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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Sparkling, Chic Gold Coast Wedding

 

For the past couple of years, I've had the honor of photographing several Lurie Children's Hospital Foundation benefits, including the First Look for Charity at the Chicago Auto Show! Through these events, lovely bride-to-be Maeve and I became connected and first met for a memorably wonderful glass of wine at the 3 Arts Club after her engagement. We chatted dreams, ideas, vision and her plans with Erik for a winter wedding day in Chicago's Gold Coast.

(You may remember Maeve & Erik's featured engagement session in Lincoln Park this past summer!)

Their December wedding day was blessed by sunshine and just a touch of snow. The bridal party prepared at ultra-chic (and freshly renovated) Talbott Hotel before the traditional Catholic ceremony at St. James Chapel, two blocks away. Following mass, the bride and groom walked with their bridesmaids (cozy in fur stoles) and groomsmen to The Casino, Chicago's iconic club on Delaware Place for cocktails and reception. 

December 9, 2017 will stand out in my memory for this couple's charm and warmth and the elegant perfection found in the simplicity and quality of each detail of the wedding timeline. It is my hope that these wedding photographs (it was difficult to limit the highlights to only fifty!) capture the magic that was Maeve & Erik's winter wedding day in Chicago.

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Glowing Golden Hour Winter Bridal

 
for you to see beauty here
does not mean
there is beauty in me
it means there is beauty rooted
so deep within you
you can’t help but
see it everywhere
— Rupi Kaur

Fresh for 2018, Jordan Vanden Bos of Events by JVB dreamed, designed and coordinated this stellar bridal collaboration with a gathering of the unique talents of wedding vendors in the Chicago area.  It was my privilege to create the portraits of lovely, vivacious Phoenix Harris and photographs from this golden afternoon at the Ravenswood Event Center.

Invitation Suite: Greenstar Paperie

Floral Design & Bouquet: Andrew's Garden

Wedding Dress designed by Truvelle and sourced from Dame Couture 

Bridal Hair: Tamara Holden

Bridal Makeup: J Costa Artistry

Jewelry: Rollands Jewelers

Linens: BBJ Linen Chicago

Ring Box: The Mrs Box


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Modern, Romantic Home Engagement

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I'm a big believer in the power of photographs to not only serve as celebration of a time and season- but also a space! When Taylor & Dan requested that part of their engagement session take place in their gorgeous first home with their handsome boxer pup, Roscoe, my answer was YES!! These engagement photographs reflect the blend of cozy, warm atmosphere and clean, modern aesthetic that these two love to cultivate and share with their friends and family. 

Thanks to Bianca Sansosti for blessing our foxy bride with her magical makeup fairy dust. This suite of engagement photos wouldn't be complete without details from The Mrs Box (Porter) and Bellame Ribbon (Porcelain). Styling by Amelia Cole Events!

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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

 

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. 

Boho Chic Chicago Beach Engagement

These sweethearts wanted something off the beaten path for their engagement session here in Chicago. When Lauren and Danny and I began to plan their dream fine art engagement session, we wanted to find a blend of natural, beach, summer skyline and open water. We met at Montrose Beach & Harbor an hour before sunset one Sunday evening in September and were rewarded with the prettiest light off filtering through the city to Lake Michigan. These two have a close friendship and obviously adore one another, making these photographs truly glow. Golden hour has never looked so good! I'm already looking forward to photographing their Oak Park wedding in November next year! 

I was thrilled to be able to incorporate movement and different types of light in this session, playing with the concept of exposing for the shadow and hovering around f/2 and 100 film speed to to capture the emotion and atmosphere of this beautiful evening. I used three dreamboat lenses from my kit: 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. All Canon, of course. (Wink)

As always, I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed creating them! Happy wedding Wednesday!