Yet another perfect fall Chicago day. Yet another set of reasons why I love what I do. Yet another couple who is truly in love. Jay and Shannon found me online and although I was in my year of travel and unable to meet with them in person, we scheduled a Skype video-conference and immediately hit it off. When I finally met each of them on their wedding day, I knew it was a perfect match between the two of them, of course!! I also knew Shannon was my perfect bride bc of her stunning two dresses and two pairs of shoes! I love a little outfit change during the reception. I have much, much more to say but I just wanted to get these teasers up before the holiday!!!!
Archive for the ‘Weddings’ Category
There are times when I really connect with my clients and become more than a photographer, I become a friend and part of their family. This is just one of those examples. I have been working with Hilary’s family for the past five years and they have welcomed me to special events and milestones with open arms. I joke that I am an honorary family member, but really it’s not a joke, it’s true!
Hilary and Wayne are totally a Happily Ever After and it warms my heart to see them together. I was incredibly honored to be the one to capture their day, forever. I know in my past interactions, both in a professional capacity and in a friend capacity, I have laughed and laughed with the two of them. I love it when people have a great sense of humor and can laugh at life. These are also the two crazy kids that I went winter camping with in Illinois two winters ago. It was a frigid December night in Rockford and the low was 19 degrees. Yes we can laugh at how nuts we were! But we survived!
Thankfully their wedding day in October was much more pleasant weather-wise! In fact the lovely blue skies and comfortable fall temps were ideal for a wedding day in the Midwest, if you want my opinion. I was the first one to arrive where Hilary and her mom and sis were getting ready and I felt like I had just arrived at home, that’s how comfy I am around them. And that’s exactly what I did, I made myself at home and began my photographic journey of documenting Hilary and Wayne’s wedding day.
Here are just of a few of my favorite images:
Without further ado, here’s just a sampling of some of the images from Jamie & Tom’s wedding day – which was indeed a perfect fall weather day in Chicago! Over the years I have seen October transition into the new June where Midwest weddings are concerned!
Jamie and Tom booked me TWO years prior to their wedding day, after seeing my work from other friends weddings and me in action as well. I guess when you know, you KNOW! I’m totally loving Jamie’s love for all things leopard print and that her mom bought two gorgeous tall chairs in a leopard print just for the getting ready festivities. Throughout the day the little touches that Jamie and Tom put into their wedding were very evident. And can we please talk about the reception decor… stunningly rich colors and shiny baubles that adorned the vases… again LOVE!
Leopard LOVE! Of course the bouquet is just gorgeous too!
There’s always room for the doggies on the wedding day!
The bride’s uncle brings his band!!!
I was very much looking forward to this wedding because the bride was my beautiful cousin Robin and of course it would be my first Detroit area wedding! I flew in from LA a few days prior to the wedding and had a blast hanging out with Robin, Pete and the cast of wedding party members. For the very first time I had my toes bedazzled at the singing manicurist’s nail shop. Really an experience everyone should have on their bucket list!
Although in the days prior to the wedding a fall chill had hit the air, the actual wedding day dawned sunny and temps were expected to be in the high 70s, which in my opinion is just perfect for an outdoor ceremony in the Midwest! I met up with the girls at the hair salon early in the morning and we had lots of laughs and silly antics. After everyone was sufficiently coiffed, we zipped over to Glen Oaks Country Club for the rest of the preparations. While Robin was getting her make-up done, the rest of us took turns heading downstairs to peak at the room as it was turned into a wedding reception and oohed and aaahed at the lush flowers. I only got reprimanded once for touching the girls’ bouquets but seriously it was all in the name of photos! Robin’s sister and MOH thoughtfully arranged for a quick lunch for the crew and then everyone helped Robin into her dress. I love the actual moment of transformation from a bride getting ready into a bride ready to get married! I am still in awe of Robin’s tasteful alterations to her dress with the straps that matched her ruched bodice and the lovely flower belt. Once Robin was ready, I headed outside to locate Pete and the guys and arranged the positioning for the First Glance.
I kept my emotions in check as Robin made her way down the garden path and I procrastinated letting Pete turn around to see her because I was loving his expressions and the emotion. But no worries, when I finally let him turn around to see hi beautiful bride – he let some emotions fly and that just one of many reasons why I love the wedding day! EMOTION!!! So here is where I say Thank You, Pete, for being an emotional groom and allowing for some amazing photographs of those moments. After a short time with Robin and Pete we headed into wedding party and family photos and got every single one out of the way prior to the ceremony! This makes for a smooth flowing day once we get all those groupings checked off the list.
The intimate and touching ceremony was set in the garden at Glen Oaks and attended by Robin and Pete’s closest friends and family. With the blue skies, a lush garden, the gently setting sun and comfortable September afternoon temperature – the day really was perfect! After we all cheered on their new union, guests headed inside the clubhouse for cocktails and mingling and then of course, on to the party in celebration of Robin and Pete!!! One of the highlights of the evening, besides the heartfelt toasts by their siblings, was the 24′ desert table that needed it’s own room! I’m drooling just remembering all the delicious sweets, cakes and fruit on display.
Congrats you two! Thanks for being such wonderful hosts and allowing me to play a special role in your day! Now come visit us in California!
This raw emotion is the stuff photojournalists dream of!
A tired bride, typical for the end of the night!
Weddings are great with all the emotion, action and detail packed into one day. They’re even better when you are friends with the bride and groom. Increase the level of greatness by another million when they have a pretty awesome wedding party. And on top of that we made it into the city for three photo locations despite the weather and everyone was a trooper! I admit, I was obsessively checking the weather as the big day got closer and not liking the outcome. I instructed the bride to make sure the wedding party brought along some golf umbrellas and confirmed we were cruising into the city for photo ops no matter what; that I hadn’t had a bride melt on me yet!
After arriving at the hotel on a muggy morning, I found the Renee getting her hair done and her make-up had already been flawlessly applied by Nikolina with Moya Make-Up. She was grinning from ear to ear as the day had finally arrived! I worked the room and met her friends and family and worked on detail shots and joked around with the girls, we all knew we were in for a fun day! As we all boarded the limo bus, there was absolute delight in realizing it not only had stocked bars, a video screen and a light show but also a nice pole smack dab in the middle. Good thing Renee’s mom was being chauffeured to the church by family!
Saint’s Cyril and Methodius is stunning on the inside and very well lit (photographers tend to think in different lighting scenarios) and I was very excited! Just seeing Renee walk down that aisle with yet another huge grin on her face made me realize what a fantastic job I have. Seeing Jim watch her walk with his eyes lit up and a tight smile as he kept emotions in check made myself and all the guests proud to be there for these two who are so much in love! One of my favorite parts was during Flowers to Mary when Renee’s Matron of Honor sang Ave Maria, while it’s always a very powerful and moving portion of the ceremony, to have one of your closest friends sing during this tradition is just incredibly heartfelt.
About halfway through the formal family and wedding party photos at the altar after the ceremony, I heard some loud and deep rumbling, which I attributed to someone messing with a mic and the sound system. It was later mentioned that it was really coming down outside and what I really heard was rolling thunder! Fortunately the monsoon only delayed our departure from the church by about 10 minutes as the groomsmen had to help the bridesmaids out to the limo bus one by one, and then a crew joined together to help get our lovely bride out without getting her drenched. I personally had to wring out the hems on my pants after a couple trips out carrying gear. Many thanks to the kind gentleman whose umbrella I totally borrowed!
Our itinerary consisted of stops at US Cellular, Union Station and the Chicago Board of Trade – and we accomplished it all! By the time the limo bus rolled into the parking lot at US Cellular it has stopping raining and we were able to do a great number of wedding party portraits with the stadium in the background. Since Renee and Jim are die-hard White Sox fans it was only appropriate this be the main reason we trekked into the city from Lemont and it was totally worth it. We also had the beauty of a lightening show just to the South of US Cellular as we were out taking pictures. Upon finishing up there we all hopped back on the limo bus and headed towards Union Station, the light drizzle started up again so we spent time playing beneath the columns and out of the rain. Our third and final stop entailed me having Renee and Jim gallivant around the middle of the street in front of the Board of Trade and we got some lovely umbrella shots, which not every bride and groom get to have! Finally it was back on the bus to head towards the reception venue back in the ‘burbs. Renee and Jim and their wedding party did a great job stocking the coolers and it was like all the time on the bus between ceremony and reception was another party just for the VIPs. (And the photographer and videographer, of course.)
When we arrived at the Crystal Grand, earlier than expected to boot, the room was completely decked out and one of Jim’s friends even did some elegant up-lighting on every wall giving it a completely different and colorful atmosphere. My associate photographer had also set up a Photobooth and one of the bridesmaids supplied a bin of hats and other fun accouterments for dressing up. It was a huge hit with the guests, myself included!
Guests mingled and cocktailed and Renee and Jim were toasted by their closest friends with some of the most heartfelt speeches I have heard. All around a job well done! Finally, after a scrumptious dinner and the opening dances it was time to get the party started! Their DJ rocked the house with dance songs, oldies and some 80′s throwback songs and there was not one single lull in the commotion on the dance floor. That’s the sign of a successful wedding reception!
If you want to see images from some of the best photographers in the world – check out Fearless Photographers. I am honored and ecstatic to be a part of such a talented group of photographers who see light, color, contrast, emotion, moments and beauty that is both simplistic and breathtaking at the same time. Gone are the days of just taking pretty pictures with which to remember the wedding day. It’s been kicked up quite a few notches, folks.
Here is my image that placed in the Round 5 competition. Yes, I won an award for taking a photo of a few butts!
While you’re at it, you should peruse the entire gallery of winning images from this round – Fearless Photographers Round 5 – and be sure to click LIKE for the ones you like as they narrow it down for a best in show!!!
I’ve had the great pleasure of second shooting for Rachael Michael at two fabulous weddings this summer. As I’ve hurled headlong into the dizzying world of wedding extravaganza, it has been interesting to observe that each wedding has many details that make it special. Brides are often told not to sweat the small stuff – nobody is going to notice that the color of the place cards match the calla lilies in the bridesmaid bouquets… I’m not sure I agree with that 100%
Second shooters must support the primary photographer by noticing all of those little details. While Rachael is doing her magic capturing the essence of the bride and groom, I get to do some very fun stuff! For example, Diana and Rob’s wedding had the most beautiful place cards I had ever seen, and I found myself obsessed with documenting them. Diana carefully crafted paper flowers, complete with wired stems, and “planted” them in a bed of grass. Guests had to search through a verdant meadow in order to find their names written on paper petals, and then carried bouquets back to their seats– how fun is that?
Typically, once they’ve been claimed, I’ve seen place cards strewn haphazardly at the reception tables. However, as I roamed the reception room looking for details to capture, I kept coming across these flowers… carefully laid across a plate, popping out of a chair ribbon, tucked into a guest’s hair, etc. Not only did these flowers provide an element of whimsy for the guests, I believe they were a beautiful representation of this bride’s particular sweetness and femininity. Details like these appeared everywhere – from the happy pink posies on the cake, to the Victorian-style dried flowers at the bridal party table, to the soft pink paper hearts, which would eventually serve as the couple’s guest book. This couple was all about life, warmth, and love… and it showed in the details.
At Amy & Todd’s wedding earlier this summer, there was a lot going on behind the scenes. For example, as the guests were being seated for the ceremony, Amy and her girls were waiting for the procession to start in the hotel’s lobby. The wedding coordinator chose that moment to come by and ask the girls whether they’d like to see the reception room being decorated. I found myself witnessing one of the sweetest moments of the day –when Amy and a couple of her bridesmaids saw the beautifully decorated reception room for the first time. It was such a pleasure to capture this special moment –one that the guests never would have been able to see otherwise. As wedding photographers, I learned that paying attention to the extra moments that happen beyond the classic footprint of ceremony & reception can yield some of the most amazing details of the day.
It is this very reason that I love second shooting for Metimages – I am all about the details and it is a fun challenge to work the room and discover them. I’ve been that guest at the wedding that has actually noticed when the reception napkins match the bride’s shoes. As such, it gives me great pleasure to preserve these thoughtfully chosen details – they mean something! – and what better way to preserve those memories than through beautiful images?
(Of course we had to include some other great captures by Barb this summer!)
* Barb, always a fan of photography, purchased her first DSLR in 2009 and has taken multiple photography classes at the Chicago Photography Center and immersed herself in the Chicago photographic community. A logical next step on her quest to hone her skills was to approach a professional and ask about starting from the ground up. Since we have been friends going back to 2001, I jumped at the opportunity to introduce her to the arena of professional portrait and event photography and help her grow. Barb began as an intern with Metimages in the Spring of 2011 and has quickly proven herself with her talent, willingness to learn, and calm, professional demeanor with Metimages clientele.
I have a challenging job. And I love it! What happens when you have a lovely summer day, a beautiful bride and handsome groom, an equally good-looking (and fun) wedding party and a photographer’s eye-candy in terms of backdrop and location? You get a heck of a lot of images. The actual day-of the wedding is second nature to me in terms of timeline, activities, emotions, working with families and capturing all that I need to capture to tell a story and document the day for my clients. Throw in a little weather, be it humidity, rain, direct sunlight, snow, no matter as I have seen it before and I have conquered it before. The real challenge is working with the images after the day is over and the last guest has departed. Part of the reason my clients place a high priority on their wedding photos and choose me is for my vision and ability to capture the day for them. The other part is my ability to take the many images myself and my associate photographer have captured and cull through them to find the best of the best and pare it down to a reasonable number so as not to put anyone – bride, groom, parents, guest – into sensory overload with an unreasonable amount of final images in that story. When we have a beautiful day with a beautiful crew such as on Diana and Rob’s wedding day, it is a much harder and longer process. But well worth the wait when all is said and done.
My 2011 wedding season is midway through and I must brag about how much I adore my Metimages clients. Diana and Rob found me through a referral (which is still how 95% of my clients find Metimages) and we had a fantastic meeting last fall and then met up again a few weeks later for a city engagement portrait session. Starting at a hidden oasis in the heart of Lincoln Park and ending downtown after dark was a perfect adventure and a good warm up for all of us. Diana and Rob each earned an A+ and I didn’t notice any issues with them as Metimages subjects. Well done! I was asked to join the crew for the rehearsal dinner on the eve of the wedding and I decided to start a little earlier during the actual rehearsal of the ceremony. It was a blazing hot day, direct sun blaring down with barely any breeze and we all suffered through. Thankfully their friends and family follow instructions well and only had to run through it once. The rehearsal dinner was held at Hugo’s Frog Bar in downtown Naperville and the private room was wonderfully air-conditioned and provided a nice respite from the heat. Many of us were checking weather updates for the following day and were excited to learn it would be about 20 degrees cooler and have much less humidity. Game on!
Diana and the girls did their getting-ready prep at the Dairyman’s Cottage on the grounds of Cantigny, where the ceremony and reception were to take place, and it was the perfect suite of rooms complete with a fully functioning and modern kitchen. The girls were able to spread out and relax all morning. I arrived just as Diana was sitting down in the make-up artist’s chair. As soon as all the bridesmaids floated down the stairs in full wedding day attire and Diana’s smile lit up the entire room, it was her turn to don her wedding day dress and accoutrements. Another reason I get excited for weddings is because although there is a similar format - girls get ready, bride and groom say I Do, we take photos, celebration commences – many of my clients work very hard to put their own touches on the day. Diana was no exception with the selection of flowers, bridesmaid dresses and her incredibly unique and perfectly fitting bridal gown, complete with pockets!
We headed out for some bridesmaid and then groomsmen portraits around the grounds of Cantigny and then all convened on the East Lawn for the late afternoon ceremony. As we anticipated more movement of the sun, you can imagine our delight right as the ceremony began when a cloud cover blossomed over the entire area. It was like a giant diffuser and not only provided the right atmosphere for the ceremony it also provided the most perfect condition for outdoor photographs. After a touching ceremony with elements from each of their faiths, Diana and Rob were married and ready for some family formals and fun wedding party photos. In the meantime, the guests headed back to the visitors center for cocktails and to await the arrival and introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Rob Springer! First dances, heartfelt toasts, a delicious meal and general guest socialization all took place before the DJ opened the dance floor and an all out dance frenzy broke loose! I’m talking packed floor, dance-offs, spin the bottle, double dutch, the worm and all out good times were had by everyone, young and old.
Here are just a few of my favorite moments from throughout the day:
Maid of honor.
Diana is a teacher and some of her students attended the ceremony and stuck around for a quick photo op!
I love it when a dad gets emotional.
I had to hold on to this post for a long time, namely for selfish reasons because I wanted to continue to savor everything about the day. From the first moment I met with Karyn and Brian last summer, I totally fell in love with them and knew I wanted to photograph their wedding day! We had so much in common, such as blending Catholicism and Judaism (my parents had a ceremony with a priest and rabbi in 1972), an age difference between bride and groom (my husband has over a decade on me), growing up in the North Shore (Karyn and I) and the list goes on. Not more than 15 minutes after the initial meeting was over and we had parted ways, I received a phone call from Karyn to send her a typed contract because they wanted to book me! Now that’s the stuff that photographer’s dreams are made of!
Karyn, Brian and I met up a couple months later, in September, for one of the last good weather evenings to traipse around Chicago and photograph their engagement session. It was a fun few hours with them and a chance for me to really get to know their personalities (and photo nuances, like for instance Brian likes to talk during photos) and for them to see me in action. The evening was incredibly pleasant weather-wise, in fact it was balmy! Of course being Chicago, a few hours after we ended the session a storm blew through and the temperature dropped and fall has begun.
Finally the perfect June day had arrives and I was so excited to work with Karyn and Brian and capture all their special moments. I had a small treat, the photographer I was bringing with to second shoot with me for the day was my good friend, Candice C. Cusic, a Pulitzer prize winner and wedding photojournalist. I need to figure out a way to provide this type of treat for all of my clients! Talk about inspiration and having a real live voice over your shoulder pushing you to keep working a situation until you get the perfect capture!
As a last minute addition, Karyn added extra getting ready coverage to the day because the Palmer House had upgraded her to the Penthouse Suite AND there was fantastic art on loan from the Art Institute. I was even more excited about the layout, the space and the reflective dining table! After Karyn was all set, we headed down to the mezzanine level for the first glance between her and Brian. I love this part of the day, when it happens. I always leave the seeing each other beforehand decision up to my clients, never pushing for one way or the other. But if they do choose to see each other prior to the ceremony, than I will be right there to capture the emotion and joy in the first sighting of each other all decked out in wedding attire.
Immediate family and the wedding party soon joined us for some formal pics and then we boarded a limo bus with the wedding party and headed out for some Chicago photo ops. Originally we had planned to hit Wrigley Field first, right after the start of the game but we had observed a parade earlier and were concerned about traffic so we scrapped that idea and headed to location #2, the Financial District and then over to location #3, Michigan Avenue by the Chicago River. I like to have fun with the wedding party and bride and groom photos but I also like to keep it short and sweet. We decided after wrapping up at Michigan Avenue that we still had enough time to head North to check out Wrigley Field. So we did. And I was filled with immense joy that we were able to hit that location, seeing as the bride and groom are pretty intense Cubs fans. I love it when a plan comes together.
After our photo ops were fulfilled we headed back to the Palmer House for the Ketubah signing and ceremony. With the blending of families and blending of religions it’s so refreshing to see how interested everyone is with new traditions. Some of my favorite photos are the overwhelming joy on Karyn’s face right after the Ketubah signing, because at that point they are indeed married! The ceremony was stunning, walking into the Empire room and seeing the layout, the Chuppah on risers and the gorgeous aisle with dramatic lighting really re-affirmed why I love my job. I love to experience beautiful moments and I was not disappointed. Karyn and Brian had both a priest and a rabbi and incorporated traditions from both religions, complete with Brian breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony. Guests were asked to enjoy cocktails and appetizers throughout the mezzanine level while the Palmer House staff worked their magic turning over the Empire room for the reception. Everyone danced the night away and it was happily ever after!!!
Ceremony & Reception Location: Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL
Make-up Artist: Brie Aarin Make-Up, Chicago, IL
Day-Of Coordinator: SQN Events, Chicago, IL
Amy and Todd re-affirm that the little (or even somewhat big) things don’t much matter. What really matters is their love for each other. They found out halfway through their wedding planning that their chosen hotel venue closed! Fortunately for them, the hotel wedding coordinator quickly moved to another hotel in the same area and their date was available. So what could have been a huge stressor was just a little blip on their planning radar. Though, in the end, what really mattered is the love they had for each other and the commitments they made in front of their family and friends.
To say everything worked out perfectly is an understatement, the day just flowed from one event into the next. Everyone was on time and ready for the momentous occasion and celebration. The weather held out and we were able to photograph the family and wedding party formals outdoors prior to the ceremony. The cocktail hour that followed the ceremony was also outdoors. And of course we captured a fabulous end of the night sequence with Amy and Todd outdoors right before we ended photography for the night.
This is my third wedding out of approximately 325 weddings that I have photographed over the past 12 years where a parent of the wedding couple officiated over the ceremony. I’m in awe of how special that makes the ceremony, having one of the closest people in your life leading one of the most important days of your life. It just brings an additional level of love.
Not only am I fascinated by shoes, I am also fascinated with wedding dresses and I love finding the tiniest details and learning the textures of the fabrics and the way they flow both on and off the bride. Amy’s dress had an elegant simplicity but I just love the little detailing around the waist.
Winner of the most humorous groomsman award – Aaron showed up in a T-shirt with a bride and groom on the front and the text, Game Over.
Amy’s “Something Old” was her grandmother’s ring that she wore attached to a “Something Borrowed” anklet from her sister-in-law.
Amy has seven nieces and nephews and she made a special point to let me know how important pics of all of them were to her.
Amy’s dad officiated the ceremony. I have chills just thinking about how special and intimate that makes a wedding ceremony.