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Jessica & Dillon: A Red Bud Wedding by Bolla Photo

Congratulations, Jessica and Dillon!

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Opera House, Red Bud, IL
Wedding Reception Venue: Turner Hall, Columbia, IL
St. Louis Wedding DJ: Chris McMahon, McMusic DJ, Fairview Heights, IL
Wedding Decorator: BK Design, Millstadt, IL
Make-Up Artist: Sami, Eye Do Make-Up & Hair, St. Louis, MO
Hair Artist: Headquarters Salon, Waterloo, IL
 

Amanda & Craig: A Fall Breese (IL) Wedding by Bolla Photo

A Fall Breese Wedding....corny pun, I know. I just couldn't resist!

Amanda was the Maid of Honor at her sister Melissa's wedding in 2014. (See Melissa and Ryan's wedding photos HERE.) At the reception, Amanda and Craig were quite entertaining as they danced the night away. When she later inquired for her own wedding, I knew they would be another fun couple!

While getting all dolled up by the talented ladies of Nu Image Salon, Amanda received a super cute visitor. We always have time for some loving from our fur babies!

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Amanda and Craig opted not to see each other before the ceremony. Yet, we were able to coordinate doing portraits outside at the same park without them running in to each other. This really helped save time after the ceremony so we could focus on doing more portraits of just the bride and groom.

I am completely loving Amanda's color scheme. The navy and grey look so fabulous together!

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Congratulations again, Amanda and Craig! May you always keep dancing! <3

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Southern Illinois Ceremony Venue: St. Augustine Church, Breese, IL
Southern Illinois Reception Venue: American Legion, Breese, IL
Southern Illinois Hair and Make-Up Artist: Nu Image Salon, Breese, IL
Southern Illinois DJ: Live Wire Entertainment

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!)

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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.

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*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."

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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."

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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.

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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

Meredith & Scott: A Church, a Lake, and a Winery by Bolla Photo

Meredith and Scott’s engagement session last fall at Kaeser Park and Silver Lake Park in Highland yielded some of my all-time favorite photos (see below). I was thrilled we would be returning to Silver Lake Park for their wedding photos, as well. And I was by no means disappointed.  More new favorites (see above)!

These two are just too adorable! While sitting and getting her hair done by the talented Carla of the Mane Attraction, Meredith texted back and forth with Scott:
“Are you ready for this?”
“Well of course! You?”
“I’m so ready!”

From Silver Lake Park we all headed to the reception at Hidden Lake Winery, but not before stopping for some photos under the vine-covered trellis. After dinner, we even snuck back outside for some more photos. The setting sun provided the ideal warm glow, and then…the most perfect purple skies for a silhouette of the new couple. (Yup another fave!)

Congratulations, Meredith and Scott!  

Ceremony: Marine United Church of Christ, Marine, IL
Reception: Hidden Lake Winery (Champagne Hall), Aviston, IL 
Videographer: Captured in Frames (See the same-day edit video here!) 
Cake Artist: It’s a Piece of Cake, St. Jacob, IL 
Hair and Makeup Artists: Mane Attraction, Collinsville, IL 
Floral Artist: Carol’s Forget Me Not, Highland, IL
DJ: Majestic Moments DJ Service

My favorite image from Meredith & Scott's engagement session (and a new all-time fave). See more from their engagement session here.