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Intimate Outdoor Wedding ceremony at Firehouse Chicago | Leslie & Perry

I first met Leslie when she hired me to photograph her daughter when she was just a was a toddler. Throughout the years we kept in touch, and when she told me about her engagement, I was sooo happy for her! When I met the handsome Groom, I could clearly see why Leslie was glowing whenever she talked about him and when she looks at him she just radiates happiness. Congratulations to Leslie and Perry, thank you for allowing me to witness and capture your joy!!

Dress:BHLDN
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Make up: Valencia’s world of Beauty

Ceremony and reception at the uniquely charming Firehouse Chicago. Yes, it used to be a real working fire house, that’s been converted to an event venue.

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Saville Flowers
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Caterer:Tamale Spaceship

From the couple…

Venue: Firehouse Chicago: The moment we stepped in this space we knew this was where we wanted to say our vows. It was rustic, intimate, and charming. We would be married outside in a beautiful garden and Paige was an absolute dream to work with… and how can you resist sliding down a fire pole in a wedding dress. I mean… 

Caterer:Tamale Spaceship: My husband was pretty easy going when it came to planning. His one request – a Food Truck.  We decided on Tamale Spaceship as tacos, no matter the occasion, are always a good idea.  When we opened the huge, beautiful, wooden firehouse doors to reveal the taco truck – it was SO much fun. Also, Manny and his team were so attentive and accommodating.


Brides Dress:BHLDN: My dress was The Blake by BHLDN. I knew I wanted something fitted and sophisticated but would make me feel very much feel like a bride.  My stylist Caprice was so great. I was nervous about trying on dresses as I am a curvy girl. Every dress I tried on was more beautiful than the next. Ultimately, the gorgeous train and classic fit of The Blake won me over.

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Maid of Honor:  Wore The Mila in Lilac also by BHLDN. Went perfectly with her powder blue converse.

Groom: My husband wanted to be relaxed and casual but a smidge dressy. He wore a tan suit and sneakers by Dolce Vita; His bow tie and pocket square by Brooks Brothers. He was the most handsome groom.


Saville Flowers: I chose Saville Flowers in Evanston as they did all the flowers pro-bono at a charity gala I chaired. Mark and his team were AWESOME. I simply gave him a budget and a couple of ideas and said run with it. I arrived at the venue and was blown away at how GORGEOUS our tables were.  I ordered these beautiful lace runners and the arrangements they did with the pops of yellow and white wild flowers, rosemary, greenery and candles were stunning and our guest got to take the arrangements home.

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Cake: Our wedding was a tad un-traditional so we wanted some  element of tradition.  Our cake was a classic three tiered Red Velvet cake with buttercream frosting by Sweetie Pie’s in Skokie. We’ve frequented this bakery often for treats after school and  several special occasions  They actually retired the business at the end of our wedding season.  It was so fitting to have the owners whom we had grown to know from living in the neighborhood do our cake. They were so excited for us and the cake was deelish.


Officiant: Elder Tony McClain, is my husband’s God Father. Having him know my husband so intimately and welcoming me as a daughter was super special. There were so many moments of our ceremony that were my favorite but one that stands out is when he had our family and friends stand and take a “Vow of Support” in being part of our community that remains steadfast with us on this journey of marriage.


Rings: Her Ring: Purchased from a shop on Etsy, Tallie Jewelry. Its a beautiful, two tone yellow & white gold band with milgrain engraving. I love it.His Ring: Was purchased as a birthday gift while on a weekend getaway for his birthday at a local artisan shop in Michigan. Its a thick, steel band with beautiful tree trunk carvings. He could not imagine anything else as a wedding band. He simply switched from his right hand to his left. Grooms words: “I love it, it has a story, and it’s the first thing you purchased for me”.

DJ: Just Press Play was the best choice for the Spotify playlist of modern Jazz (think Despacito but on Sax), House, R&B Soul, and 90s music curated by the Bride and Groom.


Bar Service: Drinks on Me Catering was the perfect touch for our intimate wedding. Their mix of beers and wines were perfect for our afternoon, summer soirée .

Photographer: Angel Eyes Photography: Saving the best for last! The very first decision I made in our planning was hire Hilda. I am familiar with her work so I know that she is uncompromising when it comes to her clients. She has a keen eye for catching THEE most beautiful moments and she’s not afraid to be bossy (in a nice way) to get them.   She arrived early to our house to take getting ready photos and her energy and enthusiasm just made the mood even more celebratory.  It was such a busy day she made sure to communicate with me at every turn ensuring we get all the photos we wanted plus some artsy fun ones too. Honestly, at one point it felt more like a magazine photo shoot than wedding photos ha-ha!  She absolutely loves weddings and love and that comes through in every single click of her camera.

My favorite purchase was definitely my dress. I did not see myself as a bride who would like a train but when I tried my dress on – it was just so beautiful. I fell immediately in love with it

 Aside from our vows – hands down the recession when my daughter (and maid of honor) sang us up the aisle to  Ingrid Michelson “The Way I Am” on her Ukulele.  Hilda got the sweetest shot of me telling her how good she did. If you look closely, you also see my husband in the photo. My heart could’ve burst from joy in this moment with the three of us.

 Advice….Definitely schedule more time for makeup. We ran an hour late getting to the venue. We were taking photos when guest arrived, YIKES! I didn’t care though, I was marrying the man of my dreams and honestly having guest walk in and see me gave it an even more casual feeling that I loved.

My advice to couples is to do what’s important for the two of you.

Our biggest goal was not to focus on the “wedding” but on our story, our gratefulness in finding each other, our love for each other, and to celebrate that with the 50 or so people who had  been there with us when we were single – praying for us, our future mate, and encouraging us every step of the way. We recently had friends who have been married some time share they were recently growing apart but attending our celebration and baring witness to our love has drawn them closer. I love that.

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Carnivale restaurant in Chicago | unique Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venue | Ritz & Ernie

I love intimate weddings! Especially when a couple is a s chill and easy going as these two. No fuss, they just had their kids and kid relatives for the ‘wedding party’ and the happily braved the rain for a few quick photos. The getting ready was at the James Hotel. And get a load of those shoes!!

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Of course the rain stopped when we finished the outdoor photos.

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If you’ve never been to Carnivale Restaurant just do yourself a favor and go. And be sure to get a margarita 😉

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Make up by A Modern Face (Anjelica Santillan)

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Cakes by Karen

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Amazing blues music by Giles Corey of Stoned Soul, Roger Femalli and Roberto Agosto of Head Honchos.

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From the couple…

“Dresses by David’s Bridal, Make up by A Modern Face (Anjelica Santillan ), cake by , blues music by Giles Corey of Stoned Soul, Roger Femalli and Roberto Agosto of Head Honchos. 
Doug from Carnivale was an angel and made planning for our day so much easier and so much more enjoyable. I loved each and every purchase because it was made with my little gift from God, my maiden of honor, my daughter Alyssa! She was even there for my lingerie shopping for my bridal boudoir,  which was the hubbie’s fave (besides the shoes)! 
As far as advice for other couples, take a week before the wedding to enjoy your loved ones and each other because the stress of that week can be unbearable.  You may feel like everything your husband to be is doing is wrong and annoying, but know that you will love him again once the big day is done! Enjoy your honeymoon phase to the umpteenth power.
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A special thank you and ultimate gratitude goes to Joseph Cuellar, the groom’s best friend from childhood,  for being our officiant. He made me cry before I even heard from my groom. He really did an amazing job! 
And to my photographer…she made us feel even more special on an already special day. Hilda brought out the sunshine on a cloudy rainy day.
My favorite memory on a day full of wonderful memories would have to be having my 92 year old father there to give me away. As I got older and he got sicker, I never dreamed he would be there to see his only daughter wed; but, I am so blessed that I had a chance to share in that day with him.
The groom’s favorite memory of the night is a two parter : chasing his bride around the Wrigley building with an umbrella to get the perfect shots and standing in front watching his beautiful bride come down the aisle wondering “How did I get so lucky?” 
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Downtown Chicago engagement photos | Save-the-date photography session | Samantha & Bernie

I love a gorgeous sunset session, and this was one for the books! Loved working with Samantha and Bernie, they are so comfortable with each other and obviously in love 🙂

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