McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography: Blog en-us (C) McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:47:00 GMT Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:47:00 GMT McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography: Blog 80 120 Thoms Intimate Elopement Rachel + Noah

Comlara Lake

Bloomington, IL

October 12, 2017


I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel at Illinois State University in the art program. Her and I instantly bonded over our love for photography. A few months had gone by and I receive and text from her saying, "Hey, what are you doing Thursday?" With it already being Monday of that week, I just planned to sit around and work on homework. She said, "My Fiance and I want to get married on Thursday and would love to have you shoot it." Immediately I was on board. It was so spur of the moment and I was excited to hear what they had planned.

We met the next night, Tuesday. Upon meeting, I was completely captivated by the way Noah and Rachel just LOVE each other. So genuinely and so deeply. When discussing all the details, I asked, "How many family and friends will be there?" Noah and Rachel lovingly looked at each other and started to giggle. Rachel looks up at me and says, "Zero." Surprised and shocked, I followed up with "If you don't mind me asking, why?" Rachel said, "Once we got engaged, we immediately started planning. We didn't realize how much actually goes into a wedding. People started to ask about all the details and we really tried to hang in there. One night, we joked about eloping but realized we could actually do it. We both started to realize that we were losing sight of why we are actually doing this. We decided that an intimate elopement would be perfect, us and God. Plus, our families often joke about us just eloping because that is our style." We continued this conversation for about 2 hours. I was amazed by the love and genuineness between those two. They were already one, but they wanted to make it official. Together, the three of us planned this elopement from decor to colors. Noah built a beautiful arbor with branches from his backyard and Rachel put together the floral arrangements.

The ceremony was to start right before sunset. My assistant and I arrived to help Noah set the decor up. It was important to Rachel that Noah doesn't see her before the ceremony started so I acted as a wedding planner for Rachel. The spot on Comlara Lake already had a natural aisle which was so perfect. Noah and Rachel chose to write their own vows that were extremely heartfelt and truthful. My favorite part of the ceremony was their "stand in" rings. With everything being so spur of the moment, Noah and Rachel didn't have time to go get rings. Instead, they improvised. Noah saved the cork to the champagne they shared the night he asked her to marry him and whittled it down to what he thought would match Rachel's finger. He took thread and tied it around the cork to save it until he put it on Rachel's finger. Right after the vows were said and a kiss to seal the deal, the two participated in their first communion as Mr. and Mrs. Thoms. The vibrant colors of the sunset started to reflect on the lake and everything around us was magenta. Rachel and Noah were in this euphoria of finding their soul mates and knowing the most genuine and true feeling there is - love. 

After the ceremony, we played in the sunset for a bit to capture the feelings shared between the new couple. These two were so giddy feeling so liberated with the fact that no one knew they were married but them and God. I'm not even sure how to describe the way these two were just so smitten with each other. They were almost on a high of finding the one they belong to and making this decision without anyone else's opinion. They knew they were meant to be and didn't need anyone else to confirm that. There were several times I would have to repeat directions because they were so in the moment of love and giggling to each other. It was one of the most romantic bridal sessions I have done. Enjoy the photos xoxo



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) bloomington couple elopement fall intimate love photos wedding Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:46:40 GMT
Aaron + Tori Aaron + Tori

Carbondale, IL


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) engagement Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:20:17 GMT
Litwin California Coast Wedding Litwin Wedding 


Sea Ranch, California

Elopements are definitely where my heart is but they're even more special when a family member hires you to photograph their elopement. My Aunt and her Fiance love Sea Ranch California and decided that was the place to begin their love story. We found the best spot on the coast of California where they would say their vows. This intimate occasion was focused on the love they have found and the beauty of Northern California. Juliene and Rudy gathered their friends in California to witness, but while the ceremony was going on, Juliene and Rudy only saw each other. To them, no one else was around. It was simply beautiful. 

Juliene's wedding ring is her mother's wedding ring and Rudy's wedding ring is a family crest passed down from generations all the way from Italy. Right before the ceremony, Rudy gifted Juliene with a charm bracelet featuring her new initials. All of the details made this day so special and I was so lucky to have captured these special moments. 


... And yes I did climb the cliffs in that dress. #anythingfortheshot


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) california destination elopement wedding Mon, 13 Nov 2017 23:49:19 GMT
Central Illinois Summer Winery Wedding // Niles Matt & Kyra Niles

Mackinaw Winery


On a sunny July day, Kyra and Matt gathered their family and friends for a beautiful ceremony at Mackinaw Valley Winery. From the perfect bouquets to the dreamy reception hall - everything was incredible, even with the July Heat! I love the neutral color palette of grey and blush, which paired perfectly with Kyra's lace gown. The day was filled with emotion, love, family, and lots of wine. Check it out!







Formal Wear:







Cake Crumbs Limited

Make Up Artist:

Caley Carr (Salon Lush Morton Il)

Hair Stylist:

Caley Carr (Salon Lush Morton Il)

]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) couple family love peoria photos wedding Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:50:01 GMT
Cheyenne + Michael Cheyenne + Michael

Bloomington Lake, IL

Cheyenne and Michael, meeting and falling in love in their hometown, are finally continuing their love story together after years of long distance while going to different schools. You won't believe these photos are taken right here in Central Illinois. The wind and the sun came together in perfect unison to amplify Cheyenne and Michael's passion for each other to the next level. Cheyenne was a cheerleader at Illinois State while Michael ran track for Southern Illinois University - Michael coincidently has white track shoes and Cheyenne had white pompoms, perfect for a ring shot. I'm so excited to shoot their wedding next year. Take a look at the cuteness ------>


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) blono bloomington couple engagement love wedding Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:03:00 GMT
Luke + Nicole Luke and Nicole

Bloomington-Normal, IL


Luke and Nicole, both Illinois Wesleyan alums, met me on one of the hottest days in Illinois to shoot at their alma mater. The sun was really shining and we spent most of the time at Tucci Stadium in the direct sunlight. Now this isn't a typical "oh we grew up together" or "my friend was seeing their friend and then we met" type of engagement - these two proudly admitted to me that they met on Tinder! Nowadays, people meet online, it's really not uncommon. I love the irony that Tinder was strictly made for "hooking up" but it's now bringing people together who fall in love! It's crazy and lovely all at once!

After they had told me how they met, Nicole and Luke giggled together remembering how crazy it is that they hadn't met previously. Nicole was a Cheerleader and Luke on the football team, all for Illinois Wesleyan. There are only a little over 2,000 students at Wesleyan, so you see why it's so odd they hadn't met before.

Luke and Nicole just radiate their love for each other and were complete naturals in front of the camera. I mean, just check it out for yourself! 




]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) blono college couple love photos Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:05:56 GMT
Claudin Wedding Alyssa and Scott Claudin

Washington, IL    5/20/17


As a photographer, when a wedding day calls for rain - you prepare the best you can. That morning I had bough clear umbrellas because nothing was going to keep us from going outside. Anticipating the rain all morning, the sun actually ended up coming out and the rain held off! 

Getting know Alyssa and Scott over the past year, I knew all the details would be amazing. Everything from the pendant of Alyssa's Grandpa on her bouquet to the groomsman's matching socks. Scott's son, Christian, was also included in the celebration wearing matching socks and helping Scott and Alyssa with the Unity Sand during the ceremony. 

The sweetest part of the whole day was the series of letters Scott had written for Alyssa that had a strict time schedule! Alyssa's sister and maid of honor took great care to make sure the letters were read at certain times.

The reception hall offered sweets as sweet as Alyssa and Scott's marriage and lots of dancing. Everyone was on the dance floor, even the little ones. The day couldn't have been more perfect, check it out! ------->



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) couple love peoria wedding Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:48:00 GMT
Marshall + Ashlynn Marshall + Ashlynn

Groveland, IL


This engagement session consisted of lots of laughs, love, and a cute baby - I mean, that is thee perfect recipe for a killer engagement session, let's be honest here. Marshall and Ashlynn brought little Claire along to celebrate their upcoming marriage June of next year. The way Marshall looks at Claire and Ashlynn says it all. While getting those ring shots of Ashlynn's engagement ring, she mentioned to me that she still wears her promise ring Marshall had given her years before - of course I melted into a puddle right where I was standing and immediately had to photograph both of the rings together. We decided to catch the summer sunset in Groveland. You can't tell but, it was a very muggy hot 85 degree evening. Marshall and Ashlynn still cuddled close and shared so many laughs even though we were melting. Also, can we talk about Ashlynn's overalls!? I'm so obsessed, this is my type of bride!! Scroll down and enjoy the cuteness ---->>








]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) couple family love peoria sunset Sun, 25 Jun 2017 16:24:51 GMT
Koch Wedding Koch Wedding

May 14, 2017

Hidden Lake Winery, Aviston IL


Brian and Danielle had QUITE the weekend! On Saturday May 13, they both graduated form McKendree University where they met. Danielle came to play soccer for McKendree from New Zealand. Her and Brian started dating shortly after their first year at McKendree. Fast forward 3 years, Brian, 4 short months before graduation, got down on one knee. With Danielle's family being in New Zealand, Brian and Danielle wanted to make sure Danielle's family was included in their big day. Since they were coming from New Zealand for graduation, Danielle and Brian decided to make a whole weekend out of the festivities. Graduated on Saturday, Married on Sunday - it could not have been more perfect. 

Take a peek at their amazing day ----->




]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) couple family love peoria photos wedding Sun, 04 Jun 2017 23:25:01 GMT
Thomas Family Thomas Family

In-Home Session, Manito IL


I love shooting for my sweet families, but it's even sweeter when I get to meet a new member <3 I do not shoot newborn photos, I lack the proper training and equipment (seriously, thank your newborn photog because they do A LOT of work!!!) but I will surely shoot in home sessions with a new baby! The Thomas Family recently welcomed little Bridgette and DeAnna so graciously asked me to join them in their home after they were released from the hospital. As you can imagine, I literally jumped in the air when I got the text. I couldn't wait. The last time DeLaney saw me, I let her eat cake and dress like a unicorn, she wasn't too thrilled that I came without cake and unicorn costumes! Enjoy some of my favorite moments (especially the last moment) from the Thomas's session -------->



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) couple family home in love newborn peoria photos Wed, 17 May 2017 20:13:07 GMT
Hill Family Hill Family

ICC Horticulture Lab, East Peoria


Sometimes I get a few minutes to reflect on where my camera has taken me and how many relationships it has formed for me. Austin and I used to run around in Jr. High together - shooting photos for his family as an adult is so disorienting, but I love every minute of it. Once his niece Khloe was born, his sister Shayla asked me to do one year photos of her. I have had the privilege of watching Khloe grow up and seeing the Hill family expand. Family photos don't stop once kids are adults - keep capturing those memories... and choose me to do it! <3 Life is a crazy ride - enjoy a few sweet moments from their session.


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) family love peoria photos Wed, 17 May 2017 05:06:39 GMT
Cannon Family Cannon Family

Funks Grove Bloomington IL


My favorite thing about being a wedding photographer is being involved with my couples for years to come! Whether that be purchasing a new house or welcoming a new baby and everything in between. Shelby and Ben are one of my wedding couples that have since come back letting me capture their growing family and I love it soooo much. Check out how cute baby Wyatt is - Mason loves him a ton! Shelby and Ben are just all around #couplegoals. --------->


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) Bloomington Normal couple family peoria photos Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:44:35 GMT
Kenzie, Morton Senior 17 Kenzie Dorn

Morton High School Senior 17

Forest Park Nature Center

Kenzie toughed the cold weather this day, 30 degrees to be exact. She said "You're going to pose me right? I haven't ever been in front of the camera." UM, she could have fooled me. I probably directed her twice the whole session, she was a complete natural in front of the camera. Currently playing Soccer for Morton, she will continue on to Illinois Central College to play soccer there as well. This girl has the best personality, is so intelligent, and cute to top it all off!! Kenzie, I will be getting ahold of you again soon to play model for me. It was a pleasure shooting your senior photos.<3 



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) love morton peoria senior winter Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:53:39 GMT
White Generation White Generation Session

Normal, IL


Have you thought about the family line you have been created from? Two people coming together and creating the family you're a part of - it's honestly amazing to think about. Shaylyn wanted to honor the relationship she has with her grandma and her mother through photographs. This day was 75 and sunny in February, perfect to capture this awesome generational relationship. How sweet are these?


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) Mon, 06 Mar 2017 16:26:09 GMT
Elmore Extended Family Elmore Extended Family

East Peoria, IL

This session was a little more special than other extended family sessions. Hayley had contacted me wanting to get her whole family together to get photos with her Grandma Dee. Dee was recently diagnosed with cancer, Hayley really wanted to honor the cornerstone of their family. I couldn't help but smile the entire session and while editing. This session just radiates love and Dee is so proud of the family she has created. Here's to you, Dee - may you kick cancers butt <3



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) extended family love peoria photos Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:55:44 GMT
Pollman Family Pollman Family

Normal, IL


As this family grows, this lucky photog gets to document every change!! We couldn't have asked for a better day for a family shoot. 70 and Sunny in February, DEAL. Avery and Dom totally stole the show with their cuteness. Avery so loves being a big sister and she has grown so much from our last shoot - a lot less bribery happening to achieve these photos!! Don't even get me started on the love between Dan and Ashley, they just radiate it unconditionally. Just check this cuteness out ------>


]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) family love normal photography photos Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:44:31 GMT
Mary Beth Vintage Shoot Mary Beth

Normal IL 

Normal Theater 

Sugar Mama Bakery

Waiting Room Records

Recently relocating to Normal, IL I have tried to take every second I can to explore! Uptown Normal is hoppin' with awesome shops and stores all within a walkable distance. Mary Beth put on her vintage dress and from there we walked in and out of these businesses hoping to get a feel for her aesthetic. We stopped in the Sugar Mama Bakery and had a cupcake, checked out the records at Waiting Room Records, then snapped some shots outside of the Normal Theater. Uptown Normal has a lot to offer, make sure to check it out!


Are you interested in a vintage shoot? Contact me today!

]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) Blono Normal Vintage love photos Tue, 14 Feb 2017 23:34:54 GMT
Gafford Winter Wedding Morgan and Sam Gafford

Naperville, IL Dec 2016

It seems as if Morgan and I were emailing frantically back and forth planning for these photos just yesterday. Morgan mentioned "winter wonderland" and I was hooked. I was looking forward to their wedding all year long. You know what? They got just that - a winter wonderland with a fresh snow right after their ceremony. Morgan and Sam's story is an amazing one, from going to school together to living in two different countries for a while, they've endured it all. The love they have just filled the room which made for an amazing celebration

The ceremony so genuine, Morgan's Sister Katie sang a few songs during. Her voice totally stole the show, there wasn't a dry eye in the chapel. It was such a nice personal touch to the whole ceremony. But really, I'm sure no one could ignore the way Sam looked at Morgan and just adored her in her ivory gown. (I wasn't crying, I wasn't crying!!!!)

Leaving the ceremony, everyone was so excited to get to the party and celebrate Mr. and Mrs. Gafford. Morgan created center pieces with old books and candles to set the mood. The old books paired with the greenery was breath taking, so classy and down to earth. Morgan's dad wrote a poem for her, which was perfect and so telling of their relationship. 

Personally, I have never been in a sorority (or a fraternity, obviously) but apparently the group has a special song that's dedicated to them. Morgan and Sam, alum of Eureka College, were involved with Greek life. Together (with their brothers and sisters) they formed a circle and sang very very loudly to their dedicated songs, it was a sight to see!!

Morgan and Sam both deserve a special shout out for being an amazing couple and also tolerating all of my crazy photo ideas. Also, for not judging me when I climbed onto counters or small spaces :) 




]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) chicago couple peoria photos wedding weddings Sat, 11 Feb 2017 21:23:42 GMT
5 Reasons Why Engagement Photos Matter Are you back and forth about getting engagement photos done? Engagement photos are actually a lot more important than you think they are. When booking your wedding with McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography, all wedding packages come equipped with a complimentary engagement session and this is why:




An engagement session acts as a "warm up" for the big day. Chances are, you and your fiance haven't had much experience in front of the camera together. Use this engagement session as practice. This time allows for time to learn how to be in front of the camera and what works best for you both! Does your fiance get all clammy and freeze up in front of the camera? This allows you time to cater to that, learn how to relax them a little bit and will be aware of that on the big day. 




Engagement photos not only allow you two to get comfortable with each other in front of the camera, but also allows me as your photographer to get to know you both better! I will be better prepared on what works best for you both and allows me time to make changes if need be. In turn, you two get to know my style a little more and will understand "McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography Lingo" when posing. Sometimes I make up my own words to describe a pose and sometimes I put you both into a pretend situation to get you into the exact spot you need to be. Together we all use this time as a learning process. 



Use this time as a trial run for hair and makeup. Getting your hair and makeup done before engagement photos is always a good choice, especially if you have chosen a beautician to work with on your big day. Here at McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography, we recommend Kayla Moore for all your hair and Makeup needs (Contact Her!) She will work with you before your engagement photos to ensure you're getting the look you'd like for both your engagement photos and your wedding day. This goes for the guys too! Getting cleaned up before these photos are always encouraged. 



Location and time are totally up to you! On your wedding day, a timeline will be put in place. Life happens and we roll with the punches! We may not have the time for those gorgeous sunset photos for time to go to your favorite location for formal photos. This allows you to have complete control over what conditions and locations you'd like to shoot at. 



It's fun, people! You get an hour to just be "that couple" and it's so much fun. You get to snuggle, smooch, and love on each other for an hour. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate your engagement than that! It's also super relaxing. The wedding day will be fast paced and the engagement shoot acts as a relaxing time for you and your fiance to take each other in. 



Soooo, have you booked your engagement session yet? :)

]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) advice bridal engagement session why Thu, 02 Feb 2017 17:04:41 GMT
Florida 2017 Florida Trip Jan 2017


Ready to go somewhere warm and sunny? During my Winter Break from school, I took off for 10 days to completely refresh and spend some time with my family there. Ever since I was a kid, I have been extremely spoiled by the access I have to Disney World. Both my Aunt and Uncle work for Disney, so I somewhat get the "behind the scenes" tour every time I make a trip. My Aunt Stephanie, who owns Caldwell Photographic Studio (Go check her out, she's amazing. I truly learn from the best), and I are super close so I make it to Florida at least once a year - much more often now that I am older. Disney World has a special place in my heart and my childhood. Even now that I am older, I love making it to the parks and seeing imagination all around me.
With age comes a sense of what is important as well. My Grandma moved to Florida while I was still in high school. This was a big change for the whole family but I began to make trips down there more and more often. I have grown to love with the Orange Grove down the street from my Aunt's house. "The Showcase of Citrus" is a cute little place that features homemade products and a citrus field. When I wasn't going to the parks, I would spend some time with my Grandma at the Grove or sit around with her and discuss life in general. I so cherish those moments with her, it beats going to the parks any day of the week. 

I'm thankful for Florida and the fact that I have such a close relationship with my family there. Can't wait until my next trip. 


PS: You'll see I'm featured in my own blog..... but that's because my aunt somehow gets me in front of the camera every time I visit. I'm not even mad <3 



]]> (McKenzie Bigliazzi Photography) Fri, 27 Jan 2017 02:35:43 GMT