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This super cute photograph of the bride and groom with a bunch of friends at the Patrick Haley Mansion in Joliet, shows this wedding was a blast.

One good way to book your wedding at an extremely popular venue is to plan a Sunday wedding. Melissa and James did just that, and they had a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon wedding at the very popular historic Patrick Haley Mansion in Joliet.

Melissa and her wedding party had a great time getting ready upstairs in the beautifully appointed bridal dressing rooms at the mansion. I was able to get some great candids of the girls getting ready, Melissa slipping into her bridal gown, along with the mothers helping all the girls. The same lovely room made a great place to also take the portraits of the bride with her six bridesmaids, one flower girl and her parents. The six bridesmaids’ deep red dresses were perfect for a bright, sunny day.

For James and his six groomsmen and ring bearer, we stepped outside and arranged them in front of the mansion. There I was able to take some of James alone, some of him with his groomsmen and his parents. Before long, the minister arrived, and summoned James upstairs to be sure that all was set and ready for their ceremony. Then, it was time to line up for the wedding ceremony.

As the wedding party stepped out of the mansion ballroom, the brick pavers made a gorgeous aisle for the processional out to the large pergola, which is surrounded by a thousand flowers. Glowing in the afternoon sunshine, Melissa was escorted down the aisle by her father with about 250 wedding guests watching. It was a stunning entrance.

Melissa and James looked regal. Their outdoor ceremony was held under the large pergola, with its massive white columns and surrounded by thousands of beautiful flowers and a pond with two waterfalls. The 250 guests were arranged seated on white wood chairs in the bright afternoon sunlight. The ceremony was both personal and remarkable with just the right amount of humor, officiated by Rev. Jim Rehnberg, who also officiated the wedding of Melissa’s parents!

After the pronouncement as husband and wife, and the first kiss Melissa and James walked back up the aisle to a thunderous applause, and into the cool air conditioning of the mansion ballroom. Their wedding party and their parents followed them, and there were lots and lots of hugs and congratulations being shared for the happy couple.

Next, the wedding coordinator had them all head upstairs in the mansion where Rev. Jim had them sign the marriage license. Since everyone in the wedding party and both families were all together, it was the perfect time to begin the formal photography.

First, I seated Melissa and James on the lovely antique sofa in the large upstairs room of the mansion. They were immersed in the huge bank of light coming from the huge windows that were framed by beautiful curtains. First, I photographed them with each set of parents, and then I added their siblings to make up the family groups. I had organized it so that Melissa and James were comfortably seated with no need to move or get up, and simply had the parents and families move in and out of the groupings around them. It went fast and smooth.

Then, I sent the parents off to be with all their friends and guests while they all enjoyed a cocktail hour. Easily and quickly, I took some pictures of Melissa and James alone in the lovely setting on the antique sofa. Then, it was time to photograph the wedding party next. So, I had the wedding party go out the front door of the mansion.

Outside, the front of the mansion was now in shade, so I arranged Melissa and James with fifteen of their wedding party going up the front outside stairs of the mansion to photograph them. After taking several photographs there, I had them walk over next to the big fountain that is outside one set of doors to the ballroom entrance. The fountain was in direct sunlight, so I positioned the wedding party so that they were backlit in the photographs. This made for a nice variety in lighting as well as posing for the wedding party. First, I photographed the entire wedding party, then some pictures of Melissa and the bridesmaids plus some group photographs of James with the groomsmen. Then, I photographed James and Melissa in that location.

Next, I had Melissa and James walk around the yard to go back to the pergola, where their wedding ceremony had been held. On the way, I photographed them sitting on a white wrought iron bench that was sitting beneath a small white pergola. Then, I had them walk over by one of the ponds on the grounds of the mansion, and I had them sit down on the ground, surrounded by many of the colorful flower gardens and the pond in the background. I placed Melissa’s bridal bouquet on her train, which I had arranged on the ground with them and I took many gorgeous, colorful photographs there. Then I arranged Melissa and James in front of some of the big white columns that made up the big gorgeous pergola where they were married. We took many formal but casual photographs of Melissa and James there, and after a few minutes, it was time to go inside for their reception to begin.

The DJ, Music by Design, started things off with the introduction march of the wedding party coming in, while all the excited guests were seated at their tables. I took photographs of each couple in the wedding party as they entered the ballroom before going to their places at the head table. Melissa and James were introduced last as the grand finale. They were, after all, the reason everyone was here.

The wedding coordinator had them first go to the wedding cake before being seated, where I photographed them cutting their cake and feeding each other a piece of cake. It was really nice this way because all the guests were already seated so that they could watch the festivity of Melissa and James cutting their wedding cake.

Right after that, they took their place at the head table, when everyone, including all the guests had been poured some champagne. There were quite a number of toasts given. Not only both dads had toasts and speeches, but almost every member of the wedding party. Some of the bridesmaids were especially hilarious. I took a lot of photographs of the speeches.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared and served by the chef and staff of the Haley Mansion. If a gourmet dinner and wedding cake were not enough, the mansion chefs had also prepared a lavish, elaborate dessert table to satisfy any sweet tooth. There were so many desserts to choose from!

To keep things moving, the DJ had Melissa and James out on the dance floor for their bridal dance, one of the big highlights of the reception. Immediately after that was the bride and her father dance, followed by the parents. Then the wedding party hit the dance floor, and it was party on. This was a group that loved to dance and have a good time. The ballroom dance floor at the Haley Mansion is so gorgeous with a vaulted glass ceiling and the entire north wall built full of windows. It was a pleasure to photograph the dances with such an abundance of beautiful daylight and sunlight streaming through the glass. I took many, many dancing and candid photographs of everyone having a great time, and also many requested pictures of friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. One such fun picture is the group that you see here.

Photographing a wedding at the Patrick Haley Mansion in Joliet is a great place for taking pictures. There are numerous picturesque settings at one convenient location, and we had lots of sunshine for Melissa and James’s beautiful May wedding. Melissa and James, it was truly a pleasure photographing such a warm and friendly couple, your families and wedding party. We wish you the best in your new life together.

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