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!
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.
I started the morning with the ladies at the hair salon.
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!
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’.
Beautiful Jen getting into her wedding dress with her sister assisting.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Love this picture of Jen with her bridal veil blowing in the Minnesota wind.
Another great picture of the groom.
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!
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.
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)!
Jen and Randy put together this beautiful wood cross during the ceremony. The wood came from two barns from their childhood farmsteads.
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.
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!
Here are a few of my favorite images from their wedding day!
Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Springfield, IL Wedding
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.
Emily getting ready to put her dress on.
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!
Emily’s younger sister, helping her get dressed.
And her mother, one of my sister’s best friends, looking on with pride and love.
You’re stunning, Emily!
But, I adore your ornery look as well!
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!
And, he’s pretty easy on the eyes! :)
Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Cory Winters.
Washington Park, Springfield, IL Wedding Photos
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!
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!
A couple more of the handsome groom as well!
With these facial expressions, I always wish I knew what exactly was being said!
I love the look on Cory’s face in this image. Complete adoration!
Illinois State Capitol Wedding Pictures
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!
Northfield Inn, Springfield, IL, Wedding Reception Photos
We then headed over to the Northfield Inn for the wedding reception and a night of family, friends, and fun!
Emily’s younger sister stole the show with her witty, tongue-in-cheek speech.
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.
These two CUT IT UP on the dance floor. Don’t believe me? Check out the proof by clicking here!
And for the next three hours, the dance floor was busy! It was so much fun!
This is Emily’s grandmother, who I mentioned was my childhood song director every summer at VBS.
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’.
Cory’s mom was on the dance floor all night too!
Tracy, THIS image is your Christmas card this year, don’t you think?!!
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
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!!
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.
I adore this wedding dress image with the old doors and stained glass lights.
The beautiful Jaclyn getting ready to put on her wedding dress.
One of my all-time favorite images of a bride and her mother….they are both stunning.
The beautiful Jaclyn.
The handsome Matt.
While waiting for the wedding to begin, the ring bearer got his gift of a bat.
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.
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.
Being a wedding photographer has it’s perks! Like getting to be nearby and witness some pretty tender moments….
…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!!
Matt waiting for his bride.
You may now kiss your bride.
Matt mush have enjoyed the first kiss so much, that he did it twice. This is the second time!
After the wedding, we headed out for wedding party pictures….
…fist time I’ve had a groom’s party request this pose, I have to say.
We then headed over to the Thelma Keller Convention Center for the Wedding Reception.
Matt gave the blessing.
And then we enjoyed the toasts…including an actual rap by a very talented bridesmaid!
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.
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!
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!
Jaclyn’s mother was not there with her in body, but her spirit and presence was with her at every turn throughout the day.
One of my favorites of Jaclyn…I love her and her best friends in life laughing and having a great time at this moment.
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!!
Jason’s turn to put the final stages on getting ready for his wedding day.
I wish I knew what was being said here!!
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!
Jason having an emotional moment during the vows…moments like this make my heart smile.
A beautiful wedding portrait of the new husband and wife.
Jaclyn showing some of her sass…so Jason had to jump in as well!
Love, love, love Jason’s face in this image!!!
An Altamont, IL, Carriage House Wedding Reception
Jaclyn and Jason’s wedding reception was held at the beautiful Carriage House and Event Center in Altamont, IL.
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.
Jason, ever the coach, couldn’t resist giving one of his groomsmen-coaches a thumbs-up.