I had the privilege of photographing another courthouse wedding on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Courthouse weddings are great because they are pretty much solid photojournalism with very little (if any) posing or details. I get to tell the couple's story in a natural and candid way that is very different from a full wedding day. Here is Chris & Cindy's big day. Enjoy!
Today I am featuring the first in a series of wedding vendor spotlights. First up is Elite Entertainment, owned and operated by Ryan & Kaitlin Mennenga. Ryan and I have worked together on many occasions, and near the end of 2011 and early 2012, it seemed like we were working together nearly every weekend! Ryan does a great job of DJ'ing. He's one of those guys who just kind of blends into the reception by keeping talking to a minimum while also keeping people on the dance floor all night. And just by taking a look at their website, you can see how they can transform any room into a masterpiece with linens, special chairs, uplighting, cake spotlights, and monograms. I asked Ryan to answer a few questions about Elite to help my own clients and blog readers become more familiar with his company. Thanks, Ryan & Kaitlin! 1. How long has Elite Entertainment been in business? Ryan Mennenga “officially” formed Elite Entertainment in 2006 after DJing on the weekends part-time for 5 years. In 2007, Ryan & Kaitlin formed Elite Chair Covers/Elite Lighting, so that they could offer more services to their brides and grooms.
2. What got you interested in starting a DJ, lighting & linen business? We have always enjoyed the entertainment aspect of weddings and Ryan has always had a passion for DJing. Once TV shows featuring platinum weddings became popular, we saw a need to offer uplighting and linens in the area.
3. What do you feel sets you apart from other DJs in the wedding industry? We offer the most customized services for our brides and grooms. We also offer services that no one else does in the area, such a chiavari chairs, custom linens, and elegant lighting.
4. What do you enjoy most about working at wedding receptions? Introducing the bride and groom as a married couple and seeing their expressions when they walk into their reception and see the work we have done for them.
5. What is the best tip you can give to brides who are planning the music and design of their reception? Be open to a wide range of music and trust that your DJ will make the best selections and keep the party going.
6. What current wedding trend do you enjoy the most? Chiavari Chairs is currently our favorite wedding trend! They can completely change the look of any reception room with their sleek, upscale design. We have several colors to choose from, so that they can coordinate with any bride’s color scheme.
7. What is one fun fact about you that brides might like to know? My wife and I enjoy watching the Bachelor every Monday night. Every year we have friends over for the first episode, and we all get to choose 3 girls to root for to hopefully win!
So fun! Below I've included a few photos from the HBP files of Elite Entertainment's work. Be sure to head over to their website if you haven't already to take a look at many more photos and get more information. And definitely stop by their office in west Champaign to see their reception room setup!
I used uplighting from Elite for my own booth space at the Elegant Bridal Expo:
Are you a vendor who has previously worked with Holly Birch Photography? You may submit a request to be featured in a future Vendor Spotlight by emailing Holly - holly [at] hollybirchphotography [dot] com, or by filling out the form on the contact page above. Thanks!!
I was lucky enough to photograph 17 weddings in 2010! Here are some of my absolute favorite images from each one. And let me tell you, it was NOT easy narrowing it down to just one for each wedding! Cara + Josh: Married at University Place Christian Church, reception at The Refinery, both in Champaign
Khamsay + Amit: Married in Abu Dhabi, reception at CityView in Champaign
Kinnerly + Matt: Ceremony & reception at Lake of the Woods Pavilion, Mahomet
Lauren + Grant: Married at University Place Christian Church, reception at Memorial Stadium, University of Illinois, Champaign
Melissa + Kyle: Ceremony & reception at St. Matthew Catholic Parish in Champaign
Lindsey + Sam: Married at Allerton Park in Monticello, reception at Memorial Stadium in Champaign
Julie + Josh: Ceremony & reception at Starved Rock State Park & Lodge in Utica, IL
Elizabeth + Clark: Married at St. Joseph Catholic Church and Parish in Ivesdale
Sarah + Kevin: Married at the University of Illinois Arboretum (Hartley Gardens), reception at Kennedy's at Stone Creek in Urbana
Elizabeth + Mark: Married at First Baptist Church in Savoy, reception at CityView in Champaign
Lindsey + Chris: Married at Holy Cross Catholic Church, reception at Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign
It's funny looking back over these how I went all of over the map as far as temperature extremes go. I worked through 100-degree heat for an outdoor wedding in August, to fresh snowfall and below freezing temperatures for a December wedding. There was also one wedding where it rained most of the day and at the 11th hour, the entire congregation was moved quickly outdoors to indoors. We just rolled with the punches though, and got great images all along the way!
I also want to give a shoutout to all my 2nd shooters/assistants/job shadowers for 2010. You all made my job easier and we're good sports throughout! Thanks so much for your love of photography and weddings, for helping me out, and for your passion to learn more! Here's to James, Dylan, Kara, Tricia, Laura, & Jeremy!
I still have about half my calendar open for weddings in 2011, so if you happen to get engaged over the holidays, give me a call or shoot me an email right away! I think it will fill up quickly after the first of the year!