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month: October 2010

The Metropolitan Club wedding reception |Chicago IL Wedding | Julie and Pete

Julie and Pete are two people who know what they want,  they know how to make it happen, and they will do with with style and class…I mean really, a day that starts with Jimmy Choo shoes and ends up with a party on the top of the Sears (Willis) tower [Metropolitan Club @ Willis Tower, Chicago IL] isn’t one that will soon be forgotten.

Julie’s red Betsy Johnson party shoes.

And the after the party shoes 🙂

This is one of my favorite photos from the day, it was the last check in the mirror before Julie and Pete had their first look. You can feel the intensity of the moment… I love how Julie’s Mom is looking on making sure that everything is perfect for her daughter. Dress by Ulla Maija Couture.

Pete making sure he looked great for his bride.

They got ready at the W, and this hall was perfect for their first look.

The ironic part of this moment is that Julie and I worked really hard to convince a more traditional Pete that seeing each other before the wedding was a good idea, and aren’t you glad you listened Pete? It ended up being his favorite moment of the day, and I must say mine as well.  It gave us more time for amazing photos, and who doesn’t want that?

Julie had a very special little black book made (by yours truly) for him as his gift, I do believe he’s saying “Thank you Hilda” in this photo  😉

Waiting for the ceremony to start in a 1941 Cadillac. http://www.absolutedreamlimos.com/

How cute is the ring-bearer in his policeman’s uniform? (The Groom and some of the Groomsmen are police officers)

The tiny flower girl floated down the isle, she wasn’t even nervous, she did such a good job 🙂


I’m not limited only to photography during a wedding day, I do whatever needs to be done…and to be honest I love fussing with and spoiling the Brides.

Favorite 1.

LOVE this! Favorite 2!

Who am I kidding, all the photos on the blog are my favorite, otherwise they wouldn’t be on here.

OK true story…I was laying on the street to get this shot.

Cake by http://www.ilgiardinodeldolce.com/

I love shooting by video light. If you are looking for a top notch super professional  and talented team, then you need to check out Keith Anderson. Seriously amazing work, and I do not brag about too many videographers. Him and his wife Jennifer were a dream to work with. Click here to see the pre-wedding video they created for Julie and Pete, it was a huge hit during the reception.

My hard working and talented assistant Carol set up this shot, I love it! Great job Carol!

From Julie and Pete…

My favorite wedding purchase(s) were my shoes, both of them! My Jimmy Choos were a gift to myself, always wanted a pair and they were just “perfect” the sparkle just really looked beautiful with my dress. The red & black Betsy Johnsons shoes for the reception with a flower, my personality and I had to have them!

Pete and I had so much fun planning our wedding! He was involved in just about every decision and because we did so much of it together it really made it even more that “Special”. We wanted it to be every bit about us, our favorite things to do and eat and at the same time honor those that were no longer with us. We wanted to have something more to remember them by!

My favorite moment was definitely when I saw Peter for the 1st time, it was the most AMAZING moment of my life! I dreamed about what it would feel like but that moment, the set up, the atmosphere and his reaction was so much more than I ever imagined! I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. To have that time to spend together before things begin is the BEST decision we ever made!

To have so many of our family members and close friends in the same room in such a beautiful and romantic setting was something we both really looked forward to. We had so much fun seeing everyone have a great time and we enjoyed every moment of it. We had a blast dancing with everyone, it just felt like it was over in a “blink of an eye”.

My mom made a very special tie on for my bouquet she crafted a memorial for my grandmothers and grandfather. it was beautiful!! She tied a photo of each of them to a jewel and added a cross to it. It was wrapped around my flowers.

Another special moment for us was when we were escorted into the room for the first time before our guests arrived. It was overwhelming to see how gorgeous everything was. I remember Pete saying to me “Wow, we did all of this”. All the little details that you spend hours crafting had all come together and it was more than we expected!

What I would have done differently- if i had to pick something I would say wish the day started earlier, we had some unexpected delays in the morning with our room not being ready so a delayed start cost us some time, and i wish we could have added 2 more hours at the end, it just goes by so fast, we didn’t want it to end!

We had amazing vendors, and thank goodness for the help and patience of my mother who helped from Boston and close friends!

Our vendors: Amazingly talented, friend and our photographer for LIFEHilda Burke @ Angel Eyes Photography.

Fantastic wedding planner-Patti Heroiux http://www.withlovebridal.com/

Videographer–Keith Anderson (best video presentation EVA!!)

DJ Entertainment-Lee Haynes of Legend Entertainment

Flowers-Paradise Flowers-Beata Ortwat (I loved my bouquet sooo much) http://www.chicagoparadiseflowers.com/

Hey Hilda-its Pete,
My favorite part of the whole wedding was seeing my beautiful wife for the first time. It was a very touching moment for both of us and I will remember that for the rest of my life.

My second part of the wedding that i really enjoyed was our video. The day we made it was a lot of fun. Seeing it together for the first time at our wedding was great. We both didn’t know what each other said so it was very cool to see it all come together.

It was also very special for us to have so many of Julie’s family travel from Boston to be with us and to enjoy the great city of Chicago where we met. Thanks so much for all your great work we look forward to our next shoot.


A big thank you to Jessica & Kevin who recommended me to Julie & Pete, I shot their wedding a few years ago 😀  Here’s me looking dorky and disheveled at the end of the night with the gorgeous couples.

And of course gotta show some love for my favorite wedding coordinator in the whole wide world Patti.

And I did not want to end this post with me, so he’s another favorite.


Cori and Steve, Palatine IL Engagement session

Steve promised Cori that he’ll propose if the Blackhawks  won the Championship…well, we all know about that happy ending, and that’s how I ended up being hired 🙂  They are getting married on 9-10-11, that’s the most popular date for next year.

This is their baby Cali, she wasn’t too happy with the outfit…that’s why she’s pouting.

That’s better! Isn’t she so cute? And very smart too!

Took a little walk around town.

They actually liked my nutty suggestions 🙂 Love this!


Favorite  #2!!!

Photos by streetlight, so romantic 🙂

Aren’t they all such cute models?

Terri and Blake Freeport IL Wedding, [Chicago day after session]

Freeport IL is a wonderful town, it  has such charm and character that I’m planning on going back again in the spring. I usually get a little nervous when I don’t get to meet the couple before the wedding, but within 5 minutes of arriving I knew I’d have a great time with Terri and Blake and their wonderful families. The fist thing I noticed was the flowers, so unique and creative, definitely my favorite to date!

Could this be more picture perfect? The little white chapel in the valley, it looked like something out of a movie, I was so exited!


I just love the joy and the laughter, this is what it’s all about 🙂

Longest conga line I’ve ever seen.


The next day the drove down to Chicago for a Day-after fun urban photo shoot 🙂

Can you believe that sky? I was on the verge of hyperventilating that’s how exited I was.

From Terri…..


I had a blast at our wedding, which honestly, is something that has me a bit surprised.  There are so many stories of brides who feel like they blinked and the day was over or who felt constantly pulled in different direction or who, for whatever reason, thought the day wasn’t what they had expected.  After reflecting on thoroughly enjoying our wedding day, I think I discovered the secret:  trust your vendors to do what you can’t.  For me, at least, this was what allowed me to relax and soak in the moments.  While planning and executing our wedding, we worked with several really spectacular vendors.  The best of the best are as follows:


Flowers:  This ended up being the most difficult element of the whole wedding.  This is also the only element that my wedding planning partner (my husband) threw his hand up and fully withdrew from participating because of my crazy indecisiveness.  Craig Deininger, of Deininger Floral Shop in Freeport, not only tolerated my hesitancy, he did so while smiling and reassuring me that we will find the arrangement of my dreams.  Thanks to the creative genius and talent at Deinenger’s, our flowers were so beautiful that I spend most of the day after the wedding staring at them.  Just thinking about them now makes me smile.  What I dreaded the most ended up being one of my favorite things about our wedding. http://www.deiningerfloralshop.com/


Music:  Tim Taflinger, of Absolute Light and Sound in Hudson, is a close friend and former employer of mine.  When it came time to select our DJ, there was no question of who I wanted.  It was very comforting to know that Tim was in control of our reception.  He takes what he does extremely personally, and it shows in his work.  Absolute Light and Sound: 309-275-5100


Pictures:  What I liked so much about working with Hilda Burke, of Angel Eyes Photography, was how her personality helped me relax.  She is the perfect mix of laid back and quietly quirky, while at the same time, easily inspired and a little obsessive.  I was always confident that she was determined to get that perfect shot.


My favorite part of our wedding was the ceremony itself.  Beforehand, we had spent a lot of time with our Pastor discussing our hopes and plans.  Pastor Brown, of Salem/Ebenezer Church in Stephenson County, honored our request for a ceremony that centered on the positive aspects of entering into marriage and he highlighted the equality in our partnership.  The ceremony really felt like it was it was ours.  The best part: holding hands with my intelligent, gorgeous, loving husband-to-be in front of a packed church and knowing that for as good as this day is, this is only the beginning.


Terri Musser (Bennett)

Chicago Engagement photos | Katie and Ray

Katie called me over the sumer and said some nonsense about not liking photos because she didn’t think she was that photogenic, ummm WHAT??? Are you kidding me? Well let me reassure you Katie, you are photogenic and very beautiful, and Ray of course isn’t to hard on the eyes either, right ladies?


I kind of  like the crazy flare.

Aww…look at that cute puppy!

See you guys in November 🙂

W Chicago – City Center wedding reception | Chicago Downtown Wedding | Kelly and Tony

I have never cried so much at a wedding, ever! There is so much love in this gorgeous couples relationship (and their families)  that it was almost tangible. I held it together pretty well most of the day, but when the fist dance and the parent dances started, I was done for. Even my assistant Carol commented on how she’s never seen me like this. But aside from me being all sappy this was a very happy and joyous day for everyone involved!

Kelly’s parents had a wonderful back yard and we took full advantage of it!

I love it when Brides wear their hair down, so pretty!!  Hair by Maria Pappas of Kukla’s Social Butterfly. http://thesocialbeauty.com

Rachel Reiman did Kelly’s makeup.  www.rachelreiman.com

Bridesmaid dresses were from J Crew’s wedding collection.

The men at the Church before the ceremony.

Love this!

Never a dull moment, it was great!

The ceremony was at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago. (For future couples considering having their wedding there, they have EXTREMELY strict rules Re: photographers, I encourage you to do some research…)

It was a wonderful heartwarming ceremony.

The new Mr & Mrs 🙂

Who’s happy to be married?

The party people!

Kelly & Tony waving to the boaters….love the shadows.

Favorite #1

Favorite #2 (btw, the hand on her cheek was all him, and I just love the way they’re looking at each other soooo romantic)

Dear Bridal party, you guys were the bomb.com…love, Hilda 🙂

Favorite #3!

Hey, check this out I got a reflection of the sun 😉

The reception was at the W Chicago, City Center.

Lighting makes a huge difference. Art of Imagination   http://www.artofimagination.com/

Yes ladies, he’s romantic….

…and fun!

Thank you Kelly and Tony for trusting me to capture the most important day in you lives, (and for going along with my crazy ideas), and for writing about all your wonderful wedding details. And THANK YOU Kelly for the wonderful Yelp review!!!

From Kelly…

–Jennifer Warnstedt was our contact at the W.  I cannot say enough about her…she is just *fabulous*.  We had an issue with our original reception venue, a raw space where we were planning to bring in everything ourselves (catering, tables, linens, lighting, you name it).  Five months out I had to find another venue for us.  The first time I got together with her I almost cried.  To imagine that we might be able to have our reception in that elegant, stunning space (not to mention the W’s famously incredible service–that someone like Jen would be in charge of our event start to finish) was foreign to me.  Jen worked with our budget and truly helped give us the dream wedding reception I didn’t even realize I was envisioning. Our reception at the W was unbelievable.  They really took care of us there and made us feel like we were the most important people in the world.  The food was amazing and the location was the perfect combination of elegant and hip that we were looking for.

–My dress and veil were from Here Comes the Bride in Addison, a very unassuming bridal shop in a strip mall near Army Trail and 2-90.  I had read about them on Yelp.  Rose (the owner) and Diana (been there for like ten years) over there are very good at what they do.  My dress was a sample so I bought it right off the rack.  Their alterations person, Rudy, is also really talented…she had to do a few adjustments, including giving it a bit of a scoop neck so the neckline didn’t just go straight across.  It was light, glamorous, and elegant, and I loved that the English netting on the bottom looks almost feathery from a distance. http://www.herecomesthebrideinc.com/

–Bridesmaid dresses were from J Crew’s wedding collection.  I highly recommend this as an option.  I wanted the girls to look and feel gorgeous!!  I have started my campaign called “No more bridesmaid dresses you spend hundreds of dollars for and never wear again!!”  You can pick a color/fabric and let everyone choose what works best for their figures.  Ironically, all the girls chose the same dress…so that was a no-brainer.

–My favorite purchase for myself (after the dress, of course) was my freshwater pearl drop earrings by Christina Garcia.  Originally I had planned to wear my hair up so I needed something dramatic.  Even once I decided to wear my hair down they were really special and beautiful.  BUT my favorite purchase overall has to be the custom-designed multi-strand pearl necklaces (a combination of freshwater, glass, and found vintage pearl strands) I found from an incredible artist on etsy.com.  I have to plug her work, because the bridesmaid necklaces came out so beautifully and were the perfect complement to the girls’ elegant J Crew silk taffeta dresses. http://www.etsy.com/shop/TeTelesTai?ref=seller_info

–Our cake was from Cookies Fresco, an authentic Italian bakery in Elmhurst.  Jan and Jim Schwab are the owners.  Jan worked with us to create something really special, and affordable too.  Her recipes are all from scratch and she even wanted to make sure the roses on the cake perfectly matched our flowers.  🙂  All beauty aside though, the reason we chose Cookies Fresco is because their cookies–and of course, cake–is absolutely delicious.  They did four kinds of cake total for us (three plus our white buttercream/yellow cutting cake):  red velvet, chocolate fudge with a rasberry spread, and coconut.  Our guests’ plates were *empty*. http://www.cookiesfresco.com/

–DJ was Dustin Harris from Style Matters. http://www.stylemattersdjs.com/djs.html

–Flowers were from O’cie Floral in Naperville.  Carol Sawka is the owner and she completely wow’ed me.  My bouquet was just the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen.  The way the hot pink Gerbera daisies popped against the dresses floored me.  I wanted something bold and summery, and everything just absolutely hit the mark.  I kept gaping at how stunning my girls looked!  The colors were just, well, perfect. http://ociefloral.com/

–My favorite aspect of the day was the simple fact that never for a second was I not fully engaged in the moment.  It was the single most incredible day of my life.  All the planning, all the time, all the effort (and let’s be honest, all the money) that went into the day was absolutely *worth it*.  I will remember this day for the rest of my life as purely magical.  Everything just came together…and the parts that didn’t go so smoothly…well…I couldn’t have cared less.  🙂  But if I had to choose, my favorite part of the day was our ceremony.  I had made our programs (which turned out beautifully), and Tony and I wrote our own Prayers of the Faithful–and of course vows.  The always charismatic and truly special Father John Cusick married us.  As part of our pre-wedding planning, he had suggested that we be Eucharistic ministers for the ceremony, and it was just amazing to be able to look into the eyes of each and every one of our guests who came up to drink the wine.  We really felt so engaged with the whole church.  During our vows, I saw nothing but Tony’s face…felt nothing but his energy and love.  To feel so wrapped up, supported, and totally surrounded by our very best friends and loved ones, declaring our commitment and most honest feelings to each other in their presence, and in our cherished church…the feeling was just indescribable.

–From Tony:  What a magical day.  It exceeded all of my expectations of what the day would be like and how I would feel.  Our party bus between the ceremony and the reception was so much fun.  Getting the opportunity to go to different locations around Chicago and take pictures with all of our wedding party made the day all the more special.  Chicago is such a beautiful city and  having it as a backdrop for our pictures and memories is something that Kelly and I thought would be truly special.