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What a season to be planning or having a wedding in…

Leanna and Zach were always planning a smaller, more intimate affair.  It spoke to me a lot because Michael and I also had a smaller wedding, with just 60 guests total.  We did it for a lot of reasons, some similar to their choices.  But when they chose “smaller’, I don’t think they pictured 9 people TOTAL- just parents and their 2 brothers.

But if there is anything to be said about these 2, it is that they know how to make lemonade from lemons.  From the moment the shelter in place started, I watched them pivot their plans again and again, changing and reducing, with one goal in mind: To be married to each other.  Period.  And honestly, it inspired me.

And maybe my favorite pivot? When, just 24 hours before, they bumped it from the rainiest day of the year (one of those days we could have done NOTHING outside–and they had an outside wedding!) to the next day– beautiful, 70 degrees, and sunny all day.  I know it wasn’t ideal to cut their guest list to 9 and move forward. But they never would have been able to make that pivot if it had been a larger group, and it made for SUCH a beautiful day.

Their wedding day was intimate, sweet, full of zoom calls with close friends, and visits to grandparents house for photos 6+ ft away from each other.  The ceremony was in the end performed by Leanna’s mother, and it was absolutely perfect.  I have known Leanna’s family for a long long time, and honestly…it just felt like the perfect day for Leanna and Zach to wed.  And they will certainly get to have a larger, amazingly fun party in the future when they are ready!

In the end, this day was everything a wedding should be: meaningful, special, warm, and full of love.

First look time!!!  This dogwood tree is my new BFF! Leanna and Zachary originally planned a ceremony in a total bucket list location of mine, a place where I had one of my FAVORITE college memories, the sunken gardens at Allerton Park near Champaign.  It is a State Park, and has been closed for weeks now.  I have dreamed of shooting there for years because of my memories there…but truly, Starhill was a STUNNING replacement!! HUSBAND AND WIFE! It was like the Starhill Arboretum KNEW how much I was missing photographing in flowering trees this spring and it DELIVERED!!

Leanna and Zach, your attitude about this all and your wedding day truly inspired me.  Thank you so much for letting me be a witness to it all (and your 10th person!!!).  It truly meant so much, and I wish you a full lifetime of adventure and happiness (BOTH of which I know you will find!)!

To see Leanna and Zach’s beautiful engagement session, click here!

Ceremony Location: Starhill Forest Arboretum

Florist: Flowers by Kristine

Crepe Flowers: Melissa Pantier, mother of the bride

Cakes: Hopscotch Bakery

Dress: Stella York from Elite Bridal

Hairpiece Designer: Flowers by Kristine

Brides’ Wedding Band: Champaign Jewelers

Groom’s Attire: Indochino

Hair Stylist: Carmen Herges with Something You Salon & Spa

Makeup Artist: Kelly Grove with Grove Creative

String Quarter: Vine Street Ensemble

Invitations: Minted

Guest Book: Scott Pantier

Alterations: Blanca of J & B Alterations

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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!). 

As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids.  I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!

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You're in the right place!  As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business!  I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).

I'm so glad you are here!  Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business!  I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).  

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