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Volkening Heritage Farm: Melissa Marie Photography: SIMON FAMILY

There was two hours that it wasn’t supposed to rain. It just so happened to be the two hours I had scheduled for my last two family shoots before we expand our own family to four in the next few weeks.

It was wet. It was freezing. It was windy. It wasn’t pretty. Outside that is. This family is in no shortage of beautiful. Beautiful obviously on the outside. I mean…Look at em. (:

But beautiful on the inside too. They’re understanding. Givers of grace. Fun. And able to roll with the punches. Whether it be being flexible to see on the fly what the weather hold. Kids who are have been such troopers (Seriously, it was nasty out. They were amazing) but are now over it, and making the selfless decision to just call it. So glad we were able to sneak in some time to capture their family. Doesn’t take much with these guys. (:



What do get when a world champion Olympic ice skating doctor, who owns a jewelry company in two of the biggest cities in the country, (Charles Jewelry) marries a radiantly beautiful (both on the inside and outside), bright, and accomplished  woman? What do you get when they both are fashion forward yet elegantly classic style icons? A pair that sounds like they are the leading characters in a hit movie but in so many ways are living a real life fairytale. A pair that flies to Rome to get a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes that no one else on the planet can have. A wedding so draped in stunning custom jewelry your jaw drops when the box opens. A venue so surreal to see not in the context of the many field trips that have been taken, but almost like the movie “A night at the museum” it’s as if the Field museum now empty of visitors but filled with guests is now more alive than before. Through and through, the bride and groom, the venue, the details, all are more remarkable than knowing how to describe. That’s the beauty of photographs. They help tell a story that words cannot. Megan & Charles, May the images of your spectacular wedding day not only highlight your flawless taste, but I hope they speak volumes to the great love story you two have.

HOTEL: Ritz Carlton Chicago:

VENUE: Field Museum:

JEWELRY: Charles Jewelry:

WEDDING PLANNER: Lola Event Productions:

SHOES: Valentino:


STATIONARY: Steracle Press:

GOWN: Ines Di Santo:

VIDEOGRAPHER: Highway 61 Films:

BAND: Front Of House:



So I had a couple misconceptions when it came to raising a boy. Now, to be fair, I only have a boy (for another month till baby girl arrives) to go off of for experience but for one, thought it wouldn’t be as fun to dress a boy. Wrong. I may or may not have had to convert an un-used game closet to hold all his jackets and shoes. (: And luckily for me, he loves putting on & away his shoes! The other, and way more importantly, I thought I was going to miss out on all the snuggles that’d come along with the early years. My Ry is the biggest snuggler and I’ve got it on video that he promises me that it will be that way with his momma until he’s at least 30. (:

There’s so much of Brookes that reminds me of my little Ry. Tons of energy. Super goofy but also respectful. A boy (or mama!) who knows how to dress. (: And still will allow some snuggles with his mom from time to time. These are the moments that I sear into my memory as I know there will be a day he will be over it. (And I’ll pretend like it’s okay and then secretly cry in my bathroom.)

I’ll never tire of photos of mama’s and their little guys snuggling.



George & Brianne aren’t ones to have too many words, but as the saying goes: “Actions speak louder than words.” And parents speeches about their kids speak louder than actions. Okay, I made the second one up. But it could be true! At least for these two it could be. They are: Poised,  mindful, and  respectful. Extremely well traveled & accomplished yet you’d never hear of it as they aren’t the boastful type. Their parents however, get a free ticket to brag on their kids. And both sets of parents gave amazing speeches! Seriously, I don’t know how parents do it. I cried seeing a snip-it of a mom’s letter to her daughter in a photo I was editing today and lost it.  These two are respected and loved by so many. Love that on a wedding day so many are gathered in one room to give back a bit of the love they’ve shown to others. So happy for you guys! Congratulations!



HOTEL: Hotel Palomar:

VENUE: City View Loft:


DJ: Toast & Jam:

CATERING:  L&M Catering:

HAIR & MAKEUP: Elana Darrus Makeup & Hair:



Volkering Heritage Farm Engagement Photos: Melissa Marie Photography: MIKE + JACKIE

I think more and more what my favorite part of engagement sessions is the peeling back the layers to see glimpses of who people really are. I always say, it’s not about a pretty picture. Those are are gonna happen. But engagement sessions are a way for me to see beyond the surface level of people. What’s your families like? What makes you genuinely smile? What helps you when you’re having a bad day? Mike + Jackie are one’s that I would never have known the sides of them without their engagement session. I told them, you guys put up a pretty good B.A front but you’re actually teddy bears at heart. Behind the sarcasm, and lets say…self doubt, it just took me asking about the other person for them to open up in a really sweet way. They recognize what the other person does for them; and they may not share it externally all the time, but love that we caught glimpses of their hearts for each other during their engagement session.