ashton + patrick | peoria, il winter wedding.
On the afternoon before Ashton and Pat’s wedding, the weather forecast for the following day was looking questionable at best. Meteorologists were calling for a lot of snow and even more wind late that night on into the morning, and though I try not to let myself fret too much about the weather when it comes to wedding days (we do live in the Midwest, after all), I felt my first bit of panic that Friday evening as I envisioned terrible scenarios of getting my vehicle stuck and not being able to make it on time, and decided late that night to head to and stay at the hotel where the girls would be getting ready in the morning. I was pleasantly surprised upon waking to see that the heavy amounts of overnight snow that had been predicted instead were closer to an inch or two tops, and I felt a bit lighter as I washed my face and prepped my gear. That’s the thing about predicted weather issues on a wedding day – when you mentally prepare for the worst and get anything better than that, the day has this way of starting out already feeling like an incredible win.
I made my way to the room the girls were getting ready in soon after, and I already could feel the sense of relief and excitement in the air – it’s like you’ve not only overcome this hurdle the weather threw at you, but also happen to get to be a part of this really incredible day, too. Ashton immediately told me how she had been intermittently crying all week, and once her cousin told her soon after that she actually had a gift for her from Pat, she started tearing up all over again. Ashton read the letter that accompanied it as a tear slid down her right cheek, and I snapped photos and once again stood in disbelief that I get to even be in the room where things like this happen. In his letter, Pat told Ash about seeing her that first time when they met in law school, and knowing right away that this girl was everything and then some, and how he understands that even more so now with years of dating and life together under their belts. She wiped her tears and mentioned again how hard the emotions had been hitting her throughout the week, and I really just loved that – to spend your days leading up to the big one thinking about everything that brought you to this point in your life, and how happy you are to simply get to be here with him – is, quite possibly, the best way you could spend those days.
Though the overnight snow wasn’t as drastic as anticipated, the wind did still end up being pretty intense – and while I’ve technically photographed weddings colder than this one, the wind made it feel quite a bit chillier than the temperature suggested. It bit at the face and took one’s breath away, and my fingers started to grow numb in moments as they were gripped around my camera. Despite this, Ashton and her girls threw on their boots and wrapped up in their scarves, and everyone laughed in disbelief as they braved it regardless. Everything feels a bit different on wedding days like these, in a good way; a part of me kind of loves that it doesn’t come easy. So when I see a couple like Ashton and Pat who trudge around in the snow and the cold, and belly laugh in spite of it all, and hoist up the dress train and the flowers and do it all together, I often find myself thinking that they’re gonna be real freaking great together in the days and moments of life that don’t come easy. They spent their reception evening wiping tears and hugging during their first dance, and killing it on the dance floor as their band played – and though the real life days will be a little quieter than this one, it’s easy to see how they’ll come together at the end of each of them regardless – tear wiping and hugging and always clearly feeling so lucky to simply be here with one another.
Wedding Ceremony: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Reception Venue + Catering: Par-A-Dice
Wedding Coordinator: So Chic Events, Sara O’Shea
Florals: Garden of Grace Florals, Lisa Knobloch
Band: The Shenanigans
Bride + Bridesmaid Dresses: Marien Mae Bridal
Cake: Cake Crumbs Limited
Videography: Hoop House Creative
Hair + Makeup: The Loft Bridal
Rentals: I Do Events, Create A Scene, Morton Rentals