The Vines – Winery, Sauk City, Wisconsin – Toni & Stuart

I am just really excited to share this awesome wedding form an awesome location of the most amazing couple. September 21st was a perfect day. Even though most of the roads around the vineyard were under water after a few days of rain, the clouds parted for their ceremony and the rest of the night.

Toni and Stuart tight the knot and partied the night away. They were both so stinking happy. Just scroll to the images to see for yourself 🙂

If you want to chat more about weddings and wedding planning feel free to reach out. We can video chat or meet for coffee.

10+ Tips For Having A Winter Wedding – Northern Illinois Wedding Photographer

Every season comes with its own challenges for weddings, and things that need to be considered, and since you’re having a winter wedding, I wanted to share my experience from past winter weddings and give you some tips to consider!!

1. Dress for it!
a. Consider a long sleeve Dress
b. Consider a thick material for your groom
c. Allow your bridesmaids to wear tights under their dress if it’s long (and consider this yourself!)

2. Chapstick
a. Stay hydrated!

3. Extra travel time
a. Account for bad weather

4. One venue
a. Best if you can keep your ceremony and reception in one place to avoid all guests having to drive on (potentially messy roads and cause delays in between)

5. Winter colors
a. Coordinate with the season! A yellow or lavender bridesmaids dress may not scream winter

6. Coat Check
a. Have one for your guests!

7. Hot drinks
a. Greet guests with a warm welcome at the cocktail hour if they were out in the cold coming from their cars

8. Timing your ceremony and day
a. Sunset is much earlier than the rest of the year, so consider this when scheduling your ceremony time. You may need to wake up for hair and makeup much earlier than you would if it were a different season! Make sure if you’re not doing a first look, your ceremony is early enough to allow 2 hours minimum for formal pictures before the sun sets.

9. Layers
a. Make sure to get a shawl, fur, or coat for the bride and bridesmaids since you’ll likely have much less covered than the groom and groomsmen. Gift your girls something to keep them warm throughout the day if pictures are going to be outside

10. Accessorize
a. This goes with above!

11. Belts
a. Consider belts if you don’t want your layers to look baggy if you plan on wearing layers in your images

12. Make your feet happy
a. Don’t ruin a set of heels in the snow, consider a second pair of shoes for outdoor portraits

13. Hand and Toe Warmers
a. Buy a bunch for your wedding party to keep in their pockets or purses!

14. Blankets
a. Consider this as a prop for your portraits

15. Have fun
a. You likely chose to have a winter wedding because you love winter, so have fun with it, prepare for the cold, and still consider your portraits to be outside in the beautiful landscape of winter!

16. Keep weather in mind
a. Be prepared with extra buffers in your timeline
b. Have umbrellas in case it snows to not stain your dress with wet spots

If you want to chat more about weddings and wedding planning feel free to reach out. We can video chat or meet for coffee.

11 Tips to help you savor your wedding day and NOT feel like it flew by!

11 Tips to help you savor your wedding day and NOT feel like it flew by!

Wedding days go by FAST and as a wedding photographer, I know how important preserving memories is. And while you’ll have hundreds of beautiful images to remember your day by, I also want to ensure couples savor the moments as they’re happening. It doesn’t need to be a total blur!

1. Be comfortable.
a. Talk about comfort of dress, shoes, etc. Nothing worse than having sore feet for your photos! Consider breaking your shoes in before your wedding day, and have an alternate option for portraits if you really start to get uncomfortable (a practical option!)

2. Stop and smell the roses (literally)
a. One of my favorite things on a wedding day is giving people the time (and permission) to stop and SAVOR the moments happening right before their eyes. I love it when an officiant pauses during the ceremony to tell the couple to look around at all the love surrounding them, and the rest of the day should be no different. Smell your flowers. Have a private moment to pray together or cherish the time with your new (or soon to be) spouse. Be present.

3. Trust your vendors.
a. There’s nothing worse than fretting over every little detail going right on your wedding day. The way to fix this is to fully trust your vendors. You hopefully have full trust in everyone you hired for your big day, so believe that they’re going to do their job well and according to plan, and leave the details to them. They’ve got this!

4. Get sleep + eat
a. When I don’t sleep enough (or eat healthy) I have such a hard time focusing, and I think that’s pretty common amongst humans! So as tempting as it is to stay up with your besties all night anticipating the big day, or to forgo eating to look your best, DON’T DO IT! Make sure you get enough sleep (8 hours would be stellar) and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning! Have some food delivered to your prep location.

5. Don’t have your phone on you
a. Let your photographer/ wedding planner and your friends and family document the day for you. Ditch your phone and give it to a friend to be in charge of for the day, and give your vendors the phone number of your Maid of Honor if they need to get a hold of you.

6. Start early
a. There is nothing worse than feeling behind on your timeline! You spend all day stressing and trying to make up time, so to avoid this, start early! Best to be done and sipping champagne and hanging out than stressing about getting back on time.

7. Have an emergency kit
a. Things happen. Dresses get a stain, your hair faces humidity, lipstick wears off, threads get pulled. Have a bridal emergency kit on you to make sure all these things can be fixed quickly when they happen! Some examples: clear nail polish, stain treater, dental floss, double sided tape, bobby pins, safety pins, mints, a sewing kit with needle and thread to sew a busted zipper or bustle), tissues, pain reliever, tampons, lip gloss and mini deodorant. Read my blog on what to pack the night before your wedding here.

8. Make sure someone knows how to fix your bustle before the reception.
a. Don’t want to be stressing over that before your first dance!

9. Have a rain plan!
a. If the 5 day weather forecast calls for rain, buy some cute umbrellas in your wedding colors or clear ones for you and your bridal party, and maybe some cute rain boots! Leave the tags on, and if it doesn’t rain you can return them! Embrace whatever happens on your wedding day because you can’t change it.

10. Let it go.
a. Little things happen, and not everything goes 100% perfect all the time. Remember that no matter what, the only TRULY important thing that happens is that you say I Do and marry your sweetheart at the end of the day, everything else going right is icing on the cake, so don’t let the little things bother you!

11. Savor.
a. This is worth saying twice. Your wedding day will go by fast. So remember to savor the moments as their happening, be present, have conversations, dance like no one is watching, and have the time of your life with your friends and family.

If you want to chat more about weddings and wedding planning feel free to reach out. We can video chat or meet for coffee.

The Pavillion at Orchard Ridge, Rockton – Kate and Ismail

The Pavillion at Orchard Ridge, Rockton – Kate and Ismail

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Another beautiful wedding at The Pavilion. The entire property is beautiful. As a photographer there are endless possibilities for portraits.

Kate and Ismail are amazing and so much fun.

Kate started her day in the bridal suit with her bridesmaids and mom. Lots of laughs and stories where shared while getting their hair and make-up done.

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They had a first look and Ismail was speechless when he saw his beautiful bride to be.rockford wedding photography-2-2rockford wedding photography-2-3

The reception room was stunning. The centerpieces, cake and all the small details.

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Kate had a special dance with her dad ‘peanut butter’ and ‘Jelly” :))

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And they ended the night with a sparkle exit…

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Digital Files vs Wedding Album

Digital Files vs Wedding Album

53ae62c7a896b21953dd485b5d095ac5 Digital files vs Wedding Album.

You shouldn’t have to choose. You should have both 🙂
I am going to tell you why your album is the most important thing you should get.

Albums give you the opportunity to show off all your favorites in one place instead of just a few select images on the wall.
This way, you can preserve all memories and it’s a great heirloom to hand down to the next generations.
Albums are simple and beautiful. With a one-piece wraparound cover design and multiple cover options, every album can be unique, designed for you.
Distressed leather line is made of genuine Italian full grain leathers and features unique variations with natural markings.
Linen line is made of a beautiful textile blend and features an assortment of colors to highlight your imagery. 
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Velvet covers have a distinctly soft feel with a water repellent finish, and the material is extra-heavy duty double rub tested for durability.
Display the beauty of your photographs inside and out with a Gloss or Matte Acrylic Cover. Your image is printed directly on the backside of a piece of Acrylic for an absolutely stunning look.
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Do you know what else looks great? Images from your Wedding Day displayed on your wall to enjoy daily.

You have four beautiful options for your all art:

Framed Prints – Classic yet refined, Frames provide a timeless solution for image display. With many styles to chose from your prints arrive ready to hang with gallery-like quality.

Gallery Wraps – Printed on premium canvas and wrapped around a stretcher bar, an original masterpiece.

Metal – These show-stopping conversation pieces add an artistic edge and contemporary elegance. Experience your images in a new definition and clarity.

Wood – Modern meets rustic,Wood Prints feature your images on a gorgeous wooden surface with warm tones and natural grain.

I have software that allows me to place your wedding images digitally on the walls of your home to help you decide the best images to use and the proper way to display them. 



How will you display your wedding pictures?
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If you want to chat more about weddings and wedding planning feel free to reach out. We can video chat or meet for coffee.

What the heck do I wear?!? 10 Tips to pick your engagement outfit.

What the heck do I wear?!? 10 Tips to pick your engagement outfit.

OOOO! You have an engagement session soon? I know that the biggest stress for my couples is usually “WHAT THE HECK DO I WEAR?” so I wanted to give a few tips from experience of how to pick the perfect engagement outfit.

So here’s 10 tips:

1 . Think about your feet!
You are going to be walking around for an hour or two, so if you typically last 5 minutes with heels on, please don’t torture your poor feet for that long. Make sure your shoes are something you’re comfortable in. There’s definitely a whole lot of cute non heel shoes out there!

2. Consider the location.
Be aware of your surroundings and try not to clash ( or match ). If your engagement session is in a forest , you probably don’t want to wear green.

3. Complement each other…
Don’t match. Gone are the days where the whole family goes to the beach wearing white for their awkward family portraits. That also means matching each other for the engagement session is a big no. Complementing each other is the best way to go. Better yet if someone wears an accent color on a small part of their body and the other is wearing that color. Win! Wearing the same shade is a great place to start.

4. Show your true colors and don’t be afraid to be bold.
Colors render great on camera and white should be reserved for your wedding day! I’m all for off white though is one of you is wearing a lot of color, consider a neutral for your significant other.

5. Dress the same scale.
If your fiancĂ© is wearing a suit and your wearing jeans and a tank, you’re not going to look like you go together. Dress the same level.

6. Switch it up!
If you want to go casual, why not bring a formal option too? I’m not a super formal person but I think it’s fun to dress up once in a while!



7. Dress for the weather and have a backup plan.
If it’s a spring engagement session but it’s going to be 40 degrees then have a backup for your spring dress!

8. Don’t be afraid of patterns
We don’t want to go crazy with patterns, but I really love shoots where one wears a pattern and the other wears a solid. Better yet if the solid color coordinates with a color in the pattern.

9. Dress it up with layers and jewelry!
Scarves, sweaters, jewelry, hats. They all can really liven up pictures and if you’re afraid of going too bold with colors maybe just add it in as an accent  with a scarf – something you can take on and off. This also helps with the weather situation and if you have any insecurities they can cover them up.

10. Be yourself.
The worst thing would be looking at your pictures and looking unrecognizable because you dressed up too much ( if you are not one to dress up often). Also, be sure t wear clothing that flatters your body type. At this point in your life you probably know what those are 🙂

And at the end of the day just remember that the whole point of this is to have fun and get comfortable in from of the camera. I hope these tips will help prepare you for your engagement session!

If you want to chat more about weddings and wedding planning or if you want to do an engagement session feel free to reach out or if you want to do an engagement session. We can video chat or meet for coffee.