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Chicago Family Photography: Melissa Marie Photography

I will never need to read a parenting book or watch another episode of Super Nanny. (Though of course I will! That show sucks me in!) I’ll just take note of what this family does!I have never in my life seen siblings look-after, care for, or adore each other like these three do without any asking. Seriously, completely in awe.  Their hearts and joyful spirit radiates the love of Jesus. Above all else, that’s what I really want for my kiddo!  So glad I got to spend some time with the sweet sweet family!


Chicago Botanic Garden Engagement Photos: Matt + Maria

Alright. Survey…What kind of packer are you when it comes to travel? I am a very thorough light(ish) packer. As in I can have all that I need strategically only in a carry on for 3 weeks in India but that bag and it’s contents have been interchanged for weeks on my floor. If I think of something I throw it in the bag. Adding… subtracting… editing what’s priority. (Hmm… Kinda like photos) (:

As Maria & Matt and me and my camera strolled the Chicago Botanic Gardens we chatted about travel dreams. From the English walled garden to the Japanese, each spot was more dreamy than the next. And that’s all to do with how adorable these two are together. Sure the gardens are beautiful but guys… it was so ridiculously hot I cannot even tell you. Well, I can tell you that Matt literally brought a spray bottle mister it was that hot. (Hello fall in Chicago!) Which made me wonder what kinda packers they’d be for their honeymoon. Whether they end up in New Zealand, Japan, or the Galápagos Islands I know they’ll have all they need by just having each other. They’re infectiously in love!


Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms Wedding: RYAN + DANIELLE

What do you get when the weather is breezy perfection?

There’s an intimate ceremony on an apple orchard hilltop?

Everyone is super laid-back yet had one of the most energetic dance-floors I’ve been on yet?

A father’s speech to his daughter that WAS the best one I’ve heard?

A venue that I’d be more than happy to shoot at every day of my life?

A bride & groom that were the life of their own party?


Guys…Without sounding super hippy, there was an energy about this wedding. You could feel it! Between the most heart-felt speeches (that already have me all sorts of nostalgic about my own kids future wedding. (Good things he’s only 9months old) (:

The dance floor that was less about epic dance moves (though they weren’t too shabby!) but more so an energetic celebration of being with everyone you love in one spot.

I don’t often comment on the food but for one…dinner was wrapped in bacon. Like lots of bacon. (: And it was so tender I literally cut it with a butter knife.

It was the perfect combination of an awesome venue and an epic bride & groom! Ryan & Danielle, you guys are awesome!! From peacing out on dinner for a bit to try my photo experiments (which ended up being some of my favorites by the way) to being the core of what is no doubt a legendary wedding to every person that was there. Absolutely LOVED your wedding!! They key was YOUR wedding. Wouldn’t have been the same had it been with anyone else! Thank you for allowing me to capture it!

VENUE: Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms:

FLORIST: Flowers by Grattoni:

DJ: Luxe Productions:

VIDEOGRAPHY: Chicago Wedding Films:

HAIR: Hair Couture:

MAKEUP: Total Image Bridal:

GOWN BOUTIQUE: Reddington Bridal:

ACCOMMODATIONS: Courtyard Marriott Rockford:




Growing up I never quite fit the social norm of being a “girl.” My favorite color was Army Green, I wanted to be an Olympian, I’d complain every Sunday when my parents would make me wear a dress to church. Through high school they put me in the boys gym classes because I was so competitive. They’d put a cap on how many goals in floor hockey I could score. That’s not so much bragging about my goals but rather, my lack of being able to stop. (It was park district league after all; cool my jets!) I was told I was too small to play basketball or volleyball so of course I tried out for both playing it all the way through high school to spite people. Again, most of this…stereotypically…not normal for a “girl.”

Well, the more I got to know Kimi (a bride I photographed last winter) the more I saw that there were in fact others like me out there. Photo slides showing her in full ice-hockey gear. Instead of flowers hanging off of her head table chairs it was jerseys. And yet, she is absolutely the sweetest person!!! A go-getter at heart, life of the party for sure, but her softness is a beautiful compliment to her goal-oriented spirit. So it was ultra refreshing to see her baby girls nursery adorned in a sailor theme. I loved that they chose to have photos of lil’ Kennedy with hockey gloves, and baseball mitts. The example her parents are in their own lives and now in raising their daughter is a allowing the freedom for Kennedy to be herself in all things from day one. What a gift to be empowered with that. And what a gift she has with Kimi + Matt as parents! True gems they are!! Welcome to the world; go get em Kennedy!



I’ve always love architecture. As in I was the kid in the back of the minivan still in a booster seat trying to point out the historic homes in our town’s awnings. So it wouldn’t then be a surprise that the Rookery building is one of my all time favorite venues anywhere! The bride to be, Amy and soon to be groom, Shawn must agree as they looked all over the world to find a staircase such as this one. They came all the way from Toronto to have their engagement photos done here. I don’t blame em’ it’s stunning! (Especially with them on it!) Congratulations you guys! The wedding festivities will be amazing.