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

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.

The Pavillion at Orchard Ridge, Rockton – Kate and Ismail

The Pavillion at Orchard Ridge, Rockton – Kate and Ismail


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.


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.


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


And they ended the night with a sparkle exit…




2018 was great, 2018 was full, 2018 was busy, 2018 is almost over …

I see a lot of people make resolutions for the new year. I see people pick a word that they  use to navigate the new year. I am bad at both. I tried the resolution thing and it never worked. I tried to “thrive” in 2018 and even though I have in many ways I did not meet my expectations. I feel that “awaken” fits my 2018 better.

I decided not to do that next year.

So here it goes…

For 2019 I want:

I want to meet more extraordinaire women who raised amazing sons who are now amazing men

I want to meet more dads who raised strong women. More dads who cry because their baby girl has grown and they are now welcoming a son into the family

More long life girlfriends who had sleepovers, help, held and raise each other up

More ‘sisters’ that share inside jokes and sing their wedding speech

More friends who act like brothers

More friends who drop their pants at a park in the middle of the day because they are proud of their area code tattoos

More friends who tattoo your name on their leg and are proud of it 🙂

More men that are madly in love with their bride. So in love that they would bring the moon to them

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I want to see more brides look at themselves in the mirror and are amazed at the women they have become.

I want to see more brides enjoy the day they dreamed of for years



I want to see more new moms fall in love and hold their heart in their arms for the first time

I want to see more first time parents adore their children


I want to see more families year after year and catch up on life 🙂

And of course I want more days at the beach with my babe

More days at the farm for pony rides

I want to show my daughter the world and take pictures of her more often ( with a camera not iphone 🙂 )

I want to see my grandparents and hear more of their stories

I want to spend more time with my family.

I want 2019 to be full of happy couples and happy families including my own.

Have a great 2019!


Ela Pop Photography

Ela Pop Photography

Ela Pop Photography came to life in 2011 but before that I always had a camera and I always took pictures.  The idea that I can freeze a moment fascinated me since I was very young. There aren’t many pictures of me out there from when I was little but there is one that speaks to me. It seems that life, God, the Universe was telling me something when I didn’t even know what I wanted to do in life or that I will one day live in the States.


With Fun and a Smile… I don’t think I knew english back then and if I did it was very little. What I do remember is that I loved photography, I loved film, I loved the dark room and the magic that happened there… and I loved that shirt cuz I wore it a lot :))

Fast forward to my teenager years – that was the time when I was too cool for photography :)). Fast forward again to 2006, I was 19… I moved to Chicago and I picked up a camera again and in 2009 my late husband, Costi, saw how much I loved photography, he saw the passion I had for it even when I didn’t so he bought me my very first ‘professional’ camera.

Then came 2011,that was not a happy year for me. It was the year my husband left me and all his friends and family and joined God in Heaven. It was the year I felt completely lost but somehow I found the strength to open Ela Pop Photography. My way to honor his name, Costi Pop.


This was the last picture I took of him. This is the picture that gave me the strength to start Ela Pop Photography. I remember that day so well. He was sick, tired but so happy, so optimistic. I came home from work and he was outside on the patio chatting with my mom. Talking, laughing, just a normal day like nothing was wrong.

He asked me to join him and I said no, I am just gonna lay in bed. Thats when I took that picture. He came inside after and like always he was the one to encourage me. He was the one to tell me everything will be ok. He was the one who hugged me and asked me to be happy. He tought I was upset because we couldn’t have our wedding that month. We planned our wedding, I bought 2 wedding dresses, he bought tux but it did not happen . God had other plans for us. Bigger then a fancy party.  Our wedding was supposed to be June 4th, 2011. I took this picture on June 10th and my husband went to God June 24th, 2011.

I wasn’t upset about the wedding, I was upset that I can’t be positive and strong enough for him. I was mentally and physically exhausted from sleepless nights, doctor appointments, hospital stays. It was a hard time.

I often tell myself that if I have half of his faith and love for God, half of his positive attitude, that if I love life and my family and friends half as much or if I hustle half as much as he did I will be in a great place. I often forget that life is a gift, I often complain about how busy I am, I often get upset when things don’t go as planned and thats when I remember him.  Costi was always grateful for everything in his life, always positive, always laughed when things went wrong. So my goal is to be half of what he was.  And I did change, I am more like him and I try every day to do better and be a better person then I was yesterday .

Newborn photography was a natural choice for me. I saw my good friend Kelly Fitzgerald Studio pose a newborn and I fell in love. So I took workshops, online classes and I practiced and perfected my posing and in reality I am still learning, always trying to improve and get better, always making sure the baby is safe and that mom and dad will have beautiful portraits.

Newborns are fascinating they know so much already but still they have a lot to learn. They are a book with blank pages and they get to write their story page by page and maybe change the world one day.


One of my first newborn pictures in 2012 I believe :))

And one of my daughter 2.5 years ago…

Some days it’s hard when I look back at what I used to think were good pictures, some nights like tonight I just laugh and I  feel blessed I get to do this and work with wonderful families and that I got to learn how to take a good newborn picture 🙂

Weddings are a very different story.

Weddings didn’t fit my life until my daughter was born. Her toys slowly took over my home studio. I started going on location for newborn pictures and I still do but that takes more of my time, I am away form her longer and as a first time mom I miss her and I need her. I want to spend time with her and listen to her stories. I want to give her more ‘pony’ rides on my  back and hear her say  ‘she’d never hurt me’  because that is what Ana says when she goes out to look for Elsa  in frozen… 🙂

So over the last 2 years I slowly transitioned towards weddings. I did a few weddings on my own and I got to be the second photographer at many weddings for Jen Sacia Photography, C-Tyson Photography and EllAdele Photography.

And now I am booking weddings for 2019 if anyone wants to spend their big day with this girl.


This is how Ela Pop Photography came to life, this is part of my life. I don’t want anyone to be sad… Costi will hate it and probably laugh at you … I read a blog recently and it reminded me that I need to tell his story more, I need to say his name so people know he was a great man and remember him. And honestly it makes me happy because the short time we were together we laughed a lot.


Amber & Cesar – The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge, Rockton

This summer my family and I went back home, to Romania. I was gone for 5 weeks visiting family, on the road with a toddler… I am not gonna lie, it was amazing… but also exhausting. When ellAdele Photography reached out and asked if I can second shoot for her the week after I came back I couldn’t say YES fast enough.

There is something about a wedding day that makes me feel relaxed and helps me disconnect. I get to focus only on the couple and that for me is amazing.

Amber was the sweetest bride. The entire day was relaxed and simple but beautiful. The colors she chose were amazing and I was in awe with the floral.

I also had an immediate connection with Cesar. We were both born in Europe, grew up in a very different life style and moved here after high school. It was interesting to share stories of the beginning of our new life in the States and what we miss most about Europe.  He is an amazing man and anyone can tell how much he loves Amber.

The Pavilion is a gorgeous venue. I was lucky to be there often the past year with Ctyson Photography, ellAdele Photography and Jen Sacia Photography.  The entire propriety is amazing and somehow even after many weddings that I photographed there it looks different every time. That is because every wedding and bride are unique.