Karye & Alan: St. Louis Blues Hockey Fans Wed by Bolla Photo

It's been just under two years since I first met Karye and Alan. They were a bridesmaid and groomsman for the wedding of Karye's brother and sister-in-law. (See some of Ben and Meredith's wedding photos HERE.) I greatly enjoyed working with the Hutton family the first time around, so I was definitely looking forward to this next wedding. I got a better glimpse into the special bond the Hutton's have, which was evident throughout the day. Ben and Karye's younger sister, Bailey, mentioned the wonderful example of love set by their parents, Joe and Barb, during her maid-of-honor speech. It was so cute watching her and Joe dance later in the night (see photo down below).


Karye and Alan exchanged vows overlooking the beautiful Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Gardens.

From the Botanical Gardens, we, of course, had to stop for some photos at the home of the Blues. LET'S GO BLUES


Sunset Hills Country Club is a beautiful venue and looked even better with the blue and yellow accents Karye chose. Her "Starry Night" theme was particularly reflected in the invitations, cake, and in the lighted accents throughout the ballroom. Joe made the hanging light bubbles that glowed beautifully, especially for the Karye and Alan's first dance as husband and wife.

Congratulations, Karye and Alan! Thank you for letting me into your families for the day.

St. Louis Ceremony Venue: Japanese Garden, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis Reception Venue: Sunset Hills Country Club, Edwardsville, IL
Cake Artist: Artistry on Cakes, Belleville, IL
Floral Artist: Eckert Florist, Belleville, IL
DJ: Derrick Keith, An Instant Party

Shannon & Justin: A Subtly Nerdy Wedding by Bolla Photo

Shannon and Justin met at Archon, which is a science fiction and fantasy convention held every fall at the Collinsville Gateway Center. Yes, they are nerds! (I can say that because I am also a nerd. I have surprisingly not been to Archon yet, but I have been to GenCon...more than once, which totally adds to my nerd cred.) Naturally, Justin and Shannon wanted to incorporate a few subtly nerdy touches into their wedding. Harry Potter had the most influence, followed by Pathfinder/D&D and Dr. Who.

When Shannon asked me to be in her wedding, the next thing she asked was "But how are you going to be my photographer too?!" Oh, we got this! When your two best friends get married, you do whatever it takes. It made for some challenges but it was worth it. As Shannon knows, I'm entirely too OCD and controlling to allow someone else to be in charge of her wedding photography...qualities that thankfully also come in handy when helping to plan a wedding. ;-) I also had the help of two outstanding photographers who helped me to still enjoy the day and be fully present during the ceremony. (Thanks again, Mary Kim and Katie! Couldn't have done it without you!)


Shannon's wedding day gift to Justin was a book of photos from a boudoir session we did a few months back. He was completely surprised and definitely happy with his gift. :-)

Below is one of my favorite images from the day. Emotions ran high the entire day (we're all a bunch of crybabies!) but I think the peak was just before Justin saw his bride for the first time. I got him in position for the First Look before Shannon came outside and it all sunk in and he broke down. The raw emotion on his face gets me "in the feels" every time!

The ceremony took place outside the home of Shannon's parents, Jean and Perry. Jean worked all summer long literally creating the space for her daughter's wedding. And Perry hand-made the bridge and bench. They started out with an ordinary backyard (on a hill) and turned it into the perfect site for an intimate garden ceremony.

*Nerd Love* The signs naming all of us in the wedding party also had our (fairly accurate) character alignments (Pathfinder RPG or D&D, anyone?).
*Nerd Love* The paper heart streamers were made from the pages of Harry Potter books.


*Nerd Love* More recycled Harry Potter pages made up the head table's banner, as well as the heart confetti scattered on all of the tables. The newlyweds' champagne flutes were even engraved with "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" and "mischief managed."
*Nerd Love* The cake knife gave a nod to Dr. Who with the engraved quote "hello, sweetie."
*Nerd Love* For favors, Shannon thought it'd be great to give everyone a 20-sided die (which is used in RPGs like Pathfinder and D&D), since she and Justin met at Archon. Most of the guests would have no clue what to do with a D20, so instead they went with a pair of regular D6 dice, personalized with their names and wedding date.

Congratulations, Shannon and Justin! I love you guys so much and am so honored to have such fabulously nerdy friends like you and to have been part of your big day!

Sometimes photographing adults is even more challenging that working with babies *and* pets! The expressions we all make without realizing it. Freezing someone in between those expressions. Goofing around during photos. Intoxicated adults....It all makes for some entertainment while editing the photos. Below are a few "outtakes" that are, even according to Shannon and Justin, just too good not to share! Enjoy!

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Bride’s Parents’ home, Beaufort, MO
Wedding Reception Venue: Jesuit Hall, St. Francis Borgia Church, Washington, MO
Cake Artist: cupcakes by 222 Artisan Bakery, Edwardsville, IL and top tier by Cakes by Sabrina

Personalized Dice Favors: Chessex
Invitations, Programs, Reception Welcome Sign, Reception Cocktail Sign: Simonne Bolla (Hey! That’s me!)
Pretty much everything else: DIY or Etsy. ;-)

Shannon & Andrew: A Barn Wedding by Bolla Photo

"From this day forward we make a promise:
Whatever happens, we will not walk alone,
We will stand by each other's side, and sleep in each other's arms,
And be the joy in each other's hearts, and your closest confidant.
May you feel deeply loved, for indeed we are.
Through our brightest days and our darkest nights,
I take you into my heart."


Those were the vows Shannon and Andrew exchanged at their absolutely adorable barn wedding just outside of Highland. And as if this barn wasn't cute enough, check out all of Shannon's details <3

Shannon and Andrew did not see each other before the ceremony, but Shannon did a special reveal for her dad...with the bridesmaids and ushers watching from afar.

The ceremony took place in the loft of the barn, which was adorned with sunflowers, candles, and mason jars full of "fireflies."


After being showered in birdseed as they exited the barn, Shannon and Andrew went around to the back of the barn. They both are enthusiastic shooters and decided to shoot some targets together, in lieu of a traditional unity ceremony of lighting a candle or combining sand.


Congratulations, Shannon and Andrew! Enjoy living in Hawaii!

Ceremony: Schwartz Barn, Highland, IL
Reception: Schwartz Barn, Highland, IL
Hair Artist: Salon de Guerra, Highland, IL
Cake Artist, Patty Cakes, Highland, IL (cupcakes by groom’s sister)
Floral Artist, A Special Touch, Highland, IL

Claire & Ryan: The June Bride by Bolla Photo

"Oh, they say when you marry in June, you're a bride all your life." That song from the classic musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is stuck in my head every year when my June weddings start up. (...and now I'm singing it to myself as I write this.) It strikes me as no surprise that Claire and Ryan chose to get married in June. Claire is a classic traditional bride and her wedding day reflected simple elegance in all of her details.

The royal blue Claire chose certainly pops in all of her many classy details. And those flowers! I just love orchids! 

Here is the coffee table guestbook that I did for Claire and Ryan so that they could show off some of their favorite engagement photos to all of their 400+ guests. 


After the ceremony, everyone endured the heat and humidity of the Midwest in June for some wedding party photos at the Gardens at SIUE before heading to Highland.


Before heading to the reception, we stopped at the old brewery in Highland so that Claire and Ryan could get a few quick photos with their adorable puppy!


Congratulations, Claire and Ryan!

Ceremony: Trinity Lutheran Church, Edwardsville, IL
Reception: KC Hall, Highland, IL
Hair and Makeup Artists: Salon de Guerra, Highland, IL
Floral Artist, Widmer Floral, Highland, IL
Dress: Frew’s Bridal, Alton, IL

Aiemie & Billy: Lewis & Clark Campus Wedding by Bolla Photo

After having worked with all of the Kuehnel family (on several occasions), I knew that Aiemie and Billy's wedding would be a blast.  Their fun and easy-going personalities were represented throughout the day with all of their unique touches. Aiemie had a rainbow of flowers in her bouquet. She incorporated a variety of vintage reference books into her centerpieces (with titles such as Women and the Crisis of Sex Hormone...that one cracked me up!). And her gift to Billy that day even included a gigantic gummy worm, because he loves them so much.

We could not have asked for a better day! Thank you for having me capture your "dream come true!"

Congratulations, Aiemie and Billy!

Ceremony: Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel, Lewis & Clark campus, Godfrey, IL
Reception: The Commons, Lewis & Clark campus, Godfrey, IL