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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).

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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

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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!)

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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. ;-)

Missy & Zach: A Sunny Summer Wedding by Bolla Photo

I personally love when couples choose to do a "first look." However, I totally understand those who, like Missy and Zach, wish to uphold tradition and not see each other before the wedding. A similar trend that is becoming more and more popular, though, is for the bride to do a first look with her father instead. Missy is very much a daddy's girl and definitely wanted to have a special moment with her father before walking down the aisle. Escorted by all of her bridesmaids, Missy walked to the back of St. Stephen's where her dad was waiting with his back turned. As soon as he turned around and saw how beautiful his daughter looked in her wedding gown, he couldn't hold back the tears...nor could anyone else watching.

Even though it was a very bright day, we found comfort in the shaded bike path at Drost Park. The sun filtered through just perfectly to bathe the bride and groom in gorgeous light! 

Congratulations, Missy and Zach!

Ceremony: St. Stephens Catholic Church, Caseyville, IL
Reception: LaSalle Room, Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL
Hair and Makeup Artists: Studio 3 at Park Plaza, Edwardsville, IL
Wedding Dress: Champagne and Lace, Collinsville, IL

Emily & Nick: The Cheerleader and the Lacrosse Coach by Bolla Photo

These high school sweethearts met on MySpace. Even though Nick may not have been the football star expected for this daddy's girl cheerleader. his being a "Champion of Character" eventually won Tim over. And just how right these two are together was evident all day long, from the excitement in the morning, to the stolen glances during the ceremony (my favorites!), right down to the last dance of the night. Not to mention...they look downright adorable together too!

Nick proposed to Emily on the forth of July (2012) at Kiener Plaza, so they were hoping to return there for photos on their wedding day. Unfortunately, by the time we reached St. Louis, it started to pour down raining. Emily decided to brave the weather and make a run for it. Unfortunately, the narrow overhangs between columns did not provide enough shelter to get the desired photos without the bride and groom getting completely drenched. So we all dodged (or at least attempted to dodge) rain drops back to the bus, ready for Plan B. Thankfully, the rain finally cleared up and we even able to do some photos outside at Union Station, and again once we arrived at the Regency.

Congratulations, Emily & Nick!

Ceremony: St. Nicholas Catholic Church, O’Fallon, IL
Reception: The Regency Conference Center, O’Fallon, IL 

Cake Artist: Artistry on Cakes, Belleville, IL
Makeup Artists: Mane Attraction, Collinsville, IL 
Hair Artist: Jenie’s Hair Loft, O’Fallon, IL
DJ: Millenium Productions 

Laura & Brian: Spring Wedding in Clinton County by Bolla Photo

On the morning of their wedding, Laura told me that Brian knew I had to be their photographer after discovering at our consultation that, just like the two of them, I am the proud parent of two long-haired dachshunds. Yes, we have the cutest dogs around…just saying! :-)  The pups didn't make it in the wedding (go see Laura and Brian with both dogs during their engagement session), but the day was no less fabulous.

Laura was fiercely stunning in her lace Sottero & Midgley gown. Her bridesmaids were arrayed in Tiffany blue asymmetrical dresses. And the contrasting bouquets and boutonnieres included Billy Balls (pom pom flowers)...as per Brian’s other request.  

Nothing says spring like gorgeous flowering trees! I was totally in love with the ones at the home of Laura’s uncle and aunt. They were kind enough to allow us to come after the ceremony for photos with the wedding party. (Thank you again!)

The fabulosity (yes, I sometimes make up words when I need to!) continued at the reception, where the theme of vintage elegance was made evident in the center of the dance floor: a delicious cake by Artistry on Cakes was draped in sugar lace and pearls to match the table decorations. Another highlight of the evening was the same-day edit video by videographer Levi Kirby (see it here!)The party continued all night with near non-stop dancing. Even Grandma Janice boogied with the rest!

Congratulations again, Laura and Brian! 

Ceremony: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Trenton, IL
Reception: American Legion, Aviston, IL
Videographer: Levi Kirby 
Cake Artist: Artistry on Cakes, Belleville, IL 
Floral Artist: Ahner’s Florist, New Baden, IL 
DJ: Millenium Productions