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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Alyce and Shane are golden!

Alyce and Shane are golden!

I have never seen two people light up a room quite like Alyce and Shane. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting them both at a wedding earlier this year, Shane confided that he planned to ask Alyce to marry him the following week (and of course I eagerly gave him my business card!). Their plans to keep things small, possibly even elope, changed quickly as their guest list multiplied. The next thing they knew they were planning a wedding in 4 short months. Everything fell perfectly into place, although no one would of noticed if it hadn’t. They were all too busy gazing at this perfect pair, a truly beautiful couple on the outside and in. I can’t help but gush over this wedding, everything about it makes me smile.

The Chicago Illuminating Company is a great place for a wedding.

Warning: reading these vows might bring a tear to your eye.

Alyce’s mom was getting some extra “oomph” added to her lashes.

Her cousin was busy trying to figure out how to turn the iron on.

Her sister-in-law was catching up on some emails while getting her hair done.

Her mom helped her into her dress.

Her dad was very impressed!

They headed downstairs to the ceremony.

Shane was so excited to see his bride.

The guests were gathered around the couple in a circle creating a perfect intimacy.

Shane’s beautiful vows caused some waterworks.


We snuck away to the now empty Room 21 next door for some photos.

Some of the old passageways are still intact (this building used to be an Al Capone brewery).

I’m in love with this shot.

Kehoe did a wonderful job on the flowers and centerpieces.

Alyce’s brother and fiancé were all smiles (they were getting married the following month).

Alyce’s dad surprised everyone during his speech by demonstrating what makes a marriage successful.

The Nellie Travis band was ready to get the party started.

The photo booth was a hit. (I made a special enclosed version just for Shane)

Good Humor ice cream cart for desert, yum!

We ended the night with a few photos under the tracks.

The very biggest of congratulations to Alyce and Shane- let the golden age begin!


Hair and makeup: Makeup: Rachel Reiman, Hair: Ashley Condron
Florist: Kehoe Designs
Ceremony location: The Chicago Illuminating Company
Reception location: The Chicago Illuminating Company
Event Planner: We didn’t have a specific planner, but all of the vendors, including Marta from CIC, worked together really well to help the day run smoothly.
Cake: We opted out of a traditional cake and had a Good Humor ice cream cart instead
Caterer: Food for Thought
Dress: Nicole Miller (bought online for a steal!)
Accessories: pin worn in my hair–family heirloom (worn by every woman in my mom’s family on their wedding day)

DJ/Band: DJ:Cage and Aquarium, Band: The Nellie Travis Band
First Dance: “Golden Age” -Beck
Father/daughter: “Daughter” -Loudon Wainwright III

Q&A with the bride and groom:

What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Alyce: Seeing Shane for the first time at the end of the aisle is something I will never forget. It sounds like a cliche, but everything really did fade away for me. I don’t even remember hearing the music after that! I also loved that we decided to have our guests stand around us during the ceremony. It felt so supportive and meaningful as we shared our vows.
Shane: Seeing my beautiful wife for the first time as she walked into the ceremony.  I cried….like a baby.

What was your favorite detail?
Alyce: I loved that the whole night just felt like a party..it wasn’t so much the little details, but the general feeling of the day. I’m so happy we kept it simple without assigned seating so that everyone could mill around.
Shane: The Photobooth!  It was a hit, everyone loved it!  We had a great time looking at all the photos later that night!

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Alyce: It’s a tie: looking at all of the photobooth pictures at the end of the evening, or maybe when my dad surprised my mom by grabbing her and making out with her at the end of his speech. Everyone died of laughter, and my mom was really freaked out :)
Shane: Would have to be me completely forgetting to wait for the officiant to tell me to kiss the bride.  I just got caught up in the moment and went for it, I think I took Alyce a little by surprise.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Alyce: You really can plan an amazing wedding in a short amount of time! We were only engaged for 4 months, and we actually found that the time crunch helped us make decisions easier. It also made us figure out which elements were important, and which didn’t mean as much to us.
Shane: After the ceremony, we went upstairs and spent 15-20 minutes alone.  Your wedding day can be so hectic and it was great just to take a little time to step back, decompress a little and take it all in.  It was also pretty much the only time we were able to eat anything the entire night!

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Alyce: Not a thing. I loved every minute of it!
Shane: Does anyone really say yes to this?

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Alyce: Barcelona, Spain.
Shane: España


Baby Elle

Baby Elle

I first met Elle last year before the holidays when she was still just a baby. Now she has blossomed into an adorable, bubbly, and very mobile little girl. Who could resist these bright blue eyes and toothy smiles? What a fun afternoon of photographing Elle and her parents, even the dog participated. I am so pleased with the results of this portrait session, and I am quite sure that Elle will be even prettier the next time I see her.

Elle showed off her toes.

She was full of smiles.

The dog wanted a little attention too.

Elle showed me all of her best expressions.

Dad knew just how to make Elle laugh.

The dog was being very patient.

Elle looked good in her dad’s glasses.

She shared her snacks.

My favorite.

So pretty! Thank you Elle and family for a wonderful family photo session, see you again in a few months!


Jana and Erik- so happy together

Jana and Erik- so happy together

I spend most of my time photographing couples before their wedding and on their wedding day, and rarely do I have the chance to follow up with them after the wedding (until the family unit expands to include a puppy or a baby). When Jana contacted me about photographing her and her husband, I was so excited! It’s extra special to photograph a successful marriage, they have celebrated 6 years together and are so in love. They met one fateful summer when Jana traveled from her hometown in Estonia with a friend for a summer job in Door County, WI. She met a handsome boy and they spent many long summer days together. When it was time for her to go back home, they both realized it was not just a summer fling. Erik found himself on a plane to Estonia shortly after her departure and knew that this was the girl he wanted to spend his life with. It couldn’t have been easier to photograph these two, they are a beautiful couple full of love and affection for each other. I can only imagine how wonderful they will be in another 5 years!

You’re never too old for running and jumping!

Bursting with happiness.

A walk along the water together, maybe this is how it all began.

Jana is so gorgeous!

Eric attempted to draw a heart in the sand.

Jana’s heart turned out a bit better.

We headed downtown as the sun started to set.

They still flirt with each other.

Thank you Jana and Erik for a wonderful photo session and a glimpse into your beautiful marriage!


Nicole and Dyer are married!

Nicole and Dyer are married!

Nicole has a smile that could rival Julia Roberts, and the person that makes her smile most is Dyer. Perhaps his wonderful dance skills won her over, or maybe it was one of his other great attributes that captured her heart, but there is no denying that they make each other very happy. Their wedding at Kitchen Chicago was full of beautiful moments and lovely details, they planned everything perfectly down to the delicious food provided by Pure Kitchen. One of their closest friends Alexis even became ordained in order to marry them, her choice in readings was so well thought out that there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole room. It was such a joy capturing this wedding, congrats again Nicole and Dyer!

Nicole has the most amazing smile!

One of the bridesmaids brought these colorful umbrellas along, they made for a great photo.

Umm, hello greek goddess!

Their florist Marco is a genius- the bouquets and table arrangements were beautiful.

Jamie met up with the guys before the ceremony began.

Time to get married!

Dyer was all smiles.

This might be the best jump shot ever!

One of the groomsmen wanted to make sure we recognized his hard work (he posted directions for the guests).

Love this!

Nicole made all of the chalkboard menus.

Both Nicole and Dyer are skilled ballroom dancers, watching their first dance was so much fun.

Sometimes cake gets messy…

Big hug!

Hair and makeup: Myself (hair) and a friend (makeup), although all makeup products were MAC
Florist: Marco Alexzondra Floral and Event Services
Ceremony location: Kitchen Chicago
Reception location: Kitchen Chicago
Cake: Pure Kitchen
Caterer: Pure Kitchen
Dress: Nicole Miller
Accessories: Nine West (shoes)

DJ/Band: Just Press Play Productions
First Dance: Power of Two, Indigo Girls
Father/daughter: Father and Daughter, Paul Simon
Mother/son: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Eva Cassidy

Q&A with the bride:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Nicole: The ceremony and our vows. Our friend who performed and wrote the ceremony made it so beautiful and personal. I think we both got more emotional during our vows than we expected. In the end, that was why we were there and it’s the moment that is the most vivid for me.

What was your favorite detail?
Nicole: I’m not sure if this is a detail, but we absolutely loved Maypole’s photo booth! We tacked it on as a last minute thought in order to use an awkward space more efficiently, but everyone went crazy over it. The best part was looking through all the photos at the end of the night back in the hotel room. We had no idea our friends were so funny.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Nicole: My funniest memory was when my matron of honor and the friend doing my make-up walked in from getting their hair done with shower caps on. They were a little embarrassed about having pictures taken, but I thought it was the perfect moment to capture for posterity.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Nicole: Stay true to yourself and don’t feel pressured by the wedding industry. There are a million things wedding magazines make you feel like you need that neither you nor your guests will ever miss. Try to prioritize what moments and details will have meaning for you personally.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Nicole: The only thing we would change is transportation at the end of the night. We thought that we could pre-order taxis and it wouldn’t be a problem; however, the Air and Water Show combined with rainy weather, thwarted us. If we did it again, I think we would rent a couple vans and have someone shuttle out of town guests back to hotels at the end of the night.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Krakow


Chelsey + Travis = Funky love!

Chelsey + Travis = Funky love!

The rain didn’t stay away, in fact it poured. We had to improvise, compromise, and change a few things around. And it never once diminished the joy and love that everyone was feeling that day. Chelsey and Travis were so happy it was contagious, their metaphorical cups were full and running over with love. The sun came out just in time for some photos in the garden, they exchanged vows under the tent while the sun was setting, and even though the rain returned, it was hard to tell whether the guests were wet from the rain or just from crazy amounts of dancing. Their beautiful details were hand-made, from the bouquets to the cake topper. It was all so wonderful, I hope the photos can convey even a fraction of how great this wedding truly was. Congrats Chelsey and Travis!

Travis sent Chelsey a pre-wedding gift…

Chelsey’s dress might be my most favorite.

Travis had collected vintage tie pins for all the groomsmen.

Time for the first look…

I love this bridal party photo!

They couldn’t stop smiling.

Sometimes someone else is wearing the same dress…

One of the groomsmen was dancing so much he had to tape his shoe back together.

Another guest got a cupcake in the face while posing for the photo booth.

Jena from Toast and Jam DJ’s kept the dance floor wet and wild.

What an awesome wedding!

Q&A with the bride and groom:

Hair and makeup:  Teez’d Salon (hair) Bobbi Brown products (did makeup myself)
Florist: Did flowers myself, with the help of the bridal party and others
Ceremony location:  Glessner House Museum
Reception location:  Glessner House Museum
Event Planner:  None
Cake:  Fritz Pastry
Caterer:  D’Absolute Events and Catering
Dress:  Weddings 826
Accessories:  Nordstrom

DJ/Band:  Toast & Jam – DJ Jena Nixon
First Dance:  More, Bobby Darin
Father/daughter:  Unforgettable, Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole
Mother/son: Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon

What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Chelsey: Seeing Travis for the first time. I’m so glad we got to spend time together (for photos) before the ceremony.
Travis: Saying our vows to one another with all eyes and ears on us.

What was your favorite detail?
Chelsey: So many favorites! I loved the felt cake topper and the hanging ribbon details that I made, but our wedding party did an amazing job putting together the seating chart.
Travis: Hard to pick – either the name cards or the awesome tie tacks I had my groomsmen wear.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Chelsey: “Thriller” on the dance floor, where more than one guest became a zombie.
Travis: being hoisted up off the ground after “Footloose” finished playing.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Chelsey: Make your wedding your own. Feel free to throw some traditions out the window if they don’t matter to you. You’ll probably save some money, and nobody will ever notice.
Travis: Don’t let others’ expectations guide your decisions. Let your personalities show in the details.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Chelsey: I would probably give myself more than 4.5 months to plan it, especially with my mom and most bridesmaids living in other cities.
Travis: Nothing.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?  Mazatlan, Mexico


Marriage Mondays- Wedding vows and zombies

Marriage Mondays- Wedding vows and zombies

I know I say this all the time, but I really do love my job! Not only do I get to meet great couples and document their weddings, but I also get to work with my friends. I have photographed two weddings in the last month for friends, and it was so flattering to know that I was the first person (and only photographer) they contacted. Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Jason and Carrie’s wedding, both friends of mine and drinking buddies. They share a wonderful sense of humor, and I had high expectations for their wedding day. I knew that I would be in for a treat, but I did not expect the tears of laughter and joy that came over me and all those that witnessed their ceremony. The best vows ever! At the risk of remembering this incorrectly, I have to share a portion of Jason’s vows: “I promise, in the case of a zombie apocalypse, I will protect you and do my best to save you. And if you are bitten, I will lay you down gently.” Love it! (And, their cake was topped with ammo-toting bride/groom figurines, defending themselves from various zombie figurines!) Until the zombie apocalypse comes, I will continue to love ever minute of working with awesome people and seeing their great love stories first hand. Thanks again Carrie and Jason for the wonderful reminder of why I do what I do.