The big day had arrived and I was looking forward to this day. I left from Chicago and drove to Apple River, IL. It was the most beautiful fall day, absolute perfection, I stopped for a couple personal photos on the way. The GPS took me down a narrow country road surrounded atop with touching trees and ponds. It was so adorable, I couldn’t wait to get started. I arrived about an hour early, and no one was there yet so I made myself useful and walked the property to take photos and scout for some spots later on. There were so many options I almost got overwhelmed. As I was shooting the rows of tall oak trees, I noticed a little animal at the end in front of the barn. I walked to get a closer look, a little mini donkey who wasn’t afraid of me at all. I probably took too many photos of him but he was asking for it!
Jacklyn arrived and started to hang the Blackhawk jerseys on the clothes line. Embroidered on the back was “Marry Me,” the jersey CJ gave to her in Nashville where he proposed before the Blackhawks game there. The bridesmaids arrived shortly after and then the guys. The ladies were all getting ready in the lofted barn and then we decided to do the first look on the dock of the pond, because where else would we do it!? CJ’s breath was taken away when he saw her. First look moments are so intimate between a bride and a groom, I feel so lucky to witness those emotional moments between those two people.
We met up with the rest of the bridal party and then we got ready for the ceremony. They decided to do that ceremony beneath the big oak trees where I found my soulmate donkey. I loved the italian patio lights they had strung up between them and the dry pines that lined the ground with oranges and ambers. The ceremony was short and sweet with many laughs and after the deed was done, the owner of Oak Hill Weddings picked them up in the Model A car they have and I jumped in the front seat. We took off for a short drive and then I got a few snaps of them dancing in the middle of the road and then driving up back to the reception. The food was incredible, (thank you Fried Green Tomatoes), the guests were lovely and the music great (Thank you Folk Yeah!). They sipped on wine and cocktails, feasted on crab legs and steak and danced all night to a fantastic band. It was hands down one of my favorite weddings.