Shelby and Jake approached me a couple of months ago about their November wedding! I just HAPPENED to have that date open and after meeting her at the consultation I knew we would be a perfect match! When planning her engagement session she wanted to have the location be a place that was meaningful for the both of them so their first location was one of the firehouses that her fiance volunteers for and the second location was their family farm! Firetrucks, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep, kittens and the like were all involved making this engagement session one of the most memorable ones for sure! Enjoy some of my favorites from their session!
This beautiful wedding venue needs to be at the top of your list when selecting one for your big day! The Inn at 835 is unparalleled in beauty and in service.
1/3 of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving Day & New Years… which means we are headed into ENGAGEMENT SEASON full force! :) One thing I have been spending this winter doing is running all over Central Illinois finding the absolute BEST wedding vendors for my brides, because honestly, my Photos by Ariel brides deserve the nothing less than the best! These AMAZING vendors will all be featured on my blog in the upcoming weeks! (In case you are just joining, don’t forget to check out these two posts: (1) Spotlight Feature: Basic Invite and (2) Spotlight Feature: Simply Elegant by Cheri.
One of the first things a couple MUST do when they get engaged is book the venue! After all, if there is no where to have the wedding then there is no wedding. And take it from me, when it comes to picking a wedding venue one of the things you will want to look for is a large space.
The site may look enormous when its empty, but wedding essentials—tables, chairs, a buffet, bar, the band or DJ Setup, the dance floor, etc.—fill it up very quickly. Not to mention your guests will need some elbow room. Well, space is one thing that will NOT be an issue at Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal, Illinois. With 24,368 ft. of event space this is one wedding hotspot where you won’t have to tailor your guest list to fit a small venue. I mean… if you have to cut out cousin Margaret from the guest list you would NEVER hear the end of it. ;) But don’t worry, if you choose to have an intimate wedding reception, this amazing space can be divided into many different size rooms! They have the perfect size space for a guest list of any size. :)
But that’s not all! This wedding venue is located right in Uptown Normal, offering easy access to destinations including The Children’s Discovery Museum, the Historic Normal Theater, The Garlic Press, Babbitt’s Books, Apricot Lane, DP Dough, Medici and many more shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities your guests will LOVE. And don’t worry about transportation! The hotel has their own parking garage right across the street, and they are a short walk away from the Amtrak station and offer a complimentary shuttle to the Central Illinois Regional Airport for any out of town guests!
After interviewing event manager Samantha Nowatski, the thing that stood out to me the most was how helpful and accommodating they were. They have certified wedding planners that will help you determine an overall vision for your wedding and help you execute each detail. That includes setting an event budget; deciding on a menu with the custom catering they offer; arranging table settings; and finding florists, photographers, a band and other entertainment for the big day. Weddings tend to be stressful but I am confident that with their help it will be anything BUT stressful.
Enjoy some photos of this beautiful venue!
Bonus Tip: If you book your wedding for the off-season or ask a venue for what dates they have open if you are wanting a pretty quick wedding (4 months or less away) then a lot of a vendors will give you special discounts!
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.
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!
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!
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!