Emily & JP's Chicago Mt. Hawley Country Club Wedding | Rachael Schirano Photography

Emily & JP’s Chicago Mt. Hawley Country Club Wedding

Elegant fall weddings are such a delight to photograph. The bright September sunshine, the turning leaves, and smiling faces are all so wonderful to capture. That was absolutely the case for Emily and JP’s elegant fall wedding. With a stunning ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church and a classic wedding reception at Mt. Hawley Country Club, this Peoria wedding was both elegant and timeless. It was such a true privilege to be their wedding photographer.

Love will find a way

Emily and JP have known each other since they were in high school. They reconnected a few times throughout college and then JP moved away. As luck would have it, these two ended up running into each other at the Blues Festival in Peoria in September 2017. As if there were a magnet that kept bringing them together, they kept running into each other! Finally, JP asked Emily out on a date. The week after their date, Emily was at a bar with her girlfriends and JP happened to be there with some people they know mutually. The two groups joined together, and Emily and JP spent the evening laughing and enjoying each other. That’s when Emily first realized he was the one. A few days later, JP spent the day at the pool with Emily and her son, Hank. They played, they made dinner, and they laughed. And that’s when JP knew she was the one.

Emily and JP are a fun, easy-going couple. They are passionate and thoughtful and have a really hard time making decisions. Emily loves that he is so spontaneous and caring. He remembers things she has said that she doesn’t remember saying herself. Emily loves how JP loves fiercely. He adores both her and Hank, and he is always thinking of our next move. He said, “She makes me laugh, she’s a great mother, has the biggest heart and is the person I look forward to seeing every day.”

A Perfect Proposal

In April, Emily thought that she and JP were going to a Chiefs game. JP got a sitter for Hank, and they left in his truck. JP had been working on fixing up a farmhouse for the family, and he mentioned he’d left his wallet over there. (This was not far off from the everyday — he forgets his wallet a lot! So, Emily didn’t think anything about it.) They drove out the farm with the windows open, their favorite songs blasting, and the sunlight streaming in. When they got to the farmhouse, Emily walked in with him so she could see the progress JP had made. He took her back to their future bedroom and told her that he loved her and a few special things that she keeps close to her heart. Then, he got down on one knee and proposed. Emily dropped down to her knees and said YES!

JP also shared that the day before, he had taken Emily’s son on a date and asked him, too. They got ice cream and talked it over. Hank loved the idea of them all being a family. After Emily and JP celebrated just the two of them for a bit, they went and told Hank! He was the best secret keeper. He was so relieved when JP let him off the secret hook!

An Elegant Peoria Wedding Day

There was so much love to capture on the day of the wedding. I started off the day with Emily and the ladies as they prepared for the day. Emily had such a strong bond with the ladies in her wedding party. Her maid of honor, Libby, has been her best friend since kindergarten! JP had Hank as his best man. Little Hank was just so excited to have such an important role in the wedding day.

Emily looked amazing in her elegant lace gown. With long, lace sleeves and a beautiful off-the-shoulder neckline, she looked truly exquisite. She had a beautiful, long train and veil, but the most amazing thing she wore all day was her smile. Honestly, she just radiated from the moment I got there. It was so clear she was excited for her wedding day. The bridesmaids were also in timeless looks wearing all classic Black with lovely lace accents.

The men were also dressed in classic, timeless wedding attire. Each one was smartly dressed in a suit. But JP needed to let a little bit of personality show! He and the groomsmen all wore fun socks. JP wore a pair of Rolling Stones socks! They’re his favorite band.

Classic Elegance at Trinity Lutheran Church

The ceremony at Trinity Lutheran church was so lovely. Kristy Howell from Create a Scene Events created the most amazing altar arrangement with pillars and florals. It truly elevated the already beautiful church. I loved how this ceremony was filled with personal touches that reflected the bride and groom. The pews were all lovingly decorated with bows by Emily’s mother. In another loving personal touch, Emily’s father sang during the wedding ceremony. Emily and JP had a Unity Candle ceremony. First, the mothers of the bride and groom lit the candle, then the bride and groom lit. I thought it was such a meaningful way to show the two families becoming one!

A Classic Mt. Hawley Country Club Wedding Reception

After the ceremony and some formal family wedding photos at the church, everyone headed to Mt. Hawley Country Club, Peoria for the wedding reception. The reception was such a wonderful celebration of love. I was so happy to be there to capture the love between the bride and groom and their family and friends. They had a live band at the reception so when I say it was a celebration, I mean it! The whole dancefloor was full for almost every song! The West MacQueen Street Band kept the party moving.

But whenever I looked at Emily, JP and Hank, the world slowed down a bit. It was so special to be the wedding photographer for this special day to watch these three people become one family. I’m so happy I was a part of it and I wish this family nothing but the best in life.

Featured Peoria Wedding Vendors

Planner: City Chic Events, Allana Amiran

Videographer: Ben Fout

Florist: Michele’s Floral Events, Peoria Heights, IL

Cake/Dessert: Trefzger’s Bakery, Peoria, IL

Stationary: Minted

Decor: Create A Scene, Washington, IL & Gregg Florist, Peoria, IL

Rentals: Create a Scene, Washington, IL

Caterer: Mt. Hawley Country Club (Website), Catering, Peoria, IL

Band/DJ: West MacQueen Street Band, Rick Simkins

Makeup Artist: Marvella Salon, Peoria Heights, IL

Hair Artist: Marvella Salon, Peoria Heights, IL

Wedding Rings: Potter & Anderson, Peoria, IL

Bridal Dress Boutique: Adore Bridal, Morton, IL

Jewelry: Adore Bridal, Morton, IL

Bridal Shoes: Chinese Laundry from Von Maur

Bridal Headpiece or Veil: Adore Bridal, Morton, IL

Groom Suit Boutique/Store: Menguin

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Groomsmen Suits: Menguin

Flower Girl: Etsy

Ring Bearer: Men’s Wearhouse

Getting Ready Location: Parent’s House

Ceremony Venue: Trinity Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL

Reception Venue: Mt. Hawley Country Club (Website), Peoria, IL

Photo Booth: Fotio

For more elegant wedding photography, you might also like Clare and Connor’s Classic Bloomington Wedding and Paige and Nick’s Elegant and Classic wedding.

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