kelly & joe: the wedding

 

Amidst stained glass windows aglow with light trickling through, family and friends glowing, and a couple holding hands dressed in a lace-covered white dress and handsome grey suit, the priest spoke our hearts: that this couple we were here to celebrate is telling a story of love.  He spoke of how these two amazing individuals have come together to write an even more beautiful story – hand in hand for the rest of their days.  To know them is to know that it couldn’t be truer.

Kelly and Joe, I have tears in my eyes as I write this…thank you.  Thank you for inviting us into your lives.  Thank you for sharing your love for each other and for your family and friends.  Thank you for all the laughter and joy and graciousness that pours out of you two.  I love you both SO very much.  I will never forget the overwhelming honor of all the “backstage” moments of your wedding.  Hugs with grandma, interrupting an amazing coffee shop and all the smiles of everyone there, watching you embrace as you saw each other for the first time, stolen moments with your precious dog, how you lit up as you greeted each friend and family member and all the joy written over the entire day.  You two are a treasure and I’m crazy honored to know you.  Pieces of my grateful heart are in every image…

 

Now…on to the images.  And to start, here’s one of my favorites of Kelly’s STUNNING dress.

Oh this sweet little girl.  We became friends and it was so precious to see her love for Kelly.  And to catch her checking herself in the mirror…

I LOVE that Kelly had her wedding date stitched into her TOMS as her something blue…

To go ahead and embrace some southern-ness – it blessed my heart to see how Kelly brought her sweet flower girl into all the moments of the day.

To the bridesmaid who kept this as a souvenir from their rehearsal dinner – you are AWESOME.  Don’t let anybody else tell you different.  You made my day.

I could gush about Kelly (and Joe) for DAYS.  (True confession: I  have to all my family and friends)  But I also need to gush about her sister.  It was so sacred and beautiful to watch her joy for her sister.  She was an incredible maid of honor, but it was moments like this – where her love and joy was so palpable, that I found tears in my eyes.  You two are incredible.  (And Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons – I’ll take every piece of advice you have on how to encourage this kind of bond with your kids)

Oh yes.  As little sisters these two dressed up as brides…with magic wands.

I work with my brides to help set up their timelines so that they can have the experiences and memories they truly want for a lifetime.  One of my favorites is when my brides choose to do a special reveal to their dads…

One of my other favorites?  When they do a special reveal to their bridesmaids.  It’s so precious to watch their reactions.

I talked with Joe and Kelly about first looks.  I don’t believe in tapping someone on the shoulder – I believe in an intimate, connected moment.  (Which can be a challenge in a big city.)  We worked together and chose a little park across the street from the church.  The look on Joe’s face and the images that follow are exactly why I LOVE first looks and the memories that accompany them.

Ted (my husband) took these images.  And they may be some of my absolute favorites from the day.

Kelly…I LOVE your excitement…

These two are beyond precious.  I’ll never forget watching this little man pull her down the aisle!

We made a quick stop at Kelly and Joe’s apartment for Joe to open his gift and to grab a picture with their precious dog.

YOU TWO ARE BEAUTIFUL.  (Inside and out.)  And I’m pretty sure that none of these people will forget this moment.  (PS: Heritage Coffee THE best iced coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life and I cannot thank the beautiful and talented videographer, Jessica Lewis, enough for treating me to some.  I cannot wait to see the video she puts together from their wedding day!)

I always take individual bridal party pictures with the bride and groom.  I start with a traditional pose and then for the last shot I just ask them to do something fun or something that is a part of their friendship.  This bridal party rocked and the moments were equal parts hilarious and amazing…

We then headed over to Diversey Harbor where Joe proposed to Kelly…

By the way – I need to say a HUGE thank you to the AMAZING ushers.  You ushed with utter awesomeness.  And thank you for literally holding back a tree so that these shots were possible.

Then we arrived for the reception at the Chicago Cultural Center.  This place has always stopped me and left me breathless.  It was perfect to celebrate their marriage here…

Meet the parents of the groom (on the left) and the parents of the bride (on right).  I am so grateful they would pause and let me capture a few moments with each of them.

Joe’s brother prepared an AMAZING slideshow of pictures presented before the dance floor was opened.  The precious little flower girl and ring bearer saw it as their stage.  Little ones, may you never be afraid to dance like you did this night.  May you always be so brave and filled with joy…

The truth?  Watching the parent dances is starting to leave me with tears in my eyes now.  I realize these moments come all too quickly.  As I document these moments, I realize they are filled with memories of dancing in the living room, teaching them how to ride bikes, helping with homework and  so many more “mundane” moments that currently comprise my days.  These moments remind me of how beautiful it all is…even when it doesn’t feel so beautiful…

The dance floor was rocked, my friends.

Kelly and Joe – we love you!!!

 

The fabulous vendors who made all of these beautiful moments come together:

Dress: Lazaro
Reception – Chicago Cultural Center
Church – Old St. Patrick’s Church
Band: The Connexion Band
Cake: Oakmill Bakery
Florist: Occasionally Yours
Make-up:  Nika Vaughan
Hair: Bridal Beauty Chicago
Trolley: Absolute Dream Limousines, Inc., driver Dan Baxter
Catering: Chef By Request

 

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