I’ve done a handful of weddings in the far west Chicagoland area this year, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m loving that area more and more. I was in Geneva recently for Sara and James’s wedding, starting off at the Harrington Inn where Sara was finishing up her makeup.
Her bridesmaids were there, too, making sure that every detail was perfect for the bride.
Sara’s mom was on hand as well, watching as Sara made her preparations.
Perfect! Sara looked great and was ready to pick up her groom.
James was blindfolded for the trip to the ‘first look’ location. Waiting to get an eyeful of his bride was tough for poor James!
Luckily it wasn’t a long drive, and Sara was happy to guide her groom along the path.
When they hit their marks on the bridge, Sara peeled off the blindfold.
It was definitely worth the wait!
James and Sara joined hands and we set out to take pre-ceremony pictures.
James’s sister moved in for a hug in-between photos.
There were a ton of great backdrops for photos on this trail, and we kept the wedding party on the move!
James and Sara dared stepping out on the ledge…
…making sure it was safe for the groomsmen to gather for a portrait.
James’s Best Man was ready for his close-up!
The Maid of Honor and Best Man hopped into frame with the couple.
Our next stop was a nearby park, where we found this photogenic cabin.
Nearby was a beautiful, overgrown lattice that I had to have James and Sara visit.
With so many scenic backdrops, I could have spend all day exploring the park and photographing these two…
…but there were more pressing matters to attend to!
Success! Sara was ready to walk the aisle!
Sara and James were married at the gardens of Ball Horticultural, where Sara’s mom works, helping out with maintaining the grounds. It was beautiful!
Family members lined up as the ceremony drew near…
…and soon after, James was in position, waiting for his bride.
Sara was beaming as she was escorted down the aisle by her father and mother.
The ceremony began with big hugs for the parents…
…and continued with a special reading delivered by Sara’s grandmother.
James’s grandmother helped out, too.
Then the bride and groom planted a tree in honor of their union.
Next up were the vows.
After vows, Sara and James exchanged rings…
…and after a kiss, they were married! Congratulations!
They snuck away for a few moments after the ceremony to tend to each other before beginning family portraits.
It wasn’t long before they were found by a friendly ladybug. How’s that for a good omen?
I thought Sara’s grandmother was a hoot and couldn’t resist taking a few portraits of her.
It seems as if that ladybug wanted to be a part of James and Sara’s family… see it hanging out on her nephew’s thumb?
Sara’s bouquet- and the rest of the floral arrangements for the day- were designed by Avant Gardenia. They were beautiful!
Whew! Sara couldn’t help but get off her feet for a second…
…and while she did, I had the Best Man pose with the rings.
Then James took care of an unruly horse. That thing just looks like it’s up to no good.
The wedding party filed out the garden en route to the reception site. But first, we stopped for a round of celebratory drinks.
And while enjoying the pitcher, James, Sara and their attendants made the whole thing legal by signing the marriage license.
A toast to the newlyweds!
I feel the same way about doing shots.
Back at the Harrington Inn, guests had assembled for the reception, and gave Sara and James a lively greeting upon their big entrance.
The dinner, a marvelous feast catered by Riverside Receptions, was fantastic, but James was most excited for the cake- an impressive confection baked by the masters at The Cakery.
Next up were the speeches, which began with Sara’s mom taking the microphone to thank everyone for joining the family on this special day.
Sara’s grandmother couldn’t help but soak up the attention after being introduced.
James’s Best Man gave a toast in honor of his friends.
And Sara’s Maid of Honor had everyone smiling during her speech.
Then the newlyweds took to the dance floor to share their first dance as a married couple.
One little guests watched the dance from afar. I think he was all done with the yucky love stuff.
Sara and her father shared a dance together…
…and then everyone piled onto the dance floor. You know you’re in store for a treat when a conga line breaks out!
James’s parents wasted no time showing everyone their dance moves.
And Sara’s parents looked so sweet sharing a slow dance.
James jumped into the middle of everything when the DJ from Style Matters played his favorite song.
And his sister went crazy when they player hers!
Sara could barely contain her excitement at how well the party was going.
And James’s grandmother was tired of having my camera in her face, which I took as a good sign to make my exit.
Congratulations, Sara and James! I had a blast sharing your day with you!