September

Jessica & Joe: Autumn Engagement by Bolla Photo

Ivy: Turning One by Bolla Photo

It's hard to believe this lil munchkin is already ONE!

We did monthly mini sessions with Ivy. With mama Shannon being the fan that she is, we decided to keep the Harry Potter theme from Ivy's newborn session going throughout the year.

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

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

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. ;-)