Noel Welcome Garden

Mary + Zach | Downtown Champaign + Urbana Arboretum engagement session


I was exactly on time for our session, and casually walked toward Mike & Molly's in downtown Champaign with my camera and a few lenses. As I turned the corner, I saw Zach and Mary headed toward me, and the first thing I noticed was THAT DRESS. Mary's green dress, to be exact. And there I was standing in front of the green storefront to Mike & Molly's, and thought to myself "I couldn't have picked a better starting spot!" So I started shooting, and these two were a BREEZE, I tell you. My very first shot was the 2nd one down you see here where Mary is laughing at something Zach said. Her laugh is infectious! This engagement session was one of those that is the reason why I tell my future clients why the e-session is SO important. I had only met these two once before, at their wedding consultation. I felt like I didn't really know them very well, but as we worked through their session, I started to realize how great it will be to photograph them on their wedding day. I got to see them interact casually with no one else around, and see how they really are around one another, not just in a business meeting. I got to see what happens when Zach whispers something to Mary that no one else will get. I got to hear stories about how they met, and what they do for fun, just in walked between various locations. I learned that Zach wanted Mary to "really kiss" because he said everyone would be able to tell if it wasn't. Now how cute is that?

One more cool thing that came out of the session is that I learned about the tiny children's handprints at the entrance to the gardens at the University of Illinois Arboretum. You know the ones I'm talking about? Well, there's one labeled "Mary," and that just so happens to be THIS MARY! ZACH'S MARY! The Noel Welcome Garden is named after Mary's grandparents. How many dozens of times have I walked through there and never thought about it? I will think of Mary + Zach now every time I walk through there.

I absolutely cannot wait for your November wedding, you two! Red door, here we come!! ;) engagement ring Mike & Molly's Champaign

Old Champaign train station

University of Illinois Arboretum Noel Welcome Garden