I was so incredibly honored when my cousin-friend, Tiffany (long story short… we’re not really related, but we grew up together because our parents are friends) asked me to be one of her maid of honors. Rarely do I get to experience this side of weddings. I’m the wedding photographer. Not the bride, not the bridesmaid, not the guest… more often than not, I’m the one working my butt off behind the scenes to capture every special moment. So when I found out Tiff wanted me to be such a big part of not only her wedding day but all the things that go into the planning beforehand – I was totally game 🙂
And then reality set in. Not only had I never been to a bridal shower that I was old enough to remember, but never had I planned one. Panic. I knew nothing about bridal showers… but was lucky enough to have the bridesmaids give me tips and my friends give me ideas on what to do – and of course, I hit up the Pinterest boards 🙂
I wanted to throw Tiff a meaningful, personal, and of course – beautiful bridal shower. She’s been there for me through everything (minus the 4 years we were both in high school… a 3 year age difference is big back then! Thank goodness for gchat that reunited us). But ever since college, we’ve been super close and I couldn’t imagine giving Tiff a bridal shower that I didn’t put my heart and soul into. So, after weeks of gathering ideas and materials, I took the Thursday and Friday before the shower to put everything together – and this is what I came up with. I’m not saying it was the best shower ever, but I’m pretty darn proud of myself for it being the first one I’ve ever done 🙂 It was filled with cute details, thoughtful gifts from family and friends, two super fun games put together by a few of the bridesmaids, and Tiff’s sister and fiance even Facetime’d in from Arizona. All in all, the day was a success and I’m glad that I was able to give that to Tiff. HUGE thanks to everyone that helped!!
Lastly, something that I will take with me from this shower is a message that my aunt wrote to Tiff in her card. It is excerpts from the poem, The Art of Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson… and I definitely cried when she read it aloud during the gift opening:
“A good marriage must be created. In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands… it is remembering to say I love you at least once each day… it is never going to sleep angry… it is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives… it is standing together facing the world… it is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family… it is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways… it is having the capacity to forgive and forget… it is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow… it is finding room for the things of the spirit… it is a common search for the good and beautiful… it is not only marrying the right partner, it is BEING the right partner.”
After having an absolute blast with Karen + Garth during their Naperville engagement session back in June, I had been looking forward to their Chicago wedding with much anticipation. And when the beautiful day in August finally came – I couldn’t have been more ready.
I started the day off with Karen at the Palmer House Hotel where I photographed her and her bridesmaids from all over the world laugh together, get ready, and shed tears of joy. The BEAUTIFUL hotel was the perfect location for the first look, and Karen + Garth were so clearly excited to see each other that all I had to do was click away at their happy faces. The day just continued to get better and better from there as we shot along the Chicago River, the Kinzie St. Bridge area, and finally arrived at our destination, Prairie Production.
It was a delightful day filled with gorgeous details, Chinese and American traditions, and TWO wedding dresses. Not to mention, the best maid of honor speech (if you can call it that), that I’ve ever seen. Read more on that here. A great band, delicious food, a unique location, loving family and friends, but most importantly… and bride and groom so in love… all made Karen + Garth’s big day perfect. Congratulations!!
Wedding Dress /// Maggie Sottero
Bridesmaids Dresses /// Alfred Sung
Tuxedos /// Indochino & Calvin Klein
Hair /// Meagan Williams
Videographer /// Saloh Motion Films
Florist /// Celidan Florist
Cake /// Dominick’s
Band /// One Night Band
Invitations, Menu, Seating Chart /// Max and May Design
Ceremony and Reception Venue /// Prairie Productions
Caterer /// Butterfield Catering
It was a quick Friday night event, filled with Indian food, bright colors, mehndi hand painting, and big smiles from Payal, Justin, and their families. The night before the wedding, Payal + Justin had me join them in a little Indian tradition at the Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove. I got to meet both of their wonderful families, watch Payal + Justin interact throughout the night (a favorite moment of mine was when I heard Justin ask Payal if she wanted him to get her a plate of food since she was so busy talking with guests – so attentive and caring!) and take photographs of the beautiful guests in their colorful sarees in front of a beautiful home-made backdrop.
Payal + Justin, thank you for inviting me into your mehndi party before the big day. It was wonderful meeting both of you, and I couldn’t help but notice how genuinely happy you both looked… I’d say that’s a good sign the night before the wedding 😉
August’s Moment of the Month was a no-brainer. It was literally the BEST Maid of Honor Speech I have ever seen. And that comes from a girl that goes to a lot of weddings, hears a lot of fantastic speeches, even cries during the majority of them – but this one? It takes the cake. And eats it, too. It’s that good.
It started off as your standard, tear-jerking MOH speech… “I’ve known the bride since… when we were little we used to… I remember this one time…” Then all of a sudden, as I captured the bride and groom reactions and subtle smiles the MOH shot over to them as she read from her notecard – I noticed music started playing in the background. My initial thought was that the band was trying to rush the MOH off the stage and was signaling her to bring her speech to an end. But then, she started singing…
“Aren’t you somethin’ to admire? ‘Cause your shine is somethin’ like a mirror. And I can’t help but notice you reflect in this heart of mine. If you ever feel alone and the glare makes me hard to find, just know that I’m always parallel on the other side.”
For those of you non-JT fans (not me JT, the other one – Justin Timberlake) the song that was playing was JT’s new single, Mirrors. At this point, I thought, “Oh that’s nice – she’s going to sing a little part of the song to the bride/groom.” But oh how small minded I am. After a few moments of the MOH singing solo, background singers joined in with the harmonies. Synchronized dancers came up on stage. Bubbles were being blown throughout the room. Then to top it all off – a member of the band started playing the saxophone. It was one of those moments that you will never forget. And the smiles on the bride and groom’s faces were stretched from ear to ear as they danced and sang along with the whole room.
It was something straight out of a romantic comedy, and I smile every time I think about it. THAT was a great moment, and I am so happy I was there to capture it all 🙂
Check back soon for the rest of Karen + Garth’s beautiful Chicago wedding!
The months have just been flying by these days. Every month, I write this blog post. And each and every time I am astonished as to how fast 30 (or 31) days goes by. Seriously. It never fails. I blink, and the month is over. This time I blinked and apparently the summer is almost over. Aca-scuse me? Aca-believe it. (All you Pitch Perfect nerds know what I’m talking about. I’m obsessed!) Anyways…
Here’s what July looked like for me goal-wise:
Design and print my sample album. /// DONE and being printed as we speak. Can’t wait to share it with all of you!
Have all financials figured out by the end of the month. /// DONE and meeting with my accountant next month.
Spend ONE day with my camera exploring my new neighborhood and blog it. /// NOT QUITE. I’ve explored a few blocks radius of my apartment, but not the way I should have. With being back and forth between the suburbs so much this month, it was hard to spend a whole day doing that. But now that I’m in the city all week I will definitely try to tackle this one in August.
Meet ONE new photography friend for coffee. /// SCHEDULED. I had TWO new photography friend coffee dates on the calendar, but both had to be reschedule… I’m counting it anyways.
ENJOY finally moving to the city. /// ABSOLUTELY. Cannot say enough how much I am in love with living in this city.
What am I thinking for AUGUST???
- Blog the new sample album and start showing it to clients during consults.
- Spend one full-day exploring my new neighborhood with my camera and blog it.
- Start waking up earlier and getting to the gym for 8am, 9am, or 10am classes before I start work for the day.
- Plan a date night to Bub City, Jazzin’ at the Shedd, or picnic on the beach.
- Announce End of Summer Sale.
Shooting with JordanQuinn Photography over the past (almost) two years has brought me nothing but fun, exciting, and new learning experiences. This was no different. I had photographed some smaller scale Indian events over the past two years on my own, but Neha + Arpit’s wedding took everything I knew to a whole other level. Multiple days, various wardrobe changes, numerous performances, endless speeches, incredible food, and some of the best and most energetic dancing I’ve ever seen pretty much sums up the weekend with these two.
Jordan – thanks AGAIN for hiring me to shoot along side you. We make a great team. Seriously. It’s too bad we live across the country from each other otherwise we’d just have to team up and join businesses. I can’t wait to come out to Seattle and shoot a wedding with you 🙂 And to Neha + Arpit – best wishes on a successful and happy marriage. Your patience and love for each other shined brightly throughout the entire weekend and I’m so thankful I got to capture just a sliver of it.
What better way to celebrate 30 years of marriage than reigniting the flame during an anniversary photo session… the only thing that made it even better for Joanne + Mick? The fact that this was a gift given to them by their thoughtful and generous children, Brittany and Ashley. How sweet and meaningful!
I photographed Joanne + Mick as they showed me around the beautiful Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, IL. Somehow, this was my first time on campus – but Joanne + Mick were kind enough to show me some breathtaking spots. I pretty much died and went to photography heaven when I saw how the sun was coming through the gigantic weeping willows… my favorite!
Joanne + Mick, thank you for being so wonderful and open to doing an anniversary photo session. I just loved hearing about your relationship, travels around the country, and especially how you still do “date nights” every. single. Thursday night. That’s definitely something I’m going to carry with me forever and hopefully incorporate into my marriage one day 🙂 Another favorite moment of mine from the shoot? When I heard Mick whisper in Joanne’s ear, “We need to do photo shoots more often… you haven’t kissed me this much in years!” LOVE it.
Happy 30th Anniversary to an amazing couple that I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet, spend some time with on a beautiful summer night, and share in their happiness. Their gorgeous smiles say it all. Congratulations!