May 08, 2015

Jenny and Chas, a fun and sophisticated couple, who married a few weeks ago in Effingham, IL. Read below to learn more about how this couple met, fell in love, and their traditional and elegant wedding.

 

Altamont IL Wedding Pictures

 

Their Story

They met through friends.  One of Jenny’s friends had wanted to introduce them, just knowing that they were perfect for each other, and finally the opportunity came one night when they were all out.  A guy entered the bar, and Jenny’s friend told her, “That’s him.”  Jenny turned and cringed, as walking in the door was a guy with quite a stride, leather jacket, and sunglasses…doing his best “Top Gun” impersonation.  “Ohhhh, no…” thought Jenny.  And then her friend let her know, “Just kidding.  Here comes Chas now.”  When Jenny turned again, a handsome, distinguished gentleman in a plaid shirt walked through the door.  Jenny bought herself a drink and went over to introduce herself, and Chas, in his gentleman’s way told her, “I would have bought you that drink.”  And Chas has taken care of Jenny ever since.

Three years later, on a snowy day, Chas woke Jenny up late in the evening to join him for a glass of wine  While discussing their day, Chas got down on one knee and proposed, vowing to take care of her for life.

Jenny and Chas, you two are beautiful…inside and out.  I smiled throughout your wedding day…your friends and family who both love you so much, the way Chas is constantly watching out for Jenny and attending to her, and the way Jenny smiles wholeheartedly up at Chas in return.

Blessings to you both!

Kelly

 

Their Wedding Day

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We started the day with Jenny, her wedding party, friends, and family in Effingham for hair styling.  Not only is Jenny stunningly beautiful, but she has a great sense of humor.  And among her friends, it was easy to take fun, lighthearted pictures like the below ALL. DAY. LONG!!  :)

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After hair and make-up was done, we headed over to the First Baptist Church of Effingham to start the pictures of the wedding day details…the dress, shoes, and Jenny’s beautiful wedding ring.

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One of my all-time favorite parts of the wedding day is when the bride gets dressed…especially when mothers and friends are there helping.  I always say that on a wedding day you see every single emotion that exists, and some of the most raw, genuine, and tender happen during this time.  It’s such a rite of passage…the mother helping the daughter get ready for her wedding.  I just love it.

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After Jenny was dressed, we did a few portraits of her alone around the church.

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I cannot tell you how much I love, love, love this image.  Jenny is so elegant and sophisticated in it…a quiet moment before the First Look with Chas.

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And…I couldn’t pick a favorite.

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And yet another!  So breathtaking!!

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Jenny you are stunning.

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After Jenny was ready, I and the videography crew, the EXTREMELY talented and wonderful to work with Ransom Wedding Films out of Mahomet, IL, headed over to the hotel where Chas was getting ready.

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And then we all headed over to the church for one of the most beautiful first looks I have ever witnessed.

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This image makes me tear up…I absolutely love it.

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I can just hear Chas saying, “You ready for this, babe?” to Jenny.

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Their first formal picture of their wedding day.

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And then after a few family pictures, it was time for the wedding to begin!

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Don’t you just adore the look on Chas’s face as he sees his bride walk down the aisle?

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The pastor told Chas and Jenny to turn around and say a quick ‘hi’ to their guests at the beginning of the ceremony.

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I now pronounce you man and wife…

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After the wedding, the entire wedding party visited a beautiful country property outside of Altamont, IL, for portraits.

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One of my absolute favorite bridal portraits of Jenny.

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To me, this picture is Chas and Jenny…Chas kissing her hand, as he did throughout the entire day…and Jenny loving him back with her laughter and infectious smile!

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A few of the very distinguished Chas.

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It was sunset…there was a field across the road…and I had a couple willing to walk into the tall grass for a gorgeous sunset picture in the field.  Perfection in my opinion!

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Chas and Jenny’s reception was held at the fabulous Carriage House Event Center in Altamont, IL.  It is always a true pleasure working with Janet, the owner, and her team.

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See!  I told Chas was a true gentleman!!

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Prayers and a giving of thanks by Jenny’s father.

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Jenny and Chas performed the foxtrot for their first dance…it was fabulous!


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And, since it’s Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll end this post of a fabulously, beautiful wedding with Chas dancing with his mom.

Chas and Jenny, once again, thank you SO much for asking me to be with you on your wedding day….you guys are wonderful, and I wish you all the joy and blessings in the world.

Blessings to you,

Kelly

 

 

Dave and Corrine are my people. I’m not sure how to say this without sounding too ‘overly friendly’…so, let me put it like this: if they lived on my road, they’d be the couple that came over for beers and grilling out most weekends, but occasionally, we’d decide to do it up ‘right’ and be fancy. That’s just how they are! For the last year, at every single meeting with them, I’ve just wanted to sit and chat…whether it’s coffee with Dave or wine with Corrine. We can just sit and chat while laughing!

But occasionally…ohhhhh, occasionally….we’d go all out. And that’s exactly what they did for their Gatsby-themed wedding this past New Year’s Eve. It was an evening of celebrating a wonderful couple with amazing friends and family who kept the dance floor open going ALL night long!

Here are a few of my favorite images from their wedding day.

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Corrine’s 1920′s make-up was flawless.  And her mom helped do her hair as they got ready for the big day

 

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While Corrine finished getting her hair done, I wandered downstairs to the Thelma Keller Convention Center, where their reception would be.  The staff was, as always, so helpful in sourcing a ladder to help me with this image of Corrine’s wedding dress.

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The special moment when the bride is getting into her wedding dress.

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Corrine’s sister helping her with her jewelry.  Don’t you LOVE Corrine’s hair band!!!

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Since it was a winter wedding, and because they’re as low-key as you can be, Dave and Corrine opted to do a ‘first look’ and see each other before the formal portraits began.  I love ‘first looks.’  While, yes, I do appreciate and love the tradition and atmosphere when a groom first sees his bride walking down the aisle, I honestly love ‘first looks’ because the bride and groom actually get to be alone for a bit on their wedding day…to say those things that they want to say to each other.

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My goal is to make family formals go as fast and efficiently as possible….but sometimes you just can’t go fast enough, eh?  :)

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Corrine and Dave’s wedding was small and intimate with just their family and a few best friends.

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I’m nostalgic for my own wedding here, but I absolutely love weddings in a Christmas-decorated church.  So warm and spiritual during the Christmas season.

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Corrine…remind me what you were thinking here!!!

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After the wedding, Corrine and Dave headed to downtown Effingham with me for a few portraits of them alone.

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While I love the romantic aspects of this photo, I think the closeness of Dave and Corrine served to keep them warm as well…it was COLD, COLD, COLD!  We suffered for just brief period of time and then headed to the wedding reception for a few more images.

 

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At the Keller Convention Center.

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If you’ve been to the Keller Convention Center at Christmas, you know that there are SOOO many beautiful Christmas trees to shoot with…or through!

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Playing with her nephew before wedding party formals!

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Dave and Corrine coming into the cocktail hour.

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I love, love, love this image of Corrine’s grandpa.

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Corrine and Dave’s first dance was to La Vie En Rose….a 1920′s classic.  It was beautiful.

 

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And then, Corrine and her dad danced!  Let me tell you – this family can dance…and dance they did ALL night long.  I think it might have been the only wedding I’ve been to where the MOB and FOB just MIGHT have out-danced the bride all night!

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Terry with Anatime Entertainment is one of the BEST DJ’s to work with in the area!  He has the magical ability to feel what the crowd wants and keep the dance floor full all night long.  Plus, it’s fun to catch him dancing himself behind the DJ’s stand.

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It was a long night, but Corrine’s younger brother managed to stay with us until the very end!

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Dave and Corrine, I love you guys.  Seriously, if I could clone you and work with you every single weekend, I would.  I look forward SO much to seeing your relationship grow.  Blessings to you both in the years to come!  ~Kelly

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The baby of the family is getting married.

My entire family is so excited that my youngest sister, Kendall, got engaged over the holidays to a GREAT guy, and that we get to plan the last Rankin girl wedding.

This past weekend me, my four sisters, two of my aunts, Kendall’s future MIL, our stepmother, my daughter, and my three nieces all descended upon Minneapolis to do a bit of dress shopping (yes, the dressing room was FULL!).

Kendall tried on so many beautiful dresses, but she kept going back to one particular dress, that in my mind was SOOO Kendall. It was different than any other dress I’ve seen during my six years in wedding photography, but I didn’t want to influence her if it wasn’t her favorite.

Finally, trying it on for the third time, Abbey, the wonderful helper at the shop, said she had three questions for Kendall to answer about that dress.

1. Is it comfortable? Yes, Kendall said.
2. Do you feel beautiful in this dress? Yes, she replied again.
3. When the church doors open, and you walk through on your father’s arm, is this the dress you want your groom to see you in? And then Kendall started crying, and said YES.

And, yep…after that we all cried too.

Happy Tuesday!…and happy dress shopping to all of my brides!

Kelly

Jan 09, 2015

She turned him down at first…at least that’s his version of the story. But eventually Randy DID get her number and began texting the beautiful Jen the very next day.

For the next two weeks, they texted and chatted over the phone. For their very first date, Jen took Randy to one of HER local hangouts…a hangout that doesn’t require paved roads, where Jen’s friends just might be hanging out, and where she could get a quick approval from her friends…which she did.

Later that night, Randy took the gravel roads back to Jen’s house, but before they arrived, Randy stopped on that gravel road, pulled Jen out of his truck, and they danced….in front of the headlights in the middle of that gravel road.

Below are a few of my favorites from Jena and Randy’s Minnesota winter wedding.

Blessings!
Kelly

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I started the morning with the ladies at the hair salon.

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The church was decorated for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist using the reflection of the beautiful Christmas tree in the image of Jen’s wedding dress.  Three of my sisters were at the wedding as well, and two of them helped me get this picture JUUUSSSSTTTTT right!  Let’s just say they have a new appreciation of furniture that has to be moved and decorations that have to be taken off of church walls to make an image like this happen!

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Jen had her grandmother and great-grandmother’s rings with her.  When we met before the wedding to finalize our plans for the day, she requested pictures of not only her own ring with her grandmothers’ rings, but also to have the same for her sisters as well.  She knew that her sisters would love to have that picture with their grandmothers’ rings as well.  Here are all five ring sets…the three sisters’ and the two grandmothers’.

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Beautiful Jen getting into her wedding dress with her sister assisting.

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As Jen finished getting ready, Randy was waiting patiently to see his bride in another part of the church.  We took a few minutes to take pictures of the finishing touches of him getting ready.  I love this image…a quiet moment before the biggest day of his life gets underway.

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But THIS….THIS is my favorite image of Randy…and possibly one of my all-time favorite images of a groom ever!  His eyes!  So, expressive!

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Jen and her dad did a first look.  There’s a special bond between these two.  It was just lovely seeing the look on his face seeing Jen and her seeing her dad.

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After Jen and Randy’s first look, we headed to a  local park, that in her words, ‘you know….it’s just the local park.’  Jen, our parks in south central Illinois DON’T look like this.  It was beautiful with rolling hills and half-frozen streams….oh, and an albino deer.  Seriously, in the petting zoo, there’s an albino deer.

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Love this picture of Jen with her bridal veil blowing in the Minnesota wind.

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Another great picture of the groom.

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Before the wedding day began, my sister and I headed over to the park to scout shooting locations.  Nestled among the trees was a beautiful snow-covered path.  I was so excited about that beautiful little vignette.  Well, believe it or not, the day warmed up to be in the mid-50′s temperature-wise; so, by the time we made it to that little area, the snow had mostly melted, but the touches of it along the path in the woods is still lovely…as is the bride and groom!

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Jen comes from a singing family…not a singing family like mine where we have concerts in the car, but a REAL singing family…like they can do it, and do it well, in public!  Here her nieces and nephews sing before she comes down the aisle.

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Jen might kill me for posting this image, but it’s my blog, and I’ll post if I want to (said in a singing voice that’s less on-key than yours)!

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Jen and Randy put together this beautiful wood cross during the ceremony.  The wood came from two barns from their childhood farmsteads.

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And now it’s time to celebrate!!!

Jen and Randy, once again, I love you guys!  It’s always been a blessing have Jen in our life, and now we are even more blessed to have Randy in it as well.  I am so excited about the journey that you two have started, and I will be nothing but thrilled in the years to come to see your family grow.  Blessings to you both!  Kelly

If you enjoyed the images above, please click the link below for a slideshow of their wedding day.

http://youtu.be/QrUol34HcFA

Oct 01, 2014

I’ve known Emily since she was born….her extended family has been a part of my life from before I even have memories. Her aunts babysat me as a child…her father was a childhood playmate who liked to pop up at our back door window wearing scary masks…and her grandmother was the music director at our vacation bible school every summer. Their own stories weave in and out of my own childhood memories as if time has barely gone by, and when you have that kind of history with a family, it’s beyond an honor to get to spend such a momentous day with them.

And, now Emily and Cory have begun writing their own story…one that began as two strangers texting back and forth about their love of volleyball while Emily herself sat at a wedding reception…one that continues with a beautiful wedding in Springfield, IL.

Emily and Cory! Thank you SO much…I’m not sure I smiled so much at a wedding. It was such a blessing to be there with you both, your families, and your friends on such a momentous day in your life.

Blessings to you both!

Kelly

Here are a few of my favorite images from their wedding day!

Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Springfield, IL Wedding

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I always start out the wedding day with the ring shot. I know ring shots are a bit of a new thing in the wedding industry, but I love them.

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Emily getting ready to put her dress on.



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Emily’s little brother seeing her for the first time.  And he is a hoot!  I almost have an entire gallery of images of him…especially since he LOVES to dance and is known for his smooth moves on the dance floor in our hometown!

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Emily’s younger sister, helping her get dressed.

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And her mother, one of my sister’s best friends, looking on with pride and love.

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You’re stunning, Emily!

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But, I adore your ornery look as well!

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The man of the day, Cory, is just one of those great guys…one of those guys who is chivalrous and let’s Emily know that she’s going to be taken care of, but he still has this ornery sense of humor and is the life of the party.  They broke the mold with Cory…it’s been such a pleasure getting to know him!

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And, he’s pretty easy on the eyes!  :)

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Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Cory Winters.

 

Washington Park, Springfield, IL Wedding Photos

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After the wedding, we headed to Springfield’s Washington Park, one of my favorite places to shoot wedding images. There’s 100′s of crooks and crannies to use in this park, and I’m always excited to find new places!

 

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However, I’m not sure Ryan was exactly thrilled to be in a park for the sole purpose of more pictures.  He was a great sport though!  And when it was his turn with Emily, he ran as fast as his little tux would allow him!

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A couple more of the handsome groom as well!

 

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With these facial expressions, I always wish I knew what exactly was being said!

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I love the look on Cory’s face in this image.  Complete adoration!

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Illinois State Capitol Wedding Pictures

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After we were done at the park, we headed downtown near the Illinois state capitol to one of my favorite spots for one more wedding party picture!

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Northfield Inn, Springfield, IL, Wedding Reception Photos

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We then headed over to the Northfield Inn for the wedding reception and a night of family, friends, and fun!

 

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 Oh Ryan!

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Emily’s younger sister stole the show with her witty, tongue-in-cheek speech.

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 But, the speeches by the best man, Cory’s brother, and the Maid of Honor, one of Emily’s best friends, were touching and spoke of genuine, lovely people who they were so happy to be with that day.

 

 

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These two CUT IT UP on the dance floor. Don’t believe me? Check out the proof by clicking here!

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And for the next three hours, the dance floor was busy!  It was so much fun!

 

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 This is Emily’s grandmother, who I mentioned was my childhood song director every summer at VBS.

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 Please see her here in the center of this group dancing, and let me just say, she was NOT dancing to “I’m a Little Teapot”…or any other song as innocent as that one.  Just sayin’.

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Cory’s mom was on the dance floor all night too!

 

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Tracy, THIS image is your Christmas card this year, don’t you think?!!

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Ohhhh, Cory and Emily.  I’m so happy for you both, and I cannot wait to see you this Friday for your album design session so that we laugh, chuckle, and relive your wonderful wedding day!  I’m so happy for the both of you!  Kelly