Melania & Alex's Wedding

posted on: September 25, 2007


Melania & Alex have the kind of smiles that light up an entire room and make everyone in their presence smile - which is no short order when it comes to a guest list of something like 500 people!!

When I arrived at Alex's family home in Des Plaines, IL, I didn't notice many cars in the driveway, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked in the front door to find this...


Isn't Melania gorgeous?!?! She went for a really natural look with her makeup which was perfect for her amazing skin!


I had to do a double-take when Salma Hayek walked in the door as a bridesmaid! (OK, she's not really Salma.. but she could certainly be the perfect stunt double!!)


I just love the lines and graphic elements in this image..


As a general rule, I typically don't take pictures of people eating, but Melania was cracking me up!! After weeks of cutting back, she decided it was time to reward herself, especially after she was already zipped in her dress! Hey, it's hard work being a bride!!


When Alex's dad, who's a pastor, asked all of the children to gather around Melania for a prayer and a song, I got really teary eyed!! It was such a cool experience, and a tradition that I'm sure will be passed on.


One of the ways that Melania & Alex really personalized their wedding was by having Alex walk in to the 2001: Space Oddessy theme! I just love the look on his mom's face as she watches him walk down the aisle...


Could Alex be ANY happier to see Melania?!?!


Check out the amazing flowers!! They really made the Romanian Baptist Church look phenomenal!!



Every row, every pew, completely full... there was a LOT of love in that room! And check out the video projection going on - it was like being at an awards show!



Much of the scripture, and quite a bit of the sermon was spoken in Romanian, so they had a live translator in the balcony repeating everything in English to a series of translation headsets. Even though I didn't have headsets, I still found it pretty easy to predict punch lines and emotional moments based on the speaking patterns- thank goodness some things are fairly universal!


I really hope this guy has a sense of humor, because I thought it was so funny when I caught him catching a few zzzzs during the ceremony!!


The final prayer...


If the processional music wasn't unique enough, they had a bagpiper for the recessional!! How cool is that?!


One of my favorite things about kids is how adults act when they're around kids - inhibititons get thrown out the window when they're trying to get a smile out of a kid! I just imagine this little girl thinking, "Help Me!"


In order to get a "family photo" - I had to go all the way up to the balcony just to get everyone in the picture!


Check out this inventive umbrella tunnel the bridesmaids and groomsmen made to protect the bride on her way to the limo as they headed off to their reception at Astoria Banquets.


As a photojournalist, I used to cringe when people would look straight at the camera and be a total cheeseball, but I've since changed my thinking about this because some people are just total cheeseballs anytime there's a camera around- and what kind of photojournalist would I be if I refused to show them as they naturally are?! So - bring it on cheeseballs.. bring it on!! Obviously Melania didn't even realize this was going on- so she's just now seeing this for the first time!! I love it!!



Because Alex's father is a pastor, he has a lot of friends who are also pastors, and everyone knows how pastors LOVE to give speeches! So, there were a LOT of toasts, speeches, blessings, and prayers!


Doesn't the cake look FANCY!? ;-) I think it was black cherry cake on the inside? It was goooood.


I just love the emotion and connection in this image...


Since dancing wasn't a part of their reception, several people provided their own music by playing guitar and singing hymns. It was so sweet to hear these three girls serenade everyone in the room!!



They had beta fish in their centerpieces and the kids were thrilled when the found out that they could take a fish home!!


Thank you so much for choosing me to capture your wedding day!! It took me days to recover from the cheek cramps I had from smiling all day long, but it was so worth it because there's nothing better than photographing a bunch of happy people in love!!

WPJA Winning Image

posted on: September 24, 2007

The lastest WPJA contest winners were announced and I had another image receive a top 20 placement! This one was from Jenn & AJ's wedding and it recieved 15th place in the KIDS category! These kids were so cute all day long!

Tote Bag Winner: Damon!

posted on: September 17, 2007

A BIG HUG to Damon, who sent me an iphone picture of himself with my tote bag, which he says he'll "totally plan on bringing to the grocery store and using it as much as possible"!! Let's not forget his shiny Prius Hybrid eco-vehicle!! He's officially way cooler than I am. ;-) Thanks for the blog love and playing my silly contest!!

LOVE IT: Animoto

posted on: September 13, 2007

I just got an email from photojojo.com about using animoto.com to create super cool videos! Check out this one I made with Marlena & Nathaniel's Engagement photos and then go try it for yourself!!



This wouldn't be very practical for my wedding slideshows because I include so many images, but it's perfect for just a few images like this!

Marlena & Nathaniel - Onlney, IL Engagement

posted on: September 12, 2007

Marlena & Nathaniel

One of the things I absolutely love about my job, is being inspired by the people I meet. Engagement sessions are a great chance for me to really experiment and take risks in ways that I wouldn't be able to on a wedding day, especially when there's a really cool location and a couple that's up for ANYTHING! Marlena & Nathaniel live in Des Moines, Iowa, but decided to return to their hometown of Olney, IL (famous for their albino squirrels) for their engagement session. Disclaimer: As a general rule, I don't like to post "normal" pictures on my blog, but that doesn't mean I don't take them. Anyone can take "normal/pretty/safe" pictures. I like to post pictures that represent how I'm unique, original, and offbeat.

Marlena & Nathaniel
When Marlena mentioned that we could meet by the hampster wheel in the city park, I had no idea what to expect- but sure enough, when I saw it, I knew exactly what it was!! It was definitely not an easy task trying to get two people to balance each other out inside a hampster wheel!!

Marlena & Nathaniel

Nathaniel had keys to gain access to the old Central School that they had once attended, but is now abandoned..
Marlena & Nathaniel

There were some left-over bits from the school which helped spark some creative thinking for the shots, random things were left behind like a geography map, desk, chair, etc. In this image with the map, Marlena asked if we should take down the colored bag hanging on the wall, but I kept it in as a way to balance the color of her shirt.
Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel
On flickr, I received a great comment about this series of images from the talented Jay Eades:
"this set has some really different processing "feels" for you, anne. what are you trying new? i think they are great, but it feels almost foreign to me in your stream :) not that that is a bad thing!"

I agree - this is very "different" from a lot of my work!! But when there's so much inspiration stemming from the couple and what they're inspired by, I do a lot more "listening" to the images and let them guide me into what tones and processing really complete the feeling. ;-) I'm also much more willing to experiment with my portrait work because it's more an expression of art than of moment.

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

I just loved the peeling paint everywhere - it was such a great texture to work with!
Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Just as we were getting ready to leave this area, Nathaniel was standing perfectly under this opening and it was just too funny not to take a picture!!
Marlena & Nathaniel

The "bling" shot!! (Go ahead, steal my idea, I know you want to!)
Marlena & Nathaniel

What do you get when you combine a boy, a girl, a row of urnials, a toothbrush, and a mirror? A funny and offbeat piece of photographic art for your bathroom wall...
Marlena & Nathaniel

This hole in the wall made the perfect frame for a little kiss. After all, what would an engagement session be without some smooching!?!
Marlena & Nathaniel

A big huge hug and thank you to Marlena & Nathaniel for making the trip to Olney, IL and getting access to such a fabulous and inspiring location!! It was so much fun!!!
Marlena & Nathaniel

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