Villa Marie Winery

Kelsey & John: Winery Wedding by Bolla Photo

John and Kelsey had the perfect day to say "I do."
The morning started at Kelsey's parents' house with all the girls getting their hair and make-up done. The bridesmaids presented Kelsey with a book they put together of photos and letters each of them wrote to her. She laughed. She cried. Then the tears really began to flow when she got to the end of the book where she found a letter from John. (They smartly made sure to give her the book BEFORE her make-up!) I'm pretty sure she squealed in delight when she next opened her gift from John: a new FitBit tracker.  Kelsey is a bit of a fitness guru (she and I compete against each other in weekly FitBit challenges!) and is a Plexus ambassador. If you've ever been interested in trying or learning more about Plexus, contact Kelsey. She will happily fill you in. (Does this make me a Plexus ambassador ambassador?)

Al, from Villa Marie Winery, officiated the ceremony. The couple exchanged vows and rings and were quickly walking back down the aisle hand-in-hand as man and wife. 

Kelsey was well prepared for the possibility of rain on her wedding day. She bought all of her bridesmaids umbrellas and she had rain boots for herself. Thankfully, we didn't need them. It turned out to be a beautiful day! The sun just couldn't make up its mind though...One moment the sun would be behind a cloud (Yay! Look at the camera!); the next it would be full brightness in everyone's eyes (Ok, now look at the bride and groom!...Ok, now everyone turn their backs to the sun!).

Aren't these two just too stinkin' adorable?!!

After dinner we stole Kelsey and John away for a few minutes in order to get some photos before sunset. We positioned them right at the edge of the lake when, all of a sudden, one of the swans loudly fluttered across the lake just behind them, startling us all. However, I wasted no time getting them back to smooching. ;-) (Yes, I definitely like the kissy photos!)

The cake Kelsey picked out was simple, yet elegant and mimicked the lace of her dress. The rest of the decorations similarly echoed the lilac bridesmaids' dresses and baby's breath bouquets.

Chris from McMusic DJ kept the dance floor packed all night long, as usual. Later on in the night, he even broke out some bride/bridesmaid favorites, like N'Sync's "Bye, Bye, Bye."

Congratulations again, Kelsey and John!

St. Louis Wedding Venue: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL
St. Louis Reception Venue: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL
DJ: McMusic, Fairview Heights, IL
Hair and Make-up Artist: Ravishing Bridal, St. Louis, MO
Floral Artist: A Wildflower Shop, Edwardsville, IL

Hollie & Mathew: April Showers by Bolla Photo

Hollie and I have gotten to know each other quite a bit over the past year since she and Mat booked me as their wedding photographer. We've had their engagement session, of course, the boudoir session Hollie did for an album to give to Mat as his wedding day gift (ooh la la!), as well as numerous text messages, phone calls and emails that ranged from professional to goofy to friendly to downright hysterical! Needless to say, I was even more excited than usual for Hollie and Mat's wedding day...and it was even more fabulous than I had imagined!

I love when couples choose to do a First Look before the ceremony. It adds in another special part to the day and gives the bride and groom the opportunity to calm their nerves and enjoy a few quiet moments together.

A few showers began to fall just as we started portraits, but that didn't stop us!

All of the flowers and little details of the day were so beautiful!

The rain subsided after the ceremony for us to do some more photos with just Hollie and Mat, except for a few sprinkles here and there.

One of the few things Mat really had an opinion on during all their wedding planning was the cake. He wanted cupcakes from The Cup (yum, delicious!) and, in case you couldn't guess, Mat also picked out the Batman cake topper. (I totally love it!)


The night ended with a sparkler send-off for the newlyweds. (Yes, Hollie, those sparklers were fairly close to your dress, but you made it through! ;-) haha)

Congratulations, Hollie and Mat! I’m so delighted to have gotten to know you and to have been a part of your super fabulous day!

Outdoor Ceremony & Reception Venue: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL
Cake Artist: The Cup, Edwardsville, IL
Floral Artist: Ahner Florists & Greenhouses, New Baden, IL
DJ / Photobooth: Chris McMahon, McMusic DJ and Photobooth Services, Fairview Heights, IL
Candy Bar: Sweetie Confections, Glen Carbon, IL

Heather & Eric: A Spring Wedding by Bolla Photo

Heather and Eric are just one of the sweetest couples! I remember meeting them at their initial consultation and Eric describing Heather and their relationship to me. He talked about her love and faith and kindness. He said how they could be on opposite ends of a room and could instinctively know where the other was, and then, with just a glance, know exactly what each other were thinking too.

Just after exchanging their marriage vows, they sang “I Found Love” to each other in a beautiful expression of their union:
“When I found you, I found somebody who cares.
When I found you, found my most intimate prayer.
When I found you, I found what every heart dreams of.
When I found you, I found love.”
The touching ceremony was followed by an evening of dinner and intimate conversation.

Even though Heather and Eric have requested their photos remain private, they have graciously allowed me to share the above photo. It is one of my favorites from their wedding day, as I feel it captures that special connection they share.

Congratulations again, Heather and Eric! Thank you for letting me witness such a special union.

Ceremony: Gracepoint, Granite City, IL
Reception: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL

Meredith & Ben: A Metro East Summer Wedding by Bolla Photo

“A wedding is a wedding…they’re all the same.” I have heard that from others so many times. To a certain extent, it’s true. Two people get married with the same typical flow of events as any other wedding. But one of the things I love the most about being a wedding photographer is getting to see how each and every wedding is different, whether it’s just some of the “little things” or extra special touches that are full of meaning.

One of the special touches at Meredith and Ben’s wedding was the music.  Ben’s sister (one of the bridesmaids) sang during the procession and again later in the ceremony. And let me tell you, she has a positively beautiful voice! (Bailey, we wish you all the best as you continue your studies at Peabody Conservatory!)

How absolutely adorable are these two?!!

Congratulations again, Meredith & Ben!

Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church, Edwardsville, IL
Reception: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL
Hair and Makeup Artists: The Mane Attraction, Collinsville, IL
Floral Artist: Grimm and Gorly
Cake Artist: Bailey Cakes

Jennifer and Andrew 06.08.13 by Bolla Photo

At their engagement session, I prompted Andrew to “whisper sweet nothings” in Jen’s ear.  His idea of “sweet nothings” was Darth Vader-like breathing. Being the dork that I am, I totally loved that…especially since it made Jen burst out laughing, resulting in a fabulous photo!  I knew their wedding day would be no less entertaining.

The day started with the most perfectly puffy white clouds against an azure sky…and thankfully stayed that gorgeous all day! Jen was wonderfully laid-back as her hair and make-up were done. She even relaxed with a glass of wine as her friend Nikki set up a make-up assembly line for the bridesmaids. Andrew was getting ready across town with the help of his parents and groomsmen after an afternoon of hanging out with the guys. Meanwhile, the final reception preparations were being made. Jen’s aunt, Diane Young of Elegant Seating, polished off the dark red and ivory decor by adding coordinating covers and organza sashes to each chair. Jen was even surprised by the delivery of an entire old-fashioned ice cream stand…too bad it didn’t stay for long. (It was at the wrong winery! Oops!)

Jen was escorted down the aisle by her father and brother. Andrew was overwhelmed by the sight of his beautiful bride. As Andrew and Jennifer took turns reading the vows they had written to each other, they both alternated between wiping away tears and laughing. The laughter and tears continued on into the reception, starting with five lovingly heartfelt speeches.  During the mother-son dance, Andrew once again had tears streaming down his cheeks.

Congratulations again to such a sweet, fun-loving couple, Jen and Andrew! We had a fabulous time spending the day with you and your entire bridal party!


PS. Keep on the lookout for Jesse, one of the groomsmen, who will make a return appearance to our blog when he gets married in September.

(To see more photos from Jen and Andrew's winery wedding, watch the video slideshow below.)

Ceremony & Reception: Villa Marie Winery, Maryville, IL

Hair and Makeup: Nikki Martin-Lawson, friend of the bride

Cake and Cupcakes: Jen’s fabulous bridesmaids

Gown: Oleg Cassini design from David’s Bridal, Fairview Heights, IL