A side trip to the Irish Toad

Portrait in front of Irish Toad Jacksonville
Katie Carrigan & Adam Filler made time to visit The Irish Toad between their ceremony and reception.

Most couples only have time for a quick lift from their ceremony to their reception site, but Katie Carrigan & Adam Filler had some extra time so they paid a visit to The Irish Toad. (Adam raising his foot while he posed above made me laugh.)

The stop gave their wedding party a chance to relax. Some out-of-town friends connected via mobile phone and met them at the bar. Some groomsmen ordered up one of their famous pizzas to tie them over until the reception at the Jacksonville Country Club.

Irish Toad pizza
Groomsmen eat pizza at The Irish Toad.
Bride & groom on the bar
Katie Carrigan & Adam Filler at The Irish Toad.
Dollar bills at The Irish Toad
Stapling a commemorative dollar bill on the wall of The Irish Toad.

They also took part in the bar’s tradition of stapling dollar bills to the wall to mark the occasion. When you go, you can find the first above the entrance (with a modified date) and another on the north wall.

Irish Toad blue dresses
Bridesmaids line up at the bar.

Wedding in April in Jacksonville, ceremony at Our Saviour Church, reception at Jacksonville Country Club, limousine/bus service by Executive Transportation, DJ Logan Swank of Complete Music, flowers by Ashley’s Petals & Angels.  Warmowski Photography, fun wedding pictures in Jacksonville, Illinois, 62650. Member Springfield Local Favorites. Posted by Steve.

Mike Greer Audio Effects

We ran into an old friend at our last wedding in Springfield — Mike Greer of Audio Effects.

He was the DJ at Anne & Isaac’s wedding reception at the Artisans Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds (photos still in the works). I say an old friend because he was the DJ at our wedding in Springfield in 2001. And, actually, the DJ at my first wedding (same DJ, same best man). He’s based in Rochester, and does many weddings and other events in Springfield. Link above or 217.498.9559, www.audiofxdj.com.

Posted by Steve, Warmowski Photography, photojournalists covering weddings in Springfield and beyond. Member of Springfield Local Favorites.

Fun with Engagement Sessions

Harley Davidson under Routt Street bridge in Jacksonville
Heather Thomas & Doug Zulauf have fun with his bike and their engagement session last weekend in Jacksonville.

We’ve been having fun lately photographing some engagement sessions with some 2010 couples, and wanted to share some images.

We work to do more than a studio sitting, and get more than a portrait for the newspaper. We try to run around town with our couples, to places that reflect their personality or the story of their relationship, and have some fun while making pictures. See some of Heather & Doug’s photos in a special video we created for them.

The engagement sessions include a 5×5 brag book — which can be upgraded to a larger book for guests to sign on your wedding day. As with our other packages, Facebook-sized images, on-line gallery and DVD proofing are also included.

We use the engagement session also as a time to get to know our brides & grooms better. And, having fun with us making pictures will surely make for even more fun on their wedding day.

And, we willing to travel anywhere for the sessions (as well as our weddings). Here’s some images from Jessica (Drebes) & Justin Jones in Quincy, locations including Villa Kathrine and  the banks of the Mississippi River. Jamie (Greenberg) & Dave Arlin at various locations in downtown Chicago. And so far our most exotic location — Christy Heaton & Craig Beebe in New Orleans.

Villa Kathrine portrait shoot
Jessica & Justin in Quincy.
Chicago skyline
Jamie & Dave against the Chicago skyline.
Engagement photos in New Orleans.
Christy & Craig in New Orleans.

(And yes, we did work Mardi Gras into the trip.)

Posted by Steve. Photojournalists offering wedding photography, with packages including engagement sessions. Member of Springfield Local Favorites.

Idea for DJ: Superior Sound Entertainment of Springfield

Stacy (Radliff) Smedley is joined on the dance floor by guests, many of them small, during her reception at Illinois College's Cummings Dining Hall.

As you look for DJs, take a look at Superior Sound Entertainment. They’re based in Springfield, but we’ve worked with them at several weddings here in Jacksonville. They have a nice light set up, professional appearance, and most importantly our brides have liked them. Owner is Tony Boston, 217.544.1404 office &  217.414.1753 mobile.

bride & groom dance
Stacy (Radliff) & Scott Smedley dance during their reception at Illinois College's Cummings Dining Hall. (Photo by Steve)

Posted by Steve — Warmowski Photography, wedding photojournalists for the Springfield region.

Ashley’s Petals & Angels

Ashley's Petals & Angels bouquet
Julie (Surratt) Wilkinson and her bridal bouquet created by Ashley's Petals & Angels.

Ashley’s Petals & Angels has been the florist for many of our brides, and we’ve heard nothing but good things about them! I Googled the business the other day and found a bunch of good reviews, but no web site. So I decided to register ashleyspetalsangels.com and put up a placeholder web site until owner Lori Wankel can create one of her own.

Ashley’s Petals & Angels is at 700 S Diamond St, Jacksonville, IL 62650. Contact via 217.243.2700 or e-mail, and check out her Facebook page. Hours are 9-5 Monday – Friday and 9-2 on Saturdays. Specializing in unique designs, they not only do weddings, but also holidays, birthdays, prom and the full range of special occasions.

Ashley (Henson) Lucassen reacts after Ashley's Petals & Angels owner Lori Wankel hands over her bouquet. (Photo by Tiffany)
Rose petals along aisle.
Rose petals along the aisle for the wedding of Ashley (Henson) & Quentin Lucassen at Hamilton's 110 North East. (photo by Steve)

Cake at Hamilton's


Posted by Steve.

Sample book at Girls in White Satin

Family dances at Lonergan wedding
Elisha (Langley) & Bob Lonergan are surrounded by family as they dance at their reception in June 2009 (photo by Steve).

Elisha & Bob Lonergan’s wedding was one of the first for Girls in White Satin. We photographed the wedding, and we’ve made a copy of Elisha & Bob’s coffee table book for Becky & Terryl to show off at their shop.

The bridal and formal wear shop in Jacksonville focuses on personal attention for their brides. And for Elisha they not only did her dress, but also bridesmaids and flower girls dresses and the guy’s tuxedos. Here’s a spread from their book:

Pages from coffee table book, wedding at Our Saviour Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Illinois, 62650.

We include coffee table books (or a traditional album) in most of our wedding packages. We have copies of some of our books at some other wedding businesses we work with frequently including Hamilton’s 110 North East and Ashley’s Petals & Angels.

We also did an engagement session for Elisha & Bob, here are two of their favorites . . .

Elisha & Bob Lonergan on motorcycle.
Engagement photos for Elisha & Bob Lonergan, on the road in rural Jacksonville.
Elisha & Bob Lonergan afield in rural Jacksonville.
Running about Elisha & Bob Lonergan's back 40 for a scenic view.

Event details: Ceremony at Our Saviour Catholic Church, flowers by All Occasions Flowers & Gifts, 217.243.0064, wedding dress/bridesmaids dresses/tuxedos by Girls in White Satin, D.J. Joe Kindred. Jacksonville, Illinois, 62650. Wedding photography by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography.

Warmowski Photography joins Springfield Local Favorites

Springfield Local Favorites logo

Warmowski Photography has been added to the list of top wedding vendors in the Springfield area, Springfield Local Favorites.

The group aims to make it easier for brides to find the best and most reputable businesses. They currently have a list of more than 60 wedding related businesses. And, besides making members pledge to a high code of conduct, the group offers a mechanism for brides to handle disputes. We know we’ll never need that, but we think the group’s efforts gives brides more confidence when contracting services from Springfield Local Favorites members.

And thanks to the Matts — Matt from Hamilton’s Catering for inviting us to join, and Matt from Stevens DJ Service for his efforts with the group.

And brides mark the group’s Third Annual Bridal Bash on your calendar, Sunday 26 September 2010 from 1-5 pm at The Rail Golf Course. The event is free, and beyond door prizes includes an 8-day, 7-night honeymoon vacation package drawing. Keep up with news and information on the blog, and via the Springfield Local Favorites Facebook listing.

Warmowski Photography profiled in The Source

Cliff & Emily Bumgarner at MacMurray College wedding reception.
Emily Scobbie gets cake from Cliff Bumgarner during their wedding reception June 2009 at MacMurray College's McClelland Dining Hall. (photo by Steve)

Thanks to The Jacksonville Source for profiling us and letting us post here . . .

By Mindy Farmer

It was August of 1997 and Steve was desperate to find a student photographer to work for the Journal-Courier. A student at MacMurray College, Tiffany had recently discovered an interest in photography. The two met by chance the first day of Tiffany’s senior year and Steve invited Tiffany to work at the paper. It didn’t take long for Tiffany to realize that she liked journalism and telling stories better than teaching or for the two to realize that their interest in each other was more than just professional.
Originally from the north side of Chicago, Steve Warmowski learned about Jacksonville while acting as chairman for a contest for newspaper photographers. Steve would receive photographs from newspapers throughout the state and send them on to be judged each month. Submissions from Jacksonville Journal-Courier photographers always impressed Steve. In fact, he told a photographer “when you get ready to leave town, let me know, because I want your job.” When the photographer took a new position in Sante Fe, he notified Steve, who was subsequently hired by the Journal-Courier.
Tiffany Hermon came to Jacksonville from the south suburbs of Chicago to pursue a degree in deaf education. While she enjoyed her studies, spending time in a classroom didn’t appeal to her like she’d expected. When the opportunity to work for the paper arose, Tiffany decided to try something new. She soon found that photography suited her because she “really liked the idea of being out, meeting new people every day, and telling people’s stories.”
Tiffany took one summer photography course before working for the paper, but says that she truly learned the most by doing. Steve shared his experience and knowledge with Tiffany, helping her develop her talents. Tiffany’s admiration for her partner is clear as she explains, “Steve was my mentor, my teacher, and my boss, and he taught me a lot. The thing he really taught me was to tell people’s stories and we do that by taking pictures.”
Steve didn’t initially pursue photography himself. As a student at the University of Illinois-Urbana, he originally studied physics, but soon discovered that “it was a lot more fun taking pictures than doing calculus homework.” Journalism courses helped to give Steve a good framework in design, writing, editing, and photojournalism. He gained valuable experience writing and photographing for the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Illini. Steve then went on to gain additional hands-on training as an intern at newspapers in Saginaw and Muskegon, Michigan.
Although he might have started with more formal photography training, Steve found experience to be his best teacher as well. Looking back, Steve says that “The main way I learned how to take pictures was internships and on the job experience.” Before coming to Jacksonville, Steve worked as a photojournalist and chief photographer at several newspapers, including the Herald & Review in Decatur, the Journal-Standard in Freeport, and the News-Tribune in La Salle-Peru.
Freelance photography has also been a significant part of Steve’s nearly 20 years as a photojournalist. His freelance work has been published in national newspapers and magazines. Papers such as the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune have featured Steve’s work. His photographs have also been published in magazines such as Newsweek and Business Week, as well as in books. Steve continues to do freelance photography today.
Tiffany completed her degree in Deaf Education at MacMurray in 1998. While she decided to pursue newspaper work and photography rather than teaching, she continues to utilize her sign language skills. Tiffany went on to work full-time for the Journal-Courier after completing her internship and developed a passion for photojournalism.
Tiffany says that she and Steve “pretty much knew right away we were going to get married.” She recalls the exact day they began dating – October 31, 1998 – a little over a year after their first meeting. The two kept their romance quiet in the beginning because of their work relationship. Tiffany recalls that their co-workers at the paper were very supportive when they became public with their relationship, however, because this wasn’t the first romance to develop in the newsroom.
Steve and Tiffany married two years later on September 15, 2001. According to Steve, the first question people always ask is “who photographed your wedding?” The couple asked one friend to be their official photographer and then invited several of their photojournalist friends from out of town to take pictures as well.
Their wedding occurred four days after 9/11, so many of their friends were called on unexpectedly to cover the tragedy. In the end, about five photographers snapped shots at the wedding, including the best man, and the couple has 1200 pictures to remember their day. While this may seem like a wealth of photos, Steve says that it is “a lot fewer photos than we take when we photograph weddings.”

Rehearsal dinner in bandshell
Routt grad Lydia Cox was married at her husband's home town of Barnes, Kansas, but she got to choose her photographers. (August 2009, photo by Steve).
With two professional photojournalists in the family, the Warmowskis often fielded requests from friends and family to photograph their weddings. The two initially resisted this idea and would only photograph weddings on rare occasions. Tiffany says that each time they photographed a ceremony, she would experience a nervous sensation in her stomach because she knew how important these photos were to the bride and groom. They photographed maybe a dozen weddings, with Tiffany always experiencing these nerves, before she had a realization one day that, “hey, this is fun.”
While attending weddings as guests, the Warmowskis would often notice issues with the photographers. Many wedding photographers were charging “crazy amounts” of money for posed and artificial pictures. Others were busy partying or relaxing at weddings and missing out on opportunities to capture crucial memories. Rather than telling the story of a wedding, the photographers were simply shooting pictures.
The couple wanted to offer couples something more and started their own business in 2007. They initially photographed the weddings of friends, but their business quickly grew through word of mouth and their website, www.warmowskiphoto.com. The Warmowskis photographed 18 weddings in 2007 while Steve continued to work at the Journal-Courier. He left the paper in 2008 and they shot 30 weddings. In 2009, the couple photographed 35 weddings, in addition to doing commercial work, events, and senior and family pictures.
When the Warmowskis work with a couple planning their wedding, their goal is to have their experience with photography be as stress-free as possible. They believe that wedding photographs should be unique to each couple and family. To achieve this, they will sit down with a couple and ask, “What’s important to you?” and “What is your story?” This way, they can select locations and settings that hold meaning for the couple, places where they can tell their story naturally.
The phrase “it’s not about us” is often repeated when the Warmowskis talk about photographing a wedding. Tiffany explains, “The day is not about us. It’s about the bride and groom and their family and we take about an hour to do the portraits, but other than that, it’s just them going about their day.” Steve says that they often advise the couple, “Just enjoy yourself and enjoy your guests and we’ll go along with and get those moments as they happen instead of creating them.”
Steve says that many brides say that Tiffany’s presence is calming and she clearly loves working with brides. In fact, she brings an “emergency kit” to each wedding that includes scissors, safety pins, super glue, a needle and thread, and the all-important Shout wipes. She says that the needle and thread are a necessity because “guests will inevitably step on the bustle of the dress, so I’ve sewn up several bustles at receptions.”
Tiffany also enjoys working with brides to plan the timing of their day so that photographs will not create stress. While working on the timing of the day, Tiffany often finds herself providing advice to help the rest of the day run smoothly, drawing from her own experiences and the many weddings she’s witnessed. Helping brides is a bonus part of Tiffany’s work and she explains, “I love it. Just to help with those little things and keeping that stress level down, so the brides can enjoy the day.” When Tiffany sees a special touch at a wedding or a unique idea, she often takes notes and pictures of it, so she can share it on their photography blog www.warmowskiphoto.com/blog.
Stained glass windows bathe bride
Carissa Holler is bathed by light from stained glass windows at at Holy Family Church in Mount Sterling before her marriage to James Phillips, October 2009. (Photo by Tiffany)
When the Warmowskis are not taking photographs, they are actively involved in the Jacksonville community. Tiffany is a spinning instructor at the YMCA and a Weight Watchers Leader. She is a member of the Rotary Club and is responsible for coordinating the high school exchange student program. She also volunteers as the director of the Second Closet, which provides professional clothing to support individuals seeking employment.
Steve is part of the Kiwanis Club and serves as President of Jubilee Habitat for Humanity. As a member of townbrook.com, Steve is also working to create bicycle and walking paths to encourage recreation throughout the city. The couple is also active in the Centenary United Methodist Church and are members of the Wedding Photojournalist Association.
Warmowski Photography has photographed weddings throughout Illinois. They have also traveled to other states and are often hired to photograph Chicago area ceremonies. They are available to travel throughout the US and beyond. Their favorite and most exotic location so far has been in Buxton, Derbyshire, England. They recently traveled to Italy last year to tour the plant where their photography books are printed and to visit a fellow photographer friend, Jerry Lee Ingram. Their goal is to photograph at least one overseas wedding a year and one day they would like to offer a Tuscan Wedding package for couples in partnership with Ingram.
Tiffany still feels that nervous twinge in her stomach at every wedding, but now sees it simply as a sign that she understands the importance of capturing each couple’s big day. A wedding only occurs once and this is where the Warmowski’s photojournalism experience is especially valuable. Their time taking news photographs taught them use the available lighting and capture moments in time without changing or manipulating the situation. So, while they do take some traditional wedding portraits, they are more interested in simply observing the day through photographs. As Tiffany puts it, “They’re going to make their own beautiful pictures just by going about their day and interacting with each other.”

Cool shirts make for great groomsmen gifts

It’s nice and cool these days, but warmer weather is on its way. I’m very active on wedding days, and while wearing a suit or even a long-sleeve dress-up shirt I can get pretty sweaty. I started wearing one of those athletic t-shirts on wedding days (Dry Fit, Coolmax, Under Armour, Helly Hansen and all the different brands) and it makes an incredible difference. You feel cooler, and it even keeps your dress shirt from getting wet.

Just wanted to pass on this thought, especially if you’re looking for groomsmen gift ideas. If you’re getting married in the summer, buy a bunch of shirts, in a variety of sizes, and let the groomsmen pick one out as their gift. Maybe not as long lasting as a flask, but when they’re dressed to the nines and standing in the sun they’ll probably appreciate it.

Posted by Steve.