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category: Weddings




The Celebration Farm Iowa City, IA wedding | Chicago wedding photographer | Amy & Dan

Honesty time…I’m not a big fan of traveling for weddings…it’s out of my comfort zone, I stress about forgetting stuff at home, I worry about getting lost etc. However when I do travel for a wedding, I do it for a couple who truly is special.  This couple took their wedding planning seriously, but made sure they really enjoyed every minute if the actual day. There was plenty of time for fun photos at some of the most scenic locations, I mean WOW! And if that wasn’t enough we snuck in some stunning sunset photos, and even had a few minutes with the full moon. Any and Dan I cannot thank you enough for trusting me with your memories, and allowing me the time to create some of my favorite photos ever!!

Hair and Makeup: Salon Voche

Dress: Hope’s Bridal

First look.

Flowers: Sam’s Club and fiftyflowers.com

Suit: Indochino

How adorable are these kids?? The little boy was the Ring-BEAR-er 😀

Photo by Carol

Photo by Carol

DJ: Jitterbug Events

DJ: Jitterbug Events

 From the couple…
‘Favorite Purchase: Most of decorations we made ourselves, including invitations, center pieces, and flowers. We had a lot of fun together designing the invitations and picking out the picture frames, lanterns, and flowers.
 
Amy’s Favorite Memories: Sneaking onto the Apple Orchard property and getting hounded by the resident black cat. Also when guests started realizing that our first dance was choreographed.
 
Dan’s Favorite Memories: The moment the dance floor blew up for the first time and everyone was dancing and singing together. And leaving the busy party behind to take sunset pictures was very deeply satisfying.
 
Funny Moments: Calling the groomsmen to stop at a liquor store to pick up booze for the bridal party getting ready. The peanut gallery yelling “Yeah! Get it girl!” when the bride ate the first cupcake. And when our officiant called all of our friends hired extras.
Because we didn’t a receiving line, we should have made cocktail hour an extra 20 minutes longer to give us more time to greet everyone before dinner started.
 
Enjoy the planning process, because it lasts a lot longer than the wedding day. We had so much fun putting our day together that the day seemed like nothing went wrong.
  Make sure to do what you want to do on your wedding day. If you want to dance, dance. If you want to leave to take pictures, do it. If you want to eat brisket, eat that. Make the day yours and you can’t go wrong.
 
Also, don’t skimp on the DJ or the photographer. Having their support through the whole process was invaluable.’




Redfield Estate at the Grove in Glenview | Chicago wedding photographer | Ginger & John

This wonderful couple found me though the Redfield Estate. As my regular blog readers know, it’s one of my most favorite places to photograph weddings. If you’re looking for a unique venue with stunning nature and gorgeous photo ops around every corner, this is it!  I had a blast chatting and planning with the Bride’s Mom & the Bride, they chose their vendors carefully, but trusted them to execute their vision. Enjoy the photos!!

Dress – Gigi’s Closette

Makeup – Adrianna Ghilarducci

First look.

Venue – The Grove/Redfield Estate 

When Grandma sees the Bride for the first time…such a special moment.

Flowers and arrangements – Morning Glory Flower Shop

Rings – Sandburg Jewelers

Perfect example of why two photographers are important…when dad is ready to walk in with the Bride I’m already at the ceremony site…by having another photographer, fun moments like these are not missed 🙂 Photo by Eric

Photo by Eric

Flowers and arrangements – Morning Glory Flower Shop

Catering – Catered by Design 

Bacon Bar!!

Hair – Gary Gwin

Photo by Eric

Photo by Eric

iPod DJ – Just Press Play, Naperville Photo by Eric

Vintage car –  Classic Wedding Car





Michigan Shores Club wedding photos | Wilmette wedding reception venue | Alyssa & Lewis

I love super chill couples…bonus points to said chill couple who does a first look, and has a bunch of fun people in their wedding party! First look, ceremony and reception all at the stunningly gorgeous Michigan Shores Club in Wilmette.

Dress – Allure Bridals (from Glamour Closet)

Shoes – Badgley Mischka

Photo by Carol

Photo by Carol

Venue – Michigan Shores Club

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

Venue – Michigan Shores Club

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

 

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

Officiant, Andrea Luburich

Venue – Michigan Shores Club

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

Flowers – Romance In Blooms

DJ TecKniquE

From the Bride…

‘Dress – Allure Bridals (from Glamour Closet) alterations by Gail Terenzio Doyle

Makeup – Antonella Accolti #nellabellamakeup | Hair – Patrick Munoz | Wedding Planner Jessica Sturm

Favorite wedding related purchase – our cake topper (so our pup was part of our big day)

Favorite wedding memory – Lewis’s was seeing me for the first time, mine was having my grandma help me get ready, she’ll never know how truly special that was for me.

Funny moments – when our ring bearer/nephew let out the biggest sigh during a quiet moment during our ceremony. Also when our best man lost the rings, he put them down and never picked them back up – thank goodness one of the venue employees found them.

All of our vendors were amazing and went above and beyond to help make our day perfect! I never thought I could be so in love with flowers – Kathleen is beyond talented and made my ideas come to life in a way I could’ve never even dreamed of.

 And Hilda, you never had a dull moment and really kept our bridal party laughing… Everyone still talks about how much fun you and Carol were to work with!

Any advice for couples – leave your phone at home or just kept away, put someone else in charge of everything and just enjoy your day – it all goes by so fast. We were lucky enough to be able to eat our dinner while everyone was at cocktail hour – best idea ever because then while everyone was eating dinner we were able to go around to all our guests tables.’





St. Paul of the Cross Church | Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel wedding | Monica & Mike

This was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve had the pleasure of photographing! This couple had their modern reception at the  Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel. The service and the staff is amazing, and with the help of an amazing team of vendors, this wedding was flawless.
 Flowers: Northern Greenhouses  
Mike surprised his bride with this gorgeous purse by Yves Saint Laurent
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Photo by Carol
Photo by Carol
Photo by Carol
Photo by Carol
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Fun socks!!
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Pre-party touch ups.
Love this, not posed.
Gorgeous artwork…Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel
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Photo by Carol
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The happy couple soaking in the reception room with venue  planner Vasso.
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Monica admiring the room.
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Photo by Carol
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DJ: John Grammatis
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 From the Bride…
‘As far as my Vendor team I loved all of them. I feel like I had a dream team. I would have to say my flowers were probably my favorite they just ran with my thoughts and made it something so beautiful. Also I would have to say Vasso from Lowes Hotel was the best person to work with. She helped organize my “vision” and help it come to life. She also went so above and beyond for things that I was not even expecting her to do. The best! Overall everyone did such a great job.
 
Favorite wedding purchase: Our rings 🙂
Favorite memory: 1. When Mike and I were first shown our venue. I was so blown away on how beautifully it all came together. 2.  getting ready with the girls in our suite 🙂  3. During cocktail hour Vasso had set up an escape room for mike and I. She took us away for 15 minutes and had a table set up with champagne and all of our hors d’oeuvres it was so nice to just have the time together for a few minutes.
Funny moments: Idk if it was so funny at the moment but the best man forgot our rings on the limo going to the ceremony luckily the driver had to pick the girls up after they were dropped off so one of the bridesmaid was able to get them to him.
If I could have changed anything it would have been not be so nervous while I was getting ready and just enjoyed that more.
 Just enjoy the day it goes so fast!’
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Limo: Cloud Nine | Photo booth: Icon Photo booth | Videographer : Blink of an Eye Production

 





Orchard Ridge Farms/The Pavilion | Same sex wedding | Brianna & Eva

From the very first meeting it was obvious that this happy couple was meant to be. Whenever they talked about their wedding or how they met, one or both of them teared up. On their wedding day they were surrounded by friends, family, love and support…it truly was a joy to see.

A great big bonus for me was working with two of my favorite vendors/ friends Anita Vaughn with Anita Weds and MDM Entertainment.

Hair/Makeup: Madison with Kiss That Makeup!

Venue: Orchard Ridge Farms

Brides Dresses: Gigi’s Closette in Glenview, IL

Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid dresses: David’s Bridal

Best Man/Father of Bride Tux: Men’s  Wearhouse

Officiant: Anita Vaughn with Anita Weds 

Photo by Cheryl

Dance Choreographer; Krystal with Move the Beat

DJ/Photobooth:  MDM Entertainment

Catering: Henrici’s with the Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms

DJ/Photobooth:  MDM Entertainment

Vendors:

-Videographer: Gigi with Mike Staff Productions

-Cake: Design by Brianna Laase but baked by Marianos 

-Boquet: Brianna Laase with flowers from Michaels or Hobby Lobby

-Various Décor: Hobby Lobby and Michaels, Steven Lindstrom (aisle runner)

-Wedding rings: CD Peacock creations

From the Brides…

“Eva’s favorite wedding related purchase is the Message in Bottle bottles. She loves the idea of what they represent and the colors of the bottles. 🙂 Brianna’s favorite purchase is all of the décor elements because we hand made all of the decorations, invitations, programs, bridal bouquets, etc. Eva’s favorite wedding memory is her father daughter but with all of her brother’s best friend/lifelong friends. Brianna’s, besides walking down the aisle and seeing my wife, is taking night time pictures with the officiant and starting the “wedding scream” picture trend. 🙂 Eva’s funny moment was when we were up on the island during the ceremony, forgetting that what state we were in right as Anita said, “And now by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you married and spouses for life.” Anita had to stop the ceremony to make sure Eva and I were paying attention.

Advice…Start planning early, don’t take time for granted, and have fun/enjoy the day. There will always be something that isn’t the way you expected it, but remember the main purpose of what the day is about.”





Madonna Della Strada wedding ceremony | Intercontinental Chicago wedding reception | Colleen & Aaron

This day was one of the rainiest days in my recent memory….but it didn’t matter! Everything went off without a hitch, and right at the beginning of the reception we got a tiny break in the weather to do a few outdoor photos. This wedding had so many gorgeous details, it was a feast for the eyes!!

Flowers: Anthony Gowder

Hair: Levato Salon – Ashley Carlevato

Dress: Matthew Christopher gown from Dimitra’s Bridal Couture

Hair: Levato Salon – Ashley Carlevato

Jewelry: Kendra Scott Bridal collection

Veil: Nymphi designs

Church: Madonna Della Strada

Flowers: Anthony Gowder

Classic Car: Classic Wedding Car

Tux: Ryan Seacrest – Macy’s Tuxedo Shop

Venue: Intercontinental Chicago

Cake: Bittersweet Bakery

Flowers: Anthony Gowder

Flowers: Anthony Gowder

Band: Orchestra 33

 From the Bride…
‘We absolutely loved the Intercontinental and the Renaissance ballroom was absolutely breathtaking. Chris Schmidt and all the staff at the Intercontinental went above and beyond to make sure our day was perfect!
Band: Orchestra 33 – they blew us away!! Our guests were on the dance floor all night!
Videographer: Poetic Productions
Headband: Brides & hairpins Los Angeles
Rings: Colleen: Jewels of Lake Forest Aaron: CD Peacock
Loved working with Anthony Gowder. From our first meeting with Cassandra I knew I wanted Anthony Gowder to do our flowers. Cassandra was amazing to deal with and we used her as our day of planner as well! The bouquets and all the centerpieces looked so stunning!
Hair: Levato Salon – Ashley Carlevato. They did an amazing job! Everyones hair looked beautiful and stayed in place until the end of the night. They were so much fun to work with and made the morning of beauty completely stress free!
Make up: Jennifer Stoller – Jennifer was amazing to work with and had all the girls looking flawless!
Favorite Memory: Seeing everything we spent 11 months and countless hours planning and working on come together. It was more than I could ever have imagined and it was perfect down to every last detail. Also, seeing all the love and support of everyone that came to celebrate our special day with us!
 
Advice: Always be flexible and prepared, go with the flow, and don’t stress about something you can’t control… like mother nature! Our wedding was on a “record rainfall day” in Chicago. Even though we couldn’t make some of our photo stops, do our church exit photos, or our sparkler send off due to the weather, thanks to Hilda we have the most amazing pictures.We planned ahead and had adorable clear bubble umbrellas for the bridesmaids, navy umbrellas for the groomsmen, and we just made it work. We made the most of the 5 minutes that it didn’t rain to take some amazing pictures on Michigan Ave and they are some of my favorite pictures of the whole day. Everything we had control of went perfectly, but the one thing that was out of our control didn’t and we just went with it!
 
Funny Moment: As we got off the bus at the Intercontinental my sister Kelly, who was my Matron of Honor looked at me and said it’s not raining!! She looked at Hilda and she said lets do it!! Hilda, Kelly, our videographer Keith, Aaron, and I ran to the Michigan Ave median and took full advantage of the 5 mins without rain. My amazing sister was squatting behind Aaron and me the entire time to hold my dress up so it didn’t get dirty from all the rain. Thank god she works out!! Kelly totally took one for the team and was the most amazing matron of honor. Whenever I look at those breathtaking Michigan Ave. pictures I laugh thinking Kelly is there squatting behind us in all these pictures! Will never forget that moment!’




Chicago wedding photographer | Itasca Backyard wedding | Kara & Andy

This happy couple didn’t have to travel far for their wedding, actually they did’t have to travel at all!! Both ceremony and reception were in their back yard. And check out all the fun DIY details, so pretty!

Hair and makeup by Neo Bella Salon in Naperville

This Bride is so super chill that she drove herself to the first look!

Dress from David’s Bridal 

After the first look we stopped by the Starbucks where the Kara and Andy had their first date <3

 

The Groom’s Mom made this gorgeous cake.





Christ the King Catholic Church Chicago ceremony | Beverly Country Club wedding | Colleen & Josh

Congratulations Colleen & Joshua, your weddings was absolutely stunning!!

Dress- Justin Alexander

Flowers- Dahlia Blooms

Hair- Nicolette Folinazzo | Make up- Linda Camacho

Church- Christ the King Catholic Church

The newlyweds showing off their new jewelry 🙂

Venue- Beverly Country Club

Flowers- Dahlia Blooms

Flowers- Dahlia Blooms

Band- The Connexion band

 

 From the bride…
‘Venue- Beverly Country Club and we couldn’t have been happier with the staff. Linda went above and beyond to make the day wonderful. Also extra special, my parents got married there 33 years ago ❤️

Flowers- Dahlia Blooms, Beata did an amazing job!

Cake- Creative Cakes located in Tinley Park

Favorite wedding Purchase- was our gift for my parents to thank them for all the love and support they gave to us throughout the whole process.

Favorite Memory- My favorite memory was seeing Josh for the first time as I was walking down the aisle, on my fathers arm! All of my nerves instantly melted away.

Something I would do different: really try to take in every single moment, the day really did fly by!

Advice- enjoy every second and marry your best friend :)’





Brookfield Zoo wedding ceremony & reception | Lindsy and Frank

When I first met Lindsy and Frank it was about 30 days before their wedding. WHAT? Yes you read that right. They had a photographer lined up (a big name studio), but the studio ended up cancelling on them. I felt horrible that they had to deal with this so close to the wedding…but I was super happy that they ended up hiring me.  Loved photographing this happy couple, their wedding was at Brookfield Zoo, so much fun!!

Shoes: Badgley Mischka.

Dress & Jewelry: Dress by Essense of Australia. Both the jewelry and the Dress were purchased at Diana’s Bridal in Skokie.

Photo by Cheryl.

Photo by Cheryl.

Venue: Brookfield Zoo

After the first look, we had plenty of time for fun photos, I recommend this to all couples who have their ceremony and reception back-to-back.

Venue: Brookfield Zoo

Officiant : Jeannie Walton

Cocktail hour…

Flowers: Betty’s Flowers and Gifts in Brookfield.

 Cake: Cannoli cake with buttercream frosting from Lezza Bakery

 

From the couple…

‘Venue: Brookfield Zoo, ceremony at Roosevelt Fountain, cocktails at Underwater Bears Pavilion, reception in the Discovery Center.
Venue organizer: Carly (She’s amazing) went above and beyond what a venue planner should have. She made everything so simple and        stress free.
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Food: Catered by Brookfield Zoo. The food was really good. I was originally worried about food coming from the zoo but it definitely exceeded my expectations.
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Shoes: Badgley Mischka. I love sparkle and these were the only thing I could find with that much bling!!!!!
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Hair and makeup: One Salon and Spa in Oak Brook (right next to Le Meridian). I loved this place. They were so accommodating and friendly.
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Hotel: Le Meridien in Oak Brook – The hotel is beautiful, however for the price the service and amenities were lacking.
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Cake: Cannoli cake with buttercream frosting from Lezza Bakery. Amazing!!! My husband is Sicilian and his family is from Sicily and they said it was the best Cannoli cake they have had in the states.
 
Dress & Jewelry: Dress was a moscato pink ballgown by Essense of Australia. Both the jewelry and the Dress were purchased at Diana’s Bridal in Skokie. Everyone at Diana’s bridal is amazing, however they have very limited time once you buy the dress to alter it. I had to take off work on 2 occasions for my alterations. Also my dress was a corset top and half way through the day one of the rods in the dress poked through the dress and impaled my hip. I would think after paying several thousand for the dress it wouldn’t have done that.
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Tux: Men’s Wearhouse  The tuxes looked great and everyone was able to pickup on time. I loved that one person could drop all of the tuxs off after the wedding.
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Flowers: Betty’s Flowers and Gifts in Brookfield. She made a trial bouquet and center piece for me to see what everything would look like.
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Invitations: DBY events and invitations. Beautiful quality. Kasey was such a huge party of planning our wedding. When we met with her, there were just so many things she recommended that we wouldn’t have even thought of on our own.
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Limo: Windy City Limo. Very reliable and professional
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Favorite purchase:
Bride: purchasing my husbands ring. I searched for months before I found his diamond band
Groom: Purchasing all of our wedding parties gifts
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Favorite wedding memory:
Bride: Getting to see the polar bears play in the water
Groom: Being able to see everything we planned come together at the end of the day
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Something you wish you would have done differently:
Bride and Groom: never having a wedding. The stress put on us for planning this wasn’t worth it. 
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Advice…If you can make it through planning a large wedding, you two are going to be just fine!’
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The Herrington Inn & Spa Geneva, IL | Brunch wedding ceremony & reception | Mary & Chris

I photographed the Bride’s (twin) sister’s wedding a few years ago. I was so thrilled when this happy couple asked me to photograph their unique brunch wedding at the The Herrington Inn & Spa
It’s a gorgeous  luxury boutique hotel nestled on the Fox River in Geneva Illinois, it was the perfect setting for the intimate wedding this couple wanted. Even though the day stared off with rain, shortly after the ceremony the skied cleared up, and everyone was able to enjoy the great weather and the stunning views.
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Dress: The Crystal Bride, Geneva.
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Makeup: Nicole Wagner, Glam by Nicole
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Photo by Carol
Photo by Carol
Ceremony time 🙂
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Officiant: Reverend Dan Sullivan
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 From the Bride…
‘Venue, The Herrington: fabulous, wish we could’ve had ceremony outdoors, staff Deanne and Rose were super attentive.
 
Florist: Anton Engelman at Town & Country Gardens: doesn’t personally do weddings anymore but did mine as he is the “family florist”
 
Rings: State Street Jewelers. Chris designed my ring himself, I’m still obsessed.
Cake: The Cakery in North Aurora | Arbor: built by my brother Andrew
Guitarist: Hector Fernandez, incredibly talented, most songs were special requests and he played them beautifully.
 
Officiant: Reverend Dan Sullivan. We have a lot of discussion whether or not we get married in the Catholic Church, based on the type of wedding we wanted it wasn’t an option. Reverend Sullivan was formally with the Catholic Church but left because he fell in love and got married. Couldn’t have asked for a better gentleman to perform our special day.
 My favorite moments: when my dad saw me after I was done getting ready, chatting with my hairstylist Michael and make up artist Nicole while getting ready, both have become dear friends. Chris coming to my bridal suite at 11 pm the night before because I was restless and staying with me until I fell asleep. My Mom and Nora (my brothers girlfriend) keeping everyone in line…all morning. My Dads epic speech, it was his last one, he had a lot to say.
Chris: seeing Mary, that was my whole day.
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Funny moments: Meg was hangry in the morning. Our buddy and groomsman JB stopped at McDonald’s to get her food before the show.
Bridesmaids Brittany and Sarah being confused for the “Brides” in their ivory dresses by a couple at the hotel bar.
Meg and JB getting in a parasol sword battle in the Courtyard.
Chris: nothing to report.
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Notes: neither one of us are comfortable being the center of attention. We opted for the Sunday brunch wedding with a smaller group so we could focus on conversation with our guests while sharing our day. Having an adults only wedding was paramount in the success of the very quick day. I know our siblings and friends who are parents enjoyed themselves much more. Plus only having the ceremony then eat and drink without other traditional events saved us from getting overwhelmed. Advice for couples, it’s your day, do what you want. A lot of people questioned the lack of stimulation and extras that have become standard (stupid Pinterest) for our wedding. We absolutely loved how quickly the day was over so we could resume just being us.’
 And then because I’m the luckiest photographer in the world we got to go take photos at  DuPage Airport. The couple met there while working for the airport 10 years ago. The Bride is now a Flight Operations Manager for a private company, and the Groom remains a technician for the airport authority.
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