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Melissa Marie Photography: Elmhurst Family Session

Being adopted, (which was the best thing that’s ever happened to me) my siblings and cousins were always many years older than I was. My brother and sister were always troopers and let me “tag along” on anything they were doing. No 16 year old really wants to take their 6 year old sister to the mall with them do they? Well, even if they didn’t, they hid it well, and we’ve always been super close; even if not by age. This age gap also meant I didn’t really have cousins my age. (The only cousin near my age was 2 years older but lived on the other side of the country.) Now having a kid myself, it makes me excited to see him play with his cousins. Sure, some are a bit older than him, but they take him under their wing, and he absolutely adores them for it.

Todays combination of families for a “cousin shoot” reminded me of this. Max and Kyle, the two oldest, were poked, kicked, ridden like a pony, delayed the fun of running in races to hold babies, used their finger as a pacifier, and they didn’t think twice about it. There was no coaxing. No pleading. No questions asked. They were the older cousins taking care of all the littles. And the young ones adore them for it. Now getting 6 kids between the ages of 9 years and 5 months old to all be in the same photo at the same time, let alone “smile” was quite the feat. And whether that challenge was specifically met or not, is yet to be determined. (: But what we did get was a boatload of memories. Lots of laughs. A Costco sized amount of gummy treat bribes. And snapshots of the beauty it is to be a carefree kid who gets to be with their cousins. I’ll take it. And I think they time and time again would too.


Melissa Marie Photography: Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago + Warwick Allerton Wedding: MATT + MARIA

Many people dream of one day seeing their name in lights. Well, Matt + Maria got that opportunity in a pretty epic way on their incredible wedding day. Matt Allerton, married Maria + celebrated at the Warwick ALLERTON hotel! Nothing about this wedding was “for show.” These two absolutely ADORE each other! Now I know that’s somewhat a given as they’re obviously getting married. But truly. They are smitten! As for their friends and family, one after the other, they too speak of how genuine, caring, and perfectly fitted for each other these two are. From tears…To laughter…To tears from laughter…These two embrace the moment to show and share the love they have for each other, and everyone that was with them to celebrate on their special day. So happy for you guys! Congrats!

CEREMONY: Fourth Presbyterian:

RECEPTION: Warwick Allerton Chicago:

HAIR & MAKEUP: Bianca Sansosti Artistry:

FLORIST: Ashland & Addison:


DJ: Mike Staff Productions:

Gown Boutique: Nordstroms:



So my husband is a twin and throughout our whole relationship I’ve heard his mom tell countless stories of their family “mayhem.” My favorite being that when the twins were about two years old they couldn’t find Bart (my now husband). They were calling and calling and calling for him even started to search around the outside of the house but couldn’t find him. But low and behold who climbed the kitchen cabinets to get on top of the refrigerator to sit and eat a full box of cookies watching everyone’s search for him.

Hearing the stories over the years has been funny. And if I’m being honest, I may have thought a time or two that the saga of having twins was a bit dramatic. Well, I got to spend the afternoon with a dear family I’ve photographed over the years who are celebrating their twins first birthdays. Beth, to me, is a super mom. How she does it all I’m always in awe. Well, I got to see firsthand a bit of that for a couple hours while rotating through her three kiddos. And let me tell you, I have a new appreciation for moms in general but especially those rocking the daily life with multiples. So I feel like the first birthday was and is not only a mile stone for the little ones but also for the parents. The ones who day in and day out have selflessly, patiently, and most importantly lovingly been there for their kids day in and day out. So happy one year celebration you guys!


Melissa Marie Photography: Independence Grove Libertyville Wedding: RYAN + CHRISTINE

First of all can we talk about how ridiculously beautiful Ryan & Christine are!? It’s jaw droopingly obvious the first time you see them, but it also doesn’t take long to see their hearts match their outside. Kiddos flock to Christine like animals in a Disney movie. She’s warm. Inviting. And kids (and adults alike) adore her! Ryan, he’s what I call a secret softy. Doesn’t show his emotion too quickly but one thing that so obviously has his heart are the people he loves. One of the most telling examples in a speech during the reception. When Sundays call for Football, BBQ’s, sleeping-in, hanging out, Ryan would get together with his grandpa every Sunday. These two love others well. That love so obviously extends to one another. The spin of the wedding day world stops when they are together. It’s not just infatuation with each other’s beauty. (Though, that’s an added perk right?) (: Their cards to one another, their vows, the way they speak to each other. It comes from the right priorities. Their focus was (and is) people over things. Now that’s something to take along this lifelong journey you’re on in marriage.

VENUE: Independence Grove Libertyville:

FLORIST: Aberdeen’s Wedding Florist:

DJ: Mike Staff Productions:

HAIR & MAKEUP: Misano Salon:

DRESS BOUTIQUE: Volles Bridal:

CATERER: Catering By Michaels:

HOTEL: Holiday Inn Express Libertyville: 


Chicago Newborn Photographer: Melissa Marie Photography: Meet Connor!

Having kids is what I call a perspective adjuster. What mattered before either just doesn’t anymore (at least in comparison). What occupied your thoughts, time, money, dreams, all are now in a sense recalibrated to that bundle of joy you now live & breathe for. In a way, there’s amazing freedom in that as it really just boils down to, your kid comes first, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s also terrifying as you realize that most everything of actual value is now in the must vulnerable little body. But oh how worth it they are! So happy for you guys! Thanks for sharing precious time with me to capture Connor in his first days!


Love this image of Connor in his Cubbies Onsie. Caption contest for it on my Instagram Page:  @Melissamariephoto