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month: December 2012

Michigan Shores Club, Wilmette, Illinois wedding–previews–Brighid and Chris –

 I was going to do photo of the week but I couldn’t choose just one, so here are a few of my favorites.  Loved working with Brighid and Chris at Michigan Shores Club.

Happy New Year!!!

Love this one.



Wedding reception: Hawthorn Woods Illinois, Dawn and Ross-

Dawn & Ross got married on a beach in Florida, and had their reception here in Illinois shortly after. Shooting the reception was great, no stress all fun. Thanks to the happy couple for scheduling some time for romantic portraits.
Love this one!
Another favorite 🙂
Their adorable little boy.
Now that’s what I call a back yard!

Cake from  Lovin Oven Bakery in Round Lake.

Gorgeous details.

I was sooooo thrilled when the clouds decided to cooperate to make  these portraits possible 🙂

Does anyone else get vertigo when looking at this photo?

 clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (27)
clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (24)
clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (11)clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (12)
clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (10)
clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (26)
clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (25)
From the Bride…

Dress: Kathryn’s Bridal in McHenry.  They were the first shop I went to & in the middle of a snow storm!!  Everyone else had cancelled their appointments due to the weather so I received the royal treatment.  I brought in a bunch of pictures of designers I liked that they offered on their site and much to my disappointment they didn’t have one of them in the store.  They let me search their stock and they assisted me in pulling dresses they thought I would like.  Looking at them squished in bags really did none of them any justice and I almost gave up because nothing was what I had envisioned myself in.  My dress was the first one I tried on by Private Label G and when the assistant pulled it out of the bag I freaked and wasn’t going to try it on because of all the bead-work on the top and busy skirt.  She told me to ignore the beads because the style was a drop waist with a skirt that would float across the beach which was what I was looking for.  Much to my surprise when she pulled it up on me everything changed.  I walked out of the room feeling like a princess and the look on my moms face was priceless!!  I couldn’t commit that night being my first night out but I ended up back there less than a week later to order my dress!!

Men’s Attire:  Their shirts were Tommy Bahamas from Macy’s.  Their pants were designed by Calvin Klein from Men’s Wearhouse.  We wanted casual, comfortable, beach wedding attire that could be worn again and again.

Wedding Bands: AM Lee Jeweler in Northbrook.  I gave Ross a couple pictures of what I wanted my engagement ring to look like and Albert built it.  Then he designed our weddings bands to match that along with our lifestyles.

My bouquet, the corsages, and centerpieces were done by Heather Bay at Rosé Gardens.

Home Reception: Hawthorn Woods, Illinois-September 8, 2012

Venue: Mom & Dad Kirshner’s backyard.  We used Party Plus in Palatine for our tent, dance floor, indoor bar, outdoor tiki bar, tables, chairs, linens, lighting, and generators.  They have a fabulous showroom and since everything is Ala Carte you get to create your dream wedding exactly the way you want it.

Food, wine & staff: Catered Productions in Libertyville.  I am so grateful for Reyeh Aguilar who was our wedding planner from Catered Productions.  She assisted me in deciding a delicious menu, table settings, and detailed time schedule for the staff.  They provided us with the perfect amount of bartenders, wait staff, and cooks that made everything run smoothly for everyone.  I was very impressed that some of the staff went above and beyond and assisted a couple of our guests by preparing their meals at the buffet for them.

Party Favors & Centerpieces: I wanted to share the beach with our guests since we had an intimate wedding ceremony.  I made the centerpieces myself with sand, shells, palm leaf fans, aqua stones, multi colored LED submersible lights, water, and gorgeous orchids.  I purchased the Harmony Seashell Turtles from HansonEllis.com for my party favors and had “Pacing Ourselves On Our New Adventures” tagged on them.  The final touch was take home frames with pictures from our wedding ceremony.

Cake: Lovin Oven Bakery in Round Lake.  Ross and our son Austyn decided the flavors of the cake at the tasting while i came up with the design.  Our cake could not have been more perfect.  They made my vision of sparkling diamonds on the beach come to life.

DJ: Travis Wetzel with TTunes Productions.  We love to dance and he kept us and all of our dance floor all night long!!  Not only did he play our favorite songs, he took requests from our guests, and played all of the best party songs and today’s hits.

clouds blue sky Hawthorne Woods reception Long Grove wedding planning unique fun edgy back yard beach theme wedding Angel Eyes Photigraphy by Hilda Burke Chicago (23)

Photographer: Hilda Burke & Carol Lea at Angel Eyes Photography-DUH!!  Hilda is a phenomenal artist with an amazing personality and a good friend of the family.  I wish i could see the world thru Hilda’s eyes!!  We knew we had to have Hilda and Carol in order to capture every memorable moment.  They went way above and beyond all of my expectations.  They gave me the most awesome compliments all day and made me feel sexy with my man.  I’m sure they kept asking me if I needed anything else throughout the day because they were afraid my head was going to explode after swelling like a watermelon from all the compliments, just kidding!!  But really, they genuinely care about their brides which tells you how outstanding these ladies are.  We had so many laughs and so much fun; plus, I got to roll around in the grass and stand in the clouds in my wedding dress.  Not many brides can say they did that!!

My advice to Brides-To-Be is do what is right for you, don’t just settle for anything, and do your research.  We wanted a formal beach wedding, on our terms, by our rules, with the assistance of a staff.  We didn’t want to be strapped down to starting and ending times or hidden fees.  The parties not over until the bride and groom say so!

My favorite wedding related purchase has to be my dress.  I like to consider myself more of a sporty spice.  I’m a personal trainer and a total jock.  Words cannot even express how the dress made me feel from the moment I first stepped into it and it was even more special because my mom was there to experience it with me.  I believe every girl should feel like a princess on her wedding day.

My favorite wedding memory was dancing with my dad to Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl”

I have 2 things I would have done differently.  1.)I would have brought Hilda to Florida with us.  2.) I wouldn’t let Ross pick our first dance again.  I love Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” but it’s awkward to dance to.

Cake topper: Ross had to return from Florida right after the wedding but Austyn and I got to enjoy a mini vacation with my parents who drove down for the wedding with my wedding dress.  We stopped at Disney on our way and did a little shopping!!  Even tho it didn’t actually make it on top of my cake…we still got to share Florida with our family and friends and have a cool collectible to cherish forever!!


Austyn’s ring bearer pillow: made specially for him by my talented mom!!  Not only did she embroider our names & wedding date on it but she also included a cute turtle button (that matched his shirt) for him to play with along with the shiny fake rings.

Austyn’s attire: his linen pants were from Janie and Jack and my mom made the shirt.  For the life of me I could not find a cream colored linen shirt for a toddler so when my mom offered to make it I couldn’t say no.  He couldn’t have looked any cuter!!

Flowers for the reception were from Countryside Flower Shop in Crystal Lake.  They couldn’t have done a more amazing job using my favorite flowers and colors!!  This is actually where we purchased our gift card holder as well.  It is actually a plant trellis that we dolled up!!

I wanted to add some to my favorite wedding memory.  My dad has always been my rock and my wedding day was no different.  Clearwater Beach is a very busy beach and on the day of our wedding they had people to keep the crowds back but some still came up to us.  They were cheering, honking their horns, complimenting me, and some even sat and watched our entire wedding.  It was a lot of attention that I hadn’t expected and anyone that knows me knows I don’t like being the center of attention especially in front of a bunch of strangers.  My dad helped me stay calm, cool, and enjoy every second because I knew he was just as nervous about the crowds as I was.  We stopped at the end of the aisle I had them make in the sand especially for him because I knew how much it meant to him to walk his baby girl down a traditional aisle.  When they played Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” at our reception in front of all of our family and friends I lost it.  My parents and very large tight extended family have taught me how to love and cherish everyone and everything that came into my life.  I could not be more thankful for each and every one of them!!  This was the most magical day not only for Ross and I but our entire family and friends.’

Photo above obviously my favorite, LOVE!!!  Angel Eyes Photography by Hilda Burke…comments welcomed and appreciated 🙂

Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs engagement session–Erin and Jimmy-

Earlier this fall I spent a fun afternoon with Erin and Jimmy. Shooting inside Wrigley Field was pretty freaking awesome!

After a quick outfit change, we walked around the neighborhood looking for more fun photo spots. Such good sports these two, posing in front of red doors to make me happy 😉

So much cuteness!

Love this one.

More on Facebook 🙂

The Beverly Country Club/Chicago Illinois wedding, Meghan and Brian-

This was my first wedding at the Beverly Country Club, and I’m happy to report I was not disappointed. Megan & Brian just were glowing the entire day, and the darling little flower girls gave me lots of great photo ops.

Megan bought her dress from the Glamour Closet in Chicago ivory satin gown was a Vera Wang sample. The flower girls dresses were ivory satin Us Angels dresses from Nordstrom Bridal.

Liz Claiborne from DSW.



Ceremony: Christ the King Catholic Church.

I love this moment.

Reception: The Beverly Country Club

Flowers: Flowers by Color.  bridesmaid dresses at White House Black Market.

Wedding cake: Sweet Mandy B’s

DJ : Drew from Fig media.

We snuck out for a few night time photos.

My favorite groom photo 🙂

 From the Bride…

Bridal Gown: I wanted the wedding to be “simple yet elegant” starting with my wedding dress. However, this was the hardest and most frustrating part for me. After shopping at countless bridal shops in the Chicago area and St. Louis and trying on innumerous dresses, I found the perfect dress for me at Glamour Closet in Chicago. The dress is an ivory satin Vera Wang sample. I had the alterations done at Davis Imperial Cleaners with the assistance of Katurah and they were terrific!

Ceremony: Christ the King Catholic Church: Fr. Tom Conde officiated at the ceremony and it was beautiful. Fr. Tom made the ceremony very personal and welcoming, and was particularly helpful with all of the children that participated in the ceremony. The music, provided by Knox & Zelnis, was gorgeous and I loved the violin accompaniment.

Bridesmaids dresses: I found the bridesmaid dresses at White House Black Market. They were black satin and organza and looked like real dresses, not your typical bridesmaid dress. The flower girls dresses were ivory satin Us Angels dresses from Nordstrom Bridal.

Reception: The Beverly Country Club is a hidden gem. It is a beautiful venue with amazing grounds on the golf course which Hilda took full advantage of for pictures. We knew at the tasting that this was the right decision for us. The food was delicious and they were very flexible. We loved the Elmer’s sundae dessert option. Suzette Ryan was great and walked us through the planning process. Dan Cullinan was there to make sure the event went smoothly and was extremely accommodating, even when I broke their chandelier… Oops! http://beverlycc.org/

Wedding cake: Sweet Mandy B’s: I knew from the beginning that my wedding cake could only come from Sweet Mandy B’s. What can I say about Sweet Mandy B’s other than everything in this bakery is a food coma and my wedding cake was no exception. We had yellow cake with vanilla butter-cream frosting and vanilla and/or chocolate butter-cream layers and it was phenomenal! The bakery decorated the cake with simple beading and my florist added the fresh flowers. My guests were upset that they only had one piece! http://sweetmandybs.com/

Favor: Cupid Candies is the most delicious chocolate/candy/ice cream shop anywhere. I grew up coming here after a good report card and wanted my guests to have a little taste of chocolate heaven… and a Chicago south side favorite. Cupid even printed our names and wedding date on the boxes for us. The chocolates were so fresh it was incredible. I wish I had ordered extra! http://www.cupidcandies.com/

Flowers: Flowers by Color : Mary, from Flowers by Color, was the best. She took my vague description of what I wanted and put together absolutely beautiful and elegant bouquets- They were perfect! Her ideas for the centerpieces made the tables look stunning and were still very “me.” There were several different arrangements in various sizes and the look transformed the room. Not only were the flowers beautiful but Mary helped coordinate at the ceremony so that everything looked great and ran smoothly. She exceeded my expectations in every respect. http://www.flowersbycolorchicago.com/

Shoes: My shoes were the ivory satin version of my bridesmaids black ones. Liz Claiborne from DSW.
Tux: Men’s Warehouse.  The guys looked dapper and the multiple locations were essential for our groomsmen and ushers. We made sure to inform the guys of the negotiated price before they went to rent the tuxes which turned out to be a necessity.

DJ : Drew from Fig media. Drew was a huge help in mapping out the reception. He took our likes/dislikes and created the perfect playlist while still incorporating the many varied requests of my guests. Plus he was fun and easy to work with. Our guests told us later the music was “totally you” which was exactly what we were hoping for. http://figdeejay.net/chicago-wedding-dj/

Photo-booth: The photo-booth provided by Shutterbox was a must. We have called it “the babysitter” since it entertained the kids all evening. However, it also was a big hit with the adults. For our guestbook, we had guests glue in a copy of their photo-booth photo and sign it. We also loved having a digital copy of all the shots, especially the ones that didn’t make it into the guestbook! http://www.shutterboxphotobooth.com/

Veil/hairpin: The Left Bank is a great bridal accessory shop in Lincoln Park. They made my veil in 2 weeks and it was stunning. My hairpin was purchased from there as well and was just my style, “simple yet elegant.” http://www.leftbankjewelry.com/

Hair/Makeup: Everything’s Relative in Oak Lawn. The owner, Joan Rowan, was amazing! I will forever be grateful that Joan opened the shop on a Sunday morning for my bridal party and to Jessica, Kim, and Katherine for coming in on their day off. Jessica took a few of my example photos and designed a fabulous up do. She was also great with my 4 year old flower girl. Kim created the beautiful hair styles for the bridesmaids. Katherine did the makeup and we looked great all day! http://everythingsrelativesalonspa.com/

Wonder Nails in Evergreen Park. Su and Tom and their staff were wonderful. They closed the shop to accommodate our party. My parents brought mimosas and breakfast, which I highly recommend. It was great fun.

Our table cards were photos of Brian and me at different ages, an idea my sister found on Pinterest. It was a big hit… although people kept saying how much Brian and I looked alike as children.

Favorite wedding related purchase? My photographer!! Hilda (and Carol) were such fun to work with and key to guiding us through the wedding day. From formal pictures to the cake cutting to navigating around to all our guests, they are clearly experienced pros with a great eye. Brian and I were wishing they had come with us on our honeymoon to Italy to make sure we had beautiful pictures of that as well!

Favorite wedding memory? There are so many favorites! The most emotional was the moment I saw Brian as I walked down the aisle with my dad. Thinking of it still brings tears to my eyes.

Something you wish you would have done differently? Everything turned out beautifully but as much as possible, I recommend not waiting until the last minute for anything.

Any advice for Brides-to-be? Enjoy every minute, don’t stress, it is what it is … go with it and have fun!”

 Needless to say the photo above is my favorite! Please leave a comment here on stop by and say hi on Facebook.

3.2 Miles-

Addy & Griffin got married on 11-11-11, you can see the wedding here. In all my years of photographing weddings I have never heard vows like this, Carol and I wept though the whole thing. Even now when I read it it makes me all misty eyed. Recently Griffin gave Addy beautiful calligraphy of the vows he read to her on their wedding day.  Here’s a photo of it, it may be a little hard to read on the web so I wrote it up below the photo. Thank you for sharing Addy, and thank you Griffin for showing the world that romance is not dead. Much love and happiness to you both!

3.2 Miles

It’s 3.2 miles from our home to your work.

I’ve driven you every time I can for the past 2.5 years. And the truth is that I’ve been lying to you all that time. I say that I drive you to work because it’s easier or faster. And that’s true. But the real truth is that I do it for the simple fact that I get to be around you for a few minutes longer, at a time when it feels like there’s no one else on the world.


For 31 years I haven’t belonged anywhere. I’ve always been an outsider. But with you, I found a place where I belong. I finally found someone who understands me and loves me for all my faults. You’re an incredible person and even more incredible friend. The fact that you choose to spend your time with me truly humbles me.


I’m a pretty simple man Adelaide. Nothing was simpler than deciding to ask you to be my wife. So when you ask me to drive you to work those 3.2 miles I will do it forever. Because it’s not just a chance to make you coffee every morning, hold your hand or talk about the day together. It’s a chance to “belong” just a little bit longer. And I’d be a fool for letting even one of those chances go without taking advantage of it. All this time you thought I was doing a favor for you. The truth is that you’ve been doing the favor for me.