peoria Illinois photography

Where my name came from...

I ask a lot of my clients. I ask them to be open and vulnerable which is never easy. I ask them to tell me about them. Their likes and dislikes. Their strengths and their weaknesses. I want to know their story. I want to be able to produce images that when they look at them, they are brought to tears. For what they are seeing is not just a picture of them but a picture of their soul. 

I realize that telling ones story is not an easy thing to do. We all have doubts and fears. Which is why I'm implementing this *new* little exercise for all of you here on social media. I'm not sure what I'm going to call it... (if you have any ideas let me know 🤣). But every Friday I'm going to reveal little truths about myself. Some will be silly icebreakers, some will be more deep, but all will be 100% honest and true. Because, if I expect you to be vulnerable with me... I realize that I have to do the same! <3

So here is the first one... 

My name. I was, in fact, named after the little mermaid. My parents took my 2 older sisters to the movie theater to see it when my mom was pregnant with me. My dad REALLY loved the name. So he told my mom, "yup! We are naming her Ariel." Before that I was going to be named Alexandria. I am the third girl and all our names start with A's. Ashley, Amber, and Ariel. Did I get made fun growing up because of my name? No... not really. Other than the occasional "mermaid" which didn't really bother me. I've always loved my name. I even considered naming one of my own children after a Disney character just to keep that little thing going. <3 So now its your turn... were you named after anyone special or do you have a special story regarding your name?

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Chris & Kaycee's Rustic Wedding in Beason, Il.

I knew Chris & Kaycee’s wedding would be nothing less than perfection. With her mom, Kathie Richert, being a former photographer and wedding planner I knew the day would be a dream come true for her daughter. And that it was.

It was intimate and personal held at the Bride’s childhood home and it was BEAUTIFUL! Everything from the brides dress, from this little bridal boutique in Bartonville (From Our Heart To Yours), to the receptions s’mores bar was absolutely exquisite. The ceremony and reception were held outside. The guests were brought in to the event in one of the most fun ways I’ve ever seen… on a hay bale ride. Once they arrived, the guests sat on hay bales while snuggling underneath flannel and knit blankets provided for them at the entrance draped across an adorable wooden ladder and in a rustic red wagon. Mums, pumpkins, sunflowers, and all things fall decorated the alter where the bride & groom said their I do’s under a perfect arbor made out of rustic buckets and tree branches inside of a gazebo that was made from the top of a grain bin that they transported 8 miles… built specifically for this event. The reception was held in a white tent, from Tri-County Rentals, and had heat lamps inside to keep us all nice and toasty. The reception tables were dressed with various centerpieces including rustic farmhouse lanterns, candles, and pumpkins made of burlap, from Rustic Love Rentals. The three-tier sunflower cake, made by Diana Hamblen, was so delicious I couldn’t resist having my own slice. The s’mores bar, icee machine, and the open bar were the perfect additions to the fun atmosphere created by the DJ from Woodworth Entertainment. This day was absolute perfection. One thing particularly unique about this reception was the mother-daughter dance. I have never seen this done before and it is something that I will be stealing for my own three daughters weddings. The Bride’s mom had cried off and on all day as she was giving the first of her four daughters away but it was during this first dance that she lost it. The tears of joy, the laughter, the desperate hugging. Ugh… it made my mom heart ache knowing that even though my girls are only 5, 3 and 1… time is deceiving and the years of motherhood are short.

All and all, this day was a dream. And despite the 40 mile per hour winds and BLISTERING cold weather. People were literally moving their trucks on top of the tent’s stakes that were in the ground to keep it from blowing over. The Bride & Groom couldn’t help but smile out of sheer joy. (Also, shout out to the ladies at Hair Plus and makeup artist, Katie Charron, for creating beautiful hairstyles and makeup that withstood this CRAZY weather.) The love between them couldn’t be hidden and was evident to each and every person there. Enjoy some of my favorite moment’s from Chris & Kaycee’s wedding!

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