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{Audrey & Nick: Married at RM Champagne Salon!}

{Audrey & Nick: Married at RM Champagne Salon!}

One afternoon I headed downtown to get a haircut from my lovely friend Teri, her friend at the salon had just become engaged and we struck up a conversation. After a few short minutes chatting with the bubbly and adorable Audrey I knew I wanted to had to photograph her wedding! Not only did she describe the sweetest wedding at RM Champagne Salon (oysters and champagne? yes please!), but Aud was also having her mom’s wedding dress re-made for the big day. A couple of weeks later (and a couple of Moscow Mules later) I met with her and Nick and the deal was sealed. There were absolutely no rules for their wedding… they hugged and kissed friends and family as they arrived for the ceremony, they exchanged vows and a ton of laughs surrounded by candles and loved ones, they partied in the outdoor courtyard and even had a psychic on hand to read everyone’s fortunes. And their first dance… “All Shook Up” by Elvis! Even though there were plenty of beautiful details and special touches throughout the space, they didn’t take things too seriously and the main event was definitely the love between them and their families. These two are beyond amazing, I left that night with sore sides from laughing and a camera bag full of incredible memories.

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The girls were having a blast!
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We gathered the girls for a few quick photos in front of the Soho House.
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Aud was ready to greet the arriving guests!
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The RM Champagne courtyard looked amazing.
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The new Mr and Mrs!
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Fortunes were told…
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Audrey danced like it was the best night of her life… and it was!
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Congrats Audrey and Nick!!

Photographer: Bethany Fritz

Hair and makeup: Reva at Salon Buzz (hair), Joanna Bastermajian/Joanna B Artistry (makeup)
Florist: Audrey’s mom and Chris Pecorella
Ceremony location: RM Champagne Salon
Reception location: same
Officiant: Audrey’s cousin Mason Karrer
Cake: Nelcotte
Caterer: Nelcotte
Invitations/Stationary: Page Stationary
Dress: Audrey’s mom’s, redone by MJ Ernst (MJ Ernst Couturier/Mysterious Mannequin)
Accessories: head band BHLDN, and jewelry was all Audrey’s grandmother’s vintage pearls
Suit/Men’s accessories: Ted Baker

Band (during ceremony): Gussied

DJ: Okyne Media (DJ Dan)
First Dance: “All shook up,” Elvis

Audrey describes Nick in 5 words: spontaneous, hilarious, unique, sincere and perfect

Q&A with the bride:
What was the most memorable moment of your day?
Aud: After we said I do and Nick and I went into courtyard alone and took it all in

What was your favorite detail?
Aud: I think it would have to be the fact that I was wearing my moms dress and how special it really was to be in it on my wedding night!

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Aud: The ceremony by far and praying to god nick didn’t go down!

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Aud: Enjoy every second bc it sure does fly by like everyone says!

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
Aud: Not a thing. My mom really did plan the royal wedding in my eyes! Was truly the best night of our lives

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
Aud: The great state of WI! Door county to our lake house

A little history…

How did you meet?
My brothers friend, and then roommate

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
The first night we hung out in a group and we talked all night. I laughed the whole time and just knew there was something. You really do just know!

Describe the proposal.
Old water tower under Christmas tree. Couldn’t of been more perfect.

 

{Becky & John: Love and Roses}

{Becky & John: Love and Roses}

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” -Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

Sometimes love is so big your heart has to grow a few sizes to take it all in. I think that’s why some say your heart “hurts” when it’s full, it’s just experiencing growing pains. I am convinced that Becky and John’s hearts are at full capacity, perhaps even overflowing, and they give their love happily and freely to those around them. When I met them I instantly felt it, and I think my heart grew a size or two. They are something special! I was definitely looking forward to this wedding from the moment we parted ways after our first meeting, not only to spend more time with them but also because I knew I would be witnessing some amazing love-filled moments. And indeed I did! Love was in the details, from the roses in honor of John’s last name (and John’s late grandmother had grown prize-winning roses in her yard) to the sprigs of rosemary at each place setting for remembrance. And after all the heartfelt speeches were given and the delicious food was consumed (including pies from First Slice Cafe!) the dance floor erupted into a huge sweaty mess… they danced like there was no tomorrow! I can only hope some of these photos convey a small portion of the fun we had, or even a fraction of the love these two feel for each other. Becky and John… you had me at “hello.” :)
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John and the guys began the day at Ribfest! Followed by beers at Half Acre.
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Meanwhile, it was time to get Becky in her dress!
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Sometimes you have to get creative!
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Congrats Becky and John! Now let’s go get some Jeni’s ice cream. :)

 

Second Photographer: Jamie Hartley

John describes Becky as: She’s my most perfect person
Becky describes John as: Funny (really, really funny), thoughtful, driven, patient and kind

Hair and makeup:
Hair – Maggie Araque and Erin (Need to find her last name!)
Makeup – Emily Wolf Makeup Artistry

Florist: Steve Gierke and Jayson DeGeeter (Co-workers/friends of the bride) – Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects

Ceremony location: Queen of Angels Catholic Church

Reception location: Ravenswood Event Center – Industrial Ballroom

Event Planner:
Jen Anthony – Ravenswood Event Center
Day of Coordination – LuckB Events, MP Dvorak and Jaclyn Thomas

Officiant: Father Jim Kaczorowski

Cake: Pie! – First Slice Cafe

Caterer: Ravenswood Event Center

Invitations/Stationary:
Designed by Tracy Taylor (Bride’s Aunt)
Invitations were printed by: Vertallee Letterpress
Calligraphy: Christy Toney, CT Designs

Other Amazing Vendors:
Cake plates – Kelly Connolly, Nimble Well
Chalkboard Art – Miya Russell, Layers of Loveliness

Dress + Veil: BHLDN
Bridesmaids Dresses + Accessories: JCrew
Bride Accessories: Earrings (family heirloom), Bracelet (BHLDN)

Suit/Men’s accessories: Formally Modern Tuxedo

DJ/Band: Toast & Jam (DJ Ruby)

First Dance: “Be My Baby” – the Ronettes

Parent dances:
Father/Daughter Dance – “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III
Mother/Son Dance – “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King

Q&A with the bride and groom:

What was the most memorable moment of your day?

John: Like most grooms, I feel pressure to say it was the moment when she walked down the aisle…I rehearsed what I would feel and think for years and honestly, I went completely blank as she walked toward me. The most memorable moment for me was taking a few minutes to just ourselves on the balcony that oversaw our reception and we saw 175 of our favorite people all celebrating our union even without us in the room. It was like we created a tidal wave of happiness beneath us. It was surreal.

Becky: I couldn’t agree more – it was the first time we really got to talk to each other that day! Thanks to my brilliant matron of honor for making sure we got to have that moment together, it was the most special.

What was your favorite detail?

Becky: The flowers. They were such a labor of love and turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Each bouquet and arrangement was like a little secret love note from me to John: the Juliet Roses in honor of our last name, and John’s late grandmother who grew prize-winning roses back in the day, rosemary for remembrance, blue forget-me-nots, and hydrangea for “heartfelt emotions”.

John: My wife’s family provided a Colombian band that really kicked off a rocking dance party that continued all night long. It set the tone that this wasn’t going to be a traditional wedding but that there were going to be elements of culture and family that prevailed throughout. People were dancing with people they wouldn’t have normally and to songs they would have never listened to on their own.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?

Becky: Racing to the dance floor from the cocktail room with John to make sure that we didn’t miss “Shout!”

John: That moment when I handed out Blues Brother and Kanye glasses to the dance floor crew and everyone went invisible.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?

Becky: First, hire Bethany Fritz. ;) Second, remember to make decisions based on what makes you and your partner HAPPY. Third, spring for a day of coordinator.

John: Go on dates while planning. Put down the planner and the budget tools and take her out for a fancy drink, a taco, dancing, anything. Just don’t lose yourselves to the process. The journey is the actual destination.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?

Becky: I would have eaten ALL of my dinner. The food was so, so, so delicious – and I was too excited to sit down for more than a few bites. In other words, I should have listened to my husband when he told me to sit down and eat

John: I would have tried to learn more about decor planning. I saw my wife pour over magazines, Pinterest and anything that would spark inspiration for our vision of what the wedding would look like. I realized that I have a decent eye for design and could have lent more constructive help to her in that area. Sorry honey.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Becky: Sigh….Paris…I miss it so much! And the only thing more romantic than Paris in June, is Paris in June with your new husband who planned. the.entire.trip.

John: My grade school French speaking abilities came back and found my groove around hour 7 there. In my mind I wake up every day and walk down to the local brasserie and come back with fresh baked goods and coffees to my wife. There’s no greater happiness in her eyes than the sight of warm, fresh French bread and cappuccino; I realized I can be good at this “husband thing.”

A little history…

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)

John: I’ll let her tell this one. She’s a better storyteller than I am.

Becky: The story is best told over beers…so the short version is that we met at work in 2009. I got very, very lost on my first day, and John navigated me back to the office. He was the very first person I met in Chicago.

When did you know he/she was “the one”?

John: I kissed her within the first 20 minutes of our first date. That was it. She came over. I had some cool drinks and sweet eats prepared and an irrational sense of courage from my 2nd beer. I kissed her. She kissed back. We’re married now. Don’t be afraid to make a bold move.

Describe the proposal.

Becky: John and I are both from Ohio – he asked me to marry him in Chagrin Falls, over Jeni’s Ice Cream and the ring in a blue mason jar. The man knows his audience.

 

{Julia and Shane are getting married!}

{Julia and Shane are getting married!}

Shane is a good friend of mine, not to mention a damn fine photographer. (Be sure to check him out: Shane Welch Photography) He proposed not too long ago to his gorgeous girlfriend Julia in Puerto Rico, the video is pretty epic (watch it here). We chatted about his wedding plans (after all the weddings we witness in our line of work, it’s always so interesting to see what a photographer chooses to do for his/her own wedding) and tossed around some names of awesome photographers he should hire to cover the big day. When he told me he had scored the unbelievable Jeff Newsom from CA I was thrilled, but when he followed that with a request for me to photograph his engagement session I can’t lie… I was really nervous! And then he gave me no input other than “do whatever you want.” So where oh where to begin?! Luckily Shane was willing to share some of his favorite places with me, he is an amazing location scout and prides himself on finding unique Chicago spots that are off the beaten path (but maybe not always legal). Our first location was a colorful gem, full of surprising nooks and crannies (don’t mind the broken glass!). And these two are head over heals for each other… all I had to do was aim my camera, they were so comfortable with hugging, laughing, and even some smooching- easy peasy! They brought their puppy Lily along for a few family pics, we had a blast taking these photos. Thanks Julia and Shane for bringing your A game, and for volunteering to be my models whenever I need you (I will be taking you up on this very soon!). You two rock!
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Elevation.
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{Michelle+Brandon: A Chicago Elopement}

{Michelle+Brandon: A Chicago Elopement}

I got my first email from Michelle as they were driving their packed car and two french bulldogs across the country in a move from California to Chicago. She asked me about taking some engagement photos once they were settled in their new apartment, and then a week later said that maybe they might just head over to the courthouse and get hitched after all and was I in? Of course I was! Fast forward a few more days and family decided to fly in for the celebration, Michelle found a dress on Etsy (even “flower girl” dresses for the puppies!), a wedding officiant (the awesome Liz Hoffman of RevItUp!), they transformed their living room into a cozy dining area for their whole family, wrote some vows, Brandon rented a bus and away we went! The spontaneity of it all was exhilarating, truly a fabulous and fun way to celebrate with the ones you love most. Watching them party on the bus, champagne toasts full of laughter (even a few family members watched via FaceTime on the iPad, gotta love technology!) and then all gather in the kitchen to prepare dinner was amazing. Michelle even threw an apron over her dress and started cooking! There was so much love in that room, I was seriously smiling for days. Michelle and Brandon are absolutely gorgeous, inside and out, and capturing this awesome day for them was unbelievable.

Five words to describe Michelle and Brandon: Kind, Considerate, Funny, Loving & Beautiful
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Michelle even had her mom’s wedding dress on display.
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She did her own hair and makeup and then got the flower girls dressed.
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First look on their balcony…
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We gathered for an impromptu wedding ceremony at the Cancer Survivor’s Garden on Randolph Street.
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Gorgeous!
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This family gave new meaning to “party” bus!
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Congrats Michelle and Brandon, what a beautiful way to jump into married life!
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Hair and makeup: Michelle
Florist: Michelle
Ceremony location: Cancer Survivors’ Garden
Reception location: Our Home
Event Planner: n/a —> no planning here!
Decorations: Tablescapes & Some great thrifting finds
Officiant: Liz Hoffman – Rev it up
Cake: Michelle, yet again
Caterer: Our Mom’s,Grandma and myself! (My dad helped too)
Invitations/Stationary: Wedding Paper Divas
Dress: Custom made by A Sweet Lady named Zitaa
Accessories: A vintage ring from each Grandma,My Grandma’s earrings & My Mom’s Vintage Wedding hat that she wore on her wedding day over 30 years ago!
Suit/Men’s accessories: Hugo Boss

Q&A with the bride:

What was the most memorable moment of your day?
I think that the ceremony is what really stands out for me. Brandon (and everyone else for that matter) was so emotional when the ceremony started. I thought for sure I would be a big crying mess, but once I grabbed his hands I was very at ease. It was really special to share such an intimate moment with just our families.

What was your favorite detail?
Gosh, that is so hard! I truthfully can’t pick just one. Everything was just very us, intimate and fun.

Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Haha, where do I begin on this one? My funniest memory is probably before walking down the “aisle” with my dad. He wanted to take a couple “selfies” of just us before it all happened, we face-timed my brother who last minute couldn’t make it. Not to mention he was just making me laugh hysterically before/during our walk. He is the best.

Any advice for future brides/grooms?
Don’t take the day too seriously. It goes by way to fast. Try and sit back, look around and really breathe it in. Not everything will always go perfectly to plan, but I promise when you embrace the mistakes and just laugh about them, that is when the magic really happens.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?
The day was so perfect, so it’s hard to say yes but I think there are a couple things we would probably readjust looking back now.Personally, I would def. change my dress. I loved it, however when I finally got it, I really didn’t have time to alter it at all. It was just so big and so much material, It def.wasn’t doing me any favors. Nonetheless, it was a perfect day!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We are actually going back to San Diego in November to have a big wedding party with all our friends and family to celebrate our wedding. I think after that, there may be a surprise trip somewhere :)

A little history…

How did you meet? (How long have you known each other?)
I met brandon through a friend when I was in Highschool. I actually didn’t like him at first, but he was pretty persistent and apparently I came around. We just hit the 8 year mark this August. :)

When did you know he/she was “the one”?
Well according to my father-in-law, Brandon knew I was the one when I went on a family vacation with them years back and we were in the middle of canada on a lake, when our boat hit a rock and we literally started sinking…. I was shoveling water and ready to swim….Apparently I passed the test.

I knew Brandon was the one when, at one point in our relationship, maybe 5 years ago, we took a little break- The time we were apart, I learned what it felt like to loose a piece of your heart. After, when we decided to get back together, I knew that was it. I couldn’t live without him.

How did he propose?
Brandon Proposed on New Years Eve. His parents were having a big party at their house, both of our families and friends were all there to celebrate ringing in the new year. Brandon grabbed our little french bulldog, Runey and went running outside to the backyard mumbling something about her going to the bathroom. I followed of course. When we got down there, he bent down to set her in the grass, turned and just sorta stayed down on one knee. Then, he opened his hand and was holding my Grandma’s wedding ring, AKA the only piece of jewelry I’ve ever loved/ literally dreamed about. To say I was hysterical may be an understatement. It was so special, even though this huge party was going on, it was just us in that moment. I finally pulled it back together,and at that point he confirmed, “you said yes right” apparently all the tears didn’t answer the question. went back upstairs to go inside and everyone was standing around cheering it and clapping…. then we celebrated!

 

{Caroline & Kyler: “Be Awesome”}

{Caroline & Kyler: “Be Awesome”}

The best part about being in love is having someone you can truly be yourself with. They love every side of you, from serious to hilarious, your adorable and even not-so-adorable quirks. “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” (When Harry Met Sally) Caroline and Kyler are exactly this kind of perfect fit, from laughing and cracking jokes to snuggling perfectly into the nook of the other’s arm. I first noticed how striking they are as a pair at her sister’s wedding, and let me tell you it was SO much fun photographing them! They met working together and Kyler even arranged an amazing surprise proposal for Caroline last year at work (photographed by my beautiful colleague Jenn Gaudreau of Jennifer Kathryn Photography) They were ready for a photo adventure and we set out to cover some fun and unique spots around the city. Halfway through our first session the skies opened up and the rains came down, we were completely soaked and decided to schedule round two. Luckily the second session was even more beautiful than the first, with a killer sunset and hard-to-believe pink and purple skies. Caroline and Kyler know how to “be awesome!”
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And then it rained and RAINED… so we met up the following week and kicked it off with a bang!
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I am LOVING this wall mural by Don’t Fret, it inspires fun!
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Did I mention that they levitate?
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And they are totally up for anything!
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Yes, the sky really was this color!
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Dusk is such a great time of day, with just enough light left to pull off a couple more photos.
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And then a final stop for a well-deserved pint!
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{Jessica+Matt: They’re Getting Hitched!}

{Jessica+Matt: They’re Getting Hitched!}

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jessica’s family for a couple of years (I photographed both of her brother’s weddings! You may remember Jason’s awesome mohawk, click here to refresh your memory), and those Turleys are FULL of personality! Needless to say, I love them all! Jess is no exception, and she will tell you exactly how it is. In fact that’s how this all began… Matt was the quiet midwestern boy from Wisconsin who had just started working with her and she knew she wanted to get to know him better. Before he had a chance to do the asking she pinned him against the wall, said he was taking her out the next night for a date, and kissed him. Matt was obviously pleased with this proposal and the two have been an item ever since. You have to love a take-charge kind of woman, go Jess! We spent some time wandering the park before sunset with their adorable dog Huck Finn, but of course didn’t take things too seriously (as you will see below).

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Jack and Jill went up the hill…
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Jess and Matt have many faces…
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Congrats Jess and Matt, I can;t wait to celebrate your wedding with you!