This fall, I trekked down to Peoria to capture the winery wedding of Abby and Michael in their hometown. Abby and Michael are a couple that come from families that are, to me, Midwestern in the best possible of ways. I think when other people think of smaller towns and the type of people you might find in Illinois, family and friends like those of Abby and Michael are what spring to mind—kind, thoughtful, gracious, and so close to their loved ones. When I arrived at Abby’s childhood home to photograph her getting ready, her family was so hospitable, asking me if I needed anything to eat or drink and just being the most gracious of hosts. The getting ready was full of emotion—I think everyone was crying! You could tell it was such a tight-knit group of family and friends, and the entire day just felt like the oldest of friends having a great time (which is pretty much what it was!).

I had never been to Peoria before and really had no idea what to expect, unsure if our portrait locations would present some challenges or make for lovely images. I was blown away by the natural beauty—I am a city girl through and through I think, but on the way down to the wedding I kept shouting out to my assistant Casey about how gorgeous all the fields were and how it was almost all just too much! It was so so gorgeous. Following the wedding, we took some photos at the ice cream shop that Michael’s dad owns, visited a road that Teddy Roosevelt called the most beautiful drive in America, and then on the way to the reception, I asked Abby and Michael if they wouldn’t mind jumping into a field of soybeans for a few shots. They were so wonderfully game and we created some of my favourite images of the year.

All in all, such a lovely day with truly the sweetest of couples and the nicest of families. Thank you again, you two!

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Venue: Kickapoo Creek Winery