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NEW HOME NEW CHAPTER: CHICAGO ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: ERIC + MICHELLE

I made it about half-way to Eric + Michelle’s new home (and by new, I mean they literally moved in 2 days prior!) until I saw an eerie wall of dark looming clouds. And just like that, the storm hit. And I mean hit! In an instant there was zero visibility. As in I put on my brakes in the middle of the highway having no idea if I continued forward if i’d hit someone yet if I stayed there, if someone would slam me. As if that wasn’t already tricky the wind began to blow every-which-way and I thought if I don’t get outta here it’s gonna take up car. So I called my husband who google mapped me to the nearest thing out in the farmlands and it was a movie theatre. I couldn’t see what it was at the time but the structure was big enough that I at least knew it was a building. So I took all my camera gear in a back pack (in case the wind really did throw my car) and I ran (or at least attempted to run against the wind) into the building. Which ended up being a movie theatre who’s power was out. So all these movie-goers are now standing in the front door atrium, in the dark, with no power, (which means no AC) with me. Like a greenhouse, it got muggy and hot real quick. And the smell of popcorn amongst it wasn’t great. (: But surprisingly, everyone stayed calm and we just waited on the storm. Well, I started to get texts of photos of 50 year old trees that were feet from my house completely uprooted. Not just the branches or trunk. The whole thing! The big patch of grass surrounding the tree still intact but toppled over with the tree. So now I’m even more glad I’m not in my car! But now what? I’m only half-way to Eric + Michelle’s house, who also have spotty electricity goin’ on. This is supposed to be their engagement photos! Well, they took it like champs and were still down for photos. Once the storm let up to normal rain, I headed their way.  Under and umbrella we went around their super cool property! I mean, they get their mail by riding a retro 80’s cherry red scooter! How rad is that!? Two days into home ownership, moving boxes everywhere,  an absolutely massive storm, taking photos amidst it all, and they’re still taking it all in stride. Ya’ll are rockstars. Thanks so much for goin’ for it!

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INDEPENDENCE GROVE WEDDING: JASON + CHRISTINE

My husband is an identical twin yet he and his brother couldn’t be more different. A Conversation we have often within the family is that it’s amazing that two people could be raised in the exact same environment, have mostly the same memories, and yet have totally different personalities and outlooks on things.

Time and time again, that’s how I feel about weddings! Sure, there are some commonalities. There generally is a dress, vows, delicious food, and the celebration. But even within that, two weddings, even at the exact same venue can be so different. And that is why I want to take each person‘s wedding day as it is. That is the only day in history where those exact people, for their exact purposes will ever exist in that way again. I photograph weddings at Independence Grove, Libertyville often. And it just so happened that I got to capture the weddings there on back-to back-days over the same weekend. I absolutely love seeing how to couples, two weddings, can take the same space at Independence Grove and make it completely different from each other! Every couple is unique. They each have their own story.  So I love going into even familiar places with fresh eyes of anticipation to capture everything anew.

Jason + Christine, Thank You for sharing your stunning outdoor, timeless yet fresh, wedding with everyone. But especially with me and my camera! So happy for you guys!
Congrats!!

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CHICAGO ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS: JOSH + CONNIE: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Here’s the big question…Travel to same place you know you love each time for vaca or try a new spot?
I’m a little bit of both. Love the nostalgia and tradition of repeat spots but also the adventure and unknowns of new places to be found. Today’s couple and today’s session is kinda like that. She likes traveling to new spots, while he would be just fine in Tulum, Mexico year after year.
Engagement photos on the iconic Chicago bridges is the place any engaged Chicagoan would wanna be. Yet I love that we ventured over to Dry Hop where they had their first date. Its definitely unexpected for engagement photos. (Though definitely expected for Brunch, the line was out the door before it opened. Luckily we had the hook-up to get in before it opened)

Whether it be for vacation, your engagement pics, or what ya’ll do on the weekend. Start tradition. Find new adventures. If you’re together, you can’t go wrong. Can’t wait to capture their next chapter! 

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CHICAGO NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: STELLA

One time while at a store in the mall, one of the employees asked if we were related to the group of friends we were with. We all look so impossibly different from each other that the question took me by surprise. “No, we’re just friends” I said. “Wow, the way you guys interact with each other you can tell you’re really close. Thought you might be family” she replied. I said that we’re like family.  and it’s true. We’ve been through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, traveled across oceans, talked until the sun came up, told the truth, encouraged, dreamed with, and lived along side of each other though so many chapters in life.

This chapter has been an ultra sweet one. Becoming parents where our kids are all super close in age. They play together. Eat together, travel together, this is all sounding very familiar. May they too grow to be: “like family.”

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NORTH AVENUE BEACH MATERNITY PHOTOS: MELISSA MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY: ERIK + RENEE

I recently had a client after searching for photographers come to me and say: “Your photos have such life in them.” I LOVED hearing that! That in fact is what photos are all about. Sure, I hope they’re pretty, but when today’s expecting parents, Erik & Renee, look back at these photos I hope they first remember how this time in life made them feel. The anticipation. They joy growing by the minute. The feeling of a little one being nourished and thriving within you. There is no greater change than to become a parent. It will completely turn your heart to mush. (:

I’m not (or at least wasn’t) a very emotional person, that is until I had kids! Now, I literally fast forward through Pampers newborn commercials. I just can’t. At least can’t without being a puddle of tears. It reminds me of how much I cherish and love my kids and  how fast they are becoming no longer in that little stage. The pregnancy stage is phenomenal, scary, miraculous, and special. Your heart (and belly) (: grows in ways you never thought possible. That is until you finally hold that little one in your arms. Your heart will never be the same. It’s an honor to be able to capture each stage of this miracle for you guys! Can’t wait to capture baby girl’s first days.

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