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I-want-to-show-you-something-different-kind-of-blog (by Bethany Fritz)

I-want-to-show-you-something-different-kind-of-blog (by Bethany Fritz)

I like photography…

…if you like … retro, live music, candlelight, fresh herbs, black and white photos, documentaries, world travel, good wine, microbrews, sunsets, colorful socks, literature, fireplaces, fresh-brewed coffee, yard sale cameras, thrift stores, organic, soy milk, passion, sleep, beaches, mountains, farms, late night dinners, throw rugs, cats purring, breakfast in bed, open windows, natural, heirloom tomatoes, manchego cheese, guitars, ipods, haircolor, scarves, brooches, vintage, bike riding, train rides, polaroids, stationary, laughter, wagging dog tails, lanterns, antiques, romance… (any or all of the above) we should talk.

If you are getting married and are interested in having me photograph the moments, look me up and let’s meet for a drink and a chat. Let’s do something different… toe-tingling-hold-your-breath-kind-of-different, and totally love-inspired.

Contact: bethany@maypolestudios.com

Blog Cover
© Kirsten Miccoli

Did I mention I own a love bike?

Weddings, Wedding VenuesMaypole Studios, Best Wedding Photographers in Chicago - 2014 Couples' Choice Award Winner

 

{Sasha+Matt: Married at Gallery 1028}

{Sasha+Matt: Married at Gallery 1028}

The Golden Ratio, the circumference of a circle, complimentary angles… love took shape during the course of their Geometry class and these two became high school sweethearts. 10 years later, after countless memories and seeing each other through those formative years known as your early twenties, Sasha and Matt were ready to make it official and party with their nearest and dearest! With such an awesome group of mutual friends, not to mention amazing families, their wedding celebration was a guaranteed success. There were so many special touches, like the best man’s signature cocktails, delicious bites by Calihan catering, mother/daughter Christian Louboutins, and mini succulents potted by the bride and groom as favors for their guests.
Not only are Sasha and Matt a wonderful couple, I also had the pleasure of working with an all-star team on this wedding- literally! Beth Bernstein of SQN Events and Revel Decor transformed the space into a brilliant array of rich-colored florals and candles, and the Gold Coast All Stars kept the youngest to the oldest dancing for hours!! This wedding was full of joy, and most importantly all the things and people that Sasha and Matt love most. They created the perfect blueprint for what will surely be one of the best days of their lives.

Five words that best describe your significant other:
Matt’s words for Sasha: beautiful, frighteningly smart, composed, loyal, and tenacious
Sasha’s words for Matt: hilariously funny, supportive, calming, a great bartender, always pushes me to be better and try harder (ok that’s more than 5 words, sorry!)
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Meanwhile, the guys were a bit more whisky focused…
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First look…
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And then a splash of color!
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Back to Gallery 1028 for the ceremony.
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Ketubah signing!
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Congrats Sasha and Matt!
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Second photographer: Jamie Hartley

Hair and makeup: Livia Caporale (hair) and Brie Mazz of Brie Aarin Makeup (makeup)
Florist/Decor: Revel Decor
Ceremony location: Gallery 1028
Reception location: Gallery 1028
Event Planner: Beth Bernstein of SQN Events
Officiant: Rabbi Ari Moffic
Cake: Gourmet Frog Bakery (Highwood)
Caterer: Calihan Catering
Invitations/Stationary: Spilled Ink Press
Dress: Vera Wang
Accessories: Vera Wang, shoes by Christian Louboutin
Suit/Men’s accessories: Ralph Lauren

DJ/Band: Gold Coast All Stars
First Dance: “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra
Parent dances: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

Q&A with the bride and groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
S+M: It was awesome to have all the people we care about in one place at one time celebrating with us. We love looking at the photos and seeing the mix of family, high school friends, college friends, and law/medical school friends dancing and spending time together.

What was your favorite detail?
S+M: The yichud. It was nice to take a moment alone together before going out to the cocktail hour. It also gave us a chance to try the signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres!

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Sasha: My 16-year-old brother, Danny, came over to the hotel with my parents and hung out with the girls before meeting up with the boys at our apartment to get ready. He spent the whole time entertaining us by running around with not one, but two hotel shower caps on his head. When it was time for him to head over to our apartment to meet the boys, my mom told him to grab his tux out of the closet and make sure it was his and not my dads. An hour later, we get a call from him saying that he took my dad’s tux by mistake. According to Matt, they figure this out when Danny came out of the bathroom saying that something is wrong with his pants. The pants were clearly several sizes too big and looked hilarious on my super skinny brother. To save the day, we sent my guy bridesmaid, David, in a cab with the correct tuxedo.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
S+M: Take as many opportunities as you can to take it all in. The day and night will fly by before you know it.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
S+M: Nope!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
S+M: We went to Napa Valley and stayed in Yountville

A little history….

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
In high school so we’ve known each other for about 10 years and have been dating for 9.

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
According to Matt, he decided it was time to propose at Thanksgiving the year before. We moved in together that summer but decided to spend Thanksgiving with our respective families and it felt wrong to be apart.

Describe the proposal.
We were sitting on the couch and the ring box was under the cushions! Then we went to a fabulous dinner at EL Ideas.

 

{Natalie+Steve: New Year’s Eve City Hall Elopement}

{Natalie+Steve: New Year’s Eve City Hall Elopement}

Seeing the ear-to-ear smiles on these two, you would never know it was freezing outside. Their excitement was unfazed by the single digit temperatures, if not for their rosy noses and fogged breath it might have looked like a warm Spring day!
I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie a couple of years ago at Loft On Lake and thought she was the cutest thing, in fact I may have mentioned that if she were to get engaged… call me! You can imagine my excitement when she contacted me after a conversation about eloping to City Hall with Steve, would I be interested in taking photos for them? Uhhh… ABSOLUTELY! There is something so fun and romantic about a wedding with just the two of you, like a special secret only you share (although you really want to shout it from the mountaintop!). As a fellow eloper I have a soft spot for small ceremonies, and as a photographer I feel so privileged to be one of the only witnesses. Watching Natalie and Steve say “I do” was the perfect way to wrap up 2014 and kick off 2015, roaming around Chicago on New Year’s Eve with these two was the best!
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Married!
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Natalie has the best smile!!
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It was so cold, see their breath?!
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Magnolia Bakery was the perfect location to stop for delicious “wedding” cupcakes, complete with New Year’s decor and even Mr./Mrs. forks!
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My favorites…
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LOVE!
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We made one last stop at the Palmer House hotel to warm up, and say our goodbyes. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to kick off the new year, congrats Natalie and Steve!
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Hair and makeup: My friend Kylie Phillips
Ceremony location: City Hall!
Cupcake: Magnolia Bakery
Dress: Beholden
Accessories: Shoes: Michael Kors

Q&A with the bride and groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Steve: Seeing her smile after saying ‘I do’
Natalie: Oh man, the whole entire day was memorable. Probably exchanging rings and saying “I do.”

What was your favorite detail?
Natalie: Finding Magnolia Bakery!
Steve: The beautiful sunlight, despite the freezing temperatures.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Steve: All the happy Chicagoans congratulating us while walking between their work.
Natalie: Steven asked the judge if he could kiss me after we were married and his reply..” You can do anything that’s legal.”

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Steve: Don’t be afraid to elope!
Natalie: ELOPE! It was so romantic!

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Steve: Not a thing.
Natalie: No way!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Steve: Still planning it!
Natalie: Somewhere warm! :)

A little history…

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
Steve: I originally saw Natalie over 8 years ago at a friends home. I thought she was absolutely gorgeous and couldn’t contain myself, however, I was incredibly shy around her. I finally got the courage to speak with her and she blew me off. Then it seemed as if she disappeared into thin air. Fast forward 7 years and she shows up at a friends again. I didn’t want to lose her, so I did everything I could in order to make her mine. I don’t quite know what I did, but now I’ve got her forever. I couldn’t be happier.
Natalie: We met at a friends party on Memorial Day. I actually didn’t want to go…I wasn’t up for a party since I had just got out of work and was very tired. Something in me said to go. When I arrived to the party, Steve stopped in complete conversation and we locked eyes. It was like a scene out of movie.

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
Steve: The very instant I saw her [both times].
Natalie: When we first met. I felt a sense of calmness…I felt different.

Describe the proposal.
Steve’s mother took me in the morning for breakfast and to get our nails done.
Steve planned a picnic at Lake Ellyn where we had our first date. He made/packed a gourmet meal with sparkling grape juice! ( Since it is illegal to drink wine in a park)
After we finished eating, he walked me over to the bench we sat on, it was the very same bench we sat and talked on, on our first date and then he got down on one knee. :) We were so excited after that!

Five words that best describe your significant other:
Steve: Independent, strong, beautiful, gentle, and genuine
Natalie: Extremely smart, hilarious, loving, kind, and CUTE!

 

{Margaret+Jerel: Love You To Infinity}

{Margaret+Jerel: Love You To Infinity}

“You are one of my nicest thoughts.” -Georgia O’Keeffe

This fine couple met at Boston University 11 years ago, and it was not a rapid courtship. In fact, it kinda took Jerel ages to realize that Margaret would be an excellent girl to date and he should totally ask her out. His first one-liner was not the most impressive (“so I hear you’re from Georgia, can I call you peach?”) but Margaret was forgiving and intrigued by the man beneath the goofy facade. Jerel’s genius plan was to do something he called “stealth dating,” he would invite her out on an unassuming group outing like a hockey game followed by ice skating, but for various reasons they would be the only ones that showed up. Luckily his tricky tactics lead to a blossoming relationship, and even a return trip to Boston University a couple of years later where he got down on one knee and asked the lovely Margaret to marry him.
Which brings us to this beyond-amazing wedding day wrapped in bright blue skies… a gorgeous day for a gorgeous pair. From Margaret’s awesome makeup (Sonia Roselli killed it!) to the couple’s first look by Lake Michigan, from the Rookery and it’s architectural glamour to their friend’s serenade for the first dance… smiles were wide and laughter was plentiful. This was a great day!
Jerel describes Margaret in 5 words: passionate, gorgeous, loving, intelligent, driven
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Margaret describes Jerel in 5 words: smart, funny, giving, calming and nurturing
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Amazing “Ombre” bouquets by Vail of Enna!
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Congrats Margaret and Jerel, may your lives be filled with love and Pinkberry!!
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Second Photographer: Jamie Hartley

Hair and makeup: Sonia Roselli
Florist: Vale of Enna
Ceremony location: The Rookery
Reception location: The Rookery
Event Planner: Sweetchic Events (for day of coordination)
Officiant: Rev. Phil Landers
Cake: Amy Beck Cake Design
Caterer: Blue Plate
Invitations/Stationary: Annie Skrmetti
Dress: Monique Lhuillier via Ultimate Bride 
Accessories: Shoes – Jimmy Choo, Jewelry – Nadri
Suit/Men’s accessories: Groom’s Tuxedo – Ralph Lauren, Groomsmen – The Black Tux

DJ/Band: Ceremony – Artistrings, Reception – Toast & Jam
First Dance: Dancing Shoes by Green River Ordinance (performed by Adam Hadas and John Condakes)
Parent dances: Father/Daughter Dance – Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison; Mother/Son Dance – A Song For Mama, Boyz II Men

Q&A with the Bride and Groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
M+J: The most memorable moment of the day was our first dance.  It was such a strange but wonderful feeling, knowing that everyone was watching us, yet feeling like we were in our own little bubble.  And to make things even more special, we had some of our best friends sharing their talents by performing the song live.

What was your favorite detail?
M+J: The glow of the room. It must have been a combination of the interior of the Rookery, the gold decor, the mercury glass and the hundreds of candles, but the room literally glowed all evening. It was magical!

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
M+J: While not necessarily from the wedding day, we had an OMG moment at the rehearsal that turned out to be a funny story in the end. We took a cab downtown to the rehearsal and brought all of our wedding materials to hand off to our coordinator, including the escort cards, programs, menus, guest book, photos. You name it, it was in this bag. We accidentally left the bag in the trunk of the cab, which we didn’t realize until the driver had pulled away down LaSalle Street. Jerel took off like a shot and chased the taxi for several blocks at a full sprint in a suit and tie! Luckily, he caught up with the taxi at a red light and the day was saved.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
M+J: Just enjoy the day.  All that time you spent planning is over in a matter of hours, so rather than stressing about every little detail on the day of, just enjoy it.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Nothing

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
M+J: Ritz Carlton Kapalua in Maui

A little history….

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
We met in college through mutual friends and got to know each other better through our the a cappella community – we sang in different co-ed groups at Boston University. We were friends beginning of freshman year, but didn’t start dating until January of our senior year. We dated for almost six years and were engaged for almost two before we got married!

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
It was early on in our relationship when a health scare sent Margaret to the hospital and Jerel stayed by her side the entire time. As human beings, we care for each other and wish the best for each other, but there was just something different about that night. Jerel can’t really explain it except to say that he just wanted Margaret to be okay, and Margaret realized how much having him there made her feel at ease.

Describe the proposal.
We had just moved to Chicago from Boston that summer and were back east to celebrate New Years Eve with friends. On December 30, Jerel suggested that we spend a day back at BU, walking around campus and reminiscing. A huge snow storm the day before made for challenging weather, but after a walk around campus he dropped to one knee on Marsh Plaza and proposed. A photographer planted on the plaza caught the entire thing. After taking some time to warm up at our hotel and call our families to share the news, Jerel surprised Margaret with an engagement party with all their friends at their favorite college bar, Sunset Cantina.

 

{Caitlin+Brian: A Chicago Engagement}

{Caitlin+Brian: A Chicago Engagement}

Whether it was the excitement from the flag football game, or the drinks afterwards, Caitlin couldn’t help but notice her cute co-worker Brian. After a few weeks of playing on the team together, some harmless conversation and drinks with friends, they realized there may be more to it (she gave him a hug goodbye without even realizing the implication, it just seemed natural)… so Brian worked up the courage and asked Caitlin out. As they found their seats at a Chicago Blackhawks game she had no idea she was on her way to becoming a huge hockey fan, and he was sitting next to the love of his life. (Funny side note: she said there was no kiss on the first date because the Blackhawks lost!)
Now they are getting married!
We visited some fun Chicago locations to celebrate their engagement, and it just so happened to be Caitlin’s birthday! Before they departed for her birthday dinner (at the very restaurant where Brian first said “I love you”!) we walked along the beach and shared a bottle of champagne. Even though I spent most of the time running through sand and shrubbery with my camera, it was truly a lovely evening. I can’t wait to celebrate their wedding later this year!
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We made a quick stop at the J Parker for Moscow Mules!
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I love the waterfront area on Fullerton.
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We made it to North Avenue beach with a bottle of Veuve right as the sun went down.
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Thanks for a terrific evening Caitlin and Brian, I can’t wait to celebrate your wedding with you this summer!

 

{Alice & Matty: Feel Love}

{Alice & Matty: Feel Love}

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
-Maya Angelou

Alice is a gorgeous woman and a die-hard romantic. The first time we met she saw my ring and asked a few questions, after learning of my New England elopement at the age of 20 she had know every last detail. She was pining for a whirlwind romance of her own, and wasn’t settling for just any guy. Not that there weren’t plenty to choose from! (she modeled professionally for Ford and tends to leave guys red-faced and tongue-tied) Funny enough Matty and I had worked together for a couple of years but he had just left for LA to stake his claim (he is kind of a big deal! Check him out here), so it wasn’t until he came back to Chicago a few years later that he would have the opportunity to meet Alice. With so many mutual friends between them it’s surprising it took as long as it did, finally one evening when she walked into the opening night of Bar DeVille a love story fell right into her lap. They locked eyes and the rest is history, I wasn’t there to witness the event but I can only imagine the sparks that were flying!
Fast forward a couple of years and they now have a beautiful little girl, buckets of amazing friends, and a pretty rad reputation around town. They decided to tie the knot at the Lincoln Park Conservatory with a killer reception at the very cool Sportman’s Club. Alice transformed the back patio with candles and foliage (she has just launched her new company and is a MEGA talented florist! Check her out here: Alice Hanson Designs), Pig Papa bbq’d a feast, and the drinks were flowing. This wedding was extra special because I was surrounded by so many dear familiar faces, and I got to witness two friends make their love story official and FOREVER. The fact that we were gathered under the glow of string lights, with their adorable 3 year old running around bare foot, AND that Alice and Matty are a stunning couple made it all the more outstanding, this night is burned into my memory for good. Congrats Alice and Matty, you set the bar high. Eat, drink, and be married!
Matty describes Alice in 5 words: Strong, Beautiful, Steadfast, Creative, Loving
Alice describes Matty in 5 words: Brilliant, Witty, Cerebral, Handsome, Assured

I met up with the girls at Benefit for some makeup.
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One of my favorite things of the day… Brad and Jason’s sign outside of Bar DeVille: “BDV will be closed today to bear witness to some amazing shit. We will reopen on Monday.”
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We stopped by a flower shop to grab a few more pieces for the bouquets and crowns.
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Little Hazel!
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The guys were enjoying some beers on the rooftop (J. Parker).
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Brad was very proud of his drink choice, and his shoes.
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Cutest flower girl photo ever!!
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Hazel’s shoes were too small, and Jesse’s entire heel feel off… so all the girls walked barefoot. It was perfect!
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The sun had set and we had about twenty minutes to take some portraits, so we made good use of this well-lit underpass on Fullerton.
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Congrats Alice and Matty, wishing you all the love!
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Hair and makeup: Benefit, Alea at Trio
Florist: Alice Hanson (worst idea ever!)
Ceremony location: Lincoln Park Conservatory
Reception location: Sportsman’s Club
Event Planner: Ashley, Midwestern Bride
Officiant: Nathan Ozug & John Manion
Cake: Katie Schuler (friend)
Caterer: Pig Papa
Invitations/Stationary: Alice and Matty
Dress: Nicole miller
Accessories: shoes Nine West, veil custom made by Miss Couture (tailor), earrings something borrowed (Matty’s mom, Mary Lou
Suit/Men’s accessories: Jcrew suit, Cole Haan shoes

DJ/Band: friends playing records
First Dance: La Vie en Rose, Louis Armstrong

Q&A with the bride and groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
M: seeing Alice for the first time
A: same, we spent the night apart and didn’t see each other until the ceremony. One of the few very traditional moments that we wanted to have.

What was your favorite detail?
A: The way that all the girls went barefoot on accident, Hazels shoes didn’t fit, Jesse’s heel broke off right before the ceremony, so we all ditched our shoes. Also, how public spaces we were familiar with became “ours” for the day.

Close second favorite wasn’t actually that day, but we spent an afternoon at Rare Tea Cellars with Roderick Marcus making a bride and grooms blend of tea for our take a ways. Each blend came out being a reflection of each of us. It was really cool how he was able to ask us each what we were thinking and help is create the perfect “us” teas.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
A&M: Hazel loudly brushing us off during our first dance when we asked if she wanted to join us, during the “Wall E” song. La Vie en Rose is on the soundtrack and thus made the perfect first dance not only because the lyrics are fitting but because Wall E is a favorite in our house. She also picked the song Alice walked down the isle to when given a short list of songs we’d narrowed it down to.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
A&M: Relax. It will play out the way it plays out. Try to steal a minute or two alone between the ceremony and the reception.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
A&M: Would have eaten more food!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
A&M: We will be going to Tulum, Mexico in Feb

Anything else worth mentioning?
A&M: Every single aspect of the day involved friends and family. All of our vendors, everything. Sportsman’s was the perfect reception venue, we were their first ever wedding. Alice’s family spent the year making 3 different home-brews for the reception. Friends helped to get booze donated, Ashley was a friend, Nate married the other couples in our circle, John was asked to co officiate as soon as he let it slip that he was ordained. Bethany, obviously your role as friend shows in the way you took the photos. It was literally a family affair. And it made all the difference, it felt very loving.

A little history…

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
We met at Bar DeVille right when it opened through our expansive groups of mutual friends, so 6 years…we always have the bar’s birthday as a marker for us as well.

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
There wasn’t really an exact moment for either of us, we just started talking about the same things and making the same plans. It was very organic.

Describe the proposal.
We were at home and about to go on vacation with 4 other couples who were all married and kept teasing about it. The ring is a family heirloom, was Alice’s deceased mother’s wedding band, made by her paternal great great grandfather who was a jeweler in Minneapolis, very heavy meaningful stuff. Matty had been trying to get the three of us outdoors and on a hike or something to do it then, but Alice was getting over being sick. He asked in the living room, while Hazel toddled around, in our own space and element. It was perfect for us.

 

{Kelly & Steve: It’s You I Like}

{Kelly & Steve: It’s You I Like}

“It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair.
But it’s you I like, the way you are right now, the way down deep inside you.
Not the things that hide you. …It’s you I like.”
-Fred Rogers

Kelly and Steve were introduced online by some mutual college friends and spent 3 months emailing back and forth before ever meeting in person. Sometimes words on a page (or email) can be so much more revealing than a handful of dates, in fact Kelly was convinced that Steve was her guy from the very first correspondence (but of course didn’t tell him until much later so he wouldn’t think she was crazy!). From the very start they were open and candid, even joking about their quirks and odd behaviors (like Steve’s love for rubbing Q-tips in his ears… I might get in trouble for posting that!). When the day finally came to see each other face to face they chose a neutral spot, the ticket booth at the North gate of the Brookfield Zoo. Hearts were pounding, they went for a stroll and after a few exchanged jokes by the Hippo pen they knew they were on to something.
Kelly and Steve go together like PB&J, they laugh with their whole face, they hold each other like no one else is in the room, and they even dance like it’s the best song they have ever heard. How fitting that they would get married in that same spot where they fell in love!
The Brookfield Zoo is a great setting for a wedding, you can’t resist a child-like fascination of the animals and the grounds are beautifully kept… a beautiful setting for a beautiful couple!
Kelly describes Steve in 5 words: Humble, gentle, brilliant, goofy, optimistic
Steve describes Kelly in 5 words: Intelligent, funny, sensitive, beautiful, tender
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The visitor’s center at a zoo is full of surprises!
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Steve was getting in place for the first look.
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But no need to be too serious!
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Happy tears!
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The group arrived for some photos, first up were the sisters.
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Thumbs up from the wedding party!
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Then we took a ride around the zoo.
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Then the front gate where it all began!
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The groomsmen were feeling ferocious…
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Cocktail hour with the bears!
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Awesome groom’s cake!
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Kelly couldn’t resist… cake in the face!
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Congrats Kelly and Steve!
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Second photographer: Jamie Hartley

Hair and makeup: Justin Thompson (hair), Nina Sullivan (makeup)

Florist: Village Flower Shop – Plainfield, IL

Ceremony location: Brookfield Zoo

Reception location: Brookfield Zoo

Event Planner: Henry Garbers (onsite)

Officiant: David Rice

Cake: Lezza Spumoni & Desserts, Inc.

Groom’s Cake: Maggie Yontz

Caterer: Brookfield Zoo

Invitations/Stationary: Al Boardman (save the dates), Minted (everything else)

Dress: Diana’s Bridal – Skokie, Essence of Australia dress

Accessories:
· – Veil: Sara Gabriel
· – Earrings: Givenchy
· – Pearl bracelet was “something borrowed”
· – Shoes: Nina
· – Hair fascinator: EndlessFlowers on etsy.com
· – Rings: M & M Jewelers

Suit/Men’s accessories:
· – Suits: Vera Wang
· – Shoes: Converse

Bridesmaids’ dresses: J. Crew

DJ/Band: Admit One DJs

First Dance: “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

Parent dances: “You Remind Me of You” by Jack Johnson

Q&A with the bride and groom:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Steve: The first look. It was really the one intimate moment we got to have together all day. It was the first time I saw Kelly and it took my breath away.
Kelly: The first look. It was wonderful to have a few quiet minutes just the two of us. Seeing him before the ceremony helped to calm my nerves, which let me enjoy everything thereafter that much more.

What was your favorite detail?
K&S: The groom’s cake, which was made by one of Kelly’s close friends. Steve loves Superman and Everton Football Club, so Maggie incorporated both into the decoration. She did an incredible job! We surprised Steve with it right before the reception. He loved it so much he had tears in his eyes.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Steve: One of my groomsmen, the one who introduced us, did a reading during the ceremony of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. Matt is a born performer, and his comedic timing was perfect for the reading.
Kelly: While we were waiting at the zoo before the ceremony, my bridesman, Charlie, walked into the room wearing an Easter Bunny head he had found in the hallway. It was hilarious!

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
K&S: Don’t make the planning process too complicated. You could go crazy with all of the options out there and all of the things you people say you have to do. Limit yourself to two or three options at most and go with your gut when you find something you like.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Kelly: I would have had a videographer. It was all over before we knew it, as everyone said it would. If we had it recorded, I feel like I could take the time to absorb it a little more. The ceremony, in particular, was so beautiful and perfect that I wish I could see it as an observer.
Steve: I would try to make it three hours longer. Everything was perfect, but it was over too quickly. I would have liked to have been able to savor it.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
K&S: We spent 10 days in Hopkins, Belize, which is so quiet and remote. Aside from one day snorkeling along the Barrier Reef, and another visiting Mayan ruins, we didn’t do anything but lie on the beach and drink Belikin beer. It was exactly what we needed!

A little history…
How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
We were introduced via Facebook (of all things!) by mutual friends almost exactly two years to the date of our wedding. As Steve lived in France at the time, we corresponded only by email for nearly three months until Steve moved to the US and we were finally able to meet in person. We met for our first date at Brookfield Zoo, so we couldn’t imagine having our wedding anywhere else. For the first year he was in the US, Steve lived in New York City, so we did a lot of travelling back and forth until he moved to Chicago in August 2013.

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
K: I knew I was going to marry Steve as I read the first email he sent me. Of course, I kept that a secret from Steve and my friends until after he proposed; I didn’t want to jinx anything. Or sound crazy. J
S: Our first date. It was so comfortable and easy. We had already gotten to know each other by writing almost daily for the past few months. We immediately clicked when we met face to face.

Describe the proposal.
K: We spent Christmas last year in Steve’s hometown in Northern Ireland with his family, and he planned to propose at Giant’s Causeway the second day we were there because the weather was supposed to be beautiful. That day, we drove up to the north coast to hike along the Causeway, but unfortunately, the weather forecast was wrong and it turned out to be cold, windy, and sleeting. We hadn’t dressed for the weather, so I (not knowing Steve’s plan to propose) ended up buying a big hat and mittens from the gift shop. To top it off, two buses full of really noisy tourists arrived, making the trails crowded and not exactly conducive to an intimate proposal. As we walked along, Steve waited for the right moment, but with the awful weather and all of the people around us it just didn’t seem right. We found a stairway that took us to the top of a cliff, which overlooked the ocean and the rock formations. Then the sun suddenly came out and we were away from all of the other tourists, so Steve finally proposed. He had been so calm and collected all day, per usual, that I had no clue what was happening and thought that he was asking me if I would hypothetically marry him. I – in my big, silly hat and mittens – answered, “Yeah, sure, I would!” Not until he pulled out the ring did I realize he was really asking me. And, of course, he couldn’t put the ring on me until I took off the giant mittens. It was a bit of a comedy of errors, but it was so perfect and so ‘us’ – I wouldn’t change a thing!