Fall Wedding Bliss in Elmhurst, Illinois

I've known Kurtis since high school, so I was absolutely thrilled to learn that he was engaged! I met his beautiful fiance Lauren at our engagement session and she is just a dream. Smart, funny, accomplished - they are perfect for each other. 

Fast forward to October of 2016 - my husband Paul and I hit the road to Elmhurst Illinois to capture the priceless wedding day of Lauren and Kurtis. It was a quick five hour drive for us and we were ready to go! We spent the night Friday night so we were up and ready to go early Saturday morning! :)


The wedding party was an absolute dream to work with! Gorgeous ladies and handsome gentlemen (all very cooperative!) combined with a beautiful location made this wedding so much fun! The historic Wilder Mansion is absolutely gorgeous (and available for weddings!) 


They even have outdoor gardens and a greenhouse available! Since it was chilly in October in Illinois, we opted for some gorgeous greenhouse photos! 


AND to top it all off, they have gorgeous GARDENS on the property as well! 


And if it isn't enough that the outside of the Wilder Mansion is absolutely gorgeous with tons of great spots of photos (and you can have your ceremony outside as well!), the inside is just as spectacular. 


Gaaah! It is so gorgeous! 

wilder mansion wedding photography elmhurst

It was such a privilege to photography the wedding of Lauren and Kurtis at this gorgeous Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois! 

Favorite Venues

We often get asked if we have recommendations for venues and other wedding services, so here is a list of some of our favorite venues! (This is not the end all be all list, though!)

In Ames, Iowa (and surrounding)

Gateway Hotel and Conference Center

ISU Alumni Center

CPMI Events Center

ISU Memorial Union

Prairie Moon Winery

Snus Hill Winery

Reiman Gardens

Iowa Arboretum



In the Des Moines Area

Barnes' Place

The Keller Brick Barn


Des Moines Embassy Club

Embassy Suites Des Moines

Marriott Des Moines

Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Living History Farms

Rollins Mansion

Stonehaven Barn

World Food Prize

Principal Park

Jester Park


A little further away:

Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois

Bessie's Barn in Centerville, Iowa

Hotel Vetro  in Iowa City, Iowa

Burrows Newborn

I had the privilege of meeting William Burrows this morning - born June 10th, 2016, he was only 9 days new. :)


Who can resist the content smile of his handsome newborn baby boy! 


Newborns start to change the way they look very quickly and parents are tired for most of it! So we can't forget to get lots of great photos of all the tiny fingers and toes!


Often babies feel most comfortable when they are wrapped up nice and tight, making a cheesecloth wrapped all around then the perfect prop for both cuteness and baby satisfaction.




Wedding Anniversary Session

I had the wonderful privilege of photographing Rachel and Anthony for their one year wedding anniversary! They brought their delightful rescue dog Charlie, who has handsome blue eyes. :)

Charlie Rescue Dog Anniversary Session
Rescue Dog Anniversary Session

We headed out to Brookside Park in Ames, Iowa to document this special milestone in their marriage! Rachel and Anthony got married at The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville, Iowa last year. They had a gorgeous ceremony and we even stopped by a winery for some drinks and photos between the ceremony and reception. Now they have settled down in Ankeny, Iowa and Rachel works in nearby Des Moines. 

I'm so thrilled that we got to do this Wedding Anniversary Session (even though it was almost 90 degrees!) and that I got to meet their handsome dog Charlie. 

Congratulations to one happy year of marriage to these two and many more to come!

Picking a Wedding Date - How?

Picking a wedding date is one of the first things couples often do. They sit down and decide which weekends will or will not work for them. One thing that I've been noticing increasingly is couples who are flexible with their date. Instead of picking a date that works just for them and then searching for vendors (venues, photographer, dj) that are free for their day, they plan their day by lining up the vendors they are interested in and then finding a date that works for all of them. 

In our opinion, this is a very viable alternative. Why lock yourself into a date that is very popular and block yourself from getting the vendors you want? Why not contact at least a few of the vendors you are interested in to find our their availability first? You may not find a date that works for everyone, but you will have a better chance of working with more of the vendors you selected from the beginning.

We are happy to provide you with a list of open dates, but it does help us if you have a month or several months you are looking at as opposed to "sometime next year"! So, send us an email and let's get this planning started! We do still have dates available in 2016 (especially September this year) so if you are looking to work with us but don't have your date set yet, let us know! We'd love to find something that will work for the both of us.

Finally Slowing Down

My husband and I are finally slowing down for a short break from the last wedding season before the next one begins!

This would be a great time to set up a time to meet to talk about your wedding and see if we would be a good fit. We do still have 2016 dates available and we'd love to meet some fabulous couples in the next month as more and more of you are getting engaged (hint: Valentine's Day is coming up!)

If you're reading this and you have not yet proposed, we do offer proposal photography and would love to be able to be with you from the very beginning of your wedding journey. 

A lot of basic information is available in our FAQ section, but we'd love to hear from you and learn more about your vision for your day - so get in touch and we'll find a time to meet up!

-Laurel & Paul

Elizabella Flower Farm

Check it out! Looking for flowers for your wedding?? Elizabella Flower Farm provided flowers for Tabby and Reed's laid back wedding at the Farm House Museum on the beautiful Iowa State University Campus. Tabby had nothing but wonderful things to say about her flowers and Elizabella Flower Farm is using my photos on her website! :)

Elizabella Flower Farm Ames Iowa

You can check out the flower arrangements and get more info from the talented owner, Beth Kemp. The farm is located near Nevada in Iowa. Website: http://www.elizabellaflower.com


You can also find and meet Beth at the Ames Downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings during the summer. She sells some wonderful honey, too!