Jess & Justin ~ Peoria Engagement Experience

PEORIA, Ill. –  How Jess and Justin came to find me is somewhat unexpected. They contacted me in February and after a few phone calls, we met late one Friday evening and ended up talking for 3 hours. No joke. They met as students at Bradley University, and live in Peoria (about 2 hours east of the Quad Cities). Jess grew up in Moline, and said she wanted something different (photo-wise) for their Peoria wedding. So she started looking at QC photographers.

I am honored to document their relationship, which started with their engagement session just more than a week ago. I encourage my couples to select their engagement site to be a place significant to them. For these two it didn’t make sense to have photos done anywhere but Peoria. And we did just that – going from Luthy Botanical Garden, to Bradley Park, and then ending at the Bradley University campus.

Their story began when meeting at a gathering with mutual friends; soon the two became inseparable.

Justin: … I would sit in the window of my apartment and talk with her hours, using up all of my cell phone minutes. And, when during our rockiest of times, I still couldn’t be without her.

Their love for each other grew, as close friends became an integral part of their lives. That became evident one year during the couple’s Unofficial Thanksgiving, a tradition they have the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving Day with a potluck dinner and wine with friends.

Jess: Thinking back on it now, there should have been a few signs that tipped my off. … Tip number one. When there is an entire table full of food and a guy says he’s not really that hungry, that’s a sign! The fact that Justin was acting so uneasy and tense should have been sign number two. When somehow everyone ended up in the living room sitting around (which NEVER happens), and Justin stood up to make a speech, that should have been tip number three. Yet, of all the signs that should have made that lightbulb go off in my head, Justin standing at the front of the room and making an extra long speech thanking everyone for coming should have clued me in…

Then, Justin asked me to come up to the front of the room. As the both of us were standing up there and he was talking about how long we had been together and how much we have been through, the lightbulb finally lit up in my head. The only people that knew what was really about to happen were the ones that Justin recruited to take pictures. When everyone else saw the look of surprise on my face and my mouth drop open they knew as well. I looked at Justin and he dropped to one knee. As he started to talk I couldn’t contain myself. I threw my arms around him and yelled “Yes!” To which someone in the audience yelled, “You have to let him ask you the question first!” …

Their affection for each other is simply beautiful. And the upcoming wedding in Peoria is going to be a celebration like no other I’ve seen. I can’t wait! Congrats to you both!



About accentphoto
Accent Photographics specializes in on-location baby, children and family photography, and special-event photography of weddings in eastern

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