We live in a world where our attention is being grasped at constantly. Where we’re encouraged to always out-do the one who went before us. And where we plan surprises and events just to make people gasp with surprise.

But as a wedding photographer, sometimes there comes a couple that ignores those that have walked down the aisle before them. Sometimes there is a bride and groom who are relaxed and nonchalant about their wedding day. Who are excited about the wedding itself and about their friends and families being there with them.

Such is Matt and Jaclyn.

As the week before their wedding came upon us, and Jaclyn and I chatted about the wedding day schedule, she was calm, quiet, and not worried one bit. She knew none of the hype and the buzz that usually surrounds your wedding week doesn’t really matter. She told me at the end of our conversation when I asked her what part of the wedding was she most excited about, “Just being married to Matt….”

None of the rest mattered one bit.

Matt and Jaclyn, thank you for allowing me to be a part of such an elegant wedding…for you guys…an elegant couple.

Blessings to you both!!

Kelly

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Everyone knows at this point that the ring shot is one of my favorite shots of the day. It’s the very first thing I do when I arrive at the church or wherever the bride is getting ready. I recently heard a sermon at a wedding where the priest talked about how marriage was made in the likeness of God…just as there are three entities in the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), yet one God…there are two people in a marriage, yet one flesh….”and the two shall become one.” This image, taken inside St. Anthony’s sanctuary, took on a whole new meaning for me after hearing that sermon.

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I adore this wedding dress image with the old doors and stained glass lights.

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The beautiful Jaclyn getting ready to put on her wedding dress.

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One of my all-time favorite images of a bride and her mother….they are both stunning.

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The beautiful Jaclyn.

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The handsome Matt.

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While waiting for the wedding to begin, the ring bearer got his gift of a bat.

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Those eyes!!

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But, of all of my images of the ring bearer, this series is my absolute favorite! There’s nothing like getting to witness one generation pass on lessons to the next generation.

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Matt and Jaclyn chose to have a First Look, but before they turned and saw each other for the first time, they wrote each other letters to read.

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Being a wedding photographer has it’s perks! Like getting to be nearby and witness some pretty tender moments….

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…but sometimes I’m not quite near enough! Man! I really would like to know what Jaclyn is telling (and showing!) Matt in this series of images!!

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Matt waiting for his bride.

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You may now kiss your bride. :)

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Matt mush have enjoyed the first kiss so much, that he did it twice. This is the second time!

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After the wedding, we headed out for wedding party pictures….

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…fist time I’ve had a groom’s party request this pose, I have to say. :)

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Smoldering…

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We then headed over to the Thelma Keller Convention Center for the Wedding Reception.

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Matt gave the blessing.

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And then we enjoyed the toasts…including an actual rap by a very talented bridesmaid!

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There were a sentimental words as well..including those by Matt’s best man, who talked about how when Matt chooses a teammate, in sports as well as in life, he chooses wisely and will be forever faithful.

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Jaclyn and Matt….contgratulations…on your wedding, your marriage, and your life together. Blessings to you both! Kelly

“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