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Kaitlyn & Marcus: Summer Wedding in Alton by Bolla Photo

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When Kaitlyn first contacted me about her wedding photography, she said she had been assured she would be getting engaged within the month. (I may have giggled when I read that.) We met and talked and realized we definitely wanted to work together. *Queue happy dance!* A couple weeks later, I heard back that they were officially engaged and wanted to know which dates I was available. For those that may not realize, setting your wedding date based on your wedding photographer's availability is pretty much one of the highest compliments you can give us. :-D (That and telling them you basically stalk their Facebook page and blog....Kaitlyn, I loooove you! ;-) Finally a blog post all for YOU! P.S. If you haven't already figured out I'm a total dork, now you know. Haha!)

Kaitlyn has been getting her hair done by Lindy since she was a little girl. Her wedding day, of course, had to be no different. Her younger sister, Olivia, sat patiently waiting her turn, reading a book she had brought along. (*sigh* A girl after my own heart!) 

As I alternated between photographing Kaitlyn and her dad walking down the aisle and photographing Marcus' reaction to seeing her, on the inside I was actually jumping up and down and screaming "Aaawwww!" (Just for emphasis...this was on the inside! I do NOT actually jump and scream in the middle of a wedding procession....just in case you were wondering.) Marcus could not hold back the tears and the smiles. And I'm a sucker for such sweet expressions of emotion! Marcus later confessed to me that he was afraid he was ruining all those photos. I assured him he MADE those photos! My job is to capture the emotions of the day. The photos are infinitely better, in my opinion, when there are real emotions obviously showing for me to capture.

Aaaawwww!!! (I just couldn't hold it back after looking at those photos again! Love it!)

Officiating the ceremony was Pastor Aaron Love, whom I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago. He and his then-pregnant wife Liz (who was just barely showing the cutest little baby bump!) had just moved to the area and to Brown Street Baptist and had portraits taken for the church website. Then last fall we met again (and their adorable daughter, Chloe, too!) for more photos when Eric and Kim, the new youth pastor and his wife, joined the Loves at Brown Street. (I'm totally jealous of their last name! Ha!)

To symbolize their coming together in marriage, Kaitlyn and Marcus tied two roses together with ribbon, a sweet alternative to a unity candle. During this time, Kaitlyn's sister and a friend sang, accompanied by piano. Music was a large part of the ceremony and it was all performed by friends and family of the bride and groom. They were all fantastic and Megan's voice is outstanding! This really comes as no surprise since their mom Wendy

The newlyweds were showered in brightly colored rose petals as they exited the church. Kaitlyn tossed her bouquet to the crowd of guests as the couple sped off in her grandfather's classic Bel Air convertible.

Kaitlyn and Marcus wanted to invite their entire church family to their wedding and keep the day centered on its true purpose. They opted to keep dinner light and focused on visiting with all of their guests afterwards. The centerpieces were all made by Kaitlyn and her family. They went through a LOT of china teacups and plates for all the tables! It all turned out so cute!

Doing the wedding party portrait session after dinner (and cake! and chocolate truffles! and other sweets!) allowed us to take our time and also take advantage of some prettier light in the evening (but unfortunately, not much cooler temperatures) at the Lewis and Clark campus in Godfrey. They were all such troopers in the heat and humidity, especially the new Mr. and Mrs., who braved the outside even longer for some more fabulous photos of just them!

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Congratulations, Kaitlyn and Marcus!

St. Louis Wedding Ceremony: Brown Street Baptist Church, Alton, IL
St. Louis Reception Venue: Brown Street Baptist Church, Alton, IL
St. Louis Cake Artist: Wedding Wonderland Cake Shop, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis Floral Artist: Dick's Flowers, Alton, IL
St. Louis Make-Up Artist: Kristen Beck, Fringe Salon, Alton, IL
St. Louis Hair Artist: Lindy Sutton, Lindy's Salon, Alton, IL
 

Jamie & Joel: Wedding at the Wildey Theatre by Bolla Photo

Joel and Jamie are a couple who are right up my alley! Since I actually wrote this blog post from the bottom-up, I will refrain from any further gushing about how fabulous these two are! Prepare for some gushing! You have been forewarned! ;-)

First looks. Have I mentioned how much I love first looks? I really love first looks! These two adorable expressive people epitomize why I love first looks! Both of their reactions could not be any better if I scripted them myself! Amazement, excitement, joy, love...emotions, tears, smiles, hugs, kisses? Check! Check! Check to all of the above! Love it!

Per tradition, Jamie had her father, Joe, walk her down the aisle. But her mom, Barbara, joined them when they reached the altar so that both parents could officially give her away to be married. I thought that was such a sweet gesture! Both Jamie's and Joel's families are just so sweet!

Jamie and Joel were so ecstatic to be married! They are naturally just that cute and fun-loving, though, too! The only possible issue I could raise against these two (and even this is actually good, not bad) is that they laugh so much with each other it was sometimes challenging to do any non-laughing photos, especially during their engagement session. We had such a blast!! Love, love, love fun couples like them!

This was my first wedding at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. It is such a fantastic venue! (I loved it so much I rented it for the baby shower I hosted in June!) The exposed brick and domed ceiling require little additional decorating. Jamie took advantage of that and used simple and elegant silver accents along with lanterns and flowers. Between the vanilla scented LED candles and the delicious cake from Bailey Cakes, the room filled with the heavenliest aroma. 

Just before sunset, Jamie and Joel humored my fancies and agreed to go frolicking (OK, not actually frolicking...although I'm sure that would have made for some great photos too!) just outside of city limits. On our way back into the reception, we, of course, had to get the obligatory photo with the theater marquee. 

Congratulations, Jamie and Joel!

St. Louis Wedding Ceremony: Our Lord's Lutheran Church, Maryville, IL
St. Louis Reception Venue: Wildey Theatre, Edwardsville, IL
Cake Artist: Bailey Cakes, Edwardsville, IL

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

Erin & Josh: The Wedding with a 1920s Gangster Car by Bolla Photo

Erin and Josh are a super sweet couple. They wanted their wedding day to reflect the seriousness of their commitment to each other. But they also have a light-hearted side. Their transportation from the church to the reception was their 1928 Dodge gangster-style get-away car. It is often used for shows down in Branson, Missouri and even came complete with its own bullet holes and tommy guns. Such a fun addition to the day!

Before doing the First Look with her soon-to-be husband, Erin wanted to do a First Look with her father. Both Dale and Josh were, of course, thrilled with how beautiful Erin looked. Taking these few moments together also gave the bride and groom time to spend in prayer, reflecting on the importance of the day.

The ring bearers walked down the aisle as security guards, complete with security badges and a safe for the rings. They were just too cute!

Instead of lighting a unity candle, Josh and Erin opted to put together  a unity cross, symbolizing the different roles they will play in the marriage.

As mentioned above, Erin and Josh really wanted to keep the focus of their big day on their relationship. So after a few fun photos with the wedding party at the church, just the three of us spent some time doing photos at a nearby park.

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The ballroom at the Regency was decorated for fall with a variety of centerpieces at the guest tables. And Eckert Florist in Belleville made gorgeous bouquets, staying true to the fall burnt orange and purple theme.

One of my favorite parts of a reception is when the couple has a live band playing. I definitely recommend St. Louis Big Band. The singer's Sinatra-like crooning had all the ladies swooning! (Yes I just said that! haha) I wanted to bottle up his voice and take it home with me! <3

Congratulations, Erin and Josh!

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Sterling Baptist Church, Fairview Heights, IL
Wedding Reception Venue: Regency Conference Center, O;Fallon, IL
St. Louis Videographer:
Jason Gibson Films, St. Louis, MO
Live Band:
St. Louis Big Band
Floral Artist: Eckert Florist, Belleville, IL

Jessica & Ben: An Autumn Wedding by Bolla Photo

Jessica is an elementary school teacher. Ben is a PC Analyst at Wells Fargo. Together they add up to one super adorable couple!

First Looks are so much fun! The look on Ben's face when he first sees his bride proves he's more than ready to turn Miss Hagen into Mrs. Hughes!

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The couple decided to make their grand exit inside the church foyer instead of having all their guests stand around outside in the heat and humidity.

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All of Jessica's flowers were absolutely stunning. Also, calla lillies! My favorite! <3

I stole the couple away before sunset so we could snag a few photos and the colors in the sky were phenomenal!

More gorgeous flowers! I loved the variety that florist Jill put together. Every table had several mason jars full of different blooms. Talk about fabulous!

Pastor Downs forgot to announce the newlyweds' first kiss after their vows, so before blessing dinner, he let them have their formal kiss for all to see.

DJ Chris McMahon of McMusic DJ kept the party going all night long. He even got a soul train line going so everyone could show off their moves!

Congratulations, Jessica and Ben!

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Zion Lutheran Church, Belleville, IL
Wedding Reception Venue: Champagne Hall, Hidden Lake Winery, Aviston, IL
DJ / Photobooth: Chris McMahon, McMusic DJ, Photobooth, and Uplighting Services, Fairview Heights, IL

Cake Artist: Cakes by Marla, Smithton, IL
Floral Artist: Jill Batchelder, family friend