitlyn’s mom (Rita) also had the grand idea for our escort cards. We found logs out in the forest and Eric and his Dad (Curt) cut slits into the logs to hold each card. They were then placed on a round table like the spindle of a bike tire. It looked awesome!!

The ceremony was perfect. Our guests are still talking about our vows. Although it was nerve-racking, EVERYONE should write their own vows. It made it so much more special and I cry every time Eric and I read ours. (We bought these cute little-personalized vow books on Amazon.)

Eric’s very good childhood friend, Jonny, got ordained so he could officiate our wedding. He did such a great job and it was so much more personal since he knows us both so well. He even took time to meet with us several times to go over details to make sure he had it perfect.

My parents both walked me down the aisle which I loved. They both raised me so they both should give me away right?? I loved having both my mom and dad by my side because that’s how it has been my entire life and will be until the end.

Another super cool part of our ceremony was our ring bearer, Eric’s youngest nephew, Reid. We bought him an old school metal pedal car that was also a police car (since Uncle Eric is a cop and he is fascinated with that). He was pretty nervous about being “ring security” so we may have had to give him a flashlight, handcuffs, police badge, etc to get him to feel confident. But he did a great job driving that car down the aisle.

Perhaps one of the best things about our ceremony was the fact that our beloved dog Que was able to be part of it. She is literally our love child and we are annoyingly obsessed with her. Dogs, unfortunately, aren’t around forever so we are so happy we will have video (side note, because our video deserves a side note, Oscar from Elegante Media Chicago is undeniably amazing. I have watched our video 100 times and it never gets old, he was amazing the day of and his product even better) and photos of her being part of the day her humans got married. (She thinks she is a human too) We could tell she loved being there and she had so much fun getting ready with the girls all day. When one of our friends took her back to the hotel after the wedding (THANKS Matt) he said she passed out as soon as she got in the truck 🙂

Music was perfect. We hired our friends Jake and Bear (acoustic singing duo) to do our ceremony and cocktail hour and oh boy were they amazing!! Let me tell you, you need lives music at your ceremony, it creates such a romantic and sentimental vibe, I absolutely loved it!!

Jeti Entertainment was our DJ for the reception and he kept that dance floor going! Kaitlyn’s nephew Jaxon may have been the biggest hit out there with his foot stomps and classic moves. (I also heard he was ripping flowers off the centerpieces and giving them to girls at the wedding, ladies man :)) Our guests were moving and grooving all night.

One thing I loved about the reception was the speeches. Kaitlyn’s Dad (Paul), Kaitlyn sister (Shea) and Eric’s best friend (Nick) all gave such heartfelt speeches. We love playing them back in our video.

We also loved the way our head table was set up. It made for much better conversation and also looked super cool.

Our bridal party was amazing from beginning to end. First of all, they are a great looking group 😉 but they also made it such a fun day and experience we will never forget. We ended the night at one of the local bars singing along to a live band with our favorite people around us, what more could we ask for.

Rachel and Matt, I honestly have no words to describe how amazing you two were. The preview of photos we got are just breathtaking. Not to mention you guys are super fun to hang with, the bridal party was literally asking for you guys to stay and party. You made the photo part so painless, which I know can sometimes be a drag. But it was just simple and fun with you two. I cannot wait to see the rest and we can’t wait until our home is finished and we can print these and hang them up literally everywhere! Can you come everywhere with us and just photograph our lives??? (we are pretty sad you didn’t invite us to Hawaii for the honeymoon 😉 😉 NEXT TIME OK?)


It’s not easy, it takes a lot of work, but I promise you it is worth it. Try not to focus so much on what the flowers will look like, who is sitting where, or any other nonimportant detail. I get it, it is all important. But what is most important is that your love for one another is expressed and revealed on this day. Focus on your vows, on the songs that mean the most to you, on the people who are by your side, and on the words used for your ceremony. Yes, I put a lot of time and effort into planning this “party” but I put even more time and passion into showing the world our love story on this day.

Share on FacebookTweet this PostPin Images to PinterestBack to Top