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!