Austin + Hannah | Married | 7.12.14 | Chicago Wedding Photographer

Austin & Hannah, Where do I even begin? I've known Hannah and Austin for a couple years now. I actually don't know that I can pinpoint when we became friends. I met Hannah through a mutual friend and we immediately hit it off but didn't hang out for at least a year after that. So fast forward to last December. I was talking with Austin and he shared with me the exciting news that he was going to be proposing to Hannah. He shared the entire plan with me: how he recruited a bunch of their friends to help him. How he was going to have her sister take her to the place they first met and he was going to sing her a song, and how slowly friends would come in to help him play for her. The night he told me he was proposing I kept refreshing instagram and facebook trying to see if it had happened yet or not.

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Photos of their engagement by Brittania Drew Photography

A few weeks later Hannah came to me and asked me if I would be able to meet with her and Austin about photographing their wedding. I, of course, was very excited! We had talked a little bit about it already but I was excited to hear from them in a more official capacity. To answer any and all questions they had. We met at a coffee shop on Valentines Day, I came prepared, and to my surprise, so had Hannah. Hannah walked up and handed me a beautiful handmade card. The card said that they were so excited to ask me to be a part of their big day, and that they believed in me and trusted me with their big day. Which as a photographer and artist that is one of the most flattering and awesome things you can hear! To know that not only do they want you there but they trust you with one of the most important days of their life!

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Leading up to their wedding I got more and more excited with each passing day. I woke up the day of their wedding and it was raining. I knew their wedding was outside (in the questionnaire  where I asked if there was a back up location in case of bad weather her response was "I mean...") so I immediately started sending prayers up to God, asking him to please take the rain away.

By the time I made it to Hannah's mom's for getting ready pics the rain had stopped, there were a few "spits" here and there, but mostly it was just gloomy which is great compared to the downpour that morning. And by the first look, no rain in sight and it didn't rain the whole rest of the day until we were covered in the tent!

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Hannah handmade each of the groomsman's pins/boutonnieres! How amazing are those?

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This was one of my favorite moments of the day. Hannah and Joy (Hannah's sister) paused and took a moment to pray and be joyful about the day that was about to unfold. It wasn't planned, it just happened. It was such a sweet moment that I'm so glad I was able to capture. 

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The bridesmaids reacting to Hannah in her dress:

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Austin texting Hannah before we headed off to the first look location. 

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So Hannah and Austin had this spot picked out that is special to them. We passed through the nature center and one of the ladies working there said to us "You probably don't wanna go out there. The mosquitos are really bad, you're gonna end up with welts on your face!" But c'mon! We were going to see the groom! We were on a mission! There was no stopping us! 

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Is that not the best reaction ever? I don't blame him, she looked absolutely stunning!

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At this point, my second shooter, Meagan, and the two videographers held out the shot of as long as we possibly could, as long as we could stand it. I looked down after getting these shots to see, I kid you not, 8-12 mosquitos on each arm. All of us just started swatting immediately, and very quickly agreed that we needed to pick this up at another location. Usually mosquitos don't bug me very much, but this was something I'd never experienced. I had never seen/felt this many mosquitos at one time. EVER. It was pretty bad.
But it couldn't stop the love!

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Hannah and a few of her friends painted that backdrop! How cool is that? There were so many adorable details in this wedding! 

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For those of you know know Hannah and Austin, you probably know the story. But for those of you who don't: Not quite a year ago Hannah's dad, Bob, passed away from a brain tumor. It was a tragic loss that came two years after losing her brother Gabe. The guestbook had a tribute to them both. The way Austin came along side Hannah in this time is really such a display of how much he loves her. 

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Austin and their officiant and friend Pastor Ian Simkins praying before the ceremony. 

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This was one of the first details of the wedding that Hannah shared with me! Hannah comes from a large family (she is 7 of 8!) and she has many nieces and nephews. So one of her nephews blew a trumpet to "summon" the rest of the "woodland creatures" :] Hannah made these masks for each of them. It was the cutest! 

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Hannah was walked down the isle by her 5 brothers There wasn't a dry eye in the house 

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"Best shot in the house. Good luck getting that shot, photographers." Touché Ian, Touché. 

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Here's his view:

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He was singing to his baby! Awwww! 

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Probably the best reaction to being married that I've seen so far! 

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It's not exactly un-common for me to tear up while shooting weddings. But this was a moment where I actually shed tears while shooting: After they were announced, they walked down the isle and down a path. But once they broke past the hedges they started running and dancing with just pure joy! It was one of the sweetest moments. I think I was the only one who witnessed it, and I'm so glad I did, even though I cried on my camera a little bit. :] Austin even did a cartwheel! That's how happy he was to be married! 

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Another favorite from the day: Joy hugging her sister/best friend and her new brother in law! 

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This kid was so dang cute! So much personality!

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Hannah even made their wedding bands! 

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Next on the agenda: A concert on the lawn! Such a fun idea! 

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Right when Austin & Hannah went up to play a few songs a freight train came past, so naturally Ian went to go tell it to stop...Not sure they heard you Ian, but A++ for effort ;] 

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Some Wedding day face paint

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Hannah danced with each of her brothers. So sweet! 

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The little ones ruled the dance floor!

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You know your officiant is awesome when he comes back as Superman at the reception!

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What an absolutely beautiful day! One that will not soon be forgotten!

One last little story. I set up a day to deliver the photos to Austin & Hannah. We hooked up the TV  to their computer and watched the pictures like a movie (as Hannah put it!) After a few pictures went by we realized that we really needed a soundtrack to go with the pictures, so appropriately Hannah queued up her wedding Spotify playlist with a bunch of the songs played in her wedding. So as the woodland pictures started scrolling past the song that played during the ceremony for the woodland creatures started playing, and then like magic, as the photo of Hannah walking down the aisle the song that she walked down the aisle to started playing. We did not plan this, in fact, if we had started playing the music at the start of the slideshow it wouldn't have happened. All the songs just started lining up, it was amazing. And like I said, something I won't forget any time soon. These two are a blessing to every life they come into contact with, and I am so very thankful to have been a part of their big day! <3

Ceremony + Reception Location: Poplar Creek Church