Evelyn Chapel, Illinois Wesleyan, Bloomington Wedding | Sarge & Rachel

August 1, 2017

Sarge and Rachel had the sweetest, most beautiful wedding last month on the Illinois Wesleyan campus. Their Evelyn Chapel ceremony was such a testament to the story of their family and now, marriage. The way they included Rachel’s kids and their daughter, Layla made everyone emotional.

Rachel found me through a photographer friend of hers in Florida. Rachel loves kids and she had been a nanny for this photographer’s kids years ago. When she got engaged, he recommended her to me right away. I am always so honored when another photographer refers me to a couple. As we began conversing, I could tell that we would be a great match.

I first met Rachel & Sarge when I photographed their engagement session in downtown Urbana a few month’s ago. As we walked around town, I got a sense of what these two are all about. They love their little family so much. They love their friends and they certainly love each other.

Their wedding day was so sweet. When I arrived to begin shooting details, I was met by her very helpful bridesmaids. I had come from the hospital in Chicago, where my youngest daughter had been admitted in the wee hours of the morning. But, I had an amazing second shooter that jumped in and helped out in such a big way! One of my favorite parts of the day was when Rachel was helping Layla get ready. Layla was all about looking at herself in the mirror, getting into her fancy dress and twirling around! As Rachel got into her dress and looked into the mirror at herself, I think all of us were teary-eyed in the room. I love watching a bride look at herself once her hair and makeup is done and she has put on her wedding gown for the first time on her wedding day.

Sarge & Rachel’s ceremony was so precious. What I didn’t know about Sarge is that he is great at giving speeches. He wrote a beautiful, sentimental letter that he read to Rachel during their ceremony. We were all an emotional mess! It was so beautiful how he talked about the challenges in life that they each faced individually before finding one another. He talked about loving her kids and having Layla. I am sure Rachel will remember those words forever. Rachel & James included the kids in their ceremony with a sand ceremony, each pouring in a different color. I love how Layla came down the aisle in her sweet ride pushed by her big brother.

After the ceremony, we walked around with the bridal party for pictures around the Illinois Wesleyan campus. The weather was absolutely perfect that day. July can be HOT in Illinois, but they got a beautiful 80 degree day in the middle of several much hotter days. Their wedding party was so much fun! You could tell that they truly loved this couple and supported their marriage. I don’t think they complained once about pictures. That’s my kind of bridal party! 🙂

We finished up the day at the Parke Regency in Bloomington for their reception. The room was gorgeous, with simple, elegant decorations and the most beautiful cake in the center of the dance floor. Their first dance to the song, Stand by Me, was so romantic. As I finished up on their wedding night, they were auctioning off the first dance with the bride and groom to begin the dollar dance. It was a fun way to get things going. As I headed back to Chicago to be with my daughter, my second shooter Stephanie Wood took them outside for sunset pictures before heading out. I’m so thankful for her help that day! Rachel & Sarge are enjoying their honeymoon in Cancun! Congrats you too!

Bridal Gown & Bridesmaids Dresses at Evelyn Chapel

Thanks to an amazing vendor team for a job well done!

Reception Venue: Parke Regency Hotel

Ceremony Venue: Evelyn Chapel at Illinois Wesleyan

Cake Artist: Janet’s Cakes & Catering

Hair & Makeup Artist: Oh Baby Hair & Day Spa

Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal

Bridemaids Gowns: David’s Bridal

Tuxes: Churchill’s Formal Wear

DJ: KC’s DJ Service

And a special thank you to Stephanie Wood of Stephanie Wood Photography for stepping up in a big way!

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  1. Walt Haste

    August 1st, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I knew you would be the perfect match for our princess. Thank you for all you have done to make a dream wedding day a reality for these two………You rock !

  2. Karen Shoufler

    August 1st, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks again for sending them my way!

  3. Kayla Grey

    August 1st, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Absolutely lovely wedding! These shots are so precious, and the wedding looked absolutely lovely!! <3

  4. Stephanie Vazquez

    August 2nd, 2017 at 9:31 am

    BEAUTIFUL pictures!!! Love the style.

  5. Allison

    August 3rd, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Love the cake 🙂

  6. Renee Nicolo

    August 4th, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Gorgeous Karen! I love this wedding so much! I’m so glad that everything worked out!

  7. Stephanie Wood

    August 4th, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Oh yay!! I love seeing all the pictures – thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work with you, Karen! It was truly a pleasure! And I’m so glad your little one is doing better!!!

  8. Holly Frazier

    August 4th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, such a beautiful couple and amazing portraits! Love the golden hour ones! But I especially love the ones of them coming down the aisle together!!

  9. liz

    August 5th, 2017 at 6:54 am

    What a beautiful wedding!