Chicago Cultural Center ElopementChicago Civil Ceremony photography

Chicago Cultural Center Elopement

 

 

This Chicago Cultural Center Elopement happened at the end of April 2018. Jarrad, Polly, and I hoped for a warm day with blooming leaves on the trees. Spring didn’t come early enough for the trees to bloom yet we were all grateful because it was one of the first warm days of the season. The elopemenet was super sweet and I’m happy to share the photos with the world.

 

I’m always thrilled when kids are part of the wedding! Having Jarrad’s 8 year old son present during the civil ceremony made the couple quite emotional. When editing the civil ceremony photos I teared up a bit at the images of Polly hugging Jarrad’s son and at the thought of how wonderful it’s to be a step parent.

 

Polly, Jarrad, and I walked around the Chicago Cultural Center to take some portraits but my favorite photos are the ones of emotions that happen during the ceremony.

 

Congratulations Polly and Jarrad!

Jewish Wedding Photography ChicagoBlack and white photography

Jewish Wedding Photography Chicago

 

Tamar and Zach’s wedding was only the second Jewish wedding I’ve ever photographed. And it’s also one of my favorites that I’ve ever photographed!

 

What did I like about this wedding? First off, Tamar and Zach have this young, passionate love that’s super inspiring. They were both so excited to get married and weren’t shy to show the emotions. Tamar freely expressed her admiration for Zach and you can see  Zach’s more subdued but equally powerful passion and love for Tamar. They reminded me of modern day versions of Patricia and Michel from Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless”. Once I started taking portraits of Tamar and Zach the movie kept popping in my head and influenced me to edit most of the images in black and white. See the movie and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

 

What I also loved about this wedding was the multitude of Jewish rituals present throughout the day. Signing of the Ketubah, seven blessings, breaking of the glass, blessing of the challah, and hora dancing all evoke many emotions of joy, anticipation, sadness, reflection, and love that were so wonderful to photograph. It was a busy day for me trying to capture all those emotions but a day I’ll always remember.

 

Now Tamar and Zach happily live in Tel Aviv where Zach writes his novel that will be published soon. Ah! aren’t they romantic???

 

Tamar and Zach, wishing you a lifetime of happiness…..

 

 

 

 

 

Same sex Chicago elopement photographyCaldwell Lily Pond elopement

Same sex Chicago elopement photography

 

 

Matt and Kevin reached out to me for elopement photography at the beginning of summer 2017. They came from L.A. to Chicago (Matt’s hometown) in mid August to have the families witness their exchange of vows.

We met in downtown Chicago to capture the feel of the city in the photographs. I was glad we met early morning as the summer heat was climbing by the minute. By the time a cab took us to the Caldwell Lily pond ceremony location it was already 11:00am and very hot. One of my favorite photos from this wedding isn’t a posed photo with a grand location on the background, but rather an image of a small gesture between Kevin and his dad that speak volumes of the father-son relationship.  It was the moment right after the ceremony when Kevin’s dad pulled out his handkerchief so that Kevin could wipe the heat from his face. Moments like this make my work so much more meaningful.

Photographing this Chicago elopement left me more compassionate and understanding that Love is Love and hopeful that people around the world will soon be able to marry who they love. I hope you feel the many emotions of the day in the photographs.

Many years of happiness to you, Kevin and Matt!

 

 

Modern Chicago Engagement

Modern Chicago Engagement

 

 

 

It always starts with a good conversation. I met with Jessica and Andreas over coffee to talk about their wedding. I instantly knew I wanted to work with them. The result of one of our collaborations (the other being their wedding that’ll appear on my blog soon) is this modern Chicago engagement session.

Andreas manages The Wormhole Coffee and yes, he makes incredible coffee! Jessica is an editor at a publishing company and just recently wrote and published her 1st book “Craft Coffee”. If you appreciate good coffee and want to make a better one at home I highly recommend you get your copy here. As you’ve probably already figured out, Jessica and Andreas are pretty serious about their coffee and each other.

We spent some time at their home and around their neighborhood in Ravenswood, Chicago. Hope you enjoy this modern Chicago engagement session.

 

 

Chicago loop wedding

Chicago loop wedding

Chrissy and Trey met in Chicago, then lived in NYC for a few years. In NYC they rented a very small apartment. I’m mentioning it cause I also used to live, with my now husband, in a tiny loft and have a theory about couples living in really small spaces. My believe is that if you still want to marry a person you spent years with living in a very small space you’re meant to be successful as a married couple!  When Chrissy and Trey came back to Chicago they were ready to marry. Almost right away they started planning their Chicago loop wedding. When looking for vendors for their wedding Chrissy remembered me from a wedding she stood for a couple years back and got in touch with me.

 

We met in a Logan Square bar to talk about their Chicago Loop wedding. Soon after we sat down, Chrissy announced that they hated being photographed, and they loved to dance (I think they wanted to know if I’m up for the challenge). Luckily I’m a dancing queen who also doesn’t like to be photographed! Right then and there, I knew we would be be a great team!

 

Just like Chrissy and Trey eagerly shared with me during our meeting, the portrait part of the wedding was sweet and short. The dancing part of the wedding, however, was full of surprises and expressive moves! As their requested, I took lots of action shots from the dance floor.  Thanks to Chrissy and Trey’s naturality and openness we created some beautiful photojournalistic shots that will last for generations. Check it out yourself!

 

Bridgeport Art Center WeddingRustic wedding venue chicago

Bridgeport Art Center Wedding
Bridgeport Art Center wedding.

Alanna and Zach wanted a rustic chicago wedding and found a dream spot at Bridgeport Art Center. It’s a unique urban warehouse venue perfect for a wedding ceremony with a timber loft indoor space and outdoor Sculpture Garden located in one of Chicago’s burgeoning art scenes. Once they chose the venue, Alanna’s mom and Maria of Ivy & Plum Events took care of the rest. Every detail of this Bridgeport Art Center wedding was well planned and meticulously executed. One of my favorite elements was the french silk ribbon wedding favors. The ribbons (as explained on little notes placed at each table setting) originated in the 17th century and symbolize love, health, and happiness for the newlyweds. Many guests wore them as brooches. You can see them in some of my late night dance photos. Those brooches are my favorite wedding favors ever!

During my walk-through with Alanna and her mother Laura a few weeks before the wedding we were having a candid conversation and Alanna mentioned that she disliked high-heals and wanted to wear flats on her wedding day. She also said she planned on keeping her hair long and natural because Zach liked it this way (Ah! how cute is that?!). Laura, who I came to know a bit and really like throughout the process, didn’t object but delicately suggested otherwise. On the wedding day Alanna ended up wearing mid-height heels and kept her hair long but pulled back a bit. I think she looked stunning!

So yay, cheers to Moms and their valuable suggestions! Personal note: I don’t usually enjoy unsolicited advice from my mom but she is often right! (Man, she’ll love hearing that I finally admitted it and put it in writing. haha)

Venue: Bridgeport Art Center/Event Planner: Plum & Ivy Events/Dress: Reddington/Caterer: Calihan/ Flowers: Fab Flora

 

 

Heritage Prairie Farm wedding. Elyse + Galen

Heritage Prairie Farm wedding. Elyse + Galen

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Heritage Prairie Farm
wedding. It was the perfect location for citydwellers Elyse & Galen who wanted nature’s peace & intimacy on their wedding day.

People. Dress. Food. Weather. Venue. It all came together perfectly. Galen’s mom officiated the wedding while Galen and Elyse exchanged their personally written vows. I love how personal vows bring out many emotions (both laughs and tears) among the guests. Elyse’s amazing bohemian dress was a result of extensive research and customization. It was just perfect for a very warm October wedding on a farm. Galen and Elyse, who had their first date at Elyse’s prom, danced the entire night away and ended the celebration with a magical Chinese lantern ceremony. If that wasn’t enough, the universe honored us with an amazing full moon! 

 

 

Firehouse Chicago wedding. Jackie + MJ

Firehouse Chicago wedding. Jackie + MJ

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I got to know Jackie and MJ through a portrait session we did back in February (you can see it here on my blog). Now, months after the wedding, we still keep in touch on Social Media. I think I said it before but let me repeat, I love wedding photography for the special connection it allows me to make with my couples. My work puts me in the middle of the most intimate moments so there needs to be mutual trust and openness to create real, emotional, and timeless photographs.

 

It’s hard to describe a wedding other than by the moments that happened during the day. One of the most memorable moments of this wedding were the vows that Jackie and MJ exchanged. The personally written vows were sweet, honest, and deeply moving. I don’t think there was a single guest who didn’t have tears in their eyes. During dinner Jackie’s Dad had a speech that profoundly touched me. He talked with so much love and affection about the time Jackie was born and how special she has been from the very start. I think the speech moved me so much because I’m a parent and I can relate to other parents and their feelings. I really teared up listening to him.

 

Jackie and MJ searched carefully for vendors and made it a priority to work with people who made them feel good. They ended up with an amazing team – Justin the DJ, Paul the caterer, and Michelle the venue manager were a phenomenal and  integral part of the memorable day! (I rarely mention people I work with but I’ll start doing it because there is so many of them who deserve recognition!)

 

Venue: Firehouse Chicago / Dress: Jade Bridal / Caterer: Huegah Catering  /DJ: DJ Justin

Artistic wedding. Laura + Joel

Artistic wedding. Laura + Joel

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Oh Boy, I don’t know where to start when describing Laura and Joel’s wedding. From the ride to the ceremony  during which I learned Laura and her maid of honor knew Beyonce’s songs by heart and were not shy to entertain us by singing the entire ride, to the ceremony that could have been a theatre piece by itself with chorus, live music, and storytelling, and finally to the late night salsa dancing performed by Laura and her Cuban born grandmother, the entire day was magic.

So this is Laura and Joel. Entertaining, artsy, boisterous, and bold.

 

Ravenswood Event Center wedding. Cat + Mike

Ravenswood Event Center wedding. Cat + Mike

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College sweethearts Cat and Mike were married at St Vincent’s church with a reception at  Ravenswood Event Center on one of the loveliest days of the summer.

 

It’s obvious from the photos, but let me just say it just for the record: Cat and Mike not only have great personal style but are also super good looking! Plus, the two are madly in love with each other.

 

There were many beautiful moments during the wedding. We can talk about Mike’s reaction when he pulled off Cat’s veil, or Cat’s emotional response to her dad’s beautiful speech. However, one moment that I want to talk about is Cat and Mike’s first dance. I mean it was no regular dance, but rather a 1st class, pro, choreographed, and meticulously performed First Dance! You know, one of those dances that you see on TV during international dance competitions.

 

Cheers to Cat and Mike! Two lovers who will happily dance through their lives ever after.

Chicago Engagement Photos

Chicago Engagement Photos

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I believe a good photograph can only be taken when there’s a connection and open flow of energy between photographer and her subject(s). So when we met for Jackie and MJ’s Chicago engagement photos session I knew we needed to sit down and get to know each other before I could pull out my camera.

 

We met at Dusk’s bar in Pilsen, Jackie and MJ’s neighbourhood. We had drinks and talked about their work (Jackie is an interior designer and MJ is a graphic designer), ongoing house projects, dog, my house that needs some renovation, my little family, their plans for the family, and everything in between. After a while I forgot what we were there for! We would have talked for longer if not for my concern about dusk approaching.

 

We started off at Tack Room (thanks to MJ’s ingenious idea and friendliness of the bar’s staff) and then walked and drove around to some of my favorite spots in East Pilsen. Jackie and MJ played along great and didn’t complain about me choosing some “gritty” spots!

 

Here are some photos from our Chicago engagement photos session. When Jackie first saw the photographs she said she and MJ needed to start a band so the photos could be on the album cover. Ha! Can you believe Jackie initially thought she wasn’t photogenic and was really nervous about having her photos taken? I really can’t wait to see them all dressed up on their wedding day this June!