“Details, details, details!” could have been the theme of Matt and Melissa’s beautiful summer wedding in Bloomington, Illinois. Melissa left no detail unturned or overlooked when planning this absolutely lovely affair. This wedding was another occasion where Justin had the opportunity to photograph a long time friend’s wedding. Justin, and Melissa’s sister Angie were schoolmates, so it was an honor and pleasure when Melissa asked us to document her special day. I’m giving you fair warning now – this will not be a short blog post. I’m not sure it’s even possible for me to condense my thoughts on this wedding. Too much to cover!
We began our morning with a quick stop at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel where all the ladies were getting ready. Though it’s become trendier in recent years, we’re still a sucker for a picture of a bride and her bridesmaids in matching robes. While the bridesmaids finished getting ready at the hotel, Melissa along with her mom and sisters headed to Ewing Cultural Center. Though not our first time to Ewing Manor (we photographed Carrie and Ryan’s engagement session here), it was our first time inside the residence.
At Ewing Manor brides get ready in the bedroom of the original owner, Hazle Buck Ewing. This gorgeous room has built-in cabinetry with hand painted details, a large sofa perfect for portraits, and tons of natural light pouring in through the lead glass windows. Before we get too far in talking about the portraits, can we just take quick minute to talk about the spectacular wedding stationary suite Melissa had??? The gorgeous work done by her calligrapher was on every little detail and it was totally worth it. I am beyond in love with the color scheme and theme of it all.
After a stop in the library for a few portraits of Matt getting ready, it was time for the first look. A first look is rarely just a moment caught on film. There is a bit of planning involved, such as where to do it, how to position the couple, who’s turning around first, and much more. We got Matt in place for Melissa to tap him on the shoulder but Matt just couldn’t wait! He jumped the gun and turned before Melissa was all the way to him. But as Melissa pointed out, that’s totally a Matt move!
First look out of the way, we took some portraits with just the bride and groom before the whole wedding party joined for more pictures. There really isn’t a bad location to take pictures at Ewing but I love, love, love the portraits of Matt and Melissa in the library. All those books, all the natural light streaming in – what’s not to love! And it wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t talk a little about the weather! There was a chance of rain but luckily, the rain held off and the ceremony went off without a hitch on the lawn of Ewing Manor.
Following the ceremony we headed around town for some wedding party portraits. How cool is the marquee sign at the Normal Theater? How many times do a bride and groom get a personalized message on a city landmark? Trying to avoid rain, we wrapped up portraits before heading to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Art for the reception.
The reception is like nothing else that we have seen before. Remember how I said no detail was overlooked for this wedding? I meant every, single detail. The theme was “Love is a walk in the park” and every surface conveyed that theme. In a space dripping with magnificent florals from Casey’s Garden Shop & Florist in Bloomington, Illinois to the coordinating rentals from Palace Events in Bloomington, guests were treated with a wonderland. One of my favorite photo sequences is of the ballroom reveal to Matt and Melissa. Flower delivery in Pasadena could also be a great choice. Guests were held in the lobby during cocktail hour while final details were touched up in the ballroom before dinner and dancing. We wanted to make sure the couple had a chance to preview all the hard work that went into brining their vision to reality. Take a moment to soak in all the photos of every little detail from the reception. You may have to look more than once to appreciate it all!
The reception was a rocking affair with the night beginning with cake cutting, first dance, and toasts. A highlight of the toasts was when Melissa’s dad, Fred, pulled out an IOU that Melissa gave him as child promising that she owed him a lot of money. Fred was trying to decide if he should forgive the IOU or hang on to it for another day! Then as a surprise, Melissa’s friend Juan performed ‘New York, New York’ as an ode to Melissa and Matt meeting in New York City many years ago. The song ended with confetti cannons, which really got the dance floor jumping. We had our open air photo booth set up (check out those pictures ), which allowed guests to take a break from all the dancing. And finally, the night ended with a sparkler send off for the happy couple!
Thank you, Melissa and Matt, for letting us be part of this amazingly special day. It was our pleasure to capture all the little details and big moments in between the love, laughter, and joy.
Cheers! Piper & Justin
A special thanks to all the vendors that helped make Matt and Melissa’s day perfect:
Bridal Gown: Pronovias gown from Dimitra’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale dresses from Bella Bridesmaids
Groom’s attire: Suit Supply
Groomsmen attire: Kenneth Cole Reaction
Hair: Bradley Leake
Make-up: Aly Scritchlow McGee
Videographer: Embee Videography
Ceremony Venue: Ewing Cultural Center
Reception Venue: Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
Wedding Coordinator: Palace Events
Catering: l.a. Gourmet Catering
Cake: Hyvee Bloomington IL
Band: Matt Stedman Band
Photo Booth: J. Kelley Photo Booths
Florist: Casey’s Garden Shop & Florist
Stationary Suite, Custom Hand Lettering: Angela Davidson Design
Wedding Favors: Family friend, Cindy Leverich