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

 

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.

Hugs, 

Grace

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Dreamy Midwest Riverside Wedding

It was a gorgeous day in April for a wedding yesterday in downtown Geneva at Riverside Receptions. Not only was the weather warm and wonderful, this wedding also featured some of the most lovely details from BHLDN and Kio Kreations. This is only a sneak peek, but it's just too good not to share early! 

Congratulations to the happiest couple, Jessica & Justin!