I couldn’t have picked a better way to end my wedding season. It was just a few days before 2014 came to a close, but first – Karlee + Ben had to say their “I do’s.” It was a laid back day, one that reflected on the calm and collected spirits of Karlee + Ben. Both two of the kindest souls I’ve ever worked with. With family coming in from everywhere from South Dakota, to California, to friends from right here in Chicago – the chilly December day was warmed up with love from everyone in attendance.
Their wedding took place at the beautifully intimate, Artango Bistro in Ravenswood – an area dear to them as they plan to build their family and lives together in a home just a bit north of there. Family has always played a big part in their lives, especially since it was Ben’s sister that introduced the two of them. Karlee had babysat for Ben’s sister’s kids – and she just knew they would be a great fit. And she was right. Her intuition as an older sister and best friend paid off, and brought us to this day of celebration and love. Congratulations to Karlee + Ben, and here’s to a happy new year together!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Desinger: J.Crew // Bridesmaid Dress Designer: BHLDN // Tuxedo Designer: Hugo Boss, Nordstrom // Hair Stylist & Make-up Artist: Beth Stark Bailey // Wedding Coordinator: Sandra Tutkute // Florist: Mariano’s // Cake Artist: Molly’s Cupcakes // DJ: Toast and Jam // Paper Goods: Crane Invitations // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Artango Bistro // Caterer: Artango Bistro // Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: DePaul Music School Trio
Every year, it seems as though Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years sneak up on us as soon as summer ends. All of a sudden, instead of heading to the beach, street fests, summer weddings, and lake houses… we’re bundling up in our fluffy scarves and winter hats while reminiscing about what new years resolutions we did or did not reach for the year. Did we workout more? Did we eat healthier? Did we make more time for loved ones? Did I book enough weddings?
Looking back on my goals for the past year, I’ve actually achieved the majority of them, with the exception of a few minor ones that kept getting pushed back. So I’ll chalk that up as a success 🙂 But more importantly, this year was truly one I’ll never forget. It was my first complete year running my business full-time. I learned more about myself and what I want my business to stand for this year than I have in the entire past 3 years of being a photographer. I learned about self motivation – forcing myself to work on those days that I really just wanted to relax… and I also learned about the flexibility of working for yourself – not forcing myself to work on those days that I really just needed to relax and getting the work done another day.
Like every year, there were good and bad moments. Ones I never want to forget, and ones that make me cringe every time I remember them. There were blurry photos, missed moments, and over/underexposed shots. But I think the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that it’s okay to not be the perfect photographer. I can sure as heck try to be, but I try knowing that if I fail at being perfect, then I’m still putting my heart and soul into what I do and producing the best quality photos that I possibly can. That’s what I did this year, and that’s what I want to continuing doing for all of those couples that trust me to capture their wedding days.
This year I was blessed to work with the most amazing people. The longer I do this, the more I notice that my couples trust, respect, and value my work and who I am as a photographer – which ultimately propels me to do my best for them. The relationships I have with my past and current couples have been the cornerstone of my business, and for that I am forever grateful. The moments I have captured over the past year – the smiles, the tears, the dance moves (both good and bad), the laughter, the kisses, and the hugs – all of them are so important to me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little nostalgic looking through these photos/writing this post – but that doesn’t mean I’m a sap (or maybe it doesn’t – but whatever!) … to me, it just means I absolutely, whole-heartedly LOVE what I do and I realize how blessed I am to be here.
Have a happy, safe, and memorable New Year, friends – here’s to looking back at my favorite moments of 2014 – and looking forward to creating new memories in 2015 🙂
(above) see more from Liz + Kyle’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Steph + Tim’s wedding here.
(above) see more from Marisa + Ryan’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Liza + Mike’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Brooke + John’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Lexi + Tim’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Monica + PJ’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Kristin + Ryan’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Lauren + Jaden’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Carrie + Ryan’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Jess + Frank’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Lauren + Lee’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Courtney + Zach’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Jenny + Kevin’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Jena + Anthony’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Jackie + Matt’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Taylor + Joe’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Johanna + Jeff’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Sarah + Greg’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Kimmy + Nick’s Wedding here.
(above) see more from Jennie + Ryan’s Wedding here.
When you plan your wedding for December in Chicago, you pretty much know it’s going to be a cold one, or at least you would think. But despite the the Polar Vortex that we Chicagoans suffered through last year, this particular Saturday in December was 50 degrees. Yes, 5-0… in December… in Chicago. Pretty much unheard of. So when we have that kind of weather this late in the year, you know luck is on our side a little bit. And let me tell you, that little piece of luck on our side came in handy when the hotel housekeeping accidentally cleared Jackie’s engagement ring with the plates/trash in the room and were minutes from tossing it into the garbage. Luckily, it was found and returned safely to Jackie’s ring finger for the rest of her life.
After that scare, the rest of the day was hiccup free and nothing but pure enjoyment. Jackie + Matt filled their wedding day with winter details, brought in Santa for the kids, and even honored the married couples before them that have been showing us how it’s done for decades. There was a Wheel of Fortune Clip (from when Jackie won), lawyer-theme named martinis, and a dessert table filled with sweet treats and even sweeter quotes. It was such a fun day – one of those weddings that flies by and at the end of the day makes me wonder how I got so lucky to be a part of it. Jackie + Matt, congratulations to you. You are one of the sweetest, most trusting, and fun couples I’ve had the pleasure of working with – and I wish you all the best!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Morilee Blu by Madeline Gardner, White Satin Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses Designer: Jasmine Galleria, Belsoie Collection | Tuxedo Designer: Joseph Abboud Tuxes, Black Tie Formalwear | Hair Stylist: Christa P., Total Image Bridal | Make-up Artist: Christa P., Total Image Bridal | Wedding Coordinator: Kyra Poulos, Chicago Marriott Naperville | Videographer: Nick Bodmer Videography | Florist: Avant Gardenia | Cake Artist: Chicago Marriott Naperville | Event Design and Rental: SatinChair
I’m back with the fourth installment of my Wedding Inspiration Series: Bridesmaid Dresses. On the most important day of your life, aside from your man, you want your girls by your side. And you want your girls looking good. Nowadays, more and more brides are letting their bridesmaids choose their own dresses – one that fits their style and bodies better than a one specific dress. The colors this season varied, but I did see a lot of champaign/pastel colors, and lots of glitter. Scroll through some of my favorite shots of the gals, and hopefully you find some ideas for your big day! In case you missed the first three in the series, you can see them here: Bouquets, The Dress, Tuxedos. If you see anything you like – shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can let you know the designer/store.
Where do I start with Taylor + Joe? Well, for the past 6 months I’ve been getting Snapchats from Taylor about the wedding planning process… the countdown, snaps of endless amounts of details scattered around their apartment, the invitations… so needless to say the anticipation has been building. Taylor + Joe are one of my most expressive couples… as you’ll see in photos below. Their love is written all over their faces, and to see Joe’s jaw nearly hit the floor when he saw Taylor walking down the aisle was an unforgettable, goosebumps moment for me.
It was a cold day in December – not the coldest we’ve ever had but definitely not the warmest either. Taylor didn’t forget about keeping her bridesmaids warm with pashmina gifts and winter boots. Tay + Joe also didn’t forget a single detail when it came to the reception. Tables upon tables of personalized details about the couple/their families/those that couldn’t be there with us, a floral display of name cards unlike one I’ve ever seen, and forget about the traditional clinking of the glass for kisses – each person had their own jinglebell to get the two smooching. It was a beautiful winter wedding, one that made you forget about the cold weather outside and feel like nothing else was important in the world other than Taylor + Joe spending the rest of their lives together. Congratulations to the newlyweds – I’m so happy you have each other!!
VENDOR CREDITS // Wedding Dress Designer: Mon Cheri, House of Brides | Bridesmaid Dress Designer: Jim Hjelm, VIP Occasions | Tuxedo Designer: Black by Vera Wang, Men’s Warehouse | Hair Stylist: Cynthia Sally, Blend Beauty | Make-up Artist: Cynthia Sally, Blend Beauty | Florist: Kristen Janes, Kio Kreations | Cake Artist: Oak Mill Bakery | DJ: An Enchanted Evening | Paper Goods Designer: Ashley Suttmiller | Ceremony Venue: St. Beatric Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Arrowhead Golf Club
Part 2 of my shoot with Chicago fashion bloggers, Ticket and Tag and crochet accessory designer, Kedrin. These Logan Fingerless Gloves… to die for. LOVE them. In fact, I loved them so much that Ticket and Tag was nice enough to gift them to me!! You better believe I’m gonna be rocking these things all over Chicago – and they’re perfect for shooting, too… keeps my hands warm and still let’s me control my camera with my fingers 🙂 I asked the beautiful Stacey to tell me a little more about her look…
Why do you love the Kedrin Accessory? Fingerless gloves are fashionable, but still provide warmth. Although I don’t typically think of crocheted items as edgy you can still style these to look that way. They are unique and are ideal for tapping away at your smart phone while still staying warm.
What was your inspiration for your look? I wanted to show off the gloves so I chose to wear a sleeve loose enough to showcase them. I also wanted to incorporate a fur vest, which are popular right now. I purposefully chose a darker colored shirt and pant to contrast the color of the glove and vest.
Three words to describe the look? Warm, stylish, and cool
Where would you wear it? You could wear these fingerless gloves to lunch at Doves luncheonette, a pie date at Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits, or out to a show at my favorite venue Lincoln Hall
Other things to pair with the Kedrin Accessory? A thin sweater for a day of holiday shopping, a leather jacket for a night out, or a winter blazer
About a month ago, I teamed up with Chicago Fashion Bloggers, Ticket & Tag, to feature some killer winter crochet accessories made by Kedrin. The first two pieces were right up my style alley – The Buck Turban and Logan Fingerless Gloves. Make sure to check ’em out if you missed it. These cold January days are only gonna get colder so what better time to feature the Kedrin Pilsen Hat and Kedrin Lincoln infinity scarf.
From Jess: “The Pilsen Hat features monochromatic stripes in different textures which keeps it very cool looking in a not-trying too hard way…. I chose to pair The Pilsen with a bright, structured dress and added a men’s plaid shirt and fur cowl to play with traditional Christmas red, white, and green. When I find a plaid I really like in a men’s shirt from J.Crew, I size down and it works because of the slim fit design. As for the J.Crew dress, I originally purchased it to wear to the office, but I have found so many ways to change it from cocktail party to casual outing. It feels very merry!”
see how she styled it below: J. Crew dress similar here // J. Crew tights similar here // J.Crew Men’s Shirt similar here // Faux Fur Scarf similar here // Banana Republic Boots similar here // Kedrin Pilsen Hat
From Stacey: The final wearable piece in our collaboration with Kedrin is the Lincoln Infinity Scarf. I absolutely love this piece. It is cozy, versatile, and has such a rich color. The scarf, which is handmade out of 100% vegan yarn, can be worn several ways. It can be looped around the neck once, doubled up for a chunky feel or draped around the body like a vest. This handmade piece is another wonderful example of Kedrin’s amazing craftsmanship.
I chose to pair the scarf with a denim top and pleated skirt. You could also try the Lincoln with a plaid shirt, jeans, and booties. While it’s perfect for almost every occasion, wear this scarf for a day of holiday shopping, brunch at Bite Cafe, or a cold-pressed juice date at Owen + Alchemy.
see how she styled it below: Kedrin Lincoln infinity scarf // Kut from the Kloth denim shirt unavailable similar here // Andrew Marc leather coat unavailable similar here // Calvin Klein skirt unavailable similar here // Spanx original shaping tights // Steve Madden oxford shoe unavailable similar here
Last week, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Chicago Fashion Bloggers, Ticket & Tag, and Minnesota-based crochet accessories retailer, Kedrin. I had such a great time shooting with them, and I’m so excited to share the first of four crochet accessories that we styled looks for on those cold Chicago winters. The first is the Buck Turban – named after one of Chicago’s favorite neighborhoods and designed to keep your head/ears warm while staying away from ‘hat-head’. This piece would make a great gift for anyone on your Christmas list, so head over to Kedrin and get 20% off through December 15th with the Promo Code: TandT
I asked Jess a few questions on the super cute look she created for the day //
Why do you love the Kedrin Accessory? In a cold city, I need to keep my ears warm but I don’t always want to wear a hat. The Buck Turban is functional but stylish. It adds to a look instead of covering up a look.
What was your inspiration for your look? Lumberjack meets Little House on the Prairie.
Three words to describe the look? Undone, layered, carefree
Where would you wear it? Breakfast at Longman & Eagle followed by Christkindlmarket to pick up some new ornaments, a tree lighting with Mexican Hot Chocolate in hand
Other things to pair with the Kedrin Accessory?
Wear it with a turtleneck and pencil skirt on the way to the office or with a sweatshirt, sequin trousers and heels to a holiday party
It’s a new year, and for most engaged couples – that means it’s time to kickstart that wedding planning. One thing that I love about my clients is that they never miss a detail. My weddings are chalk full of gorgeous center pieces, some hand-made, some custom ordered, and some purchased from the most talented wedding florists and event planners in the market. If you’ve been following my work, you know I love a good tablescape. Here are a few of my favorites of the year – hopefully they inspire you and show the capabilities of what your wedding can look like 🙂 Email me for vendor info and I’ll be happy to pass along the names of the talented folks responsible for these goodies.
The groom’s tuxedo is a pretty basic and easy choice, right? Not exactly. No one says you have to do a basic black tuxedo anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the look is timeless and a lot of my groom’s still opt for the classic attire. But more and more, grooms are using their tuxedo as a way to show their own personal style and spin on the wedding day. Black, white, grey, navy, red, purple… there are so many ways grooms can make their look unique. One thing I have noticed though, no matter the color or style of the tuxedo… it’s ALL ABOUT THE TAILORING. Men, seriously, get a good tailor – it makes the biggest difference. Shoutout to all my grooms looking dapper as ever this year – maybe their look will help you find your wedding day style (or help you suggest ideas to your future husband).