I remember the first time I met Valerie. She had asked me to do family pictures of her and her boys 3 years ago in the fall. When I met her boys, Tilden and Ayden, they were so not up for doing pictures. Lets face it, Are any boys up for pictures? But Valerie handled it very well and let them be silly and we started taking silly pictures.. Now, without fail, everytime I do a session for them, there will be a segment during the session dedicated to just silly pictures. I LOVE IT! The boys do too! I look forward to seeing new silly faces each time.. I met Robby the following year when we did fall pictures again.. I remember thinking then, I wonder if this is a serious relationship? Valerie is a very private person, she wasn’t offering up any information, so I didn’t ask. LOL! I started to see Robby in the picture some more. The second time, he was present for family pictures it was obvious that they were in love. Valerie and Robby complimented each other very well and the boys liked him too. I just wondered when Robby was going to pop the question. Finally, I got the call that she was getting MARRIED!!! Good job, Robby! Here is how he asked.
Robby had taken Valerie to dinner in St. Louis at Morgan Street Brewery. While walking to the restaurant, Robby made sure to keep Valerie on his left side attempting to hide the ring box in his pocket. When they were finished with dinner, the waiter asked if they would like dessert. Valerie said “NO”. When she returned from the restroom, the waiter came back to the table with the ring on a serving tray and said, “Since you’re not interested in dessert, would you be interested in marrying this guy?” Of course she said “YES”!!!” By that time, they had a bit of an audience! Everyone clapped and congratulated the newly engaged couple.
Valerie asked me to photograph their wedding and that they had set the date for September 16th! A little more than a month away. Hey, when you know, you know! (Side note: Valerie has been a wonderful customer and has been with me in the beginning and has stayed with me while I have grown in my skill! We talked right before her wedding about how we can look back on her sessions and watch my growth as a photographer. So I was truly honored and humbled that she asked me to photograph her wedding day!!!)
Fast forward a quick 6 weeks and the wedding day was here. The weather was perfect! Robby & Valerie hosted the wedding at The Social House in Carmi, Illinois! The place is GORGEOUS! The foyer had this huge, beautiful staircase that I immediately fell in love with. The foyer separated the two separate parlors in the house. A huge chandelier hung right by the front entrance. It had a victorian vibe to it. I was so excited I was going to be able to photograph there. Valerie has impeccable taste. She had picked the perfect place. She added little touches of baby’s breath and burlap throughout the house. Simple but elegant. It was perfect! I began photographing all that I could. If she spent money on it, I photographed it.
There were so many things that were special about this day, but a what stood out was the first look with her boys, Tilden & Ayden. Valerie had been up front from the very beginning that she wanted this day to be special for her boys as well. And it was! Tilden made me cry when he saw his Mom all dressed up right before the wedding. His eyes lit up and he was grinning from ear to ear. He said how pretty she was and went straight to her and gave his mom a big hug. Ayden came in next and Valerie motioned for him to come on over and they hugged each other too. It was a special moment right before the ceremony started. This was a big day for their family.
It was time for the wedding to start. It was a small intimate gathering between just close friends and family. The ceremony took place outside in the backyard of The Social House! There was not a ton of room, but we got everyone in nicely. Ayden and Valerie’s niece, Kaleigh were the ring bearer and flower girl. Tilden walked his Mom down the aisle! Robby & Valerie included the boys in their vows and not only made vows to each other but to the boys as well. Before we knew it, they were married. Finally, they were all a FAMILY!!!
I am so happy to have shared this special day with this wonderful family. Here are some highlights of the day. Enjoy!
Vendors for this day include the following…
Wedding Dress- Special Occasions
Florist- Tina Hybbert & Rita Rapp
Venue- The Social House- Carmi, IL
DJ- King City DJ
Cake- Made by the Bride herself- Valerie Gilliam
Hair & Make-up- Gwen Allen (Cut-N-Dry) Mt. Vernon, IL