Chicago Vintage Weddings x Virgin Hotels

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From Elizabeth Anne Designs…

What do you get when you combine two gorgeous brides, an adorable puppy, spectacular flowers, and the styling of Chicago Vintage Weddings? Perfection! This spring wedding inspiration shoot features the most lovely blooms from Thistle + Plume adorning the ballroom in the Virgin Hotel Chicago, accented by decor (how much do you love those disco balls?) from Atmosphere Events Group. Our brides Jackie and Nina donned chic Varca Bridal attire from Honey Bridal and we are pretty much obsessed with their bridal looks by Debra Petrielli. Every detail from the hand-drawn stationery by Emily Rose Ink to the beautiful images by True Grace Photography is complete perfection!

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Wedding Planning & Rentals: Chicago Vintage Weddings

Stationery: Emily Rose Ink

Linens: Windy City Linen

Rentals: Tablescapes

Beauty: Debra Petrielli

Engagement Ring: Clean Origin

Venue: Virgin Hotels Chicago

Floral: Thistle + Plume

Lighting: Atmosphere Events Group

Wedding Dress: Varca Bridal

Bridal Salon: Honey Bridal

Model: Nina Kelly

Model: Jaclyn Stanzcyk

Featured: Elizabeth Anne Designs

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Fanciful, Floral Chicago Wedding

 
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If you spend eight years of life attending, celebrating, observing and wholeheartedly participating in weddings, you might come to a fork in the road. On paper, wedding days may first appear to follow the same general structure: dressing of the bride, first kiss, presentation of the newlyweds, first dance... Experientially, of course, each day presents in a wholly unique manner, with personal touches and intimate moments that honor the story of the individual couple. As a photographer, I've found rest in this- documenting the details and moments that are rooted in personal meaning for my clients. I consider it the depth of this work to engage in each couple's perspective and witness the day in their eyes. Now for the fork in the path...

I will remember May & June of 2018 as one of the most transformative seasons of my work and life. Not because we've had a wedding every weekend or because these weddings have been particularly personally meaningful to me. (Oh my heart, and how!) This season has been an opportunity for renewal of the love that I have for this pursuit, and an opportunity to interpret wedding days through a more poetic, emotionally evocative lens rather than strictly documentarian. In the past, I have intentionally created and curated a final collection of images for clients that visually answer the question: "What happened, and who was there?"

However, as a creative, I've followed a journey from identifying as a "craftsman" to now finding integrity as an "artist" in this pursuit. Good art evokes feeling, triggers thought, connects spiritually, illustrates memory. Photography itself has fought a long battle to be considered a "fine art" peer of painting and sculpture. Wedding photography, even more so. After an off-season of contemplating what elevates wedding photography and how to get there, I've pursued wedding days this summer with a radically different question: "How do we love?"

ALL OF THAT TO SAY: I owe everything to the couples who have embraced and encouraged my work as artistry- and none so much as Taylor Dahlstrom & Dan Rehor. I had the privilege to be present for Dan's proposal one wintery day in 2017, walk through the planning and dreaming with Taylor (she's the visionary behind Amelia Cole Events) and ultimately celebrate their first day as a married couple on June 16, 2018. I'm deeply grateful to share this first look into their wedding day at Patrick Haley Mansion. Congratulations, loves!!!

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Wedding Planner: Amelia Cole Events / Venue: Patrick Haley Mansion / Florist: Life in Bloom / Beauty: Bianca Sansosti Artistry / DJ: Charizma Entertainment / Acoustic Singer: Zach Wcislo / Videography: Courtney Cimo / Wedding Cake: Amy Beck Design / Donuts: Do-Rite / Photobooth: TagPrints Digital / Transportation: M&M Limos

 

Architectural Chicago Destination Wedding

 
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When I first received Stephanie & John's inquiry for an intimate wedding (13 guests!) at the Thompson Hotel in Chicago followed by a dinner party reception at Stephanie Izard's world-famous restaurant Girl & the Goat - I couldn't have been more excited. This day offered the opportunity to slow down the normal whirlwind wedding pace and really dig in and create photographs celebrating the natural, push-pull chemistry that Steph & John share with one another. Even the chilly Chicago spring complied with their wedding plans, with not a single cloud in the sky and loads of beautiful sunshine for this bride & groom.

John and Stephanie planned every detail to be authentic to their own personalities and preferences. Stephanie's uniquely iconic diamond pavé engagement ring by David Yurman stunned in a green Mrs Box alongside her bouquet of calla lilies and roses created for her by The Flower Firm. If you find your breath caught by Stephanie in her divinely draped dress, you're not the only one - Maggie Sottero created her one-of-a-kind wedding gown. Stephanie's beauty squad, Glam by Stefanie and Kim Freyermuth, started her wedding day with mimosas and highlighted her naturally striking beauty (and dimples!!) with polished, sophisticated style. 

My personal favorite detail: these two world-traveling go-getters (they have two MBAs and a JD between them) also run together. To celebrate this bond, Steph & John had custom Nike running shoes made in his (black) & hers (white) style right down to the date stiched into the heels. Eat your hearts out, sneakerheads. This is love that goes the distance. 

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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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Epic Greek Orthodox Chicago Wedding

May 27, 2017 has been marked with a big red heart on my calendar for over a year. Carly and Chris planned a wedding day packed full of celebratory details, surprises and special moments. Kicking off the day with a wedding gift of Christian Louboutin pumps and a mother-daughter whiskey toast, this couple honored family tradition and faith with a Greek Orthodox ceremony at St. John the Baptist in Des Plaines. Following a rose petal-showered church exit, the party bus stopped by Catherine Chevalier Woods for photos of the wedding party and Chris and Carly. Wedding guests enjoyed cocktail hour at The Empress in Addison until the bridal party welcomed the bride and groom with a stunning sparkler entrance to the ballroom. 

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A terrific team of vendors included Gaby Raguso of GLAMD, Flowers for Dreams, I Do Video by Leo, Mario Tricoci: Oak Brook all coordinated by Ashley Nicole Events.

Chicago Riverwalk Lifestyle Engagement

Some things are meant to be, some things just happen, and more often than not, things that are meant to be just happen.  These two are no exception. James is from Ireland; Tavia is from Chicago. A work opportunity brought James to Chicago, and he decided to stay after meeting Tavia. 

These two are the kind of fun, easygoing people that everyone wants to hang out with, so it's no surprise that they want to hang out with one another for life.  Tav said YES when James proposed on a ski trip at Breckenridge over the New Year holiday.

When we scheduled their engagement photography session in Chicago this spring, James and Tav shared that they are planning a destination wedding for May next year-- in Ireland! Because of this, celebrating Chicago in their engagement photographs became a priority.

We started with craft cocktails at the terrace at Drumbar on the roof of the Rafaello Hotel in the magnificent mile. From there, we walked down Michigan Avenue to Water Tower Place and took a stroll down the Chicago Riverwalk, a favorite for wedding and engagement photographs in the spring! Congratulations, you two! 

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Fresh & Fun Downtown Oak Park Engagement

It's not hard to see why Frank Lloyd Wright chose Oak Park for his home and studio when the spring weather and blooms are this gorgeous.

When Lauren and Kevin chose to do their spring engagement session at special and sentimental locations in downtown Oak Park, I jumped at the chance. When a couple is planning a destination wedding or even a wedding in another part of the Chicago area, there's no better way to celebrate your hometown or new-hometown than an engagement session highlighting your favorite spots. 

We started at Beer Shop (a new-ish local hangout for craft brew lovers) and wandered around Austin Gardens, the Oak Park Metra station, the Lake Theater enjoying the gorgeous redbuds and bistro lights. Warm wedding weather is here, folks!

This engagement session was shot digitally, but processed to have the natural, soft look of film. I'm excited to see how Lynda at Greenstar Paperie uses these photos for Lauren and Kevin's wedding Save the Dates. Enjoy!

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Metropolis Ballroom Winter Wedding

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, Caitlin & Brian married at St. Raymond de Penafort in Mount Prospect and celebrated with friends and family at the Metropolis Ballroom in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

As a wedding photographer, I have the privilege to witness emotional moments and remarkable relationships. I often tear up like the rest of you (especially when reliving moments while editing a wedding)- but it was definitely a first when I teared up at Caitlin and Brian's wedding consult. These meetings are one of my favorite parts of my work- it's a time for a couple to share their story and talk about their vision for their wedding and for me to share a little about myself and photography philosophy. Brian and Caitlin asked such thoughtful, considerate questions about my work and wedding photography that I found myself sharing more of my own personal reflection on weddings & love than usual. As I discovered throughout the next seven months of planning for their day, these two possess a warmth and charm together that can only arise from a open-hearted commitment to friends and family and a strength found in a shared love and trust.

As anyone who celebrated their wedding at the Metropolis Ballroom would tell you, this wedding was inspiring, infectiously joyful and full of beautiful light, delightful details and fabulous food.

Many thanks to the vendors who made such a special day so lovely!

DJ: Toast & Jam

Makeup Artist: Carly Pribich Palmer

Photo Booth: Fox and Harrison 

Reception Hall & Wedding Cake: Metropolis Ballroom

Floral Design: Robert's Floral Design Studio

 

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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