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The Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier Chicago Illinois Wedding | Renee and Sanoj

A few years ago I ¬†was shooting an engagement session at Navy Pier, and we walked into the Crystal Gardens…after I was done drooling I said to my couple ‘someday I WILL shoot a wedding here’. I’m happy to say that, that day has come (and now gone) and I have the pictures to prove it ūüėČ Renee is THE most organised Bride ever. Indian wedding always have a lot of events going on, and¬†sometimes¬†they do not run on time, but not this wedding! The whole day went off without a hitch,¬†everyone¬†stayed¬†on schedule (one of the¬†bridesmaids¬†sole job was to make sure everyone stayed on schedule)….and Renee and Sanoj managed to pack 3 days worth of fun into one. I’m happy to say that I¬†ended¬†this season on a very high note ūüôā

Makeup & Hair — Tamara Lathrop

Well it didn’t hurt that Bride looked like she was straight from a magazine.

Dress by Maggie Sottero.

Flowers by Shamrock Garden in Lombard, IL.

Cute note from the groom. BTW did you know a lot of my couples meet their significant others on line? If you’re single, I highly recommend it!

The ring-bearer did such a good job.

I turned to see the commotion behind me, and see the cheer section for the little flower-girl to make sure she made it all the way down the isle.

For someone so young, she did a fantastic job!

Renee and her dad.

I saw Sanoj fighting back some tears ūüėČ

The Catholic ceremony took place at St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Cathedral in Belwood, Illinois.

The Wedding Saree is placed on the Bride to symbolize that the Groom is committed to clothe and protect his wife.

How cool is it that the boys got to wear Converse All Stars?


Sanoj and his friends are sooo fun the photo ops were endless with this bunch!

At Navy Pier. One of the benefits of having your wedding there, you get your own private escort to the front of the line at the Ferris wheel.

And you can’t beat the view!

Look at these gentlemen, they all gave up their jackets for the ladies, it was so cold and windy.

But when you have the Crystal Gardens to play in, you don’t need to worry about the weather.

Carolyn’s view of me taking the above photograph.


Favorite #2!

The Groomsmen decided to wear Superhero T-shirts under their suits. But the Groom¬†couldn’t¬†find out¬†until¬†the intros because the boys wanted to surprise him. So I had¬†Sanoj¬†come closer to the camera and made him promise not to look back, and that’s how my favorite Groomsmen photo came to be. (PS. My husband was¬†jealous¬†when I told him about the Converse and the Superhero shirts, they are two of his favorite things and wishes he would have done something like that at our wedding) Favorite #3!

While Renee changed into outfit two, we had some fun with the ladies.

The cake topper was a replica of the B&G and on the laptop is the name of the on line dating website where they met.

I love the reactions to the custom cake topper. ( http://microdwarf.com/ )

Bears colors  anyone? Yes, please! Cake by Flour, Cake, & Pastry from Chicago, IL.

The appetizers looked and tasted delicious! If you want to have your dream wedding at the Crystal Gardens please contact Samantha Bauman sbauman@stefanigroup.com (312) 595-5446

Outfit two! I love this photo!

The intros where the groomsmen do their big reveal. I love the reactions!!!

Fist dance.

Some of the Bridal party and their friends surprised the couple with the most amazing performance.¬†Seriously, I can’t¬†describe¬†it, but you can watch it >>>here<<<.

Video by the handsome and talented Albert Alunni alunni@att.net

Kudos to all the performers, you were outstanding!!

Outfit three, comfortable enough for dancing and for being carried around on people’s shoulders ūüėČ Love this photo so much, look how happy they look!

The grooms Converse All Stars. Bears colors and their wedding date…LOVE it!



This kid’s dancing blew me away, seriously. He has more natural talent in one little toe than I do in my entire body.

And if you think he’d back away from a dance off¬†challenge, you’d be wrong.

From Renee & Sanoj…

Dress — I bought it from a consignment store in Philadelphia, called Sabrina Ann.¬† It’s Maggie Sotero gown, and got a deal on it.

Flowers — Shamrock Gardens in Lombard, IL.¬† Linda took care of all of our flowers, reception table centerpieces, and the odd knickknacks at the wedding.¬† She was awesome to work with, and threw in a few things for us.¬† She also worked well with our budgets.

Makeup & Hair — Tamara Lanthrop.¬† She was one of the top three BEST investments we made for this wedding.¬† Being the insane planner I am, I had a schedule ready to go, but we actually finished ahead of schedule for makeup, which never happens at weddings.¬† All of the girls, my mom, and I had our makeup and hair done by Tamara’s team.¬† Throughout the day, everyone kept asking who had done our makeup and hair.¬† They did an amazing job and at a very cost effective package!

DJ — DJ Raja.¬† I really wasn’t happy with his service (because he didn’t follow the instructions we asked him to, and he was rude about getting paid at the beginning of the wedding), but he played good music, and none of the guests complained.¬† Everyone was dancing, but I still wouldn’t recommend him to anyone.

Cake — Flour, Cake, & Pastry from Chicago, IL.¬† It was so much fun to do the tasting with Janet, and she was good to work with.¬† All of the guests kept praising how good the cake tasted.¬†Janet was easy to work with, when we had to make some last minute cake dimension changes, because of the changes on our cake topper.

Cake Topper — Microdwarf.com – It was kinda weird working with an online vendor, but they worked with us and made sure the figurines for our cake topper looked just like us. Everyone loved it and had a great laugh!

Tuxes — They were from Saavi Formalwear in Niles, IL. And to be honest it was like working with members of the Rat Pack. They were so cool, and they offered great tips in terms of color and styles. Their customer service was awesome and they worked with any unique situation we had (like out of town people coming in at the last minute).

Shoes — Converse – Hands down, one of the best decisions we made in terms of making the wedding look more unique. Everyone loved them, and the groomsmen loved the fact that they had new shoes that looked and felt awesome.”

Sanoj’s favorite memory — Seeing everyone coming down the aisle, especially to fun music was great. But what took my breath away, was seeing Renee in her dress for the first time as she walked down the aisle. That’s when everything came together and the fact that we were getting married, really hit me. She looked so unreal and beautiful, it was like a movie.

Renee’s thoughts — Seeing the pictures that you’ve put together, make me believe that the best wedding investment we made was the photography.¬† The magic that you do, if only we give you a good venue and quality time, is amazing.¬† Sanoj and my wedding was the last happiest memory my sister had.¬† My family and I have been missing my sister a lot lately, and your pictures have really helped us get through the hard days.¬† You captured her smile, joy, and caring personality in your picture so well, that I cannot wait to see the rest. Secondly, I’m sooooooo glad we picked the Crystal Gardens to have our wedding reception at.¬† All of our guests were so amazed by the venue, and had no words to describe the excitement.¬† Nonstop, our wedding guests have been telling us that it was the best wedding they’ve been to (because of the venue, quality of food, and organization/time schedule).¬† Samantha Bauman is the best coordinator I’ve ever met, and I’ve met with a few.¬† She was so amazing to work with.

Renee’s favorite memory — I loved the Ferris wheel ride we had in between the ceremony and reception.¬† In our cabin, were the most important young adults I have in my life…my new husband, my new sister-in-law, my dear sister, and my little brother…and of course, Hilda!¬†¬† It was definitely a memory that I will keep in my mind for many years to come.
We honestly wouldn’t change anything about our wedding.¬† It really went much better than we could have imagined.¬† So yay!¬† Planning a lot helps.
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