April 23rd, 2015

Marriage, On a Personal Note...


As I sit here and think about the coming weekend, and that I will celebrate 12 years of marriage, it forces me to think back to the day we became one.  So giddy, so excited to become a wife, to celebrate with my friends and family, I couldn’t wait one more day.

Now I sit here 12 years later…technically 21 years later, thinking to myself…”How is it possible that I love him more now, than I did the day I married him?”  Luck??  No, anything but that. 

I believe that marriage is one of the hardest jobs there is, it takes work, constant work.  From communicating, to doing selfless acts, to compromise, to sacrifice.  Have we both done all those things? Yes, I suppose we have in one way or another.  Are there regrets? Maybe, perhaps we would have done some things differently if given the chance, but would I change one thing today? No way.  I love our life just the way it is…it is ours, and ours alone.

We have had our ups and downs, good times and bad, and through sickness and health.  Yes, all those things come into play, and sometimes very early on the marriage.  It is how you weather through it that matters.  We look back and shake our heads at what  has ensued in the past 12 years, but  to be honest, I smile.  I smile because we made it, we made it through, and we will continue to make it through.  He makes me laugh when times are challenging, he knows just the right time to lighten a mood, even if smiling is the last thing I want to do.  This past year was a tough one for us, he had to see me in some really hard times. I think he was stronger than I could have been, if the roles were reversed.  You know it is true love, when your husband is carrying around your catheter bag so you can take your walk around the hospital floor.  (This still mortifies me). 

Love is something I thought I knew all about, but I continue to learn.  I learn from my clients, my family, and my everyday life.  I see love grow and strengthen almost every weekend, it doesn’t get much better than that.  I wish for all my clients, for all couples, that the day you marry is the day you love each other the least.  Having a partner in life that you love with all your heart and soul, is something you should never take for granted.  It wakes you up in the morning, and allows you to rest peacefully every night.   

If I love him this much, after 21 years of being together, and 12 years of marriage….I can only imagine how full my heart will be when we are old and grey.  

"When I saw you, I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew" - William Shakespeare

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December 5th, 2014

Molly & Kennan - Married June 21st 2014






















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Jessica & Jared - Married September 27th 2014

I am so behind on blogging, it’s not even funny!!  So get ready for an overload!!  (Please note, they will not be in order.) First is Jessica & Jared.  Jess is a dear friend of mine, so being a part of her wedding day was such an honor.  She is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.  That smile....it never leaves her face...her heart is one of the kindest I know.  Adore her to pieces!

She and Jared had a long distance relationship, him living in Minnesota, and Jess living here in Peoria.  And shortly after the wedding, Jess packed up her life here and moved up north to Wisconsin (good compromise) to start their new life together. 

Their wedding day was perfect...from the weather, to the beautiful ceremony, and overly fun reception.  It was Jess to a "T".  I adored all her personal touches and how fun and refreshing her colors were. 

Special thanks to all the vendors who made their day come to life.  Beth Maxwell/McKinley Park Events for the beautiful cross that was custom built, along with the many details for the reception...oh those sequin chevron runners and linens!!! OB-Sessed! Ashley Drissi with Lilly Belle Floral did an amazing job on the flowers, beautiful as ever. That's So Sweet Cheesecake for the delish desserts.  And Team E Entertainment for keeping the party going all night. 

And a very special thank you to Leslie Rothan for being my right arm that day, total rock star!!! 

Love you Jess and wish you and Jarod a lifetime of love, happiness, and good health!!!  Stay warm up there this winter, miss you bunches!!  And thank you for allowing myself and HEA Weddings to be a part of your amazing day!  xoxo

Photo Credit: Katelyn Turner Photography

















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August 6th, 2014

Ashley & Blair - Married May 31st 2014


This couple looks like they could have walked right out of a bridal magazine shoot.  They are both so stunning!! 

Ashley and Blair had their ceremony and reception at the historic Cornerstone Building, downtown Peoria. We had the pleasure of assisting in wedding day directing for this fabulous couple.  Ashley and her mother did an amazing job planning, they just needed a helping hand to tie up details and execute the day. 

The details you ask???  ....A beautiful lace gown from Adore Bridal, which was so stunning on Ashley'!!!  They had a family friend handle all the flowers... such a personal touch for the couple.  Create a Scene and I Do Events handled the linens and rental pieces.  Desserts Unlimited delighted with an amazing cake and desserts.  And Tim from Absolute Sound & Light kept the music going all night and up-lighting to highlight the beauty of the room. 

A photo booth to keep the guests entertained, and boy does it!!  And the ever so sweet and talented Jessica Peterson captured the day from beginning to end.  Enjoy her beautiful photos below....

We really enjoyed being a small part of Ashley & Blair's beautiful wedding day.  We wish them a lifetime of love, happiness, and good health!   xoxo











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August 4th, 2014

Kelly & Josh - Married May 31st 2014


Where do I begin with these two?!?  They are a dynamic couple, one you want to hang out with every weekend if possible.  Josh can make you laugh so hard, it is painful...no joke! And Kelly is the sweetest thing I have ever met, she has become such a dear friend. They are genuine, laid back, and crazy fun!!

When we first met, Kelly and Josh wanted a unique venue...something with character, something unique.  Being they lived in Bloomington, we searched there first.  But nothing excited them, so I brought up the idea of having their wedding and reception in Peoria...kind of like a mini-destination wedding.  They were up for it, so the search began.  I knew in my mind that for the look they wanted, they needed to be at The Pere Marquette Hotel.  The problem was, it was closed for renovations and there was no way for them to see the space in person.  But they trusted me, they trusted that it would be everything they dreamed of and more.  And when the day came for them to see it in person, it was PERFECT!!  Both Ceremony and Reception would be held at the NEW, beautifully remodeled Pere Marquette. 

Next came the vendors and how to create their dream wedding.  We pulled together an amazing team.  Beth Maxwell for her amazing design and floral elements.  Cloud Nine for their fabulous stationary, bridesmaid dresses, and details.  Patrick and Swayze would keep the dance floor rocking…and even learned a few new songs for the bride & groom.  Schilling Photography would capture the day with gorgeous photos. And Patrick Clark and his team of videographers would take capturing their couple’s personalities to another level.  And then we topped everything off with yummy cheesecakes from That's So Sweet. 

We worked closely with the Pere Chef to custom create a menu for Kelly & Josh...We called it Comfort Chic Cuisine....and it was DELISH!!  Grilled shrimp over roasted tomato risotto, braised short ribs, and chicken bruschetta over pasta.  The food and presentation was beyond amazing! 

The ceremony room was filled with guests and beautiful music by Heart Strings. The bridesmaids in their blush Amsale floor length gowns and baby's breath lined the aisle.

Guests were then ushered into cocktail hour in the Hotel Foyer where they enjoyed a few cocktails before heading into the stunning Cotillion Room for the reception.

All long tables, beautifully and precisely laid out.  Peonies and more peonies adorned the tables.  It was so beautiful, so simple, and so elegant.  Absolute perfection, absolutely Kelly!! 

And speaking of Kelly...her gown, oh that gown!!  And the best part...the skirt was removable.  So we planned and executed when the skirt would be removed....on the dance floor of course, surrounded by her bridesmaids. It was awesome, and the guests had NO idea.  She partied like a rock star in her cute little sassy lace dress for the remainder of the evening.

It was an awesome party, an awesome day from beginning to end.  And one of my favorite moments was their "First Look".  Kelly wanted to do a balloon release, and let me tell you, it was so adorable.  Not sure Josh thought it was as adorable as she and I did...I can’t repeat what he said as I put him in his spot, gave him the balloons, and said "stay, don’t move or turn till I tell you too."

These two kids are going to have an amazing life together, so much laughter, so much joy.  I have no doubt their future holds so much for them.  I adore them, I will always remember the laughter we shared, the memories, and how I gained one amazing friend!! 

XOXO  Now enjoy the beautiful photos by Schilling Photography. 




























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August 3rd, 2014

Way too long....

I am sorry that I have not been blogging for months!  Wedding season has been a very busy, but quite amazing!  As soon as I get some "user" issues figured out with this blog, I will start posting some amazing weddings!  For now, check out our Facebook page to see what we have been up to.  You wont be disappointed!!  Happy Planning!



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January 21st, 2014

Bride Inspired - The Waterhouse

I couldnt be more excited to see a "new" venue come to the Peoria area.  The Waterhouse has moved locations and it is FABULOUS!  This first room is the Warehouse Room and it is very similar in look and feel, just like the original space down on Water Street.  But this isnt the only space...there is another room called The Ballroom...and yet another down on the main level.. The Broadway Lounge.  Stay tuned, you will see beautiful pictures of those spaces very soon.

I could not be happier for Andrew and the entire Waterhouse staff. It is an amazing building and I can not wait for our first wedding there in June.

And what an honor to be the first to play around and shoot this amazing space.  Enjoy the beautiful images by Pam Cooley and if you are looking for a fabulous venue with great character...look no further.

VENUE - The Waterhouse - FLORAL/LINENS/CHAIRS - Heaven on Earth - GOWNS/SHOES/ACCESSORIES - Cloud Nine Boutique - PLANNING/DESIGN - HEA Weddings
















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January 2nd, 2014

Shaina & Dan - Married November 2nd 2013

Oh where to begin!!  This couple, this family, this day....I will forever hold dear.  I always say each wedding and each client are so different from one another...but this one, couldn't be truer. 

Shaina's mom contacted me out of desperation...her daughter had been home visiting and they were out looking at Venues, searching websites, meeting with vendors...but by the time Shaina went home, she was depressed and not seeing anything she had dreamt of for her wedding day.  After a couple chats and a meeting with Mom and Dad, I knew exactly what Shaina & Dan were wanting...but it wasn’t going to be easy, they had to put a lot of trust in me regarding location and vendors. 

The Pere Marquette was closed and under construction, but I knew it was the perfect venue for their wedding and reception.  But they had never seen it first hand and had to put complete trust in me that it would be perfect.  AND OOOOOO....it was!!!!

In came the fabulous vendors to pull it all together.  There would be nothing typical about the design and details.  We needed trees, LARGE trees...moss...and the important task of making sure the "Lord of the Rings" theme would be carried through...but not necessarily obvious.  Shaina and Dan knew what they wanted and once shown all the possibilities....they were so excited but still not so sure we would pull it off.   Beth Maxwell and her team nailed with not only the ceremony but the amazing reception.  Trees that were 14 feet tall once placed on the tables...each built by hand.  Amazing fresh Spanish moss was hung to create the “enchanted look” the couple was wanting.

The finishing touch...the lighting.  It totally transformed the room...from the ceiling being covered with a leaf design, custom gobos....it truly was magical.  That night when the reception doors opened, a couple of guests walked in the room in AWE and said...”This is SO Shaina & Dan!”  Best compliment I could hear!

Jewish weddings are some of the most beautiful, so meaningful...from the Ketubah signing, the ceremony, the prayers, the Horah...I was just in awe of the whole day.  And spending it with this couple and their families...such an experience. 

At the end of the night...I cried...this is not normal for me. But saying goodbye to Bobbie, Shaina's mom really got to me.  She held my hand and gave words of thanks in a way that I had never experienced.  She left a handprint on my heart that I will always be with me.

Enjoy these beautiful photos by Cathy & David Photography.  It's a long post...but the pictures are just too good to not share. Plus, you needed to get the full effect of the day.  LOVE THIS COUPLE!!!!

Wishing Shaina & Dan all the best life can bring!!  xoxo





























Love when my clients see their reception room for the first time...always a magical moment.










FAVORITE picture ever!!!





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October 16th, 2013

Jenny & Jeffrey- Country Glam

I will apologize now, because this is the largest post I have ever blogged.  But I couldn't do it any other way.  I love these families, this couple, and every detail of this wedding. 

Meeting Jenny and her parents was beyond an honor, they laugh, joke with one another, tease like mad...but the love between them....like nothing I had seen.  Jenny had a vision; she knew what she wanted...a beautiful country glam wedding.  Farming families...we have to bring that into the design aspect...yet knock it out of the park GLAM STYLE for Jenny. 

So in came an amazing group of vendors that I knew could bring this vision to life.  Beth Maxwell with McKinley Park Events, there are not enough words to express my appreciation and admiration in everything you do.  Nothing seems out of your limits, you and your team brought everything to life that day, THANK YOU!     From tractors, to wagons, to suspended old windows, to stalks of corn - you turned the Paradice Hotel/Conference Center into something I had never seen!  Then you walked into the Ballroom and it was just magical.  Seeing Jenny & Jeffrey's reaction was priceless.  Such a great moment!

Sounds & Light Creations came in with the beautiful lighting, chandeliers, draping - truly the finishing touches. It takes a team to create something so special and unique, and this was a top notch team all the way around!  (All the vendors’ will be listed at the bottom of this post.)

I know I say this all the time, but it truly was an honor to meet and work with Jenny and her family. I felt like I was part of their family, and I still do.  I miss our meetings full of laughter and sarcasm, but I think of you often and wish nothing more but an amazing future for you and Jeffrey!!

Thank you for allowing me to share in the planning journey, but most importantly for allowing me to be by your side on your wedding day...one I will never forget!!  (HUGS) to you all!!!  God Bless!

~Beautiful photos by the lovely Kelly McCormick Photography, I cannot get enough of these!!!~


















Yep - the Party Bus got stuck in the field.  Most would panic in this situation - but not these boys, they couldn't wait to get a tractor out and start pulling.  Priceless moment!































I adore this photo because I remember the exact conversation that was taking place.  Dad just finished with his Welcome Speech, telling all of us how aunry Jenny was a teenager, he even had props - this is Jenny trying to justify her actions to Ingird and I. Dad wasnt buying it.  (And this might be the ONLY photo of me with crutches - SHEW) :)



The Vendors.....

Kelly McCormick Photography ~ Beth Maxwell/McKinley Park Events ~ Sound & Light Creations ~ Patrick & Swayze/Band ~ White Lily Production/Videography ~ Paradice Hotel & Conference Center ~ Wedding Cake Connection ~ Sara E Designs/Stationary ~ Adore Bridal Boutique/Gown

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September 24th, 2013

On a Personal Note.....

The evening of a wedding, in the wee hours of the morning, I always sit and reflect on the day….how fortunate I am to have a job that I truly love.  Dreams come true, memories are made, and it’s a day that the couple and their family and friends will never forget.  And me….well I am a small part of making all of that happen….pretty flippin’ fabulous!

Clients often ask me…”How do you deal with all of this…how does your Husband deal with all of this?”

Thankfully, I have a husband that supports my love for weddings, my independence, and my high energy/stress levels.  He is a saint, truly!  I am not sure most men could handle the crazy hours and being gone most weekends.  We do not get to travel like most couples…I choose to give that up in order to do a job that I love.  Do I regret it?  Not a chance!

What we as coordinators endure on a wedding weekend can vary from weekend to weekend….but I can guarantee that we put out many fires, handle 100’s of questions, and so many other details that I do not share with anyone…not even my clients.  It is not worth upsetting them or calling their family and friends out on little mishaps and craziness.  It’s my job to fix any issues and make everything perfect…and if that means keeping secrets…then by all means, that’s what I do.  But in the back of my head, it’s those little memories that make me giggle, shake my head, and keeps me going.

And in the end…no matter the work, the stress, the logistical elements….I love this job…I love my clients…I love this industry…and I love my family and friends that give me constant support.  I couldn’t do this without them.  XOXO


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