Sometimes I just fall in love with a couple--I can’t explain it and I don’t know why. We just connect on a completely different level, and that is exactly what happened with Gracie and Dalton on their wedding day!

Gracie and Dalton got married at Destihl Brewery’s Barrel Room in Normal, Illinois, a beautiful and unique venue, perfect for an intimate wedding.

When I arrived that morning, the sun was already high in the sky, its rays beating down on me. The day was supposed to be one of the hottest of the summer, so we decided to make some last minute changes. Instead of powering through the heat, we pivoted and took most photos in the Barrel Room itself. Typically I would opt for photos outside as much as possible, but The Barrel Room was perfect for indoor photos with huge windows bathing everything in a magical natural light. Best of all, it’s air conditioned!

Gracie and Dalton had their first look in Destihl’s outdoor pavilion, the same place where they got engaged! It was such a special full circle moment on a sweet day. Dalton cried some precious happy tears, and it was evident that they were just so excited to get to spend the rest of the day together.

Because Gracie and Dalton decided to opt for a first look, they were able to spend every minute of their wedding day from then on together! This also meant that we were able to do all of their family photos and bridal party photos before the ceremony. We were even able to get some really gorgeous shots in the Barrel Room of just the two of them!

The ceremony was located in a private courtyard right outside the Barrel Room. Beneath a simple but elegant arbor, Gracie and Dalton’s joy permeated throughout the whole ceremony and nearly everyone shed a tear at some point. The ceremony concluded with an intimate sand pouring ceremony, signifying the couple's unity. By the end, it was evident that Gracie and Dalton were so relieved and excited to finally be married. 

After the ceremony, the three of us braved the sun for some bridal portraits. This really challenged my photography knowledge and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but the photos ended up being so interesting and unique and I was able to be more creative with shots. I’m so glad we took the chance! Destihl Brewery owns a bar-on-wheels trailer, so we took a few fun shots there and then it was time to eat. 

The reception was wonderful! They had a beautiful cake from The Kakery and amazing food provided by Destihl. The speeches after dinner were so sweet. My favorite was Dalton’s little brother, whose speech was absolutely adorable and was written on the back of a grocery list. The couple’s first dance felt really intimate, despite the 200 other people in the room. They just hugged and danced and their love was nearly tangible. 

After the first dances, people were ready to PARTY! The dance floor was full all evening and there were lots of kids dancing, which was so fun! The DJ was from Complete Wedding and Events and was amazing! Gracie and Dalton made such a point of taking time to visit and dance with so many different people. They were very aware of all of their guests and were so gracious in how they spent their time with people. 

The three of us snuck out during the reception to snag some golden hour photos in the field behind Destihl Brewery, and it was so magical. Gracie kicked off her shoes, and they chased each other around in the grass. Stepping out for golden hour photos always gives the opportunity for a lot more relaxed and silly moments, and this time was no different. They giggled a lot and just had a lot of fun as the sun set behind the building. 

While the wedding day itself was beautiful and lovely, what stuck out to me most was Gracie and Dalton’s friendship with one another. They obviously have so much love for each other, but it’s the kind of love that is calm and steady and sure. They served their families and friends so sacrificially all day--even on their wedding day. I don’t know how else to explain it: they were just so incredibly giving and loving towards their people, and it was so special. These two are a force. And I haven’t even mentioned how generous and kind they were to me! They were one of the first couples to book their wedding with me last year, and they thoroughly trusted and believed in me throughout the whole process. I certainly don’t think my business would be where it is without them, and people like them, who believe in my work and trust me to document their wedding day. I’m so humbled to be a part of it.