There are some weddings that when I leave at the end of the night, I know that it will be one that I will never forget. Sometimes it’s because I’m leaving feeling like I’ve gained a whole new group of friends and other times it’s because there it was so moving that it’s difficult to even put into words. Sarah & Reggie’s gorgeous spring wedding at Turtle Run Golf Course in Danville, Illinois will stick with me for both of those reasons.
When I first met Sarah & Reggie at Applebee’s and I asked them all about their story as a couple, what stuck out to me most was how they couldn’t stop talking about each other. It was so clear to me that these two absolutely adore and cherish each other, neither taking the other for granted. You could tell they were proud of each other and really FOR each other. The other thing that stuck out was how they talked about Blake and Brooklyn, Reggie’s children. Reggie’s eyes light up when he talks about his children and I could tell that Sarah loved them dearly as well.
When we discussed their engagement session, they mentioned that they really wanted some pictures with the kids. So, we decided to split their engagement session into a family session nearby and a more formal engagement session in Indianapolis for just Sarah & Reggie. When I got to meet Blake and Brooklyn at their family session, I quickly realized why Sarah had fallen for them. These two are sweet, funny, polite and adorable. I loved watching the four of them interact during the session and it was obvious that these kids loved Sarah just as much as she loved them.
Their engagement session in Indianapolis was quite the adventure. After moving dates once, we ended up having the session on a day that was dreary and rainy. When we met up downtown, we were all carrying umbrellas and trying to stay warm and dry. Even though the weather wasn’t idea, I love the pictures that we got of them that day. I also got to meet their awesome officiant and Sarah’s good friend. He was a big help in carrying umbrellas when we were using them or hanging onto the rest of our stuff.
Sarah & Reggie ended up with the most beautiful weather for their outdoor wedding at Turtle Run. There was a lovely breeze that kept everyone cool and the sun peeked out of the clouds at just the right times. When I got to the venue, I met Lexi, the coordinator as she was filling the candy table. She showed me around and I got to work photographing details before everyone arrived. It’s always fun for me to try to guess what the bride’s dress is going to look like and Sarah’s was just what I had imagined. It was just perfect for her.
Once I finished up with details, I headed downstairs to the bridal suite to meet everyone. Sarah had the sweetest, most helpful bridesmaids and the CUTEST flower girls. I loved watching the little girls watch as Sarah was getting ready. Of course, they enjoyed spinning in their dresses. My favorite part was when Sarah got into her dress with her mom’s help. I always love mother-daughter moments, but theirs was especially sweet as they both fought back tears.
Sarah & Reggie did not want to see each other before the wedding, so we did some girl shots and guy shots separately before the ceremony. Sarah also gave Blake & Brooklyn little necklaces with a message on the back. When Blake got his, he was so emotional and immediately wanted someone to put it on for him. I think those kids will cherish those necklaces forever.
My favorite part of the day was easily the ceremony. Let me just walk you through that emotional thirty minutes. It started with the usual seating of the grandparents and parents, where all of the moms were already fighting back tears. As Reggie made his way to his place at the front, you could see the anticipation in his whole body. The wedding party made their way to the front, followed by the adorable flower girls who dumped all of their flowers in one spot at the back of the aisle and then ran the rest of the way. So cute!
Reggie turned around once he knew Sarah was about to make her way down the aisle. As Sarah walked slowly toward her soon-to-be husband, she was radiant and fighting back tears. As I turned around to capture Reggie, it was all I could do to not cry myself. I’m sure you can see his watery eyes and the look of pure love in his face as Sarah met him and placed her hands in his. A quick glance back to the parents revealed even more tears and emotion. I really don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire wedding party either.
The couple had written vows to one another that were heartfelt and genuine. What each of them didn’t know is that they both had planned something with or for Brooklyn and Blake. After Reggie read his vows to his new bride, he called the kids up and Brooklyn read some very sweet written words to Sarah about how much they love and appreciate her. They sent the kids back to their places and Sarah read her vows to Reggie. Much to Reggie’s surprise, when she was finished with her vows, she called Brooklyn and Blake up and read vows to them. At this point I had tears streaming down my face because I was getting to witness and capture this precious moment. While Sarah read her vows to the kids, promising to love them just like her own, Brooklyn had the biggest smile on her face and sweet Blake was trying to hold it together. We were all witnessing not just a union of husband and wife, but the union of a new family.
After the ceremony, we moved into family portrait time where I got to meet some of the bride and groom’s family. I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but sometimes during this time I catch myself wanting to just insert myself into their family photos because they are just such great people. Haha! Maybe that’s just me, but I could definitely hang with these people.
The reception was filled with more fun and emotional moments. After the maid of honor and best man gave sweet speeches that made us all laugh, Reggie took the microphone and asked for a moment of silence for a dear friend of his who had just passed away. You can tell that family and friends mean everything to him. After a wonderful dinner, it was time for some dancing.
Sarah & Reggie danced together first and then with the kids, which was so cute. Sarah danced with her dad and Reggie with his mom. But my favorite was when Sarah danced with her mom. These two have a very special bond and I loved watching them have their moment on the dance floor.
Sarah & Reggie, Blake & Brooklyn, you guys will forever hold a special place in my hearts. I will never forget this special day. I hope to see you again someday for family pictures.
Photography: Karen Shoufler Photography
Venue: Turtle Run Golf Course
Coordinator: Lexi Mink
Florist: Anker Florist
Cake: Lynette Bouton
DJ: DJ Mario
Hair/MUA: Southgate Salon
Bridal Gown: Michelle’s Bridal
Bridal Gown Designer: Essense of Australia
Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal
Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse
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