Kate + Mark | Engaged! | Mokena Engagement Session | Chicago Wedding Photographer

"You make me
dance like a fool
forget how to breath
shine like gold
buzz like a bee

Just the thought of you
can drive me wild

Oh you make me smile "

I love shooting engagement sessions because it gives me a chance to get to know my wedding couples a little better before their wedding day.  I knew the second that I met Kate and Mark at our consultation that they were going to be so fun to work with.  When it came time for their engagement session, they were even more amazing than I had imagined.  The whole hour was full of laughs.  These two are so perfect together and I CANNOT WAIT for their wedding day!

 

Mack Party of 5 | Mokena Maternity Session | Mokena Family Photographer

This momma is amazing! Not only is she about to be a mom of three, but she's also a nurse, a professional ballerina, a model, a beauty queen (seriously, she was Mrs. New Jersey International in 2015), and she somehow finds the time to also run her own business, Amber Rae Mack Designs, making dance costumes, tutus, and embroidery.  It's truly inspiring to see all she has accomplished.  I was so honored to be asked to document this time in her life, as she awaits the birth of her son.  Amber looked absolutely stunning, and can you believe she whipped together those sashes and flower crowns the day before her session? I told you, she's amazing.  Congrats to the Mack family on your new addition! He is going to be so well loved and impeccably dressed.   

Wyatt | 18 Months Old! | Mokena Family Photographer

I will never get tired of photographing adorable toddlers in the golden summer sunset light.  Little Wyatt may have not felt the same, but he was such a good boy for his session with me. What little guy wouldn't love time outside snuggling with mommy and daddy? ;)

Liam | 2 Years Old | Cantigny Park Family Session | Chicago Family Photographer

"Hold him a little longer,
Rock him a little more.
Tell him another story,
You've only told him 4.
Let him sleep on your shoulder.
Rejoice in his happy smile.
He is only a little boy
For such a little while..."

Anthony + Alexis | Married! | Frankfort Backyard Wedding | Chicago Wedding Photographer

The weddings I love the most, the one's that make my soul sing and remind me why I do what I do, are the weddings that ooze love and laughter.  The weddings where tradition is cast to the side to make the day truly all about the couple.  Alexis and Tony's wedding was one of those weddings, and I am so happy that the stars aligned so that I could be a part of their day.

The week before, I received a message from a bride explaining that her photographer had a medical emergency and could no longer shoot her wedding so she wondered if I had the date available....10 days later. Can you imagine that stress level?  A year of planning and the week before, in June no less, you're suddenly without a wedding photographer? Fortunately, that was the one Saturday I still had open, and I have to say, that other photographer missed out.  Tony and Alexis were a DREAM to work with and their wedding was unique, fun, and amazing!

The two were married by a lifelong friend in the bride's parents' backyard in Frankfort.  Being huge Jimmy Eat World fans, they told themselves that if they ever won the lottery they would hire their favorite band to play at the reception.  Well ten years was long enough to wait. ;) And while they haven't hit the Powerball jackpot, they have an amazing group of friends and a few of those friends are in a killer Jimmy Eat World cover band, Salt Sweat Sugar. Instead of a traditional reception, Tony and Alexis held a full on concert in the backyard.  IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Duke | 9 Days New! | Mokena Newborn Photographer

"Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lulluby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles await you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby..."

Parker | 4 Years Old! | Mokena Family Photographer

This little stinker.  I cannot believe he is 4! I met Parker and his family at their very first session with me when he was just a little one year old.  And now look how big he is! He is growing into the sweetest, silliest little boy, just like his big brother.  I just have the most fun when I get to see them. 

Caleb | 6 months old! | Mokena Family Photographer

No matter how many kids I have, or how many babies I photograph, I'm always amazed at how quickly they change and grow month to month.  Caleb is such a fun happy little guy and his personality is really starting to show.  I'm sure he's going to be just as silly as his big brother.

Justine + Ian | Engaged! | Frankfort Engagement Session | Chicago Wedding Photographer

I cannot wait for Justine and Ian's wedding!  This gorgeous couple is getting married at the AMAZING Warehouse 109 in Plainfield next September.  For their engagement session, we met up in Downtown Frankfort with their adorable husky, Meeka.  I love when couples can relax and have fun together during their session, and these two did amazing!

Caleb | 7 Months! | Mokena Family Session | Mokena Family Photographer

When you have little ones, the days are long but the years are short.  They grow up in the blink of an eye.  Try to remember every giggle, their sweet baby smell, those first sloppy, open mouth kisses.  They're little for such a short time.  Cherish every minute. 

Sefcik Family | Extended Family Session | Mokena Family Photographer

"The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith." ~Billy Graham

I love this family! Allie was one of my very best friends in high school. We were in color guard together, everyone thought we looked alike, and we drove matching Sunfires.  It is so fun now to see her as a wife and a mother to her beautiful little baby, Addison! Allie's mom asked for updated photos of her kids and grandkids for Mother's Day.  Who doesn't love photos of their babies? Thanks to the crazy weather we had this spring, we had to push their session back a little bit but we finally got it in! I loved getting to see everyone, and seeing how much her sister Stacey's kids have grown and changed since our last extended family session together.  

Leo | 9 Month Milestone Session | Mokena Family Photographer

Hold him a little longer.
Rock him a little more.
Read him another story,
you've only read him four.
Let him sleep on your shoulder.
Rejoice in his happy smile.
He is only a Little Boy
for such a little while.

I can't believe little Leo is already 9 months old! Where does the time go?!

Joe + Katie | Married! | Ruffled Feathers Wedding | Lemont Wedding Photographer

In the middle of sixth grade, my family moved to a new town, which meant I had to start a new school where I, a scrawny, awkward 11 year old knew no one.  One of the first people I met in my new class was a girl, whose name also happened to be Katie, who shared an affinity for stirrup pants and embellished cardigans.  (Or at least our moms who bought our clothes did.) Last month, I had the amazing honor of photographing that girl's wedding day, and witnessing her marry the love of her life.

Joe and Katie had the perfect warm and sunny day for their #cincodewedding, which was a huge win after the incredibly cold April we had.  The two were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Mokena, then headed over to their reception at Ruffled Feathers in Lemont.  

One of the biggest and sweetest surprises of the day, was how excited and emotional Joe was before the ceremony.  He laughed and fought back tears while waiting to finally get to marry Katie.  

After the ceremony, the bridal party took some time to relax and celebrate in their party bus before taking photos at the beautiful Ruffled Feather Golf Club.

Their reception was full of laughs and love, and the dance floor stayed packed all night!  The bride and groom, I'm sure, were exhausted but everyone there had the most amazing time.  

Congrats Joe and Katie!  If your wedding day is any indication, you have a lifetime of laughs and happiness ahead of you.  Cheers!

Venders:
Dress: Bella Sposa Bridal Boutique
Hair + Makeup: Christina Gia Beauty Bar
Florist: An English Garden
Cake: Orland Park Bakery
Reception Decor: Duryea Place Designs
DJ: Tone Productions
Photography: Katie Brsan
2nd shooter: Samantha Borman

Rachel and Piotr | Engaged! | Mokena Engagement Session | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Gorgeous light, adorable puppies, and fun couples in love are a few of the things that make my heart sing.  Rachel and Piotr's engagement session brought all of that.  The two wanted to do a session that included Piotr's love of fishing, and their mutual love for their fur baby Mischa, who, by the way, is the calmest, most well trained puppy ever! She worked it in front of the camera and sat and posed for me! My human babies aren't that cooperative! ;) 

 This sweet couple is tying the knot this fall at Dinolfo's.  They were so much fun to work with and I wish them a lifetime of happiness.  Congrats Rachel and Piotr!

Jen + Chris | Engaged! | Rock Run Preserve Engagement Session | Joliet Wedding Photographer

Remember that weekend at the end of September, when the temperature was in the 90s and everyone was complaining and wondering if we would have a fall?  Well, on this 40 degree day in April, I wish I could take it back.  Sorry mother nature.  Can we have our warmth and gorgeous sunsets back please?!

Jen and Chris came out to melt with me that weekend for their engagement session at the Rock Run Preserve in Joliet.  They are the funnest couple and we spent their whole session laughing...and sweating. I am so excited to be shooting their wedding this August at the GORGEOUS Mistwood Golf Club.  

Jenna + Bryan | Engaged! | Hudson Crossing Engagement Session Oswego | Chicago Wedding Photographer

We originally had Jenna and Bryan's winter engagement session scheduled for President's Day, but once the weather forecast said 60 degrees with 100% chance of thunderstorms, we knew we had to figure something else out.  Luckily we were able to get it in the morning before.  And, even luckier, there was the prettiest snow fall the night before that left us a beautiful winter wonderland to play in!  It was absolutely freezing but Bryan had no problem wrapping his arms around his bride-to-be to keep her warm.  These two love birds are getting married this October at the Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin, and I cannot wait to celebrate with them!

Michael | 9 Days New | In-home Newborn Session | Tinley Park Newborn Photographer

World...meet Michael.  This little cutey was only nine days new when I had my chance to snuggle him.  He has the proudest big brother you've ever seen, and the two of them together is enough to make any mamma's heart burst!