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Noah: Harry Potter Fan at 6 months old by Bolla Photo

I can't get over this keeper! Between those oh-so-squishy cheeks and his many facial expressions (taking after his mommy!), Noah completely rocked his Harry Potter themed six-month session...just as much as his Harry Potter themed newborn session.

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

Jamie & Mike: A Garden Wedding by Bolla Photo

When I met Jamie and Mike for their initial consultation, we instantly clicked. I could tell right away from their fun-loving, laid-back manner that they were my kind of couple. Jamie knew it too and as we were saying good-bye that evening, she said she just had to give me a hug. Even MORE my kind of couple! ;-) A big thank you goes out to Haylie Sullivan who referred Jamie to me! Haylie was one of my 2013 brides and is now mom to the super adorable miss Harper. She is also Jamie's hair stylist at BJ Grand Salon and did an incredible job on the big day.

Mike proposed to Jamie at the top of Washington Park's carillon (a musical instrument made up of cast bronze bells housed in a tower). They climbed to the top and when Jamie looked down below, Mike lit up remote-controlled lights that spelled out "Will you marry me?" and set off fireworks. When they decided to do a First Look before the ceremony, it was only natural to choose the same location, especially since it is only a few blocks down the road from Mike's parents' house where everyone got ready. Mike stood exactly where his illuminated proposal had been as Jamie walked around the carillon to meet him.

After the emotional First Look and a few photos in Washington Park, it was off to Monticello. This was my first time back there in years; my first apartment after high school was in Monticello. My, oh my, how time has flown! 

Allerton Park's Sunken Garden provided the perfect backdrop for Mike and Jamie's wedding. It was evident that a lot of thought went in to every detail of the day. The programs were printed on fans for the guests to use on the warm summer day, and the box holding them even had a charm engraved with the coordinates of the ceremony location. One of my favorite details was the inclusion of Mila, Jamie and Mike's furbaby Boston Terrier, who also made an appearance during their engagement session! Mike's nieces and nephews were another adorable addition.

After their first kiss, the new Mr. and Mrs. Metz released a box full of Monarch butterflies. One of them even landed on Jamie for a while and then later took up residence on bridesmaid (and sister of the groom) Betsy's bouquet.

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Family photos were also in the Sunken Garden. Then we took just Mike and Jamie around the various locations of the park for more photos. My favorite spot was the "House of the Golden Buddhas" overlooking the Vine Walk and Fu Dog Garden. I am totally in love with its heart-shaped archway!

Back in Springfield, we took a few more minutes to drive up to the top of a parking garage with a great view of the Capitol Building.

Jamie and Mike are not fans of pop music, so they had their own playlist for the evening and gave away homemade CDs to their guests as party favors. Mine is actually in my car CD player now. :-) Thanks for the excellent tunes, guys!

Jamie showed off one of her many talents after the cake cutting...Mike tossed several pieces of cake to her and she caught them in her mouth every time.

Congratulations, Jamie and Mike! We had such a blast celebrating with you!

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Venue: The Sunken Garden, Allerton Park, Monticello, IL
Wedding Reception Venue: Arlington’s, Springfield, IL
Hair Artist: Haylie Sullivan, BJ Grand Salon, Springfield, IL
Makeup Artist: Holly Dallavis, BJ Grand Salon, Springfield, IL

Cake Artist: Specialty Cakes, Springfield, IL

Ashlie & Nick: The Rooftop Reception by Bolla Photo

Ashlie and Nick's wedding day festivities started at the Cheshire Inn. As the ladies made their finishing touches, the dapper groom and groomsmen, clad in deep navy tuxes and bowties, enjoyed some martinis on the patio. Ashlie and her bridesmaids rode in style to Tower Grove Park and waited patiently until all the guests had arrived and were in place. Then they exited the limousine as each lady was escorted down the aisle to the Music Stand, where the couple exchanged vows.

Ashlie and Nick moved to St. Louis when Nick was transferred here for work. They have enjoyed their time here exploring the many delights the city has to offer. Since most of their wedding guests are from out of state, the newlyweds wanted to spend some time after the ceremony showing their friends around some favorite St. Louis hot spots. Stops included Llewelyn's Pub in Soulard (the first place they knew they had to visit upon moving to the Lou), The Sidebar on Washington Avenue and Three Kings Public House in the Delmar Loop.

Even though clouds threatened rain earlier in the day, we could not have asked for a more perfect night to enjoy the reception on the rooftop at Jefferson Underground. Food stations proffered such culinary delights as hand-shucked Blue Point oysters, breads with four kinds of olive oil (including black truffle), a cheese and charcuterie station, as well as my personal favorite: a build-your-own risotto station.

Congratulations, Ashlie and Nick!

Ceremony: The Music Stand, Tower Grove Park, St. Louis, MO
Reception: Jefferson Underground, St. Louis, MO
Catering: The Social Affair, St. Louis, MO
Hair and Makeup Artists: The Face Company, St. Louis, MO
Floral Artist: Flowers to the People, St. Louis, MO
Cake Artist: Sarah's Cake Shop, St. Louis, MO

Ashley & Chris: The Weirdness Called Love by Bolla Photo

“We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Ashley told me that the above quote by Dr. Suess perfectly describes her and Chris’s relationship. So much so that she wanted a large framed print from their engagement session with that quote to hang in their house (and at their reception). I, of course, was more than happy to oblige and love them even more for their self-proclaimed weirdness.

The above photo is one of my personal favorites from the day. In between portraits and the reception, the bridal party stopped in at The Turf Lounge for a few drinks. After we got the obligatory group shot on the bar, I loved watching how Ashley and Chris just naturally gravitated toward each other. He put his arm around her. They laughed. They held hands. She twirled her ball gown in front of him. And then they just randomly started to dance with each other. I feel like that photo of them together defines (at least from my perspective) who they are as a couple: adorable, weird (in a good way!), and so in love.

Congratulations, Ashley and Chris! Here’s to you always staying weird and so in love!

Ceremony: St. Dominic’s Church, Breese, IL
Reception: KC Hall, Breese, IL
Hair and Makeup Artists: Nu Image, Breese, IL
Floral Artist: Flowers by Tess, Carlyle, IL
Cake Artist: Krystal’s Cakes, Highland, IL

And here's that fabulous quote again! :-)