photos by Ariel blog

Featured on Big Day Made- Blaine & Jordan's Romantic White Wedding in Springfield, Illinois

I am so excited to share with you this beautiful white wedding at Springfield House of Prayer and The Rail Golf Course in Springfield, Illinois. There is a lot I could say about this wedding day, for example:

1.) This is the perfect example of a budget wedding done RIGHT

2.) These are color scheme #goals... all that white made everything so bright & airy and fresh.

3.) I can't believe those flowers are fake

4.) The CONSTANT outdoor rain and freezing temps during the entire day made outdoor pics of the entire party not possible, however, the pictures were still stunning. 

5.) I can't believe she MADE HER DRESS! 

Each of the carefully selected pieces that adorned their venue can only be described as timeless and elegant. This wedding made for one of the most simple-romantic designs I’ve ever seen. But this perfect decor was NOTHING in comparison to the love and joy that quite literally beamed from the faces of not JUST the bride & groom but from ALL who attended this wedding. In fact, I don’t know if i’ve every been to a wedding quite as joyful as this one. Why? Because Jordan and Blaine had their eye on the prize, their marriage. Since their relationship was long distance the ENTIRE time (Him in Illinois, Her in Tennessee), they were just so happy to finally be together and it SHOWED.

Jordan and Blake grew up in the same friend & church circles, about 3.5 years ago they began noticing each other differently. Their relationship began by mentioning each other in casual conversations with mutual friends until eventually Blaine decided to do this thing FOR REAL! Because they were dating with the intention of marriage, he decided to take a visit to Jordan’s family farm in Tennessee. After this trip, he was certain about her, their relationship, and their future. So, he began putting a plan together to make this thing official. His first move was to call Jordan’s dad and ask him if he could pursue a relationship with his daughter (Cue all the “awwwwwww’s…..) whoever said “chivalry is dead” has NOT met Blaine! But Jordan’s father made Blaine sweat a bit by making him wait and wait for a response…. until finally he gave him the green light.

But there was still one problem, there were 425 miles of Midwest Farmland between them.

They committed to seeing each other every two weeks until 6 months later, Blaine proposed to Jordan on her birthday. And 5 months after that, Blaine & Jordan stood together, hand in hand, in front of God and their family and friends, and put to words what their hearts already knew for so long.

Blaine & Jordan, from the moment I met you, Jesus’s love and light burst through you both. You’re kind and sweet, warm & loving, and SO MUCH FUN! You are truly as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Never stop, and never change.

There are a lot of discouraging things in this world. But a couple like you guys bring hope to all. The only thing more powerful than the way we love people is the way that we love people together. And my prayer is that anyone who crosses your path, feel the same love that I and many people were blessed enough to experience on your special day.

God bless you both and congratulations on your newest adventure! It was such a privilege and a true pleasure to get to document your first day. I’ve photographed a lot of couples and a lot of weddings… but you two TRULY took my breath away!

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When our children feel pain...

Seeing your kids experience joy is one of the best feelings in the world. Thats why we spend thousands of dollars on vacations, Christmas presents, and experiences that bring smiles to their faces. But nobody can prepare you for the intense feelings that parenthood brings. And one of the worst by far is watching your child experience pain. 

All pain is terrible but not all pain is equal. Watching your child struggle with an ear infection is different than watching your child be bullied. Watching your child struggle with depression and anxiety is different than watching your child experience a terminal illness. But one thing is for certain... pain... pain is inevitable. And whether physical or emotional, it hurts. And it hurts bad. And it just plain sucks that we as moms know that it will play a part in the lives of each and every individual... including our children.

Mom, Rachel Schultz, was told during pregnancy that her son had a "special heart." And while one might think that early diagnosis can help you prepare you mentally and emotionally. We know that the overwhelming love of motherhood is a surprise to all new mommas. So when the doctors first place that baby in your arms and you hear that first cry... the pain hurts so much more. Knowing all the struggles your child is about to endure is enough to make you physically ill.

Living in the hospital for 169 days. Watching your child cry and thrash in pain and knowing that there is NOTHING you can do to take that away and that it is something they HAVE to experience to live their life to the fullest feels impossible. As a parent... watching your child suffering is worse than suffering yourself.

This is why I know that not only is Eli strong but his parents are heroes. It takes a tremendous strength and resolve to watch your kids suffer and to allow them to endure pain to have a better, longer life. It is a strength that I cannot fathom and a strength that these new parents were required to have from day one.
It was such an honor to photograph this family throughout Eli's first year. Watching Rachel and Dustin grow as parents and Eli grow and have multiple procedures and surgeries is humbling and I am not being cliche when I say that it has truly be an honor to tell their story. <3

P.S. That picture of him with the beads…. each bead stands for a different surgery, procedure, or test he has had done.

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Spotlight Feature: Basic Invite - from forest weddings to church weddings. They've got you covered.

As a wedding photographer I am constantly working to get my brides the best, most helpful information to assist them as they plan the best day of their life as well as develop partnerships to save them some money! Because let’s face it… you shouldn’t have to take out a loan on a wedding. Haha! :)

One of my amazing partnerships is with Basic Invite. Basic invite is a invitation company that creates everything from Save-The-Dates to Bridal Shower Invitations, to Wedding Invitations and Thank you cards and even 100% *FREE* wedding websites. Their invitations are beautiful and timeless. There are unlimited color combinations and everything is totally customizable. Once you are done customizing your project, you can view it instantly online. Their wedding websites are mobile friendly (because who has time for computers) and super easy to use. You can instantly upload all of your wedding day details, along with pictures, maps, and directions. Everything your guests need to know, right in one place.

But to me, whats unique about Basic Invite, and why I partner with them, is their designs. They aren’t the typical designs you see on other sites. Their designs are special. They make you feel something. No bride & groom are the same. Why should your wedding invitations be created from some boring, one-size-fits-all template?

Basic invite has over 900 different wedding invitation sets alone. Want pictures? No problem. Prefer to keep it simple? They do that to. The best part is that each invitation is a part of a set. So once you find the invitation you like, the have save-the-dates, enclosure cards, wedding menus, programs and even matching thank you cards! FINALLY, something made easy! I have a ton of outdoor weddings coming up in 2019 and Basic Invite even has adorable outdoor themed save the dates.

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The wedding invitation someone receives is the first picture they have of your wedding day. And Basic invite here to make sure that first impression is a good one by making sure even the tiniest detail is customizable to make it exactly the way you want it. Once you select a design, you can change the color options for each individual element on your invitation to one of over 180 different color options. That way you can make sure your wedding invitation reflects who you are as a couple in every way imaginable.

On top of that, they have over 40 different colors of envelopes. I absolutely love this because nothing makes you more excited to open a piece of mail than when it is in a fun envelope! Plus, all of their envelopes are peel and seal so that way you don’t have to waste your time licking those disgusting glue strips. No, thank you!

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One of their newest sets is the Seal & Send Wedding Invitations. These are an all-in-one wedding invitation with a tear-off RSVP postcard included! Making it nice and easy for your guests to get you those RSVP cards back in a timely manner (wink, wink)! #noexcuses, am I right?

Currently, they offer them in over 30 designs in this lineup including foil-options and they are also completely customizable like their other products. BUT WAIT… I know you’re thinking it can’t get any better than this but it totally does. Whats extra special about these is that the guest’s address are ALREADY PRINTED on the front of each invitation which means no envelope necessary (Insert mind-blowing emoji here). :) All you have to do is share a link, collect guest addresses (which, side-note they make this nice and easy with their Free Address Collection Service & Envelope Printing) , and upload them to your design instantly. Easy as pie, my friend! Then, once you receive your order, all you have to do is add postage, fold them up and seal them with an sticker! Simple, Easy, and Trendy!

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Basic Invite is truly her to give you that custom, beautiful, wedding that tells your story. They even offer custom wedding coasters. These coasters are completely made specifically to match your day. These unique coasters can be used at the reception and be included as a take home gift to all of your guests. Win-Win for everyone!

Still not sure, go ahead and hop on over to order your CUSTOM SAMPLE today (thats right, even their samples can be customized)! Just to be extra sure! :) I promise you won’t regret it!

BONUS: For all you Photos by Ariel brides out there… you get to enjoy 20% off your order! -XO