From our Bradley-Bourbonnais leader, Karen:
“It’s an amazing thing to be a part of something that started as this little scary dream, to join together with amazing like-minded people and to see that dream come to fruition in a way that is bigger and better than you ever could have imagined. That’s what happened with this shoot.
But, first, let me take a few steps back.
Several months ago, I heard about this group of photographers starting something called The Rising Tide Society. I watched a webinar with Natalie and Krista and was hooked! Their passion to create a movement of creative entrepreneurs that band together in the spirit of #communityovercompetition just lit me up inside, in a good way. Owning your own creative business is incredibly rewarding, yet awfully lonely at times. It can also be heartbreaking when trying to connect with others in the same boat. Not everyone wants to build each other up and cheer each other on. As I continued following Rising Tide and they began equipping and empowering leaders to start Tuesdays Together groups in their towns/cities, I began to wish that there was a group local to me. A few groups popped up an hour or two away, many of them led by photographer friends of mine, but nothing close enough for me to be consistently connected with long term. It was really shocking that this extroverted introvert (it’s a thing) got up the nerve to apply to lead a group in Bradley-Bourbonnais, IL. I remember opening the email that said I’d been accepted to lead a new group! Our group is still in the infant stages, but when the idea came in for leaders to put together styled shoots in their areas with other vendors from their groups, we got really excited at the idea.
Two local photographers and I are have been the consistent members of our local group. Kara Evans was the first person I reached out to about the group. She had just moved back to the area, so she was excited to get involved. Kara reached out to Sarah Hemenover, and the three of us began meeting and brainstorming about what this styled shoot should and could look like. I’m so impressed by the vision and ideas that these two brought to the shoot all throughout the planning and implementation. These girls are so sweet and talented. They also knew a lot of people that we reached out to as we dreamed about the perfect vendors to join us.
We could not have asked for better vendors. Not only were they all richly talented, they were all wonderful people to work with. I truly feel that I have a network of friends that I will continue to refer my clients to with confidence. I also look forward to working with them in the future.
Okay, now to the good stuff! As we started dreaming about what this would look like and what style we were wanting, it was fun to see our unique ideas come together in this beautiful way. We began with our invitations from Beacon Lane. We all picked two that we liked, and the one we chose was on the list for all of us. We loved the richness of the reds with the softness of that green and the florals. We started a Pinterest board to use as we began talking to vendors. Busse and Rieck came through with the MOST amazing wedding florals I’ve ever seen in person! That bouquet, the hanging floral wreaths, the tablescape flowers . . . it was all exquisite! Kara and I had a lot of fun choosing the rings from Westphal Jewelers. It’s not every day you get to walk in to a jewelers and pick anything you want. Darren has such a huge variety, so we tried to choose some rings that were a little different.
The day of the shoot was a typical July day in Illinois . . . hot! We did get some relief at times with some clouds here and there, so that helped a lot. The day was truly gorgeous though. Willowhaven was the perfect backdrop with the tall grasses and amazing trees. My favorite part of the weather was the amazing midwest sunset we got at the end of the shoot. That golden light was breathtaking.
A styled shoot with models just doesn’t work well if you don’t have the right models. The bride and groom have to have amazing chemistry, and we were so lucky to have Meg & Kevin model for us. They were married last fall, so of course they love each other. We had no idea that they could pass as professional models. They were adorable, sexy and romantic all at the same time! I have hundreds of images I could post of the two of them, but I will try to narrow it down. Our bridesmaids were perfect too. They are all friends, so they had a lot of fun together. All of the girls are gorgeous and so sweet! They were up for anything. All of the dresses from Bliss Bridal and Prom looked amazing! I loved the blush bridesmaids dresses. The girls all began their day at Savvy Hair Gallery and Spa. All of the stylists were so fun! They were excited to be able to come up with their vision for each of the girls. The hair and makeup were absolutely perfect! I’m always mesmerized by a truly talented makeup artist, so I spent a lot of time watching these ladies bring out the beauty of our models. I wish I could have them do my hair and makeup every day. I mean, how awesome would that be?!”
Karen Shoufler Photography
Hair & Makeup
Savvy Hair Gallery & Spa
Cakes & Sweets
Cakes & Pastries by Jorie
Bride & Bridesmaids Dresses
Bliss Bridal and Prom
D. Westphal Jewelers
Pommier-Benoit Handcrafted Jewelry
Laura Hines Designs
Busse & Rieck Flowers, Plants & Gifts
Willowhaven Nature Center