Wedding Bells…

I love weddings!  I remember planning my own wedding and the months of stressful decision making that went into it.  It took every single second to pull off even the simple event that we had.  So when I was contacted on a Tuesday about photographing a wedding ceremony on that Friday I was intrigued!IMG_1520It turns out that a treasured family member was going to be in town unexpectedly so the couple decided to tie the knot and all of the planning had to be done in two weeks.  Mom was up for the challenge….and I was the last item on her list.IMG_1466Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have been able to help them out on such short notice with my kids in school and activities but, since it was spring break, I was excited to say YES!!

I had never photographed (or attended) a wedding at a courthouse before so I was thrilled to be able to document this special day for this lovely family.  I had heard that the Kane County Courthouse was older but beautiful and it didn’t disappoint.  Gorgeous old architecture for sure.IMG_1462The lobby was a buzz with the nervous energy of the various brides, grooms and their families all waiting their turn to step into the courtroom and say “I do”.  I was able to squeeze into the tiny ladies room to grab a few photos of the bride getting ready. IMG_1440I also snapped up a few of the anxious groom.IMG_1436Next up was the ‘first look’.  The weather outside was blustery and drizzling so we chose the stairway for the moment when the groom first sees his beautiful bride in her dress.  These moments are always magical…IMG_1446IMG_1453IMG_1456IMG_1457One of my favorite touches was the photo locket displayed on the bride’s bouquet with a photo of her Mother and Sister who had both passed.  This photo is of the bride’s hand along with her stepmother and the photo of her mother.  So special.IMG_1469We were # 5 on the docket so I squeezed in as many photos as possible prior to the ceremony.  I think it was good for them as it gave them something to focus on besides how nervous they were.IMG_1475IMG_1494IMG_1503IMG_1515IMG_1524IMG_1530IMG_1532IMG_1553IMG_1557And then we were up.  Inside the courtroom it was all business….and ‘I do’s’.IMG_1611IMG_1625IMG_1627IMG_1632IMG_1643I always get a little weepy at weddings….even when they aren’t mine.  A few more photos after the ceremony…IMG_1668IMG_1669IMG_1696IMG_1690We attempted some outdoors photos but the weather was not very cooperative.  Here are my favorites…IMG_1734IMG_1709And then it was off the the restaurant and reception.IMG_1850IMG_1918IMG_1835IMG_1841Once the weather cleared up a bit, I asked the bride to step outside to take a few additional photos.  I had noticed her body art and knew I wanted to capture that (a passion of mine) as well as a nice portrait in the natural light.IMG_1932IMG_1948I thoroughly enjoyed this day…meeting this wonderful family…and sharing in their joy.

XO

A New Leaf

Last month I photographed a cocktail reception that was held after the couple’s destination wedding (Paris!).  The reception was at a very unique Chicago venue….A New Leaf.  I had never been to this venue but I heard from friends that it was different and boy were they right…it was fantastic. I thought I would share some of the highlights of this beautiful event…

img_8490img_8635img_8672img_8491img_8395img_8592The venue is in a space that is stripped down to the bare essentials.  I loved the dark, industrial vibe but it was definitely a challenge to photograph in.  A New Leaf is actually a florist who offers this space next door for events.  They provided the beautiful flowers for the reception as part of the package.  In addition to the indoor space they also had an outside courtyard that would be awesome in nicer weather.img_8608img_8545img_8555img_8565The building includes multiple open levels, cement floors & stairways, vintage brick, and quirky lighting.  The food and drinks were served in the back of the lower level on a long metal table with the biggest flower arrangement I had ever seen.  The levels made for wonderful vantage points to capture shot of the guests. (And one tired photographer by the end of the night!)img_8436img_8564img_8575img_8582img_8716The bride wore a non-traditional red designer gown that was absolutely stunning on her.  I couldn’t imagine her in anything else frankly.  They were a happy couple who couldn’t keep their eyes off of each other. And their children…so sweet!img_8308img_8501img_8518I captured this shot discreetly in the apartment above.  They were thoroughly engrossed in each other while they rehearsed their dance.img_8339The dance floor was on the highest level of the building and, although small, was beautifully lit and the D.J. drew the crowd upward for a night of crazy fun!img_8935img_8930img_8754img_8739I enjoyed photographing this beautiful event and meeting this fun family.  If you are looking for an interesting place to host an event, I highly recommend A New Leaf.img_8614 And…don’t forget to call me…your photographer!

XO

The Bridal Portrait Session

The proposal has happened, and the date has been set.  (and hopefully you called me to take your engagement photos)  You’re busy renting a hall, hiring a caterer, a DJ, and a photographer (me!).  It’s such an exciting time in your life!  img_6773Then the actual day arrives and you are up early, butterflies in your belly, thrilled to finally have gotten to this point with everything in place.  The day is full, busy, packed….and you still have to squeeze in time to spend with everyone and to take photos.  Will those photos looked relaxed and natural or will they look tense, rushed and stressed? img_6917 A trend among smart brides is to schedule a ‘Bridal Portrait Session’ separate from the wedding.  Yes…it might mean getting dressed, made up, and getting your hair done twice but it’s also a great time to do a trial run in advance of your actual wedding.  img_6715Bridal Portrait Sessions are a great way to get in all of those special shots that you might not have time for on your actual wedding day.  You can travel to different locations, take your time, be relaxed and have fun.  img_6759And don’t think that these sessions have to come before the wedding.  The photos from this session were actually done after the wedding.  I was booked already for their actual wedding date so they immediately made plans to take these photos later…thus getting amazing, on location, shots of just them together without the pressure of schedules, guests, etc.img_6904I highly recommend that you consider adding a Bridal Portrait Session to your wedding plans.  And when you do….be sure to give me a call!!img_7004XO

The Most Beautiful Deal Ever!!

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Meet Carla aka Lala Lita..

She is a totally rockin’ Wife, Mom, Hair Stylist, Makeup Artist, and I am lucky enough to call her my friend. These are her adorable children!  So. Much. Cuteness.

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Carla has 2 salons….one here in Wheaton and one in Downers Grove.  She also teaches classes on things like ‘hair extensions’ and ‘hair products’ to other stylists. She is one smart cookie when it comes to all things beauty!

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I am always fascinated with the transformations that she whips up in her salon. Check out these ladies and their before/after hair shots…good stuff!

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She is also the woman who turned my hippie middle schooler…(isn’t he cute)…

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Into this super stylish high schooler…

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Of course, I loved his long hair and couldn’t even watch as she cut it away.  Sniff.

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She also offers hair & makeup packages for weddings and other events.  Check out this Before & After of one of my prom photo session clients…

So…what does this have to do with you, you ask??  Well…Carla has just agreed to offer a Hair/Makeup package as a part of any photo session that you book with me for only $50.00!  As anyone who has had those things done professionally knows, that is a great deal.  So…book a photo session for Homecoming….Maternity photos….Senior pictures or even just as a part of your Family photo shoot (the Holiday Cards are coming soon!) and she will make sure that you are looking your absolute best before you step in front of the camera.

Here is the link to my Photography page so you can see my work and contact info…

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Fall photo weekends are booking up quickly….get on my calendar now to guarantee yourself a spot.  And don’t forget to mention adding in a Hair & Makeup package with Carla in her Lala Lita Salon!  You can find her here on her Facebook Page or give her a call at 630-465-6459 to book a regular appointment in one of her salons.

Have a great weekend!

XO

Goin’ to the Chapel….

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Today I met with my first wedding photography client and it was amazing!

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We did a location preview at the Chapel in the Pines in Sycamore IL.

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The story of this really cool place is that the couple who own the farm were celebrating their 30th anniversary back in the 90’s when the husband decided to build his wife their very own Chapel on the property as his gift to her.

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Back then the chapel was quite small and was just behind their home.  Right away, friends and family began asking to use the chapel to get married in.

And the rest is history…as they say!  Here are a few more photos from my visit…

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The grounds were stunning and peaceful, set in the middle of a corn field and dotted with tall trees, flowers and garden sculptures.  Since it’s beginning, the couple has added a gazebo, lovely sidewalks and has turned the original barn, silo and outbuilding into a venue for receptions.

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I really enjoyed our visit and discussing the upcoming wedding plans with the bride to be!

If you are looking for something a bit different…check this place out…Chapel in the Pines.

I can’t wait to share the actual wedding photos with you in September.

Stay tuned…

XO