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month: December 2011

Wedding at Vivo Restaurant, downtown Chicago IL | Addy and Griffin

Addy is one lucky woman. Carol (my assistant) and I were nearly sobbing when ¬†Griffin read his vows to her. OMG! It was like a movie, but better because it was real!! It was such a joy to witness two people so obviously in love ūüôā

Keara from XEX Salon in Chicago did the Bride’s hair, I’ve never seen such a unique hairdo!

How¬†gorgeous¬†is this? Love all the different shades of purple. Addy’s friend Melissa made the¬†bouquet.

Jasmine Bridal Gown purchased at Eva’s Bridal on Harlem in Chicago.

Custom sash made the seamstress.

Wendi from¬†Curious Beauty did the Bride’s make up.

Shoes by Kate Spade “Gracious”

I  love my beautiful City!

Looking great Addy, work that light¬†girl¬†ūüėČ

The groom’s suit was from¬†Nordstroms.

Isn’t he so handsome? He’s also super sweet and incredibly romantic. Griffin and the best man took the subway to Millennium Park, how fun is that?

Their choice for a first look was in front of the ‘Bean’ (Cloud¬†Gate) at Millennium Park Chicago.

Showing off the dress ūüôā


Favorite 1!

A quick stop at Carnivale for a pre-wedding cocktail and some photos ūüôā

The ceremony and the reception took place at The Vault @ Vivo Restaurant, Chicago. Here’s a Bride who got to walk up the isle!

BEST. Groom. Vows. EVER!!!!

First dance.

Favorite 2!!! LOVE-LOVE-LOVE-LOVE-LOVE-LOVE-LOVE!!!! Did I mention how much I love this photo? LOVE!!!!!

From the Bride & Groom…

“Restaurant -The Vault @ Vivo Restaurant, Chicago. ¬†This restaurant was spot on for what we were looking for. ¬†We wanted a no mess, no fuss, no worry kind of venue. ¬†The best parts about “The Vault” was the ambiance and the food. ¬† ¬†The Gnocchi was amazing and it was something they don’t generally do for catering but they did it for us because they really strived to accommodate all of our requests. (Although Vivo was perfect, we would maybe have had a slightly bigger place with a little bit bigger dance floor.)

Dress- I had quite some apprehensions about my dress. ¬†It is a Jasmine Bridal gown and I had some alterations made so it would be more my style. ¬†I knew from the get-go I wanted a flowing, easy to wear dress and I for some reason HAD to have my purple sash. ¬†It took until just a week before the wedding to finalize the details. ¬†I bought the dress at Eva’s Bridal on Harlem and had the alterations done privately. ¬†My seamstress made the sash for me!

My shoes: I think they are amazing. ¬†The are the Kate Spade “Gracious” heels in purple. ¬†It took me months to find the shoes and then one day, in San Francisco, after shopping all day with my friend Melissa and nearly giving up on the perfect purple shoes, I went into a “Crossroads” store and BAM! ¬†On a shelf, still in the box, pretty much never worn Kate Spade purple shoes. ¬†SOLD! To one happy happy bride-to-be!

Tux- Amawzin’ suit is more like it! ¬†Griffin and I decided that buying a nice suit he could wear again was a better deal specially since we really didn’t see the need for a tux! ¬†We bought it at Nordstroms. ¬†Everything from top to bottom was purchased and tailored there. ¬†A word of caution: ¬†If you go there, make sure you buy your suit from someone who works in the suits department….otherwise pick up after alterations is tricky.

Flowers: ¬†Thank you Melissa Appel Spooner, my best friend for making me the most awesomest ever bouquet and all other arrangements. ¬†I didn’t have a vendor on this one, we had family :). ¬†Melissa flew in from Kansas city with her “mobile flower shop” in a suitcase and as soon as she picked up the flowers she had pre-purchased.

In place of cake we had cupcakes from “More” in several flavors, giant “Carol’s Cookies”, which to this day people are still talking about, and then we brought out mini Ben & Jerry’s and Hagendaz ice cream cups.

Hair/Make-up:  My hair (and my sisters and mom) was done on location by Keara from XEX Salon.  She not only added in a last minute person, she also agreed to completely change my hair from what we had originally done during the trial.  Keara is professional, friendly and excellent!

Wendi, from Curious Beauty, did my make-up.  I chose to do air-brush make up and I am so glad I did!  She was also professional, friendly and her work is amazing!

Now about our photographers: ¬†We thought we had found one. ¬†Then we just didn’t have a good vibe specially after reading the contract. ¬†Then we talked to two others who just didn’t really care about us. ¬†They were down to business before they even greeted us. ¬†But then I found Hilda. ¬†Hilda met us one evening at her office and never even really want to know about the wedding at first. ¬†She wanted to know us, who we are and how we happened. ¬†It was refreshing, easy going, fun and a couple of hours later we got around to looking at her work. ¬†It was SO easy to make this decision. ¬†We knew we wanted Hilda to photograph our wedding. ¬†We met with her about a month before the wedding to finalize details. ¬†She welcomed out idea of going to “Cloud Gate” at night, even bringing in a new nifty light to make the pictures even more amazing. ¬†Hilda kept me centered when there were a few too many people around me, she made me comfortable and it was a “ask and you shall receive” situation. ¬†Mints? got it, scissors? she had it, help for my mom to understand how my dress closed up? Yup, she did that too! ¬†Carol and Hilda arrived early, started taking pictures right away and they made sure we were having a good time. ¬†Thank you Hilda for my plate full of food ūüôā
The pictures you two take are amazing and they truly capture our night!  Both of us agree that we hit the jackpot with Angel Eyes Photography!
I’m putting vendors aside on this one. ¬†Hilda, you win the wedding purchase when it comes to vendors!
We had a few favorites: ¬†My pendant/necklace, Griffin’s wedding day watch and lastly, our custom “Munny” cake toppers that we commissioned a French Couple to make for us. ¬†We have a collection of Munnys and Dunnys and Griffin, again with his brilliant ideas, found this couple to make us custom 4″ Munnys. ¬†They will be displayed at home now, alongside our collection!
Our favorite¬†wedding memory : Once Griffin was done saying his vows to me, I just wanted to kiss and hug him. ¬†We were in our own world, didn’t care that we still had to wait for an exchange of rings.
Addy:  once we were declared husband and wife, we kissed, turned to the guests and I remember just jumping up and down in excitement!
Griffin: ¬†Having a drink together and just chatting together right before the ceremony at Carnivale.”

Thank you for visiting my blog, please leave a comment or let’s be friends on Facebook there are¬†always¬†more photos there ūüôā


Wedding teasers Renee and Sanoj, Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier in Chicago

I was going to do a photo of the week, but I just¬†couldn’t¬†choose one, so instead I’m posting some teasers¬†before¬†the full blog post.

This photo of Sanoj and the groomsmen is my favorite groomsmen photo ever!


More coming soon.

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St. Alexander Church ceremony, Villa Park | Victoria in the Park, Mount Prospect wedding | Erin and Dom

I had a blast photographing Erin and Dom’s wedding, they were so happy and in love ūüôā¬†Erin is the type of Bride who’s sweet and polite, but also knows how to make things happen…I definitely can¬†relate¬†to that.

The trolley ride to the Church with the girls was one of the most¬†memorable¬†of my career, and that is all I’m going to say about it ūüėČ

Dress by  Watters, purchased at VIP occasions in Elmhurst.

I want this shirt!

The adorable flower girls.

LOVED the shoes by Chinese Laundry purchased at  Von Maur.

Even though two of them were almost 9 months pregnant, they were all so pleasant to work with, thank you ladies!

I do love me some artistic Bridal portraits.  And her necklace? How great is that? Love!

Flowers–Stylish Stems in Lombard


In the Hotel parking lot….favorite!

The boys looking good in front of the Church.

St. Alexander Church, Villa Park, IL

OMG! These  kids were soooo cute!!!

Time to get married.

I love this kid, hysterical!

Gorgeous Church.

Nice shot from the balcony by Carol.

The reception was at one of my  favorite venues, the food and service are outstanding.

Victorias in the Park,  Mount Prospect.

Some photos on the grounds.


Bride’s veil by Wedding Etc. in¬†Downers Grove.

First dance.

Party time!

Can I borrow this baby just for a couple of hours please?

From Erin…

“Dress (and reception belt)¬†from VIP occasions in Elmhurst–Everyone over there is so nice down to the seamstress! It was such a¬†pleasant experience and I would recommend them to everyone!

Flowers–Stylish Stems in Lombard

DJ–A Touch of Music–Jack Nicholson. Jack did a great job and really listened to us during our initial meeting. We had seen one of his co-workers and a few weddings and wanted to book him. However, he was unavailable on our date so we went with Jack. It is a hard thing to pick a DJ but Jack did an excellent job!

Cake came with the venue…so not sure where it was from!

Tux–Modern Tuxedo in Glen Ellyn. We enjoyed working with everyone there! They even have a service where they will pick the tux’s up the day after the wedding at the Hotel. The guys just had to leave them at the front desk when they checked out. It was so nice to not have to worry about getting the tux’s to the shop the day after the wedding.

Shoes–I got my shoes from Von Maur. They were¬†Chinese Laundry.

Bridesmaid Dresses–Bridesmaid dresses were by Watters (same designer as my wedding dress) and we got them from House of Brides. This was a tricky part because I knew I was going to have two 8 month pregnant bridesmaids and I wanted something they would be comfortable in. I was so happy with the choice and loved the dresses!

Veil–I designed my¬†veil at this really cute wedding boutique in Downers Grove called Wedding Etc.—Great store!

Our favorite wedding related purchase is a tie, with (what I think are the 2 most important purchases of a wedding) the Venue and the Photographer!

Victoria in the Park in Mount Prospect—¬†We fell in love with the layout of the venue, the staircase, the bar and the chandeliers! From the minute¬†we walked into Victoria in the Park to look at the venue to the minute¬†we walked out after¬†our wedding,¬†we felt fully¬†taken care of by the staff! They put¬†us at ease because you could just tell they knew what they were doing and¬†we just trusted from the¬†very beginning¬†that they would make everything perfect…and the did!

Angel Eyes Photography, what can I say! From the moment I saw your work I knew I really wanted you to¬†photograph my wedding. Once I met¬†you..I was sold! Hilda, you are such a great person and an amazing photographer. I was so excited when I walked out of our initial meeting because I could see how excited you got and how passionate you were about your craft! With the chaos that is 2 very large families and one extremely large wedding party…you and Carol were amazing! You took charge and got everyone in line and we had a¬†blast with you guys! The pictures turned out amazing and I just feel so lucky to have found you!

Our¬†favorite wedding memory would have to be at the church when they pronounced us “Man and Wife”. As we kissed for the first time¬†we was blown away by the large, loud cheers. Once¬†we turned and looked¬†we¬†couldn’t believe the amount of people who were at the church. With getting married on a Friday afternoon, our wedding being 3 hours before our reception and 15 miles from our reception hall we knew some people would not be able to make it and we were OK with that.¬†We never expected the church to be so packed and it was such a great moment for us!

What would we change?

We would change the same thing¬†as most brides and grooms…we would have eaten more! We both skipped the appetizers and had a bit of our dinner. We didn’t have the dessert (which came highly recommended by Hilda)¬†or the late night food. We are still getting compliments on how good the food was so we wish we would have tried more!

Overall, it was an absolutely perfect day!!”

I love comments ūüôā ¬†Click here to see my website. Facebook, please click like.



The Flanagans, Fun family photos Chicago Illinois

I love the Flanagans ūüôā ¬†They are good friends of mine, it’s always great to see them.

I got to meet the newest member of their family Pepper. Isn’t she the most¬†beautiful¬†dog?

Casual yet formal family photos are a great way to document how your family changes from year to year…

…however, for me the real photos happen after the posing is done. I mean how often do you see Darth Vader playing the piano?

These kids are hysterical!

I love this one.

So cute!!!

The next two are my favorites.

Sweet Owen, you’re adorable.

If you like these photos, please share and/or leave a comment ūüôā

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Orrington Hotel Evanston IL |North Shore wedding planning | fun fall wedding | Rebecca and Tyler

I loved Rebecca and Tyler from the first meeting, we clicked instantly. They have big fun personalities that matched mine, so we had a blast every time we saw each other, and the wedding definitely lived up to my¬†expectations. The fun, love and the laughter was non stop!! ¬†Everything took place at the¬† Hilton¬†Orrington Hotel, located in Evanston Illinois on Chicago’s North Shore.

Dress by Enzoani.

Hair and makeup- Bridal Beauty Chicago

Loved these girls, so fun!

Helloooo gorgeous!!!!

Tyler and the boys get ready.

The two Dads ūüôā

I love this photo of Tyler that Carol took.

Time for the first look!  I love first looks, and highly recommend them. It gives us time to do all the fun photos ahead of time so after the ceremony the happy couple can get their party on.

I thought it was so special that Rebecca asked her Dad to walk to to her Groom-to-be ūüôā


Clearly I have no shame when it comes to cracking jokes ūüėČ


There’s a story behind this, read about it at the end of the blog post.

Awesome¬†bridal party, even though the ushers made me work to keep them in line ūüėČ

Another favorite!!!

Ceremony time.

The¬†ceremony¬†was performed by the Rebecca’s brother.

Who’s happy to be married?

Pollen is an eco-conscious floral design studio specializing in locally sourced and sustainably grown flowers, located in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.

Cake- Take the Cake ETC

Their adopted puppy Leon had a special place at the head table.

First dance.

DJ- DJ Chicago

Not too many DJ’s would give up the mike for an¬†impromptu¬† karaoke¬†singalong, but Chad as a very cool and easygoing DJ who obviously¬†knew¬†how to keep a Bride happy and the party going.

Clearly the two Moms got along.

I have NO idea what’s going on, but it was too funny not to post ūüėČ

It’s the¬†incredible¬†floating bride!

Lots of helpful notes from Rebecca & Tyler below.

“DJ- DJ Chicago

As a company, DJ Chicago was wonderful to work with.¬† Mark, the owner was very responsive and honest (my mom grossly¬†overpaid him by¬†mistake¬†and he called to notify us the minute he received the check).¬† During our initial meeting Mark asked us all about our music taste and how we envisioned our wedding music.¬† He then paired us up with a DJ from his company named¬†Chad.¬† Chad was the perfect match for us— we had similar taste in music and he knew exactly how to translate the¬†genres that we enjoyed into music that would be fun for everyone¬†(young and old) to dance to at our wedding.¬† We are forever grateful that Chad’s fiancee let him work the weekend before their wedding so that he could DJ ours.
Flowers- Pollen
Lynn at Pollen was such a dream.¬† I know nothing about flowers and when I admitted that to her in our first email exchange so¬†she encouraged me to bring pictures of flowers that I¬†thought were pretty¬†to our first meeting and we could go from there.¬† Being the floral genius that she is, Lynn identified a “theme” with all of the photos that I brought to our meeting–she could tell that I liked flowers with a lot of texture.¬† We talked for over an hour about the look of the wedding— we wanted the flowers to be naturalistic to tone down the formality of the venue and she captured that perfectly.¬† Our centerpieces were very unique (don’t know if many other people can say that they had carnivorous plants at their wedding) and beautiful.¬† She made our vision (that she helped to shape)¬†come alive and did so while staying within our budget– and maybe even a bit under.
Hair and makeup- Bridal Beauty Chicago
I LOVE THESE GIRLS (Krystin and Samara)!!¬†I’m not the kind of¬†chick who wears a lot of makeup or even fusses with my hair (heck, i haven’t gotten a haircut in over a year!) but I knew that for my wedding I wanted to be a¬†GLAM BRIDE!¬†¬†¬†I had no idea where to start with hair and makeup so I asked my photographer extraordinaire for a recommendation and she suggested that I look through her blog to find a look that I liked and to contact that vendor.¬† I stumbled upon (Angel Eyes couple)Kami and Matt’s photos¬†and was in awe of how beautiful the bride looked without looking overdone.¬† As it turned out BBC had also done a friends wedding so I knew that I would be in good hands.¬† I thought they did a fab job on the day of—and¬†not just on me…. I can’t tell you how many people were raving about my “bombshell mom”.¬†¬† Not only are they true artists but they are also so fun to work with– great gals who know how to have a good time.¬† I seriously want to add them both to a guest list for my next house party ūüôā
Cake- Take the Cake ETC
I can’t tell you how wonderful Mary was.¬† Tyler was unable to join me at the cake tasting (poor guy!) so my mom and I went and immediately fell in love with the cakes… and Mary too.¬† She explained to us the whole “cake process” for lack of a better term and we started stuffing our faces with the most wonderful cakes and fillings.¬† We narrowed it down to a chocolate cake with salted carmel filling.¬† TO DIE FOR!¬† Not only was the cake delicious but it was stunning— exactly what I envisioned.¬† I wanted to incorporate our gold theme in the cake but thought it would add a huge extra expense.¬† Mary was so clever and instead of expensive (and icky tasting in my opinion) fondant, she used a gold ribbon– genius.¬† She was so thorough and had her assistant call me to double check on the exact shade of gold the week of the wedding.

Favorite memory-
Oh goodness…too many to name so I’ll put them into categories…
Before the ceremony:
Getting ready before the ceremony was SO MUCH FUN!  I felt like I was in my college dorm room getting ready for a formal all over again.  We had music blaring, we were dancing, singing and most of all LAUGHING.  My bridesmaids were all women who have been so incredibly important to me during different stages of my lifeРit was amazing to have all of us together and to see them form friendships with one another.
The Ceremony:
There was a point where I seemed to forget that there was anybody else in the room except for me and Tyler….¬† I completely lost it, was a mess of (happy) tears and handed a snotty kleenex to Tyler, saying “sorry.. it’s kinda gross”.¬† I all of a sudden heard a bunch of laughter and realized “oh shoot… people are here and they heard that!”¬† I was embarrassed to say the least but I was happy in realizing that for just a few moments, in my mind, it had just been me and my soon to be husband saying our vows.
The Reception:
Tyler and I made up our minds that I was going to be on the dance floor the WHOLE NIGHTРand we stuck to that.  It was so wonderful to be able to party with all of our friends and family for hours and hours!  Seeing everybody else having fun made it even more fun for us.
What would I have done differently:
I would have slept more the night before and I would have eaten more food at the wedding.¬† I was sooo exhausted from lack of sleep and starvation that it took me a few days to recover on our honeymoon.¬† Everyone keeps saying that the food at our wedding was¬†really good (especially the late night tater tots and hot dogs!) so I’m bummed that I missed it.
Advice for brides:
Remember that the wedding is a celebration of your marriage and that the big deal is the marriage…not all of the details of the wedding.

Favorite purchase: ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ
For us, by far and away, it was Angel Eyes Photography.¬† Photos were incredibly important to us and we started looking for a photographer pretty much instantly after we were engaged— once we had a date and a venue, we were on the hunt.¬† A friend of a friend used Hilda for her wedding and I used to look at her engagement pics and wedding pics on facebook¬†and just drool. The photos were out of this world gorgeous.¬† Naturally, Hilda was our first call.¬† After our first meeting we did the whole “we’ll think about it and give you a call” thing and when Tyler and I both left the office we looked at one another and smiled because we knew Hilda was the one for us.¬† I don’t even think we made it home before I sent her an email asking for a contract.
I know people have said this before and you don’t really realize it until your wedding day but Hilda is so much more than a (amazingly talented!!!)¬†photographer.¬† She helped to keep us on our time schedule,¬†showed my mom how to button my dress,¬†she helped bustle my dress, she ordered the bridal party wine… the list goes on and on.
Hilda worked tirelessly the day and¬†night of our wedding, making sure that she didn’t miss a single moment— whether it was shots of us getting ready, shots of the important moments like our first dance or just shots of us mingling with guests.. she got it.¬† Although it was a long day, our wedding went by in a flash and I’m so excited to relive it again and again through the photos.
A shout out to Angel Eyes would not be complete with out some kudos to Carol, Hilda’s incredible assistant.¬†¬†The VERY BRAVE Carol hung out with the boys while they got ready, went into a crowded Burger King to find the owner of a tandem bike so we could pose with it…¬†all the while taking wonderful photos.¬† We love you too, Carol.
Angel Eyes… you are truly amazing.
Thank you Hilda— superb photographer, wedding diva and great friend of the Grants.

And now for Tyler’s favorite moments:
My single most favorite moment of the day is the second that I saw my beautiful bride. We had gone back and forth on whether we wanted to see each other before the ceremony or not. There is something to be said for tradition but Rebecca and I tend to stray away from the norms. Hilda had suggested a private ‚Äúfirst look‚ÄĚ meeting for us. She set up the whole scenario where I had my back tuned and Rebecca walked down a long hallway and then tapped me on the shoulder. That first second of seeing my bride will forever be with me. I loved it because it was intimate, my first look was face to face as opposed to watching her walk down a long aisle. In all honesty, I don‚Äôt think I could have survived the anticipation of that walk.
Another favorite moment was right when we were announced as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time and we turned around to see the smiles of all our guests. I didn’t turn around or look at the guests the whole ceremony, I was so enamored with my wife, I forgot everyone else was there. It wasn’t until it was all over and we turned around that I realized there were over a hundred other people in the room and it was so wonderful to see how truly happy they all were for us.
I can‚Äôt really pick out a single moment from the reception because they were all so special. I loved when every couple of minutes, in between the talking to guests, the toasts, the dancing and laughing Rebecca and I would look at each other and just smile. Each smile was just a wow, you are my wife, this is our wedding and I couldn‚Äôt ever be any happier than right this second.”

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