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


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.


Rustic Dahlia Chicago Riverfront Wedding

When I first spoke with Amy, she talked about the life and love that she, Matthew and her daughter Jillian share in Tucson, Arizona. She described her vision for their destination wedding here in the Chicago Loop as an intimate celebration with their nearest and dearest family and friends. Matt's family is well-connected with Chicago and he himself is a die-hard Cubs fan (is there really any other kind? #flytheW!). 

Amy's parents and bridesmaids were on hand for pre-ceremony preparations at ALoft Chicago City Center Hotel, with the ceremony and reception hosted at Rivers Restaurant. Taylor Dahlstrom of Amelia Cole Events curated a dream team of vendors and brought together Amy's vision of a truly lovely wedding atmosphere with blush and gold accents, succulents, cafe au lait dahlias, and strings of cafe lights on the riverfront in downtown Chicago. 

For Amy & Matt's wedding day, our light-washed documentary fine art photography style was designed to complement the warmth and affection of this wedding on such a perfectly crips fall October day in Chicago. Marla Kopkie, Amy's maid of honor and Tucson hair salon owner, styled the bride's and maids' hair. Many thanks to Ashbark Florals, A Posh Production, Chicago Farm Tables, and also Sugar Fixe for an especially lovely wedding cake. 

Chicago Lakeshore Garden Wedding

Every season, there's always that one wedding that seems to come out of nowhere and blow me away.

When I first met Avery & Clay this spring, we had a delightful and relatively short, to-the-point first meeting. Their preferences for their wedding photography were remarkably in line with the True Grace style: an intentional blend of fine art and documentary approaches. Both the bride and the groom are active people with their friends, family, church and work- so I didn't hear much over the summer. When we had our final meeting, the two sketched out their vision for their first look on the steps of Chicago's Adler Planetarium and ceremony and reception hosted by one of my favorites- the Herrington Inn & Spa in Geneva, Illinois. Avery & Clay were dream clients, giving me creative freedom to follow meaningful moments and capture their big day in its best light(s). 

Some of the highlights from this beautiful wedding day on August 27 are the flowers (the bride's mother created all of the bouquets and centerpieces!), Avery's lovely BHLDN wedding gown, the couple's incredibly awesome bridal party and the gorgeous new cocktail hour patio at the Herrington Inn. Check it all out below in this preview!

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! 

Midwest Garden Courtyard Wedding

One day a couple of years ago, Kacie was going about her business, outfitting her handmade girls' clothing booth for that day's farmer's market. Another vendor down the row, a tall, dark-haired entreprenuer chef of The Eating Well company, brought by a cheesecake with a smile to introduce himself. Kacie now says she was totally taken aback and thought "stranger danger" thoughts, but the cheesecake looked delicious... and she was pretty hungry. Turns out the cake was delicious and she and Daniel struck up a friendship. Their friendship quickly turned into something more as they bonded over their mutual love of dogs and family, good food and business ownership.

When I first met Kacie and her mom Meg at a coffee shop in downtown Geneva, I was touched by their friendship and inspired by the way Kacie talked about how she envisioned timeless, elegant wedding photography for her big day.

I was even more excited to hear they had chosen to book May 6, 2016 at The Herrington Inn- one of my favorite Chicago suburbs wedding venues. (Deanne Mitchell, wedding planner, and Rose Johnson, banquet manager, make up the Inn's stellar, experienced team who work together to make each Herrington couple's wedding day dreams come true.)

When the innovative team at Elizabeth Wray Design signed on to create the floral accompaniments (complete with armloads of hydrangeas, coral charm peonies and exquisite ranunculus accents, Kacie and Daniel's wedding day was guaranteed to be gorgeous- if the weather cooperated. 

AND IT DID! Gorgeous, sunny, warm May weather showed up in the late morning and held throughout the day. The ceremony was held in the courtyard and was officiated by Kacie's uncle, the Honorable Thomas Otepka of Nebraska.

It was a joy to celebrate with Kacie, Daniel and their families and I wish them all the happiness in the world in their future together. I hope you enjoy this preview of their wedding day as much as I did putting it together.