Y’all, this one was a hoot. I knew I loved Bethany and Corey from the minute that I met them, and I was NOT WRONG. Hooray – I’m usually not right about a lot of stuff (you can ask Alex; in the history of our relationship, I have been right exactly four times, one of which he called back because he changed his mind about the toaster oven) but from the second I talked to Bethany, I felt the vibes.
I think the thing that I enjoyed about this day, more than anything, was how deeply you could feel the love Bethany and Corey’s friends felt for them – everyone involved was just so gosh darn excited all day and it was electric and magical. They had a lovely, fall-inspired outdoor ceremony at the Lourdes Grotto at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL – they’re the ones that do the Way of Lights every Christmas, and their property is BEAUTIFUL. Oh my goodness. Also, fun fact, they were the only place you could have an official outdoor Catholic wedding ceremony in Illinois, until they stopped doing them – Bethany and Corey were the last two to get married there! So, that was pretty cool. The space is modeled after the Lourdes Grotto in France where the Marian Apparitions took place in 1858; when they were building OLOS in Belleville, they decided to create a replica of the space as a devotional site and thus, here we are. It’s pretty cool because it’s built right into the landscape of the space and looks almost as if it is naturally occurring.
They did a traditional Catholic mass, during which Bethany’s sister played and sang hymns and several family members gave readings. They also did a dove release at the end of the ceremony, which was a surprise to THIS GIRL; I’m almost glad it was a surprise, because your girl is terrified of birds but just so everyone knows, I remained cool and calm and collected and pretended I was good even though there were a couple of doves flying literally right in front of me. Hashtag professionalism.
Following their ceremony, we had a wonderful surprise visit FROM THEIR DOG, which Corey planned as a surprise to Bethany and was the sweetest thing I’ve every seen – the sweet doggo had a tutu and everything. I died a little. It was amazing. The party followed with a reception at Boo Cat Club and a little photo field trip to Forest Park, where we got some amazing blue hour group shots. I love that we had time to shoot both near Boo Cat on Union and get some really cool architectural stuff, AND then go to Forest Park and get all the greeny goodness there. During our group portraits, the bridal party told me a little bit about why they love Bethany and Corey, and it was just so incredibly special. You can tell that they have this super strong connection and it’s really amazing to witness. Also, Corey kind of looks like Cillian Murphy. Random, but just saying. I told him that, then I had to explain who Cillian Murphy was…..and promise him that it was indeed a compliment.
The joy was just palpable all day, as well as the epic dance moves – those kids could break it down, hoo boy! They also had this freakin’ amazing balloon artist at their family-friendly reception and that lady made a heck of a minion, complete with a glow stick that allowed it to light up. I sort of wanted to take one home myself. AND, there was a Ted Drewes ice cream bar. So, dream wedding? Yes. I think yes. Check out all of the goodness below!!