Engagement Session with a touch of country flare featuring Alyssa & Andy by St Louis Wedding Photographers Joel and Shannon Conner. Alyssa is a very special girl. We’ve gotten to know her over the past few years, as she’s been … Continued
Engagement Session with a touch of country flare featuring Alyssa & Andy by St Louis Wedding Photographers Joel and Shannon Conner.
Alyssa is a very special girl. We've gotten to know her over the past few years, as she's been in 3 other weddings we've shot! :) We were so excited when she told us last fall that it was finally her turn to be the bride! She and Andy knew each other somewhat in high school, but went to different schools, so their relationship didn't begin until college when they were both attending SIUE. One day, he punched her in the arm while walking down the hallway and said "Hey!". A few days later, she asked him out on a date! How do you like that? :) They dated for five fun years. Then one Friday evening, just a day before his birthday(does this remind you of anyone else?! ;)), Andy surprised Alyssa with a ring. They started planning the wedding that very weekend! We had a lot of fun with them at their engagement session at the gardens at SIUE, rather fitting since that is where it all started. And we can't wait for their wedding this fall!
I asked Alyssa what she loves about Andy, and here's what she said:
"I love Andy's personality and the happiness he exudes where ever he goes. He is smart, hard working, supportive, funny, and handsome. I am at my best when I am with him."
I asked Andy the same, and he replied:
"What I love about Alyssa is she is caring, hard working, and beautiful. Her smile can light up a room."
Cinco de Mayo Wedding Kari and Jim are an awesome couple that are recent transplants to the midwest and St. Louis. Kari found us a year and a half ago at a bridal show, and, although we talked in the … Continued
Cinco de Mayo Wedding
Kari and Jim are an awesome couple that are recent transplants to the midwest and St. Louis. Kari found us a year and a half ago at a bridal show, and, although we talked in the year leading up to the wedding, we didn't actually meet them face to face until about a month before. We caught up with them at Schlafly Tap Room (which, side note, is amazing if you haven't been - you must get the pretzels with the warm cheese sauce....mmmm...just thinking about it makes me want to drop everything and go there for lunch!) and had a great time getting to know them more before the wedding. Since they recently moved here for work, most of their family and friends were coming in from out of town for the wedding. And I have to say that I love when I see that. Since Joel and I are so big on building relationships with people, we love it when we see people that are so committed to their friends that they travel across the country to be with them as they celebrate the next phase of their journey together!
Their wedding was a lot of firsts for me (Shannon). The ceremony took place in the Old Cathedral, near the Arch grounds. I had never been there before. It is a really beautiful old church, and the ceremony was lovely. From there we went to Lafayette Square Park and Ricardo's on the square, which Jim and Kari love. It was such a fun atmosphere as all their close friends came with for photos and helped them celebrate before going on to the reception, which was held at the 9th Street Abbey. I had never been there before either (it's crazy that I've lived here for almost 3 years and there are still so many places I haven't been :) ). The staff was wonderful, and it was simply beautiful! The courtyard where cocktail hour was held was so charming, you didn't even feel like you were in the city. Since the wedding took place on Cinco de Mayo, Jim and Kari decided to give a nod to the holiday with a student mariachi band. It was awesome! If you are looking for a classic, beautiful, and all around amazing venue, this place is up near the top. I would DEFINITELY recommend checking it out. Jackie is the one that called the shots around there, and she is a delight to work with. Since the wedding took place on Cinco de Mayo, Jim and Kari decided to give a nod to the holiday with a student mariachi band. It was awesome!
We are so glad we got to be a part of your celebration as you begin your new life as husband and wife! Congratulations Kari and Jim!
We all know the tradition of “Something old, something new…” but I think we should add on a line of “something sweet” in honor of Ally & Jake. That’s what I think of when I think of them – just … Continued
We all know the tradition of "Something old, something new..." but I think we should add on a line of "something sweet" in honor of Ally & Jake. That's what I think of when I think of them - just such a sweet couple. Sure they are fun-loving, sometimes serious, sometimes silly, but they are just sweet. They are a couple that I wouldn't have necessarily put together when I first met them, but after knowing them a short time it became obvious what a great match they truly are. They have a beautiful history already, and their wedding was the natural next step in their love story. We had a wonderful day with them, their family and friends. It is obvious they are well-loved and have a great community of people surrounding them. Congratulations Jake & Ally! We are so happy for you both.
PS - Big shout out to Paige Brown, Ally's cousin, who referred them to us. Joel has known Paige is whole life, so it was fun to get to see her again and be a part of her family's celebration with Jake and Ally!
St Louis Wedding Photographers I thought about titling this “A John Deere Wedding”, but I knew Kelli would kill me! However, as you’ll see below the colors are John Deere adjacent, and the bridal party traveled from the church to … Continued
St Louis Wedding Photographers
I thought about titling this "A John Deere Wedding", but I knew Kelli would kill me! ;) However, as you'll see below the colors are John Deere adjacent, and the bridal party traveled from the church to the reception in a yellow and green wagon, pulled by Jeremy's antique John Deere tractor, so... :)
We had such a great time with Kelli & Jeremy and their whole bridal party and family! Jeremy is cousins with Jared from one of our previous weddings, so we love it when we get to work with some of our same friends again. We arrived at Kelli's parent's house as she was finishing up her hair and makeup, and all the girls were having a great time making each other laugh! Then Joel went over to check on Jeremy and the guys, who decided that the morning of the wedding would be a great time to do some shooting. Gotta love it! After getting some great shots of their shots (like that?!), they came over to the church where us girls were already getting situated.
Kelli & Jeremy had decided not to see each other beforehand (which has been the popular trend in the last few years), and we were so excited for that moment when the doors open and Jeremy sees his bride in her radiant beauty as she walks down the aisle to become his wife. We love that moment! Kelli was glowing - I don't think her smile could have gotten any bigger! The ceremony was beautiful, and as we prepared to head off to our photo location, the bridal party loaded up into their...party wagon. Forget limos and busses, this is the way to travel! It was so fun to watch people's expressions as they saw the bridal party meandering down the street pulled by a restored, vintage tractor!
We got to take photos at the old brewery in Highland, IL, and we loved it! We love getting to shoot at locations that are unique and have an element of age to them. Of course we love nature too - we probably have more photos of couples by trees than I can count :) but there is something equally cool about old buildings and such. After that we went to Ethel's Bar for some relaxation before heading to the reception.
One unique thing about Kelli and Jeremy's bridal party was that Kelli had two bridesmen in addition to her bridesmaids. As the bridal party was being announced in to the reception, everyone cracked up as one of the bridesmen changed into a dress and wig to be escorted in by the other. It was hilarious! A fun evening of dancing, eating and drinking ensued, with everyone having a great time. This was definitely one of our more memorable country weddings, and we are so glad we got to be a part of it. Congratulations Kelli & Jeremy!
P.S. We did not get a chance to say this to everyone at the wedding, but the bridal party was AMAZING! When you have a large group...especially when there are lots of guys, it can often get really crazy. Everyone was amazing, though...they made the job a breeze. We just wanted to say how much we appreciated you all!
St Louis Wedding Photographers at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild We are going to be backing up and posting some various engagement sessions from the past handful of months. Because wedding season is busy for us, we tended to focus … Continued
St Louis Wedding Photographers at the St. Louis Artists' Guild
We are going to be backing up and posting some various engagement sessions from the past handful of months. Because wedding season is busy for us, we tended to focus most of our posting on that. But, we have deprived you of seeing some great sessions, and we want to fix that! Here are a few shots from Samantha and Dylan's session this past New Year's Eve. We did the session at the St Louis Artists' Guild. It was a bit of a tumultuous day for us because we were up the entire night before with some health issues, and we actually went straight from the session to the hospital. But, we had this session on the calender for quite a while, and did not want to let Sam and Dylan down (and sometimes you just have to press through...one of the less glorious sides of owning your own business).
Here are a few selected shots from the day...hope you enjoy them! We know you have a lot of choices of St Louis wedding photographers, and we would love for you to ask us what we can do for you!
Spring Engagement Session Time with Zara and Broch! It’s Spring! Well, we technically have a few more days of winter, but for those of you living in St. Louis, we know that spring is pretty much here in full swing. The flowers … Continued
Spring Engagement Session Time with Zara and Broch!
It's Spring! Well, we technically have a few more days of winter, but for those of you living in St. Louis, we know that spring is pretty much here in full swing. The flowers are blooming...birds are chirping...the grass is growing (not too excited about that one, honestly). It's time to shake off the winter dust and get rolling with engagement sessions again, and we are going to post more of them this year. Here is another one to feast your eyes on!
Zara and Broch are one of our great couples for this year, and like one our favorite couples from last year (you know who you are...), they are from St. Louis and moved out to Arizona. In fact, we have TWO couples this year who are now in Arizona and having weddings back here. It's kind of a strange coincidence that this keeps happening! Zara and Broch are both in the dental industry, and that is what took them out there. Zara is an administrator, and Broch is in school to be a dentist. At least Shannon and I can rest assured that their future kids will have good teeth...that is a big weight off of our shoulders, I can assure you.
They both went to school at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville , so that seemed like a perfect place to do their photos. It was fun hearing them reminisce about their time there. It was also where I went to school, so it's always an interesting feeling being back there.
Hope you like the photos, and we love to hear what you think!
What a wonderful wedding day! It’s true…it may have been a wee bit chilly outside (i.e. it was freeeeezing), but it was so wonderful. It was the last bit of snowy winter that the first part of 2012 had to … Continued
What a wonderful wedding day! It's true...it may have been a wee bit chilly outside (i.e. it was freeeeezing), but it was so wonderful. It was the last bit of snowy winter that the first part of 2012 had to offer, and thankfully, it did not cause a bit of complications for the day (other than the mild threat of hypothermia). When I (Joel) get in my uber creative mode, I tend to forget about things like heat or cold or rain or snow or anything like that. I am, as you might say, in the zone at that point. This is again a perfect example why Shannon is so amazing. She helps me remember that brides in their dresses tend to get chilly in such circumstances and that, ideally, we do not want her to show back up for the reception with frostbite. Mission accomplished.
Josh and Katie are such a sweet couple, and it was so heart warming to see their excitement throughout the entire day. We started out the day at the church, First Baptist Church of O'Fallon, and it was decorated very nicely. They were both a bit jittery and nervous before the ceremony, but once they saw each other, they lit up. Katie smiled as big as anyone could, and after a few seconds, Josh was struggling to hold it all in. It was very precious. One very special thing was that Katie's father performed the ceremony himself. After walking Katie down the aisle, he switched roles and married these two amazing people.
Once the ceremony was over, we headed to downtown Lebanon to do their photos! Everyone did amazing...especially the girls. I know guys are tough and all, but honestly, we always just have amazing bride's maids who will stick it out and maybe suffer a bit in order to help make the bride's day amazing. All the girls definitely pulled through for Katie. Having the blankets and coats on standby as soon as the photo was taken did help some, though. ;) And the guys were their cool and somewhat gooofy selves, as per usual. Truly, though, the entire wedding party were amazing. You cannot ask for anything more (especially on a day like that)
The reception was at the Scott Club on Scott Air Force Base. It was, I will admit, the first time I have ever been checked-in by a man with an assault rifle when going to a reception. That place was amazing, though. The food was outstanding, and the staff was great. I would definitely recommend checking out. Everyone danced and celebrated and had a wonderful time. It was a great party.
We are so thankful that we have the chance to be involved in peoples' lives in this way. It is so special for us, and we do not take it for granted in the least. God bless you, Katie and Josh, and enjoy your marriage. It is a blessing like no other.
I LOVE award season. Sure I like to see who wins, but we all know the real reason to watch the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Emmys is for the fashion! We went to an Academy Award party at … Continued
I LOVE award season. Sure I like to see who wins, but we all know the real reason to watch the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Emmys is for the fashion! We went to an Academy Award party at a friend (and past couple, Lauren & Lars') house where we all (well most of us) got dressed up red carpet style to watch the show. It was so much fun! I failed abysmally at guessing the winners - Joel did a little better, but having not seen most of the nominated films this year we were pretty much guessing blind. :) But hey, now we have a whole list of movies to watch on our apple tv queue!
In the spirit of award season I thought it would be fun to nominate my favorites for a Best of 2011 honor. Hope you enjoy and maybe pick up some ideas for your wedding.
Brittany's was one of our first weddings last year, and maybe it was love at first sight, but her dress remained my fav all year!
These are my runners up - all gorgeous, just like the girls wearing them!
Jake wore my favorite suit of the year. So simple and classy - love the grey!
Kenny is my runner up (also in grey). I love his hot pink tie and vest combo with it.
Flowers are one of my favorite things about weddings, and I think Erica's modern, sculptural design was amazing! Plus love the purple :)
Floral runners up -big year for pinks
Susan's bridesmaids wore my favorite bridal party dress - love the elegance and simplicity, but boy where they hot in July!
This was my second favorite. I love the periwinkle that Alyssa is wearing for her sister Nicki's wedding.
Best shoe ever! Samantha, you rocked it!
For cakes I picked 2 winners, the first is Lori's and it's so amazing because all those flowers are icing!!! Then I love Brittany's purple confection of simplicity.
Kenny is a fireman, and I think his grooms cake is awesome.
LOVE Lisa's veil & headpiece!! Best ladies accessory.
Best guys accessory - love the pink argyle Patrick and the guys are rocking!
Most beautiful church we've shot in, not only in 2011, but ever! (St. Cecilia's) Good choice Sara & Adam!
Those are some of my top stand-outs. We had so many amazing weddings last year that it was SO hard to chose! Maybe we'll make this a tradition, so all my 2012 brides know that I'm looking out :)
We don’t post a lot of engagement sessions, but we are planning to start putting more of them on here. We had a fun one in downtown St. Charles a few weeks ago that we thought we’d share. We met … Continued
We don't post a lot of engagement sessions, but we are planning to start putting more of them on here. We had a fun one in downtown St. Charles a few weeks ago that we thought we'd share. We met Ashley and Jamison at The Wedding Show in January. They were actually one of our engagement session winners! We had so much fun getting to know them more and hearing their amazing love story, and we can't wait for their August wedding!
Just warning you…this is going to be a long blog, but it is worth it. I know that “Beauty and the Beast” may seem an odd title for a wedding blog, but that is the way our groom, Mark, had … Continued
Just warning you...this is going to be a long blog, but it is worth it.
I know that "Beauty and the Beast" may seem an odd title for a wedding blog, but that is the way our groom, Mark, had described his relationship with Janelle. Both in how each of their unique stories developed and the sheer improbability of how they came together, it is a very good description. I have seen many magical and astounding weddings, but honestly...I think this was the most fairy-tale of them all.
I met Janelle some 10 years ago or so when we were all working at a conference in New Orleans. She and her group were from Canada, and it was my first time having long contact with people from north of the border. I will never forget that in the week of our first meeting, she beat me at a little work competition we had amongst some of us. She was pretty shy back then, but I learned quickly that she was very competitive and fiery. We became better and better friends over the years, and when I would visit their town of Chilliwack, we would usually all get together to play a few games and let our feisty competitive natures run rampant. As the years went on, she and I were increasingly in the same position of watching our friends get married and find their happily ever after while we grew older without any really prospect of change on the horizon. For anyone who has been there, you know that can be a tough place to be. But, she is a strong person, so she kept going forward hoping that one day her prince might come along. She was faithful and and honorable and hard working and was always a "good" girl (in the best sense of the term). But, when you are in a place like that, you begin to wonder what is wrong with you and why you have been "passed over." I know I felt that way myself for years.
Then there was Mark. To say he had a rough life would be putting it mildly. A few too may bad decisions and run-ins with law enforcement had set his life headed in a bad direction. After getting out of jail, he knew he had to turn his life around. He started going to church, and things started to change for him. He knew he did not have to live the same life that he had. He wanted a family and a good life, and there was no chance of that without serious change. Still, though...when you have not had the best life behind you and have made many mistakes, it is hard to feel like you deserve that happiness, and it is even harder to think that anyone without a history like yours could ever really accept you.
But then it happened. Mark saw Janelle, and very quickly began to fall for her. She had no idea, but he slowly and patiently started preparing himself to pursue her. Eventually, she started to notice him. These two people, from completely different backgrounds that are so far on opposite ends of the spectrum, began to see something in each other that no one else did. Everyone else began to see it as well. They were made for each other.
I remember how happy I was when I found out they were together. First off, I was totally shocked, but I was thrilled. Shannon and I had already experienced our love-story, and I was so happy that my dear friend Janelle was having her well deserved turn. We were so excited for the chance to photograph their wedding that we jumped on it. How could you not want to be a part of something this amazing?
We arrived in Canada on the heals of a huge snow storm. It was so cold, and along with the snow was ice and freezing rain and all that joyous stuff. We spent some time talking with the two of them let them know what we felt like we needed to do, and we made our final preparations for the epic day. It arrived, and with it came rain...lots of rain. We were not to be discouraged, though. Honestly, it felt like nothing could get in the way of the awesomeness of what was happening that day...especially not something as trivial as weather.
They started out the ceremony with an amazing video telling their story, and there was not a dry eye in the place. Everyone was moved and touched by their story that it inspired such hope and joy in everyone there. When Janelle came walking down the aisle, the looks on her and Mark's faces were priceless. They were so happy and so excited. The ceremony was so beautiful and sweet, and it finally came time for the main event...the kiss. Mark and Janelle decided that they were not going to kiss until their wedding day, so that kiss was the first time they kissed. And not only that, it was Janelle's first kiss in her entire life. I kid you not, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and I cried right along with everyone else there.
After the ceremony we went to do the photos, and it was soooo cold and wet. Everyone was freezing and soaked, but no one complained at all. How could a person complain about a little thing like being cold and a little wet on a day like this? Everyone was so honored to be a part of a day like this and was so thrilled for these two that complaining just was not a thought. I have to say, the three bridesmaids Rebecca, Esther, and Stephanie were amazing. They were so cold, but they were such good sports. You cannot ask for better friends than these.
The photo on the dock was from Cultus Lake at sunset, and it is the one that many people have all ready seen. I think it is one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken. I do not just love it because it is so great though...I love it because it so perfectly captures the epic grandeur that is Mark and Janelle. It is hard to play favorites among the couples we work with, but considering that I have been friends with Janelle for so long, I think I might be a little biased here as I am with a few others. If anyone deserves a photo this amazing, it is Janelle. She was one of the most beautiful and radiant brides that I have ever seen, and after years of waiting and doing the right thing, she finally had her day. And from my perspective, she lived it to the fullest. And Mark...here was a man that worked so hard to protect and cherish and love his woman, and even though he made many mistakes in his past, he was a man worthy of such a perfect bride.
There are those days where I do not feel worthy of being involved in a story so magnificent. This was one of those days. I will never forget it for the rest of my life.
God bless you both, Mark and Janelle. We love you and want the best life for you possible, and we know you will have it.
P.S. Major thanks to our dear friends Shawn and Keri for welcoming us into their home once again, and for being such a huge help on the wedding day itself. You two are amazing and we love you so much!