Category archives: Joel Conner Wedding

Ok, so this wedding was one for the books. Here is a partial list of the adversity Scott and Mel had to overcome in their wedding week:

1) The massive flood closing the campsite where their wedding was going to be.
2) Their wedding transportation bus catching on fire and burning to a crisp, leaving them without their planned transportation
3) The day before the wedding, their tent company telling them that they gave their huge tent (which they had reserved) to someone else and they there were just plain out of luck.
4) Rain…and now without the aforementioned tent.
5) Millions and Millions of bugs…bugs love all the flood water (I probably swallowed at least 20 over the course of the day)

You would think this would lead to a stressful day. And you would be completely wrong. All there was all day long was laughter and joking and fun (interspersed with bug swatting). It was amazing. There are certain weddings that you know will stand out in your memory for years to come. Even though every wedding is unique and has its own special elements, after 250+ weddings, some weddings are set apart from the others. Sometimes that is because of the location, sometimes it’s the people or the events or something else. This wedding can check each one of those boxes. We have shot many weddings at Pere Marquette, but we have never shot (or even knew about) some of the other larger campgrounds that are part of the park. Scott and Mel spend a week at “camp” each year, and they planned it this year to have the wedding at the end of their wedding week. That alone made for a memorable wedding, but really…the best part was the people. So many amazing, fun, and just insane-in-the-best-way people (looking at you especially, bridesmaids) all around, and it’s hard to not jump right into it all with them.

And for Mel and Scott…what an amazing couple. So comfortable with each other and who they are that their joy is infectious. With all the aforementioned chaos that went down right before their wedding, they handled it with such humor and ease. If they would not have told me about all of it, I would never have even realized so many things had gone “wrong.” But when you are with people like this, though, you realize that it’s not about what goes well and what goes off the rails…it’s about celebrating your love, your friends, your family, and how freaking amazing it is to be alive.

Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to you both…so thrilled to have been a part of it all!

Joel

First wedding of the year!!! And WHAT a way to start! This was a wedding that I (Joel) had been looking forward to for a very long time. I first met Rachel at her sister’s wedding almost five years ago (check it out HERE!), and we loved her from the start. She is SO much fun, and we love people who can let loose, have a blast, and most importantly…be themselves. I was ecstatic when she asked me to shoot her wedding, and I knew it would be a huge highlight of the year for me. Unlike many photographers, I love shooting weddings of people I know. Not only do I get to do what I am passionate about, but I get to celebrate with friends on their day! I had not met Brady before the wedding day, but I had heard so much about him that I knew we were all going to have a great time.

Rachel’s family owns the legendary Deli and Grocery Store Legrand’s Market in South City StL (which we have become frequent customers of since her sister’s wedding…mainly so I can get my regular fill of the best sandwich in St. Louis the Legend Club), so we obviously all had to stop and eat lunch there. Brady hails from the IL side of the river in Red Bud and is a lover of the epic and refined Stag beer, so a photo stop at a nearby Stag memorial was a perfect fit. After photos (and a bar stop at the fun Start Bar for games and skeeball) we headed to their ceremony and reception at the incredible St. Louis City Hall. I had never actually been in the building before, and wow…it is quite the place.

Even though the day was a lot of fun, the best part was just seeing how much fun and love there was between everyone there. I cannot recall a single stressful or tense moment of the day at all. Everything was full of joy and smiles…even with the rain at the end of the day. I am SO thankful that I could be a part of it, and I am thrilled for this amazing couple and their awesome future ahead of them. Congrats you two!!!

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Congrats to Kate and Rob! Here are some of our favorites from their amazing late December wedding! The day started out (and ended!) at the Ritz Carlton , and in the middle we headed to St. Ambrose parish on the Hill (one of our favorite churches in StL). Our favorite part, though, was going to the Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden. There were so many sweet moments throughout the day, and we loved how big of a part the little kids played in all of it. They were so excited all day long, and it was hard for everyone to not feel the same.

Huge congrats to you both!

Joel & Shannon

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I (Joel) imagine that when most people are planning for an early December wedding, they are planning on winter weather. Even just a few weeks ago, we had multiple inches of snow on the ground. Rachel and Dustin have been engaged for quite a while, and for the past few years, they have been paying attention to the weather on December 1st…and each year, it has had nice weather. When it came to their big day this past weekend, not only was it nice, but it was almost 70 degrees outside! It felt more like September than it did December. It was cold a few days before the wedding, and now just two days later, it’s cold again. But on their day, there was this amazing warmth…and I think that is so appropriate for these two. They have been a couple since high school, and they just fit together perfectly. Their day was a perfect reflection of that. One of my favorite things about the day was seeing how much these two are loved. They had a huge wedding party, and it was clear that no one was there to just “fill numbers”…they were so thrilled to be there celebrating with them. The wedding ceremony was in Hillsboro, MO with the reception at the Elks Lodge, Festus, MO. In between the ceremony and reception, we stopped for photos at a few places (and had a cameo appearance by their baby…their dog Dixie!).

I have a few special shout-outs for the day. First off, when we pulled up to our first photo location, my jaw dropped because I realized instantly that it was at the house of one of our amazing couples from 5 years ago, Kelly and Steve. And the barn we were shooting at was actually the one built for that wedding! I was able to see Kelly’s parents and give them hugs (they are an incredible family). If you care to see any photos from that wedding, follow this link! Hillsboro MO Barn Wedding Photography

Secondly, I somehow dropped my keys in the grass while photographing down by the lake. After a brief search, we had to abandon the search because I could not waste the time looking for the keys when we had more photos to get for Rachel and Dustin (because photos are incredibly important to her, and when it comes down to it…there is no bigger priority than doing my job. Keys can wait). Tyler and Katie were kind enough to let me jump in their truck with them, so I left my car there. After we finished photos at the next spot, they drove me back to the house. When we got there, we discovered that four members of the wedding party had driven back to start looking…and they found them! It was dark at that point, so it would have been very hard to have found them at that point. It was a huge relief, and I did not have to sleep in my car that night. I cannot thank them enough for that! (and just another example of how we always have the greatest groups of people at our weddings…amazes me time and time again)

And lastly but most importantly, I booked this wedding because of the bride’s sister, Melissa. She, actually, was my very first second-shooter at weddings with me when I was still getting started and had no idea what I was doing. She worked with me for years and always was a treasure to me. Even after Shannon and I got married (and Shannon was learning the craft), she was still with me. She shot our engagement photos. She shot our wedding. We have prints of us on the wall at our home that she shot. We love her to death, and it was so so wonderful to see her and spend the day with her. And obviously, since I was flying solo that day I had to put her to work at least a little bit by holding the reflector for me. Love you, Melissa!

Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to Rachel and Dustin!

Joel Conner

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Ok, here it is…the wedding that I (Joel) had been dreaming of shooting since early in my wedding career. The Fabulous Fox Theater is one of my favorite places in the world, and I knew that one day, I would have the chance to work there.  I had the chance to work there a few times for non-wedding sessions for fun, but I never wanted it to do that. As much as I wanted to shoot there, I wanted the photos to mean something more than just for my own “artistic expression.”  I wanted them to be important…I wanted them to mean something to a couple and for them to be the photos they have with them for their entire lives. When we first met with Andrew and Linnea, I told them this…I wanted them to know that even though we barely knew them at the moment, it meant a lot to me. I had a feeling the whole time that the people we photographed in there were going to two very special people.  After spending a while over coffee with these two, I knew they were even more special than I had hoped.

Linnea is an energetic, ball of fire and Andrew is a calm and collected tower of stability and strength. Between the two of them, they made such a loving and engaging couple. We had so much fun at their engagement session and laughed a ton (including us getting a huge kick out of Andrew’s obsession with interesting footwear).  We had known that Andrew had lost his parents when he was only 19, and it became clear how important family and friends were to both of them…it all came up in conversation time and time again when talking about their big day. When the day came, it was even more clear how much everyone there meant to them. For example, they wanted to be there for all of the cocktail hour so they could spend as much time talking and celebrating one on one with their guests as they could. It meant we were not going to have as much time for photos as we usually recommend (especially in a place as challenging for photography as the Fox), but it was so important to them…so it became important to us.  We were able to pull them out of the reception for a few more bonus photos, so it worked out perfectly.

Here are some of our favorites from that day, and we could have posted hundreds more. Such an incredible day and I feel like we were smiling as much as they were most of the time. My favorite moments of the day were the things that they did to remember Andrew’s parents (like using the cake topper from their wedding with a photo of them on the cake table), seeing how much Linnea’s family has taken in Andrew as their own, and Linnea doing her dance with her father to “The Wizard” by Uriah Heep. I know the word gets throne around a lot in the wedding industry, but the day truly was perfect. I am so glad that we could be there to share it with them and their family and friends. It was an honor.

Huge congrats to you both! Hopefully, these photos do a small part to show how amazing you are.

Joel Conner

P.S. Thanks to Madeline and all the staff at the Fox for making the day turn out like it did!

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From Clary: My childhood best friend introduced me to Dustin my freshman year of college. Dustin lived an hour away from where I went college. He came to take me out on a date after we were introduced and ever since that date, we have spent every free weekend driving to see each other. He proposed on December 16th, 2017. We planned a trip to Kansas City for the weekend to see the Christmas lights on the Plaza. Little did I know Dustin had more planned than just a weekend spent Christmas shopping. After taking me out for an amazing dinner and walking around looking at the Christmas lights, Dustin asked me to marry him under the gorgeous lights on the Plaza. Fun Fact: My engagement ring was my Grandmother’s wedding ring. It is over 75 years old. We did not do a thing to it besides get it resized. It was perfect just the way it was.

When we were talking with Clary about her wedding, she talked about how important it was to have photos of her family and friends…this was her biggest priority.  We absolutely loved that, because it showed where her heart was for her wedding. The entire day (even with the little bit of rain in the morning!) went perfectly,  and everyone had such a great time. Our highlight was at the end of the night when Clary and Dustin were surprised with an incredible fireworks display down the hill from their reception.  Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to Clary and Dustin, and thank you for letting us be there with you!

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Cortney and Cale are not a complicated couple. They love the simple things in life. They love being in nature…they love their friends and family…and they love each other. Their wedding day matched them perfectly. It was simple, sweet, and full of laughs and love. I (Joel) knew I was going to love working with them when, during their engagement session, Cortney asked if they could take their shoes off and do some photos in the (cold!) creek. Obviously, that would be a yes. They had so much fun, and Cale was a great sport in humoring Cortney and my enthusiasm. With everything we did at the session, it was clear how crazy he was about her. I knew that once it was time for the wedding, their excitement for each other would be infectious.

Here are some of our favorites from the day…hope you like them as well. Huge congrats to you both!

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Out of any 250+ weddings I (Joel) have photographed, there has never been one I have been waiting for and hoping for like this one.  In fact, I was waiting and hoping for this wedding to come even before Rebekah and Alrick had even met each other. I have known Bekah for over 20 years, and since before I could drive a car, she was like a little sister to me. I can honestly say there is possibly no one that I am not related to or married to that I hold in higher esteem than I hold her. Of the many people I have known throughout my life, she is a jewel among gems. When she moved to Washington D. C. to pursue her government career, I was hoping she would meet someone amazing.  (fun fact: I was one of the people who did a background check interview when Bekah was going for her initial government clearance. I actually believe she is a secret CIA Agent and my interview was for her top-secret clearance, but don’t tell her that I figured it out).

Things might have taken a wee bit longer than many of us were hoping, but I clearly remember the first time I saw a photo of her and Alrick. Right away, I knew…this was the guy. Maybe it’s that imagined sense that sort-of-brothers have when seeing their sort-of-sister with a suitor, but you usually get a gut instinct in a moment. I know that was how I felt when I first saw and met my actual sister’s now-husband. I felt about Alrick what I felt about my brother in law…I liked him instantly and truly believed he was the right man. When I met him in January of this year at my birthday party, I knew I liked him even more than I thought I would. This was a good man. I could not wait for their engagement to come, and when it finally came…we were thrilled.

He proposed 1 year and 6 months after they met, on 2/11/18.  He took Bekah down to Old Town Alexandria, next to the Potomac River.  He told her that he wanted to get down there before sundown to test a new lens for his camera (classic photographer excuse…just ask Shannon) and take a few pics.  He set up his camera on the tripod, and though she didn’t realize it at the time, he had started recording a video.  Bekah also didn’t realize that he had brought a speaker with him, but when “I Had the Time of my Life” come on, it confirmed her suspicions that he might be up to something.  The two of them had watched Dirty Dancing on their 6 month anniversary and danced to it in his living room…it became their song. He got down on one knee and proposed down on a dock by the water.

When the day came for their wedding, we hopped on a plane to head to Washington D.C.  The wedding was at the gorgeous Whitehall Estate in Northern Virginia, and it was such a perfect place for their wedding. Even though we were working and needing to focus on that, it was still fun to be with friends who also traveled there to celebrate with the two of them. It was such a perfect day, and we were so very honored to be there and to be a part. We love you both, and we cannot wait to see what amazing things are in store.

It all started with a blind date after Shawn’s sister and Kimmie’s cousin set it all up. It was a perfect date for these two because they are both such big St. Louis Blues fans, and from that evening on…it was meant to be. Shawn says the first time he saw Kimmie, he knew he wanted to be together with her, the second time he knew he loved her, and the third he knew he wanted to marry her. And last year while they were on vacation in St. Lucia, Shawn hired a photographer to take some anniversary photos for them. Then suddenly during sunset on the beach, he asked her to marry him. I (Joel) have known both Kimmie and Shawn for many years, and I could not have been more excited for their wedding. It was our first wedding of the new season, so we were even more ready to go. For the first weekend in March, it could not have been a more perfect day outside. Forget the snow nonsense we’ve had this week, their wedding day was sunny and warm – a perfect reflection of their dispositions. The ceremony took place in the Provincial House Chapel on UMSL campus. This is an old Catholic church that has been turned into a chapel anyone can be married in, and it is lovely! After the ceremony and some photos with family and friends, we headed to the reception at the Mahler Ballroom, which has recently been renovated and looks great. Kimmie and Shawn took dance classes there in preparation for their wedding, so they got to show off their skills on the dance floor that evening! One of the most special moments of the day was when Kimmie’s step-dad came to the dance floor with her to share their father-daughter dance. He gave a moving, emotional speech about his love for her, not as a step-daughter, but as just a daughter, and about how this dance was for him and her dad (who passed 2 years earlier). You could hear a pin drop. It was one of the most moving speeches from a father we’ve heard. These are the moments that make it all worth it. We know it’s not all pretty flowers and dresses, parties and details – it’s the true love between family and friends, and the celebration of the beginning of forever. Congratulations Shawn and Kimmie! We couldn’t be more happy for you!