Enchanting Heritage Prairie Farm Wedding

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” 
- Mary Oliver

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This year, June 25th at Heritage Prairie Farm was a beautifully breezy Saturday for a wedding. Kelsey and Kris stood together under an old oak, made their vows in the open air and the sunshine and celebrated with their family and friends under a lofty five-peak tent hung with flowers and sparkling with candlelight. It was the kind of wedding day that Marilynne Robinson would write about.

This couple and their wedding day is near and dear to my heart. I met Kelsey last spring at her sister's wedding (April 17), which I was photographing and certain couldn't be equaled in measures of joy, happiness and inspiration. I was thrilled when Kelsey and Kris emailed to ask if I was available for their own landmark day. (!!!) This wedding photo gallery is full of intentional details, thoughtful consideration of family heirlooms, new treasures, a spirited bridal party and a loveliness in every detail, including terrific blooms and floral installations by Eva's Floral Wonders in Geneva.

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Lifestyle Edit: Wheaton, IL

I've known Kara for the past year and a handful of months. She's a graphic designer with a sharp eye for style in any medium, and someone I've come to trust when seeking input about art, design and personal philosophies of visual communication. Whether it's wedding photography or mixed media design, Kara is a spirit level.

Last month I had an engagement session reschedule because of impending rain, but had rolls of Portra from the previous night's session that had to be shipped that afternoon to photovision for processing. This series of events left me with half of roll of Portra 400 unexposed. 18 frames of film is far too valuable to not use. Enter Kara.

Turns out these are some of my personal favorites of the fine art film portraits I've created this summer, even if they were shot within two minutes outside a Starbucks.

Luminous University of Notre Dame Wedding

On June 24, 2013, the Blackhawks scored twice in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup and Chicago went hockey wild. On the very same memorable night, Beth and Mike met while out watching the game with friends and celebrated the big win together with drinks at The Beer Bistro in the West Loop.

When I met these two after their engagement in Maui, they already had the details of much of their big day sketched out. Beth and Mike know what they love and how to celebrate that love. Their wedding day on July 30, 2016, was a whirlwind of amazing moments at The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at University of Notre Dame and the Morris Performing Arts Center. 

Mike and Beth selected a delightful (and talented!) group of vendors who put together a flawless day. Beth found her wedding dress with Antonietta at Veiled by ChaCha of Glen Ellyn. Mike was careful to reserve the rarely available Basilica of the Sacred Heart for their wedding ceremony. The bride and her bridesmaids prepared for the day at the South Bend Doubletree Hotel. Leap Weddings of Chicago were present to create the videography. Cyndi Basker of Celebrated Events coordinated the entire day so that it flowed without a hitch. Special thanks to my assistant photographer for the day, Carla Stehman of Forever Incredible Photography.

This was a photographer's dream day. A happy, handsome couple and a number of bucket list incredible venues became a catalyst for thousands of snaps. Here are just a few of the highlights! 

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Cream & Blush Country Club Wedding

On July 3, 2016, Cara and Aaron married at Christ Church of Oak Brook and celebrated with family and friends at Hinsdale Golf Club! This sneak peek is only a glimpse into their wedding day, which was full of many truly meaningful and beautiful moments. These two met in middle school through their church's youth group, and over the years their close friendship grew into a remarkable relationship. According to the couple, she loves his sense of humor- and he loves her drive and passion.  

When I first met Aaron and Cara, I was struck by the harmony and partnership they sharedin discussing personal priorities and mutual goals- but also how their relationship with one another is marked by so many smiles and laughter. Wedding planning can be stressful, but these two obviously were enjoying the process of designing a day to celebrate not only the love for one another, but also their families and faith. Their joy is infectious. I'm smiling even as I write this.

As a photographer, it was difficult to be selective with the highlights from this day because there are so, so, so many moments and therefore so many gems of memories and moments captured. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed putting this sneak peek together!