Emily + Dan

When your childhood best friend asks you to shoot her wedding, you don’t say no.

Emily and Dan met at school in Arizona and have since moved back to Emily’s hometown of Geneva, IL, bought a home, and got a puppy. I shot their engagement photos in December of 2021 and got to experience their sweet love first hand as they cuddled on their couch, and held hands walking through the quaint streets of Geneva. 

Emily and Dan’s family were supportive and loving in the pre-wedding chaos, making arrangements, driving decorations and flowers and all sorts of wedding necessities from place to place. Emily and Dan calmly prepped seating charts and final touches as they prepared for their “rehearsal” dinner. Since the venue was about an hour away, there wasn’t a proper rehearsal, but the dinner was a perfect welcome event for all of the out of town guests and a wonderful start to the wedding weekend. 

After arriving at The Graceful Ordinary  Emily and Dan and I shot a few portraits in the beautiful restaurant space and patio. Once guest began to arrive, I followed them around as they greeted guests and family members.

Between dinner and a champagne toast I pulled the couple outside for some golden hour photos on the river — since unfortunately the wedding day forecast looked cloudy and I wanted to make sure they had some sunshine shots.

Wedding day festivities began Saturday morning with people flitting around the beautiful white barn venue of Providence Vineyard, all taking care of individual tasks. Meanwhile the bride and groom slow danced on the back patio, and sat to hand write their vows in designated vow books side by side. 

The bridesmaids enjoyed champagne with Emily in the Bridal Suite while Dan and his groomsmen dressed in their tuxes. We took portraits separately, including first looks with Emily’s Dad, Erich, and her younger brother, Elliot, and some “around the corner” shots, making sure Dan didn’t see Emily in her gown before she walked down the aisle. Then Emily changed into a second outfit to greet her guests at the door with Dan and invited them for a glass of prosecco before the ceremony began.

Emily and her Moms headed back to the bridal suite for one more outfit change, into Emily’s gorgeous Eva Lendel dress (coincidentally named ”Daniel”) and final touches on hair and makeup (special shoutout to Silvena Martinez who did a wonderful job on the Bride and the Mother of the Bride’s hair, making touch up’s throughout the day and night)  before the start of the ceremony.

The ceremony was filled with beautiful sentiments from Bill Nelson (the officiant and the father of Sydney, one of Emily’s bridesmaid and lifelong friends), Anna Tegge (another bridesmaid and lifelong friend), and of course Emily and Dan’s thoughtful and loving vows that left us all in tears. 

After departing the ceremony Emily and Dan met their families and wedding party outside, before signing their marriage license, and then meeting everyone out back for group portraits.

We jumped in a golf cart and headed out into the vineyard to shoot more portraits, and before long the newlyweds were met with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres hand-delivered to them by a couple from the wedding (shoutout to Sydney and Brandon!) and later the venue staff that trekked all the way out to the beautiful giant tree we were shooting at in the back of the property. I even snuck out in front of the camera to get a photo with Emily, to commemorate how far we’ve come since we were little 6 year olds :)

After returning to the party, Emily and Dan enjoyed their first slice of wedding cake (made by long time family friend Larry Zacher), dinner, loving speeches, and first dances. 
The night was wrapped up with lots of dancing, pizza, and more desserts, before the wedding party jumped on their bus to the afterparty back in Geneva.

It was a beautiful weekend filled with love and light in every moment, and I know that every person in attendance wishes Emily and Dan lifelong happiness and the most wonderful marriage. 

Vendor Links:

Coordinator —
Providence Vineyard: Shaylee Boose
815-403-0394 Shaylee@providencevineyard.com

Venue —
Providence Vineyard, 11510 Vanderkarr Road Hebron, IL 60034

Caterer —
@truecuisine @sweetbabyrayscatering

Bartender —
11th Hour Bartending

Bakery —
Hazels, Deb

Officiant —
Bill Nelson

Photographer —
Molly Zacher Photo

Videographer —
MN Photography

Florist —
Garden of Eden Floral Designs
Kasee Sikes gardenofeden1205@gmail.com

Advance DJ Service
Brian Boncher 847-800-5151

Beauty —
OS2 Salon & OnTrend
Judy: (331) 248-0316 judy@ossalon.com
Sara: 630-373-3105 saraferguson@ontrend-makeup.com

Transportation —
ChiTown Limo Bus
(312) 219-0892 info@chitownlimobus.com

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