The Courtyard at Garden Grove, Carbondale, Illinois
As soon as I walked into the bridal suite, I was welcomed by Stephanie and all of her bridesmaids. They were just finishing up hair and makeup and there was music playing in the background. Pizza, fruit and other snacks along with mimosas were laid out on the buffet and everyone was smiling and having a good time. Ben and the groomsmen were showing up and heading to the man cave where there’s a pool table, shuffleboard table, leather recliners and mini fridge. If I could describe the day I would describe it as laid back. Nobody seemed stressed, especially Stephanie and Ben. All they were excited for was seeing each other and letting the day unfold how it was suppose to.
Stephanie and Ben chose the Courtyard at Garden Grove for their venue. It’s a one-location venue (which I love) and the venue always suggest having a sunset wedding. As a photographer… I LOVE that. For one it means great lighting. And two, it means that you can move right into cocktail hour and start your evening with all of your guests. When you having a sunset ceremony time, that means one thing… you have to do all portraits before. I absolutely LOVED Stephanie and Ben’s first look. The sun was coming in weird and the videographer and I kept trying to put them in the right spot. It took longer than I planned and all I heard was Ben say, “you’re killing me here! Just let me see her already!” When we were finally set up, Stephanie gave the okay for Ben to turn around and it was such a special moment for those two. Instantly, you could tell that these two people were meant for each other. The anxiousness went away and they just embraced each other, smiled, laughed and shared a kiss.
I’ve been shooting weddings for almost 10 years now and the more I’m around weddings, the more I understand the simplicity of the day. It’s not all about the changing of the last name, the dress, food or the photographs (even though I think photos are a TOP priority). It’s about making a promise to spend the rest of your life with someone, no matter what life throws at you. I believe, with all my heart, that Stephanie and Ben are that couple that will stand the test of time and when they’re old and gray they’ll be sitting somewhere hand in hand, probably with Blues jerseys on (GO BLUES), and they’ll be smiling, laughing and looking at each other they very same way they did on the day they were married.
I love Stephanie and Ben so much and getting to celebrate with them and all of their family and friends that night was so much fun. Enjoy looking through some of my favorites from their special day.
Loved working with these amazing vendors!
Ceremony & Reception Venue | The Courtyard at Garden Grove
Bride’s Gown | Allure Brides purchased from Mia Grace
Florists | Les Marie
Hair & Makeup | Hairography Beauty Studio
DJ | Music n Motion
Vidography | Martin Videography
Bridesmaids Dresses | Azazie
Groom/Groomsmen Attire | Melise’s Boutique
Invitations | Shutterfly