sandra & johnny | kickapoo creek winery wedding.

I thought I knew what rainy wedding days were all about before Sandra and Johnny’s day. After photographing weddings for seven years, I was reasonably sure I had seen it all in terms of bad weather on a wedding day. I, of course, was so wrong.

I try not to be too hyperbolic when talking about how disappointing it can be for a couple when it rains on their wedding day – after all, it’s just one day, right? The thing is, it doesn’t feel that way when you’ve been planning this day for months – when you’ve been scheduling and emailing and pinteresting and planning your face off for a singular day, it’s tough to not have expectations of how it will go. While I’ve never planned a wedding myself, I know this simply because this job involves me being in on those emails, and the timeline scheduling, and the planning with them. I talk with my couples for months leading up to their day, and by the time it gets here, honestly, I think I want that ideal vision for them almost as badly as they do. I want this day to be everything they imagined it would be, and then some.

So when the “rain” on Johnny and Sandra’s wedding day turned out to be a nonstop torrential downpour, I felt my heart start to quiver a bit for them. Their wedding guests scurried from one building to the next, trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. The rain pelted the roof of the pavilion their ceremony took place within, making sure we didn’t forget its presence despite being indoors. This was no ordinary rain, and I became nervous that they would be disappointed by these dark skies, sidetracked by the pelting and the cold. That they would, in short, let it get to them.

The thing I didn’t think about in this moment is that Johnny and Sandra are no ordinary couple, either. One of Sandra’s matrons of honor, Liz, spoke in her speech about Sandra’s determination and drive – in work, in grad school, and in life in general. She went on to talk about how both Johnny and Sandra lost their fathers when they were younger, and how strong and resilient they both have become in the process. These two have not only been through some hard life stuff, but they also get each other on a certain level because of it – and now, they get to tackle the hard life stuff with one another at their sides.

So by the end of this evening, these two had a way of reminding me: what’s one day of rain in the grand scheme of life? Sure, it poured rain from mid-morning until late into their reception. They didn’t get sun-drenched moments walking around the beautiful winery where they held their ceremony as they had hoped, and they had to haul umbrellas and extra jackets and even threw clear shower curtains over their hair that had been done ever so precisely. But as Sandra’s other matron of honor, Erika, mentioned in her toast, the craziest thing to think about is that this is just one of so many incredible days they will have together in the future. There will be new moments that eventually feel bigger than this, happier than this, more surprising than this. So yeah, sure, sunshine instead of torrential rain would have been really great – but something tells me that these two will continue to have even greater days, and that the sun will be shining so hard on them. And as for the future days when it isn’t? Well, I don’t know any other couple that would possibly be better at getting through the dark skies together. And not only getting through them, but also coming out on top – smiling and dancing and just as in love as they would be in the midst of sunshine.

Ceremony Venue: Kickapoo Creek Winery
Reception Venue: Kewanee Dunes
Decor: Heaven on Earth 
Florals: Lauren Luecke Floral and Event Design
Bride’s Dress: Country Bride
DJ/Lighting: Tony Westefer
Cake + Cakepops: Tina’s Cakes, Galva, IL
Cupcakes: Paxton’s Corner Coop

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Chicago, IL


Weddings + Engagements + Life

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