“Whatever Makes Her Happy.” These were the first words that Jason spoke to me when we met at a coffee shop to chat about their wedding. And I think that has been his theme for the last couple of years. From their first few dates to helping Jaclyn through the loss of her mother, their family, friends, and wedding guests all commented on Jason’s adoration of Jaclyn and how he has been there for her…always with the goal of making her happy.

So we met last fall on a beautiful fall day to celebrate their engagement, and we were together again a few weeks ago for an equally beautiful day. The sun was shining, and the flowers were in bloom, just as Jason would want it for Jaclyn. And so at a beautiful church in Vandalia, Jaclyn and Jason were married in front of their closest family and friends, and I was honored to be there.

Jason and Jaclyn, it’s been nothing but a pleasure getting to know the two of you. I hope that you enjoy the retelling of your wedding day through the images below and that you smile as much in the years to come looking at them as I have in getting to know the both of you!

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One of my favorite images of the new husband and wife – Jason is a coach of many sports at Vandalia; so, we had to make a quick stop at the football field for a few images!

 

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Jaclyn’s mother was not there with her in body, but her spirit and presence was with her at every turn throughout the day.

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One of my favorites of Jaclyn…I love her and her best friends in life laughing and having a great time at this moment.

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This might be my all-time favorite image of Jaclyn on her wedding day. I love the soft light and the sparkle in her eyes!!

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Jason’s turn to put the final stages on getting ready for his wedding day.

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I wish I knew what was being said here!! :)

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At every wedding, there is always a little quirk, of sorts, that comes up…something unplanned that will make you laugh in the years to come…like someone forgetting to light the candles on the alter and it being done on the side will the ceremony itself is taking place!

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Jason having an emotional moment during the vows…moments like this make my heart smile.

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A beautiful wedding portrait of the new husband and wife.

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Jaclyn showing some of her sass…so Jason had to jump in as well!

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Love, love, love Jason’s face in this image!!!

 

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An Altamont, IL, Carriage House Wedding Reception

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Jaclyn and Jason’s wedding reception was held at the beautiful Carriage House and Event Center in Altamont, IL.

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This may just be my favorite picture of a prayer at a wedding reception in the history of ever. I love the lighting and the wedding party with their heads bowed in the background.

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Jason, ever the coach, couldn’t resist giving one of his groomsmen-coaches a thumbs-up.

Altamont IL Carriage House WeddingJason and Jaclyn, once again, thank you…and blessings to you and to your marriage. May your life be full of joy and laughter!

Kelly

It seems just a few weeks ago that we sat in a Starbucks and realized how much we had in common.  Though strangers just five minutes prior, we now shared our childhoods spent in small towns, our backgrounds in the agriculture industry, and our love for our family and friends…yes, most importantly, how important it was for family and friends to be there…all together celebrating this new life together.

And, that was how it was for Tim and Amy.  They married on Tim’s uncle’s farm…right outside the small, central Illinois town in which they were both raised…amidst all of those that they loved most in life….family and friends who celebrated Amy and Tim, as the two lovely human beings they are, but also their new life as a couple.

Amy and Tim, thank you….for welcoming me into the fold of your lives…for allowing me to be a part of your beloved family and friends on such an important day in your life.  You both will always be in my heart and prayers.

Blessings to you!

Kelly

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Amy and Tim’s class country wedding took place on his uncle’s farm in central Illinois….which gave me such wonderful nooks and crannies of the farmhouse to use for detail shots, like this one of Amy’s beautiful dress!

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Amy’s beautiful ring.

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Could there be a more perfect vintage chair for a wedding bouquet with hints of farm pastures and fields to rest on?

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Amy’s mom and sister helping her into her dress.

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Amy looks stunning in her portraits….

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…but a laughing Amy is what I’ll always remember and adore!

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On her way down the stairs (once again, we can all agree on loving the farmhouse, right?!!) to see her family and friends, and to see her dad.

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Amy wanted to have a ‘first look’ with her dad.  I absolutely love these images.  The way the tree limb is coming down in the background…how the wind swirled her dress at the right moment.

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“We’re not a really emotional family,” she said.  “We’re not criers,” she said.  #famouslastwords

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Mom love….

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Although SHE  may not realize it, I fancy myself quite close to Amy’s sister!  I had a great time joking around with her all day long!  ;)

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And, now let’s talk about the men!

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There’s one in every crowd who wants nothing to do with me!

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But this handsome guy was all smiles!

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Tim, going all GQ on me.

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Tim opted to have his formal portraits taken on family ground that he and his brothers love to hunt on….and where he also proposed to Amy!!Central IL farm wedding photo  019

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More mom love!

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Last minute preparation before the wedding begins…

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Someone was taking it all in…watching and learning how it’s all done!

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Grandpa!  Grandpa!  Did you see my dress?!!

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Here comes the bride….

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…and Tim couldn’t have been more pleased.

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“The bird seed was a bad idea,” said Amy after she made it to the end of the aisle!!

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We headed to a small chapel near the farm to take more images of Tim, Amy, and the wedding party.

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This image of Amy is stunning….

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….but this one is my favorite by far, as it shows her laughing spirit!

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Being a tad more serious on such an important day.

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Girl.  Twirly dress.  Enough said.  :)

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Tim and Amy’s reception was at Poe’s on the Hill right outside of Springfield, IL.

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Tim had a groom’s cake in the shape of a deer…he used a set of antlers as a prop in proposing to Amy!

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Amy’s dad giving thanks and advice for the new couple!

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Instead of a traditional DJ or band, Tim and Amy opted to bring in one of my favorite groups:  176 Keys!  A dueling piano team that performs at weddings and events!  I’ve had the privilege of working with them before, and they always keep the crowd entertained and the dance floor hopping!

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The reception was so fun, that even the parents couldn’t resist breaking into dance half-way through the traditional father/daughter and mother/son dances!!

Thanks for checking in!  Blessings to you all!  KM

Jan 17, 2014

So, recently my sister posted a picture on Facebook of a semi pulling an Amazon.com trailer with the caption “My Book Order is Here” on Facebook.  Her joke was that it reminded her of me.

Yes, admittedly, I have always been a book nerd.  My Grandma Rankin taught me to read when I was four years old, and my nose has been stuck in a book ever since.  My parents used to joke that I’d never know how to get anywhere because I was always reading when in the car (those pockets on the backs of the front seat make the BEST book holders!), and I used to get excited in high school when a friend’s parents would get their new TIME magazine that I could read.  I was a GOOD time, let me tell ya!  That quote from Jerry Maguire…the one where Renee Zellweger says that a glass of wine and a good book is her idea of a great evening?  Yep..that’s me!

I still love a good book.  On the first of every month, I excitedly scan Amazon.com’s monthly list of books for $3.99 or less, and while I do like the convenience of getting a book immediately on my iPad, overall, I still prefer an actual book with pages.  There’s something textural and nostalgic about it.  Oh, and I’m a total underliner too…I rarely use bookmarks, as most of my books have red pens in them so that I can underline my favorite parts, quotes, and passages.  The added benefit of being my friend is that when you borrow one of MY books, I’ve made it clear which parts are important!!

Back to my sister’s Facebook joke – my aunt left a comment that she needed a good book to read…as I come from an entire family of readers, and I know her pain.  What’s a girl to do when you get done with a book and the next one’s not sitting there waiting?!!!  I like to have at least six books waiting there for me.

So, here’s a few of the good books I’ve read in the last 12-18 months….the ones that kept me up at night…the books that made me chew on my nails…the ones that I know will be on my ‘will read again definitely’ list.

“Unbroken” by Lauren Hillenbrand – OK, I was late on the bandwagon with this one…it was out a long time before I read it…and this is probably the most well-known of my recommendations.  We read it in my book club, and it was amazing…the true story of an Olympic runner whose plane goes down during WWII.  He fights sharks for countless days on the Pacific just to be ‘rescued’ by the Japanese.  It’s currently be made into a movie….I can’t wait, but am also nervous Angelina Jolie, the director, will ruin it for me.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom – Like a lot of people, I love reading historical accounts of WWII lives.  I knew of Corrie Ten Boom’s story, but had never read her biography.  What happens when you have two middle-aged spinsters living with their elderly father in Amsterdam during WWII?  In the Ten Boom’s situation, you become one of the largest hiders and protectors of Jews.  What started with helping just one Jew find a place to hide in the country turned into these three elderly people becoming a major hub of Amsterdam’s underground Nazi resistance.  The family was eventually caught, and what I will always remember  from this book was that as the two sisters stood in line during inspections by the Nazi’s at the concentration camp, they prayed…not for themselves and their lives…but that the soldiers would one day be convicted of their sins and ask for forgiveness from God.

Along those same lines, the story of “The Kommandant’s Mistress” kept me awake all night.  The store of a beautiful Jewish girl and the obsessed commander of a camp who keeps her in the corner of his office.  She was lucky in her access to food, clothes, and warmth, but she was ostracized by her own people…the other members of the camp who hated her for the basics of life of which they had no access.

So, one night I’m on the phone with a bride out of Springfield talking about her wedding day, and we get to chatting about how much we love history, and I begin rambling on and on about this book that I’m reading and can’t put down called “The Orphan Master’s Son”…after two minutes of me babbling like an idiot, I began apologizing profusely…because surely I’m the only person in the world who thinks that the way North Korea has shut themselves off from the rest of the world is intriguing.  Lucky for me, I babbled to the right bride…her family was originally from Korea, and so we bonded over that book!  Seriously, if there’s a book that will make you love the United States and realize what a precious country it is, this is it!  With their lack of family, orphans in North Korea are sent to do the worst of the worst work, for if they should die, they would not be missed.  The main character of this novel becomes somewhat of a Forrest Gump and takes advantage of every situation he’s put in to rise above his circumstances.  Read this book!!

“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers - This was a booked picked for book club, and I postponed reading it until two days before our meeting.  I had read one of Ms. River’s previous books, and had been a bit underwhelmed by it.  But, wow!!  I literally stayed up all night reading it once I started!  Based on the book of Haggai in the bible, the main character of this book, Michael, rescues a prostitute, who had been sold into prostitution at the age of 8, in an old mining town and vows to God that he will love her regardless of her past and what happens in the future.  Despite his kindness and gentleness, time and again, she leaves him and returns to her brothel.  Metaphorical to God’s love for us, this book pulls you in and doesn’t let you go…and along the way shows you how there is no difference between us and Angel.

There are a few others that I loved from this past year, but I’ll save those for another post!  So, put a pot of coffee on, grab a blanket, and curl up with one of these good reads over this cold and windy weekend!

Kelly

Next week is our family portrait session.  And, believe it or not, I go through the same anxiety and indecisiveness as you do.  What to wear?  Do I bring bribes for the kids?  What if the kids cry the whole time?  Will my husband pretend he’s enjoying this and give a convincing smile? 

Sound familiar?

Well, yesterday I had our consultation with our photographer to plan the session.  I’m pretty sure the conversation went something like this:

 

Her:  Kelly, for your family portrait, are you thinking vertical?  Square?  Horizontal?

Me:  Whatever makes me look like a size 4.

Her:  Kelly, do you envision your family portrait as being from a distance or a family close-up?

Me:  Whatever makes me look like a size 4.

Her:  What colors are you planning on wearing with the autumn trees?

Me:  Whatever makes me look like a size 4.

Her:  Are there any activities or traditions that you, Nick, and the kids do that you’d like to capture and remember?

Me:  Clearly, activities that have not made me a size 4.

 

The McCormick family is taking up triathlon training beginning tomorrow as a family hobby…Max not being potty-trained yet might give him a benefit in the swimming leg of the training.

 

Happy Wednesday!

Kelly

Oct 06, 2013

A Glamorous Country Wedding

We sat in a small winery, Willett’s, in our hometown, …it was winter, but inside it was glowing and warm.  We talked farming.  And when I say ‘we’, I mean all three of us…me, the groom, and the bride.  We had all three been raised on farms.  Al three of us are still involved in agriculture.  We talked grain. We talked livestock.  As only farm kids can do.

But we also talked weddings.  In the bride’s words, she wanted her wedding to be ‘glamorous country.’  She wanted sophisticated cream flowers and glowing candles, but she also wanted their reception to embody their love for the farm, their families, and their friends.

 

Jeffrey and Jenny,

Thank you so much.  You succeeded in every way.  Not only was it an honor to be a part of your wedding day, but it was also a blessing to serve a couple who were as excited about their marriage as they were for the wedding itself.

Blessings on you both,

Kelly

 

 

Jeffrey and Jenny had an AMAZING creative team.  We have been emailing each other this past week re-living their wedding day and talking about the beauty of not only the detail images but them as a couple as well!

Church:  St. John’s Lutheran Church

Reception:  Par-a-Dice Hotel, East Peoria, IL

Lisa Ragan with Happily Ever After Weddings – Event Planning and Coordination.

Scott with Sound & Light Creations – Chandeliers, Lighting, and Dapping.

Beth Maxwell with McKinley Park Events – All florals, ceremony decor, and reception decor.

Sara E Designs – All stationary, wooden table numbers, and custom signs.

Patrick N Swayze – Music and Entertainment at the Reception

Ingrid with White Lily Productions – Videography

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0002Everyone knows I’m a sucker for a ring shot.  I love it.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0003Jenny’s cat…I think her mom told me she showed it in 4-H when she was a child!!  In any case, the kitty wasn’t happy I woke her from her nap to take pictures in Jenny’s childhood bedroom!

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0004 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0005Jenny bought this family bible as a gift for Jeffrey.  He got it later in the day, but we used it for a few pictures first!

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0006I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED these shoes!

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0007Of every wedding I’ve ever been a part of, this was the most amazing veil I’ve seen.  The details around the edges were so intricate.  It was just beautiful.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0008Almost time to get dressed.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0009 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0010 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0011 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0012 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0013 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0014Jenny’s mom was so bubbly and kind!  “Are you hungry?  Here – Eat!!  Drink!!  Grab whatever you need!!”  As soon as we got to Jenny’s parents’ farm, her Dad told us to hop in the truck and he took us on tour of the farm so that we could figure out the best places to shoot.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0015 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0016One of my favorite shots ever.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0017At each wedding, there is always that special moment between a mom and a daughter.  It is my goal at every single wedding to capture that, as I know that in the years to come, it will be cherished.

 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0018 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0019 So beautiful.

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st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0001Jeffrey and his brother Benjamen escoring their mother down the aisle.  Background story on Jeffrey’s family.  When I was little, his parents and my parents were in “Young Farmers” together…a group of people through the Farm Bureau that would meet.  I don’t remember the get-togethers, but my older sister does.  But, we’ve known Jeffrey’s family for years.

 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0002Jenny’s brothers escorted her mom down the aisle.

 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0003 Jeffrey’s nephews announced the bride.

st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0004 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0005 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0006There are 30 years between us, but I want this dress.

 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0007Jeffrey, waiting for his bride.

  st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0009 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0010 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0011 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0012I love the look on Jeffrey’s mom’s face off to the left.

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Jeffrey and Jenny’s wedding began at 3:00.  The pastor told the story that at the rehearsal the night before Jeffrey’s mom stated that until 2:59pm the next day, Jeffrey was still hers.  But from 3:00 on, he was all Jenny’s responsibility!!

st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0015  st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0017A good dad.

   st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0020A good laugh during the service.

  st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0022 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0023Giving the mom’s and dad’s the love and respect they deserve.

 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0024  st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0026 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0027 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0028 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0029 st-john-green-valley-il-wedding-picture-0030  The releasing of the doves.

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0021After the ceremony, the entire wedding party headed back to Jenny’s parents’ farm for pictures.  Could we have asked for a more beautiful location?  But, what’s everyone looking at?

 

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0023Ahhh, yes, it’s the limo-bus that got stuck in the field!!  But that’s the handy thing about farm boys.  No big deal – Jenny’s brother ran back to the shed and brought a truck out to pull the limo-bus out.  All good!

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0022  Now I’ve got mostly everyone’s attention!central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0024 While the bus was getting un-stuck, I took a few minutes with Jeffrey and Jenny alone.  Stunning images of a beautiful couple.

 

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0025 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0026 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0027I love this image of Jeffrey and the way he’s looking at Jenny.

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0028 I couldn’t ask anything more…beautiful bride, stunning location, and the perfect amount of wind blowing through the wind and the veil.

 

central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0029 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0030My favorite image of the day. central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0031 central-il-farm-wedding-photo-0032 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0019While we were taking pictures at Jenny’s farm, the wedding guests headed to the wedding reception at the Paradice Hotel and Casino in Peoria, IL.  Upon entering the cocktail reception area, Beth Maxwell’s team had put together a beautiful vintage farm scene to welcome Jenny and Jeffrey’s guests.

Yep, they brought it an antique tractor surrounded by stalks of corn.

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Guests found their table number by referencing antique window panes.

 

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0020There were more window frames suspended from the ceiling displaying pictures of loved ones who could not be there on that special day.

 

 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0003The ballroom was magnificent thanks to her entire creative team.  It was bathed in warm light, beautiful cream and pink flowers, and once again, a nod to their country roots, gorgeous Babies Breath.

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paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0006 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0007 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0008It might have been a tad improper and unprofessional, but I wanted to take a few of those chandeliers home for my own home.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0009  paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0011 Ohhhh, the cake….and once again, every attention to detail with the pale pink petals on the skirt.

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paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0013Jenny’s dad gave a sweet speech of thanks…along with props!  He told tales of Jenny and wished Jeffrey all the luck in getting her out of her future scrapes!

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0014 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0015 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0016 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0017    Giving thanks for the family and friends both with them that day and those that could not be there, but who were remembered.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0021 Taking a break from the celebration!

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0022 Yummy gifts for the guests.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0023 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0024Tears of joy and laughter during the toasts.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0025 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0026  One of my all-time favorite images of a first dance EVER.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0028 I love this look on Jeffrey’s mom’s face.  And equal mixture of pride and love.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0029 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0030 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0031Yes, this is an AWESOME reception.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0032So many thoughts of love and thanks in this image.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0033Wait!  What’s Dad mad about?!!

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0034Now, I have been to weddings where the groom and bride have performed “Gangnam Style”…but it was an epic crowd-please when the bride and her dad performed it for the crowd!!

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0038  paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0036 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0037  paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0039 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0040Three generations.

paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0041 paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0043   Let’s take a minute to talk about the band.  AWESOME!  They’d start a new song, and I’d think to myself, “Oh!  This is a good one!”…all night long that happened!

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paradise-peoria-il-wedding-reception-photo0027Jeffrey and Jenny….God’s blessings on you both…now and forever.  ~Kelly

Please take a moment and leave a note of congratulations to Jeffrey and Jenny in the comments!