Samantha + Christopher | Eastland Suites courtyard wedding in Normal

I spent a lovely Sunday a few weeks ago working alongside one of my best friends Kristin of kDarling Photography and Sweet Darling Weddings. Kristin had previously photographed the bride’s brother’s wedding, so she knew the family well, and we had a great day in Bloomington at the Eastland Suites.

Samantha + Christopher now make their home in Boston, but they traveled back to Illinois for their vows. The ceremony was held in the beautiful courtyard at the Eastland Suites, and I loved the white petals hanging down from the pergola where the wedding party stood with the officiant.

Samantha chose light pastel florals to contrast against the emerald green bridesmaid’s dress and gold accents sprinkled throughout the entire wedding. Some of my favorite moments from the ceremony were when Christopher wiped away Samantha’s tears during, Samantha’s infectious laugh at the officiant’s words amount Christopher, and the couple presenting each of their mothers with a single rose. I also loved the guitar pics that Sam had custom engraved for Chris!

The reception space was bathed in green uplighting, with again lots of gold accents. We set up a photobooth in one corner for guests to get photos with their families or the couple. We ended the night with a fun sparkler exit, and I love how those turned out!!

Kelsy + Nick | Uptown Normal engagement session

Kelsy + Nick are one of my 2020 couples that I love because they booked me basically through Instagram! It made me feel like all my hard work over on that platform is paying off! Kelsy had been following my work for a while, then next thing I know, they are engaged! I was thrilled when she messaged me to book me as her wedding photographer.

So fast forward a bit to this week when we did their engagement session, almost a year to the day of their wedding next September. They live near Peoria so we met in the middle in Normal for their session. They weren’t tied to any particular locations, so I picked two of my favorites — Uptown Normal & Maxwell Park!

We got lots of color and a stunning golden hour! Can’t wait for next September when I get to see them again!

Emily + AJ | DoubleTree by Hilton wedding, Bloomington, Illinois

Some brides are planners and have everything completed to perfection — they make it look easy! Emily was one of those brides, which in turn made my job easy! (It may or may not have had something to do with her Apple Watch that she disguised with a pearl band for the wedding!) ;) She built a stellar timeline, had extra hands to help throughout the day, and organized a flawless wedding day from start to finish. It was hotter than blazes outside, but we actually didn’t spend too much time outside. We did all the pre-ceremony stuff inside the church, and there was one long hallway full of windows that came in super handy. After the ceremony, we spent about an hour outside, but it went by quickly with everyone cooperating well so we could get done and back into the AC! Emily + AJ, and their whole wedding party were troopers for sure!

The Bloomington DoubleTree was bathed in purple uplighting, and I loved the floor-length crystal chandeliers that set the dance floor off from the rest of the room. Sunflowers are such statement flowers and I love using them for ring photos and of course photographing bouquets with them. They really are a happy flower! I borrowed a 20mm wide angle lens to play with a bit at this wedding, and several of Emily + AJ’s portraits were taken with it. I really like the look of those images and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked using it.

Congrats again to the happy couple! Best wishes for a long and happy marriage, Emily + AJ!


Ceremony | St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington, IL

Reception & Catering | DoubleTree by Hilton, Bloomington, IL | Instagram

Cake | Hy-vee Bakery, Bloomington, IL ; Amy Hayes

Florist | Forget Me Not Flowers, Bloomington, IL

DJ or Band | Mc Fyr Doc | Facebook

Instrumentalists | Judy Tavernor

Officiant | Father Dustin Schultz

Bride’s dress retailer | Cloud Nine Bridal Boutique, Peoria, IL | Instagram

Bride’s dress designer | Ella Rosa | Instagram

Bridesmaid dresses | Dillards | Instagram

Suits/Tuxes | Men’s Wearhouse | Instagram

Jeweler(s) | Jack Lewis Jewelers, Bloomington, IL | Instagram

Videographer | Video Dreams Productions, East Peoria, IL

Hair & Makeup | Fox and Hounds Salon, Bloomington, IL | Instagram

Uplighting | Prospect Sound and Lighting, Peoria, IL | Instagram

Photographer: Holly Birch Photography, Illinois-based photographer available for destination weddings