Sam + Ben | Kankakee, Illinois wedding

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Holly Birch Photography kicked off wedding season this past Saturday with Sam + Ben!  We had an amazing day despite the heat, and there were so many memorable, cute, and happy moments throughout the day that it would be hard to list them all, but I definitely want to share a few highlights!  First, the most emotional moment for me was when Sam was getting into her dress and the weight of what was about to happen just hit her and she cried.  She'd of course just had her makeup done so the bridesmaids gathered around her to fan her while a relative dabbed her tears with a tissue.  Sam warned me that she would cry at least twice -- one down, one to go!!  I adored the blue flannel heart that she sewed to the back of her dress in honor of her dad who passed away three years ago. And the ruffles on the skirt of her dress were so, so dreamy.  The guys all wore crazy socks, and you KNOW I loved Ben's lobster socks!!!  They said he wore them just for me, but I think it was just a coincidence! Haha!!  After the First Look at the hotel, we headed off to downtown Kankakee to the train station where we knocked it out of the park with a ton of amazing bridal and wedding party portraits.  We also spent some time individually with both Sam and Ben, and then I promptly proceeded to lose my car key. UGH!  You may have already seen my post about this on Facebook, but below I've added again the photo of our reaction to finding the key.  (By the way, it fell into a bag of mine and the into a SHOE when I went to get sunscreen.)  No harm, no foul though -- Sam had built plenty of time into the timeline and we were still on schedule!  We headed off then to the Kankakee County Fairgrounds for the ceremony in an outdoor pavilion, followed immediately by the cocktail hour and reception in the expo building next door.  The bridal party entrances were AWESOME and I got some fantastic images from those.  My favorite part from the reception had to be the garter toss -- Ben tossed it up and it stuck in the rafters.  A group of guys did a sort of rugby lift with one guy on top who was able to reach up and grab it. The reactions and action shots were priceless!  Sam often helps her sister-in-law Emily (also my good friend and fellow photographer) photograph weddings, so she knows the importance of great portraits, and using a good sunset if you are given one.  I was so happy the couple let me pull them aside from the reception a couple times to capture some gorgeous skies.  I love the results and know they will too!  Congrats, Sam + Ben, and I hope you're having the best honeymoon ever!! #movinguptothemagers

Leave a comment below for Sam + Ben and after 50 comments, they'll receive a complimentary 11x14" print of their choice!!

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pastel watercolor wedding details

pastel watercolor wedding details

guys getting ready at Hilton Garden Inn

guys getting ready at Hilton Garden Inn

mother of the bride helping her get ready

mother of the bride helping her get ready

tearful emotional bride getting ready for wedding

tearful emotional bride getting ready for wedding

first look under open shade

first look under open shade

candid photos on wedding day

candid photos on wedding day

bride and groom at Kankakee train station

bride and groom at Kankakee train station

modern groomsmen bridesmaid portraits

modern groomsmen bridesmaid portraits

glamourous bride in Allure bridal gown

glamourous bride in Allure bridal gown

purple white soft floral bouquets

purple white soft floral bouquets

bridal party at train station

bridal party at train station

bridal portraits at historic train station

bridal portraits at historic train station

black and white photos of bride and groom

black and white photos of bride and groom

leading lines bricks wedding portraits

leading lines bricks wedding portraits

handsome groom standing poses

handsome groom standing poses

fierce bride at abandoned warehouse

fierce bride at abandoned warehouse

urban wedding photos in downtown Kankakee

urban wedding photos in downtown Kankakee

romantic portraits with urban backdrop

romantic portraits with urban backdrop

fun relaxed walking wedding photos

fun relaxed walking wedding photos

we found the missing car key!

we found the missing car key!

candid photos of flower girl and groom's truck

candid photos of flower girl and groom's truck

here comes the bride and outdoor wedding ceremony in pavilion

here comes the bride and outdoor wedding ceremony in pavilion

wedding ceremony at Kankakee County Fairgrounds

wedding ceremony at Kankakee County Fairgrounds

wedding vows and pronounced man and wife

wedding vows and pronounced man and wife

wedding details at Kankakee County Fairgrounds

wedding details at Kankakee County Fairgrounds

bridal party entrances

bridal party entrances

romantic artistic portrait with twinkle lights

romantic artistic portrait with twinkle lights

toasts by best man and maid of honor

toasts by best man and maid of honor

first dance as husband and wife

first dance as husband and wife

beautifully lit first dance photos

beautifully lit first dance photos

first dance photos with off-camera flash

first dance photos with off-camera flash

mother daughter dance

mother daughter dance

mother son dance with groom's niece

mother son dance with groom's niece

bouquet toss with off-camera flash

bouquet toss with off-camera flash

groomsmen garter toss with ocf

groomsmen garter toss with ocf

oops garter toss with rugby lift

oops garter toss with rugby lift

big sky photos before sunset

big sky photos before sunset

deep color sunset photos madewithmagmod ocf

deep color sunset photos madewithmagmod ocf

Vendors Ceremony + Reception: Kankakee County Fairgrounds Exposition Center Dresses: Formals of Litchfield | Allure Gowns Suits: Men's Wearhouse Invitations: Pro-Type Printing Jewelers: Kay Jewelers, Zales Makeup: Sage Ihrke - Makeup Artistry Hair: Liv Beautifully | Olivia Kingren Photographer: Holly Birch Photography