Hilton Garden Inn

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!!

Contact Holly to book your own wedding or engagement session!

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

Kaitlin + Tom | Champaign Hilton Garden Inn wedding

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In December I had the privilege of second shooting a wedding with my good friend Emily from Mager Image Photography.  Some of you may remember Emily as she has been a second photographer for many of the weddings I have photographed.  We make a great team! :) We met up at St. John's Catholic Church and Newman Center to capture the wedding day of Kaitlin & Tom.  It was a cold, cold day and the roads were pretty icy, but we made the most of it and the bride, groom, and wedding party were such troopers in the cold!  Following the ceremony, we headed to downtown Champaign for some pictures out with the Christmas lights and the frosty trees and ice-covered grass.  The evening was kind of hazy and glowing with all the street lamps and Christmas lights.  Then we were able to get into the ballroom at the Hilton early ahead of the guests to grab some photos of the beautifully decorated tables with a red and gold holiday theme.  It was a lovely evening filled with wonderful people!

bride's first look with her father St. John's Newman Catholic Church groomsmen candids bridal portraits with ice frosted trees bride and groom portraits in snowy downtown Champaign romantic portraits of couple in snow snowy winter wedding pictures red and gold holiday wedding table setup gold chiavari chairs with red tablecloths gold charger plates with wedding sign and cake bride and groom enter the reception wedding couple's first dance bride and groom parent dances candid reception photos

Ashley + Phil | Allerton Park + Hilton Garden Inn wedding | Champaign

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We had a little email snafu when Ashley + Phil started their wedding planning. Ashley had emailed me to get info on an engagement session, but I never got the email! Our email servers must not like each other or something. Boo! Luckily she was tenacious and called and left a voicemail for me saying, she really wanted to book, so I called her back and started emailing her with my personal email and we were back in business! I was so glad she didn't take the email thing as a bad sign, and they loved her engagement photos, so she and Phil booked me for their wedding as well. I was with them for 12 hours on Saturday, but it felt like the day went by so quickly! We started out with a couple nice, relaxed hours at the Merle Norman salon in Champaign where the girls got pampered and enjoyed Mimosas and Jimmy John's (the wedding lunch of champions!). Then it was off to Allerton Park to get dressed and do some portraits before the ceremony in the Sunken Gardens. We finished up our time at the Park with some killer wedding party images before heading back into Champaign for the reception at the Hilton Garden Inn. The ballroom was decorated with lots of purple and sparkle -- I especially loved the purple uplighting! Ashley + Phil, your wedding party and guests were so fun. Congrats to you both and best wishes!! Leave a comment below for Ashley + Phil, and after 50 comments they'll receive a complimentary 11x14" mounted print of their choice!

Merle Norman bridal party hair and makeup

bridesmaids in teal robes with mimosas

custom wooden wedding hanger in greenhouse

Badgley Mischka blue bling bridal shoes

Alpha Gamma Delta pin on wedding bouquet

purple bridesmaids getting bride ready

groomsmen walking down dirt road

first look in nature preserve

tears from bride during First Look reveal

bride and groom portraits before wedding

bridesmaids in purple dresses with grapevines

bride fixing groom's tie

bride and groom with Tuscany grapevine

bride with Tuscany inspired grapevine wall

groom in gray tux with grapevine wall

groomsmen with grapevines

grand wedding entrance and processional

front and back view of bride's entrance

groom watching bride walk down the aisle

Allerton Park Sunken Gardens wedding ceremony

sand ceremony with rings and pronouncement as man and wife

wedding bands with program and purple bow tie

bride and groom's exit with bubble sendoff

wedding party in Allerton Park Sunken Garden

romantic wedding portrait with wrought iron gates

groom carrying bride's train

sweet wedding photos with subtle dip

wedding day candid photos

purple and gray posed wedding party

pebble walkway with perfect natural light

Brenizer method wedding image

wedding kiss photo

elegant bride and groom sitting portrait

open meadow wedding image with blue skies

backlit closeup wedding photo

bridal images at Allerton Park

Hilton Garden Inn Champaign purple wedding

bride and groom ballroom entrance

wedding cake smash

first dance as husband and wife

parent dances at Hilton Garden Inn

rowdy bouquet toss with sorority sisters

wedding reception dancing with tequila shots

Vendors Ceremony: Sunken Gardens at Allerton Park Reception: Hilton Garden Inn Florist: Blossom Basket DJ: Elite Entertainment Caterer: Hilton Garden Inn Officiant: Dave Ashby Bride's Dress: Elite Bridal | Sophia Tolli Bridesmaid's Dresses: Elite Bridal | Alfred Angelo Suits: Elite Entertainment Transportation: Elite Limos Linens: Elite Entertainment Hair + Makeup: Merle Norman Photographer: Holly Birch Photography