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“Nothing evokes more thoughts of a Spring wedding than blooming nature, crisp pastel colors such as yellow, bright colored fresh flower bouquets, and of course a glowing and smiling bride. The above photos are a few favorites from our two visits to Starved Rock State Park with Tom + Julia this year. We love spending time at Starved Rock in any season. In any time of the year, it’s always beautiful.


Tom + Julia decided to set a Winter engagement session date to capture pictures underneath one of the canyon’s frozen waterfalls. Without a doubt it was an amazing frozen formation, but as guessed without a doubt it was also very chilly. For the April wedding day, Tom and Julia were relieved at how beautifully warm the temperatures were and incredibly much warmer than our first visit. A Spring wedding date can often regrettably bring rain, but luckily the rain did hold off. Julia was very happy with the dry day and continuing on shooting outdoors. Despite the still incredibly windy day, the bride, groom and bridal party enjoyed our hike in the canyons to capture some picturesque photos up top of the amazing rock formations at the park. We also ventured into a fresh blooming, green grassy field. Next, we found a couple of places where not only was the view unbelievable, but the wind was calm. It was up top the rock cliff and bluff that Tom reminded us how much he loved how we captured a day regardless of the lack of sun and especially was in love with our cloudy sky shots. So it was perfect. I asked Julia about her and Tom’s unique DIY wedding favors project they incorporated into their day…


Julia wrote: “Our major DIY project was our wedding favors. Tom grew up making maple syrup with his dad and grandfather using the maple trees around his childhood home. To honor this tradition, we decided to make individual bottles of the maple syrup for each of our guests. As far as inspiration behind the day, we wanted a happy spring feel to our wedding. In keeping with this idea, I asked our florist for a wide variety of spring flowers that looked like they had been cut from a garden. I particularly wanted daffodils. Ever since I was young, my favorite poem has been William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils.” Both the poem and the flower perfectly capture the light-hearted and optimistic feeling we hoped to convey with our wedding day.”


Julia originally from Peoria and Tom from Milwaukee Wisconsin, the couple invited out of town friends and family to meet half way in between each of their family’s home towns. The decision on Starved Rock was for a number of reasons, but especially because of the abundant nature of the parks 2000+ acres of wooded trees, canyons, the Illinois River waterways area, and the park’s Northern Illinois location. Inside at Starved Rock, you’ll find a dark and cozy wooden lodge which is a popular reception venue for couple’s who have a love for nature, hiking & the outdoors and would like to carry that outdoorsy theme into their wedding day. During the engagement session, we had a chance to preview the couple’s catholic wedding ceremony venue of St. Mary’s Church located in downtown Utica, Illinois. The small town of Utica is charming as is the couple’s choice in the historic 1888 Catholic church also located in town… a picturesque setting the sanctuary was filled with day light and smiles.


We had an amazing time at the park with you Tom + Julia. We wish you the best on your many adventures together in life ahead. Hope you enjoy these preview pictures, more will be coming soon.”


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Tom + Julia’s highlighted vendors included:
Catholic Ceremony: St. Mary’s Church, downtown Utica, Illinois
Wooden Lodge Reception: Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, IL
Bridal Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero
Dress Shop: Savvy Bride, Brookfield, WI
The Bride’s Glittery Platform Pump Heels: Enzo Angiolini a Nordstrom exclusive
Hair: Head Hunter Salon and Day Spa
Bridesmaids Dress: JS Boutique
Tuxedos: Savvy Bride, Brookfield, Wisconsin
Food + Catering: Starved Rock Lodge, Oglesby, Illinois
Transportation: Starved Rock Lodge Trolley
Wedding Favors: Individual maple syrup bottled and handmade by the bride + groom for each guest
Cake: Kelsey’s Kakes, Peru, IL
Flowers: Mary’s Special Touch Flowers, LaSalle, IL
Honeymoon: St. Lucia